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Administrative Policies

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Sexual Harassment & Sexual Violence Policy

Approved by Executive Council 8/2/2011
Reapproved by Executive Council 4/8/2014
Reapproved by Executive Council 8/12/2014
Reapproved by Executive Council 4/7/2015
Reapproved by Executive Council 8/11/2015

1.0 Purpose

The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh (“SUNY Plattsburgh” or “the College”) is an educational community bound by common standards of conduct and a commitment to ensuring a safe and supportive learning and working environment for all students, faculty, and staff. This policy establishes procedures for responding to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including procedures to assist students/employees, hold perpetrators accountable, and reduce the incidence of sexual violence and harassment.

2.0 Revision History

Originally written on March 2, 2007
Revised July 2011
Revised March 2014
Revised February 2015
Revised August 2015

3.0 Persons Affected

All college students and all college employees, as well as contractors/vendors and visitors to the campus.

4.0 Policy

It is the policy of SUNY Plattsburgh that sexual harassment and sexual violence will not be tolerated.

It is the policy of the College to support and assist reporting individuals in attaining the services they may need and/or to assist them in reporting the incident to appropriate College offices and/or police agencies. Assisting reporting individuals includes providing them with information about medical, legal, and counseling services available so reporting individuals can make informed decisions and avail themselves of all the services and rights to which they are entitled.

When sexual violence is reported, a coordinated response is initiated, as detailed below. Unless the reporting individual is in immediate danger, all steps taken should be discussed with the reporting individual and initiated with the person's consent.

Policy for Alcohol and/or Drug Use Amnesty in Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Cases

The health and safety of every student at the State University of New York and its State-operated and community colleges is of utmost importance.  SUNY Plattsburgh recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. SUNY Plattsburgh strongly encourages students to report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or  sexual assault to institution officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to SUNY Plattsburgh officials or law enforcement will not be subject to SUNY Plattsburgh Code of Conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.  

It is the policy of the College to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions, through campus judicial or personnel procedures if appropriate, and by working with community agencies and law enforcement as appropriate.

SUNY Plattsburgh will not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding to begin its own sex discrimination investigation, and if needed, will take immediate steps to protect a reporting individual in the education setting (e.g., classroom section change if available, etc.).

All reports of sexual violence will be reported as required by the Clery Act.

Portions of this policy may parallel state or federal laws, but are in no way intended to substitute or supplant those laws. As members of the SUNY Plattsburgh community, students and employees of the College are expected to comply with and abide by SUNY Plattsburgh’s policies and procedures, in addition to federal, state, and local laws whether off campus or on-campus.

The College will conduct a thorough campus climate assessment every two years, in conjunction with SUNY Administration.   The campus will conduct regular, on-going educational sessions with students, faculty, and staff, including “onboarding” education with new students.

The policy will be reviewed annually by the Title IX Coordinator, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Chief of University Police, and the Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Services.

5.0  Definitions

Definitions are taken from New York State Penal Law, SaVE Provisions of the US Violence Against Women Act, and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, as well as SUNY Policy.

Affirmative Consent: Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity.  Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent.  The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity.  Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
  • When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop. 

Sexual Harassment:  Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome, inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature and can include such acts as comments, gestures, or physical contact.  Sexual harassment can involve a quid pro quo in which an employee with authority demands sexual favors of a subordinate employee or a student with either a reward promised or punishment threatened.  Sexual harassment can involve the establishment of a hostile work or school environment, with the target/victim/survivor subjected to sexual jokes, pictures, touching, unwelcome requests for dates, and other conduct.  (See http://web.plattsburgh.edu/policies/affirmativeaction/sexualharassment/ for more detail).

Sexual Violence:  All acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.  Following the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the United States Department of Education, sexual violence in this policy refers to a physical sexual act perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim/survivor’s use of drugs or alcohol (see definition of consent above). An individual also may be unable to give consent due to intellectual or other disability.

Types of sexual violence include sexual offenses and sexual exploitation:

Sexual Offenses include any sexual acts directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.  

New York State Penal Law sex offenses include:

1.    Domestic Violence: An act which would constitute a violation of the penal law, including but not limited to acts constituting disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse, stalking, criminal mischief, menacing, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, assault, attempted murder, criminal obstruction or breaching of blood circulation, or strangulation; and such acts have created a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to a person or person's child. Such acts are alleged to have been committed by a family member. The victim can be anyone over the age of sixteen, any married person or any parent accompanied by his or her minor child or children in situations in which such persons or such person's child is a victim of the act.

