Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


More information coming soon - updating spring 2024

General Information

If you are unsure about a situation, we encourage you to seek out information from any of the resources available. The CARE Center (confidential) is a great place to start, but you should also feel free to contact the Title IX Coordinator (private). Both of these resources will work with you to understand the situation and help you find support and resolution options.

Short answer - no. Restricting any student's continued access to the benefits or activities of the College because of an allegation may be it's own form of discrimination. All decisions for temporary or permanent exclusion or restriction for a student either need to come from a finding through a formal grievance process, or other official College administrative decision. 

Student organizations/clubs/teams/programs should not investigate or adjudicate alleged sexual misconduct in place of established Saint Mary's College processes. Leaders and members of organizations with concerns about sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to contact the Title IX Support and Compliance Office for guidance and resources to help the membership of your group. The Title IX Coordinator is happy to meet with leaders, members, and groups to discuss navigating these difficult situations, without sharing any individual student or case information.


1) Directly to the Title IX Coordinator:

Jess Varga (she/her)
Direct Phone: (925) 631-4055
Direct Email:
Mailing Address: 1928 St Mary's Rd, Ferroggiaro 200B, Moraga, CA 94575
Campus Office Location: Ferroggiaro, 2nd Floor, 200B

2) Campus Safety - available 24/7/365

Phone: (925) 631-4282
Campus Office Location: Assumption Hall

3) A Mandatory Reporter: any SMC employee (except those designated as confidential), including Deputy Title IX Coordinators, Faculty, Coaches, RAs, Resident Directors, and Staff - any disclosures made to these persons will share known information with the Title IX Coordinator.

You can report an incident or concern at any time.

Please know that the College's jurisdiction to use a resolution process exists only as long as the person alleged of misconduct is a current student or is currently employed, in addition to other criteria. However, supportive measures and referrals to resources can happen regardless of when and where the incident occurred or with whom the incident involves.

No. We only want you to pursue an investigation if that is something you want. If you simply want to provide us with information to have on file or seek information on resources, you can give us as much or as little information as you want and choose to pursue an investigation at a later point, or never (see time limit to reporting above).

There are limited reasons when the College may need to pursue an investigation and the Title IX Coordinator will sign a Formal Complaint, however, the Complainant will be invited to participate every stage of the process and can choose what their participation is at every stage.

A staff member will follow up with you via email to schedule an informational meeting. This meeting can serve to review your options about filing a Formal Complaint, resources, supportive measures, and to answer your questions. Many resources and supportive measures may be available to your situation and we will go over what options there are that may require needing to know further details of the incident and/or the name of the Respondent(s).

No, if you are reporting the situation for the purpose of accessing resources, to learn about your options, or for statistical crime and campus reporting purposes.

Yes, if you want to pursue a Resolution Process or implement certain Supportive Measures - such as an informal resolution or initiate the formal grievance process (investigation and hearing). This will be the only pathway for possible disciplinary action to be taken against a Respondent. To implement some supportive measures the name of the Respondent may be necessary as well, such as enacting no contact directives.

If you file a Formal Complaint and identify the Respondent, or you wish to use a supportive measure that requires the Respondent to be involved to implement that measure (e.g., enacting a No Contact Directive, or making classroom seating arrangements), the Respondent will be informed of your identity.

Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the Respondent has the right to know the identity of the Complainant. Our process allows for both the investigation and hearing (if applicable) to be conducted in a manner so that the Complainant and Respondent do not come into physical contact with each other or speak directly to one another.

A Formal Complaint is a written document filed by a Complainant (or by the Title IX Coordinator) alleging sexual harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegations of sexual harassment (which includes: sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking). When a Formal Complaint is submitted, Informal Resolution and/or the Formal Grievance Process options become available (when applicable based on what is  alleged). 

This differs from a report in that a report may be submitted at any time that includes varying amounts of information about a concern, incident, something someone has heard or observed, or experienced that you want the College to have on record. It is also something that a Mandatory Reporter submits when they become aware of any sex or gender discrimination or harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation occurring or having occurred.

It is possible that the persons involved in a report wish to only receive resources and supportive measures, but not pursue an investigation or disciplinary process. It is possible the behavior reported does not meet the threshold to be a possible policy violation, but is helpful to understand context, climate, culture, and may generate community-wide or individualized educational responses. Someone can submit a report and receive information about the option to file a Formal Complaint.

A Formal Complaint is not required in order to anyone to receive information on resources and options available from the Title IX Support and Compliance Office.

We understand that choosing to report to the College is a very personal decision and everyone's pathway and timeline to doing so may look different. If you would like to discuss what reporting looks like and entails without actually reporting, please consider speaking with any of the confidential resources available both on- and off-campus. Information on these resources may be found on our Resources webpage.

