Policy 703 - Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures
Section: Employee Relations
Policy Number: 703
Responsible Offices: Public Safety and Employee Relations and Compliance
Effective Date: 6/27/16
Revised: 08/25/16; 08/01/17
Adapted from and replaces former policy #703 Sexual Assault
Table of Contents
- I. Policy Statement
- II. Scope of the Policy
- III. Definitions within the Policy
- IV. Off Campus Options for Assistance
- V. On-Campus Options for Assistance
- A. Confidential Versus Non-Confidential Resources
- B. Public Safety – Non Confidential
- C. Center for Counseling and Consultation (for students) – Confidential
- D. Campus Ministry
- E. Medical Assistance or Support for Students – Confidential
- F. Confidential Support Advisor for Students
- G. Confidential Support and Resources for Employees
- VI. Reporting Sexual Misconduct To Non-Confidential Resources at the University
- VII. Process For Investigating and Resolving Complaints of Sexual Misconduct
- VIII. Adjudication of Complaints Against Faculty, Administrators and Staff
- IX. Prohibition on Retaliation
- X. Prevention and Awareness Education Programs
- XI. Clery Act Compliance
- XII. Policy Compliance
I. Policy Statement
The health, safety, and well-being of all members of the St. John’s University (the “University”) community are the University’s primary concerns. Consistent with the University's mission as a Catholic, Vincentian, metropolitan and global institution of higher education, the University abides by all applicable federal, state and local laws that prohibit discrimination in any educational or employment program, policy, or practice of the University. In furtherance of the University’s mission, and in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the “Clery Act”), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act/Campus Sexual Violence Act (“Campus SaVE Act”), Article 129-B of the New York State Education Law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Administrative Code, this Policy prohibits all forms of sex and gender discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct; and the University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities.
Sexual misconduct includes a broad range of behaviors that will not be tolerated in the University’s education programs or activities. The University strictly prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, including the offenses of sexual assault, sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking prohibited by this policy (collectively, “sexual misconduct”). The University also prohibits retaliation against a person for the good faith reporting of any alleged violation or for participating in any investigation or hearing.
Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers, acquaintances, or people who know each other well, including those who are involved in an intimate or sexual relationship, and can be committed by anyone regardless of sex, gender, or gender identity.
The purpose of this Sexual Misconduct Policy & Procedures for the St. John’s University Community (the “Policy”) is to ensure that all community members live, work and learn in a safe and respectful environment free from any form of sexual misconduct. If there is a violation of this Policy, the University will take steps to eliminate the sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence and to remedy any effects of the sexual misconduct.
Inquiries concerning the application of this Policy or Title IX may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The University’s designated Title IX Coordinator is:
Director of EEO and Compliance
St. John’s University
Office of Human Resources, University Center
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
The Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, overseeing the University’s response to complaints of sexual misconduct, coordinating investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, ensuring that students and employees receive appropriate education and training, and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems of sexual misconduct that arise during or following the investigation of a complaint of sexual misconduct. The University has designated two Deputy Title IX Coordinators. The Deputy Title IX Coordinators aid the Title IX Coordinator in overseeing and responding to reports of sexual misconduct. The Deputy Title IX Coordinators, either alone or in collaboration with Public Safety, ensure that resources, guidance and support services are offered, explain the procedural options, and facilitate access to interim remedies.
The Deputy Title IX Coordinators may be contacted at:
Associate Dean for Student Services
St. John’s University
Student Affairs, University Center
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
Kathleen F. Meehan
Associate Vice President, Athletics
St. John’s University
Lou Carnesecca Arena, Room 157
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
II. Scope of the Policy
This Policy applies to all members of the University Community regardless of sex, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, or other status protected under federal, state or local law. For the purpose of this Policy, the University Community includes, but is not limited to, all faculty, administrators, staff (including student workers), students, alumni, interns, members of the Board of Trustees, and members of University-sponsored advisory committees. Non-community members (e.g., family or friends of students, visitors to the University, vendors and service-providers) who are visiting campus, participating in a program or activity or interacting with University Community members may also be subject to this policy.
This Policy applies to any allegation of sexual misconduct that takes place on University property, or any other property on which a University-sponsored program or activity takes place. This Policy also covers conduct that takes place off-campus if the conduct creates a threatening or uncomfortable environment on the University’s campus or within a University program, or if the incident causes concern for the safety or security of the University’s campus.
