Concerns Involving a Power Differential or an Abuse of Power

Georgetown University is committed to providing a safe and hospitable environment for all community members and in all of our programs and activities. Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, subverts the University’s mission and impacts the educational experience, careers, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. Sexual or romantic relationships between members of the University community in unequal positions of power or authority undermine this commitment. The University recognizes that sexual violence, including sexual abuse, by University employees is inconsistent with Georgetown’s values.  Some examples of a relationship that may involve a power differential could include those with the University’s President or Executive Vice Presidents; Clergy; Supervisors and Managers; and Athletic Coaches.

Below you can find more information on Background and University Policies, Relationships Involving a Power Differential, Reporting and Resources, and Complaint Processes.

Background and University Policies

Georgetown University has established policies to ensure that University programs and academic and work environments are protected, particularly where the individuals involved are in unequal positions of power or authority. One of these policies, the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, prohibits sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment. This Policy applies to all members of our community, regardless of their sex, gender, or status or title within the University.

Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, may involve situations where different levels of power and privilege impact the dynamic between the parties, particularly in terms of consent.

As the Policy outlines, when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made a term or condition of an employment or academic relationship, is made a condition of an employment or academic decision, or substantially interferes with an individual’s work or academic environment such that it becomes intimidating, hostile or offensive, the conduct may rise to the level of sexual harassment, particularly when one party has more control or power than the other. In these situations, a power differential between the parties may result in a heightened severity of conduct that was already unwelcome.

Relationships Involving a Power Differential or an Abuse of Power

Relationships with the individuals listed below may involve a power differential. It is important to note that the University’s policies cover all individuals listed, no matter their position, and all individuals are responsible for adhering to those policies. 

·   The President and Executive Vice Presidents of Georgetown University are in a particular position of power within the institution; they have substantial control over the University’s activities and have a significant level of authority over both students and employees.

·   Clergy (including Jesuits, Ministers, Priests, Rabbis, and Imams) have authority as they are in a particular position of trust, especially within the context of their relationships with students; individuals often go to Clergy members for guidance, trusted advice, religious counsel, and support.

·   Supervisors and Managers have direct authority over their employees and also have a responsibility to their office/department as a whole; they are responsible for fostering a safe and welcoming work environment for all employees.

·   Athletic Coaches are in a particular position of power and have a responsibility to foster a positive relationship between Athletics staff and student athletes, and are often seen as a mentor; they should treat athletes with respect, fairness, and integrity.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and power differentials may exist within other relationships within the University. 

Reporting and Resources

If an individual would like to make a report to the University about sexual misconduct, they should contact one of the University’s Title IX Coordinators at or can submit a report online at Upon receipt of a report, a survivor (if contact information is provided) will be contacted by a Title IX Coordinator who will offer resources, supportive measures, and discuss formal complaint options.

A survivor may choose to file a formal complaint with the University, with the police, with both entities, or choose not to file a complaint at all. If a survivor is unsure about whether they would like to submit a formal complaint, they are encouraged to contact a confidential counselor to discuss their options.

For complaints filed with the University against a University employee, including clergy, it is important to note that in all cases, investigations are handled by the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Actions (IDEAA), an impartial and independent office, or, where appropriate, external investigators, to ensure that no conflicts of interest exist between the parties and the investigator(s).

Support Coordinator

Beginning in February 2023, the University hired a Support Coordinator to provide additional support and resources for survivors of clergy abuse, with the goal of assisting individuals in their healing process. The Support Coordinator provides services including intake, triage, consultation, referrals, and general coordination of care for individuals – including Georgetown University alumni and former employees — who report that they experienced sex abuse by clergy affiliated with Georgetown at the time of the abuse.

The Support Coordinator is a neutral and private resource, who will listen to the survivor to understand their requests and needs and serves as a liaison between survivors and the University. 

The Support Coordinator has extensive experience working with survivors, including survivors of clergy sex abuse. 

If you would like to connect with the Support Coordinator, Mike Riley, you may contact him at

Complaint Processes

For allegations or concerns involving members of the community with unequal levels of power, reports or complaints of sexual misconduct should be made to a Title IX Coordinator.  Some examples of relationships involving power and privilege include allegations against the University’s President or Executive Vice Presidents; Clergy; Supervisors and Managers; and Athletic Coaches.

Upon receipt of a report or complaint, the survivor will be contacted by a Title IX Coordinator who will offer resources (including referrals to confidential counseling services), supportive measures, and discuss formal complaint options and processes.

If an individual chooses to file a formal complaint, IDEAA’s grievance procedures will apply. This process includes an independent and impartial investigator who conducts interviews with each party, interviews witnesses, collects relevant evidence, and compiles an investigative report. If an individual is found to have violated the University’s policies, sanctions will be imposed.

Additional Questions or Concerns

If you have any additional questions or concerns, you may contact a Title IX Coordinator at