Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault Prevention Policy

I.                 General Policy Statement

Syracuse University is committed to cultivating and maintaining an environment that is supportive of its primary educational mission and free from discrimination and harassment.  The University prohibits, and will respond promptly and equitably, to reports of Sexual Harassment, which includes Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, as well as other forms of prohibited conduct defined in this policy. Capitalized terms are defined throughout the policy, and all are set forth in the definitions section.

II.             Reason for Policy/Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to prevent and redress Sexual Harassment and related forms of prohibited conduct at Syracuse University by: setting community expectations regarding discrimination and harassment; describing what conduct is prohibited; and explaining how the University will respond to reports of prohibited conduct. It is also meant to ensure compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), its implementing regulations, and other applicable sex and gender discrimination prevention laws.

III.         Policy

          A. Scope and Jurisdiction

This policy applies to students, staff, faculty, and third-parties such as volunteers, vendors, consultants, guests, alumni, applicants for admission or employment, or other individuals participating in—or attempting to participate in—the University’s Education Program or Activities.

This policy prohibits Sexual Harassment as defined in the Title IX regulations (“Title IX Sexual Harassment”), which includes Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking.  This policy also prohibits other forms of Sexual Harassment, including as defined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Sexual Exploitation, and Retaliation. Collectively, these forms of conduct are referred to in the policy and accompanying procedures as “Prohibited Conduct.”

The term Education Program or Activities includes all of the University’s operations, including locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which conduct occurs; and any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.  The Title IX regulations, which direct the University’s response to reports of Sexual Harassment as defined in the Title IX regulations, do not draw a line between on-campus, off-campus, or online conduct, provided the conduct occurred in an Education Program or Activity in the United States.  Examples include University-sponsored, University-funded or University-supported study off campus, research, internships, mentorship, summer session, conferences, meetings, social events, or other affiliated programs or premises.

In keeping with the University’s educational mission and commitment to foster a learning, living, and working environment free from discrimination and harassment, the University will also address through this policy and accompanying procedures, reports of Prohibited Conduct that occur beyond the Title IX regulations, including Prohibited Conduct that occurs outside the United States, but still in an Education Program or Activity; and, under certain circumstances, reports of Prohibited Conduct that occur outside of the Education Program or Activity but fall within the scope of conduct regulated by the University.  Examples include University-affiliated study abroad programs, or off-campus conduct between two students that would otherwise violate the Code of Student Conduct.

This policy applies to all reports of Prohibited Conduct that are received by the University on or after August 14, 2020, regardless of when the conduct occurred. Other forms of sex- or gender-based discrimination will be addressed under the University’s Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy Statement and associated procedures, and/or the Code of Student Conduct and associated procedures.

          B. Prohibited Conduct

The University prohibits the following forms of conduct, collectively referred to as Prohibited Conduct in this policy and the associated procedures:

  1. Sexual Harassment: Sexual Harassment is a collective term that includes more specific forms of Prohibited Conduct as follows:
  •  Title IX Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

– Actions by a University faculty or staff member conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;

– Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; or

– Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, as defined below.

  • Other forms of Sexual Harassment: consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the recognition that Sexual Harassment may also occur in a wider variety of contexts, the University also defines Sexual Harassment to include any sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, electronic, or otherwise; or, any act of intimidation or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise based on sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature; when one or more of the following conditions are present:

– Submission to or rejection of such conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of, or is used as the basis for decisions affecting, an individual’s employment or advancement in employment, evaluation of academic work or advancement in an academic program, or basis for participation in any aspect of a University program or activity (quid pro quo); or

– The conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or depriving an individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s learning, working, or living programs under both an objective and subjective standard (hostile environment).

– In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will evaluate the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  1. the frequency, nature and severity of the conduct;
  2. whether the conduct was physically threatening;
  3. the effect of the conduct on the Complainant’s mental or emotional state;
  4. whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
  5. whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
  6. whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or University programs or activities;
  7. whether the conduct implicates academic freedom or protected speech; and,
  8. other relevant factors that may arise from consideration of the reported facts and circumstances.

2. Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without affirmative consent or where the individual cannot affirmatively consent because of age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity (see below for definition of affirmative consent and incapacitation). Sexual contact includes:

– sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), including penetration with a body part (g., penis, finger, hand, or tongue) or an object, or requiring another to penetrate themselves with a body part or an object, however slight;

– sexual touching of the private body parts, including, but not limited to, contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or other intimate part of an individual’s body for the purpose of sexual gratification; or

– attempts to commit Sexual Assault.

