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20.0 Discrimination and Harassment
SUNY Canton does not discriminate in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in its programs. See the SUNY Canton Non-Discrimination Notice.
20.1 Complaint Procedure
Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against may file a complaint with Human Resources 315-386-7325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This procedure may be used by any student or employee of a state-operated campus of the University, as well as third parties who are participating in a University-sponsored program or affiliated activity. Employee grievance procedures established through negotiated contracts, academic grievance review committees, student disciplinary grievance boards, and any other procedures defined by contract will continue to operate as before. Furthermore, this procedure does not in any way deprive a complainant of the right to file with outside enforcement agencies, such as the New York State Division of Human Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance of the United States Department of Labor. However, after filing with one of these outside enforcement agencies, or upon the initiation of litigation, the complaint will be referred to the campus Affirmative Action Officer, or in the case of sex discrimination, the Title IX Coordinator (hereinafter “AAO” will refer to both the Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX Coordinator), for investigation with the Office of General Counsel. Contact information for these agencies is listed in Appendix A. More detailed information may be obtained from the campus or SUNY-wide AAO.
All campuses must use this procedure unless the campus has made an application for an exception. Requests for an exception, along with a copy of the requesting campus’s discrimination complaint procedure, must be filed with the Office of General Counsel. The request for an exception will be acted upon by the Office of General Counsel after a review of the campus’s complaint procedure. The AAO on each University campus and the AAO for the SUNY System Office, who receives any complaint of alleged discrimination, shall inform the complainant about the complaint process and other options to resolve the issue, assist the complainant in the use of the complaint form and understanding the nature of the incident, and provide the complainant with information about various internal and external mechanisms through which the complaint may be filed, including applicable time limits for filing with each agency.
Upon receipt of a sex discrimination complaint or report, each University campus and the SUNY System Office will provide the complainant with a written notice describing the available options, including pursuing a criminal complaint with a law enforcement agency, pursuing SUNY’s investigation and disciplinary process, or pursuing both options at the same time; and the potential consequences of pursuing both options (i.e., possible temporary delay of the fact-finding aspect of SUNY’s investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence). Additionally, the Title IX Coordinator will ensure that complainants in sex discrimination cases are made aware of their Title IX rights, available remedies and resources on- and off-campus (such as counseling, local rape crisis center), and interim measures of protection. For more information, see the Students’ Bill of Rights. Assistance will be available whether or not a formal complaint is contemplated, or even possible.
All distributed and published versions of this procedure must contain the name or title, office address, email address, and telephone number of the individual with whom to file a complaint for each campus location, and for System Administration.
The following Discrimination Compliant Procedure applies to both the informal and formal processes. This procedure provides a mechanism through which the University may identify, respond to, and prevent incidents of illegal discrimination. The University recognizes and accepts its responsibility in this regard, and believes that the establishment of this internal grievance process will benefit student, faculty, staff, and administration, permitting investigation and resolution of problems.
SUNY, through the [relevant office per campus or System], reserves the right to promptly investigate all incidents of sex discrimination of which the campus and/or SUNY system office has notice. Based on information received, the Title IX Coordinator and AAO will make reasonable efforts to investigate and address instances of sex discrimination when it knows or should have known about such instances, regardless of complainant cooperation and involvement, consistent with the SUNY Policies on Sexual Violence Prevention and Response, including the Options for Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence.
SUNY will comply with law enforcement requests for cooperation, and such cooperation may require the campus to temporarily delay the fact-finding aspect of an investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. The campus will resume its investigation as soon as it is notified by the law enforcement agency that it has completed the evidence-gathering process. SUNY will implement appropriate interim steps during the law enforcement agency’s investigation period to provide for the safety of the victim(s) and the campus community, as described below.
The complainant is not required to pursue the University internal procedures before filing a complaint with a state or federal agency. In addition, if the complainant chooses to pursue the University internal procedure, the complainant is free to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency at any point during the process.
During any portion of the procedures detailed hereafter, the parties shall not employ audio or video taping devices. Complaints and investigations will be kept confidential to the extent possible.
Retaliation against a person who files a complaint, serves as a witness, or assists or participates in any manner in this procedure, is strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action. Retaliation is an adverse action taken against an individual as a result of complaining about unlawful discrimination or harassment, exercising a legal right, and/or participating in a complaint investigation as a third-party witness. Participants who experience retaliation should contact the campus AAO, and may file a complaint pursuant to these procedures.
Complaint Consultation and Review
Any student or employee, or any third party may consult with the AAO regarding potential discrimination or harassment. This initial contact may occur by telephone, email, or in person--the latter being preferred.
It is the responsibility of the AAO to respond to all such inquiries, reports, and requests as promptly as possible, and in a manner appropriate to the particular circumstances. This response may include interim measures to protect the parties during the investigation process. Interim measures will not disproportionately impact the complainant. Interim measures for students may include, but are not limited to, information about how to obtain counseling and academic assistance in the event of sexual assault, and steps to take if the accused individual lives on campus and/or attends class with the complainant. Interim measures involving employees in collective bargaining units should be determined in consultation with campus employee-relations departments.
Complaints or concerns that are reported to an administrator, manager or supervisor, concerning an act of discrimination or harassment, or acts of discrimination or harassment that administrators, managers, or supervisors observe or become aware of, shall be immediately referred to the AAO. Employees with Title IX compliance responsibilities and/or employees who have the authority to take action to redress the harassment, must report any complaints to the Title IX Coordinator. Employees who observe or become aware of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, should report this information to the campus Title IX Coordinator. Complaints may also be made directly to the AAO by anyone who experiences, observes, or becomes aware of discrimination or harassment.
Filing Complaints and Time Limits
Although in limited circumstances, verbal complaints may be acted upon, the procedures set forth here rest upon the submission of a written complaint that will enable there to be a full and fair investigation of the facts. The University prefers written complaints. It is the complainant’s responsibility to be certain that any complaint is filed within the applicable time limit.
If the complainant brings a complaint beyond the period in which the complaint may be addressed under these procedures, the AAO may terminate any further processing of the complaint, refer the complaint to the Office of General Counsel, or direct the complainant to an alternative forum (Appendix A). Complaints of sex discrimination brought forth beyond the 180-day period will be tracked and investigated to the extent possible, consistent with the campus Title IX obligations, including the Title IX Coordinator’s duties to spot patterns and address systemic issues.
All complaints must be submitted on the forms provided by the University. The Charge of Discrimination form will be used for both the initiation of complaints under the informal procedure, and the conversion of the complaint to the formal procedure. The AAO is available to assist in preparing the complaint.
As soon as reasonably possible, after the date of filing of the complaint, the AAO will mail a notice of the complaint to the filer and a copy of the complaint to the respondent(s).
Employees: Employees must file a written complaint with the AAO within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act, or the date on which the complainant first knew or reasonably should have known of such act.
Students: Students must file a complaint within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act, or 90 calendar days after a final grade is received, for the semester during which the discriminatory acts occurred, if that date is later.
The complaint shall contain:
- The name, local and permanent address(es), telephone number(s), and status (faculty, staff, student, third party) of the complainant.
- A statement of facts explaining what happened and what the complainant believes constituted the unlawful discriminatory acts in sufficient detail to give each respondent reasonable notice of what is claimed against them. The statement should include the date, approximate time and place where the alleged acts of unlawful discrimination or harassment occurred. If the acts occurred on more than one date, the statement should also include the last date on which the acts occurred as well as detailed information about the prior acts. The names of any potential witnesses should be provided.
- The name(s), address(s) and telephone number(s) of the respondent(s), i.e., the person(s) claimed to have committed the act(s) of unlawful discrimination.
- Identification of the status of the persons charged whether faculty, staff, or student.
- A statement indicating whether or not the complainant has filed or reported information concerning the incidents referred to in the complaint with a non-campus official or agency, under any other complaint, or complaint procedure. If an external complaint has been filed, the statement should indicate the name of the department or agency with which the information was filed and its address.
- A description of any corrective or remedial action that the complainant would like to see taken.