This Policy supersedes any other University policy to the extent that such policy applies to sexual misconduct. A particular situation may potentially invoke one or more University policies or processes. The University reserves the right to determine the most applicable policy or process and to utilize that policy or process.
This policy (i) defines the prohibited conduct; (ii) sets forth the available resources and reporting options; (iii) describes the University’s procedures for responding to complaints of sexual misconduct, including the investigation and adjudication process; and (iv) describes programs implemented by the University to educate and increase awareness among the University community regarding sexual misconduct.
III. Definitions Within The Policy
For the purposes of determining whether a course of conduct constitutes a violation of this Policy, the relevant definitions are listed below.
“Affirmative consent” is defined as a knowing, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. All references to “consent” in this policy will mean affirmative consent as defined in this policy.
The following principles, along with the above definition, will be used to evaluate whether affirmative consent was given:
- Consent to one form of sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other forms of sexual activity or to sexual activity in the future.
- A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.
- Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that they no longer want the sexual activity to continue.
- Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
- Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force or threat of harm.
- In accordance with New York state law, a person who is less than 17 years of age is incapable of consenting to sexual activity.
- When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.
“Complainant” means the individual who reportedly experienced sexual misconduct, regardless of whether such individual reports such sexual misconduct to the University or participates in the University’s conduct process for responding to complaints of sexual misconduct described herein.
“Dating violence” means violence 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 shall be 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. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual, physical, or psychological abuse, or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence” means a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by (i) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, (ii) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, (iii) a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, (iv) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of New York, or (v) 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.
“Intimidation” means unlawfully placing another person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack.
“Non-Fraternization” Even with consent, amorous or sexual relationships may not be conducted by persons in unequal positions. The University considers it inappropriate for any member of the faculty, administration, or staff to establish an intimate relationship with a student, subordinate, or colleague upon whose academic or work performance he or she will be required to make professional judgments. These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual who is in the position of power. Intimate relationships also have the potential to interfere with the University’s ability to provide an appropriate and safe working and learning environment for the University Community and may constitute sexual harassment or other unlawful discrimination. The University has adopted a comprehensive non-fraternization policy included in its Policy #704, Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment and Related Complaint Procedures.
“Privacy” means that dissemination of information relating to each report of sexual misconduct is limited to individuals who have a legitimate need to know in order to carry out their duties and responsibilities in accordance with this Policy and the law.
“Reporting Individual” means any individual who reports a violation of this Policy to the University.
“Respondent” means the individual alleged to have committed acts constituting sexual misconduct, regardless of whether such individual has entered into the University’s conduct process for responding to complaints of sexual misconduct described herein.
“Retaliation” means taking any adverse action or attempting to take adverse action, including intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint of sexual misconduct or participation in an investigation or proceeding related to alleged sexual misconduct.
“Sexual assault” includes non-consensual sexual intercourse and non-consensual sexual contact.
- “Non-consensual sexual intercourse” means any form of sexual penetration or intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral), however slight, with any body part or object by an individual upon another individual without consent and/or by force.
- “Non-consensual sexual contact” means any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object by an individual upon another individual without consent. Intentional sexual contact includes contact with the breasts, buttocks, or groin, or touching another with any of these body parts; making another person touch any of these body parts; and any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.
“Sexual coercion” is the application of unreasonable pressure, including emotionally or physically manipulative actions or statements, or direct or implied threats, in order to compel the person to engage in sexual activity.
“Sex 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 s/he deserved because of the student’s gender; denying an employee a raise or promotion because of the employee’s gender.
“Sexual exploitation” means any act whereby one person takes sexual advantage of another who has not provided consent. Sexual exploitation occurs when the perpetrator acts for his or her own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the person being exploited. Sexual exploitation includes the exposure of one’s self to another person without that person’s consent; it also includes recording, photographing, transmitting, viewing or distributing intimate or sexual images or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, observing others who are engaged in intimate or sexual situations without permission, acts of incest, or engaging in consensual activity with another person while knowingly infected with HIV or some other sexually transmitted disease without informing the other person of such infection.
