Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct
Resources and Information
 

Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

I. Skidmore College Statement of Sexual Values

Skidmore College is committed to providing a learning, working, and living environment that reflects and promotes personal integrity, civility, and mutual respect. Members of the Skidmore community have the right to be free from all forms of abuse, assault, harassment, and coercive conduct, including sexual and gender-based misconduct, as defined in this policy. Skidmore College considers sexual and gender-based misconduct to be one of the most serious violations of the values and standards of the College. Unwelcome sexual contact of any form is a violation of students’ personal integrity and their right to a safe environment and therefore violates Skidmore’s values. Skidmore College will not tolerate sexual or gender-based misconduct in any form. All members of the Skidmore College community have an obligation to act responsibly in the realm of sexuality, gender, and relationships and to recognize and challenge any sexual and gender-based misconduct.

This policy informs the Skidmore community of our values and outlines violations involving sexual and gender-based misconduct. This policy identifies a individual’s rights, options, and resources, and describes actions individuals may take if they experience an incident of sexual and gender-based misconduct, or are accused of sexual and gender-based misconduct.

Skidmore recognizes that part of students’ development at the College may include learning and understanding themselves as sexual individuals. Skidmore also respects and upholds the principle that not all students choose to explore their sexual nature or sexuality.

Skidmore therefore aims to provide an environment that is comfortable and respectful for all students and their choices regarding sex and their sexuality. Understanding and applying this policy to the behavior and behavioral expectations of all members of the community helps to ensure Skidmore’s goal of being a safe, open community regarding sexuality. Failure to comply with this policy may result in a complaint of sexual and gender-based misconduct.

Skidmore College strives to promote an environment where mutual respect, communication, cultural competency, understanding, and awareness are the basis for any sexual behavior or activity. Mutual respect and communication are keys to maintaining each student’s personal integrity when engaging in sexual behavior.

Community Expectations:

Top

II. Effective Consent

Effective Consent:is the basis of this policy because effective consent maintains the value that all persons have the right to feel respected, acknowledged, and safe during sexual activity.

Top

III. PROHIBITED CONDUCT

Sexual and gender-based misconduct is a broad term encompassing any sexual behavior or gender-based misconduct that was committed without effective consent. Sexual and gender-based misconduct may vary in its severity and consists of a range of behaviors. The following descriptions represent sexual behaviors and gender-based misconduct that violate Skidmore’s community standards and values of respect, civility, and personal integrity. These behaviors are serious violations and represent a threat to the safety of the Skidmore Community.

  1. Sexual Penetration:
    Any sexual penetration (anal, oral or vaginal), however slight, with any object or sexual intercourse, without effective consent. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger and oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital or mouth contact.
  2. Sexual Touching, Disrobing and/or Exposure:
    Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object without effective consent. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with thebreasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another or any otherbodily contact in a sexual manner. Any disrobing of another or exposure toanother by another without effective consent.
  3. Sexual Misconduct by Incapacity:
    It is a violation of this policy if the initiator knows or reasonably should know, the other party/parties to be incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, sleep, or illness. An incapacitated person is not able to make rational, reasonable judgments and therefore is incapable of giving effective consent. Someone is incapacitated when they cannot understand who, what, when,where, why, or how, with respect to the sexual interaction.
  4. Sexual Harassment:
    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication is a term or condition of education benefits, academic evaluations or opportunities
    • Submission to such conduct or communication has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education
    • Such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, AND objectively offensive as to have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment or negatively affects a student’s educational opportunities

    Sexual Harassment also includes acts of verbal, non-verbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on gender or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. Allegations against students (including full-time students who are employees) will be resolved according to the procedures in this policy.
  5. Sexual Exploitation:
    Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non‐consensual, unfair, or abusive advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, even though that behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    • Non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual activity.
    • Stalking with a sexual component. Stalking may take many forms, including persistent calling, texting, or posting on a social networking site as well as physical stalking. When the content of the messages or the nature of the physical stalking is of a sexual nature sexual misconduct has occurred.
    • Voyeurism is a form of sexual exploitation in which one individual engages in secretive observation of another for personal sexual pleasure or engages in non‐consensual video or audio taping of sexual acts. Although the source for the secretive viewing or taping may be unaware of the observation, this behavior is a form of sexual misconduct and violates the integrity of the unaware student.
  6. Domestic Violence:
    Domestic Violence includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under family violation law.
  7. Dating Violence:
    Dating violence means violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
  8. Stalking:
    Stalking means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
  9. Attempted Act:
    Attempts to commit sexual misconduct are also prohibited under this policy, as is aiding the commission of sexual misconduct as an accomplice.
  10. Retaliation:
    Retaliation against the individual, who initiates a sexual and gender-based misconduct complaint, participates in an investigation, or pursues legal action, is prohibited. Independent action may be taken against anyone engaging in retaliation.