- Such other or supplemental information as may be requested.
- Signature of complainant and the date complaint signed.
If a complainant elects to have the matter dealt with in an informal manner, the AAO will attempt to reasonably resolve the problem to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
In seeking an informal resolution, the AAO shall attempt to review all relevant information, interview pertinent witnesses, and bring together the complainant and the respondent, if desirable. Complaints of sexual violence will not be resolved by using mediation, but instead must be referred immediately to the campus Title IX Coordinator. The complainant will not be required to resolve the problem directly with the respondent in cases of sex discrimination.
If a resolution satisfactory to both the complainant and the respondent is reached within 24 calendar days from the filing of the complaint, through the efforts of the AAO, the officer shall close the case, sending a written notice to that effect to the complainant and respondent. The written notice, a copy of which shall be attached to the original complaint form in the officer’s file, shall contain the terms of any agreement reached by complainant and respondent, and shall be signed and dated by the complainant, the respondent, and the AAO.
If the AAO is unable to resolve the complaint to the mutual satisfaction of the complainant and respondent within 24 calendar days from the filing of the complaint, the AAO shall so notify the complainant. The AAO shall again advise the complainant of their right to proceed to the next step internally, and/or the right to separately file with appropriate external enforcement agencies.
The time limitations set forth above may be extended by mutual agreement of the complainant and respondent with the approval of the AAO. Such extension shall be confirmed in writing by the complainant and respondent. The AAO will also have the discretion to reasonably extend the deadlines if an investigation is deemed complex.
The complainant may elect to end the informal resolution process, and proceed to the formal resolution procedure at any time after the Charge of Discrimination form is filed.
The formal complaint proceeding is commenced by the filing of a complaint form as described above. The 180-day time limit also applies to the filing of a formal complaint. If the complainant first pursued the informal process, and subsequently wishes to pursue a formal complaint, they may do so by checking the appropriate box, and signing and dating the complaint form.
The complaint, together with a statement from the AAO indicating that informal resolution was not possible, if applicable, shall be forwarded to the chairperson of the campus Affirmative Action Committee within seven calendar days from the filing of the formal complaint. If an informal resolution was not pursued, the AAO shall forward the complaint to the chairperson of the campus Affirmative Action Committee within seven calendar days from the filing of the complaint.
Notice to Parties: Upon receipt of a complaint, the AAO will provide an initialed, signed, date-stamped copy of the complaint to the complainant. As soon as reasonably possible after the date of filing of the complaint, the AAO will mail a notice of complaint and a copy of the complaint to the respondent(s). Alternatively, such notice with a copy of the complaint may be given by personal delivery, provided such delivery is made by the AAO (or designee) and, that proper proof of such delivery, including the date, time and place where such delivery occurred, is entered in the records maintained by or for the AAO.
Tripartite Panel Selection: Within seven calendar days of receipt of the complaint, the chairperson of the campus Affirmative Action Committee shall send notification to the complainant, the respondent, and the campus president that a review of the matter shall take place by a tripartite panel to be selected by the complainant and the Respondent from a pre-selected pool of eligible participants.
The tripartite panel shall consist of one member of the preselected pool chosen by the complainant, one member chosen by the respondent, and a third chosen by the other two designees. The panel members shall choose a chair among themselves. Selection must be completed, and written notification of designees submitted, to the chairperson of the campus Affirmative Action Committee no later than seven calendar days after the complainant, the respondent, and the campus President received notice under paragraph four above. If the President is the respondent, then the third member of the panel shall be selected by the Chancellor or designee at System Administration.
In the event that the procedural requirements governing the selection of the tripartite panel are not completed within seven calendar days after notification, the chairperson of the campus Affirmative Action Committee shall complete the selection process.
Panel Review: The tripartite panel shall review all relevant information, interview pertinent witnesses, and, at their discretion, hear testimony from the complainant and the respondent, if desirable. Both the complainant and the respondent(s) shall be entitled to submit written statements and/or other relevant material evidence and witnesses, and to provide rebuttal to the written record compiled by the tripartite panel. The complainant and respondent have the right to request alternative arrangements if the complainant does not want to be in the same room as the other party. These alternative arrangements must be consistent with the rights of the accused, and must enable both parties and the panel to hear each other during any hearing.
Findings and Recommendations: Within 15 calendar days from the completion of selection of the panel, the chairperson of the tripartite panel shall submit a summary of its findings, and the panel’s recommendation(s) for further action, on a form to be provided by the AAO, to the President. The burden of proof in cases of discrimination is preponderance of the evidence. If the President is the respondent, the findings and recommendation shall be submitted to the Chancellor or their designee. When the panel transmits the summary of its findings and the panel’s recommendations to the President, the panel will also send, concurrently, copies of both the summary of its findings and recommendation(s) to the complainant, respondent, and the AAO.
Within ten calendar days of receipt of the written summary, the President or designee shall issue a written statement to the complainant and respondent, indicating what action the President proposes to take. The President or designee will use the preponderance of the evidence standard. The action proposed by the President or designee may consist of:
- A determination that the complaint was not substantiated; or
- A determination that the complaint was substantiated.
- For employees (including student employees) not in a collective bargaining unit: The President may take such administrative action as they deem appropriate under their authority as the Chief Administrative Officer of the College, including but not limited to, termination, demotion, reassignment, suspension, reprimand, or training.
- For students: The President may determine that sufficient information exists to refer the matter to the student judiciary, or other appropriate disciplinary panel for review, and appropriate action under the appropriate student conduct code. For examples of sanctions, please see the relevant section of the applicable student code of conduct.
- For employees in collective bargaining units: The President may determine that sufficient information exists to refer the matter to their designee for investigation and disciplinary action, or other action as may be appropriate under the applicable collective bargaining agreement. The disciplinary process and potential outcomes are described in the applicable collective bargaining agreements.
The action of the President shall be final. If the President is the respondent, the Chancellor or their designee shall issue a written statement indicating what action the Chancellor proposes to take. The Chancellor’s decision shall be final for purposes of this discrimination procedure.
Notice of outcome: No later than seven calendar days following issuance of the statement by the President or the Chancellor, as the case may be, the AAO shall issue a letter to the complainant and to the respondent(s) advising them that the matter, for purposes of this discrimination procedure, is closed. In cases of sex discrimination, notice of outcome will include the sanctions, as appropriate.
Time limitations: The time limitations set forth above may be extended by mutual agreement of the complainant and respondent with the approval of the panel. The panel will also have the discretion to reasonably extend the deadlines if an investigation is deemed complex. Such extension shall be confirmed in writing to the parties.
External Agencies: If the complainant is dissatisfied with the President’s or Chancellor’s decision, the complainant may elect to file a complaint with one or more state and federal agencies. The campus AAO will provide general information on state and federal guidelines and laws, as well as names and addresses of various enforcement agencies (Appendix A).
Harassment on the Basis of Protected Characteristic(s) other than Sex/Gender: Harassment based on race, color, age, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics is oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an individual’s protected characteristics that is sufficiently severe and/or serious, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the educational institution’s programs or activities.
Sex Discrimination: Behaviors and actions that deny or limit a person’s ability to benefit from, and/or fully participate in the educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex. This includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties. Employees should report sex discrimination, including but not limited to, sexual harassment and assault that they observe or become aware of, to the Title IX Coordinator.
Sexual Harassment in the Educational Setting: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment of a student denies or limits, on the basis of sex, the student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the educational institution’s program.
Sexual Harassment in the Employment Setting: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when any of the following occurs:
- Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s continued employment, promotion, or other condition of employment.
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting an employee or job applicant.
- Such conduct is intended to interfere, or results in interference, with an employee’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Preponderance of the Evidence: The standard of proof in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases which asks whether it is “more likely than not” that the sexual harassment or sexual violence occurred. If the evidence presented meets this standard, then the accused should be found responsible.
20.2 Hate Crimes and the Law
It is a State University of New York at Canton University Police’s commitment to protect all members of the SUNY Canton community by preventing and prosecuting bias or hate crimes that occur within the campus’s jurisdiction.
