Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment & Sexual Misconduct Policy

Hartwick College is deeply committed to equal opportunity and a tolerant, supportive learning environment.  The College complies fully with all applicable federal and state legislation and regulations, including Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Violence Against Women Act and the New York Human Rights Law.  Pursuant to these statutes and regulations, the College prohibits all acts of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic/dating violence and stalking.  This policy is intended to educate the College community about these issues and thereby prevent such incidents from occurring and also explain the way in which the College will respond to incidents in the event they do occur.  

I.   Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all students, faculty and employees of Hartwick College.  This policy applies to conduct on-campus and in connection with any College-sponsored program or activity, regardless of where it occurs.  Additionally, off-campus conduct may violate this policy, regardless of whether it is connected to a College-sponsored program or activity.  Non-community members (e.g., alumni, family of students, vendors, etc.) visiting campus, participating in a College program or activity or interacting with Hartwick College community members are expected to abide by the behavioral expectations in this policy.  This policy applies regardless of an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction.  Each member of the College community is expected to assist in maintaining a working and learning environment that is free of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct at Hartwick College.

II.  Definitions

A. Sex Discrimination

Discrimination is an act that disadvantages a person and that occurs because of the affected individual's gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  Examples of sex discrimination include, but are not limited to, denying a student a research opportunity because of the student's gender; giving a student a lower grade than they deserved because of the student's gender; denying an employee a raise because of the employee's sex.  

A person who believes that they have been discriminated against with respect to an academic or employment decision is generally entitled to bring a complaint pursuant to this policy in addition to any other College process or procedure that may be available (such as a grade appeal policy or appeal procedures for work performance or promotion).  However, the role of this policy is not to modify or displace another's legitimate decision as to competency or performance; the only function of this policy is to ensure that the decision was not biased. 

B.  Sexual Harassment

It is the policy of Hartwick College that all of our employees and students should be able to enjoy a work and educational environment free from sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment is unwelcome, offensive conduct that occurs on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  When harassment becomes so severe or pervasive as to interfere with an individual's ability to work, learn or participate in the College's programs, it is called a "hostile environment". 

Harassment may be verbal, written, visual or physical.  Merely by way of illustration, harassing acts may include name-calling that demeans on the basis of gender; unwanted touching of a person's buttocks, legs or shoulders; physically harming or threatening another due to gender animosity; vulgar pictures or sexually offensive symbols or writings; or gestures that mimic or mock a person's gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity. Sexual harassment may consist of sexually-charged comments or conduct, including sexually lewd conversation or pictures, sexually suggestive jokes or innuendos, repeated, unwelcome requests for dates or romantic interaction; unwelcome physical affection (such as hugs or kisses) or intentional touching of the back, breasts or shoulders.

The fact that a person was personally offended by a statement or incident does not alone constitute a violation of this policy.  Instead, the determination is based on a "reasonable person" standard and takes into account the totality of the circumstances.  The College considers the context of a communication or incident, the relationship of the individuals involved in the communication or incident, whether an incident was an isolated incident or part of a broader pattern or course of offensive conduct, the seriousness of the incident, the intent of the individual who engaged in the allegedly offensive conduct, and its effect or impact on the individual and the learning community.  In all instances, a key factor is whether the behavior occurred because of one's gender.  Similarly, conduct that offends based on one's sex but is not so severe or pervasive as to unreasonably impact an individual's participation in the College's educational program or employment may not violate this policy.  Sexual harassment may be student to student, faculty to student, student to faculty, faculty to staff, or any combination of student, faculty, staff or visitor. 

Hartwick College reserves the right to discipline offensive conduct that is inconsistent with community standards even if it does not rise to the level of a hostile environment as defined by applicable law.  Further, the College encourages students and others to report incidents that concern them even if the incidents are not particularly egregious, as early reporting assists the College to address and correct situations before they become so severe or pervasive as to create a hostile environment. 

Hartwick College also prohibits "quid pro quo" harassment. Quid pro quo (or "this for that") harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority or control links the receipt of some benefit (such as a promotion) to another's submission to unwelcome sexual advances or sexual conduct or requires the other to perform or submit to demeaning or degrading sex or sexually-charged acts.  "Quid pro quo" harassment can be expressly stated, but it also can be implied by words, actions or the surrounding circumstances.  No person should believe that any other person -no matter their title or position with Hartwick College - has the right to pressure another person for sexual activity; they do not have this right.

The above definitions and explanations are provided for educational and illustrative purposes.  A person reporting an incident of concern need not worry about whether all elements of a particular definition have been met.  An individual reporting an incident of concern is expected only to relay the facts in good-faith; College representatives trained in these issues will assist the Complainant in determining whether the incident may constitute a violation of this policy.  

