Message from Academic Affairs Regarding Title IX and Remote Instruction

Dear Colleagues,

We hope that your spring term with remote learning has gotten off to a good start. We understand that this was a big undertaking and thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of our students.

We are writing to remind you of your continuing obligations under Title IX and other federal and state laws during this time. We also want to underscore how the university supports students and employees who experience what may be a Title IX violation, which includes gender/sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault or any other form of gender-based violence.

We all strive to build a community that treats others respectfully and with civility; however, we want to be sure that you are prepared if incidents occur. Please model etiquette in these virtual environments, which includes instructors and students not making inappropriate sexual or personal comments or gestures or posting sexual or other inappropriate material or comments. Also, be mindful of what is in your background. To avoid unintentional viewings, Zoom and some of the other platforms allow you to superimpose a scenic background. If a student engages in inappropriate conduct, please address it with the student; if the significant inappropriate conduct persists, please report the conduct, as discussed below, to the Dean of Student Life (DOSL) or the Title IX Coordinator.

As instructors, you may have students or colleagues who disclose a Title IX incident to you to obtain your assistance. Please note that you may not keep the information confidential, but you have an obligation to report any disclosure involving Title IX or other forms of discrimination to PSU’s Title IX Coordinator, Julie Caron, the Office of Equity and Compliance (OEC) or by filing a CARE Team report with the Dean of Student Life office when it is pertaining to a student’s conduct. The most common disclosure a student will make to an instructor is an email asking for an extension because they have been sexually assaulted or experienced some other form of interpersonal violence. Even this limited information should be reported. With any disclosure, the first steps that these university officials take is to connect the student with a confidential advocate to provide safety planning and assist with any academic support. The university officials keep these matters private and work to determine the best mode of addressing concerns.

The staff at the DOSL, Title IX, OEC and Women’s Resource Center (advocates-serving all genders) are currently working remotely and you can contact them through email or phone. Support services and investigations are continuing remotely.

The Instructors’ Policy and Mandated Obligations Pertaining to Students provides good information about various resources on campus, and DOSL has new information for faculty regarding Student Conduct and Remote Instruction.

Please feel free to contact Julie Caron if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of these important matters.


Susan Jeffords, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Julie Caron
Associate Vice President of Global Diversity and Inclusion
Title IX and ADA Coordinator