Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


Sexual Offenses

Fordham University is committed to the development and support of its primary educational mission. The University will not tolerate sexual offenses such as rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or other forms of non-consensual activity, including stalking and/or domestic or dating violence. Fordham will take prompt and effective steps reasonably calculated to end the sexual violence, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.

Fordham University supports this policy through educational prevention, counseling, and medical support services. Educational programs include, but are not limited to, campus-wide distribution of the CARE brochure;  online training for new students; new student orientation programs related to sexual violence;  CARE core program for new students; peer education workshops on topics that include the nature of sexual offenses and dating violence, keys to prevention, and coping with the aftermath of an assault; public safety presentations; residential life presentations; rape awareness programs; individual and group counseling; and other support services.

Fordham University responds to all sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic or dating violence incidents with a trained response team that includes public safety, the dean of students, the Title IX Coordinator, residential life, health services, counseling services and off campus resources as needed.

Fordham University will enforce this policy on sexual offenses through internal student conduct procedures that are fair, prompt and impartial.  Student conduct cases will be handled by the respective dean of students on each campus who receives annual Title IX and sexual misconduct training.

Definitions of Sexual Offenses:

The policy definitions of prohibited activity are listed below.

A.    Unlawful Sex and Gender Discrimination is any action that denies a person access to, or the benefits of, any program or activity or employment opportunity, solely on the basis of sex or gender.

B.    Limitations on Consensual Relationships:
In order to protect the integrity of the university academic and work environment, this policy outlines limitations on consensual romantic or sexual relationships between and among faculty, staff and students.  When individuals are involved in a consensual romantic or sexual relationship and are in positions of unequal authority or power, there is the potential for a conflict of interest, favoritism, and exploitation of power.  Anyone with supervisory authority or evaluative, mentoring authority who controls or influences another person’s employment, academic advancement, extracurricular or athletic team participation, scholarship or financial support, grades, recommendations, wage status, or promotion at the University should not be in a romantic or sexual relationship with that person regardless of consent.  If anyone is promoted into a position that results in a conflict with this policy limiting consensual relationships, this information must be reported to a supervisor, Vice President, or Executive Director of Human Resources who will contact the Title IX Coordinator for assistance in resolving the conflict.

C.    Sexual Harassment
is a form of sex discrimination. It is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
 
1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a program, course or activity;
2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting an individual; or
3. such conduct is sufficiently pervasive, offensive or abusive to have the purpose or reasonable effect of interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
Some examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
i.               physical assault; 
ii.        unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or propositions of a sexual nature;
iii.        direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances is a condition for employment promotion, good grades, recommendations, etc.
iv.    unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which an individual regards as undesirable or offensive, including, but not necessarily limited to, sexually explicit jokes, statements and questions or remarks about sexual activity or experience.
 
D.    Rape / Sexual Abuse is defined as physical sexual acts against another person that include: vaginal, anal, or oral sexual intercourse with another person, touching sexual or intimate parts of another person, or inserting a foreign object, however slight, into any sexual or intimate parts of another person:
1.    without consent from the other person; or by coercion or threat.
2.    when the other person is incapable of giving consent due to: being physically or mentally helpless for any reason, including incapacity because of the use of alcohol and / or drugs, or is unconscious or sleeping at the time; or
3.    when the other person is unable to give consent due to a disability, mental incapacity or age (person under 17 years of age cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone over 18 years of age).
This definition includes, but is not limited to, any form of non-consensual intercourse and or sexual activity, actual or attempted, by person(s) known or unknown to the victim.  See New York State Penal Law Section(s) 130.00.

Consent
is defined as all people in a sexual encounter agree to the sexual activity.  Agreement to sexual activity means there are informed, freely given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in the particular sexual activity.  A person may decide at any time that he/she no longer consents and want to stop sexual activity. 

Minors Lack Consent:
A minor is defined as anyone less than 17 years of age and incapable of consenting to sexual activity with a person 18 years of age or older according to New York state law.  The University adopts this prohibition of sexual activity by adults with minors on all University property, and at any and all University sponsored activities or functions outside New York State regardless of out-of-state laws.

E.    Other Sexual Misconduct
occurs when someone takes advantage of another person without the person’s consent and is being sexually exploited or there is an attempt to sexually exploit another.  Some examples of other sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to:
1.    Voyeurism or Peeping which is exceeding the boundaries of consent whether purposefully watching, videotaping or recording another without their consent who is naked, dressing or undressing, and / or engaging in sexual activity.
2.    Sexual exhibitionism where a person engages in sexually explicit activity in public spaces on campus or to be viewed by the public while on campus using computer hardware or software.
3.    Displaying or distributing nude or sexually explicit images of another person on campus or the Internet without the person’s consent.
4.    Sexual Coercion is when someone threatens another by stating an intention or threat to expose the other person’s sexual orientation, consensual sexual experiences, sexually explicit photographs or videotapes or other images to family, friends, or the public.
5.    Writing or marking of graffiti on University property that is sexually graphic in nature.
6.    Unwelcome gestures of a sexual nature toward another person.