C.  Gender-Based Harassment

Gender-Based Harassment includes acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.  Gender-based harassment can occur if individuals are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.  In order to constitute harassment, the conduct must be such that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic/work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive academic, living or work environment.

D.  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 the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of affirmative consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Consent is free and informed permission.  Consent given verbally is evidenced by affirmative agreement to engage in specific sexual activity.  Consent through action is active participation in the specific sexual activity.  Past consent to sexual activity cannot be presumed to be consent to engage in the same sexual activity in the future, and consent can be withdrawn at any time, and, if so, the sexual activity must cease.  Consent to some sexual activity (e.g., kissing, fondling) cannot be presumed consent for other sexual activity (e.g., intercourse).  Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another.

Certain conditions prevent a person from being able to consent.  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 or drugs or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.

A person who has been drinking or using drugs is still responsible for ensuring that he or she has the other person's affirmative consent and/or appreciating the other person's incapacity to consent.  This means that, even if the accused was drunk or high and, as a result, did not realize that the other person was not consenting to or was unable to consent to sexual activity, the person who committed the non-consensual act is still responsible for having violated this policy. 

Sexual activity as the result of coercion is non-consensual.  Coercion is a threat, undue pressure, or intimidation to engage in sexual activity.

Sexual relationships between faculty and students and staff and students are problematic due to the inherent power differential.  Therefore, sexual or romantic relationships between faculty and students and between staff and students are prohibited. (Insert Link to College fraternization policy).

E. Sexual Offenses

Hartwick College expects that any sexual activity or contact will be based on mutual, affirmative consent to the specific sexual activity. 

Sexual Assault - Consistent with federal law, Hartwick College defines sexual assault as including:

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, for purposes of sexual gratification or with sexual intent, with a private body part or object, by a person upon another person that is without affirmative consent.  This may include non-penetrative sexual assaults.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. Sexual assaults of this type can be sub-defined by the following:
    • 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, forcibly or without affirmative consent or where the victim is incapable of consent due to mental or physical incapacity.
    • Statutory Rape:  Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.  In New York, the statutory age of consent is 17 years old.

Sexual Exploitation. Sexual exploitation occurs when, without affirmative consent, a person takes  sexual advantage of another.  Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, prostitution, acts of incest, observing or recording (whether by video, still photo or audio tape) of a sexual or other private activity (such as consensual sexual activity, undressing or showering) without the consent of all involved; taking intimate pictures of another but then distributing the pictures to others without the photographed person's affirmative consent;  engaging in voyeurism, engaging in consensual sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease (STD) without informing the other person of such infection; or exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances.

F.  Dating Violence

Dating violence refers to a pattern of violent behavior (including, but not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse) that is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on the Complainant's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

G.  Stalking

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to that person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress (that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling). 

H.  Domestic Violence  

Domestic violence refers to physical violence, threats of violence or acts of physical intimidation between spouses, former spouses or intimate partners, cohabitating romantic partners or individuals who were formerly cohabitating romantic partners, individuals who share a child in common, individuals who are similarly situated to spouses and/or individuals who are protected from the other person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the act of violence occurs.  

I. Sexual Misconduct

For purposes of this policy, the term "sexual misconduct" is a term used to more conveniently refer to any form of sex or gender-based discrimination; sexual or gender-based harassment; non-consensual sexual activity or sexual offense; dating violence, or domestic violence if between current or former spouses or romantic partners; or stalking, if the circumstances of the stalking suggest gender-based animosity, hostility or occurs in the context of a romantic or sexual pursuit.  Sexual misconduct may occur between members of the same or opposite sex and in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.  While sexual misconduct can constitute a criminal offense under New York State law, a person's conduct may violate this policy even if it does not violate State law.

J.  Complainant

The term Complainant refers to the person who allegedly experienced the discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or other violation of this policy.  That person is usually, but not always, the person who made the initial report to the College.  In the case of complaints that are pursued when the alleged victim does not want to participate in the process, the College may pursue a complaint without such individual in which case a designated College representative will be the Complainant.

K.  Respondent

The term Respondent refers to the person alleged to have committed the alleged discrimination, harassment, any other form of sexual misconduct or other violation of this policy.

III.  Options for Responding to Incidents

A member of the College community who believes that they have experienced or are experiencing sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, or any other form of sexual misconduct should speak to someone for help or advice. Any College community member who has been the victim of sexual misconduct has the right to make a report to Campus Safety or one of the Responsible Administrators listed below, local law enforcement, and/or the New York State Police, or chooses not to report. If reported to the College under this policy, a reporting individual will be protected from retaliation and will receive appropriate assistance and resources from the College.  A Students' Bill of Rights for cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking is attached at the end of this policy. 