“Sexual harassment” means unwelcome conduct, based on sex or on gender stereotypes, that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile, or offensive. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when: (1) submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education or campus life activities, or used as the basis of any academic, student life or employment decision (quid pro quo or “this for that”); or (2) such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive such that it limits an individual’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, the University’s education or work programs or activities (hostile environment).
- A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefitting from the University’s education or employment programs and/or activities when judged against a reasonable person standard.
- In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will consider the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:
- The frequency, nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct was an isolated incident or repeated
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
- The effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state;
- Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
- The relationship of the individuals involved in the conduct;
- Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
- Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the complainant’s educational or work performance and/or University programs or activities; and
- Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, posting sexually explicit or offensive material that does not serve an academic purpose; obscene or sexually offensive gestures and comments; lewdness; repeatedly subjecting a person to unwelcome sexual attention or sexual advances; requesting sexual favors; conditioning a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; engaging in inappropriate or unnecessary touching or rubbing against another; or making sexually suggestive or degrading jokes.
“Sexual misconduct” includes exposing a person to a range of unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by intimidation, coercion, threat or force. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, as well as people involved in intimate or sexual relationships. Sexual misconduct can occur between individuals of the same gender or opposite gender and in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
“Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress. For purposes of this definition:
- “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or other means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.
- “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
- “Reasonable person” means reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
Conduct that violates this Policy may also violate New York State laws and subject an individual to criminal prosecution. Sex Offenses under New York law are described in Sections 130.00 to 130.96 of the New York State Penal Code.
IV. Off Campus Options for Assistance
The University strongly encourages anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct or who has been the victim of a crime to seek immediate assistance to ensure physical safety and to obtain medical or other support services. There is a wide range of community resources available. Reports to these off-campus community resources will not constitute a report to the University and will not result in the University taking any action against the accused. Some of those options and resources, which may or may not charge service fees, include:
A. Medical or Emergency Assistance and Resources
Assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:
- Local Police and Emergency Assistance - Call 911
- Mount Sinai - Elmhurst Hospital Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program (SAVI), 79-01 Broadway Queens, NY 11373, 718-334-1418
- NYPD Special Victims Division 646-610-7272
- Safe Horizon Rape and Sexual Assault Hotline - (866) 689-HELP (4357)
- Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Hotline - (800) 621-HOPE (4673)
- New York State Office of Victim Services Toll Free Number – (800) 247-8035
- New York State Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 942-6906; Spanish: (800) 942-6908
- New York State Police Sexual Assault Hotline – (844) 845-7269
In addition to the above list, there are many other available resources. Students should refer to the Student Assault Resource Guide: Sexual Assault: You Are Not Alone.
B. Medical Examination for Preservation of Evidence
In instances involving physical injury or sexual assault, the University strongly encourages the complainant to obtain a medical examination to determine the extent of injuries. A hospital, with the complainant’s permission, will collect physical evidence in a sexual offense evidence collection kit. Consenting to the completion of a sexual offense evidence collection kit does not obligate the complainant to pursue criminal charges with the police; it is a way to preserve evidence should there be a choice to pursue criminal charges at a later time. Hospitals are required by law to preserve such evidence for a minimum of 30 days.
C. Law Enforcement Notification
In keeping with its commitment to taking all appropriate steps to eliminate, prevent, and remedy sexual misconduct, the University urges the complainant to report all instances of sexual misconduct or criminal activity to local law enforcement. Timing is a critical factor in collecting and preserving evidence that may assist in proving that the alleged sexual misconduct or crime occurred and may also be helpful in obtaining a protection or restraining order from the police. The complainant may contact local law enforcement directly, whether or not a complaint has been filed with the University. If requested, University representatives are available to assist the complainant in notifying law enforcement or legal service organizations to learn about these remedies. The complainant may also decline to notify law enforcement.
A person may report an incident to either the police or the University or to both.
Effect of Law Enforcement Notification: The filing of a complaint of sexual misconduct under this Policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding. The University will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation or to take any necessary interim remedies to protect the complainant and the University community. However, the University may temporarily delay its investigation to enable law enforcement to gather evidence and to engage in a preliminary investigation of sexual misconduct matters that may also violate state or federal law. Such delays will not last more than 10 days, except when law enforcement authorities specifically request and justify a longer delay.
The standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of this policy. Therefore, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual misconduct, for purposes of this policy, has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct under this policy even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and/or decline to prosecute.