3.      Dating and Domestic Violence: Dating and Domestic Violence includes any act of violence against a Complainant who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with the Respondent, or against a person with whom the Respondent has sought to have such a relationship, as follows:

  • Domestic Violence: includes any act of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under New York state law, or by any other person against an adult or minor Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under New York state law;
  • Dating Violence: includes any act of violence committed by a person:
  1. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant; and
  2. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

– The length of the relationship;

– The type of relationship; and

– The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating or Domestic Violence may also include forms of Sexual Harassment under this policy, including Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, and Stalking.

4.      Stalking:   Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Course of conduct means two or more instances including but not limited to unwelcome acts in which an individual directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish.

Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.

5. Retaliation: Retaliation means any adverse action, intimidation, threat, coercion or discrimination against an individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its regulations, or because the individual has made a report or Formal Complaint of Prohibited Conduct, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under this policy. Retaliation includes conduct through associates or agents of a Complainant, Respondent, or participant in any investigation or proceeding related to this policy.

6. Sexual Exploitation: Sexual Exploitation is any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another without permission. Acts of Sexual Exploitation may include:

  • secretly observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe sexual activity without the knowledge and permission of all parties involved;
  • recording, photographing, transmitting, showing, viewing, streaming, or distributing intimate or sexual images, audio recordings, or sexual information without the knowledge and permission of all parties involved; or
  • exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals without Affirmative Consent.

In determining whether reported conduct violates this policy, the University will consider the totality of the facts and circumstances involved in the incident, including the nature of the reported conduct and the context in which it occurred. Prohibited Conduct can be committed by or against individuals of any sex or gender and can occur between individuals of the same sex/gender or different sexes/genders. Prohibited Conduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, as well as persons involved in intimate, sexual, dating, domestic, or familial relationships.

Related Definitions and Guidance:

Affirmative Consent (as defined by New York state law under Enough is Enough): is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.  Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of Affirmative Consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Guidance regarding Consent (under New York State Law)

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity.
  • Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
  • When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

Additional Guidance regarding Consent and Incapacitation

In evaluating whether consent has been freely sought and given, the University will consider the presence of any force, threat of force, threats, or coercion; whether the Complainant had the capacity to give consent; and, whether the communication (through words and/or actions) between the parties would be interpreted by a reasonable person as a willingness to engage in a particular act.

Incapacitation includes the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the activity is occurring.

The use of alcohol or other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion about whether consent is effectively sought and freely given. When alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. When drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond being under the influence or impaired by use of the drug.

Alcohol and other drugs impact each individual differently and determining whether an individual is incapacitated requires an individualized assessment. The University does not expect community members to be medical experts in assessing incapacitation. Individuals should look for the common and obvious warning signs that show that a person may be incapacitated or approaching incapacitation. A person’s level of intoxication is not always demonstrated by objective signs; however, some signs of intoxication may include clumsiness, difficulty walking, poor judgment, difficulty concentrating, slurred speech, vomiting, combativeness, or emotional volatility. A person who is incapacitated may not be able to understand some or all of the following questions: “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know how you got here?” “Do you know what is happening?” “Do you know whom you are with?”

An individual’s level of intoxication may change over a period of time based on a variety of subjective factors, including the amount of substance intake, speed of intake, body mass, and metabolism. Because the impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person, the amount of alcohol and/or drugs a person consumes may not be sufficient, without other evidence, to prove that they were incapacitated under this policy. Another effect of alcohol consumption can be memory impairment or forgetting entire or partial events (sometimes referred to as “black- out” or “brown-out”). A person may experience this symptom while appearing to be functioning “normally,” including communicating through actions or words that can reasonably be said to express an interest in engaging in sexual conduct. Whether sexual conduct with a person who is “blacked-out” constitutes prohibited conduct depends on the presence or absence of the observable factors indicating that a person is also incapacitated, as described above. Total or partial loss of memory alone, may not be sufficient, without other evidence, to prove that a person was incapacitated under this policy.

In evaluating consent in cases of reported incapacitation, the University asks two questions: (1) Did the Respondent know that the Complainant was incapacitated? and if not, (2) Should a sober, reasonable person in a similar set of circumstances as the Respondent have known that the Complainant was incapacitated? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” the Complainant could not consent; and the conduct is likely a violation of this policy. A Respondent’s voluntary intoxication is never an excuse for or a defense to prohibited conduct, and it does not diminish the responsibility to determine that the other person has given consent and has the capacity to do so.

C. Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships

Sexual or romantic relationships that might be acceptable in other circumstances always pose inherent risks that they will result in Prohibited Conduct when they occur between University community members and any person for whom they have a professional responsibility. These relationships, even when not harassing, may develop into professional conflicts of interest, or at least create the perception of such a conflict of interest, that may make it difficult to carry out a role as educator or supervisor. Conduct within a consensual relationship may become part of a subsequent complaint of Prohibited Conduct.

The danger that difficulties, including harassment or abuse of power, will occur is particularly strong in relationships between employees and students they are supervising or advising. The relationship puts the student in a vulnerable position and creates a problematic environment for other students who become aware of the relationship. Professionalism within the University demands that those with authority not abuse, nor seem to abuse, the power with which they are entrusted.

1.      Relationships with Undergraduate Students

When undergraduate students are involved, the difference in institutional power and inherent risk of coercion are so great that no University employees (including faculty) shall enter into or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with a Syracuse University undergraduate student, regardless of whether there is a supervisory or evaluative relationship between them. Efforts by employees to initiate such relationships are also prohibited.

2.      Relationships with Graduate Students

Romantic or sexual relationships between employees (including faculty) and graduate/professional students are also problematic. No employee shall enter into or engage in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship with graduate students or any subordinates who they advise, who are enrolled or participating in any program or department (academic or otherwise) in which the employee also participates, or whose work the employee supervises.

In addition, employees shall not exercise supervisory, advisory, or evaluative authority over any student with whom they have had a previous romantic or sexual relationship.

3.      Relationships between Teaching Assistants and Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants are prohibited from pursuing or engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with undergraduate students they teach, advise, or supervise. In the case where a teaching assistant had a prior romantic or sexual relationship with a student over whom they have supervisory or evaluative authority, the teaching assistant must notify their faculty supervisor, Chair, or Dean who will assist with taking steps necessary to mitigate any potential conflict.

This section on consensual sexual or romantic relationships is not intended to apply to employee spouses or domestic partners, as those terms are defined in the University’s Benefits Eligibility Policy, whose relationship precedes the creation of a power imbalance.

For purposes of this policy, the term “employee” includes all full-time and part-time employees, including faculty, and those taking courses or working towards a degree while employed at the University. The term does not include undergraduate or graduate students who also happen to be employed on campus part-time, such as part of a work-study program.

D. Minors

Minors (individuals under age 17 for purposes of this policy and consistent with New York law) are legally incapable to consent to any sexual activity with an adult; therefore, there is no such thing as consensual sexual activity between a minor and an adult member of the University community. The University strictly prohibits sexual activity of any type between adult University employees and minors in connection with any of its programs or activities. All University employees, including faculty, must adhere to the University’s Safety of Minors and Abuse Reporting Policy. Any reports or complaints of unlawful sexual activity involving minors will be reported to appropriate law enforcement and social services agencies consistent with New York state law.

E. Non-Discrimination Statement and Compliance with Laws

The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs or activities—including in its admissions or employment processes— and it does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex or gender. This includes harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity. Sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence and other forms of interpersonal violence are prohibited forms of discrimination and will not be tolerated, as described in this policy.

The University complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the University’s programs and activities. Title IX states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

The University is committed to compliance in all areas addressed by Title IX, including access to higher education and employment opportunities.

The University also complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”), as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”), which governs certain aspects of the University’s response to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex; the New York State human rights laws; New York’s “Enough is Enough” legislation; and other applicable laws and regulations.

Concerns about the University’s application of, or compliance with, the applicable laws may be addressed to the University’s Title IX Officer; the United States Department of Education, Clery Act Compliance Division (at clery@ed.gov); the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (at OCR@ed.gov or 800-421- 3481); the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (at info@eeoc.gov or 800-669-4000); the New York State Office of Campus Safety (at CampusSafety@opdv.ny.gov or 518-457-7987); and/or the New York State Division of Human Rights (at complaints@dhr.ny.gov or 1-888-392-3644).

F. Title IX Coordinator

The University has appointed a Title IX Coordinator (also referred to as the “Title IX Officer”) to oversee the consistent implementation of this policy, and to ensure compliance with Title IX, its implementing regulations, and other applicable federal and state laws. The University’s Title IX Coordinator is responsible for educating the University community about Title IX, applicable policies, procedures, resources, and reporting options; developing educational programming and initiatives; overseeing the University’s response to reports of Prohibited Conduct and related conduct, including coordinating Supportive Measures; overseeing prompt and equitable investigations and resolutions of reports of Prohibited Conduct; and facilitating individual and community remedies. The Title IX Coordinator also maintains records of all reports, investigations, and resolutions to track and monitor patterns, trends and issues of concern. In any particular case, the Title IX Coordinator may delegate their authority pursuant to this policy to another appropriate University representative.