A.   Confidential Resources

Campus Resources

A victim is encouraged to seek support for his/her emotional and physical needs.  A student seeking confidential emotional or medical care may contact the following resources. 

Perrella Wellness Center - Counseling Services (607) 431-4420 or (607) 431-4111 on nights/weekends  

Perrella Wellness Center - Health Services (607) 431-4120  

These Confidential Resources can provide assistance and information regarding medical assistance and treatment (including information about sexually transmitted infections, and sexual assault forensic examinations), and resources available through the New York State Office of Victim Services), academic and other campus support options, campus disciplinary proceedings and law enforcement options.   The health and counseling services noted above are available to students free of charge. Healthcare and counseling professionals associated with the above are confidential resources as a matter of law.  This means that while these resources may provide health and counseling services, when a report is made to them, you are not making a report to the College and it will not result in remedial action or an investigation or disciplinary action.  Reports made to these resources will not be reported to other College officials in any personally identifiable manner (reports made to some of these individuals may result in a report to College officials that an incident occurred, but will not result in the reporting of any personally identifiable information).  Any person who desires remedial action (such as a change in housing, academic or work assignments) or wishes to seek disciplinary action against the Respondent must make a report to one of the Responsible Administrators, listed below.  

Off Campus Resources  

In addition, there are off campus, community confidential resources that are available to you.  Reports to these resources will not constitute a report to the College and will not result in the College taking any action against the accused.  These confidential resources, which may or may not charge service fees, include:

Opportunities for Otsego, Inc.'s Violence Intervention Program
24-Hour Hotline (607) 432-4855              

NYS Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-942-6906              

NYS Police Sexual Assault Hotline
1-844-845-7269  

New York State Office of Victim Services
1-800-247-8035  

B.  College's Non-Confidential Resources - Responsible Administrators

The following offices and individuals have been trained to receive and respond to allegations of violations of this policy.

Reports may be made by the victim, someone on behalf of the victim, or anonymously.  While all employees (except the Confidential Resources noted above) are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct that they witness or learn about, Responsible Administrators are specially designated by the College to receive reports of violations of this policy.

i. What happens after contacting a Responsible Administrator.  A Responsible Administrator will discuss with the Complainant available avenues and options.  A Complainant may be able to take advantage of multiple options simultaneously.  Options include contacting local law enforcement (if the incident involves a crime) and/or pursuing disciplinary action against the accused   and/or mediation.  In situations where the Complainant's well-being requires, other options may include immediate remedial action, such as no-contact orders directing the Respondent to have no contact with the Complainant, changes in class assignments, residence hall assignments, transportation arrangements, or work assignments to assist the Complainant in avoiding contact with the Respondent, or other measures to enhance the Complainant's safety, such as escorts or increased monitoring of an area. 

ii. How information is shared within the College.  A Responsible Administrator is not a confidential resource.  A Responsible Administrator who receives a report of sexual misconduct, observes sexual misconduct firsthand, or learns about it in some other way will share all information reported/observed with the Title IX Coordinator.  This information will include the name of the victim, the name of the accused if known, any witnesses and any other relevant factors, including the date, time, and location of the incident. However, even Hartwick College offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain one's privacy to the greatest extent possible.  The information one provides to a Non-Confidential Resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and/or seek a resolution.  If one wishes to ensure confidentiality, one should not report to any of the Responsible Administrators listed above, but should instead speak to the Confidential Resources identified above and/or go to local law enforcement.

iii. How confidentiality and decisions about taking action are handled.  A report to a Responsible Administrator may or may not lead to an investigation or disciplinary action.  The decision about what action(s) to take depend on many factors, including the Complainant's wishes, particularly in cases of sexual assaults or other sexual offenses.  A Complainant may make a report to a Responsible Administrator and request that the College take no investigatory or disciplinary action.  Alternatively, a person may make a report intending for the College to investigate and take disciplinary action, but then later request that the complaint be withdrawn.  Hartwick College will try to honor Complainant's wishes to not initiate or to stop an investigation or disciplinary process.  However, that is not always possible.

If a Complainant requests that no action be taken against the accused (i.e., no investigation or disciplinary action or that the investigation or disciplinary process cease), then the Responsible Administrator will consult with the Title IX Coordinator and the other appropriate administrators.  The College will consider whether an investigation and/or disciplinary process is necessary to ensure a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of the Hartwick College community.  The College's decision as to responsive action will depend on the seriousness of the offense, whether there was a single accused or multiple, whether there is reason to believe that the accused has engaged in this or similar conduct previously, whether the incident represents escalation in unlawful conduct on behalf of the accused from previously noted behavior, whether the circumstances suggest an ongoing or future risk to the campus community or the Complainant, whether the act was perpetrated with a weapon, whether the victim is a minor, and similar considerations.  A decision will be made and shared with the Complainant.  

