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No Contact Directives

The university may issue a No Contact Directive when there is reasonable concern that such contact may:  

  • Cause disruption of or interference with university services and/or administrative functions or an environment conducive to learning,  

  • Create a hostile or unwelcoming environment, and/or  

  • Cause reasonable fear of physical harm.  

What does a No Contact Directive do?   

A No Contact Directive prohibits one student from having contact with one or more other parties. “Contact” may include, but is not limited to e-mail, text messages, letters, phone calls, face-to-face meetings, remaining in the close physical presence of the other person, and written/oral communication of any kind. Social media postings that cause a notification to be sent specifically to the other person, such as posting on their social media, or engaging in any other social media or social networking communication, including dating apps, with this person is considered contact. Furthermore, contact includes encouraging other people to contact the other person on one’s behalf or in relation to the underlying situation. This may include behaviors or communications that would indirectly incite, or reasonably cause, a person to contact the other person, such as “tagging” the other person on social media (e.g., Instagram, TikTok, and/or Snapchat). This does not include participating in required class posts or other assignments on Canvas. Generally, participating in a student conduct process, permitted that the participation aligns with university policy, does not constitute prohibited contact.  

Are No Contact Directives mutually enforced?  

In general, No Contact Directives are mutually enforced. A mutual directive, meaning that it applies equally to each party, may be issued upon request or when the university determines a No Contact Directive is necessary. 

In some situations, a Single Party Directive may be appropriate. This means the No Contact Directive applies to only one student. This type of directive may only be issued following an individualized risk assessment or as part of an Action Plan or resolution agreement that is imposed at the conclusion of the conduct process. 

What is not prohibited under a No Contact Directive?   

A No Contact Directive, by itself, does not prohibit presence in the same academic space, such as being in the same class, residence building, student organization, athletic team, or University event or function. A No Contact Directive also does not prohibit incidental contact, which may include unintentionally passing or seeing the other party. While on campus, it may be difficult to avoid all contact with the other student (e.g., walking in the same vicinity, eating at a dining facility, accessing student resources, etc.). You are expected to make realistic attempts to avoid situations that would be reasonably likely to lead to inadvertent contact. If one or more of the students is carrying out a professional or academic responsibility and incidental contact occurs, it will likely not be considered a violation of the NCD.  

A No Contact Directive aims to prohibit direct contact. Therefore, a No Contact Directive does not prohibit either party from filing a good faith report, complaint, lawsuit, or grievance with the University, police, or government agency.   

How do I request a No Contact Directive?   

A request for a No Contact Directive can be made to the Senior Director, Student Accountability & Conflict Response, or the Director, Sexual Misconduct Reporting & Response, and should include supporting documentation and other information relevant to their request. All No Contact Directive requests must be made in good faith. The facts surrounding a request for a No Contact Directive will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  

The University will not issue a No Contact Directive when there is a reasonable belief that the directive has been requested for the purpose of discrimination or harassment and may refer allegations of discrimination or harassment for further review.  

How long does a No Contact Directive stay in place?   

Mutual Directives will remain in effect until the graduation or withdrawal of at least one of the parties, unless the Directive expressly provides otherwise, or is modified or rescinded by the University. A student seeking the modification or rescission of a Mutual Directive shall make such a request to the Senior Director or Director. That Senior Director or Director may consult with both parties before determining whether to modify or rescind the No Contact Directive.  

Single Party Directives applied as an interim action stay in place pending the outcome of the formal student conduct process. Single Party Directives applied as a part of an Action Plan or resolution agreement stay in place as long as indicated in the outcome letter of that case. Students may contest Single Party Directives through applicable appeal or review processes.  

What happens if a student violates the No Contact Directive?   

Alleged violations of a No Contact Directive should be reported as soon as practicable to the office that issued the directive. Violations of No Contact Directives may be subject to student conduct action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct (Code) and other relevant university policies. Student conduct action taken is private and the reporting party may not be informed regarding the specific outcomes of a conduct process.  

Although the police do not enforce No Contact Directives, you should contact your local police department, including University Police, if you fear for your or another’s safety.  

Can the University issue a No Contact Directive between a student and a non-affiliated person? 

The university may issue a Single Party Directive to a student which prohibits contact with another person who is not affiliated with the University (i.e., not another student or an employee), when the university believes that doing so will prevent further contact that would result in a violation of the Code. 

Can the University issue a No Contact Directive between a student and an employee?  

The university may apply a Single Party Directive, to a student, which prevents that student from contacting an employee through the Interim Action process, as outlined in the Code of Conduct, or through an Action Plan or resolution agreement imposed at the conclusion of the student conduct process.  

Neither the Senior Director nor the Director has the authority to limit an employee’s contact with a student, though there are options to address concerns involving Penn State faculty or staff member by involving Human Resources, Affirmative Action, and/or the Title IX Coordinator. A No Contact Directive which limits an employee’s contact with a student may be coordinated and issued by involving one or more of those offices.