Court Orders of Protection: Family court is an option for a person to seek a civil court order of protection in many circumstances. Upon request, Public Safety Officers are available to provide employees with information on how to seek an Order of Protection or a Temporary Restraining Order, but a public safety officer cannot request an Order of Protection or Temporary Restraining Order on behalf of an employee. A Public Safety Officer may provide a student with assistance in obtaining an order of protection.
If an order of protection is granted, the complainant will have the right to receive a copy of the order of protection when it is received by the University. The parties will also have the opportunity to speak with an appropriate University official who can explain the order and the consequences for violating the order (including but not limited to arrest, additional conduct charges, and interim suspension), and answer any questions about the order, including information about the respondent’s responsibility to stay away from the protected person(s). Additionally, if the respondent violates the order of protection, the complainant may receive assistance from the University in calling local law enforcement to inform them of the violation.
A. Confidential Versus Non-Confidential Resources
The University offers a number of confidential and non-confidential resources on-campus. The available reporting and confidential disclosure options are described below so individuals can make informed choices about where to turn should they become the victim of sexual misconduct. If you are unsure of a person’s reporting obligations, please ask.
B. Public Safety – Non-Confidential
A victim of any crime can seek assistance from the Department of Public Safety 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year. Supervisors are former ranking police officers who have prior experience working with crime victims. Seeking assistance from the Department of Public Safety ensures that a victim is properly supported by the University and the University can take steps to stop the sexual misconduct, prevent it from recurring, and remedy any effects.
- St. John’s Department of Public Safety, Public Safety Emergency Hotline: (718) 990-5252, or if on campus Ext. 5252.
- Campus Public Safety
- Queens Campus, ROTC Building: (718) 990-6281
- Staten Island Campus, Spellman Hall, Room 116: (718) 390-4487(8)
- Manhattan Campus, Front Desk: (212) 277-5155
- Hauppauge location: (718) 990-5252
- Global Sites Local Police and Emergency Assistance – Call 112
C. Center for Counseling and Consultation (for students) – Confidential
The Center for Counseling and Consultation has licensed mental health professionals available to provide free, confidential mental health counseling to students who have been affected by sexual misconduct. However, state law requires professional counselors to report when: (i) there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others; (ii) the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18; or (iii) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order.
The Center for Counseling and Consultation is located:
- Queens Campus, Marillac Hall, Room 130, (718) 990-6384
- Staten Island Campus, Flynn Hall, Room 115, (718) 390-4451
Confidential resources can connect you with other on or off-campus resources and explain the other options for assistance that are available to you as well. If you choose to file a formal report with the Title IX Coordinator and/or local law enforcement, these individuals may accompany you and support you through those processes if you so desire.
D. Campus Ministry
For Non-confidential support:
Campus ministers are available for spiritual support and referrals for follow up assistance outside of Campus Ministry.
For non-confidential spiritual support:
- Queens Marillac Hall, Room 239, (718) 990-6255
- Staten Island, Notre Dame House, (718) 390-4475
E. Medical Assistance or Support for Students – Confidential
Student Health Services has staff available for medical assistance or support:
F. Confidential Support Advisor for Students
The Confidential Support Advisor is a trained University administrator who serves as a confidential resource to students who have experienced sexual misconduct. The Confidential Support Advisor will provide information on University procedures, discuss all available interim remedies, and facilitate referrals for other support services. You do not need to disclose any information or personal details about an incident of sexual misconduct to access or receive interim remedies or support from the Confidential Support Advisor.
The Confidential Support Advisor is located on the Queens Campus in Marillac Hall, Room 130, (718) 990-6384.
The Confidential Support Advisor will maintain an individual’s disclosures as confidential, and will not report crimes to local law enforcement or the University, unless: (i) he or she is given permission to share information by the person who experienced the sexual misconduct; (ii) there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others; (iii) the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18; or (iv) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order.
G. Confidential Support and Resources for Employees
Employees who have experienced sexual misconduct are encouraged to obtain emotional support and/or counseling. Professional counselors are available for full-time faculty, administrators and staff through the free, confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. St. John’s University’s employees may speak with a counselor on the phone or schedule an appointment by calling: 1 (800) 833-8707 or go online to www.myccaonline.com. (Log in with company code: STJOHNS).
