Sexual Misconduct Policy and Resources

Standard of Conduct

The College seeks to uphold all local, state and federal laws regarding sexual offenses. Crimes categorized in the Clery Act (U.S. federal statute) as sexual assaults, include offenses in which an individual engages in sexual intercourse, or oral or anal sexual conduct with a person without their consent, and or when a person engages in the touching of the sexual or intimate parts of an individual for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party without the consent of the victim. This includes instances in which the victim cannot consent due to a temporary or permanent incapacity.

The College’s policies on Sexual Misconduct can be found on the College’s website. All students should review the policies carefully. The College includes information about sexual misconduct as part of its orientation and  First Year Experience (FYE) course. All students complete an annual online education course on this subject. Training programs are offered to the entire community through campus programs. College counselors are also available for students.

Procedures to follow

If a student believes she/he was raped, the student must remember to preserve evidence.

  • Do not wash or douche until you have had a medical exam
  • Save your clothing and do not wash it
  • Report the incident to either the police, Security, Vice President for Student Affairs, Director of Counseling, Title IX coordinator, your Graduate Hall Director, or your Resident Assistant immediately.
  • Whether you report the rape to the authorities or not, contact a trained rape crisis counselor or mental health professional to help you through the crisis. You will need support to assist you in handling the emotions that emerge following a rape. You may want to stay with a friend or close relative immediately following the rape.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

All members of the College Community and visitors are strongly urged to report incidents of sexual misconduct. Every member of the faculty, administration, and staff, is obligated by law under Title IX, to immediately report incidents of or perceived incidents of sexual misconduct against any member of the campus community upon learning of the incident. Even if the victim requests confidentiality of the incident, the employee has an obligation to report. The only individuals exempt from reporting are priests who learn of the behavior in a confessional or as licensed health or mental health professionals when functioning in their designated counseling role at the College.

The College prohibits any act of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The behavior in regards to these offenses can be physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, economic, and/or emotional with the goal of establishing or maintaining power and control over the victim. It can occur in opposite-sex and same-sex relationships.

Recognizing Signs of an Abusive Relationship

  • Fear of your partner. It involves being fearful of what you say or do when near your partner
  • Frequent controlling behavior by your partner
  • Partner has a bad temper
  • Verbal abuse escalates to physical violence

How to Avoid Potential Attacks

  • Contact the domestic violence program in your area
  • Consider obtaining an Order of Protection from the local Family/Criminal Court
  • Be aware of signs that your partner is getting upset. Be prepared with a reason to leave the house or area
  • Be careful what is texted or emailed as your partner may be able to access the information

“HELPGUIDE Helps You Help Yourself and Others.” Domestic Violence and Abuse. September 21, 2014. http://www.helpguide.org/ 

Safe and Positive Options for Bystander Intervention
If someone suspects that there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against another person they should:

  • Notice the event
  • Understand that this is a risky situation
  • Feel a responsibility to act
  • Choose how to act
  • When intervening be respectful but direct
  • Carry out the chosen action
  • If you do not feel safe, call security or 911

“A Checklist for Title IX Employee Training | Campus Clarity Blog.” Campus Clarity Blog. September 21, 2014. http://blog.campusclarity.com/a-checklist-for-title-ix-employee-training/

There is no legal obligation in New York State for a bystander of a potentially violent situation or crime to intervene or act. The College’s mission commits us to our obligations to each other and a deep respect for human dignity. Therefore, bystanders are encouraged to act if there are safe and reasonable ways to intervene and/or discourage people from being uncivil towards each other in an effort to foster a safer environment for everyone.

Risk Reduction
To reduce the risk of being sexually harassed or assaulted:

  • When traveling to or from social events avoid traveling alone. This is especially important during evening hours
  • While at social events, avoid taking drinks from strangers
  • Avoid going to isolated areas alone
  • When walking, remain alert of your surroundings

The College is contracted with Everfi through which course offerings are completed by all students. The courses provide students with information regarding alcohol and drug prevention, as well as  sexual misconduct under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1974 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA). The program promotes the importance of values, gender socialization, sexual assault, consent, bystander intervention and survivor support.

There will also be Title IX related informational brochures and posters that will be distributed and posted.

The Human Resources department has ongoing online prevention and awareness campaigns for employees of the College of Mount Saint Vincent. Online courses regarding sexual harassment   Title IX, the Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act are mandatory for all new and current employees of the College.

Definitions According to the New York State Penal Law

Sexual Assault
New York State does not have a specific legal definition for sexual assault. The term includes various sexual offenses including rape, sexual abuse and forcible touching.

Rape
The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object without the consent of the victim. This definition includes either gender of the victim or the offender.

Statutory Rape
Is defined as non-forcible sexual intercourse by an individual (21) years of age or older, with a person under the New York State age of consent (17 years old).