The University’s Title IX Coordinator is:

           Sheila Johnson-Willis

Chief, Equal Opportunity and Title IX Officer

Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services

005 Steele Hall, Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY 13244-1120

sjohnson@syr.edu | (315) 443-0211

The Title IX Coordinator is trained on the definition of Prohibited Conduct, the scope of the University’s Education Program or Activity, how to conduct an investigation and resolution process including investigations, hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.

G. Resources and Reporting Options

A Complainant has many options, including seeking counseling or assistance from a Confidential Resource, making a report under this policy, and/or making a report to external law enforcement.  The University encourages prompt reporting of Prohibited Conduct and related conduct to the Title IX Coordinator and law enforcement.  An individual may make a report to the University, to law enforcement, to neither, or to both. University Title IX processes and law enforcement investigations or criminal processes operate independently of one another, although may sometimes require coordination.  If requested, the University will assist a Complainant in contacting law enforcement at any time. Complainants and witnesses are also encouraged to seek assistance from a Confidential Resource and to explore all potential reporting and support options.

Any individual may make a report of Prohibited Conduct or related conduct under this policy regardless of affiliation with the University and regardless of whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of the Prohibited Conduct.  Reports can be made 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.  A report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours).

Reports of Prohibited Conduct should be made to:

  • The Title IX Coordinator, Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services at 005 Steele Hall, (315) 443-0211, or titleix@syr.edu;
  • Office of Human Resources, Skytop Office Building, (315) 443-5462, or hrservice@syr.edu; and/or
  • Department of Public Safety, 005 Sims Hall, (315) 443-2224, or 711@syr.edu.

Anonymous reporting is also available through “TIPS” at (315) 443-8477 (TIPS) or online at: http://publicsafety.syr.edu/. However, the University may be limited in how it can respond to anonymous reports of Prohibited Conduct.

For individuals seeking to pursue a criminal sex offense complaint, they should contact:

  • Syracuse Police Department, 511 South State St., (315) 435-3016 (Abused Persons Unit); and/or
  • New York State Police, 24-hour dedicated hotline, (844) 845-7269.

The University will report allegations of criminal conduct and potential criminal conduct to the appropriate local law enforcement, consistent with the terms in the University’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Syracuse Police Department. The University’s report to local law enforcement, however, does not obligate the Complainant to pursue criminal charges.

H. Confidential Resources

A Confidential Resource is any University employee who is a licensed medical, clinical, or mental-health professional (e.g., physicians, nurses, physician’s assistants, psychologists, psychiatrists, professional counselors, and social workers, and those performing services under their supervision), when acting in that professional role in the provision of services to a patient; any employee providing administrative, operational, and/or related support for such health care providers in their performance of such services; and clergy or chaplains performing religious counseling. Confidential Resources will not disclose information about reported Prohibited Conduct to any outside party, including the Title IX Coordinator, without the reporting individual’s permission or as set forth in this policy under “Privacy and Confidentiality.”

The University provides students with access to the following Confidential Resources:

  • The Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team (available 24/7) at the Barnes Center at The Arch at 315.443.8000;
  • Healthcare providers, counselors, and their staff at the Barnes Center at the Arch at 315.443.8000;
  • The chaplains at Hendricks Chapel at 315.443.2901; and
  • The University Ombuds and their staff (for graduate students only) at 315.443.1087.

The University provides faculty and staff with access to the following Confidential Resources:

  • Faculty and Staff Assistance Program – Faculty and staff can contact Carebridge at 800-437-0911. Carebridge counselors may be reached 24/7 for confidential consultation, assessment, referrals, and counseling.
  • Office of the University Ombuds – Provides University employees with an informal, confidential, impartial, and independent resource to address concerns or questions openly without fear of retaliation or judgment. 111 Waverly Ave, Suite 215, (315) 443.1087, ombuds@syr.edu.

I. Faculty and Staff Reporting Responsibilities

When University faculty or staff learn of an allegation of Prohibited Conduct, they have a duty to report the conduct to the University’s Chief Equal Opportunity and Title IX Officer (a/k/a Title IX Coordinator), unless they are designated by the University as a Confidential Resource.