VI. Reporting Sexual Misconduct to Non-Confidential Resources at the University
The University is committed to providing a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation and resolution to all allegations of sexual misconduct. Therefore, the University encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct to the University in accordance with this Policy regardless of whether the incident took place on or off campus, and even if it is also reported to local law enforcement.
Once any of the individuals or offices listed below is notified of an incident of sexual misconduct, she/he will coordinate with the Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, to address the matter in accordance with the procedures outlined in this Policy, including implementing any appropriate reasonable interim remedies. Such reporting will enable complainants to get the support they need, and provide the University with the information it needs to take appropriate action. The individuals and offices listed below are not Confidential Resources. However, even University offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. This means that the information you provide in connection with a report will be shared only as necessary and on a need-to-know basis.
The following offices and individuals have been trained to receive and respond to allegations of violations of this policy.
- Title IX Coordinator, Yael Wepman (718) 990-2660, or Wepmany@stjohns.edu
- Deputy Title IX Coordinator / Dean of Students, Jackie Lochrie, Lochriej@stjohns.edu or (718) 990-6568, University Center, Division of Student Affairs
- Deputy Title IX Coordinator in Athletics, Kathleen Meehan, Meehank@stjohns.edu or (718) 990-6173, Athletic Department, Lou Carnesecca Arena, Room 157
- Department of Public Safety: (718) 990-6281 or (718) 990-5252
All University employees (except for those employees who have a recognized confidentiality privilege such as a Campus Minister or Confidential Support Advisor) are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, a Deputy Title IX Coordinator and/or the Department of Public Safety.
A. Reports of Sexual Misconduct from Others and/or Anonymous Sources
If the University receives a report of alleged sexual misconduct by someone other than the victim (e.g., the reporting individual is a friend or coworker) or from an anonymous source, the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will promptly notify the victim of the report, and inform the victim of the available resources and assistance. The University will respond to the report of sexual misconduct as if the victim had made the initial report. The University will accept anonymous reports. However, due to the nature of anonymous reports, the University’s ability to take responsive action may be limited.
B. Time for Reporting
There is no time limit for reporting sexual misconduct to the University under this Policy. Nevertheless, any member of the University community who believes that he or she has been a victim of sexual misconduct is encouraged to report the alleged sexual misconduct immediately in order to maximize the University’s ability to obtain evidence and conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation.
C. Alcohol and Drug-Use Amnesty Policy
The health and safety of every student at the University is of utmost importance. The University realizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that sexual misconduct occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. The University strongly encourages students to promptly report any incident of sexual misconduct to University officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith who discloses any incident of sexual misconduct to University officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the University’s Code of Conduct for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the sexual misconduct.
In any investigatory or disciplinary proceeding and any related meeting held under this policy, the complainant and respondent have the right to choose and consult with an advisor. The advisor may be any person who is not otherwise a party or witness involved in the investigation. The parties may be accompanied by their respective advisors (at the party’s own expense if the advisor is a paid advisor) at any meeting or proceeding related to the investigation and resolution of a complaint under this Policy. Advisors cannot actively participate or speak on behalf of the complainant or respondent. The choice of whether or not to invite an advisor is solely that of the complainant and respondent. If any advisor’s conduct is not consistent with these guidelines, he or she may be excluded from the process. The University reserves the right to have its own legal counsel present during the adjudication process.
Any faculty member who is accused of sexual misconduct will be advised that he/she may be accompanied by a union representative to any interviews in connection with the subject matter of the complaint in accordance with the procedures outlined in the University’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
E. Requests for Confidentiality
After a report of sexual misconduct has been made to the University, a Complainant may request that the matter be investigated without revealing his/her identity or that the University not investigate the complaint.
The Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will weigh the Complainant’s request for confidentiality or not to investigate against the University’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for the University community and decide whether the request can be honored. Some, but not all, of the factors that are reviewed when assessing a complainant’s request for confidentiality or not to pursue the investigation, include:
- whether there have been other sexual misconduct complaints about the same respondent;
- whether the respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
- whether the incident represents escalation and unlawful conduct on behalf of the respondent from previously noted behavior;
- whether there is an increased risk that the respondent will commit additional acts of violence;
- whether the sexual misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
- whether the complainant’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group;
- whether the alleged sexual misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
- the age of the complainant;
- the seriousness of the offense;
- whether the University has other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personal, physical evidence).