Yes! Although the conduct might not fall under the jurisdiction of Title IX-related sexual harassment if the behavior occurred outside of the United States, it still might fall within the jurisdiction of the College under a different policy. In addition, the College may need to take action to investigate whether corrective actions are needed regarding our affiliation with that program or organization and that location. 

The Title IX Coordinator, and other applicable campus offices, may be able to coordinate supportive measures for you while still traveling with local resources in the country you are in (e.g., medical support, law enforcement reporting, or more).

False reporting or alleging of misconduct that is intentionally and knowingly submitted as false is a serious offense. These situations will be referred to the appropriate offices, Office of Community Life for students and Human Resources for employees, for their conduct processes to follow up. Disciplinary actions for intentionally and knowingly filing a false report/allegation may result in sanctions ranging from warning up to and including expulsion or termination.

Reports made in good faith that may later be determined to not violate a policy, or have evidence to show a violation of policy, are not considered to have been filed falsely and are not subject to such disciplinary action.

Yes, it is possible for someone to report anonymously. If someone reports via online or in some manner which did not identify them to the Title IX Coordinator, or other reporting avenue, the Title IX Support and Compliance Office will review the report to determine if there is any response that can be made in light of not having the identity of the reporting or involved person(s). 

The College will be limited in its response to anonymous reports. Many times the only available actions are using the information for assistance in educational and/or awareness materials. 

If you wish to get information anonymously, please consider texting or calling the CARE Line at (925) 878-9207 24/7 during the academic year. If you do not share identifying information with them, they can answer questions and provide you with information on resources and reporting options.

No. These are two different processes. The College can assist any student or employee with contacting local law enforcement where the incident took place to file a report. Anyone can also, on their own, without informing the College, file a report with law enforcement. 

Some people choose to make a report to both the school and police. Some choose to do one but not the other. This is a personal decision and while we encourage anyone who is the victim of a crime to report it to law enforcement, the College will support a person's decision whether or not to report to law enforcement and/or pursue any criminal legal action. 

You do not need to report to law enforcement in order to get support from the College or pursue the College's resolution processes. In the event tandem processes are occurring, it is possible the College process will pause or delay their proceedings if requested by law enforcement or by court order.

Privacy and Information Sharing

The privacy of all parties and the details of a report/complaint is maintained by the College, except insofar as it interferes with the College's ability to fully investigate the allegations of misconduct or implement supportive measures or remedies. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. 

In cases of indicating a pattern, predation, threat, use of weapons, or violence, the College will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. 

Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in a resolution process or any procedures within policy is prohibited. Violations of privacy of the complainant or respondent may lead to separate conduction action by the College.

In all complaints of sex or gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome of any resolution process pursued. In some instances, the administration may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action(s) taken, without using the name(s) or identifiable information of the complainant. Certain College officials are informed of the outcome of a resolution process within the bounds of student privacy. This includes, but is not limited to, the President of the College, Executive Vice President and Provost, Vice President for Student Life and/or Dean of Students, and Director of Campus Safety.

Whether you are the complainant, respondent, or a witness, the College's primary relationship is to the student and not to a parent. The Title IX Support and Compliance Office will request a Release of Information from any student who wishes to have information shared with a parent or advisor, and if contacted by a person claiming to be a parent or advisor of a student, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the student to confirm this and request the Release of Information prior to even communicating back with the person.

However, in the event of a major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. And if a student is under the age of 21, the College has a Parental Notification Policy to enhance campus safety, student health and wellness, and academic success. In accordance with the Higher Education Amendments of 1998, the College is permitted to disclose to the parents/guardians of a student who is under age 21 if a true health or safety emergency exists, in order to protect the students or others. When possible, efforts to inform the students this notification will be taking place will be made.

The College encourages all persons involved in a Title IX-related, or other misconduct case, to make informed decisions about to whom and how they share information. The College does not implement "gag" orders or restrict anyone's ability to speak about their personal experiences; however, we do remind all persons involved in administrative proceedings about the importance of privacy for parties involved in order to maintain the integrity of the process (and there may be policies restricting sharing of materials, such as investigation reports, with persons other than those outlined in the policy).

Some things to consider when sharing information:

  • Who am I sharing this with and why?
  • Are there unintended consequences to me if I share this information (e.g., someone else shares it without my permission, someone I don't want to know finds out, someone posts about it online without my knowledge or consent)?
  • Would sharing this information challenge my information/evidence/credibility if I am involved in an investigation process?
  • Are there social implications to my sharing that may impact who I consider my support system and friends?
  • Could sharing information about another person's educational record and/or information be considered retaliation or a violation of a College policy?

At any time if someone involved in a process with the Title IX Support and Compliance Office would like to discuss these considerations, please contact the Title IX Coordinator. The College does not involve itself in personal civil matters between affiliates of the College except to comply with court order(s) or subpoena(s). 

