Sexual Violence: Safety, Care and Support Booklet for Students | St. Lawrence University Title IX

Sexual Violence: Safety, Care and Support Booklet for Students

Updated July 2019

Sexual Violence:  What it is, what St. Lawrence says about it, and what you can do.

Our Process:  Simplified

If the University receives a complaint of sexual misconduct, we:

  • Assist with safety and medical needs first.
     
  • Understand the requests of the person making the complaint: Informal Resolution or Formal Investigation.
     
  • Provide support services (academic and student life) as possible.
     
  • Consider interim measures such as change of residence, “no contact” orders as appropriate.
     
  • Maintain neutrality and offer equitable due process to both people.
     
  • Discuss, if requested by Complainant, a non-judgmental Informal Resolution and the terms, with the Respondent.
     
  • Investigate, if requested and/or University determines need, to the extent possible, always in a private, compassionate setting.  Those involved do not confront one another.
     
  • Provide investigation report to the Review Board comprised of trained faculty and staff.
     
  • Notify both people of outcomes.
     
  • Provide for appeal.

Resources & Questions

www.stlawu.edu/title-ix

This website offers the University’s complete policies, procedures, and resources for sexual violence responses, including resources of the Advocates Programs.

Contents

          Introduction

          Terms to Know

          Reporting Resources:  Confidential or Official

          Immediate Safety and Support

          Seek Medical Care

          What to Do Within the First 24 Hours

          After-Care

          Common Responses to Sexual Assault

          University Reponses, Options and Procedures

          Student Rights

          What is “Consent”

          Sexual Misconduct Violation Definitions

          How You Can Help Reduce Your Risk

          Flow Chart of Decision Points
     

Introduction

Members of the St. Lawrence Community – students, employees and guests – should expect to be free from sexual violence, behavior that is inherently abusive of the humanity that each of us brings to the campus community.  Sexual misconduct is against University policy and will not be tolerated at St. Lawrence.

Sexual misconduct includes any sexual act perpetrated against someone’s will.  Sexual violence includes rape, an attempted nonconsensual sex act, abusive sexual contact (i.e., unwanted touching), non-contact sexual abuse (e.g., threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism, verbal sexual harassment), dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.  All types involve victims who do not consent, or who are unable to consent due to incapacitation.

When accused students are found to have violated this policy, serious sanctions will be imposed.  This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.  The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy.

While there are a number of laws and regulations that mandate how universities handle allegations of sexual misconduct and assault, it is impossible to set forth every scenario that could be a violation of this policy.  Ultimately, the University has the discretion to determine whether or not the policy has been violated and impose appropriate sanctions.

An educational community should be the model of equity, civility and inclusiveness. I hope that St. Lawrence University can be an exemplar of these attributes.  Every Laurentian counts in the fight against sexual violence and relationship violence on campus.

Terms to Know

Adjudicators:  The people who make the decision whether there is sufficient evidence to find someone charged as Responsible for the actions that are alleged.

Advisor:  Advisors support the person involved but do not speak for or represent the persons.  The University will not communicate directly with Advisors.  In Sexual Misconduct cases, the advisor (according to federal law) may be anyone chosen by each person involved in the case.  Advisor Guidelines are provided to advisors.  In other (not gender-based) Discrimination and Harassment cases, the advisor, by University policy must be a non-lawyer member of the University community.  Employees covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreements may choose a representative of their respective Union as the advisor.

Affirmative Consent:  

Confidential Resource:  Trained campus and community resources who must retain your confidentiality, unless there is imminent harm to self or others.  Confiding in these resources is NOT reporting to the University.

Confidential Response:  A complainant may seek assistance from on-campus or external resources with whom confidential discussions may be held, without report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, unless the complainant describes a narrative of imminent harm to self or others.

Due Process:  By law and policy, the University follows procedures that position the University as neutral and offers both people involved in a complaint the opportunity to share their concerns, have an advisor for support, review materials at appropriate occasions, and have access to an appeal.