2.    Dating Violence: New York State does not specifically define "dating violence".  However, under New York Law, intimate relationships are covered by the definition of domestic violence when the act constitutes a crime listed elsewhere in this document and is committed by a person in an "intimate relationship" with the victim.   

3.    Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

4.    Sodomy (“Criminal Sexual Act” in the NYS Penal Law): Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will, or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the person's youth or because of the person's temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

5.    Sexual Assault with an Object (“Aggravated Sexual Abuse” in the NYS Penal Law): The use of an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against the person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the person's youth or because of the person's temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.  An object or instrument is anything used by the offender other than the offender’s genitalia.

6.    Fondling (“Forcible Touching” in the NYS Penal Law): The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of the person's age or because of the person's temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

7.    Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

8.    Statutory Rape: Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.  The age in NYS is 17.

9.    Sexual Assault: New York State does not specifically define sexual assault. However, according to the Federal Regulations, sexual assault includes offenses that meet the definitions of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI's UCR program.

10.  Sexual exploitation: Nonconsensual, abusive sexual behavior that does not otherwise constitute sexual assault. Many instances of sexual exploitation are serious enough to be treated as equivalent to sexual assault at SUNY Plattsburgh.  Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • tampering with or removal of condoms or other methods of birth control and STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) prevention prior to or during sexual contact in a manner that significantly increases the likelihood of pregnancy or STI contraction by the non-consenting party;
  • nonconsensual video or audio taping of sexual activity;
  • allowing others to watch consensual or nonconsensual sexual activity without the consent of a sexual partner
  • peeping tommery;
  • trafficking people to be sold for sex; and
  • inducing incapacitation with the intent to sexually assault another person.

11.  Stalking: A pattern of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment that is intended to cause or does cause a reasonable person (or others important to that person) to fear or suffer: death; assault; bodily injury; sexual assault; involuntary restraint; damage to property; confinement. The individual knows or should know that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to physical health, safety, or personal property of such person, a member of such person's family, or a third party with whom the person is acquainted. Stalking can involve a range of behaviors including, but not limited to: following someone on foot or in a car; showing up at a victim/survivor's place of work; repeatedly calling; sending flowers and gifts; contact through e-mails or letters; breaking into the victim/survivor's home or car; homicide

6.0 Sexual Violence Students' Rights
In accordance with the Students' Bill of Rights, reporting individuals shall have the right to pursue more than one of the options below at the same time, or to choose not to participate in any of the options below (reporting, protection and accommodation, and the student conduct process):  