Top

IV. Statement of Confidentiality

With respect to any report of sexual or gender misconduct or any complaint of sexual or gender-based misconduct, Skidmore College will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of the matter and all individuals involved to the extent permitted by law. Skidmore College will balance the needs of individuals involved with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large. In all cases, Skidmore College will respect the privacy and dignity of all individuals involved. 

Top

V. Reporting: Confidential, Peer-to-Peer Anonymous, and College Reporting Sources

Skidmore College is committed to creating an environment in which individuals who have experienced an incident of sexual and/or gender-based misconduct are encouraged to come forward and make a report. Members of the Skidmore community are strongly encouraged to seek support and information from available reporting sources. Immediate reporting is essential for the protection of students. All sources will provide the reporting student with information about obtaining support, resources, and the process associated with making a report or a formal complaint with the college and/or with a law enforcement agency.

The College will endeavor to respect the wishes of the reporting individual regarding how and if to move forward, however, in some circumstances, the College will have to move forward. Under these circumstances, the College will weigh the request for confidentiality or that no further action be taken against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged misconduct, any potential threats to community safety, the respective ages and positions of the Reporting Individual and the Responding Student, whether there have been other complaints against the Responding Student, and the Responding Student’s right to receive information under applicable law.

Reporting may help you to gain some control over the situation and make informed decisions using information provided by the reporting source. Your prompt reporting will not only benefit and support you, but will also help the College in maintaining a safe community.

Definitions of Participants:

1. To Speak with someone Confidentially:

Confidential reporting sources are those individuals who, by law and/or college policy, are obligated to maintain confidentiality of the disclosure of sexual misconduct. These individuals are not required to re-disclose information shared with them other than in very extreme and unusual circumstances involving evidence of a serious and imminent threat to the individual making the report or to an identifiable third party. Confidential Reporting Sources include:

2. Peer-to-Peer Anonymous Reporting Sources:

3. Trained College Reporting Sources:

You may speak with a College Reporting Source if you wish to file a formal complaint. College Reporting Sources are individuals who are trained to provide students with information and assist with obtaining information and support from available resources at the College and in the Saratoga Springs community. College Reporting Sources will also provide students with information about the process associated with making a report or a formal complaint with the College or with a law enforcement agency. Although these reporting sources will endeavor to maintain the privacy of the matter and the individuals involved, they are required to disclose necessary information that is disclosed to them to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator. In some circumstances, College Reporting Sources may also be responsible for initiating an investigation of the alleged sexual misconduct. College Reporting Sources include:

4. Other Resources:

Other college resources are individuals who can assist with obtaining campus resources, information and support about available resources at the College. Although these college resources will endeavor to maintain the privacy of the matter and the individuals involved, they are required to share what is disclosed to them to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator. The following are Campus Resources include:

In addition, a Title IX complaint can be filed with the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (contact information available in the Support Services and Resources section).

Top

VI. Important Information

Standard of Evidence

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has interpreted Title IX to require school to evaluate reports of alleged sexual and gender-based misconduct under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard and that is the standard adopted by this Policy. A preponderance of the evidence exists when a reasonable person, after a careful balancing of available information, would conclude a violation has occurred and the student charged is responsible for the violation.

Timing of Reports

As long as the College has jurisdiction over the responding student, there is no time limit to invoking this policy in cases of alleged sexual and gender-based misconduct. Nevertheless, persons are encouraged to report alleged sexual or gender-based misconduct as soon as possible in order to maximize the College’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. 

Jurisdiction

This policy applies to sexual misconduct that is committed by a Skidmore College student whenever that sexual and gender-based misconduct occurs:

Sexual and gender-based misconduct reportedly committed by student-employees in the context of their employment will additionally be addressed in accordance with Skidmore College’s Anti-Harassment Policy (information available here: http://www.skidmore.edu/hr/eeo_diversity/index.php).

Reporting to Law Enforcement

It is your decision whether or not to file a criminal report. We encourage you to seek out the support system that feels most appropriate and helpful. It is the policy of Skidmore College, and the Saratoga Springs Police Department to not issue citations or take disciplinary action against victims who are under the legal drinking age or under the influence of illegal substances who report an assault.