Hate crimes, also called bias crimes or bias-related crimes, are criminal activity motivated by the perpetrator’s bias or attitude against an individual victim or group based on perceived or actual personal characteristics, such as their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Hate/bias crimes have received renewed attention in recent years, particularly since the passage of the Federal Hate/Bias Crime Reporting Act of 1990 and the New York State Hate Crimes Act of 2000 (Penal Law Article 485). Copies of the New York law are available from the University Police Department.
Penalties for bias-related crimes are very serious and range from fines to imprisonment for lengthy periods, depending on the nature of the underlying criminal offense, the use of violence or previous convictions of the offender. Perpetrators who are students will also be subject to campus disciplinary procedures where sanctions including dismissal are possible.
In addition to preventing and prosecuting hate/bias crimes, State University of New York at Canton University Police also assist in addressing bias-related activities that do not rise to the level of a crime. These activities, referred to as bias incidents and defined by the University as acts of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation directed at a member or group with the SUNY Canton community based on national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, color, creed, or marital status, may be addressed through the State University’s discrimination complaint procedure or the campus conduct code. Bias incidents can be reported to University Police as well as to any college official.
If you are a victim of, or witness to, a bias crime on campus, report it to University Police by calling 315-386-7777 in an emergency, by using an Emergency Blue Light, or by stopping at the University Police Department. University Police will investigate and follow the appropriate adjudication procedures.
Victims of bias crime or bias incidents can avail themselves of counseling and support services from the campus by contacting the Counseling Center at 315-386-7314 or Office of Diversity at 315-386-7128.
For general information on the State University of New York at Canton security procedures, see our website, Handbook, Jeanne Clery Disclosure Act, or call University Police at 315-386-7777.
More information about bias-related and bias crimes, including up-to-date statistics on bias crimes, is available from University Police at 315-386-7777.
20.3 Workplace Violence
SUNY Canton is committed to providing a safe work environment for all employees that is free from intimidation, threats, and violent acts. The College will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence, and acts of aggression by employees or against employees by co-workers, members of the public, or others.
SUNY Canton will not tolerate any act or threat of violence made in the workplace, on College property, or while in work status. No person may engage in violent conduct or make threats of violence, implied or direct, on SUNY Canton property or in connection with College business. This includes, but is not limited to:
- The use of force with the intent to cause harm e.g., physical attacks, any unwanted contact such as hitting, fighting, pushing or throwing objects.
- Behavior that diminishes the dignity of others through sexual, racial, religious, or ethnic disparagement, or harassment.
- Acts or threats which are intended to intimidate, harass, threaten, bully, coerce, or cause fear of harm whether directly or indirectly.
- Acts or threats made directly or indirectly by oral or written words, gestures, or symbols that communicate a direct or indirect threat of physical or mental harm.
No person, without legal authority, may carry, possess, or use any dangerous weapon on SUNY Canton property or in College buildings or facilities. Unauthorized possession or use of firearms, knives (except non-spring pocket knives), or other weapons or explosives are prohibited.
Incidents of workplace violence, threats of workplace violence, or observations of workplace violence are not to be ignored by any member of the SUNY Canton community. Workplace violence should be promptly reported to University Police at 315-386-7777. Additionally, all members of the College community are encouraged to report behavior they reasonably believe poses a potential for workplace violence in order to maintain a safe working and learning environment. Every threat will be taken seriously and must be reported. Employees who commit a violent act or threaten to commit a violent act are subject to disciplinary action and/or civil/criminal prosecution as appropriate. Any individual who makes a substantial threat, exhibits threatening behavior, or engages in violent acts on SUNY Canton property shall be subject to removal from the premises as quickly as safety permits, pending the outcome of an investigation.
To view the full Workplace Violence Policy.
20.4 Title IX Grievance Policy
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits any person in the United States from being discriminated against on the basis of sex in seeking access to any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education, which enforces Title IX, has long defined the meaning of Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination broadly to include various forms of sexual harassment and sexual violence that interfere with a student’s ability to equally access our educational programs and opportunities.
On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that:
- Defines the meaning of “sexual harassment” (including forms of sex-based violence)
- Addresses how this institution must respond to reports of misconduct falling within that definition of sexual harassment, and
- Mandates a grievance process that this institution must follow to comply with the law in these specific covered cases before issuing a disciplinary sanction against a person accused of sexual harassment. (See 85 Fed. Reg. 30026 (May 19, 2020)).
- Based on the Final Rule, SUNY Canton will implement the following Title IX Grievance Policy, effective August 14, 2020.
How does the Title IX Grievance Policy impact other campus disciplinary policies?
In recent years, “Title IX” cases have become a shorthand for any campus disciplinary process involving sex discrimination, including those arising from sexual harassment and sexual assault. But under the Final Rule, SUNY Canton must narrow both the geographic scope of its authority to act under Title IX and the types of “sexual harassment” that it must subject to its Title IX investigation and adjudication process. Only incidents falling within the Final Rule’s definition of sexual harassment will be investigated and, if appropriate, brought to a live hearing through the Title IX Grievance Policy defined below.
SUNY Canton remains committed to addressing any violations of its policies, even those not meeting the narrow standards defined under the Title IX Final Rule.
Specifically, our campus has:
- A Code of Conduct that defines certain behavior as a violation of campus policy, including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, and related sex-based offenses. These violations are defined in Section 15.1: Definitions and charges for these offenses are listed under Section 15.4: Prohibited Conduct.
- To the extent that alleged misconduct falls outside the Title IX Grievance Policy, or misconduct falling outside the Title IX Grievance Policy is discovered in the course of investigating covered Title IX misconduct, the institution retains authority to investigate and adjudicate the allegations under the policies and procedures defined within the Code of Conduct through a separate grievance proceeding, which can be found at, 15.0 Code of Student Conduct, Rights & Responsibilities.
The elements established in the Title IX Grievance Policy under the Final Rule have no effect and are not transferable to any other policy of the College for any violation of the Code of Conduct, employment policies, or any civil rights violation except as narrowly defined in this Policy. This Policy does not set a precedent for other policies or processes of the College and may not be cited for or against any right or aspect of any other policy or process.
How does the Title IX Grievance Policy impact the handling of complaints?
Our existing Title IX office and reporting structure remains in place. What has changed is the way our Title IX office will handle different types of reports arising from sexual misconduct, as detailed in full throughout Section 2.
The Title IX Grievance Policy
Table of Contents
General Rules of Application
The Title IX Grievance Policy will become effective on August 14, 2020, and will only apply to sexual harassment alleged to have occurred on or after August 14, 2020. Incidents of sexual harassment alleged to have occurred before August 14, 2020, will be investigated and adjudicated according to the process in place at the time the incident allegedly occurred.
Revocation by Operation of Law
Should any portion of the Title IX Final Rule, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026 (May 19, 2020), be stayed or held invalid by a court of law, or should the Title IX Final Rule be withdrawn or modified to not require the elements of this policy, this policy, or the invalidated elements of this policy, will be deemed revoked as of the publication date of the opinion or order and for all reports after that date, as well as any elements of the process that occur after that date if a case is not complete by that date of opinion or order publication. Should the Title IX Grievance Policy be revoked in this manner, any conduct covered under the Title IX Grievance Policy shall be investigated and adjudicated under the existingSection 15.6 Article VI: Adjudication.
Non-Discrimination in Application
The requirements and protections of this policy apply equally regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or other protected classes covered by federal or state law. All requirements and protections are equitably provided to individuals regardless of such status or status as a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness. Individuals who wish to file a complaint about the institution’s policy or process may contact the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
Covered Sexual Harassment: For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, “covered sexual harassment” includes any conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee conditioning educational benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo);
- Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the educational institution’s education program or activity;
- Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), which includes any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent;
- Dating violence (as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act), which includes any violence committed by a person: (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) The length of the relationship; (ii) The type of relationship; (iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- Domestic violence (as defined in the VAWA amendments to the Clery Act), which includes any felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under New York State domestic or family violence laws or by 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 .