If, after considering these factors, the Title IX Coordinator or designee, determines that the University may honor the request for confidentiality or not to investigate, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will notify the Complainant of the decision and that, when confidentiality has been requested, the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the allegations and pursue disciplinary action may be limited. A decision to maintain confidentiality of the Complainant’s identity does not mean that confidentiality can be absolutely guaranteed in all circumstances, but only that all efforts will be undertaken to keep the complainant’s identity confidential. Ultimately, the University retains the right to act upon any information that comes to its attention.
In all cases, the University will take appropriate steps to mitigate the effects of sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and provide ongoing assistance and support, including where appropriate, any interim remedies as set forth in Section VII, D of this Policy.
The University will also consider broader remedial action, such as increased monitoring and/or security at locations where the reported sexual misconduct occurred, increasing training, education and prevention efforts, and conducting climate surveys.
VII. Process for Investigating and Resolving Complaints of Sexual Misconduct
The University will take all available steps to promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate and address complaints of sexual misconduct by and against its students, employees and third parties (including visitors and community members), in order to stop prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and address any effects on campus.
A. Evidentiary Standard
The evidentiary standard in determining the facts will be based upon a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., a finding that it is more likely than not that the alleged sexual misconduct occurred or did not occur.
B. Initial Assessment
Once a complaint or notice of any allegation of sexual misconduct is received, the Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will make an initial assessment of the reported information and respond to any immediate health or safety concerns raised by the report, including interim remedies.
The Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will provide the complainant with a general understanding of this Policy and the process for responding to complaints of sexual misconduct. The complainant will be provided with a written explanation of all available resources and options (e.g., reporting to appropriate law enforcement agencies; referrals for medical treatment at local hospitals and trauma centers) and the opportunity to discuss those resources and options. The complainant will also be advised of the right to an advisor of his or her choice to accompany him or her to all meetings in relation to these Procedures.
The Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will also explain the University’s prohibition against retaliation and that the University will take prompt action in response to any act of retaliation. (See Section VIII for a complete explanation of this Policy’s prohibition of Retaliation).
C. Preliminary Investigation
An investigator will conduct a preliminary investigation and the Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will assess whether this Policy or the Student Code of Conduct may have been violated. If the Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, determines that this Policy or the Code of Conduct may have been violated, the Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will notify the respondent in writing that a complaint has been filed and provide the factual allegations concerning the alleged violation, and possible sanctions.
The Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will schedule a meeting with the respondent, within a reasonable amount of time, and ensure the respondent is provided with a written explanation of all available resources and options, and is offered the opportunity to meet to discuss those resources and options.
Upon the preliminary investigation, the Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, may determine that an effective remedy designed to prevent recurrence and address the effects on the complainant and community can be implemented. Such remedies include, but are not limited to: No Contact Orders; separating the parties; placing limitations on the parties; adjusting work schedules; adjusting student housing or living arrangements; or reasonable academic adjustments. Where the respondent is not a member of the University Community, the matter may be referred to law enforcement, and to the extent the identity of the third party is known, the University’s Department of Public Safety will issue a “No Trespass” letter to the third party denying access to the University’s buildings or grounds for acting in a manner that disrupts or disturbs the normal educational functions of the institution.
D. Interim Remedies
The University offers a wide range of interim remedies for students and employees designed to stop the alleged sexual misconduct, and/or to protect the safety and wellbeing of the individuals involved and the University Community. Interim remedies may be temporary or permanent and are available regardless of whether a complainant chooses to report the crime to law enforcement or pursues a complaint or investigation under this Policy. Such remedies include, but are not limited to: adjustments to housing or living arrangements or academic or University work schedules; transportation assistance including security escorts; issuing No Contact Orders and No Trespass Orders; and interim suspension and suspension from employment (with or without pay).
Requests for interim remedies in connection with an incident of sexual misconduct should be made to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or a designee. The University will grant such interim remedies, provided they are reasonable and available. The Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, may also initiate interim remedies to immediately respond to a situation.
The Title IX Coordinator may impose a “No Contact Order,” which typically will include a directive that the parties refrain from having contact with one another, directly or indirectly, including personal contact, e-mail, telephone, text message, social media, or by means of a third party.