Informal Resolution:  Once an official report is made to a Responsible Administrator (see list:  www.stlawu.edu/title-ix/official-sources-reporting), the University knows and then offers options to the person making the complaint. She or he can then express preference for an Informal Resolution, describing wishes such as change of residence, change of schedule, no-contact order, or other requests.  Then the University explains the charge to the accused and describes the conditions.  This is a non-judgmental discussion; the University is not determining whether the charge has enough evidence for a decision of responsibility. If the charged person agrees to the terms, the conditions are documented and the case is permanently closed. If the charged person does not agree, then the University returns to the person making the complaint and offers these options:

  • Formal Investigation, leading to a decision by adjudicators and sanction if the charged person is found Responsible, or no sanction if evidence is not sufficient to reach Preponderance of Evidence standard.
  • Suspend decision at this time, and decide at a later date whether to request a Formal Investigation or to request the University take no action.
  • Request the University take no action and close the case permanently.

Formal Investigation:  Once an official report is made to a Responsible Administrator (see list:  www.stlawu.edu/title-ix/responsible-employees), the University knows and offers options to the person making the complaint. She or he can request a Formal Investigation, which involved two trained investigators who will interview both parties, interview relevant witnesses, and gather evidence such as photographs, videos, emails, text messages, Facebook posts, or any other material sources to help understand the complaint. The investigators prepare a report, both parties may read and respond to the report, then rebut each other’s response, before sharing with adjudicators. For student cases, the adjudicators are three faculty or staff members chosen from a team of 12 trained individuals. These three people become the Review Board; they decide whether there is a Preponderance of Evidence and if they believe there is, what the appropriate sanction should be. If someone charged is found Responsible, she or he may appeal on limited conditions:  significant procedural error, evidence not reasonably available during the investigation, or inappropriateness of sanction imposed or not imposed.

Formal Investigations are completed as expeditiously as possible.

Official Report:  An official report is a report to a Responsible Employee, Responsible Administrator or Title IX Coordinator.  If any of these individuals hear a report, they must offer resources to the person who is making or may have a complaint, and those options are described above as Informal Resolution or Formal Investigation.  There is no such thing as an unofficial report.

Preponderance of Evidence:  The civil law standard used to determine whether someone did what was alleged.  This standard is commonly described as “more likely than not.”

No-Contact Order:  A directive from the University that the people involved in a case either temporarily or permanently have no deliberate interaction with one another, nor may anyone on their behalf.

Responsible:  The term used when the adjudicators determine there is sufficient evidence to support the charge that someone did what was alleged.

Responsible Administrator and Responsible Employee:  Employees who have an obligation to report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator if they hear about or are told of sexual misconduct. They can also direct students to appropriate resources.

Review Board:  Three faculty or staff members chosen from a team of 12 trained individuals; they read the Investigation Report and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the charge that someone did what was alleged.

Transcript Notation:  As required by New York law, all colleges and universities in New York are required to denote certain conduct outcomes on academic transcripts of students found to have engaged in conduct that constitutes crimes of violence (including but not limited to sexual assault) as defined in the Clery Act. Required transcript notations, as appropriate to the circumstances, are:

“Expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation”
“ Suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation”
“ Withdrew with conduct charges pending”

Suspension and expulsion transcript notations are applied at the conclusion of the conduct proceedings and appeals processes.  If a student withdraws with charged pending, but conduct proceedings are nonetheless completed, any final transcript notation will be based on the outcome of those proceedings.  (Pending completion of those proceedings, the transcript will carry the above withdrawal notation.)

Transcript notations for a student suspended are required by law to remain on the transcript for a period of at least one year following completion of the suspension. By University policy, a withdrawal notation will remain on a transcript for at least one year following the withdrawal.  (By law, expulsion notations are not subject to removal.)  Subject to these minimum periods, a student may request to have a suspension/withdrawal transcript notation removed by submitting a petition in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, who will share the request with the Dean of Academic Affairs and Student Life. The Deans will make all decisions about notation removal.  For full information:  www.stlawu.edu/title-ix/transcript-notation-appeal-policy

Unofficial Report:  No such report is possible.