  • Reporting:  Reporting individuals shall have the right:
    • To report confidentially the incident to one of the following college officials, who by law may maintain confidentiality, and can assist in obtaining services (more information on confidential report is here):
      • Anonymously via an internet or telephone anonymous reporting system, Silent Witness.  [PLEASE NOTE: this site is not monitored 24 hours a day or 7 days a week.  If you are requesting immediate attention, please call 911 or University Police at (518) 564-2022]
      • Student Health and Counseling Center
      • Advocate
    • To report to off-campus confidential or anonymous sources.  See options for reporting here. (On-line list updated regularly.)
    • To disclose the incident to one of the following college officials who can offer privacy and can provide information about remedies, accommodations, evidence preservation, and how to obtain resources. Those officials will also provide the information contained in the Students’ Bill of Rights, including the right to choose when and where to report, to be protected by the institution from retaliation, and to receive assistance and resources from the institution.  These college officials will disclose that they are private and not confidential resources, and they may still be required by law and college policy to inform one or more college officials about the incident, including but not limited to the Title IX Coordinator. They will notify reporting individuals that the criminal justice process uses different standards of proof and evidence than internal procedures, and questions about the penal law or the criminal process should be directed to law enforcement or district attorney:
      • Title IX Coordinator
        • Kehoe 608
        • (518) 564-3281
        • bblai001@plattsburgh.edu
      • Resident Assistants
      • Coaches
      • Professors
      • Staff
    • To file a criminal complaint with University Police and/or with local law enforcement:
      • On campus:  University Police
        • Phone:  (518) 564-2022 or 911
      • Off campus:  Plattsburgh City Police
        • Phone:  (518) 563-3411
    • In an emergency or if the person is in danger, call 911
    • To file a report of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking, and/or talk to the Title IX Coordinator for information and assistance. Reports will be investigated in accordance with College policy.  (More information here.)
    • If a reporting individual wishes to keep personal identity private, that person may call and request privacy;
      • Title IX Coordinator
        • (518) 564-3281
    • To file a report and request an investigation:
      • Title IX Coordinator
        • Kehoe 608
        • (518) 564-3281
      • Student Conduct Office:
        • 602 Kehoe Administration Building
        • (518) 564-3282
    • To report to Human Resource Services (HRS) when the accused is an employee, a reporting individual may request that one of the above referenced confidential or private employees assist in reporting to Human Resource Services.  Disciplinary proceedings will be conducted in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements. When the accused is an employee of an affiliated entity or vendor of the college, college officials will, at the request of the reporting individual, assist in reporting to the appropriate office of the vendor or affiliated entity and, if the response of the vendor or affiliated entity is not sufficient, assist in obtaining a persona non grata letter via University Police, subject to legal requirements and college policy.
      • Human Resource Services
        • Kehoe 912
        • (518) 564-5062
      •  Affirmative Action Officer
        • Hawkins 151
        • (518) 564-3310
    • You may withdraw your complaint or involvement from the College process at any time.
  • Protection and Accommodations: Reporting individuals shall have the right:
    • When the accused is a student, to have the college issue a “No Contact Order,” consistent with college policy and procedure, meaning that continuing to contact the protected individual is a violation of college policy subject to additional conduct charges; if the accused and a protected person observe each other in a public place, it is the responsibility of the accused to leave the area immediately and without directly contacting the protected person.  Both the accused/respondent and reporting individual may request a prompt review of the need for and terms of a No Contact Order, consistent with SUNY Plattsburgh policy.  Parties may submit evidence in support of their request.
    • To have assistance from University Police or other college officials in initiating legal proceedings in family court or civil court, including but not limited to, obtaining an order of protection or, if outside of New York State, an equivalent protective or restraining order.
    • To receive a copy of the Order of Protection or equivalent and have an opportunity to meet or speak with a college official who can explain the order and answer questions about it, including information from the Order about the accused’s responsibility to stay away from the protected person(s); that burden does not rest on the protected person(s).
    • To an explanation of the consequences for violating these orders, including but not limited to arrest, additional conduct charges, and interim suspension.
    • To have assistance from [University Police/Campus Security] in effecting an arrest when an individual violates an Order of Protection or, if outside of New York State, an equivalent protective or restraining order within the jurisdiction of University Police or, if outside of the jurisdiction to call on and assist local law enforcement in effecting an arrest for violating such an order.
    • When the accused is a student and presents a continuing threat to the health and safety of the community, to have the accused subject to interim suspension pending the outcome of a conduct process. Parties may request a prompt review of the need for and terms of an interim suspension. 
    • When the accused is not a student but is a member of the college community and presents a continuing threat to the health and safety of the community, to subject the accused to interim measures in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements, employee handbooks, and SUNY Plattsburgh policies and rules.
    • When the accused is not a member of the college community, to have assistance from University Police or other college officials in obtaining a persona non grata letter, subject to legal requirements and college policy.
    • To obtain reasonable and available interim measures and accommodations that effect a change in academic, housing, employment, transportation, or other applicable arrangements in order to ensure safety, prevent retaliation, and avoid an ongoing hostile environment. Parties may request a prompt review of the need for and terms of any interim measures and accommodations that directly affect them. While reporting individuals may request accommodations through any of the offices referenced in this policy, the following office can serve as a point to assist with these measures:
      • Title IX Coordinator
        • Kehoe 608
        • (518) 564-3281
  • Student Conduct Process:  Reporting Individuals shall have the right:
    • To file student conduct charges against the accused. Conduct proceedings are governed by the procedures set forth in the College Student Conduct Manual (185KB .pdf) as well as federal and New York State law, including the due process provisions of the United States and New York State Constitutions.
    • Throughout conduct proceedings, the accused and the reporting individual will have:  
    • The same opportunity to have access to an advisor of their choice. Participation of the advisor in any proceeding is governed by federal law and the Student Conduct Manual;
    • The right to a prompt response to any complaint and to have their complaint investigated and adjudicated in an impartial and thorough manner by individuals who receive annual training in conducting investigations of sexual violence, the effects of trauma, and other issues related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
    • The right to an investigation and process conducted in a manner that recognizes the legal and policy requirements of due process and is not conducted by individuals with a conflict of interest.
    • The right to receive written or electronic notice of any meeting or hearing they are required to or are eligible to attend.
    • The right to have a conduct process run concurrently with a criminal justice investigation and proceeding, except for temporary delays as requested by external municipal entities while law enforcement gathers evidence. Temporary delays should not last more than 10 days except when law enforcement specifically requests and justifies a longer delay.
    • The right to review available evidence in the case file.
    • The right to a range of options for providing testimony via alternative arrangements, including telephone/videoconferencing or testifying with a room partition.
    • The right to exclude prior sexual history or past mental health history from admittance in college disciplinary stage that determines responsibility. Past sexual violence findings may be admissible in the disciplinary stage that determines sanction.
    • The right to ask questions of the decision maker and via the decision maker indirectly request responses from other parties and any other witnesses present.
    • The right to make an impact statement during the point of the proceeding where the decision maker is deliberating on appropriate sanctions.
    • The right to simultaneous (among the parties) written or electronic notification of the outcome of a conduct proceeding, including the sanction(s).
    • The right to know the sanction(s) that may be imposed on the accused based upon the outcome of the conduct proceeding and the reason for the actual sanction imposed. For students found responsible for sexual assault, the available sanctions are suspension with additional requirements and expulsion/dismissal.
    • The right to choose whether to disclose or discuss the outcome of a conduct hearing
    • Student Conduct Office
      • Location: 602 Kehoe Administration Building
      • Phone: (518) 564-3282
      • Fax: (518) 564-3284
      • Email: judicial@plattsburgh.edu