Both the complainant and respondent may request a prompt review, reasonable under the circumstances, of the need forand terms of a No Contact Order, interim suspension or other interim remedies. Such a request may be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, providing the basis for that request and any evidence to support 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 submission of evidence if desired. The Title IX Coordinator, or a designee, will determine within a reasonable time frame, but generally no later than one calendar week from when the request was made (including the parties’ submission of any evidence), whether there will be any modification.
An individual who wishes to report a violation of a No Contact Order can contact the Title IX Coordinator. If the complainant and the respondent observe each other in a public place, it shall be the responsibility of the respondent to leave the area immediately. Any individual who violates a No Contact Order is subject to disciplinary action.
E. Time Frame for Investigation and Resolution
While the time to resolve a reported incident will vary from case to case, depending on the specific facts and circumstances, it is expected that in most cases complaints will be resolved within 60 days. If the process will take longer than 60 days, both the complainant and the respondent will be notified.
F. Notice of Outcome
G. Possible Sanctions
Possible sanctions for employees can include, but are not limited to, a letter of reprimand, a warning letter, demotion, suspension or termination from the University, or other appropriate sanctions.
Possible sanctions for students can include, but are not limited to, a formal warning, housing probation, University premises restriction, suspension or expulsion from the University’s housing, student life probation, University disciplinary probation and suspension or expulsion from the University. For a complete listing of the possible sanctions for a violation of the Code of Conduct, refer to: http://www.stjohns.edu/student-life/student-conduct/conduct-process/university-sanctions
If the University concludes that the respondent is responsible for a violation of this policy, based on a preponderance of the evidence, both the complainant and respondent shall have the opportunity to submit a written impact statement to the decision-maker prior to a determination of an appropriate sanction(s). In making a determination regarding sanctions, the decision-maker may consider the parties’ impact statements, if any, and may also consult with the Title IX Coordinator and other appropriate University officials. The respondent’s disciplinary history, including, but not limited to, past findings of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault, may be considered for purposes of determining an appropriate sanction.
For those crimes of violence that the University 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;
- Expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation; or
- Withdrew with conduct charges pending.
Transcript notations for suspensions may be removed at the discretion of the University; but no earlier than one (1) year after the conclusion of the suspension. Transcript notations for expulsion shall not be removed.
The University has distinct procedures for the investigation and resolution of:
- Complaints against students (Student Code of Conduct);
- Complaints against faculty (Investigation and Resolution as set forth below, and applicable University procedures as provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and University Statutes in taking any disciplinary action);
- Complaints against staff and administrators (as set forth below).
Any community member may make a complaint pursuant to these policies. The applicable procedure for remedying a complaint depends on whether the accused is a student, member of the faculty, or staff or administrator. For instance, a complaint brought by a faculty member against a student would be processed pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct; a complaint by a student against an administrator would be processed pursuant to this Policy; and a complaint by an administrator against a faculty member would be investigated in accordance with this Policy and the resolution process outlined in the University Statutes; and so on.
In cases where the person accused of sexual misconduct is neither a student nor an employee of the University, the University’s ability to take responsive action is extremely limited. However, the University shall take all appropriate steps within its control to ensure a safe and nondiscriminatory campus community such as restricting the visitor’s access to campus, and/or referring the matter to local law enforcement for legal action, where appropriate.
A. Process for Investigation and Resolution
Within fourteen (14) days after receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will assign a specially trained investigator (or team of investigators) to investigate the complaint unless the complainant has requested that the University refrain from such an investigation and the University has determined that it may do so. The nature and extent of the investigation will vary based on the specific circumstances of the incident. While the complainant is not required to provide a written statement regarding the complaint, such a written statement or other written materials related to the complaint will be reviewed, if made available to the investigator(s).
Whenever possible, and as appropriate, the investigator(s) will interview the complainant, respondent and any witnesses. The investigator(s) will gather any pertinent evidence. The investigator(s) will not interview any witnesses for the sole purpose of obtaining character information. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will prepare a written report detailing the relevant content from the interviews and any documentary evidence gathered.
The procedures for Investigation will comply with the following:
- Timely notice of meetings will be provided to the parties, and both parties are entitled to the same opportunities to have an advisor of his/her choice present during any meeting, investigation or disciplinary proceeding.
- Throughout the investigation, the complainant and the respondent will have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence,
- The investigator(s) will direct the complainant, respondent, witnesses and other interested individuals to preserve any relevant evidence.