With the exception of University employees designated as Confidential Resources, all other faculty and staff are required to report immediately to the Title IX Coordinator any information they know about suspected Prohibited Conduct. These individuals are referred to as Responsible Employees. Student workers who have supervisory responsibility or responsibility for the welfare of other students are also considered Responsible Employees, and must report potential violations of this policy they learn of in the scope of their employment. All other students are encouraged to report any suspected violation of this policy.

If a reporting individual discloses an incident of Prohibited Conduct to a Responsible Employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or does not consent to the institution’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator must weigh the request against the institution’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of its community.

Responsible Employees are not required to report information disclosed: (1) at public awareness events (e.g., “Take Back the Night,” candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speak-outs,” or other public forums in which students may disclose Prohibited Conduct (collectively, public awareness events); or (2) during an individual’s participation as a subject in an Institutional Review Board-approved human subjects research protocol (IRB Research).

Responsible Employees cannot withhold information about Prohibited Conduct from the Title IX Coordinator.  Failure by a Responsible Employee to report suspected Prohibited Conduct in a timely manner may subject them to appropriate discipline, including removal from a position or termination of employment.

A Complainant may choose not to make a complaint or report their own experience, even if the Complainant would otherwise have reporting obligations by virtue of being a faculty member, staff member, or student worker.

Pursuant to the Clery Act, the University includes statistics about certain offenses in its annual security report and provides those statistics to the United States Department of Education in a manner that does not include any personally-identifying information about individuals involved in an incident. The Clery Act also requires the University to issue timely warnings to the University community about certain crimes that have been reported and may continue to pose a serious or continuing threat to campus safety. Consistent with the Clery Act, the University withholds the names and other personally-identifying information of complainants when issuing timely warnings to the University community.

J. Amnesty for Reporting Students

The health and safety of every student at Syracuse University is of utmost importance. Syracuse University recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that Prohibited Conduct occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences of their own conduct. Syracuse University strongly encourages students to report Prohibited Conduct t to institution officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of Prohibited Conduct to Syracuse University’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to Syracuse University’s Code of Student Conduct for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the reported incident.

K. Student Bill of Rights

In addition to rights described elsewhere in this policy and related procedures, all students who report incidents of Prohibited Conduct have the right to:

  • Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  • Have disclosures of Dating or Domestic Violence, Stalking, Sexual Assault, and other forms of Sexual Harassment treated seriously;
  • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by the institution;
  • Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  • Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  • Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  • Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
  • Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the Complainant and/or the Respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;
  • Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
  • Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or Respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and
  • Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.

L. Privacy and Confidentiality

The University takes reasonable steps to protect the privacy of individuals involved in any report of Prohibited Conduct, and will only share information with others to the extent necessary to investigate or otherwise respond to such reports. In all proceedings, the University will protect student information in accordance with the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other applicable privacy laws and regulations.

Confidentiality—as opposed to privacy—refers to the protections provided to information disclosed in legally-protected or privileged relationships under New York state law, including licensed professional mental health counselors, licensed medical professionals, and ordained clergy (see policy section on “Faculty and Staff Reporting Responsibilities”).

When an individual shares information with a Confidential Resource as a confidential communication in the course of a protected relationship, the Confidential Resource cannot disclose the information without the individual’s written permission or unless required by ethical or legal obligations which compel the professional to reveal such information. For example, information may be disclosed when the individual gives written consent for its disclosure, there is an imminent threat of physical harm to self or others, or the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18.

Unless the University’s receives written permission from an individual to access records or information protected under a legally-recognized privilege (such as the doctor-patient or attorney-client privilege), the University will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise access or use such records or information in Prohibited Conduct cases.

Even University faculty and staff who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain the privacy of a report of Prohibited Conduct to the greatest extent possible.  The information provided to a non-confidential resource (i.e., a Responsible Employee) will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and/or seek a resolution. The University is prohibited by federal law from restricting the ability of parties to discuss the allegations.

M. Sanctions

A person who commits a violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or termination.  The list of potential sanctions that may be imposed against a student, staff, or faculty member are included in the respective processes for resolving complaints.

N. Retaliation

The University prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes a good faith report or complaint of Prohibited Conduct, testified, assisted, participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to a report of Prohibited Conduct under this policy. Retaliation can take many forms, including, but not limited to, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations.

O. Modifications

This policy will be revised from time to time as necessary to reflect changes in applicable law. If and to the extent any existing University policy conflicts with this policy, this policy controls.