F.    Forcible Touching is defined as forcibly touching sexual or intimate parts of another person for the purpose of degrading or abusing such persons, or for gratifying the actor’s sexual desire.

G.    Stalking is a pattern of repeated intentional and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, following or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that makes that person afraid, emotionally stressed, or concerned for his or her safety or property or to their immediate family members or acquaintances. Stalking occurs by frightening, unwanted communication by any means, including, but not limited to, by phone, mail or e-mail, or internet social networks. Threats may be direct or indirect, and conduct may include, but are not limited to the following: any form of writing or leaving messages or objects for another person, damaging property, or threatening family members. 

The University prohibits any member of the University community from stalking other members of the University community, on University property, at University sponsored events, functions, activities or by using University equipment or e-mail accounts to stalk another person.  When a person is told by a University authority to discontinue whatever activity they are engaged in, and this activity continues, the person so warned may be expelled, suspended, terminated, and/ or not be permitted to be on University property or at University functions effective immediately before any disciplinary or conduct proceeding is undertaken.

H.    Dating and Domestic Violence
is a pattern of abusive behavior, usually involving an intimate relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another partner and can also be between and among other adults and youths protected by criminal and family laws. Dating and domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the other partner. Domestic violence may include dating violence based on the type and frequency of interaction of the relationship and how the people describe the relationship.  Generally, the University will view domestic relationships as people who are currently or formerly married, domestic partners currently or formerly living together, or people with children in common.

The definition, protocols, and practices of dating vary; however, for the purposes of these grievance procedures dating is defined as people engaged in activities as a form of courtship. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type and frequency of interaction.

I.    Intimidation and Retaliation for Reporting: Any member of the University community or third party who attempts either directly or indirectly to: intimidate, threaten, retaliate, interfere with, restrain, coerce, discriminate against, violate a University No Contact Order, or harass any person for reporting, attempting to report, or responsibly pursuing a complaint, or is a witness cooperating in a University investigation regarding possible violations of any of the University’s policies regarding sexual misconduct, will be subject to prompt and appropriate disciplinary action, including possible termination or expulsion from the University. 

An individual who brings a reasonable complaint of a suspected violation of the above referenced prohibited acts that is made in good faith, even if it may be found to be erroneous, will not be subject to discipline.  However, the use of this policy for false, malicious, or frivolous purposes is strictly prohibited. Anyone who knowingly brings a false, malicious, or frivolous complaint against another University community member may be subject to disciplinary action.

Reporting Procedures for the University

Individuals are encouraged to report all sexual offense, stalking and/or domestic or dating violence incidents immediately either to the Department of Public Safety, a resident director, a resident assistant, a commuter assistant, the dean of students, the health center, or the counseling center. An incident report will be written and the dean of students or the assigned Administrative Support Person will provide  necessary  assistance,  information   on medical and counseling resources and information related to formal reporting  procedures.

In a sexual offense case, the victim may notify the Department of Public Safety whether or not he/she goes to the hospital for a rape examination.  The victim should refrain from washing, using the toilet, and changing clothes in order to preserve evidence prior to a medical examination.  However, in the event that the victim decides to file criminal charges, a hospital visit is necessary in order to collect evidence, through a rape examination. Staff will be available to accompany students to medical care. Personal information about the victim and records will remain confidential insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s right to investigate allegations of misconduct and take corrective action where appropriate.

Victims of  sexual offense, stalking and/or domestic or dating violence by another student(s) are encouraged to report the incident(s) and use the resources of the dean of students on the campus where the incident occurred or one of the administrators identified on the resource list in the back of this brochure. An initial discussion will give the victim the opportunity to recount what has taken place and discuss how best to proceed. The dean or administrator  will review the University’s formal reporting procedures  and  possible sanctions, the  formal  reporting  procedures  of  the  local police agency, and  available medical  and  counseling  resources.  In  addition,  options  for,  and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation and working situations can be discussed and provided if so requested, and such changes are reasonably available. It is generally the victim’s decision whether to file a complaint or to continue with any form of resolution. Confidentiality will be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s right to investigate allegations of misconduct and take corrective action where appropriate.  For additional information regarding confidentiality, please see "Requests for Confidentiality" in the Title IX Grievance Procedures.  If a victim elects to initiate a formal complaint against another student or group of students, the  information  may   be put  in  writing  and  is then filed with  the  dean  of students.  Such a complaint would be handled in accordance with the University student conduct procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. 