7.0  Responsibilities and Procedures

The Title IX Coordinator, the Student Conduct Office, the Office of Housing and Residence Life, the Student Health and Counseling Center, the Office of Human Resource Services, and employees and students will support and assist (with the reporting individual's consent) reporting individuals of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault, to report any incident to campus authorities, law enforcement agencies, and to contact the local sexual assault agency and/or the SUNY Plattsburgh Student Health and Counseling Center. In order to provide for the needs and care of reporting individuals, as well as to enforce behavior standards critical to our educational mission, it is important that all violations of this policy are reported to appropriate authorities, including the law enforcement officials or agencies with jurisdiction in the location of the incident and to the Vice President for Student Affairs.  (See flowchart in Appendix B below).
 
When a reporting individual of sexual violence is identified or comes forward, there are three possible processes that person can engage to seek remedy.  A reporting individual has the choice to be involved in one, two, or all three processes.

  • The three processes include:
    • a Title IX investigation,
    • the criminal justice process assisted by either University Police or local law enforcement, and/or
    • the campus judicial process.

In all known cases, the Title IX Coordinator is charged to ensure that whatever path the reporting individual takes, including not participating in any formal process, SUNY Plattsburgh is in compliance with Title IX.  Any and all procedures that the college offers, including judicial proceedings, must provide prompt and equitable resolution.

A Title IX investigation is different from any law enforcement investigation, and a law enforcement investigation does not relieve the college of its independent Title IX obligation to determine if there is a sexually hostile environment. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the college will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue investigation. The college may weigh the request for confidentiality against factors such as: the seriousness of the alleged incident; the complainant’s age; whether there have been other sexual harassment or violence complaints about the same individual; and the accused's rights to receive information about the allegation if the information is maintained by the school as an “education record” under FERPA.   (See further information in Appendix C:  Confidentiality.)
    
College Title IX investigations and/or disciplinary procedures will:

  • Proceed independently of any action taken in the criminal or civil courts, as determined on a case-by-case basis in compliance with Title IX regulations. College procedures are not a substitute for criminal court proceedings;
  • Absent extenuating circumstances, be completed within sixty days.
  • Proceed with appropriate attention to reporting individual's safety; and
  • Not require a reporting individual to mediate directly with the person accused, including couples counseling

College Employees (when informed of an incident of sexual violence) should:

  • Offer support for the reporting individual in non-judgmental ways, allowing the reporting individual to make personal decisions; (See Appendix A below)
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to explore that person's options with and/or to report the incident to the police, the Title IX Coordinator, and/or the Student Conduct Office;
  • See the flowchart link in Appendix B
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to contact the local sexual assault agency and/or the SUNY Plattsburgh Student Health and Counseling Center (at 564-2187)
  • College employees with supervisory responsibilities will ensure all policies and procedures are followed to provide the reporting individual choices in services and support;
  • Report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator (even if anonymously).