- Stalking (as defined in the VAWA amendments to the Clery Act), meaning engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to-- (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Note that conduct that does not meet one or more of these criteria may still be prohibited under the 15.0 Code of Student Conduct, Rights & Responsibilities.
Consent: For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, “consent” means:
“Consent is the agreement to engage in specific sexual contact, which may be given by verbal agreement or active and willing participation in the sexual activity. Consent to sexual contact or any specific sexual act cannot be given if an individual is incapacitated or impaired because of a physical or mental condition or the ingestion of drugs or alcohol, or under the age of 17. Silence, previous sexual relationships, current relationships, or the use of alcohol and/or drugs is not an indication of consent. The use of force, threat of force, threat of immediate or future harm, or use of physical intimidation to secure compliance with sexual activity is evidence of lack of consent. Consent may be initially given, but it may be revoked at any point, either verbally, through physical resistance, or by losing consciousness. Failure to cease sexual contact promptly in response to a withdrawal of consent constitutes prohibited nonconsensual sexual contact. “No” or any other negative statement or acts/physical gestures supporting the desire to cease contact in response to sexual contact or an invitation to sexual contact will be regarded as a denial of consent to such sexual contact (SUNY Canton Student Handbook, Section 15.1, Article I: Definitions).
Education Program or Activity: For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, SUNY Canton’s “education program or activity” includes:
- Any on-campus premises
- Any off-campus premises that SUNY Canton has substantial control over. This includes buildings or property owned or controlled by a recognized student organization.
- Activity occurring within computer and internet networks, digital platforms, and computer hardware or software owned or operated by, or used in the operations of SUNY Canton’s programs and activities over which the SUNY Canton has substantial control.
Formal Complaint: For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, “formal complaint” means a document – including an electronic submission - filed by a complainant with a signature or other indication that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint, or signed by the Title IX Coordinator, alleging sexual harassment against a respondent about conduct within SUNY Canton’s education program or activity and requesting initiation of the procedures consistent with the Title IX Grievance Policy to investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.
Complainant: For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, Complainant means any individual who has reported being or is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute covered sexual harassment as defined under this policy.
Relevant evidence and questions: “Relevant” evidence and questions refer to any questions and evidence that tends to make an allegation of sexual harassment more or less likely to be true.
“Relevant” evidence and questions do not include the following types of evidence and questions, which are deemed “irrelevant” at all stages of the Title IX Grievance Process:
- Evidence and questions about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior unless:
- They are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or
- They concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent. (34 C.F.R. § 106.45(6)(i)).
- Evidence and questions that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally-recognized privilege.
- Any party’s medical, psychological, and similar records unless the party has given voluntary, written consent. (85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30294 (May 19, 2020)).
Respondent: For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance policy, Respondent means any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute covered sexual harassment as defined under this policy.
Privacy vs. Confidentiality: Consistent with SUNY Canton’s Code of Conduct, references made to confidentiality refer to the ability of identified confidential resources to not report crimes and violations to law enforcement or college officials without permission, except for extreme circumstances, such as a health and/or safety emergency or child abuse. References made to privacy mean SUNY Canton offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality but will maintain privacy to the greatest extent possible, and information disclosed will be relayed only as necessary to investigate and/or seek a resolution and to notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee, who is responsible for tracking patterns and spotting systemic issues. SUNY Canton will limit the disclosure as much as practicable, even if the Title IX Coordinator determines that the request for confidentiality cannot be honored.
This Policy does not alter any institutional obligations under federal disability laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Parties may request reasonable accommodations for disclosed disabilities to the Title IX Coordinator at any point before or during the Title IX Grievance Process that do not fundamentally alter the Process. The Title IX Coordinator will not affirmatively provide disability accommodations that have not been specifically requested by the Parties, even where the Parties may be receiving accommodations in other institutional programs and activities.
Making a Report Regarding Covered Sexual Harassment to the Institution
Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report.
Contact Information for the Title IX Coordinator:
Mailing Address: 34 Cornell Drive, Canton, NY 13617
Email Address: email@example.com
Telephone Number: 315-386-7050
Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address listed for the Title IX Coordinator.
The following Officials will provide privacy, but not confidentiality, upon receiving a report of conduct prohibited under this policy:
- Title IX Coordinator or designee
- All SUNY Canton employees not listed under Confidential Resources.
The following Officials may provide confidentiality:
Director of Counseling
Miller Campus Center 225
Davis Health Services
Director of Student Health Services
Miller Campus Center 004
Miller Campus Center 206
Non-Investigatory Measures Available Under the Title IX Grievance Policy
Complainants (as defined above), who report allegations that could constitute covered sexual harassment under this policy, have the right to receive supportive measures from SUNY Canton regardless of whether they desire to file a complaint, which may include those listed below as appropriate. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary and non-punitive.
As appropriate, supportive measures may include, but not be limited to:
- extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments
- modifications of work or class schedules
- campus escort services
- restrictions on contact between the parties (no contact orders)
- changes in work or housing locations
- leaves of absence
- increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus
(See 85 Fed. Reg. 30401).
SUNY Canton retains the authority to remove a respondent from SUNY Canton’s program or activity on an emergency basis, where SUNY Canton (1) undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis and (2) determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of covered sexual harassment justifies a removal.
If SUNY Canton determines such removal is necessary, the respondent will be provided notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal. Challenges to the removal must be provided in writing to the Dean of Students or their designee at firstname.lastname@example.org within 3 (three) business days of notification of emergency removal.
SUNY Canton retains the authority to place a non-student employee respondent on administrative leave during the Title IX Grievance Process, consistent with the student handbook.
Employees should view the Personnel Handbook for Faculty and Professional Staff.
Filing a Formal Complaint
The timeframe for the Title IX Grievance Process begins with the filing of a Formal Complaint. The Grievance Process will be concluded within a reasonably prompt manner, and no longer than ninety (90) business days}4 after the filing of the Formal Complaint, provided that the Process may be extended reason, including but not limited to the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities. The procedure for applying for extensions is described below.
To file a Formal Complaint, a complainant must provide the Title IX Coordinator a written, signed complaint describing the facts alleged. Complainants are only able to file a Formal Complaint under this Policy if they are currently participating in, or attempting to participate in, the education programs or activities of SUNY Canton, including as an employee. For complainants who do not meet this criterion, the College will utilize existing policy in the SUNY Canton Code of Conduct.
If a complainant does not wish to make a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may determine a Formal Complaint is necessary. SUNY Canton will inform the complainant of this decision in writing, and the complainant need not participate in the process further but will receive all notices issued under this Policy and Process.
Nothing in the Title IX Grievance Policy or Code of Conduct prevents a complainant from seeking the assistance of state or local law enforcement alongside the appropriate on-campus process.
The institution may consolidate Formal Complaints alleging covered sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of covered sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
The Title IX Coordinator will determine if the instant Title IX Grievance Process should apply to a Formal Complaint. The Process will apply when all of the following elements are met, in the reasonable determination of the Title IX Coordinator:
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred on or after August 14, 2020;
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred in the United States;
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred in SUNY Canton’s education program or activity; and
- The alleged conduct, if true, would constitute covered sexual harassment as defined in this policy.
If all of the elements are met, SUNY Canton will investigate the allegations according to the Grievance Process.
Allegations Potentially Falling Under Two Policies:
If the alleged conduct, if true, includes conduct that would constitute covered sexual harassment and conduct that would not constitute covered sexual harassment, the Title IX Grievance Process will be applied to investigation and adjudication of only the allegations that constitute covered sexual harassment.
If any one of these elements are not met, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties that the Formal Complaint is being dismissed for the purposes of the Title IX Grievance Policy. Each party may appeal this dismissal using the procedure outlined in “Appeals,” below.