P. Policy Administration

The University’s Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services is the primary authority responsible for administering this policy.

IV.          To Whom Does This Policy Apply

Select all that apply:

☒  Students     ☒  Faculty     ☒  Staff      ☒  Visitors/General Public     ☒  Other (Individuals participating in or attempting to participate in the University’s Education Program or Activity; contractors or other vendors performing services on behalf of the University)

V.              Appendices (as applicable)

A.   Procedures

The procedures used to respond to reports of Prohibited Conduct correspond to the identity of the Respondent (student, faculty, staff). While there may be jurisdictional determinations, based on the nature of the reported conduct or the geographic location, that dictate which potential policy violations will form the basis for the Formal Complaint, investigation, and adjudication, the University will apply the same set of procedures to resolve a Formal Complaint of Prohibited Conduct, regardless of whether the conduct is prohibited under the Title IX regulations.

All processes deployed to respond to Formal Complaints of Prohibited Conduct filed with the Title IX Coordinator or a designee in the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will generally follow these steps:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will perform a jurisdictional analysis to determine whether the complaint is appropriate for processing under this policy.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss, among other things, process options and the availability of Supportive Measures.
  3. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will send written notice of the Formal Complaint to the known parties, permitting all parties sufficient time to prepare a response to the Formal Complaint before any interview.
  4. Appropriate officials (g., Title IX Investigators; Department of Public Safety Investigators; Student Conduct Investigators; external investigators where appropriate) will investigate the allegations in the Formal Complaint, compiling evidence and conducting interviews with parties and witnesses.
  5. Parties and their advisors will have the opportunity to view all evidence gathered, to view the investigation report, and to submit a written response to each.
  6. The University will convene a hearing to determine whether the Respondent(s) violated this policy (or any other University policies) as alleged by the Formal Complaint.
  7. The University will provide both parties with written notice of the outcome.
  8. The parties can appeal the written determination on certain grounds.
  9. The University will issue a written determination of the appeal.

The respective processes also set forth Informal Resolution options.

The full procedures for responding to reports of Prohibited Conduct involving a student Respondent are available here.

The full procedures for responding to reports of Prohibited Conduct involving a faculty Respondent are available here.

The full procedures for responding to reports of Prohibited Conduct involving a staff Respondent are available here.

The University’s ability to take appropriate corrective action against a third-party or non-affiliate will be determined by the nature of the relationship of the third-party to the University.  Based on the role of the third-party, the University may have limited authority to discipline the Respondent.  However, the University will take appropriate steps to investigate and respond to the conduct consistent with the authority granted by the University’s jurisdiction over the Respondent.

The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the nature of the Respondent’s relationship with the University to determine the extent to which the University has disciplinary authority or control over the Respondent.  The Title IX Coordinator will seek to make this determination within five (5) business days.

If the University has disciplinary authority over the Respondent, the procedures for students, faculty, or staff cases may apply, depending on the nature of the relationship between the third-party and the University, although they may be modified as necessary with written notice to the Complainant and Respondent.

If the University has no disciplinary authority over the Respondent, the University may take other action under this policy.  For example, the University may take steps to investigate the conduct to inform the appropriate response.  Those investigative steps may vary depending on the nature of the conduct, the University’s relationship with the Respondent, and the steps necessary to effectively address the conduct.  Investigative steps may include interviewing the parties and witnesses, when available, and a review of other relevant information.  Where there is a sufficient factual basis, a third-party who is accused of violating this Policy may be permanently barred from the University or subject to other restrictions for failing to comply with this policy.  The University will notify the Complainant about any actions taken by the University.  In addition, the University may provide appropriate remedial measures to a Complainant and help to identify external reporting options that may have enforcement authority over the Respondent.

B.    Definitions

Actual Knowledge means notice of Prohibited Conduct or allegations of Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Coordinator or any officials with the authority to institute corrective action, including officials in the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, or Resolution Services; Human Resources; Department of Public Safety; Office of the Provost; Office of Student Rights or Responsibilities; or members of the Chancellor’s Executive Team.

Complainant means an individual who is alleged to have experienced conduct that could constitute Prohibited Conduct.

Confidential Resources are employees on campus who can receive reports of Prohibited Conduct, and who must keep such reports confidential unless given permission from the reporting individual to share the information further. Confidential Resources need not report suspected incidents of Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Officer as long as they learned about the incidents in their professional capacities as medical providers, counselors, or clergy/chaplains. Confidential Resources at the University specifically include: the Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team counselors and their staff; other Barnes Center at The Arch healthcare providers and their staff; and the chaplains at Hendricks Chapel; the University Ombuds and their staff.

