Responding to a Disciplinary Complaint

Sexual Misconduct Policy 
Responding to a Disciplinary Complaint

The person against whom the disciplinary complaint is brought is called the respondent. The respondent shall be given written notification when a disciplinary complaint has been filed against him or her.

Initial Meeting/ Confidentiality/Non-Retaliation Acknowledgment

Within five (5) business days of receiving notice of the disciplinary complaint, the respondent must meet with the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct, presently Trish Williams - (518) 388-6116/6061; The respondent is welcome to have an Advisor (as defined hereafter in this Policy) attend any meetings between the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct and the respondent. At this meeting, the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will provide the respondent with a copy of the Complaint Form, discuss the nature of the Complaint, explain the rights and responsibilities of the respondent, explain the prohibition against retaliation, explain the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process and give the respondent a copy of the relevant policies. Prior to reviewing the Complaint Form, the respondent 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/hear such information under this process. Through this Acknowledgment, the respondent also agrees to refrain from any retaliatory conduct against the complainant 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 respondent (i.e. a friend or family member).  Refusal/failure by the respondent to meet and cooperate with the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct or Investigator(s) regarding this matter or to sign the Confidentiality/Non- Retaliation Acknowledgment, as determined by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Student Affairs, may result in either or both: (1) an automatic suspension of the respondent from the College and/or (2) the adjudication of the disciplinary complaint without input from the respondent.

Pre-Fact-Finding Resolution of Complaint/Acceptance

After meeting with the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct and reviewing the Complaint Form, the respondent has the right to end the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process by signing a document accepting responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form. If the respondent accepts responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form, the process would not proceed to the Fact Finding Investigation phase. Instead, the matter would be referred to the Judicial Board to decide the issue of the appropriate disciplinary action against the respondent.

The Judicial Board may take the respondent’s acceptance of responsibility into consideration in determining the appropriate sanction. Once the respondent accepts responsibility, such acceptance cannot be withdrawn. A written finding of the acceptance of responsibility and the resulting disciplinary action will be issued by the Judicial Board, which will become part of the respondent’s student records and will be shared with the complainant. If the respondent does not wish to participate in this resolution process, then he/she will need to prepare a Respondent’s Statement as noted below. The respondent must decide whether he/she would like to utilize this resolution process before expiration of the seven (7) days for submitting the Respondent’s Statement.

Respondent’s Statement

The respondent will be asked to provide a written response to the information contained in the Complaint Form. The Respondent’s Statement must be submitted to the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct within seven (7) days after the meeting between the respondent and the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct. The Respondent’s Statement should contain the respondent’s full recollection of the alleged incident. This statement is the respondent’s first opportunity to respond to the allegations made by the complainant. The statement should communicate the respondent’s recollection of the event and its context, as well as the respondent’s reflections by following these guidelines:

  • Tell the story in full. Relate in full the facts of the incident as you recall them. You should take care to distinguish between what you saw, heard, or experienced from what you may have learned later from others.
  • Describe the context. It is important for you to give your perception of the 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 that your actions have not violated College policy or the Code of Conduct.

A descriptive list of all sources of information (e.g., witnesses, correspondence, records, etc.) should be attached to the Respondent’s Statement. That list should include information which the respondent believes should be considered in deciding the 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. Respondents are advised to not attempt to obtain the information themselves. The Investigator(s) will solicit relevant statements or documents referenced through this process.

The Respondent’s Statement will be one of the most important documents to be considered in the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process. Once submitted, the Respondent’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 respondent. It is unacceptable for a respondent to submit a statement written by others, including parents, support persons, or attorneys. However, the respondent is 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 respondent will be required to sign a statement verifying that they authored the Respondent’s Statement. Once the respondent has submitted their statement, the respondent will be given a copy of the Complainant’s Statement.  The complainant will also be given a copy of the Respondent’s Statement.