Similarly, a Complainant may desire to have investigatory and/or disciplinary action taken, but may wish to have his/her identity as the Complainant kept confidential.  Depending on the circumstances, this may or may not be possible.  If any number of people could have reported the incident, then it may be possible for the Complainant's identity to remain confidential and not shared with the Respondent.  However, in other cases, it may not be possible to proceed with investigatory or disciplinary action without revealing the identity of the Complainant.  If a Complainant requests that his/her name be kept confidential (or if the Complainant makes an anonymous complaint), the College's ability to respond to the complaint may be limited.  The appropriate administrators will discuss the situation and the Complainant's request for confidentiality, and a decision will be made and shared with the Complainant.  Ultimately, the College retains the right to act upon any information that comes to its attention.  However, in order to encourage participation in public awareness and advocacy events, if information regarding a possible sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking is disclosed during such events (such as Take Back the Night), the College will not be obligated to commence an investigation based on that information.

iv.   Interim actions and Accommodations.  The College may implement interim actions and accommodations in order to immediately respond to a situation. Interim actions and accommodations are designed to end any discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct and/or help to ensure that a thorough and impartial investigation can take place in a timely manner.  Interim actions and accommodations may include the imposition of a "no contact" order directing the accused to have no communication with the other party, including in person communication, through third parties, or via electronic means.  Other interim actions and accommodations may include, but are not limited to, changes in class assignments, academic support services (such as tutoring), extracurricular programs, dining arrangements, residence hall assignments, or work assignments to assist the parties in not having to interact with one another, transportation arrangements or other measures to enhance the Complainant's safety.  The College will review the facts and circumstances of each case, as well the Complainant's wishes, in deciding whether and what steps are reasonable and appropriate.

Right to Review of Interim Actions & Accommodations

When a no-contact order is issued against a student, both the student and the person to whom the no contact order prohibits contact, will, upon request, be afforded a prompt review, reasonable under the circumstances, of the need for and the terms of the no contact order.  This request shall be made by submitting a written request to the Title IX Coordinator, providing the basis for the request and submitting evidence in support of the request.  Upon receipt of such a request, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the other party of the request and allow the other party to respond, including the right to submit evidence relevant to the request if desired.  Upon request, an individual may also seek a prompt review of the need for and terms of any other interim measures and accommodations that directly affects him/her, by submitting a written request for review to the Title IX Coordinator, providing the basis for that request and any evidence in support of the request.  The Title IX Coordinator may, in his/her discretion, modify or suspend the interim measures or accommodations on a temporary basis while the parties are submitting their information and responses. The Title IX Coordinator will respond to any such requests as soon as possible, but generally no later than one calendar week of the request and the parties' submission of any evidence.      

When a student accused of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence or stalking is determined to present a continuing threat to the health and safety of the campus community, he or she is subject to interim suspension pending the outcome of any proceedings under this policy.  Both that student as well as the subject of any such misconduct will, upon written request, be afforded an opportunity for a review of the need for and terms of an interim suspension, including potential modification, by submitting a written request to the Title IX Coordinator, providing the basis for that request and any evidence in support. When the accused is not a student but is a member of the College community, he or she is subject to interim suspension and/or other measures in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements and College employment policies and practices.

C.  Campus Safety

Hartwick College's Campus Safety staff are trained and available to respond immediately to any incidents of sexual misconduct and to provide individuals with assistance in obtaining medical treatment and filing an internal complaint with the College and/or criminal charges with local law enforcement.  Campus Safety staff will be available to discuss a victim's various options.  The Office of Campus Safety operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is located on the 3rd floor of Dewar Hall. Campus Safety can be reached at 431-4111.

D.  Law Enforcement

A victim of a crime is encouraged to, but is not required to, report the incident to local law enforcement and pursue criminal charges.  The criminal process and the College's disciplinary processes are not mutually exclusive or dependent on each other, meaning that a person may pursue either a criminal complaint or College complaint or both.  

In criminal cases, the preservation of evidence is critical and must be done properly and promptly.  For example, in cases of rape or other forms of sexual assault, it is important not to shower, change clothes and even brush your hair or teeth, as physical evidence may be lost.  In cases of violence or physical abuse, it is important to document injuries, including by taking photographs.  If possible, all clothing that was worn at the time of the sexual assault should be placed in individual paper bags to preserve any evidence.  The Oneonta Police Department, which can be reached at (607) 432-1113, can assist in filing a criminal complaint and in securing appropriate examination, including by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.  The New York State Police Hotline, which can be reached at 1-(844)-845-7269, may also be of assistance in reporting an incident to law enforcement.