College Students

  • Are encouraged to be familiar with campus and community resources available to reporting individuals, and offer support and assistance as appropriate; (See "Resources" below).
  • Are encouraged to be familiar with the student code of conduct;
  • Are encouraged to report instances of sexual harassment or sexual violence to campus authorities:  the Title IX Coordinator, Res Life staff, University Police.

Title IX Coordinator will:

  • Respond to allegations of employee and student sexual harassment and sexual violence.  Such allegations can be made by reporting individuals or witnesses. Consistent with Title IX requirements, investigations will proceed independently from any criminal investigation;
  • See Complaint Procedure for Review of Allegations of Unlawful Discrimination/Harassment here.
  • Regardless of whether a reporting individual, a reporting party's parent, or a third party files a complaint under the college’s complaint procedures or otherwise requests action on the student’s behalf, promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation;
  • Take interim safety steps on behalf of the reporting individual, which may include a change of housing assignment, changing class schedules. Safety steps taken should minimize the burden on complainant;
  • Not require a reporting individual to mediate directly with person accused;
  • If the reporting individual is a student, ensure the reporting individual has academic support available and that it is offered, such as tutoring, re-taking a course or withdrawing from class without penalty;
  • Provide assistance to law enforcement regarding appropriate response and have access to campus law enforcement investigation records and findings for the Title IX investigation, so long as it does not compromise the criminal investigation;
  • Review all cases in the campus judicial system and/or criminal justice system at least annually to determine if some remedy available under Title IX was not available;
  • If the reporting individual presents to this office, complete the Victim’s Services Notice (see links in Appendix B) and distribute copies as indicated.  
  • Make referrals as indicated;
  • If the reporting individual has not reported the incident to UP, complete a confidential Clery Crime report form (see links in Appendix B) and forward it as directed.

Student Health and Counseling Center will:

  • Maintain the contact as strictly confidential;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, police and/or Student Conduct Office;
  • Provide appropriate medical services, counseling, and documentation;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to contact local victim/survivor services agencies.
  • Have Victim’s Safety Service Notices available;
  • If the reporting individual has not reported the incident to UP and the victim consents, complete a confidential Clery Crime report form (see links in Appendix B) and forward it as directed.

University Police will:

  • Investigate reports on the basis of either a statement of sexual assault from the reporting individual or a witness’s statement or complaint (i.e., residence hall staff, police, faculty, staff, parent, visitor, or another student);
  • Refer respondent for prosecution, personnel action, and/or judicial action as appropriate;
  • Assist the reporting individual in obtaining medical assistance, if needed;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to contact local victim/survivor services agencies;
  • If the reporting individual presents at UP, provide the Victim’s Safety Services Receipt and distribute copies as indicated;
  • Refer cases/complainants to the Title IX Coordinator if the reporting individual wants to file a complaint through that office, whether the accused is a student, employee, or a third party;
  • File crime and other reports as appropriate.

Vice President for Student Affairs Office will:

  • Receive reports of sexual violence and compile for review by Title IX Coordinator;
  • Collect confidential Clery Crime Incident Report forms and summarize to College officials and the University Police (UP) for the purposes of annual statistical crime reporting;
  • Ensure that educational sessions regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence reporting and prevention happen during New Student Orientation and in the Residence Halls. This education will inform students that sexual harassment and sexual violence are prohibited, and will include definitions, list options for bystander action, and describe warning signs;

Office of Housing and Residence Life Staff will:

  • If the reporting individual presents to this office, complete the Victim’s Services Notice and distribute copies as indicated;
  • Report all incidents to the Director of Housing and Residence Life, who will refer as appropriate. The Director of Housing and Residence Life is obligated to report as per the Clery Act, but the name of the reporting individual will only be provided with the reporting individual's consent, except in extenuating circumstances;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to contact the Student Health and Counseling Center and assist in obtaining medical care, if needed;
  • Contact the Counseling Center and ask them to reach out to the student;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to contact local victim/survivor services agencies;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator or police;
  • Report the incident to the Student Conduct Office, with consent of the reporting individual if the person accused is a student;
  • Place this policy in the manual for RAs and RDs and provide yearly training on the policy.