When the police arrive, they will take a statement and ensure that you are physically safe. The police will also interview you about what happened. This may be difficult, but it is very important in order to complete a police report. The interview is conducted in private, but you can request to have a friend or another supportive person accompany you if you wish. The police will get as much information as possible about the incident and investigate the case further.

Once an investigation is completed, the police refer the case to the District Attorney’s office. The District Attorney’s office decides whether or not your case will be prosecuted by considering factors such as the amount of evidence available to prove the charge(s) in court. If the District Attorney decides not to prosecute, this does not mean that the District Attorney doesn’t believe that you were assaulted. It means that based on past experience, the District Attorney does not believe that there is sufficient evidence to successfully prosecute the case.

Violation of law and College Discipline

Because sexual and gender-based misconduct may constitute both a violation of College policy and criminal activity, the College encourages persons to report alleged sexual misconduct promptly to Skidmore Campus Safety or local law enforcement agencies. Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of the Skidmore College Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual or gender-based misconduct has occurred under the College’s policy. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual or gender-based misconduct under the College policy even if it is not a crime or law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and therefore decline to prosecute. The filing of a report of sexual and gender-based misconduct with the College is independent of any criminal investigation or proceedings, and (except that the College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while the criminal investigators gather evidence) the College will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and take interim measures to protect the reporting party and the College community as necessary.

Timely Warning

If a report of misconduct discloses a serious or continuing threat to the Skidmore community, the College may issue a campus wide timely warning (which can take the form of campus flyers and an email to campus community) to protect the health or safety of the community. The college will make every effort to ensure that a reporting individual’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.

At no time will the College release the name of the Reporting Individual to the general public without the express consent of the Reporting Individual. The release of the Responding Student’s name to the general public is guided by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Clery Act.

All College proceedings are conducted in compliance with the requirements of FERPA, the CleryAct, Title IX, and state and federal law. No information shall be released from such proceedings except as required or permitted by law and College policy.

Top

VII. Filing a Formal Complaint and Investigation

Interim Measures

In all complaints of alleged sexual or gender-based Misconduct, regardless of whether the Reporting Individual wishes to pursue a Formal Complaint, the College will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such prompt and effective action as is reasonably possible under the circumstances to support and protect the parties involved and protect the College community, including taking appropriate interim measures before the final outcome of the investigation and/or hearing. Interim measures include, but are not limited to, no-contact directive, campus escorts, academic, employment or housing modification, or interim suspension.

Filing of a Formal Complaint

If the Responding Student is a currently enrolled student, any person who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination may file a formal complaint with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator (518-580-8212). The Reporting Individual work with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator or designess to complete a formal complaint form which contains information about the reporting party, accused student (Responding Student), and the alleged policy violation(s) that form the basis for the complaint. The complaint form will be presented to the Responding Student during the initial intake meeting with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator.

Responding to a Formal Complaint

The Responding Student must contact the Title IX Deputy Coordinator or designee to schedule the initial investigation interview within 48 hours of receiving the formal complaint. The Responding Student may be accompanied by a Trained Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Advisor and/or an advisor of their choosing (including legal counsel) to the meeting with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator or designee. If the Responding Student fails to arrange and meet with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator within the specified time frame, the complaint process will proceed in their absence.

Investigation

The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will determine the most effective method of reviewing the concerns raised by the reported sexual or gender-based misconduct. In all cases, the College will respond to the report in a prompt, impartial, procedurally fair, and effective manner. Upon receipt of a report, the College will strive to complete its review within sixty (60) calendar days.

In most cases, this review will involve conducting a fact-finding investigation, which includes meeting separately with the Reporting Individual (if participating), Responding Student, and pertinent witnesses, and reviewing other relevant information.

At any time during the course of an investigation, the Reporting Individual, Responding Student, or any witnesses may provide a written statement, other supporting materials, or identify other potential witnesses, regarding the matter under review.

Investigation Process:
The Investigator(s) will coordinate the gathering of information from the Reporting Individual, Responding Student, and other individuals with relevant information regarding the complaint using any of the following processes. Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator(s) will share with the Reporting Individual and Responding Student for comment or rebuttal information and documentation considered material to the findings related to the complaint.

Top

VIII. Conduct Process

Definitions of Participants

Special Procedures

A. False Reports
The College will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

B. Amnesty for other violations

C. Notification of Determination
The determination made after an investigation (if there is not sufficient information to proceed with a hearing) or at the conclusion of a hearingis part of the education record of the Responding Student, and is protected from disclosure under Federal law. However, there are two exceptions as follows:

D. Alternative Testimony Options
For Reporting Individuals, alternative testimony options will be provided. Options include, placing a privacy screen in the hearing room, or other options that provide a safe space for participation while not depriving the Responding Student of their rights in the process. While these options are intended to help make the Reporting Individual more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the Responding Student.