Additionally, orders of protection and other forms of legal protection may be available to individuals who have experienced or are threatened with violence by a Hartwick College community member or other person.  In appropriate circumstances, an order of protection may be available that restricts the offender's right to enter or remain on College property, and Hartwick College will abide by a lawfully issued order of protection.  Campus Safety or other College officials will, upon request, provide reasonable assistance to any member of the College community in obtaining an order of protection or, if outside of New York State, an equivalent protective or restraining order, including providing that person with:

  • a copy of an order of protection or equivalent when received by the College and providing that person with an opportunity to meet or speak with a College representative, or other appropriate individual, who can explain the order and answer questions about it, including information from the order about the other person's responsibility to stay away from the protected person or persons;
  • an explanation of the consequences for violating these orders, including but not limited to arrest, additional conduct charges, and interim suspension; and
  • assistance in contacting local law enforcement to affect an arrest for violating such an order of protection.

Any internal College investigation and/or hearing process will be conducted concurrently with any criminal justice investigation and proceeding that may be pending. Temporary delays in the College's internal processes may be requested by local law enforcement authorities for the purpose of gathering evidence. Any requested temporary delay shall not last more than ten (10) days, except when local law enforcement authorities specifically request and justify a longer delay.  The College will cooperate with any criminal proceedings as permitted by law.  The Responsible Administrators listed above can assist individuals in making a report of a crime to local law enforcement.

Complainants should understand that not all sexual misconduct under this policy is a crime and that the standard law enforcement employs in processing complaints is different than the College's standard under this policy. Questions about whether incidents violate criminal laws and how the criminal process works should be directed to law enforcement officials or the Otsego County District Attorney.

IV.  Investigation and Hearing

The following investigatory, disciplinary hearing and appeal procedures shall apply to the handling of all alleged violations of this policy.[1]             

A. Investigation of Complaint

If a report appears to allege a plausible violation of this policy, the College will conduct an investigation.  An investigation may occur because a Complainant wishes to proceed with a complaint, or because the College determines that this is necessary despite the wishes of the Complainant.  The College strives to ensure that complaints are responded to in a prompt, fair and impartial manner.

The investigation will be performed by appropriate, trained persons appointed by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct the investigation.  The Complainant and the Respondent shall receive notice referencing the specific provision(s) of this policy alleged to have been violated and the possible sanctions.  This notice shall also include the date, time, location and factual allegations concerning the alleged violation.  The Complainant and the Respondent will be given an equal opportunity to present separately information in the context of the investigation, and to have irrelevant information concerning their character or other incidents not directly related to the complaint excluded from the investigation and hearing process.  Information will be obtained from each party separately.

The Complainant and Respondent shall have the right to exclude their own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party or their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment from admittance in the investigation and hearing process. 

An investigation usually involves interviews of the persons involved, including witnesses, and gathering and reviewing relevant evidence.  The College has the right to consult with legal counsel during the investigation. The Complainant and Respondent may each request that witnesses having relevant information be included in the investigation process.  The investigator(s) retains discretion to determine the order and method of investigation and what, if any, witnesses will be interviewed as part of the investigatory process.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will complete a written investigation report, which will include a summary of the facts discovered during the investigation, an assessment of the credibility of the Complainant, Respondent and/or witnesses (as relevant) and the investigator's recommendation as to whether a violation of this policy occurred based on a preponderance of the evidence.

The College strives to complete the investigatory phase within 30 days, but this timeframe may be extended if necessary under the circumstances.  Pending the completion of the investigation, the College may offer other, non-disciplinary remedies to the Complainant, such as a change in residential or working situation, changes in class assignment, and so on.  In appropriate cases, one or both parties may be issued an interim no-contact order restricting communications and/or contact with the other.

Some incidents may not sufficiently invoke the interests of the College for the College to pursue or may more appropriately handle under another College policy or procedure.  The Title IX Coordinator, in conjunction other administrators if necessary, will decide if an incident will not be pursued or will be handled under a different policy for this reason.  This decision may be made at any stage of the investigatory process.  

B.  Informal Resolution

In some cases, an informal resolution may be appropriate.  An informal resolution usually involves the facilitation of a designated third-party who explores whether the parties can agree on a result.  Informal resolution must be agreed upon by both parties, and the Title IX Coordinator must agree that it is appropriate.  Informal resolution is not appropriate in cases of sexual assault or violence of any kind. 

It may be necessary to conduct an investigation before informal resolution can be arranged.  The College will select the facilitator.  The parties will not be required to meet together as part of the informal resolution process.  At any time during the process the Complainant or the Respondent has the right to resume the formal processing of the complaint (i.e., investigation, disciplinary procedure, appeal).  An informal resolution may include sanctions.