Student Conduct Office will:

  • Respond to allegations of student misconduct consistent with the Student Conduct Manual.  Such allegations can be made by reporting individuals or witnesses (e.g., residence hall staff, police, faculty, staff, parent, visitor, or another student). This procedure is independent of any criminal procedure. Proceedings shall provide for prompt, fair and impartial resolutions. The reporting and responding individuals are entitled to the same opportunities to have a support person of their choice at any proceeding or related meeting; (see list of rights above);
  • Not require a reporting individual to mediate directly with person accused;
  • Hold students who violate the College's Code of Conduct accountable utilizing the Student Code of Conduct and procedures therein. The standard for holding individuals accountable will be a “preponderance of the evidence”.  The reporting and responding individuals will be simultaneously informed in writing of the outcome of disciplinary proceedings;
  • If the reporting individual presents to this office, complete the Victim’s Services Notice and distribute copies as indicated;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to contact local victim/survivor services agencies;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator and police;
  • If the reporting individual has not reported the incident to UP, complete a confidential Clery Crime report form (see links in Appendix B)  and forward it as directed;
  • Ensure that the reporting individual, if desired, has a support person present at any interview or hearing, in a manner consistent with the governing student conduct procedures;
  • Organize training of judicial boards hearing cases involving sexual violence.

Human Resource Services will:

  • Respond to allegations of employee misconduct consistent with College policy. Such allegations can be made by reporting individuals or witnesses. This procedure is independent of any criminal procedure and will proceed independently in compliance with Title IX procedures;
  • Support and assist the reporting individual (with the reporting individual's consent) to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator and/or police. Human Resource Services may be obligated to report to the police the fact that an assault was reported, but the name of the reporting individual will only be provided with the reporting individual's consent, except in extenuating circumstances;
  • Not require a reporting individual to mediate directly with person accused;
  • If the responding individual is a student, report the incident to the Student Conduct Office;
  • If the reporting individual has not reported the incident to UP, complete a confidential Clery Crime report form (see links in Appendix B) and forward it as directed on the form;
  • Work with the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and initiate disciplinary procedures when warranted;
  • Pursue disciplinary charges against the accused employee in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements when sufficient information indicates that there are reasonable grounds to pursue disciplinary action, whether or not legal authorities pursue these charges and whether or not the employee is convicted of these charges;
  • If the reporting individual presents at this office, provide a Victim’s Services Notice and distribute copies as indicated on the form;
  • Disseminate, on an annual basis, information to College employees concerning this policy.
  • Ensure new employees receive sexual violence prevention education which informs them that sexual harassment and sexual violence are prohibited, and which includes definitions, lists options for bystander action, and describes warning signs.

8.0 Resources

  • On-Campus Services and Support
    • Title IX Coordinator (564-3281) (not confidential)
    • Affirmative Action Officer (564-3310) (not confidential)
    • University Police (564-2022) (not confidential)
    • Student Conduct Office (564-3282) (not confidential)
    • Office of Housing and Residence Life (564-3824) (not confidential)
    • Student Health and Counseling Center (564-2187) (confidential)
    • Human Resources Services (564-5062) (not confidential)
    • Sexual Assault Advocate (564-4848) (confidential)
  • Off Campus Services and Support (current as of January 2014)
    • Sexual Assault Services, Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York 1-877-212-2323
    • Plattsburgh City Police 563-3411
    • NY State Police 563-3761
    • Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital Emergency Center
  • Other resources listed and updated on line here

9.0 Retaliatory Harassment
An employee or student who participates in any of the sexual harassment or sexual violence reporting procedures has the right to do so without fear of or actual retaliation. It will be made clear to Respondent that retaliation against an employee or a student who has filed a complaint, or against any witness, will result in appropriate sanctions or disciplinary action as covered by College policies or applicable collective bargaining agreements. These sanctions will be invoked for retaliation regardless of the merits of the original complaint.

10.0  Prevention Efforts
SUNY Plattsburgh believes that sexual violence prevention training and education cannot be accomplished via a single day or a single method of training. To that end, the college will provide the opportunity for continuing education for all new and current students using a variety of best practices aimed at educating the entire college community in a way that decreases violence and maintaining a culture where sexual assault and acts of violence are not tolerated.