E. Past Sexual History/Character

Prehearing Process:

Rights of the Reporting Individual

Rights of the Responding Student

Rights of Both the Reporting Individual and Responding Student (Pre-, During, and Post-Hearing):

Pre-Hearing Rights

Hearing Rights

Post Hearing Rights

Hearing Procedures (hearing procedure is subject to change)

If the Responding Student Accepts Responsibility:
After reviewing the Complaint Form and meeting with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator or designee, the Responding Student may accept responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form. If the Responding Student accepts responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint form, the process may, but will not necessarily, proceed to the Investigation Phase. The Conduct Administrator or designee will initiate the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Board process to determine an appropriate sanction for the Responding Student.

If the Responding Student does not accept responsibility or accepts partial responsibility, the Hearing Process will proceed as indicated below.

      1. The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will present the formal complaint along with the information obtained through the investigative process to the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Board. The Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Board shall consider only the information and evidence related to the alleged violations set forth in the formal complaint.
      2. The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will present the accepted facts.
      3. The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will present the disputed facts.
      4. Board will ask the Reporting Individual if they have any information to add.
      5. Board will ask the Responding Student if they have any information to add.
      6. Either party may request that the Board chair pose questions to the other party or any witnesses. The Board chair will determine the appropriateness and wording of the question
      7. Board will ask either the Reporting Individual and/or Responding Student any clarifying questions.
      8. Board will, if applicable, ask the Title IX Deputy Coordinator to present sexual and gender-based misconduct violations.
      9. Board will deliberate in private to decide in violation or no violation.
      10. If the Responding Student is found in violation, both Reporting Individual and Responding Student are given the opportunity to make an Impact Statement, prior to rendering sanctions. Both the Reporting Individual and the Responding Student have the right to leave the room during the other’s impact statement as the statements are heard solely to inform the board’s decision on sanctions.
      11. The board, if Responding Student is found in violation, will render a sanction.

Appeal Process

Guidelines for Sanctions

Sanctions preserve individual and institutional safety and integrity and, whenever possible and appropriate, help offenders repair the damage to the individual and community for which they have been found responsible. Individuals found to be in violation of sexual and gender-based misconduct offenses involving penetration will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion. Individuals found to be in repeat violation for sexual and/or gender-based misconduct offenses will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion.

The Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs (DoS/VPSA) maintains a record of all disciplinary hearings and sanctions applied, and these are admissible in subsequent student conduct proceedings involving the student(s) in question. Violations of the Honor Code may have an impact on eligibility for academic prizes and honors, eligibility to hold a student leadership position, participation and/or status in the room selection process, law school applications, security clearances, etc.  

The board may sanction students found in violation of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy in a variety of ways. Most sanctions either restrict student activities or require the student to complete specific reparative tasks within a specific timeframe. During the period from hearing to completion of sanctions the student is on "Disciplinary Probation."  

As determined by the board or the DoS/VPSA, a student on Disciplinary Probation may not be eligible to register for the ensuing semester of study at Skidmore or pursue work at another academic institution, or participate in Skidmore room selection or in the off-campus draw. A student who violates the Honor Code while on Disciplinary Probation or fails to comply with assigned sanctions will generally receive additional, more substantial sanctions. In the case of graduating seniors, students may not receive diplomas or transcripts or participate in the graduation ceremony until completion of all sanction requirements, unless specifically permitted by the Administrative Hearing Board.

    1. public safety or disruption of the academic and educational process is a concern;
    2. the Responding Students demonstrate an unwillingness to take responsibility for their behavior by failing to
complete sanction-related tasks or by committing new social or academic violations;
    3. the Responding Student's infraction is too egregious relative to the College's academic or social value system; or       
    4. the Responding Student has committed multiple offenses that warrant a serious sanction.

Top

IX. Support Services and Resources

On-Campus Resources

Afterhours, access both Counseling Center and Health Services on-call confidential service by calling Campus Safety at 518-580-5566 and asking for the on-call clinician. There is no need to leave your name. Just leave your phone number and the clinician will call you back.

*indicates availability 24 hours a day/7 days a week

Off-Campus Confidential Reporting Sources

Off Campus Reporting Sources

*indicates availability 24 hours a day/7 days a week

 

Policy revision in August 2014.

This policy may be amended, in writing, by Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs or the Dean's designee at any time.

Top

A A A