- Participants in an investigation shall be advised to refrain from discussing the matter during the pendency of the investigation in order to protect the privacy of the individuals involved and to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
- Information related to or concerning the romantic or sexual history of either the complainant or the respondent will not be considered except from either the complainant or respondent regarding their shared sexual history. If either offers such information, the other will have the right to respond.
- At any stage of the investigation, the investigator(s) may consult with the Office of General Counsel or other University officials, as appropriate.
- Any University officials involved will not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against any party.
- Investigations will be conducted by administrators who receive annual training on the issues related to sexual misconduct.
- Both the complainant and the respondent will be simultaneously informed, in writing of: a) the outcome of any investigation that arises from an allegation of sexual misconduct; and b) if either the complainant or the respondent is a student, the University’s procedures for the complainant and respondent to appeal the findings.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) makes a determination of the facts and a recommendation for resolution, including possible disciplinary sanctions, to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, or designee, as to whether, based upon careful review of all the information collected during the investigation, the respondent more likely than not engaged in sexual misconduct. The Associate Vice President, along with the Title IX Coordinator and/or her designee, shall determine whether or not the respondent is responsible for sexual misconduct in violation of this policy. Any employee who, upon investigation, has been found to have violated this policy, will be subject to disciplinary action including, but not limited to: letter of reprimand or warning; probation; suspension (with or without pay); termination; or other discipline or resolution deemed appropriate based on the circumstances and severity of the findings of fact. The University will follow applicable University procedures, including those provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and University Statutes, in taking any disciplinary action.
IX. Prohibition on Retaliation
- The University prohibits retaliation against any person who reports sexual misconduct or participates in the investigation of any allegation of sexual misconduct, including participating as a witness. Prohibited retaliation may include taking adverse action or treatment that leads to a negative impact on an individual’s employment or educational experience.
- Any member of the University community or third party who attempts either directly or indirectly to intimidate, threaten, retaliate, interfere with, restrain, coerce, discriminate against, violate a University No Contact Order, or harass any person for reporting, attempting to report, or responsibly pursuing a complaint, or is a witness cooperating in a University investigation regarding possible violations of any of the University’s policies regarding sexual misconduct, will be subject to prompt and appropriate disciplinary action, including possible termination or expulsion from the University.
- Retaliation should be reported promptly to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. Reports of retaliation will be investigated, and such conduct may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction(s) or interim remedies imposed in response to the underlying allegations of sexual misconduct.
X. Prevention and Awareness Education Programs
Creating a safe and respectful environment is the responsibility of all members of the community. To promote and maintain this environment, the University engages in comprehensive educational programming to prevent sexual misconduct. The University provides primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and employees, and ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for all students and employees.
The University educates the student community about sexual misconduct through its mandatory new student orientation program that includes an online learning component and interactive peer theater and ongoing programming initiatives throughout the students’ time at the University. Such programming and courses provide students with information about safety and security procedures, the University’s procedures for responding to reports of sexual misconduct, options for safe and positive bystander intervention, and information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks. Public awareness events, such as “Take Back the Night” candlelight vigils or other forums in which students disclose incidents of sexual violence, are not considered notice to the University of sexual misconduct for purposes of triggering its obligation to investigate any particular incident(s). Such events may, however, inform the need for further campus-wide education and prevention efforts, and the University will provide information about an individual’s Title IX rights at these events. For additional information about the University’s sexual misconduct prevention and awareness programming, please contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator.
XI. Clery Act Compliance
The University is required to include for statistical reporting purposes the occurrence of certain incidents in its Annual Security Report (ASR). Names of individuals involved in incidents are not reported or disclosed in the ASR. In the case of an emergency or ongoing dangerous situation, the University will issue a timely warning to the campus. In such circumstances, the name of the alleged perpetrator may be disclosed to the community, but the name of the Complainant will not be disclosed. The University’s ASR is publicly available and posted to the St. John’s University website, via a link on the Public Safety webpage.
XII. Policy Compliance
Questions regarding Title IX, the Campus SaVE Act and/or Article 129-B of the New York State Education Law may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or a designee. Questions regarding Title IX may also be referred to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. OCR may be contacted at 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100 or (800) 421-3481.
St. John's University, New York
Human Resources Policy Manual