Witness:  Someone who may have seen an incident or who may have had real-time interactions with either the person making the charge or the person charged, interactions (discussion, text or email messages and more) that will help the University understand the narrative as accurately as possible.

Reporting Resources

Confidential and/or Official

If you wish to report confidentially

Your identity will not be revealed to University officials (nor will the University be able to act on your report):

On-Campus Confidential Resources

  • Diana B. Torrey ’82 Health and Counseling Center (315-229-5392)
    (for St. Lawrence University students only)
  • Chaplain’s Office (315-229-5256) (for St. Lawrence University students only)
  • St. Lawrence University Advocates Program, www.stlawu.edu/advocates, and Sexual Violence Advocates Hotline (315-244-5466)

Off- Campus Confidential Resources

  • Renewal House (315-379-9845)
    Note:  Off-campus “safe housing” and Family Court Orders of Protection may be facilitated through Renewal House.
  • Reachout 24/7 Crisis Hotline (315-265-2422) (for all victims)
  • NYS Crime Victims’ Board (800-247-8035) (for all victims)
  • Employee Assistance Program (800-327-2255) (for SLU employees)
  • AIDS Community Resources (315-386-4493) (for all victims)
  • Planned Parenthood of NNY (315-386-8821) (for all victims)
  • Canton-Potsdam Hospital (315-265-3300)

If you wish to report officially or with other questions, contact:

The following employees must report information they hear directly or indirectly to the Title IX Coordinator, who will reach out and offer a guide to next steps. (see pages xx and inside back cover).

On-Campus Official Resources

If you seek a trusted conversation partner:if an employee is not listed as a Responsible Employee and not designated a Confidential Employee, you may talk with that person and expect that person to assist you however you wish to be assisted.

Law Enforcement Official Resources

You have the right to file a report with local law enforcement, the Canton Police Department (315-386-4561 or 911) or the New York State Police Sexual Assault Hotline (844-845-7269).University Safety and Security can assist you in contacting law enforcement.

If you are the survivor of sexual violence:

Immediate Safety and Support
Go to a safe place—your own room, a friend’s room, or anywhere you will feel safe.  Also, call someone you trust.  No matter how late it is, you should not be alone.

To discuss confidentially

  • If you wish to maintain your confidentiality at this point, call a close friend, your roommate, or an Advocate (315-244-5466).  Advocates are St. Lawrence University students committed to providing a safe and confidential resource for individuals in need of support and information around sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence and other personal violations. They are available 24/7.
  • You can also contact a counselor.  Counselors are confidential resources who can help you sort through your immediate needs, provide emotional support, and help you to connect with other emergency resources. All members of the counseling staff have training and experience with individuals in crisis. There is always a counselor on call through Safety and Security (315-229-5555). Simply say “I need a counselor on call.” You don’t need to disclose the nature of your emergency; provide a phone number at which you can be reached.
  • See all Confidential Resources cited on page 6.

Seek Medical Care

Please seek immediate medical care.  If you may be injured, and/or if you would like to collect possible evidence of an assault, please seek medical care as soon as possible.  Even if you do not feel physical pain, you may have internal injuries that cannot be immediately seen or felt. We encourage you to get medical attention even if you do not want to have evidence collected. Confidential pregnancy testing, emergency contraception, and/or testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses for both men and women are services available at Torrey Health Center.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner

  • We encourage you to have a sexual trauma exam (or “Rape Kit”) done immediately following an experience of sexual trauma, because certain kinds of evidence collection, including rape drug testing, are time-sensitive.  A sexual trauma exam is conducted by a SANE, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, who is a professional with special training in working with individuals who may have experienced sexual trauma.  She can care for injuries, test for sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy, and collect evidence (if requested). You do not have to be certain that you were sexually assaulted to request a SANE exam or any other kind of medical or emotional care. A SANE exam rape kit must be done at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, which has the legal facilities necessary.  SANE exams are free of charge.
  • Considering a SANE exam.  Even if you are not sure about reporting your experience or pressing charges, it makes sense to preserve the option of reporting later by having evidence collected.  Evidence will be held for six months at the New York State Forensics Lab while you decide whether to press charges on campus or with local authorities.  If you decide later than 24 hours to report the incident, it will generally not be possible to collect sexual assault exam evidence at that time (although some evidence, such as visible bruising, may still be possible to record).
  • Arranging to meet with a SANE.  If you need to meet with a SANE while Torrey Health and Counseling Center is open, please call Torrey at 315-229-5392, and the staff will arrange to connect you with the SANE as soon as possible.  If you need to meet with a SANE after hours, the SANE is generally on call and may be able to meet you at the Health Center. Campus Safety and Security staff will transport you to Canton-Potsdam Hospital and will not require you to disclose the reason you are seeking care.
  • Before a medical exam, try to preserve the evidence.  Resist the urge to cleanse yourself before seeking treatment. It may be difficult to keep from washing yourself, but if you do, you may destroy evidence that could be useful should you decide to report the experience. Do not wash, change clothes, eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, or brush your hair. Bring a change of clothing with you to the exam, since your clothes may be collected as evidence.
  • For many LGBT people, the critical questions about treatment options are followed immediately by concerns about social stigma. The all-important question of “Will I be healthy?” is compounded by an additional slew of worries. New questions such as “Should I come out to my doctor?” “Will I be safe if I do?” “Will my chosen family be welcome?” and “Will I be offered the information I need to know to take care of my relationship, my sexuality, my fertility, and my family?” are thrust into the forefront. St. Lawrence is sensitive to these concerns.

What to Do Within the First 24 Hours

All of the options listed on the previous pages are available to you (although some evidence may be more difficult to collect, depending on which option you choose).

  • Talk with someone who can share information and help you to figure out what you need. Choose whichever resources feel most useful to you. Remember that there is no “correct” path for responding or reacting to sexual trauma—whatever works best for you is a good option.

Are there any needs that should be taken care of immediately?

  • Enhancing your sense of safety:  Temporary No Contact Orders restricting encounters and communication between you and the other individual(s) can be secured through the associate dean of student life. If you are not comfortable sharing the details of your experience with either of these parties, a member of our counseling or medical staff, both of whom are confidential resources, can assist you. It is also possible to arrange for temporary or permanent room changes, class changes, etc.; again, a confidential resource can help you with this.
  • Academic extensions: The associate dean of student life can provide dean's excuses for academic extensions or missed classes.

 After-Care

It is important to care for yourself after a sexual assault, and after any event you have experienced as sexually violating.

What should I consider doing that I might not have thought of?

  • Be patient with yourself. The healing process takes time and includes your physical, emotional, and psychological health.
  • Don’t neglect your physical health and well-being. Getting adequate sleep, using exercise for stress relief and eating well can advance your healing process. If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to a health professional; sleep is essential for self-care.
  • Try not to let others make decisions for you. It is important that you re-establish a sense of control over your choices.
  • Seek support from a counselor, so that you may express your thoughts and feelings in a neutral setting where you do not feel that you have to protect the listener, worry about how the other person is feeling, or risk judgment.
  • Don’t look for simple answers to explain what happened.
  • Know your rights and how to get the support you need.
  • Try to do things you enjoy; give yourself permission to have positive experiences.
  • Some people find it useful to keep a journal, to write stories or poems, or to express themselves through drawings. Use any outlet that feels helpful to explore your emotions.

