Dean of Students

Sexual Harassment

  • Seattle University seeks to promote and maintain an environment free from harassment of any type. Sexual harassment can interfere with a student's academic performance and emotional and physical well being. Preventing and remedying sexual harassment at Seattle University is essential to ensuring a nondiscriminatory environment in which students can learn. A complete copy of the Policy and Complaint Procedure Relating to Sexual Harassment of Students by Students is available in the office of the Vice President for Student Development.

    If a student has a concern about harassment by another student or group of students, this should be reported to the Office of Public Safety, the Dean of Students, or any of the Contact Persons listed below. If a student has a concern about harassment by a member of the faculty, staff or administration, or by anyone in an employment or teaching situation, this should be reported to Human Resources and is governed by the Seattle University Policy on Sexual Harassment.


    Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome, offensive behavior of a sexual nature; unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

    • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or academic admission or advancement;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis (or threatened to be used as the basis) for employment actions or academic decisions or evaluations; or
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment.

    Sexual harassment can occur between or among supervisors, managers and subordinates, faculty and staff, or students, peers, vendors, subcontractors, visitors, and employees or students, and any combination thereof. The harasser is often, but not always, in a more powerful position than the person being harassed. In such situations, sexual harassment is particularly serious because it may unfairly exploit the power inherent in a supervisor's or faculty member's position. All forms of sexual harassment are violations of the University's policy and will not be tolerated.

    Students may consult informally or make a complaint with one of the following designated contact persons:

    Darrell L. Goodwin, Dean of Students, 206.296.6066

    Because sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, it can be a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In addition to the sexual harassment Contact Persons listed above, the University has designated three individuals responsible for coordinating the University's Title IX compliance.

    Students with concerns or complaints about harassment on the basis of sex in an education program or activity may also contact any one of the following Title IX coordinators:

    Darrell L. Goodwin
    Dean of Students
    STCN 320


    Andrea Herrera Katahira 
    Assistant Vice President for Institutional Equity
    Chief EEO Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and ADA/504 Coordinator
    206.220.8515 or

    Individuals may also contact the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.


    Those persons responsible for consulting about, investigating, and resolving complaints of sexual harassment will make efforts, to the extent possible, to protect the privacy of both the complainant and the respondent.

    Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures for Students

    Any student who believes that he or she has been a victim of sexual harassment by another student or group of students and wishes to report or discuss the matter may use either a formal or informal complaint procedure. No individual shall be penalized or retaliated against in any way by a member of the University community for his or her participation in this complaint procedure.

    Informal Complaint Procedure

    The informal complaint procedure seeks to achieve a resolution upon which both the complainant and the alleged harasser agree. An informal complaint may be oral or in writing. It should be brought to one of the contact persons listed above. Informal complaints may have several outcomes. The person raising the issue may only want to discuss the matter with a neutral third party to clarify whether harassment may be occurring and to determine his or her options, including the pursuit of more formal action. In such a situation, the contact person will give assistance and offer suggestions on how the issue might be resolved, without drawing a conclusion as to whether harassment has occurred. In other cases, the contact person may be asked to act as a mediator, to talk to the other person(s) to see whether an informal resolution of the issue can be reached. If resolution is reached by this process, no further actions will be taken, and the matter will be considered closed.

    The Dean of Students will keep a record of the complaint and its resolution, including the names of the involved parties. Issues not so resolved may require that further inquiries be made and/or that the University take a more active role in finding a solution to the problem. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, the formal complaint procedure may be used at the option of the complainant, the respondent, or the University.

    Formal Complaint Procedure

    A complainant may make a formal complaint without first using the informal complaint procedure. A formal complaint should be in writing and submitted to the Dean of Students. The formal complaint should include: the alleged harasser's name; the times, dates, places, and circumstances surrounding the allegation of harassment; and the names of any witnesses to the incident(s). The complainant may request assistance from a contact person in preparing a written complaint. A formal complaint can be initiated by any of the contact persons, including the Dean of Students. The President, Provost, Vice Presidents or Deans may request that the Office of the Vice President for Student Development conduct an investigation or conduct a review without a formal complaint from any one individual.

    After receipt of the formal complaint, the Dean of Students or his/her designee will review student files and will consult with the complainant, the person against whom the complaint is made, any witnesses, and appropriate faculty, staff, and students, in an attempt to resolve the matter and/or to determine whether further investigation is warranted. A copy of the formal complaint will be provided to the individual against whom the complaint is made. A formal investigation can be terminated at any time, e.g., if a satisfactory resolution is agreed to before a written finding is made, or if an appropriate resolution is implemented. Upon completion of the investigation, the Dean of Students will determine if the complaint merits adjudication and will notify the complainant and respondent, if any, in writing, of the findings and recommendations. Even where prohibited harassment is not found, the Office of the Vice President for Student Development may determine that the conduct is inappropriate or otherwise violates the Code of Student Conduct. A complainant or respondent dissatisfied with the findings or recommendations may file a rebuttal statement with the Dean of Students for inclusion in the investigative file. In cases warranting adjudication, the Office of the Vice President for Student Development retains the right to determine whether the review will be conducted by the faculty/student review board, the peer review board, or by an administrator designated by the Vice President for Student Development. The proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

    Sexual Offense Policy and Procedures

    Policy Statement

    Seattle University affirms respect, responsibility, and caring between all persons. Admission to the University carries with it the presumption that students will conduct themselves as responsible members of the community, and refrain from actions that would endanger the health, welfare or safety of others. Conduct constituting a sexual offense, such as rape, acquaintance rape or sexual assault, will not be tolerated. Behavior of this nature is inconsistent with Seattle University values, and is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, University policy and state and federal law. Students committing a sexual offense in any form can be prosecuted under the Washington State Criminal Code (Title 9A RCW) and/or disciplined under the Code of Student Conduct.