The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint brought under the Title IX Grievance Policy, or any specific allegations raised within that Formal Complaint, at any time during the investigation or hearing, if:
- A complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that they would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations raised in the Formal Complaint;
- The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by SUNY Canton; or,
- If specific circumstances prevent SUNY Canton from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding the Formal Complaint or allegations within the Formal Complaint.
Any party may appeal a dismissal determination using the process set forth in “Appeals,” below.
Notice of Dismissal
Upon reaching a decision that the Formal Complaint will be dismissed, the institution will promptly send written notice of the dismissal of the Formal Complaint or any specific allegation within the Formal Complaint, and the reason for the dismissal, simultaneously to the parties through their institutional email accounts. It is the responsibility of parties to maintain and regularly check their email accounts.
Notice of Removal
Upon dismissal for the purposes of Title IX, SUNY Canton retains discretion to utilize the Code of Conduct to determine if a violation of the Code of Conduct has occurred. If so, SUNY Canton will promptly send written notice of the dismissal of the Formal Complaint under the Title IX Grievance Process and removal of the allegations to the conduct process.
Notice of Allegations
The Title IX Coordinator will draft and provide the Notice of Allegations to any party to the allegations of sexual harassment. Such notice will occur as soon as practicable, after the institution receives a Formal Complaint of the allegations, if there are no extenuating circumstances.
The parties will be notified by their institutional email accounts if they are a student or employee, and by other reasonable means if they are neither.
The institution will provide sufficient time for the parties to review the Notice of Allegations and prepare a response before any initial interview.
The Title IX Coordinator may determine that the Formal Complaint must be dismissed on the mandatory grounds identified above and will issue a Notice of Dismissal. If such a determination is made, any party to the allegations of sexual harassment identified in the Formal Complaint will receive the Notice of Dismissal in conjunction with, or in separate correspondence after, the Notice of Allegations.
Contents of Notice
The Notice of Allegations will include the following:
- Notice of the institution’s Title IX Grievance Process and a hyperlink to a copy of the process.
- Notice of the allegations potentially constituting covered sexual harassment, and sufficient details known at the time the Notice is issued, such as the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, including the complainant; the conduct allegedly constituting covered sexual harassment; and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known.
- A statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
- A statement that the parties may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, as required under 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(5)(iv);
- A statement that before the conclusion of the investigation, the parties may inspect and review evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including the evidence upon which the institution does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, and evidence that both tends to prove or disprove the allegations, whether obtained from a party or other source, as required under 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(5)(vi);
- A statement that meets the terms of Article 15.4 Section 25- False Reporting in the Student Code of Conduct prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
If, in the course of an investigation, the institution decides to investigate allegations about the complainant or respondent that are not included in the Notice of Allegations and are otherwise covered "sexual harassment” falling within the Title IX Grievance Policy, the institution will notify the parties whose identities are known of the additional allegations by their institutional email accounts or other reasonable means.
The parties will be provided sufficient time to review the additional allegations to prepare a response before any initial interview regarding those additional charges.
Advisor of Choice and Participation of Advisor of Choice
SUNY Canton will provide the parties equal access to advisors and support persons; any restrictions on advisor participation will be applied equally.
The SUNY Canton has a long-standing practice of requiring students to participate in the process directly and not through an advocate or representative. Students participating as Complainant or Respondent in this process may be accompanied by an Advisor of Choice to any meeting or hearing to which they are required or are eligible to attend. The Advisor of Choice is not an advocate. Except where explicitly stated by this Policy, as consistent with the Final Rule, Advisors of Choice shall not participate directly in the process as per standard policy and practice of SUNY Canton.
SUNY Canton will not intentionally schedule meetings or hearings on dates where the Advisors of Choice for all parties are not available, provided that the Advisors act reasonably in providing available dates and work collegially to find dates and times that meet all schedules.
SUNY Canton’s obligations to investigate and adjudicate in a prompt timeframe under Title IX and other college policies apply to matters governed under this Policy, and SUNY Canton cannot agree to extensive delays solely to accommodate the schedule of an Advisor of Choice. The determination of what is reasonable shall be made by the Title IX Coordinator or designee. SUNY Canton will not be obligated to delay a meeting or hearing under this process more than five (5) days due to the unavailability of an Advisor of Choice and may offer the party the opportunity to obtain a different Advisor of Choice or utilize one provided by SUNY Canton.
Notice of Meetings and Interviews
SUNY Canton will provide, to a party whose participation is invited or expected, written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings with a party, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
Each party may request a one-time delay in the Grievance Process of up to five (5) days for good cause (granted or denied in the sole judgment of the Title IX Coordinator, Director of Student Conduct, or designee) provided that the requestor provides reasonable notice and the delay does not overly inconvenience other parties.
For example, a request to take a five day pause made an hour before a hearing for which multiple parties and their advisors have traveled to and prepared for shall generally not be granted, while a request for a five day pause in the middle of investigation interviews to allow a party to obtain certain documentary evidence shall generally be granted.
The Title IX Coordinator or Student Conduct Office, shall have sole judgment to grant further pauses in the Process.
General Rules of Investigations
The Title IX Coordinator and/or an investigator designated by the Title IX Coordinator will perform an investigation under a reasonably prompt timeframe of the conduct alleged to constitute covered sexual harassment after issuing the Notice of Allegations.
SUNY Canton and not the parties, has the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence, i.e. the responsibility of showing a violation of this Policy has occurred. This burden does not rest with either party, and either party may decide not to share their account of what occurred or may decide not to participate in an investigation or hearing. This does not shift the burden of proof away from SUNY Canton and does not indicate responsibility.
SUNY Canton cannot access, consider, or disclose medical records without a waiver from the party (or parent, if applicable) to whom the records belong or of whom the records include information. SUNY Canton will provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, (i.e. evidence that tends to prove and disprove the allegations) as described below.
Inspection and Review of Evidence
Prior to the completion of the investigation, the parties will have an equal opportunity to inspect and review the evidence obtained through the investigation. The purpose of the inspection and review process is to allow each party the equal opportunity to meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation.
Evidence that will be available for inspection and review by the parties will be any evidence that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint. It will include any:
- Evidence that is relevant, even if that evidence does not end up being relied upon by the institution in making a determination regarding responsibility;
- inculpatory or exculpatory evidence (i.e. evidence that tends to prove or disprove the allegations) that is directly related to the allegations, whether obtained from a party or other source.
All parties must submit any evidence they would like the investigator to consider prior to when the parties’ time to inspect and review evidence begins. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30307 (May 19, 2020)).
The institution will send the evidence made available for each party and each party’s advisor, if any, to inspect and review through an electronic format .The Institution is not under an obligation to use any specific process or technology to provide the evidence and shall have the sole discretion in terms of determining format and any restrictions or limitations on access.
The parties will have ten (10) business days to inspect and review the evidence and submit a written response by email to the investigator. The investigator will consider the parties’ written responses before completing the Investigative Report.
Requests to Extend Inspection and Review Process:
The institution may provide the parties five (5) business days after the initial inspection and review of evidence, and before the investigator completes their Investigative Report, to provide additional evidence in response to their inspection and review of the evidence, and then provide the parties five (5) business days to inspect, review, and respond to the party’s additional evidence through a written response to the investigator. Those written responses may be disclosed to the parties. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30307 (May 19, 2020)).
Any evidence subject to inspection and review will be available at any hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.
The parties and their advisors must sign an agreement not to disseminate any of the evidence subject to inspection and review or use such evidence for any purpose unrelated to the Title IX grievance process. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30435 (May 19, 2020)).
The parties and their advisors agree not to photograph or otherwise copy the evidence. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30435 (May 19, 2020)).
Inclusion of Evidence Not Directly Related to the Allegations
Evidence obtained in the investigation that is determined in the reasoned judgment of the investigator not to be directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint will not be disclosed, or may be appropriately redacted before the parties’ inspection to avoid disclosure of personally identifiable information of a student. Any evidence obtained in the investigation that is kept from disclosure or appropriately redacted will be documented in a “privilege log” that may be reviewed by the parties and their advisors, if any. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30438 (May 19, 2020)).