All new first-year and transfer students will, during the course of their onboarding to SUNY Plattsburgh, receive training on the following topics, using a method and manner appropriate to the college culture:

  • The institution prohibits sexual harassment, including sexual violence, other violence or threats of violence, and will offer resources to any reporting individuals of such violence while taking administrative and conduct action regarding any accused individual within the jurisdiction of the institution.
  • Relevant definitions including, but not limited to, the definitions of sexual violence and consent.
  • Policies apply equally to all students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
  • The role of the Title IX Coordinator, University Police, and other relevant offices that address sexual violence prevention and response.
  • Awareness of violence, its impact on reporting individuals and their friends and family, and its long-term impact.
  • The Students' Bill of Rights and Sexual Violence Response Policy, including:
    • How to report sexual violence and other crimes confidentially, and/or to college officials, campus law enforcement and security, and local law enforcement.
    • How to obtain services and support.
    • Bystander Intervention and the importance of taking action, when one can safely do so, to prevent violence.
    • The protections of the Policy for Alcohol and/or Drug Use Amnesty in Sexual Violence Cases.
    • Risk assessment and reduction including, but not limited to, steps that potential reporting individuals and potential assailants and bystanders to violence can take to lower the incidence of sexual violence.
    • Consequences and sanctions for individuals who commit these crimes.

The onboarding process is not limited to a single day of orientation, but recognizes that students enroll at different times.  SUNY Plattsburgh will conduct these trainings opportunities for all new students, whether first-year or transfer, undergraduate or graduate. SUNY Plattsburgh shall use multiple methods to educate students about sexual violence prevention. SUNY Plattsburgh will also share information on sexual violence prevention with parents of enrolling students. Students at SUNY Plattsburgh shall be given opportunities for general and specialized training in sexual violence prevention. We will conduct a campaign, compliant with the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), to educate the student population. Further, we will, as appropriate, provide or expand specific training to include groups such as international students, students that are also employees of the campus, leaders and officers of registered/recognized student organizations, online and distance education students, and we will provide specific training to members of groups identified as likely to engage in high-risk behavior.

Student leaders and officers of registered/recognized student organizations, and those seeking recognition, must complete training on sexual violence prevention as part of the approval process.   Student-athletes must complete training prior to participating in intercollegiate athletics.

The Title IX Coordinator or designee will conduct periodic assessments to: 1) ensure practices and behavior of students and employees do not violate policies, 2) ensure employees with knowledge of a sexual assault carried out response duties, and 3) work with student leaders on a “climate check” to assess effectiveness of efforts.

Law enforcement employees, Title IX Coordinator, and all persons involved in implementing grievance procedures (investigators and adjudicator) must receive training on what constitutes sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and the Title IX grievance procedure. Training must include applicable confidentiality requirements.

APPENDIX A:  Working with Reporting Individuals
If a reporting individual talks to you or seeks your help, you should ensure the reporting individual's safety. First responders are expected to follow general guidelines for creating a comfortable environment:

  • Support the reporting individual without passing judgment;
  • Let the reporting individual make choices related to self;
  • Communicate, “I’m glad you’re okay,” “It’s not your fault,” and “I’m sorry that this happened,”;
  • Don’t physically comfort the reporting individual's without their permission;
  • Review the Victim/survivor Services Notice (See Appendix B below);
  • Act in a manner that is supportive and non-judgmental; Discuss your reporting obligations and confidentiality issues with the reporting individual.

In all cases, first responders will inform the VP for Student Affairs or the appointed designee of the date, time and location of the incident on a Clery Crime Incident Report Form.  This report to the VP Student Affairs can be done without naming the reporting individual.  See report form in Appendix B.

APPENDIX B:  Links to forms

Response to Sexual Violence Flowchart
Clery Crime Incident Report Form (82KB .pdf)
Victim’s Services Notice (242KB .pdf)

APPENDIX C:  Confidentiality
SUNY Plattsburgh wants you to get the information and support you need regardless of whether you would like to move forward with a report of sexual violence to campus officials or to police. You may want to talk with someone about something you observed or experienced, even if you are not sure that the behavior constitutes sexual violence. A conversation where questions can be answered is far superior to keeping something to yourself. Confidentiality varies, and this appendix is aimed at helping you understand how confidentiality applies to different resources that may be available to you.

