Sexual Misconduct Policy - Filing a Disciplinary Complaint



A person who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sex/gender discrimination, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, sexual exploitation and any other sexual misconduct committed by a Union College student, may file a complaint against the student responsible for that conduct. Complaints should be filed with the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct. The contact information at the time of publication of this Policy is: Trish Williams, 518-388-6116/6061, williamt@union.edu, Reamer Campus Center 306A, Union College, 807 Union Street, Schenectady New York 12308.

The individual bringing the allegation is called the complainant.  The complainant will be asked to submit three forms (see Sections VIII.H.1.b, c, and d below) to initiate the disciplinary complaint. The complainant’s forms should be signed, dated, and submitted to the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct. The complainant is welcome to have an Advisor (as defined hereafter in this Policy) attend any meetings the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct has with the complainant.

Timing of Complaints

There is no time limit for the submission of a complaint alleging sexual misconduct. A complaint may be filed at any time as long as the respondent remains enrolled at the College. A complaint received after the term has ended or during a College break may result in a delay in the adjudication of the complaint until the beginning of the subsequent term in which the respondent is enrolled. Please note that the College only has jurisdiction over students when they are enrolled.

The College reserves the right to initiate adjudication of a complaint immediately to protect the interests and safety of the College community even when the incident takes place after the end of the term.

Intentional Presentation of False Information

Participants in the sexual misconduct adjudication process must present in good faith truthful and accurate information to the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct, the Judicial Board, and the Investigator. Knowingly making false statements or presenting inaccurate information is unacceptable and will result in a separate disciplinary action regarding that conduct. Please note that filing a complaint or providing information which a party or witness genuinely believes is accurate but which is ultimately dismissed due to insufficient evidence or round to be untrue does NOT constitute the intentional presentation of false information.

Complainant’s Statement

For a complainant to file a disciplinary complaint against a student, the complainant must submit a written statement detailing the allegations of the sexual misconduct. This statement is the first opportunity for the complainant to describe the allegations against the respondent. The statement should communicate the complainant’s full account of the event and its context, as well as the complainant’s reflections. To facilitate the process, the complainant should follow these guidelines:

  • Tell the story in full. Relate in full the facts of the incident as you recall them. Take care to distinguish between what you saw, heard, or experienced first-hand from what you may have learned later from others.
  • Describe the context. It is important for you to give your perception of the respondent’s conduct and the context in which the alleged incident occurred, including its location, and any witnesses to it.
  • Reflect on the event. It is helpful for you to provide any conclusions you have drawn about the incident, stating clearly why you believe the respondent’s actions may have violated College policy or the Code of Conduct.

The Complainant’s Statement should include the name of the respondent, the date and location of the alleged sexual misconduct and the details of the alleged misconduct. This statement should provide as much detail as possible about the facts surrounding the alleged sexual misconduct.

A descriptive list of all sources of information (e.g., witnesses, correspondence, records, etc.) should be attached to the Complainant’s Statement. This list should include information which the complainant believes should be considered in deciding this disciplinary complaint, along with a brief explanation of why this information would be relevant and helpful to the process. The sources and/or location of this supporting information should be identified. Complainants are advised to not attempt to obtain this information themselves. The Investigator(s) will solicit any relevant statements or documents referenced through this process.

The Complainant’s Statement is one of the most important documents to be considered in the sexual misconduct Adjudication Process. Once submitted, the Complainant’s Statement may not be amended, but it may be supplemented through interviews with the Investigator(s) as set forth in Section VIII.H.3.b below. The statement must be prepared by the complainant.

It is unacceptable for a complainant to submit a statement written by others, including parents, support persons, or attorneys. However, complainants are encouraged to share a draft of the statement with a support person who is well-positioned to discuss, among other matters, the statement’s style, organization, length, and clarity, while also anticipating questions it may raise for the fact-finder. The complainant will be required to sign a statement verifying that he/she authored the Complainant’s Statement.

It is unacceptable for a complainant to submit a statement written by others, including parents, support persons, or attorneys. However, complainants are encouraged to share a draft of the statement with a support person who is well-positioned to discuss, among other matters, the statement’s style, organization, length, and clarity, while also anticipating questions it may raise for the fact-finder. The complainant will be required to sign a statement verifying that he/she wrote the Complainant’s Statement.

The respondent will not be allowed to see the Complainant’s Statement until after the respondent has filed their statement in response to the original Complaint Form. Once the respondent has submitted their statement, they will be given a copy of the Complainant’s Statement. The complainant will also be given a copy of the Respondent’s Statement.

Complaint Form

In addition to the Complainant’s Statement, the complainant will be asked to complete a less detailed Complaint Form. This document will contain basic information about the complaint made against the respondent student, such as the time, date, location, and brief description of the allegations underlying the disciplinary complaint. This Complaint Form must contain sufficient detail to permit a reasonable person to understand the charges being brought and to be able to adequately respond. The respondent will be given access to the Complaint Form prior to filing a written response statement.

Confidentiality/ Non-Retaliation Acknowledgment

The complainant will be required to sign a Confidentiality/Non-Retaliation Acknowledgment, agreeing not to disclose or discuss anything relating to the disciplinary complaint with anyone other than those authorized to see such information under this process. The complainant will still be able to discuss the facts underlying the subject of the disciplinary complaint with attorneys, counselors, clergy, physicians, other therapeutic professionals and family. The complainant should refrain from discussing the disciplinary complaint itself and/or the adjudication process with anyone affiliated with Union College. This is to preserve the integrity of the investigative process and also to prevent allegations of retaliation. Through this Acknowledgment, the complainant also agrees to refrain from any retaliatory conduct against the respondent or any witnesses in the matter, as discussed under Section IV.A.5 above “Retaliation”, and may be responsible for any retaliation by persons affiliated with the complainant (i.e. a friend or family member).