Complainants and respondents participating in the conduct process related to an alleged violation of the University’s Policy on Sexual Offenses will be assigned an Administrative Support Person (ASP). The ASP is a trained member of the University’s staff and will:

-carefully explain all support resources which are available to the student,
-arrange for any assistance he/she may need,
-accompany the student to relevant interviews, meetings and proceedings as desired and as permitted by outside entities,
-explain the investigation and conduct processes,
-provide documents relevant to the investigation and conduct processes

After the initial report and once the University’s investigation/conduct process begins, complainants and respondents will be accompanied by the ASP (who cannot actively participate) and the complainant or respondent may also be accompanied by one advisor of his/her choice who may be present for related meetings or proceedings but cannot actively participate.

Possible sanctions for students found in violation of sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic or dating violence policies range up to and include suspension and/or expulsion from the University. Depending on the actual policy violation, the sanctions can include disciplinary reprimand, residence hall probation, student life probation, dismissal from the residence halls, university disciplinary probation, and suspension or expulsion from the University.  Students subject to conduct sanctions that are appealable to the Student Conduct Review Council (SCRC), namely suspension or expulsion from the University, will follow the grievance process stated in the Student Handbook.  Student complainants may file a written appeal to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs.
In a case where there is an allegation of a sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic or dating violence, which constitutes a violation of the University Code of Conduct, both the victim and the student against whom the complaint is lodged shall be simultaneously informed in writing of the final outcome of a judicial investigation. Please refer to your student handbook for more information regarding reporting procedures and the University student conduct  process. The student conduct process for sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic or dating violence situations will take no more than 60 days.  Some cases are more rapid while others can take longer depending on the details of the case, the time of year and other factors. Fordham works to make things move as quickly as possible. If the process will take longer than 60 days, both the victim and the alleged perpetrator will be notified in writing as to the delay and the reason for the delay.

Title IX Student Conduct Process
Each case is different and needs to be handled with care, but here are the typical steps that are followed in a Title IX Student Conduct Process:

The Dean of Students, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, is notified

The complainant is assigned an Administrative Support Person to assist him/her in receiving assistance and understanding the process and available resources

Public Safety may interview the complainant

The complainant decides whether he/she wants to make a formal complaint, and if so……

The report goes to the Dean of Students and a case should take no more than 60 days

The respondent is assigned an Administrative Support Person to assist him/her in receiving assistance and understanding the process and available resources

Once the conduct process begins, the complainant as well as the respondent are entitled to have one advisor of their choice accompany them (but not to in any way participate) in the conduct process meetings and proceedings

A written account is requested from both parties

The complainant is interviewed by the Dean of Students

The respondent is interviewed by the Dean of Students, usually during his/her conduct hearing

Relevant witnesses are interviewed

Second complainant interview by the Dean of Students

Second respondent interview by the Dean of Students, usually during his/her conduct hearing

Additional interviews are conducted as needed by the Dean of Students

Decision as to whether the University’s Code of Conduct, University Regulations and/or Office of Residential Life policies have been violated is made based on a preponderance of evidence

If violations have been determined to have occurred, appropriate sanctions are issued

Written notification of decision is given simultaneously to both parties

Appeal opportunities for both parties

It should be clearly understood that a victim of sexual offense, stalking and/or domestic or dating violence always has legal recourse outside the University. If civil or criminal proceedings are filed, the University reserves the right to conduct its own investigation and proceedings notwithstanding the status or resolution of any civil or criminal proceedings.

Reporting Procedures for the Local Police Departments

The reporting of the incident to the police involves several aspects. If a victim calls the police to respond to the scene, a uniformed officer in a patrol car will go to the victim’s location. The victim may request that a specific gender officer respond, but there is no guarantee that a specific gender officer will be available. The police, however, should make every effort to accommodate the victim. For incidents involving possible sex crimes, the uniformed officers will generally notify a detective or a specialized unit staffed with personnel who are trained to gather information about sex crimes and explain the investigative procedures of the police department, including possible options available to victims of sex crimes. The local precinct detective squad will investigate stalking and/or domestic or dating violence offenses.

In sex offense cases, the officers who respond to the call will want to examine the scene of the crime and obtain evidence (clothes, sheets, etc.). If the perpetrator is known to the victim, the police will want to interview the perpetrator and any witnesses to the incident. They will also encourage the filing of a formal complaint. If a victim would like  to press criminal charges against the perpetrator, a hospital visit should be made as soon as possible. It is best that physical evidence be collected at the hospital as soon as possible. The police will encourage a hospital visit at the time of the incident and can assist the victim in securing necessary transportation to the hospital. If charges are filed but no arrest has been made, a victim may have the option to decline further prosecution. If the perpetrator already has been arrested and indicted, withdrawing charges may not necessarily be an option for the victim.