Common Responses to Sexual Assault

Although each person is unique and there is no standard or correct response to sexual assault, there are some feelings and reactions that most sexual assault survivors experience. The emotional trauma caused by a sexual assault can be severe and long-lasting. They may occur immediately, or you may have a delayed reaction weeks or months later. Sometimes the feelings seem to go away for a while and then come back again. Certain situations, such as seeing the assailant or speaking to an investigator, may intensify the symptoms or cause them to reoccur after a period during which you had been feeling better.

Common natural responses to sexual assault may include:

  • Fear and anxiety: feeling unsafe, nervous, fear of the situation or the place linked with the assault, compulsive behavior
  • Shock and disbelief: numb, unemotional, surreal feelings
  • Helplessness, depression: feeling powerless, overwhelmed, unable to make choices, self-hatred
  • Anger: fury, desire to retaliate against assailant
  • Shame and embarrassment: feeling “bad,” feeling that everyone will “know”
  • Self-blame or guilt: feeling at fault, responsible for the attack
  • Flashbacks: being preoccupied with the attack, remembering and reliving the assault
  • Isolation: feeling alone or that no one else can relate to your experience
  • Physical responses: difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, headaches, listlessness

Survivors sometimes also experience an impulse to protect their alleged assailant, which may influence their decisions to report the assault or to seek care for themselves. Survivors who are members of underrepresented identity groups may feel especially conflicted about reporting an assault when a member of their group is the alleged assailant; they may feel anxious about perceived group loyalty or compromising the reputation of that group.

In addition, we know that LGBTQ persons, and particularly transgender persons, face significant barriers to equal, consistent, high-quality health care. From instances of humiliation and degradation to outright refusals to provide care, many institutions— consciously or not—have made it very difficult for transgender people to receive respectful, knowledgeable treatment. We are committed to regularly training our community and encouraging our local health care providers to be trained as well.

We are socialized to see sexual assault as a crime against women, not men. Because of this, many men have a hard time understanding that sexual assault is a crime that is motivated by the wish for power and control, and can happen to anyone, and by anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Although many reactions to sexual assault are shared by survivors of all genders, there may be some additional responses that are different for survivors who identify as male. Men may experience concerns about what being sexually assaulted means to their sexuality or masculinity. There is a myth in our culture that only gay men rape other men, that men cannot be raped by women, or that only gay men are raped. This is not true: sexual assault has no boundaries. It is important to know that strong or weak, outgoing or shy, gay, straight, transgender or bisexual, you have done nothing that has caused or justified being assaulted. The responsibility lies with the assailant.

University Responses, Options and Procedures

Official Complaint with Campus Officials

You have the right to pursue an official complaint under the University’s Nondiscrimination, Discriminatory Harassment & Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Policies. These reports will result in a review and, as appropriate, investigation by the University, with action taken as warranted. Details about the University’s investigatory and resolution procedures can be found at www.stlawu.edu/human-resources/combined-discrimination-and-harassment-po....

To pursue an official complaint, you may contact

  • Hagi Bradley, VP and Dean of Student Life, ebradley@stlawu.edu, (315-229-5311), Sullivan Student Center
  • Rance Davis, Associate Dean of Student Life, rdavis@stlawu.edu, (315-229-5551), Sullivan Student Center
  • Lisa Cania, VP and Title IX Coordinator, lcania@stlawu.edu, (315-229-5567), Vilas 114
  • John Robert O’Connor, Director of Student Activities and Leadership and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, joconnor@stlawu.edu, (315-229-5757), Sullivan Student Center
  • Franco Bari, AssistantAthletics Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, fbari@stlawu.edu, (315-229-5790), Augsbury Center 219
  • Patrick Gagnon, Assistant Vice President, Safety & Security and Emergency Management and Deputy Title IX Coordinator, pgagnon@stlawu.edu, (315-229-5555), Torrey Health Center
  • Roxanne Cliff, Assistant Director of Security and Safety, rcliff@stlawu.edu,
  •  (315-229-5555), Torrey Health Center
  • Safety and Security Officers, (315-229-5555), Torrey Health Center
  • Any other Responsible Administrator identified in the University’s Nondiscrimination, Discriminatory Harassment and Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct policies

    www.stlawu.edu/human-resources/combined-discrimination-and-harassment-po...

