It is the policy of Union College that all our students should be able to enjoy an environment free of discrimination, harassment, or violence and shall have equal opportunity in the education, employment, and services of the College. This policy refers to, but is not limited to discrimination in the following areas: race, gender, age, color, religion, creed, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability/handicap, veteran status, or any other status protected under applicable federal, state, and local laws. Respect for the dignity and worth of others should be the guiding principle for our relations with each other. This discrimination policy also applies to all electronic communications.
Grievance Procedures to Address Discrimination
Union College (“Union”) has adopted an internal process to provide for the prompt and fair resolution of complaints alleging a violation of Union’s non-discrimination policy based on protected status. Union encourages any student (the “Complainant”) who believes that he or she has experienced unlawful discrimination to attempt to resolve the issue informally. To this end, students should bring their concerns to the faculty or staff member directly involved, the department chair or appropriate dean. If the Complainant remains dissatisfied with the resolution of his/her concerns after attempting to resolve them informally, the Complainant may file a formal written complaint. The Complainant is not required to attempt to resolve the matter informally but is encouraged to do so.
Any student who wishes to file a formal complaint alleging discrimination may do so by submitting it to the Office of Campus Diversity in Feigenbaum Hall, 1st Floor:
Bias Policy/Acts of Intolerance
Union College is committed to providing an educational atmosphere in which students can pursue their academic endeavors and can achieve their maximum potential. Maintaining a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff is of the highest priority at Union College. The following protocol has been adopted by Union College for victims of bias-related activity and for those individuals at Union College who are otherwise involved in bias-related activity.
Hate crimes and bias-related incidents involve behavior that is motivated by race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, age, or disability. Bias-related incidents include those actions that are motivated by bias but do not meet the necessary elements to prove a crime. Hate crimes are conduct, such as threats of violence, property damage, personal injury and other illegal conduct (as defined below), which are motivated and/or accompanied by bias.
Bias-related incidents behaviors which constitute an expression of hostility against the person or property of another because of the targeted person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, or disability. Bias-related incidents include, but are not limited to, non-threatening name calling and using degrading language or slurs that are directed toward a person because of his or her membership or perceived membership in a protected class and that create a hostile environment for that person.
As has been noted in other student handbooks, there have been many court opinions defining the word “threat” in the context of free speech. Those court opinions, often arising out of Vietnam and civil rights era protests, have distinguished between “provocative” or “boorish” expression (generally protected by the First Amendment) and “true threats” (which may be lawfully punished). A “true threat” was summarized by one federal appellate court as requiring “a serious expression of intent to harm or assault.” United States v. Orozco-Santillan, 903 F. 2nd 1262 (9th Cir. 1990). The perception of such a threat must be “objective” from the standpoint of a “reasonable person,” not the subjective impressions of a complainant.
If a violation of the Conduct Code is accompanied by bias-related motivation, the sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students for that violation may be more severe.
What is a Bias-Related Crime?
New York State Penal Law Section 485, also known as the “Hate Crimes Act of 2000,” sets forth the definition of a hate or bias-related crime. Specifically, a person commits a hate or bias-related crime when he or she commits a specified offense and either:
Under New York State law, bias crimes carry enhanced penalties that can mean longer sentences. In the case of a misdemeanor, or a class C, D, or E felony, the law steps up the punishment of those who commit specified offenses deemed to be bias-motivated by raising them a category higher. The chart below provides a list of maximum penalties.
In addition, bias crime victims also have the option of consulting an attorney to initiate a suit in civil court for damages. Civil action may be brought against the alleged perpetrator regardless of whether criminal charges are pursued in order to compensate the victim for the wrong done to them.
Bias Crimes on College Campuses
According to the 2002 FBI Hate Crime Statistics, more than 10% of all hate crimes nationally occur in schools. In addition, according to http://www.tolerance.org/campus/index.jsp, an excellent resource concerning hate-related activity on college campuses, the following facts are true:
Examples of bias-related crimes on college campuses include:
Bias Incident Team
The College has established a Bias Incident Team whose member are: Director of Campus Safety, (518-388-6358); Director of Counseling Center, at x6161 (518-388-6161) email:; Director of Multicultural Affairs, (518-388-6030).
What is a Bias-Related Incident?
Bias-related incidents are defined as behavior that constitutes an expression of hostility against the person or property of another because of the targeted person’s race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, or disability. They include:
Procedures for Responding to Bias-Related Incidents and Crimes
Faculty, Staff, and students are encouraged to report bias- related activity including hate crimes either experienced directly or observed that occur on the Union College Campus or in the course of a College activity to the Bias Incident Team. Referral to the Bias Incident team is appropriate even when the person believed to have committed the act cannot be identified or if the reporting person does not wish to pursue campus disciplinary or criminal charges. The following procedures, to the extent reasonably practicable under the circumstances, are to be applied upon an incident occurring:
Counseling Services Available
Victims of bias-related activity often feel shock, anger, fear, powerlessness and depression. They may need support in order to cope with the incident and life in the aftermath of same if the targeted person is a Union College student, the student may voluntarily seek assistance from the College Counseling Center for any personal or psychological problems arising from the bias-related activity. The student’s communications with a counselor are kept confidential. The targeted student should call the Counseling Center at 388-6161 if he or she wishes to seek assistance in this manner.