Definitions for Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, Retaliation and others can be found in the Prohibited Conduct section of the Title IX policy, Enough is Enough policy, or Anti-Harassment Policies.
Complainant: An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of one or more of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct (SGBM) policies.
Respondent: An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute a violation of one or more of the SGBM policies.
Advisor of Choice: Both the Complainant and Respondent may elect to be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing to any meetings, hearings, conferences, and interviews pertaining to the investigation or adjudication of the Formal Complaint. In most of these instances, the advisor’s role is limited to observing, consulting with, and providing support to the party.
An Advisor of Choice may not speak or communicate on behalf of the Complainant or Respondent. Outside of the hearing, this includes but is not limited to in-person meetings, phone conversations, email, or any other forms of electronic or written communication with College personnel.
Parties have the right to consult with and engage an attorney as their Advisor of Choice, at their own expense with an exception noted below. As with any other Advisor of Choice, an attorney will not be permitted to speak or communicate on behalf of the student they are advising as described in the paragraph above except during the hearing.
However, there is one exception: For hearings conducted specifically under the Title IX Policy, each party’s Advisor of Choice is permitted to ask the other party or parties and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. All such cross-examination questions must be asked in a respectful, non-intimidating and non-abusive fashion. Such cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing to conduct cross-examination, the College will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the College’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party. Additionally, a party may ask the College to provide them an advisor at an earlier stage of the complaint process.
Any Advisor of Choice who fails to comply with this policy may be asked to leave any such meeting, proceeding or conversation and is expected to comply with this request. Continued failure to adhere to this policy may result in the Advisor of Choice no longer being allowed to participate in this role. If an Advisor of Choice fails to comply with this policy’s requirement to conduct cross-examination in a respectful, non-intimidating and non-abusive manner or otherwise violates the policy’s rules with respect to the advisor’s role during the hearing, the Advisor may be required to leave the hearing. In that event the party will be required to obtain a new advisor to conduct cross-examination or, alternatively, the College will provide an advisor for that purpose as described above.
Victim Advocate (students only): As part of their positions at Skidmore College, these individuals work to support and assist victims of sexual and/or gender-based misconduct. Students who have experienced sexual and/or gender-based misconduct can seek help from Victim Advocates knowing that those staff members will not report identifying details about the incident. This status is not legally protected in the same way that disclosures to mental health, health care providers, or college chaplains are. During the investigation and adjudication processes, Victim Advocates can also serve a SGBM Support Specialist as defined below.
Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct (SGBM) Support Specialist (students only): The SGBM Support Specialist is a Skidmore Community staff or faculty member appointed by the Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs who is trained to support the Complainant or Respondent. A current list of trained SGBM Support Specialists is maintained online.
Formal Complaint: a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the College.
A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information for the Title IX Coordinator set forth above. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail) or some other mechanism that otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party and must comply with the relevant Title IX requirements.
Supportive Measures: non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the College’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the College’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.
Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. The College will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the College to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures
Witness: A person or bystander who observes or has information about alleged conduct in violation of the Title IX policy. Witnesses must have observed the conduct in question or otherwise have information relevant to the incident.
Investigator: The individual(s) charged with investigating a complaint under this policy. The Investigator(s) will typically be the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, a members of Campus Safety, and/or external investigators designated by the College. Investigators attend, at a minimum, annual Title IX investigator training.
Hearing Administrator: This individual will oversee the scheduling, logistics, and overall execution of the live hearing, including time-keeping and any technology needs related to the recording or accessibility. The Hearing Administrator will not have any role in the determining the relevance or allowance of evidence or testimony. The Title IX Coordinator or appropriate designee will fulfill this role.
Hearing Panel and Adjudicator:
The decision about whether there has been a violation of the Title IX Policy will be made by a three-person panel or, in certain instances, a single adjudicator. Panelists and adjudicators will receive specific training regarding subjects including the dynamics of sexual and gender-based misconduct, the factors relevant to a determination of credibility, the appropriate manner in which to receive and evaluate sensitive information and evidence, including the evaluation of cross-examination questions, the manner of deliberation, and the application of the preponderance of the evidence standard as well as the College’s policies and procedures.
Parties will have the opportunity to state whether there is a panelist or adjudicator they feel should not participate in the hearing due to bias or any other reason that would prevent them from making a fair assessment of the information. Any such requests for recusal should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. Hearing Panelists or Adjudicators may be members of the campus community or may be external to the College as determined by the Title IX Coordinator.
Incapacitation: a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
Incapacitation may occur because of the individual’s age. Under New York law, the age of consent is 17 years of age and, therefore, a person under the age of 17 lacks the capacity to provide affirmative consent.
Incapacitation can also occur because of an individual’s physical or mental condition or disability that impairs the individual’s ability to provide consent. Incapacitation as a result of a physical or mental condition includes, but is not limited to, being: (i) asleep or in a state of unconsciousness; (ii) physically helpless; or (iii) involuntarily restrained. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be incapacitated and unable to consent to sexual activity. Being drunk or intoxicated, however, does not necessarily render someone incapacitated. The impact of alcohol or drugs varies from person to person.
Whether sexual activity with an incapacitated person constitutes gender-based misconduct depends on whether the Respondent knew or should have known of the Complainant’s incapacitation. The question of what a Respondent knew or should have known is objectively based on what a reasonable person in the place of the Respondent, sober and exercising good judgment, would have known about the condition of the Complainant.
Appeal Panel: These individuals are responsible for reviewing and determining the outcome of any appeal submitted by any of the parties. For any of the Title IX policies and Enough is Enough policy, the panel will generally consist of the relevant Vice President and at least one other panelist.