Student Handbook - Sexual Misconduct


Sexual discrimination includes all forms of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties again employees, students, or third parties.

 

Definition of Sexual Misconduct and Related Terms

State law defines various violent or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes. Additionally, Union has defined categories of sexual misconduct, as stated below, for which College disciplinary action may be imposed. Generally speaking, Union considers sexual assault violations to be the most serious, and therefore imposes the most severe sanctions, up to and including suspension or expulsion. However, Union reserves the right to impose any level of discipline, up to and including suspension or expulsion, for any act of sexual misconduct, relationship violence or sexual exploitation.

Acts of sexual misconduct and relationship violence may be committed by men against women, women against men, men against men, and women against women. The issue in any case is not the gender of the persons involved but the acts.

Sexual Discrimination
Sexual discrimination includes all forms of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties again employees, students, or third parties.

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault refers to any sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object, or sexual intercourse by a man or woman upon a man a or woman without consent. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.

Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct refers to any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by a man or woman upon a man or woman without consent. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner. Sexual misconduct also includes any disrobing of another or exposure to another by a man or woman without effective consent.

Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and situations in which the conduct does not fall within the definitions of sexual assault or sexual misconduct. Sanctions for sexual exploitation can vary greatly depend on the severity of the violation. Severe cases can involve suspension or expulsion. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom or engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed).
  • Taking pictures or video or audio recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
  • Prostitution (such as selling or exchanging sexual acts for money or something else of value or benefit).
  • Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and without informing the other person of the infection.
  • Administering drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without his or her knowledge or effective consent.

Relationship Violence
Includes the following violations:

  • Domestic Violence
    Causing or attempting to cause physical or sexual assault or abuse, placing another in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury, restraining another’s liberty or freedom of movement, or stalking, where such conduct is directed against the complainant by his/her current or former spouse or intimate partner or any other person from whom the complainant is protected under federal or state law.
  • Dating Violence
    Causing or attempting to cause physical or sexual assault or abuse, placing another in reasonable fear of serious bodily injury, restraining another’s liberty or freedom of movement, or stalking, where such conduct is directed against the complainant by someone with whom he/she is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.

Stalking
Repeated acts or communications directed toward another person, including following the other person without proper justification, which places the other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or cause substantial emotional distress.  Stalking includes, but is not limited to, repeatedly engaging in contact, face-to-face communication, telephone calls or messages, text messages, emails, letters, the giving of unwanted gifts, threatening or obscene gestures, surveillance, following, trespassing, or vandalism.

Effective Consent
Effective consent means words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Effective consent cannot be gained by force, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another where the accused knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Effective consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of effective consent previously given. In addition, in New York State, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 17 years) cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact with a person less than 17 years old is a crime as well as a violation of this policy even if the minor wanted to engage in the sexual act.

Force
Force means physical force, violence, threat, intimidation, or coercion or by compelling or inducing another person to engage in a sexual act by means of: (i) pressuring, cajoling, or arguing with the individual; (ii) instilling a fear of dire consequences (e.g., by exposure of a secret, fact, or falsity as fact), such as ridicule, if a demand is not complied with; and/or (iii) plying the individual with alcohol. 

Incapacitation
Incapacitation means the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, without limitation, sleep, blackouts, and flashbacks. Where alcohol (or another drug) is involved, incapacitation is determined by how the alcohol (or other drug) consumed impacts a person’s decision making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments.   The question is whether the accused knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the position of the accused should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated. Because incapacitation may be difficult to discern, students are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution; i.e., when in doubt, assume that another person is incapacitated and therefore unable to give effective consent. Being intoxicated or drunk is never a defense to a complaint of sexual misconduct under this policy.