If informal resolution results in an agreement, and if this agreement is acceptable to the College, then the informal resolution is considered successful.  Both parties will sign a statement agreeing that the informal resolution was successful, and the matter will be considered resolved.  If attempts at informal resolution are unsuccessful, then the formal process will resume.  If a party with obligations pursuant to an informal resolution fails in his/her obligations, then the other party may ask the College to enforce the terms of the resolution or may proceed with a formal complaint process.            

C.  Disciplinary Hearing

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will issue a written investigatory report to the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will appoint a Hearing Officer from a pool of specially trained College officials taking into account the circumstances of the case, including the status of the Respondent as a student, faculty member, employee or non-community member.

The Hearing Officer will review the investigatory report and may, if deemed necessary, communicate with the investigator(s) and/or any party or witness directly as part of the hearing  process.  The Hearing Officer is not bound by the investigator's report; rather, it is advisory. The Hearing Officer may request additional investigation by the investigator(s).  Both the Complainant and Respondent will be provided with the same opportunity to share information with the Hearing Officer, including the right to submit a written statement to the Hearing Officer for consideration  and/or request to meet individually with the Hearing Officer to provide any other relevant evidence.  The parties, upon submission of a written request to the Title IX Coordinator, may be permitted to review on campus information in the case file, subject to redaction permitted and/or required by law.  If the Hearing Officer concludes that the Respondent is responsible for violation of this policy, then the Hearing Officer shall receive the record of any previous disciplinary action or other violation of College policy, including this policy, to consider, as appropriate, in determining sanctions.  In addition, both the Complainant and the Respondent will be permitted to submit a written impact statement to the Hearing Officer for purposes of the determination of appropriate sanctions.  The Hearing Officer may consult with other appropriate College officials in determining any appropriate sanctions.  Upon conclusion of the hearing process, the Hearing Officer will issue a written decision to the Title IX Coordinator outlining relevant factual findings and whether a violation of this policy has occurred and, if relevant, the appropriate sanctions.

A non-member of the community may make a report that a Hartwick College community member has violated this policy.  A non-community member's complaint will be processed in accordance with the disciplinary hearing procedure (above).

The Complainant and Respondent will have an equal opportunity to present relevant information and evidence throughout the hearing process.  Both parties will be provided with a copy of this policy at the beginning of the hearing process.  The College may proceed with a complaint, including an investigation and through to a disciplinary outcome, even if the Complainant and/or Respondent elect not to participate.  The College will attempt to complete the hearing process and issue the Hearing Officer's decision within 60 days, but this time frame may need to be extended under certain circumstances, such as where there are multiple complaints and/or respondents and/or where delays are necessitated by involvement of local law enforcement, College breaks or other reasons of unavailability.  All parties to the process will be notified in writing if, during the process, it becomes necessary to extend the time frame to allow for a fair and complete examination and resolution of the complaint.

The standard for decisions in disciplinary hearing proceedings is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it is more likely than not a violation of this policy occurred.  Both parties will receive simultaneous written notice of outcomes of all hearing proceedings, to the extent permitted by law.  The final outcome letter shall include factual findings supporting the determination, the decision and the sanction, if any, as well as the rationale for the decision and sanction.  The decision of the Hearing Officer is effective immediately.

Upon the conclusion of the hearing process, both the Complainant and Respondent shall have access to a full and fair record of the hearing.  The record of the disciplinary hearing shall be protected from public release until a final determination is made. A final determination is made under this policy when no appeal of the decision of the Hearing Officer is sought, or in the event of an appeal, when the decision of the Appeals Panel is communicated to the Complainant and Respondent. Any public release of the full and fair record of the hearing shall be made in accordance with Hartwick College policy and federal and state laws.               

D.  Advisor of Choice

The Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied during any investigatory meetings and/or disciplinary hearing proceedings by an advisor of choice (at the party's own expense, if the advisor is a paid advisor).  The advisor's role is to support the Complainant or Respondent throughout the process and aid in his/her understanding of the investigatory and/or disciplinary hearing process.  The advisor may talk quietly with the party, but may not participate in the interview or be disruptive to the meeting and the party is required to speak on his/her own behalf.  If an advisor is not adhering to these or other ground rules of any meeting, then the advisor may be removed from the meeting and the meeting will continue without opportunity for the party to secure a new advisor. Investigations and hearings will not be delayed based on the unavailability of a party's desired advisor.            