    Prevention Through Education

    Educational Opportunities - Seattle University is committed to educating students, faculty and staff about sexual assault and about the prevention of sexual assault. The University's goal is to prevent sexual assault through education and deterrence, and through the creation of an atmosphere of improved understanding and communication. Educational opportunities on sexual assault awareness, prevention and safety are presented during new student orientation and throughout the year. Offices and programs providing such
    information include Public Safety and Housing and Residence Life. The Student Counseling Center offers counseling, referral information and support. Reducing the Risk of a Sexual Assault or Offense - No one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted. While there is no absolute protection against a sexual assault or sexual offense, there are precautions you can take to help reduce your exposure to the risk of a sexual offense. Some suggestions include:

    • Be aware that excessive use of alcohol and/or other drugs interferes with the ability to think clearly and communicate effectively.
    • Keep your doors and windows locked whether in the office, at home, or in the car.
    • Wear clothes and shoes that allow you to move quickly.
    • Walk on lighted pedestrian pathways; do not take short cuts.
    • Walk with a purpose and project an assertive image.
    • Be conscious of your surroundings and anticipate potentially dangerous situations.
    • Prohibit a stranger(s) from entering your room unless properly identified.
    • Never hitchhike.
    • Avoid walking or jogging alone at night.
    • When on campus, particularly at night, call Safety and Security at 296-5990 for security escort services.
    • Know your sexual desires and limits, exercise your right to set those limits, and clearly communicate those limits.
    • Be assertive.
    • If you are going to leave a party with a person you do not know well, tell another person where you are going and whom you are going with.

    When out with someone, be sure you have money for a taxi, your bus pass, and the phone number of a friend, so you are not dependent on your companion for a ride home. Acquaintance and date rape are familiar terms to students, but they are not legal terms. They are often used to differentiate between rape committed by someone the victim knows and rape by a stranger. The same criminal laws, penalties, and University sanctions apply in cases of acquaintance rape as in cases of stranger rape.

    What You Can Do If A Sexual Offense Occurs

    A victim of a sexual offense can experience varying degrees of trauma and anxiety. Emotional and physical symptoms such as fear, anxiety, anger, shock, depression, insomnia, headaches and/or nausea are common. Many victims also feel guilt and self-blame, especially if the suspect is an acquaintance. Regardless of the symptoms you experience, if you are a victim of a sexual offense:

    • Find a safe place: Stay with a friend or someone who can give you emotional support. Call a rape crisis line.
    • Go to a hospital for immediate medical care: The medical staff provides medical assistance for injuries, tests for medical evidence, and resources for emotional help. Do not wash or change clothes before calling or going for help as this may destroy important evidence. The collection of medical evidence does not presume that you will press charges against the assailant. However, if you later choose to press charges, the evidence will be available.
    • Report the sexual offense: You are strongly encouraged to immediately report the sexual offense to campus security or local law enforcement officials. The Seattle University Public Safety personnel are prepared to help you understand your options and their consequences, as well as to refer you to other campus and community resources for additional assistance.
    • Get professional counseling: A sexual offense is a serious personal violation which renders any of a variety of physical, emotional and psychological symptoms. A counselor will help you deal with these problems and any related issues. Information about counselors and support resources is available through Public Safety, Housing and Residence Life, the Wismer Center, the Counseling Center, the Office of Student Development, and Human Resources.
    • Changes to classroom or residence hall assignments: In some circumstances, victims of a sexual offense seek to change their classroom or residence hall assignments. Students wishing to discuss reasonably available options should contact the office of the Vice President for Student Development.

    Reporting Procedures

    On-campus A victim of a sexual offense on campus is strongly encouraged to notify the Crimes Against Persons Officer in the campus Public Safety Office (USB 102, 296-5990, 296-5911 for emergency). Once the sexual offense is reported, the Public Safety Office will notify appropriate University officials or third parties who are identified as having a need to know. The primary role of Public Safety in a sexual offense incident is to collect information in an unbiased manner and preserve all relevant evidence. Public Safety notification procedures may vary depending on certain factors such as whether the alleged assailant is a member of the University community, whether the incident took place on or off campus, and whether the victim wishes to remain anonymous. Generally, the Public Safety Office will report the incident to the campus Director of Public Safety. In addition, if the alleged assailant is a student, the Office of the Vice President for Student Development is notified; if the alleged assailant is a faculty member, the Office of the Provost is notified; if the alleged assailant is a staff member, the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources is notified.

    Anonymous Report If a victim of a sexual offense wishes to remain anonymous, the Public Safety Office will take a "third person" report. This report allows a person to provide a detailed report about the offense without the obligation of pursuing an investigation and/or pressing charges. The University cannot fully investigate or initiate disciplinary action against the alleged offender based on a third person report. However, reporting is still encouraged as it may provide important information for protecting the community-at-large.

    Off Campus When a sexual offense occurs off campus, the investigative authority of Seattle University Public Safety is limited. However, Public Safety does work in close cooperation with the Seattle Police Department in investigating the complaint. The same reporting and notification procedures as for an on campus incident will occur. If the assailant is a Seattle University student, faculty, or staff member, the University may, at its discretion, suspend disciplinary action or related proceedings until the SPD investigation and/or court action is complete.