Education Program or Activities includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Prohibited Conduct occurs, and also include any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.

Formal Complaint means a document (electronic or hard copy) filed by a Complainant with the Title IX Officer, or signed by the Title IX Officer, alleging Prohibited Conduct against a Respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation of Prohibited Conduct. Formal Complaints can only be filed by or on behalf of Complainants who are participating in or attempting to participate in the University’s Education Program or Activities at the time of filing. A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Officer (or a designee) in person, by mail, or by electronic mail and must contain the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicate that the Complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.

Informal Resolution is a flexible, mediation-type process that reaches an agreed-upon resolution or settlement to a Formal Complaint of Prohibited Conduct without necessarily requiring a full investigation or hearing. Informal Resolution is available only once a Formal Complaint has been filed, prior to a determination of responsibility, and if all impacted parties and the University voluntarily consent to the same in writing. Informal Resolution is not available in cases in which an employee is alleged to have sexually harassed a student.

If a resolution is reached between the parties in an Informal Resolution, the case will be closed, and the parties will be precluded from filing another complaint arising from the same conduct or set of facts. Prior to reaching a resolution, any party can withdraw from the Informal Resolution process and resume the Formal Complaint process, which would include a full investigation and hearing.

Any statements made during an informal resolution process, including records and communications created or maintained as part of an Informal Resolution process, will not be used by the University in a subsequent investigation or hearing.

Prohibited Conduct means:

Sexual Harassment: Sexual Harassment is a collective term that includes more specific forms of Prohibited Conduct as follows:

  • Title IX Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

– Actions by a University faculty or staff member conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;

– Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; or

– Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, as defined below.

  • Other forms of Sexual Harassment: consistent with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the recognition that Sexual Harassment may also occur in a wider variety of contexts, the University also defines Sexual Harassment to include any sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, electronic, or otherwise; or, any act of intimidation or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise based on sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature; when one or more of the following conditions are present:

– Submission to or rejection of such conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of, or is used as the basis for decisions affecting, an individual’s employment or advancement in employment, evaluation of academic work or advancement in an academic program, or basis for participation in any aspect of a University program or activity (quid pro quo); or

– The conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or depriving an individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s learning, working, or living programs under both an objective and subjective standard (hostile environment).

In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will evaluate the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  1. the frequency, nature and severity of the conduct;
  2. whether the conduct was physically threatening;
  3. the effect of the conduct on the Complainant’s mental or emotional state;
  4. whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
  5. whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
  6. whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or University programs or activities;
  7. whether the conduct implicates academic freedom or protected speech; and,
  8. other relevant factors that may arise from consideration of the reported facts and circumstances.

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without affirmative consent or where the individual cannot affirmatively consent because of age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity (see below for definition of affirmative consent and incapacitation). Sexual contact includes:

  • sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), including penetration with a body part (g., penis, finger, hand, or tongue) or an object, or requiring another to penetrate themselves with a body part or an object, however slight;
  • sexual touching of the private body parts, including, but not limited to, contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or other intimate part of an individual’s body for the purpose of sexual gratification; or
  • attempts to commit Sexual Assault.

Dating and Domestic Violence: Dating and Domestic Violence includes any act of violence against a Complainant who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with the Respondent, or against a person with whom the Respondent has sought to have such a relationship, as follows:

  • Domestic Violence: includes any act of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under New York state law, or by any other person against an adult or minor Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under New York state law;
  • Dating Violence: includes any act of violence committed by a person:

-who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant; and

– where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  1. The length of the relationship;
  2. The type of relationship; and
  3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating or Domestic Violence may also include forms of Sexual Harassment under this policy, including Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, and Stalking.

Stalking:   Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Course of conduct means two or more instances including but not limited to unwelcome acts in which an individual directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish.

Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.

Retaliation: Retaliation means any adverse action, intimidation, threat, coercion or discrimination against an individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its regulations, or because the individual has made a report or Formal Complaint of Prohibited Conduct, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in any investigation, proceeding or hearing under this policy. Retaliation includes conduct through associates or agents of a Complainant, Respondent, or participant in any investigation or proceeding related to this policy.

Sexual Exploitation: Sexual Exploitation is any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another without permission. Acts of Sexual Exploitation may include:

  • secretly observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe sexual activity without the knowledge and permission of all parties involved;
  • recording, photographing, transmitting, showing, viewing, streaming, or distributing intimate or sexual images, audio recordings, or sexual information without the knowledge and permission of all parties involved; or
  • exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals without Affirmative Consent.

Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Prohibited Conduct or another form of prohibited conduct under this Policy.

Responsible Employees are all employees, including faculty, who are not Confidential Resources, meaning they are required to report immediately to the Title IX Officer any information they know about suspected Prohibited Conduct. Student workers who have supervisory responsibility or responsibility for the welfare of other students are also considered Responsible Employees when they learn of potential violations of this policy in the scope of their employment. All other students are encouraged to report any suspected violation of this policy.

Supportive Measures mean non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or 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 University’s Education Program or Activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter Prohibited Conduct. Supportive Measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual 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.

Title IX Coordinator is the individual appointed by the University to oversee the consistent implementation of this policy, to ensure compliance with Title IX, and other applicable laws. The University’s Title IX Coordinator is responsible for educating the University community about Title IX, applicable policies, resources, and reporting options; developing educational programming and initiatives; overseeing the University’s response to reports of Prohibited Conduct, including coordinating Supportive Measures, overseeing prompt and equitable investigations and resolutions of reports of Prohibited Conduct. The Title IX Coordinator also maintains records of all reports, investigations, and resolutions to track and monitor patterns, trends and issues of concern.

C.   Forms

The Formal Complaint form for reports about students is located on the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services website.

The Formal Complaint form for reports about faculty, staff, or any other employee is located on the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services website.

D.   Other Related Policies and Documents

This Policy addresses discrimination on the basis of sex or gender as it relates to sexual and gender-based harassment and sexual assault, and other forms of interpersonal violence defined in more detail above. Other forms of sex discrimination (not based on harassment or violence), and discrimination and harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law are governed by the University’s Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Policy, Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment in Employment, Anti-Harassment Policy, and Statement of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

E.    Resources

Emergency Resources

Emergency medical assistance and law enforcement assistance are available both on and off campus. Individuals are encouraged to contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment as soon as possible following an incident that may pose a threat to safety or physical well-being or that is potentially a criminal act under New York law.

University community members with an immediate safety concern or medical injury should contact the Department of Public Safety at (315) 443-2224 or 711 from campus phones, #SU from cellular phones, or by calling 911.  Calling DPS does not require an individual to file a report.

Community members can also contact the New York State Police New York State Police at their 24-hour dedicated hotline, (844) 845-7269, or the Syracuse Police Department Abused Persons Unit at (315) 435-3016, or in cases of emergency 911.

Individuals who experience sexual or relationship violence are encouraged to seek medical attention as soon as possible.  For sexual violence, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) can conduct a forensic examination to collect evidence.  A healthcare professional can also assess for any possible injuries, provide emergency contraception (if needed) and screen for sexually transmitted infections.  All Syracuse emergency departments have SANE exams available.  Community members can contact the Syracuse University Ambulance at (315) 443-4299 for immediate medical assistance and transportation to a local hospital.

The closest local hospitals are Crouse Hospital (736 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13210), Upstate University Hospital (750 E. Adams Street, Syracuse, New York 13210), and St. Joseph’s (301 Prospect Avenue, Syracuse, New York 13203).

In addition, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and pregnancy are available by appointment at Syracuse University Health Services at (315) 443-9005.

Campus Resources

Many University departments provide support and resources to University students and employees, including:

Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services

005 Steele Hall

(315) 443-0211

titleix@syr.edu

Dean of Students Office

310 Steele Hall

(315) 443-4357

dos@syr.edu

The Dean of Students Office helps students no matter the issue or challenge they are facing. Serving as the hub for holistic and integrated student support, the Dean of Students Office is also a great resource if you are not sure where to start with a question or concern. The staff work actively with students, faculty and staff to foster a community of care that encourages, empowers and assists students in their pursuit of success in and out of the classroom.

Office of Human Resources

Skytop Office Building

(315) 443-5462

hrservice@syr.edu

Department of Public Safety

005 Sims Hall

(315) 443-2224 or 711 from campus phones

#SU from cellular phones

Community Resources

In addition, University students and employees can access resources available in the community, including:

Vera House: Provides 24 hour crisis and support line and other confidential and privileged resources to those affected by domestic and sexual violence, (315) 468-3260.

New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline: (800) 942-6906.

F.    Frequently Asked Questions

To be developed.

 

Date: July 2004
August 11, 2014
August 28, 2015
February 22, 2016

August 20, 2018

  October 8, 2018

  August 14, 2020