Consent
Consent is granted only when a person freely, actively, and knowingly agrees at the time to participate in a particular sexual act with another person. Consent exists when mutually understandable words and/or actions demonstrate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon activity at every stage of that activity. Either party can verbally or non-verbally withdraw consent at any stage of the activity. Consent cannot be assumed from partner silence, manner of dress, or be based upon a previous or ongoing sexual relationship.

Lack of Consent
May result from: 

  • Forcible Compulsion – whether through actual physical force or expressed implied threat of death, injury or kidnapping of the victim or anyone else.
  • Incapacity to consent – whether the incapacity is based on mental illness, retardation, is temporary due to drug or alcohol use, or is due to physical helplessness due to unconsciousness or inability to communicate.
  • Inability to consent – according to the New York State penal law, being less than seventeen years old, being mentally defective or incapacitated or being physically helpless.

Domestic Violence

  • A felony or misdemeanor crime (punishable by incarceration of 1 year or more) of violence that is committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim
  • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common
  • A person who is co-habitating with or has co-habitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner
  • A person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family laws of New York State
  • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of New York State

Dating Violence

  • Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and,
  • The existence of the relationship is determined by the length and type of relationship and how frequently the persons involved interact with each other

Stalking

  • To intentionally engage in a course of conduct that that is directed at a specific person and is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety, or property of such person, a member of that person’s family, or a third party with whom the person is acquainted. (NYS Penal Law).
  • This pattern of conduct is repeated attempts to initiate unwanted, inappropriate, or threatening interactions against a particular person or group. This includes face-to-face interactions, phoning, texting, emails, and other forms of social media.

Sexual Misconduct Protocol

Initial Meeting
Alleged violations of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy are to be reported to the Title lX Coordinator. This individual will provide an understanding of this policy and identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the accuser, including referrals to appropriate law enforcement agencies, referrals for medical treatment, the College’s Counseling Center and other on and off campus resources.

When possible the initial meeting may include a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate for the accuser’s academic schedule, College housing, and/or College employment arrangements. If such a discussion is not possible or appropriate during the initial meeting it will follow as soon thereafter that is possible and appropriate.

At the initial meeting or as soon as is possible and appropriate, the accuser will be asked to decide how he/she wants to proceed. The options include pursuing the complaint within the College’s Student Conduct Process, and/or with local law enforcement or requesting the complaint remain confidential.

Interim Measures
In all cases of alleged Sexual Misconduct, regardless of how the accuser wishes to proceed, the College will undertake a prompt, reliable and impartial investigation.  At the same time, the College will take immediate and effective action to support and protect the accuser pending the outcome of the investigation and hearing. Accordingly, the College may impose a no-contact order, which typically will include a directive that the parties refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through proxies, whether in person or via electronic means, pending the investigation and, if applicable, the hearing.

The College also may take any further protective action if deemed appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties including providing escorts for the accused to and from College locations, directing appropriate College officials to alter the students’ academic schedules, provide a Leave of Absence or arrange for the accuser to be away from campus for a few days, provide assistance with College housing, and/or alter College employment arrangements.

Title IX requires that when taking such steps to separate the accuser and the accused, the College must minimize the burden on the accuser and thus should not remove the accuser from his/her classes or housing while allowing the accused to remain. Violation(s) of the College’s directives regarding the protective actions may lead to additional disciplinary proceedings as outlined in the Student Handbook.

Accuser Requests Confidentiality
If the accuser requests confidentiality, under Title IX, the College is still required to investigate and take reasonable action in response to the accuser’s request.  The accuser should be informed that in such situations that the College’s ability to respond is likely to be limited.

In such cases, Title IX requires the College to evaluate the accuser’s request(s) that the complaint not be adjudicated or remain confidential due to the College’s legal and moral obligation to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students. The college may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct. The accuser’s request(s) for confidentiality will be weighed against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct, whether there have been other complaints of sexual misconduct against the same individual, and the accused’s rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the College as an educational record under FERPA.

The College will inform the accuser if the College cannot ensure confidentiality. Even if the College cannot take disciplinary action against the accused because the accuser insists on confidentiality or that the complaint not be adjudicated, Title IX requires the College to take prompt and effective action to limit the effects of the alleged sexual misconduct and to prevent its recurrence. The College reserves the authority to issue a no-contact order and other interim measures as indicated in this policy.

Compliance with these provisions does not constitute a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).

Student Conduct Process for Sexual Misconduct
The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will hear cases of alleged violations of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. The College’s Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will hear the case, using usual Student Conduct Hearing rules and procedures, except as amended below.