The Title IX Coordinator and/or an investigator designated by the Title IX Coordinator will create an Investigative Report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, will and provide that Report to the parties at least ten (10) business days prior the hearing in an electronic format for each party’s review and written response.
The Investigative Report is not intended to catalog all evidence obtained by the investigator, but only to provide a fair summary of that evidence.
Only relevant evidence (including both inculpatory and exculpatory – i.e. tending to prove and disprove the allegations - relevant evidence) will be referenced in the Investigative Report.
The investigator may redact irrelevant information from the Investigative Report when that information is contained in documents or evidence that is/are otherwise relevant. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30304 (May 19, 2020)).
General Rules of Hearings
SUNY Canton will not issue a disciplinary sanction arising from an allegation of covered sexual harassment without holding a live hearing.
The live hearing may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location, or, at SUNY Canton’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually through Zoom (or similar software offered by the College). This technology will enable participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. At its discretion, SUNY Canton may delay or adjourn a hearing based on technological errors not within a party’s control.
All proceedings will be recorded through audio recording or audiovisual recording. That recording will be made available to the parties for inspection and review upon formal written request.
Prior to obtaining access to any evidence, the parties and their advisors must sign an agreement not to disseminate any of the testimony heard or evidence obtained in the hearing or use such testimony or evidence for any purpose unrelated to the Title IX Grievance Process. Once signed, this Agreement may not be withdrawn. (See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30435 (May 19, 2020)).
Continuances or Granting Extensions
SUNY Canton may determine that multiple sessions or a continuance (i.e. a pause on the continuation of the hearing until a later date or time) is needed to complete a hearing. If so, SUNY Canton will notify all participants and endeavor to accommodate all participants’ schedules and complete the hearing as promptly as practicable.
As a general rule, no new evidence or witnesses may be submitted during the live hearing.
If a party identifies new evidence or witnesses that were not reasonably available prior to the live hearing and could affect the outcome of the matter, the party may request that such evidence or witnesses be considered at the live hearing.
The Title IX Coordinator or their designee will consider this request and make a determination regarding (1) whether such evidence or witness testimony was actually unavailable by reasonable effort prior to the hearing, and (2) whether such evidence or witness testimony could affect the outcome of the matter. The party offering the newly-discovered evidence or witness has the burden of establishing these questions by the preponderance of the evidence.
If the Title IX Coordinator or their designee answers in the affirmative to both questions, then the parties will be granted a reasonable pause in the hearing to review the evidence or prepare for questioning of the witness.
Participants in the live hearing
Live hearings are not public, and the only individuals permitted to participate in the hearing are as follows:
Complainant and Respondent (The Parties)
The parties cannot waive the right to a live hearing.
- The institution may still proceed with the live hearing in the absence of a party, and may reach a determination of responsibility in their absence, including through any evidence gathered that does not constitute a “statement” by that party. (See 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30361 (May 19, 2020)).
- For example, A verbal or written statement constituting part or all of the sexual harassment itself is not a “prior statement” that must be excluded if the maker of the statement does not submit to cross-examination about that statement. In other words, a prior statement would not include a document, audio recording, audiovisual reading, and digital media, including but not limited to text messages, emails, and social media postings, that constitute the conduct alleged to have been the act of sexual harassment under the formal complaint.
- SUNY Canton will not threaten, coerce, intimidate or discriminate against the party in an attempt to secure sunny the party’s participation. (See 34 C.F.R. § 106.71; see also 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30216 (May 19, 2020)).
- If a party does not submit to cross-examination, the decision-maker cannot rely on any prior statements made by that party in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, but may reach a determination regarding responsibility based on evidence that does not constitute a “statement” by that party.
- The decision-maker cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross examination or other questions.
NOTE: See 34 C.F.R. §106.45(b)(6)(i).
- The hearing body will consist of three (3) trained College employees.
- No member of the hearing body will also have served as the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX investigator, or advisor to any party in the case, nor may any member of the hearing body serve on the appeals body in the case.
- No member of the hearing body will have a conflict of interest or bias in favor of or against complainants or respondents generally, or in favor or against the parties to the particular case.
- The hearing body will be trained on topics including how to serve impartially, issues of relevance, including how to apply the rape shield protections provided for complainants, and any technology to be used at the hearing.
- The parties will have an opportunity to raise any objections regarding a decision-maker’s actual or perceived conflicts of interest or bias at the commencement of the live hearing.
Advisor of choice
- The parties have the right to select an advisor of their choice, who may be, but does not have to be, an attorney.
- The advisor of choice may accompany the parties to any meeting or hearing they are permitted to attend, but may not speak for the party, except for the purpose of cross-examination.
- The parties are not permitted to conduct cross-examination; it must be conducted by the advisor. As a result, if a party does not select an advisor, the institution will select an advisor to serve in this role for the limited purpose of conducting the cross-examination at no fee or charge to the party.
- The advisor is not prohibited from having a conflict of interest or bias in favor of or against complainants or respondents generally, or in favor or against the parties to the particular case.
- The advisor is not prohibited from being a witness in the matter.
- If a party does not attend the live hearing, the party’s advisor may appear and conduct cross-examination on their behalf. See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30340 (May 19, 2020).
- If neither a party nor their advisor appear at the hearing, SUNY Canton will provide an advisor to appear on behalf of the non-appearing party. See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30339-40 (May 19, 2020).
- Witnesses cannot be compelled to participate in the live hearing and have the right not to participate in the hearing free from retaliation. See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30360 (May 19, 2020).
- If a witness does not submit to cross-examination, as described below, the decision-maker cannot rely on any statements made by that witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, including any statement relayed by the absent witness to a witness or party who testifies at the live hearing. 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30347 (May 19, 2020).
For all live hearings conducted under this Title IX Grievance Process, the procedure will be as follows:
- The Chair of the hearing board will open and establish rules and expectations for the hearing;
- The Parties will each be given the opportunity to provide opening statements;
- The members of the hearing board will ask questions of the Parties and Witnesses;
- Parties will be given the opportunity for live cross-examination after the hearing board conducts its initial round of questioning; During the Parties’ cross-examination, the Chair of the hearing board will have the authority to pause cross-examination at any time for the purposes of asking their own follow up questions; and any time necessary in order to enforce the established rules of decorum.
- Should a Party or the Party’s Advisor choose not to cross-examine a Party or Witness, the Party shall affirmatively waive cross-examination through a written or oral statement to the Chair of the hearing board. A Party’s waiver of cross-examination does not eliminate the ability of the hearing board to use statements made by the Party.
Live Cross-Examination Procedure
Each party’s advisor will conduct live cross-examination of the other party or parties and witnesses. During this live-cross examination the advisor will ask the other party or parties and witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility directly, orally, and in real time.
Before any cross-examination question is answered, the Chair of the hearing board will determine if the question is relevant. Cross-examination questions that are duplicative of those already asked, including by the hearing board may be deemed irrelevant by the Chair of the hearing board if they have been asked and answered.
Review of Recording
The recording of the hearing will be available for review by the parties with the Title IX Coordinator or their designee within seven (7) business days, unless there are any extenuating circumstances. The recording of the hearing will not be provided to parties or advisors of choice.
Determination Regarding Responsibility
Standard of Proof
SUNY Canton uses the preponderance of the evidence standard for investigations and determinations regarding responsibility of formal complaints covered under this Policy. This means that the investigation and hearing determines whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Policy occurred.
General Considerations for Evaluating Testimony and Evidence
While the opportunity for cross-examination is required in all Title IX hearings, determinations regarding responsibility may be based in part, or entirely, on documentary, audiovisual, and digital evidence, as warranted in the reasoned judgment of the Decision-maker.
Decision-makers shall not draw inferences regarding a party or witness’ credibility based on the party or witness’ status as a complainant, respondent, or witness, nor shall it base its judgments in stereotypes about how a party or witness would or should act under the circumstances.