E.  Appeals

Following issuance of the decision letter, the Complainant and Respondent, if a student, faculty member or employee, may file an appeal with the Title IX Coordinator.  The Complainant or Respondent may file a written appeal based on dissatisfaction with the finding of responsibility for a violation (or lack of such a finding), with the sanction imposed, or both.  An appeal must be made within five (5) business days of receipt of the decision letter.  When any party requests an appeal, the other party will be notified.  The grounds for appeal are limited to:

  • Procedural error that is alleged to have had a direct impact on the outcome, or
  • New evidence that has come to light that could have a direct impact on the outcome and which was not available before or during the investigation and/or hearing process, or
  • Failure to apply a preponderance of the evidence standard, or
  • A claim that the sanction(s) imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.  

The Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Appeals Panel, which shall be made up of three (3) members from the pool of available Hearing Officers, to review the appeal. No member of the Appeals Panel shall have a conflict of interest.  The Appeals Panel will have access to the investigatory report, the Hearing Officer's decision and may, if the Appeals Panel deems it necessary, communicate with the investigator(s), the Hearing Officer, and/or any party or witness directly as part of the appeal process. However, appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint.  In most cases, appeals will be considered upon a review of the written documentation or record of the investigator(s) and/or Hearing Officer, and any pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.  The Appeals Panel may affirm the Hearing Officer's decision, alter the Hearing Officer's decision (with respect to a finding of responsibility and/or sanctions), or return the case to the investigator(s) for further investigation.  Sanctions remain in place pending the outcome of the appeal, unless the Title IX Coordinator decides otherwise.  A preponderance of the evidence standard will be applied on appeal.  A decision will normally be made by the Appeals Panel within ten (10) business days of the request for appeal.  Each party will be notified in writing of the decision on appeal.  The Appeals Panel's decision will be final and binding.

IV.   Sanctions

The sanction(s) for a violation of this policy will be based on a consideration of all of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and the Respondent's disciplinary history.  The range of sanction(s) imposed may include, but are not limited to, any one or more of the following:  

  • Written Warning
  • Additional Educational Requirements and/or Community Service
  • Removal of Housing or Other Privileges
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Letter of Censure
  • Letter of Reprimand (employee)
  • Change of Job Assignment and/or Work Location (employee)
  • Demotion or reduction in pay (employee)
  • Termination of employment  

If the conclusion reached is that there has been no violation of this policy but other inappropriate conduct has occurred, the College retains the right to address that inappropriate behavior in accordance with College policy and practice. 

For those crimes of violence that Hartwick College is required by federal law to include in its Annual Security Report, the transcripts of students found responsible after a hearing and appeal, if any, shall include the following notation:

  • Suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation; or
  • Expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.

Transcript notations for suspensions may be removed at the discretion of the College, but no earlier than one (1) year after the conclusion of the suspension.  Transcript notations for expulsion shall not be removed.

V.   Recordkeeping

Records generated in connection with reports, investigations and disciplinary proceedings are maintained in confidential files maintained by an appropriate office, which may be the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students, Human Resources, and/or the Registrar (for records concerning disciplinary outcomes), and only those with a right and need to know are permitted access.  For additional information about maintenance and accessibility to student records, please see the College's policy governing Student Privacy Rights and Confidentiality.  

VI. Retaliation

The College prohibits retaliation against any individual who files a good-faith complaint of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, domestic or dating violence, stalking or any other form of sexual misconduct or assists or participates in good-faith in any manner in an investigation or proceeding conducted pursuant to this policy by the College or by an external agency.  Any such acts of retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Campus Safety or the Dean of Student Life.  Any retaliation is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion/termination.  Complaints of retaliation will be handled pursuant to the applicable disciplinary procedures (above).

VII.  Amnesty For Individuals Who Report Sexual Misconduct

The health and safety of every student at Hartwick College is of utmost importance.  Hartwick College realizes 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.  Hartwick College strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College 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 Hartwick College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the College's 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.

VIII.  Time Limits

There is no time limit for making a report.  However, the passage of time may make effective responsive action difficult.  Further, if the Respondent is no longer a member of the College community, the College's ability to respond may be limited.  It is at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator to determine the action the College will take concerning complaints which are filed after a substantial amount of time has passed.  Individuals are encouraged to bring complaints forward in a timely manner.

IX. Training

Responsible administrators, persons assigned as investigators and individuals appointed to disciplinary hearing proceedings to hear alleged violations of this policy (e.g., hearing officers and appellate officers) will receive annual training on relevant topics, including discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence and how to conduct investigations and disciplinary proceedings that protect the safety and respectful treatment of all parties and promote accountability to the College community.

In addition, workplace harassment training is required for all employees, including all staff and administrators and all faculty, whether full-time or part-time.  The objective of this training is to enable individuals to understand and recognize the nature of harassment, its impacts and when it occurs in their own behavior and that of others.  All employees are required to complete this training within 30 days of hire, and every three years thereafter.  Failure to complete this training may result in disciplinary action and (if relevant) may result in the College denying indemnification.  In the event that an employee does not satisfactorily complete the training, written notice will be served that, unless and until they complete the training, the College reserves the right to refuse to provide them with any indemnification or defense in the event any sexual harassment or sexual misconduct charges are brought against them.  Also, the College may terminate an employee who refuses to participate in all training required of supervisors.  The College will deny annual pay increases to any employee who fails to participate in this workplace harassment training.