  • The three persons Board will be comprised of faculty and staff and will appoint a chair from its membership. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs will arrange for the hearing to be audio recorded and may arrange for the preparation of any transcript of the recording that he or she deems appropriate or which the accuser or accused requests.
  • Both the accuser and the accused may each choose an advisor, or one member of the College Community (faculty, staff, or student), to accompany them throughout the Sexual Misconduct Hearing. The advisor may confer with the accuser or the accused during the hearing. The advisor may not address the Student Misconduct Hearing Board during the course of the proceedings, question witnesses or participate directly in the hearing proceedings.
  • Attorneys may advise the accuser or accused during the hearing but they cannot address the Student Conduct Officer/Board during the course of the proceedings, question witnesses or participate directly in the hearing proceedings. In the case of disciplinary proceedings for alleged Sexual Misconduct, both the accuser and the accused may each choose an advisor to accompany them to proceedings before the Student Conduct Board for Sexual Misconduct. The advisor may be a member of the College community, an attorney, or any other individual the parties choose. In cases where an accused or accuser chooses to have an attorney present, the costs associated with the attorney’s services are the sole responsibility of the parties.
  • Both the accuser and the accused must be present throughout the hearing. They will be in separate waiting rooms, will not question each other directly and will not be in the hearing room
  • The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof to determine if the alleged Sexual Misconduct violation occurred. A preponderance of the evidence means that the conduct in question “more likely than not” occurred.  That is the standard required by Title IX as interpreted by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
  • Following the hearing, via the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Board will issue a document to the accused and the accuser: indicating a finding of in violation or not in violation of Sexual Misconduct for the accused and the sanctions imposed, if any and an explanation of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board’s rational for its determination.
  • Title lX requires this document be issued concurrently to the accused and the accuser.
  • The document is both an educational record and private record of the Student Misconduct Hearing and may not be disclosed without the written consent of the parties and the College, except where disclosure is authorized or required by law.
  • The Appeal Process is available to both the accuser and the accused. Appeals must be based on same criteria stated in the College’s usual Appeals Process procedures.
  • The investigation and formal Student Misconduct Board Hearing process together typically conclude within sixty (60) days of receiving the first complaint.

On Campus Resources

  • Counseling Services
    Founders Hall, Room 333
    counseling@mountsaintvincent.edu
    Office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • (DOVE) Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies Program
    Founders Hall, Room 333
    Office hours: Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Off Campus Resources
These hospitals have SAFE Programs (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner). SAFE Programs have specially trained health professionals who provide medical care to patients who report sexual assault, including evaluation, treatment, referral and follow up. Trained advocates may also be available to provide you with additional support and to guide you through the experience at the hospital.

  • Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital
    1111 Amsterdam Avenue
    Amsterdam Avenue and W 113 Street
    New York, NY 10025
    (212) 423-2149
  • New York Presbyterian Hospital –Columbia
    622 West 168 Street
    New York, NY 10032
    (212) 746-9414
  • (DOVE) Domestic and Other Violence Emergencies Program
    New York Presbyterian Hospital
    622 West 168 Street’ Harkness Pavillion, 2nd Floor
    New York, NY 10032
    (212) 305-9060 or (212) 305-4726
  • Crime Victims Treatment Center
    40 Exchange Place, Suite 510
    Ner York, NY 10005
    212-523-4728
    cvtcnyc.org
  • 50th Precinct encompasses the northwest Bronx neighborhood of Riverdale
    3450 Kingsbridge Ave, Bronx, NY 10463
    (718) 543-5700
  • NYPD Sex Crimes Hotline (212) 267-RAPE
  • RAPE Crisis Hotline
    (914) 345-9111
    24 hours a day, confidential, free and immediate support and assistance
  • Safe Horizon’s Rape/Sexual Assault and Incest Hotline
    (212) 227-3000
    24 hours a day, seven days a week, confidential, free, safety planning, crisis counseling, advocacy with the police
  • NYC Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-621-HOPE (4673)
  • New York State Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Hotline
    English: 1-800-942-6909
    Spanish: 1-800-942-6908
  • Domestic Violence Hotline for LGBTQIA
    (212) 714-1141
  • Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
    (212) 714-1141

Registered Sex Offender Information Sources
As of July 2006, registered Level 2 (moderate risk) and Level 3 (high risk) sex offenders are required to provide notice to the State informing them of any institute of higher education at which the person is employed, or is a student.

Members of the College community can obtain information regarding registered sex offenders who may be students, or are employed by the College, by accessing the following source:

  • New York State Sex Offenders Registry Website: http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/
    The subdirectory can be searched by entering a name, city, zip code or any combination of these to obtain a listing.

Numbers to Remember

  • Vice President for Student Affairs at  (718) 405-3253
  • Director of Campus Safety and Security at (718) 405-3722

The Colleges Committee on Campus and Student Life serves as the Advisory Committee on Campus Safety. Upon request the Committee will provide all campus crime statistics as reported to the United States Department of Education. Campus crime statistics are published on the United States Department of Education Web site http://ope.ed.gov/security and may also be obtained by contacting the Director of Campus Safety and Security at (718) 405-3722.