If the University receives an official report: Equitable Processes with Dignity and Seriousness

The premises of “agency” and of “equity” are fundamental. “Agency” is given to the person making the complaint to decide the pathways for University response (although there are some reasons the University must investigate an allegation, for the safety of the entire University community).  “Equity” means both people involved, the person making the complaint and the person accused, have equal rights as defined by New York State law, explained on page xx.

When the Title IX Coordinator receives a report, the University will:

Assist with safety and medical needs as appropriate.

Provide support services and advise of rights, ie, extension for academic deadlines.

Consider interim measures: change of residence, “no contact” orders.

Understand Complainant’s requests: informal resolution or formal investigation.

Offer equitable process to both people.

If investigation is selected or designated, investigate to the extent possible.

Provide investigation report to Review Board of faculty/staff.

Advise of rights, including the right to have an advisor of choice.

Those involved do not confront one another.

Notify both people of right and schedule to review completed investigation file, respond to the file, and rebut responses.

Provide both parties with right of appeal for specific conditions. 

Advisors

May be of choice

Support but do not represent

May not be proxy, may not share information on person’s behalf.

May ask questions to understand process

Encourage well-being while process continues

Investigation Steps

The investigators will follow this general process:

Interview the complainant

Interview witnesses named by complainant

Interview respondent

Interview witnesses named by respondent

Gather evidence as suggested by any of the people interviewed

Re-interview if needed either or both parties

Type interviews in real time, read back, parties allowed to rephrase, add, or explain then sign the statement as accurate

Gather letters, interviews, evidence, timeline and policies in a notebook. 

The Title IX Coordinator:

Advises that report is ready to view generally within a 7-day period, usually with 2-3 days’ notice before the period begins and advises about each step in the process.

Provides contact for people to make appointments to review investigation notebook.  The complainant and respondent may have adviser in the room, may take notes only.  No photos allowed, no copies made, may not take notebook. Adviser may not read directly.

Complainant and Respondent:

Both parties may respond to Investigation file:  direct dispute or impact statement

Both parties may read the other’s response.

Both parties may rebut the other’s response.

Sexual Misconduct Review Board for Student Cases

All investigation materials, including responses and rebuttals, go to the Review Board.

The Review Board is comprised of three faculty or staff members, , selected from pool of 15, all trained in sexual misconduct adjudication.

The Review Board will:

Review investigation report

Interview with investigators

Possible interviews of the two parties or named witnesses

Advisor may be present.

Complainant and Respondent do NOT interact 

Decision and sanction by Review Board

Appeal to Deans of Academic Affairs and Student Life on specific criteria:

      New evidence

      Inappropriate sanction

      Significant process violation

Sexual Misconduct Adjudication for Employee Cases

Two senior staff members adjudicate

Investigation

Review investigation report

Possible interviews of the two parties or named witnesses

Advisor may be present

Complainant and Respondent do NOT interact 

Decision and sanction by senior staff adjudicators

Appeal to different senior staff member

New evidence

Inappropriate sanction

Significant process violation

What do Review Boards Decide?

In general, Review Boards decide whether there was voluntary, mutual, and knowing consent provided by words or actions that provide clear willingness to engage in or participate in the disputed issue. Please refer to the Affirmative Consent standard on page xx.

Finding Responsibility and Potential Sanctions

Using the standard “preponderance of evidence,” the adjudicators on the Review Board or panel will decide whether it is more likely than not that the person accused is responsible for the allegation.  We use the terms “responsible” or “not responsible.” Just as in the criminal justice system “not responsible” does not mean “innocent.”  It means the adjudicators did not find sufficient evidence to hold the accused person responsible for the allegation.

Review Boards will impose sanction that are proportionate to the allegation, and sanctions can range from disciplinary probation, mandated counseling, suspension for various lengths of time, or expulsion (or termination of employees).