Generally, credibility judgments should rest on the demeanor of the party or witness, the plausibility of their testimony, the consistency of their testimony, and its reliability in light of corroborating or conflicting testimony or evidence.
Still, credibility judgments should not rest on whether a party or witness’ testimony is non-linear or incomplete, or if the party or witness is displaying stress or anxiety.
Decision makers will afford the highest weight relative to other testimony to first-hand testimony by parties and witnesses regarding their own memory of specific facts that occurred. Both inculpatory and exculpatory (i.e. tending to prove and disprove the allegations) evidence will be weighed in equal fashion.
Except where specifically barred by the Title IX Final Rule, a witness’ testimony regarding third-party knowledge of the facts at issue will be allowed but will generally be accorded lower weight than testimony regarding direct knowledge of specific facts that occurred.
The Final Rule requires that SUNY Canton allow parties to call “expert witnesses” for direct and cross examination. SUNY Canton does not provide for expert witnesses in other proceedings. While the expert witness will be allowed to testify and be crossed as required by the Final Rule, the decision-maker will be instructed to afford lower weight to non-factual testimony of the expert relative to fact witnesses, and any expert testimony that is not directed to the specific facts that occurred in the case will be afforded lower weight relative to fact witnesses, regardless of whether the expert witness testimony is the subject of cross examination and regardless of whether all parties present experts as witnesses.
The Final Rule requires that SUNY Canton allow parties to call character witnesses to testify. SUNY Canton does not provide for character witnesses in any other judicial proceedings. While the character witnesses will be allowed to testify and be crossed as required by the Final Rule, the decision-maker will be instructed to afford very low weight to any non-factual character testimony of any witness.
The Final Rule requires that SUNY Canton admit and allow testimony regarding polygraph tests (“lie detector tests”) and other procedures that are outside of standard use in academic and non-academic conduct processes. While the processes and testimony about them will be allowed to testify and be crossed as required by the Final Rule, the decision-maker will be instructed to afford lower weight to such processes relative to the testimony of fact witnesses.
Where a party or witness’ conduct or statements demonstrate that the party or witness is engaging in retaliatory conduct, including but not limited to witness tampering and intimidation, the decision-maker may draw an adverse inference as to that party or witness’ credibility.
Components of the Determination Regarding Responsibility
The written Determination Regarding Responsibility will be issued simultaneously to all parties through their institution email account, or other reasonable means as necessary. The Determination will include:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting covered sexual harassment;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding which section of the Code of Conduct, if any, the respondent has or has not violated.
- For each allegation:
- A statement of, and rationale for, a determination regarding responsibility;
- A statement of, and rationale for, any disciplinary sanctions the recipient imposes on the respondent; and
- A statement of, and rationale for, whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity will be provided by the recipient to the complainant; and
- The recipient’s procedures and the permitted reasons for the complainant and respondent to appeal (described below in “Appeal”).
Timeline of Determination Regarding Responsibility
If there are no extenuating circumstances, the determination regarding responsibility will be issued by SUNY Canton within ten (10) business days of the completion of the hearing.
The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that the institution provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed consistent with the procedures and timeline outlined in “Appeals” below, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which the opportunity to appeal expires.
Each party may appeal (1) the dismissal of a formal complaint or any included allegations and/or (2) a determination regarding responsibility. To appeal, a party must submit their written appeal within five (5) business days of being notified of the decision, indicating the grounds for the appeal.
The limited grounds for appeal available are as follows:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter (i.e. a failure to follow the institution’s own procedures);
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against an individual party, or for or against complainants or respondents in general, that affected the outcome of the matter.
The submission of appeal stays any sanctions for the pendency of an appeal. Supportive measures and remote learning opportunities remain available during the pendency of the appeal.
If a party appeals, the institution will as soon as practicable notify the other party in writing of the appeal, however the time for appeal shall be offered equitably to all parties and shall not be extended for any party solely because the other party filed an appeal.
Appeals may be no longer than five (5) pages (including attachments). Appeals should be submitted in electronic form using Times New Roman, 12 point font, and single-spaced. Appeals should use footnotes, not endnotes. Appeals that do not meet these standards may be returned to the party for correction, but the time for appeal will not be extended unless there is evidence that technical malfunction caused the appeal document not to meet these standards.
Appeals will be decided by an appellate hearing board, who will be free of conflict of interest and bias, and will not serve as investigator, Title IX Coordinator, or hearing decisionmaker in the same matter.
Outcome of appeal will be provided in writing simultaneously to both parties and include rationale for the decision.
SUNY Canton will keep the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination confidential, including the identity of any individual who has made a report or filed a Formal Complaint of sexual harassment under this Title IX Grievance Policy, any Complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any Respondent, and any witness, except as permitted by the FERPA statute, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, or FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99, or as required by law, or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR part 106, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding under this Title IX Grievance Policy.
No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 or its implementing regulations.
No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under this Title IX Grievance Policy.
Any intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations constitutes retaliation. This includes any charges filed against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but that arise from the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination or a report or Formal Complaint of sexual harassment. SUNY Canton’s Amnesty Policy can be found in the Student Handbook in Section 20.6.
Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the SUNY Canton grievance procedures outlined on the SUNY Canton Title IX Webpage.
20.5 Campus Climate Assessment Policy
Climate assessments afford institutions the opportunity to better understand their campus and to make informed decisions when it comes to providing a safe educational environment. Beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year, each State University of New York State-operated and community college will conduct a uniform climate survey that ascertains student experience with and knowledge of reporting and college adjudicatory processes for sexual harassment, including sexual violence, and other related crimes.
The survey will address at least the following:
Student and employee knowledge about:
- The Title IX Coordinator’s role;
- Campus policies and procedures addressing sexual assault;
- How and where to report sexual violence as a victim/survivor or witness;
- The availability of resources on and off campus, such as counseling, health, academic assistance;
- The prevalence of victimization and perpetration of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on and off campus during a set time period (for example, the last two years);
- Bystander attitudes and behavior;
- Whether victims/survivors reported to the College/University and/or police, and reasons why they did or did not report;
- The general awareness of the difference, if any, between the institution’s policies and the penal law; and
- The general awareness of the definition of affirmative consent.
Every institution shall take steps to ensure that answers remain anonymous and that no individual is identified. Results will be published on the campus website providing no personally identifiable information shall be shared.
The Chancellor or designee will convene a group of scholars and practitioners to review methods of assessing campus climate, specific questions asked in past surveys, relevant data on responses and response rates, issues and problems encountered in survey implementation, and lessons learned from past surveys. The Chancellor or designee will gather this data and seek to develop a standardized survey, with the advice of relevant members of the SUNY community and knowledgeable outside entities, that uses established measurement tools, to be implemented every two years by all SUNY State-operated and community colleges beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year. This policy may be changed by the Chancellor or designee should federal and/or State legislation require a different process or duplicate efforts to assess campus climate via survey.
20.6 Student Onboarding and Ongoing Education Guide
The State University of New York and its State-operated and community colleges believe that sexual violence prevention training and education cannot be accomplished via a single day or a single method of training. To that end, SUNY campuses will continue to educate all new and current students using a variety of best practices aimed at educating the entire College community in a way that decreases violence and maintains a culture where sexual assault and acts of violence are not tolerated.
All new first-year and transfer students will, during the course of their onboarding to a SUNY State-operated or community college, receive training on the following topics, using a method and manner appropriate to the institutional culture of each campus:
- The institution prohibits sexual harassment, including sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, other violence or threats of violence, and will offer resources to any victims/survivors of such violence while taking administrative and conduct action regarding any accused individual within the jurisdiction of the institution.
- Relevant definitions including, but are not limited to, the definitions of sexual violence and consent.
- Policies apply equally to all students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
- The role of the Title IX Coordinator, University Police and other relevant offices that address violence prevention and response.
- Awareness of violence, its impact on victims/survivors and their friends and family, and its long-term impact.
- The Students’ Bill of Rights and Sexual Violence Response Policy, including:
- How to report sexual violence and other crimes confidentially, and/or to College officials, campus law enforcement and local law enforcement;
- How to obtain services and support.