Encourage Safe Bystander Intervention

If anyone suspects a friend, acquaintance, or stranger may be in a high risk situation for becoming a victim, is being victimized, or has been victimized of any form of sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic or dating violence, it is important to decide as a bystander whether there is a safe and reasonable way to intervene effectively, and to act in a way to assist a person whether it is before, during, or after an incident takes place.  Bystanders are also encouraged to contact the appropriate person listed in the Title IX Grievance Procedures in the Student Handbook and/or the Fordham University Department of Public Safety at (718) 817-2222; if someone is in immediate danger, please notify the Fordham University Department of Public Safety at (718) 817-2222 immediately.  There is no legal obligation for a bystander to act or intervene. 

New York State Law Regarding Sex Offenses


It is important for members of the campus community to be aware that there can be serious legal consequences for certain sexual conduct. If you do not accept another person’s decision not to have sexual contact and you proceed without consent, you may be breaking the law in New York State.  

Sex offenses are defined in the New York State Penal Law. Sex offenses include, but are not limited to, RAPE, CRIMINAL  SEXUAL  ACTS,  SEXUAL  ABUSE, AGGRAVATED  SEXUAL  ABUSE,  FORCIBLE  TOUCHING  and SEXUAL MISCONDUCT.*  

1.    SEXUAL MISCONDUCT is sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct without such other person's consent.  

2.    RAPE is sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion or with another who is physically helpless, mentally disabled, incapacitated or incapable of consent because of age or other factors.  

3.    CRIMINAL SEXUAL ACTS occur when one engages in oral or anal sexual conduct by forcible compulsion or with one who is physically helpless, mentally disabled, or incapacitated, or incapable of consent because of age or other factors.  

4.    FORCIBLE TOUCHING occurs when, for no legitimate purpose, one forcibly touches sexual or intimate parts of another person for degrading or abusing such persons, or for gratifying the actors' sexual desire.  

5.    SEXUAL ABUSE is unlawful sexual contact with one who is incapable of consent because of age or other factors.  

6.    AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ABUSE is unlawful insertion of foreign objects into the vagina, urethra, penis or rectum of another with one who is incapable of consent because of age or other factors.

*For complete descriptions of these sex offenses and others, see NYS Penal Law Article 130. Penalties for Commission of Sex Offenses:

PENAL LAW OFFENSE CLASSIFICATION PENALTY SECTION


130.20 Sexual Misconduct A Misdemeanor not to exceed 1yr
130.25 Rape 3rd Degree E Felony not to exceed 4yrs
130.30 Rape 2nd Degree D Felony not to exceed 7yrs
130.35 Rape 1st Degree B Felony not to exceed 25yrs
130.40 Criminal Sexual Act 3rd Degree E Felony not to exceed 4yrs
130.45 Criminal Sexual Act 2nd Degree D Felony not to exceed 7yrs
130.50 Criminal Sexual Act 1st Degree B Felony not to exceed 25yrs
130.52 Forcible Touching A Misdemeanor not to exceed 1yr
130.53 Persistent Sexual Abuse E Felony not to exceed 4yrs
130.55 Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree B Misdemeanor not to exceed 3mos
130.60 Sexual Abuse 2nd Degree A Misdemeanor not to exceed 1yr
130.65 Sexual Abuse 1st Degree D Felony not to exceed 7yrs
130.65A Aggravated Sexual Abuse 4th Degree E Felony not to exceed 4yrs
130.66 Aggravated Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree D Felony not to exceed 7yrs
130.67 Aggravated Sexual Abuse 2nd Degree C Felony not to exceed 15yrs
130.70 Aggravated Sexual Abuse 1st Degree B Felony not to exceed 25yrs
130.75 Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child 1st Degree B Felony not to exceed 25yrs
130.80 Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child 2nd Degree D Felony not to exceed 7yrs
130.85 Female Genital Mutilation E Felony not to exceed 4yrs
130.90 Facilitating a Sex Offense with a Controlled Substance D Felony not to exceed 7 yrs.
130.91 Sexually Motivated Felony sentence shall be deemed the same level as the violent felony offense or felony sex offense committed
130.95 Predatory Sexual Assault A-II Felony maximum of life imprisonment
130.96 Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child A-II Felony maximum of life imprisonment 

The sex offenses outlined in the New York State Penal Law call for a specific penalty for anyone convicted of one of these offenses as noted in the previous table. Depending on the offense committed, sentences can range from a minimum term of fifteen (15) days to a maximum term of twenty-five (25) years imprisonment or life imprisonment.

Updated on Thursday, August 14, 2014

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