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Sexual Harassment & Sexual Violence 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.

Policy Information

Policy Number Policy Owner
2004.8 Title IX


  • 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 individuals who have experienced sexual violence 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.

    SUNY Sexual Harassment Response and Prevention Policy Statement

    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is unlawful in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the New York State Human Rights Law. Under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, sexual harassment also is prohibited in the provision of educational services and protects students and employees from sexual harassment.

    Sexual harassment is prohibited and will not be tolerated at SUNY. The college has implemented measures to address and prevent sexual harassment and is taking additional affirmative steps to increase awareness of, and sensitivity to, all forms of sexual harassment in order to maintain a workplace and learning environment free of its harmful effects.

    Sexual harassment is a form of workplace discrimination and employee misconduct, as well as a form of discrimination in the academic setting, and all employees and students are entitled to work and learn in a campus environment that prevents sexual harassment. All employees and students have a legal right to a workplace and a campus free from sexual harassment, and employees and students can enforce this right by filing a complaint internally with the college, or with a government agency, or in court under federal or state anti-discrimination laws, as detailed in the college’s Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Compliant Procedure (please see Appendix below).

    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.).

    The following explains the Students' Bill of Rights Under New York State Education Law Article 129-B — Enough is Enough Legislation.


    • Make a report to University Police, local law enforcement and/or state police.
    • Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault treated seriously.
    • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressures from the institution.
    • Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
    • Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair and respectful health care and counseling services where available.
    • Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations.
    • Describe the incident to as few institutional representatives as practicable and not to be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident.
    • Be free from retaliation by the institution, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution.
    • Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination.
    • Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process.
    • Exercise civil right and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.


    Students have many options that can be pursued simultaneously, including one or more of the following:

    • Receive resources, such as counseling and medical attention
    • Confidentially or anonymously disclose a crime or violation
    • Make a report to:
      • An employee with the authority to address complaints, including the Title IX coordinator, a student conduct employee, or a human resources employee
      • University Police
      • Local law enforcement
      • Family court or civil court

    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 Enrollment & Student Success, the Chief of University Police, and the Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Services.

    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.

    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.

    Student Onboarding and Continued Education

    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 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 victims 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. Additionally, all SUNY Plattsburgh Employees must complete annual training in regards to sexual harassment and gender discrimination. 

    Examples of Methods of training and education on campus: 

    • President’s welcome message
    • Peer education programs
    • Online modules/training
    • Social media outreach
    • First-year seminars and transitional courses
    • Course syllabi
    • Faculty teach-ins
    • Posters, bulletin boards, and other specific print and email materials
    • Programming surrounding large recurring campus events
    • Partnering with neighboring SUNY and non-SUNY colleges to offer training and education
    • Partnering with State and local community organizations that provide outreach, support, crisis intervention, counseling and other resources within the community to offer training and education
    • Partnering with community agencies to provide trainings to community members in regards to current mandates, initiatives, and resources available on SUNY Plattsburgh campus
    • Outreach and partnering with local merchants to help create continuity in messaging both on and off campus

    In accordance with the Students' Bill of Rights, students 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 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):
    • 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:

    To file a criminal complaint with University Police and/or with local law enforcement:

    • On campus: University Police — 518-564-2022 or 911
    • Off campus: Plattsburgh City Police — 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. 

    If a reporting individual wishes to keep personal identity private, that person may call and request privacy and/or to file a report and request an investigation:

    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 — Phone: 518-564-5062

    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 (See Appendix),” 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 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 — Kim Irland. Phone: 518-564-3281. Email: [email protected]

For additional information about this policy, please contact the policy owner listed above.

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