Skidmore's commitment to addressing sexual and gender-based misconduct
March 9, 2015
As a community, Skidmore works to foster a climate of mutual respect with student safety as our top priority. This includes a resolute commitment to proactively addressing the issue of sexual and gender-based misconduct.
While this is a societal problem affecting venues across the nation, including college campuses, Skidmore College is not immune, and we are dedicated to combating it on our campus. We take this matter very seriously, have devoted substantial resources to the prevention of misconduct and remedies to reports of misconducts and continue to make this a top priority.
Due to federal privacy laws and our commitment to safeguarding student confidentiality and protecting the integrity of the hearing process, we do not publicly comment on cases that are currently being handled in the campus conduct system. However, we can speak in general terms regarding:
- our sexual and gender-based misconduct policies, which we have significantly strengthened over the last several years, and
- important advances in our educational programming, which places a particular emphasis on effective consent as fundamental to responsible sexual relationships.
Our efforts in both areas have been the subject of much conversation, open communication and collaboration, and dedicated work involving many in the campus community, including students. To ensure that our policies reflect best practices in higher education, our own experiences and changes in existing laws, we continue to review all of our policies and procedures, seeking to improve them whenever and wherever we can.
This sexual and gender misconduct website brings together all pertinent information in an accessible format, including our updated policy on sexual and gender-based misconduct, which was developed by a committee of staff and students, in consultation with the college’s counsel.
Below are several links you may find helpful in understanding how the college handles cases of sexual and gender misconduct:
- Sexual and gender-based misconduct policy, statement of confidentiality
- Sexual and gender-based misconduct policy, filing a formal complaint
- Sexual and gender-based misconduct policy, guidelines for sanctions
Recent Changes and Improvements
Skidmore has spent the last year revising its policies on sexual and gender misconduct and sharing them with the entire community: students, faculty, staff, the President’s Cabinet and the Board of Trustees, consultants and attorneys, to obtain comprehensive feedback. We have been working to implement initiatives to increase community awareness of sexual and gender-based misconduct; to strengthen our prevention and education efforts as well as our bystander intervention training; and to publicize and enhance on- and off-campus support and reporting resources.
As a result of feedback received, a number of changes to the policy have been implemented, including the following:
- We created an online anonymous reporting form.
- We increased on-campus sexual and gender-based misconduct advisor options for both reporting individuals and responding students.
- We developed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Saratoga Springs Police Department to clarify how our local law enforcement can assist when a student elects to report an incident of SGBM.
- We improved and elaborated SGBM Administrative Hearing Board training.
- We expanded our relationship with Wellspring (formerly Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services of Saratoga County) and initiated a plan to bring Wellspring advocates to campus several hours a week to support students.
- We are currently administering an updated student sexual and gender-based misconduct campus climate survey.
Our work continues in the following areas:
- We are reviewing and modifying SGBM sanctioning guidelines.
- We are revising the SGBM hearing procedure for greater clarity.
- We are improving the communication of SGBM Hearing Board rationale for decisions and sanctioning determinations.
- We are expanding training for students, staff and faculty, including additional mandated training for all students on bystander intervention, policies and procedures, support resources and reporting options.