  • Privileged and Confidential Resources:
    • Individuals who are confidential resources will not report crimes to law enforcement or college officials without your permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency. At SUNY Plattsburgh, these include:
      • Student Health and Counseling Center
        • Phone:  (518) 564-3086
          Web site
        • Student Victim advocate
          Phone:  (518) 564-4848
          Web site
    • Off-campus options to disclose sexual violence confidentially include (note that these outside options do not provide any information to the campus):
      • Off-campus counselors and advocates. Crisis services offices will generally maintain confidentiality unless you request disclosure and sign a consent or waiver form. More information on an agency’s policies on confidentiality may be obtained directly from the agency.
        • Sexual Assault Services (Planned Parenthood of the North Country New York)
          • Talk to an advocate 24/7
          • Phone: (877) 212-2323
            Web site
        • STOP Domestic Violence
          • Talk to an advocate 24/7
          • Phone:  (888) 563-6904
          • Email:  stopdv@bhsn.org
          • Web site
      • For general information in New York State:
      • Off Campus health care providers include:

Note that medical office and insurance billing practices may reveal information to the insurance policyholder, including medication and/or examinations paid for or administered.

The New York State Office of Victim Services may be able to assist in compensating victims/survivors for health care and counseling services, including emergency compensation. More information may be found here and options are explained here.

Note that even individuals who can typically maintain confidentiality are subject to exceptions under the law, including when an individual is a threat to him or herself or others and the mandatory reporting of child abuse.

Privacy versus Confidentiality:
Even SUNY Plattsburgh offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary to investigate and/or seek a resolution and to notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee, who is responsible under the law for tracking patterns and spotting systemic issues. SUNY Plattsburgh will limit the disclosure as much as possible, even if the Title IX Coordinator determines that the request for confidentiality cannot be honored.

Requesting Confidentiality: How SUNY Plattsburgh Will Weigh the Request and Respond:
If you disclose an incident to a College employee who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality or do not consent to the institution’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator must weigh your request against our obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of our community, including you.

We will assist you with academic, housing, transportation, employment, and other reasonable and available accommodations regardless of your reporting choices. While reporting individuals may request accommodations through several college offices, the following office can serve as a primary point of contact to assist with these measures:

  • Title IX Coordinator
    • Kehoe 608
    • (518) 564-3281

 We also may take proactive steps, such as training or awareness efforts, to combat sexual violence in a general way that does not identify you or the situation you disclosed.  We may seek consent from you prior to conducting an investigation. You may decline to consent to an investigation, and that determination will be honored unless the College’s failure to act may result in harm to you or other members of the College community. Honoring your request may limit our ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue conduct action against an accused individual. If we determine that an investigation is required, we will notify you and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist you.

When you disclose an incident to someone who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality, the College will consider many factors to determine whether to proceed despite that request. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether the accused has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
  • Whether the incident represents escalation, such as a situation that previously involved sustained stalking;
  • The increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence;
  • Whether the accused used a weapon or force;
  • Whether the reporting individual is a minor; and
  • Whether we possess other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.

Public Awareness/Advocacy Events:
If you disclose a situation through a public awareness event such as “Take Back the Night,” candlelight vigils, protests, or other public event, the College is not obligated to begin an investigation.  The College may use the information you provide to inform the need for additional education and prevention efforts.

Institutional Crime Reporting
Reports of certain crimes occurring in certain geographic locations will be included in the College Clery Act Annual Security Report in an anonymized manner that neither identifies the specifics of the crime or the identity of the reporting individual.

SUNY Plattsburgh is obligated to issue timely warnings of Clery Act crimes occurring within relevant geography that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees (subject to exceptions when potentially compromising law enforcement efforts and when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual). A reporting individual will never be identified in a timely warning.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act allows institutions to share information with parents when (1) there is a health or safety emergency, or (2) when the student is a dependent on either parents’ prior year federal income tax return. Generally, the College will not share information about a report of sexual violence with parents without the permission of the reporting individual.

 

 

Contact Information

For more information about Administrative Policies approved by Executive Council, please contact:

Sean Brian Dermody
Assistant to the Vice President for Administration
Management Services Office
Office: Kehoe 710-11
Phone: (518) 564-2539
Fax: (518) 564-2540
Email: dermodsb@plattsburgh.edu