Supportive Measures

We encourage students to report as little or as much information as they feel comfortable providing in order to get information on the help available. We may ask questions related to your safety, medical needs, or concerns, but you always get to decide how much information you provide. We will also inform you if more information is needed in order to access a certain type of supportive measure.

The Title IX Support and Compliance Office can provide several supportive measures for both a complainant and a respondent including, but not limited to, the following:

  • assistance with academic supports, such as sending faculty notifications for Title IX-related absences
  • assistance with course assignment deadlines, alternative quiz or test dates, or other course-related success options
  • referral to medical and mental health care on- or off-campus
  • assistance with on-campus housing relocations or changes
  • connection to off-campus supports, such as Community Violence Solutions (Contra Costa's sexual assault resource center)
  • assistance with filing a Formal Complaint with the College
  • assistance with reporting to law enforcement
  • safety and transportation planning
  • enacting a No Contact Directive
  • assistance with work shift rescheduling or work assignment changes

Yes! You can make a report to the Title IX Support and Compliance Office and request supportive measures even if the respondent is not affiliate with Saint Mary's College. You can also get support from The CARE Center and Director of The CARE Center if you'd like to receive confidential support (not reported to the College).

If a respondent is not affiliated with the College, the College is limited on what actions can be taken against the respondent. A Formal Complaint can only be initiated if the respondent is affiliated with the College, either as a student or employee. If a respondent is not affiliated with the College, the complainant would still have the option to report to law enforcement within the jurisdiction where the conduct occurred. If an incident occurred on campus, Moraga Police Department, which the assistance of SMC Campus Safety has jurisdiction.

Remember though, you do not need to report to law enforcement in order to receive supportive measures. The Title IX Support and Compliance Office can provide you with information on the supportive measure options available anytime.

Yes! Even if the incident took place in another semester, in a different academic year, or at an off-campus location, you can still provide information to the Title IX Coordinator and request supportive measures. 

If the incident occurred in another semester or year, you can also file a Formal Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator, as long as the respondent is still affiliated with the College either as a student or an employee.

We do encourage reporting as soon as possible, because it is often the case that the earlier an incident is reported, the more effectively it can be investigated.

If the respondent is no longer affiliated with the College, the College is not able to investigate a report of misconduct. However, supportive measures can still be requested and implemented.


A No Contact Directive (NCD) is a written directive issued by Saint Mary's College. The purpose of the NCD is to stop all communication between two or more parties, with the goal of helping those involved move forward from a situation in a successful way. NCDs are often issued as a mutual directive when one party wishes to have no further communication with another party, or when the College determines that two or more people need to have no further communication due to alleged misconduct or other safety concerns. A NCD is not a finding of responsibility, and it does not mean either party is "in trouble." If one party reports a violation of the NCD, the Office of Community Life (student conduct) will investigate the report and proceed with their process for failure to comply. A NCD is an administrative resource, is typically not shared outside of the College, and with mutual agreement from the parties and the College may be removed after a period of time.

A Restraining Order (RO) is a legal order given by the court system when there has been a determination of some type of safety risk posed by one person against another person (e.g., when one party has been arrested in a domestic violence situation). The College cannot issues an RO, it must be sought through the Contra Costa court system. A RO has criminal legal consequences if violated.

If a student or employee has a Restraining Order against another person, the Title IX Support and Compliance Office encourages the complainant to notify our office and Department of Campus Safety. Information on Restraining Order from the court may be found on the Contra Costa County Superior Court webpage.

Formal Complaints and Resolution Processes

The Title IX Coordinator will review the complaint to ensure the appropriate processes are applied. The Title IX Coordinator will discuss the resolution options with the Complainant: informal and formal processes. If a formal grievance process is desired, a Notice of Investigation and Allegations letter will be sent to both the Complainant and Respondent (known collectively as "the parties"). The Respondent will be invited to attend a pre-investigation meeting to discuss the same information about the process that was already provided to the Complainant. After the notice is sent, the next step is our Title IX Investigator will reach out to schedule an interview and begin gathering information/evidence. 

You may bring an Advisor of your choice to any and all meetings in this process, including meetings with the Title IX Coordinator and interviews with the Investigator.

We hope you have taken the opportunity to meet with us before submitting a signed Formal Complaint so you are fully aware of the process and your options. When you are ready, you can submit a Formal Complaint by submitting a signed document to the Title IX Coordinator either electronically via email to or in person to Ferroggiaro room 200B (2nd floor). 

A Formal Complaint should include enough details of the situation which indicates the alleged behaviors and misconduct, including date, time, location of the incident(s). It should also include the name of the person alleged of the misconduct. To assist with writing this, use the who, what, when, where, and how method to cover the areas which are helpful to know  when reviewing the complaint. If further information is needed, the Title IX Coordinator will contact you and assist with completing the complaint document.