X.  Academic Freedom

Hartwick College is an academic institution at which academic freedom possessed by those who are teaching/conducting research and their students is necessary and valued.  The College will not construe this policy to prevent or penalize a statement, opinion, theory, or idea offered within the bounds of legitimate, relevant, and responsible teaching, learning, working, or discussion. 

XI. Clery Act Compliance

The College is required to include for statistical reporting purposes the occurrence of certain incidents in its Annual Security Report (ASR).  Neither the names of individuals involved in incidents nor the specific details of the incidents are reported or disclosed in ASRs.  In the case of an emergency or ongoing dangerous situation, the College will issue a timely warning to the campus, except in those circumstances where issuing such a warning may compromise current law enforcement efforts or when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual.  In such circumstances, the name of the alleged perpetrator may be disclosed to the community, but the name of the victim/Complainant will not be disclosed.

XII.  Coordination with Other Policies

A particular situation may potentially invoke one or more College policies or processes.  The College reserves the right to determine the most applicable policy or process and to utilize that policy or process.  

XIII.   Designation of Authority

Any College administrator or official to whom this policy empowers to act may delegate his/her authority to any other appropriate College official.  Delegation of authority may be necessary to avoid conflicts of interest or where time constraints or other obligations prevent a College official named in this policy from fulfilling his/her designated role.

XIV.  Policy Compliance

Any person with a concern about this policy or the College's handling of a particular matter should contact the College's Title IX Coordinator, Suzanne Janitz, at (607) 431-4319 or by email at janitzs@hartwick.edu.  The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights is a federal agency responsible for ensuring compliance with Title IX.  OCR may be contacted at 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100, (800) 421-3481.                                                                

Students' Bill of Rights  

All students have the right to:  

(1) Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state Police;

(2) Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;

(3) 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 pressure by Hartwick College;

(4) Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;

(5) Be treated with dignity and to receive from the College courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;

(6) 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;

(7)  Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;

(8) Be protected from retaliation by Hartwick College, any student, the accused and/or the Respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the College;

(9) Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;

(10) 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; and

(11) Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of Hartwick College.          

ADDITIONAL RIGHTS

Anyone reporting an incident of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence or stalking, also has the right to:

A.  Have emergency access to a Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate official trained in interviewing victims of sexual assault who shall be available upon the first instance of disclosure by a reporting individual to provide information regarding:                    

(i)  options to proceed, including the right to make a report to Campus Safety, local law enforcement, and/or state police or choose not to report; to report the incident to Hartwick College; to be protected by the College from retaliation for reporting an incident; and to receive assistance and resources from the College, as set out in its Discrimination, Sexual Harassment & Sexual Misconduct Policy.

(ii) where applicable, the importance of preserving evidence and obtaining a sexual assault forensic examination as soon as possible;              

(iii) detailing that the criminal justice process utilizes different standards of proof and evidence and that any questions about whether a specific incident violated the penal law should be addressed to law enforcement or to the district attorney;

(iv)  whether such College official is authorized to offer the reporting individual confidentiality or privacy; and

(v)  the reporting individual's other reporting options.

B.  Disclose confidentially the incident to Hartwick College representatives, who may offer confidentiality pursuant to applicable laws and can assist in obtaining services for reporting individuals;

C.  Disclose confidentially the incident and obtain services from the state or local government;

D. Disclose the incident to Hartwick College representatives who can offer privacy or confidentiality, as appropriate, and can assist in obtaining resources for reporting individuals;

E. File a report of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking and the right to consult the Title IX Coordinator and other appropriate College representatives for information and assistance.  Reports shall be investigated in accordance with Hartwick College policy and a reporting individual's identity shall remain private at all times if said reporting individual wishes to maintain privacy, subject to the College's ability to meet its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of the Hartwick College community;

F. Disclose, if the accused is an employee of the College, the incident to Hartwick College's  human resources representatives or the right to request that a confidential or private employee assist in reporting to the appropriate human resources representatives; and

G.  Receive assistance from appropriate Hartwick College representatives in initiating legal proceedings in family court or civil court.

H.  Withdraw a complaint or involvement from the College's conduct process at any time.  


[1] Faculty members should note that, as expressly provided in IV.B and IV.L of the Faculty Handbook, the investigatory, disciplinary hearing and appeal procedures set forth in this policy shall apply in the event that the Respondent is a faculty member.