- Bystander intervention and the importance of taking action, when one can safely do so, to prevent violence.
- The protection of the Policy for Alcohol and/or Drug Use Amnesty in Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Cases.
- Risk assessment and reduction including, but not limited to, steps that potential victims/survivors and potential assailants and bystanders to violence can take to lower the incidence of sexual violence.
- Consequences and sanctions for individuals who commit these crimes.
The onboarding process is not limited to a single day of orientation, but recognizes that students enroll at different times at different SUNY campuses and gives campuses the flexibility to best educate students at a time and manner that can most effectively bring these points to light. SUNY will conduct these trainings for all new students, whether first-year or transfer, undergraduate, graduate, or professional. Each campus shall use multiple methods to educate students about sexual violence prevention. Each SUNY institution will also share information on sexual violence prevention with parents of enrolling students.
Students at SUNY State-operated and community college campuses shall be offered general and specialized training in sexual violence prevention. Each institution will conduct a campaign, compliant with the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act, to educate the student population. Further, institutions will, as appropriate, provide or expand specific training to include groups such as international students, students who are also employees of the campus, leaders and officers of registered/recognized student organizations, online and distance education students. Institutions will also provide specific training to members of groups identified as likely to engage in high-risk behavior.
Beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year, SUNY State-operated and community colleges will require that student leaders and officers of registered/recognized student organizations and those seeking recognition complete training on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking prevention as part of the approval process and require student-athletes to complete training in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking prior to participating in intercollegiate athletics.
Methods of training and educating students may include, but are not limited to:
- President’s welcome messaging;
- Peer theater and peer educational programs;
- Online training;
- Social media outreach;
- First-year seminars and transitional courses;
- Course syllabi;
- Faculty teach-ins;
- Institution-wide reading programs;
- Posters, bulletin boards, and other targeted print and email materials;
- Programming surrounding large recurring campus events;
- Partnering with neighboring SUNY and non-SUNY colleges to offer training and education;
- Partnering with State and local community organizations that provide outreach, support, crisis intervention, counseling and other resources to victims/survivors of crimes to offer training and education. Partnerships can also be used to educate community organizations about the resources and remedies available on campus for students and employees seeking services; and
- Outreach and partnering with local business that attract students to advertise and educate about these policies.
Each SUNY campus reported back to the Chancellor on or before March 31, 2015, on their plan to comply with this policy. Each institution must engage in a regular assessment of their programming and policies to determine effectiveness. The institution may either assess its own programming or conduct a review of other campus programming and published studies to adapt its programming to ensure effectiveness and relevance to students.
Bystander Intervention and Amnesty Policy
How to Help as a Bystander
The College/university expects all members of the campus community to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Educating and engaging bystanders are effective ways to help prevent acts of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Bystanders can help in several different ways, including direct intervention, seeking assistance from an authority figure, notifying University Police, or calling State or local law enforcement.
If you see an act of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, it is important to understand that no individual has the right to be violent, even if two people are in a relationship. Recognizing when acts of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault are occurring is the first step to intervening. Required campus education and training programs give a full synopsis on recognizing when domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault is taking place. If you make the decision to intervene, do so safely—violence does not stop violence, and, if you cannot stop the act with your words, call law enforcement.
Do not be afraid to ask an RA, RD, or other students for help.
If a victim confides in you: It is important to let the victim tell their story. Listen respectfully, and help them explain and identify what has happened to them. Help the victim identify others in their network who they can confide in. Ask the victim what they need to feel safe, encourage them to seek medical attention and counseling, and encourage them to report the act if they feel comfortable doing so.
SUNY Canton’s Amnesty Policy supports students who reach out for assistance in the case of a medical emergency, as well as supports the student who is helped. Therefore, a student or student organization seeking medical treatment for themselves, or for any other student who is in immediate medical need, or any student who is the recipient of this emergency medical help, will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions related to the violation of using or possessing alcohol or other drugs, as defined in Community Rights and Responsibilities (Prohibited Conduct Drugs and Alcohol). This policy applies to emergencies both on and off campus.
The health and safety of every student at the State University of New York and its State-operated and community colleges is of utmost importance. SUNY Canton recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault incident occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. SUNY Canton strongly encourages students to report incidents of violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to campus officials. A bystander reporting in good faith or a victim/survivor reporting violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to SUNY Canton officials or law enforcement will not be subject to campus conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
At SUNY Canton, the health and safety of every student is of primary importance and all students are strongly encouraged to be empowered bystanders who respond in a potentially dangerous situation without fear of reprisal from SUNY Canton. SUNY Canton’s Amnesty Policy supports students who act responsibly by reaching out for assistance in the case of a medical emergency, as well as supports the student who is helped.
Application of the Policy:
A student is eligible to use the Amnesty Policy on more than one occasion and students are always strongly encouraged to report a medical emergency. The positive impact of reporting a medical emergency will always hold the highest priority when determining the appropriate response for University policy violations.
Repeated use of the amnesty provided by the Policy is cause for a higher level of concern for the well-being of the student and amnesty in these cases will be individually reviewed.
Because parents are vital partners in the educational process and because the student can be best supported from home, SUNY Canton typically contacts parents of students under 21 years of age in instances where there is evidence of risk to health, welfare or safety. In addition, SUNY Canton may record names of those students involved to enable SUNY Canton to follow up with the students as deemed necessary to ensure a student’s well-being.
Mandatory Intervention Program:
A student who receives medical assistance for alcohol use under the Amnesty Policy will be referred by The Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or their representative to a mandatory intervention program, such as the Decision Making Course at the SUNY Canton Counseling Center. Additionally, a student who qualifies for the Amnesty Policy by calling for medical assistance for another student may be referred to this program at the discretion of The Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.
For more information on SUNY Canton’s Amnesty Policy, please contact:
Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students,
34 Cornell Drive, 229 Miller Campus Center, Canton, NY 13617,
Prevention Education & Awareness Programs/Trainings
The College has educational programs to promote the awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These educational programs include primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and new employees. These educational programs will include: a statement that these crimes are prohibited at the College; definitions of consent, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the College’s jurisdiction; safe and positive bystander intervention when there’s a risk of one of those incidents; information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior and avoiding potential attacks; and information about the institutional disciplinary procedures. The various programs and trainings offered by the College/university are described below:
- Prevention Programs: These are programs to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The programs are culturally relevant, inclusive of diverse communities and identities, sustainable, responsive to community needs, and informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome. They also consider environmental risk and protective factors as they occur on the individual, relationship, institutional, community, and societal levels.
- Awareness Programs: These are community-wide or audience-specific programming initiatives and strategies that increase audience knowledge and share information and resources to prevent violence, promote safety, and reduce perpetration.
- Bystander Intervention: These programs and trainings offer safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. They include recognizing situations of potential harm, understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, overcoming barriers to intervening, identifying safe and effective intervention options, and taking action to intervene.
- Ongoing Prevention & Awareness Campaigns: These include programming initiatives and strategies that are sustained over time and focus on increasing understanding of topics relevant to and skills for addressing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, using a range of strategies with audiences throughout the College/university and including information provided in campus educational programs.
- Primary Prevention Programs: These include programming initiatives and strategies informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome that are intended to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking before they occur through the promotion of positive and healthy behaviors that foster healthy, mutually respectful relationships and sexuality, encourage safe bystander intervention, and seek to change behavior and social norms in healthy and safe directions.
- Risk Reduction Programs: These programs present options designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.
NYS Division of Human Rights
New York State Division of Human Rights
One Fordham Plaza, 4th Floor
Bronx, New York 10458
New York State Division of Human Rights
Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, 28th Floor,
Albany, New York 12220
Office of Sexual Harassment
New York State Division of Human Rights Office of Sexual Harassment
55 Hanson Place, Suite 347
Brooklyn, New York 11217
Tel: 718-722-2060 or 1-800-427-2773
Office of AIDS Discrimination
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New York State Department of Labor
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