Filing a Complaint
A student who wants to make a complaint alleging that he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct may contact either the Dean of Students or his/her designee at 388-6116 or Campus Safety at 388-6911. The individual who receives the complaint will review with the complainant the options available to address the incident.
The College offers both informal and formal resolution options. Generally, the College seeks to follow the complainant’s wishes as to which procedure to pursue. However, there may be a situation in which, due to the nature of the allegations, informal resolution is inappropriate. This decision will be based on factors such as the egregiousness of the allegations (e.g., complaints alleging a sexual assault), whether the accused student is a repeat offender, or whether there is otherwise reason to believe that the safety or interests of the campus community demand adjudication. In those instances, the College will apply the formal procedure only.
Informal Resolution Procedures
Informal procedures are designed to assist the parties in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution. An individual wishing to employ informal procedures in the resolution of a complain will meet with the Dean of Students or designee who will explain the process and options available to the student.
Mediation (not to be used for complaints of sexual misconduct)
- Mediation sessions will be held only if the complainant and the accused both agree to mediate and if the Dean of Students or designee determines that mediation is appropriate under the circumstances. The Dean of Students or designee will act as mediator or will designate another person to act as mediator. The goal of mediation is to facilitate the parties’ discussions with each other such that a mutually acceptable resolution can be reached. At any point in the process, or if no mutual resolution is reached, the complaining party may move the complaint to the formal adjudication process described above.
- In certain situations, a formal understanding is reached between the parties. This agreement is formalized in writing and is subject to approval by the Dean of Students or designee. The terms may include a pledge that the parties will have no further contact with each other, known as a “No Contact Agreement.” Once a student has signed a contractual agreement, it may not be revoked, and the terms may not be appealed. A student’s failure to adhere to any term of the agreement may result in referral to the Dean of Students Office for an Administrative Review or Conduct Code hearing as described in Union College’s Conduct Code found at Student Handbook.
Formal Adjudication Procedure
Formal procedures are designed to determine the merits of the allegations through adjudication in accordance with the Student Conduct Code and, where appropriate, to determine a disciplinary consequence for the accused student. An up-to-date version of the Union College Conduct Code is available in the Student Handbook.
- An individual wishing to have a complaint formally adjudicated will be asked to submit a written statement of complaint to the Dean of Students or his/her designee, who will forward the statement to a Campus Safety officer. The Dean of Students or his/her designee will meet with the complaining student and explain the process.
- The Campus Safety officer will meet with the parties separately and provide each party with the opportunity to be heard and to offer evidence. The Campus Safety officer may also speak to witnesses or others with relevant information. The investigation shall be concluded within 14 days or within a reasonable amount of time required to complete the investigation. The College shall strive to keep the parties appraised of the progress of the investigation.
- The College may proceed with an investigation and/or formal adjudication whenever the Dean of Students or his/her designee determines this to be appropriate. This includes situations in which the complainant has not filed a written statement of complaint but the Dean of Students or his/her designee nevertheless has notice of the incident (for example, through the on-line report process) and determines that investigation and/or adjudication is warranted.
- A hearing will be scheduled within 14 days of the conclusion of the investigation outlined above.
- The Administrative Hearing will be held in accordance with the College’s hearing procedures, which are outlined in the Student Conduct Code with the exceptions noted above under “The Rights of Both the Complainant and Accused” and the following condition: evidence of a victim’s sexual conduct shall not normally be admissible at a Hearing unless fairness to the accused student requires consideration of such evidence.
- All sanctions defined in the College’s Student Conduct Code are available. In the most serious cases, if the accused is found to be responsible, the usual sanction is suspension or expulsion.
- At the conclusion of the hearing process, the College will provide written notification to the complainant and accused of the outcome and resolution of the hearing within ten (10) calendar days.
- Once written notification of the resolution of the hearing has been received, the parties involved have the opportunity to appeal. The accused may challenge the decision of the Hearing Board based only on the grounds outlined below that a violation occurred and/or the sanction(s) assigned. The complainant may challenge the decision of the Hearing Board that no violation occurred based only upon the grounds outlined in the Appeals Process of the Student Conduct Code.
- Subject to the foregoing, the appeal process is the same as that for a Student Conduct Code Hearing and is described in the Student Conduct Code.
Concerns about the Implementation of this Policy
The College has appointed a Title IX Coordinator, the Senior Director of Campus Diversity and Affirmative Action at Union College, to oversee all aspects of the College’s Title IX compliance efforts. An individual who believes that any aspect of this policy has not been properly followed should contact the Title IX Coordinator at x8327 (518-388-8327) or pursue a complaint by contacting the Title IX Coordinator in accordance with the College’s Discrimination Grievance Procedures contained in the Student Handbook. Retaliation against any person who files a complaint of alleged discrimination is prohibited.