Student Rights

Defined by New York State:

All students have the right to:

1.   Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;

2.   Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;

3.   Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by the institution;

4.   Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;

5.   Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;

6.   Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;

7.   Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;

8.   Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;

9.   Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;

10.  Be accompanied by an adviser of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process, including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and

11.  Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.

What is ‘Consent’?

Affirmative consent, defined by New York State:

Sexual misconduct or contact in the absence of affirmative consent violates the University’s policies. Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

a.  Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
b.  Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
c.  Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
d.  Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is  under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
e.  Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force or threat of harm.
f.  When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

The health and safety of every student at St. Lawrence University are of utmost importance. St. Lawrence recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault, occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. St. Lawrence strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault to institution officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault to St. Lawrence’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to St. Lawrence’s code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault.

Sexual Misconduct Violations Definitions

Every member of the St. Lawrence community (students, employees and visitors) must comply with our policies for respectful, nondiscriminatory behavior. There are no exceptions. Further, these policies apply wherever a St. Lawrence educational or employment experience can be adversely affected. Therefore, an incident off campus that can affect someone’s education or employment would be consider a violation of policy.

What kind of behavior is classified as sexual harassment?

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from a program or activity.

  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome advances
  • Sexist comments
  • Sexual assault

There are three types of sexual harassment

  • Quid pro quo: benefits offered or withheld as a means of coercing sexual favors.
  • Hostile environment: conduct that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance or repeatedly creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
  • Retaliatory: retaliation against a person or persons for bringing a complaint forward or cooperating with an investigation.

Rape

The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Sexual intercourse includes, but is not limited to, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.

Other Sex Offenses

Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of a victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

a.  Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/ her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

b.  Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

c.  Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of 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 harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, and non-consensual intercourse.

Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, engaging in the following activities, without the other person(s) consent:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom, or engaging in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed).
  • Taking pictures of or recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
  • Exposing one’s genitals or breasts in nonconsensual circumstances or inducing another to expose his or her genitals or breasts.
  • Prostitution.
  • Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or another sexually transmitted disease (STD) and without informing the other person of the infection.
  • Administering alcohol or drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person.

Dating Violence

Abusive behavior, including threats, verbal and/or emotional abuse, and physical assaults between adults in an intimate and/or sexual relationship. The “intimate” relationship may be characterized as a series of sexual encounters, dating, “hooking up” or similar interactions. Examples of abusive actions range from physical acts like hitting, shoving or restraining to threats designed to control the victim’s behavior. Some examples of threatened actions would be turning friends against the victim or committing suicide or hurting pets.

Domestic Violence

Physical violence between spouses or former spouses, cohabitating romantic partners or individuals who were formerly cohabitating romantic partners, individuals who share a child in common, or others in a family relationship.

Stalking

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her own safety; or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional duress.

Retaliation

St. Lawrence University has a “no retaliation” policy. Retaliation is defined as any adverse reaction taken against a person for alleging harassment, for supporting a party bringing a grievance, or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment, and will be investigated immediately and adjudicated separately. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats or menacing behavior, coercion, or discriminatory actions. Retaliation is a serious violation and may result in immediate removal from the University.

How You Can Help Reduce Your Risk

Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may help reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act:

  • If you have limits or wishes, make them known as early as possible.
  • Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
  • Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  • Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol and/or drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or “high” person as a sexual opportunity.
  • Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.

What other things should I consider doing?

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct.

Remember: if your partner is incapacitated by drugs, alcohol or sleep, your partner cannot consent and your initiation of sexual contact is not excused. Consent can only be given if both people are clear-headed (not incapacitated by drugs or alcohol), give and receive clear verbal and non-verbal cues, and feel no coercion.

  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
  • Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  • DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about how far you can go; or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity, then you DO NOT have consent.
  • Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
  • Drug or alcohol use can render one incapable to give consent in sexual encounters, even if those substances were consumed knowingly.
  • Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.
  • Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
  • Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.

Flow Chart of Decision Points