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 sexual activity.
Fordham University supports this policy through its educational prevention, counseling, and medical support services. Educational programs include, but are not limited to, campus-wide distribution of the CARE brochure; an online course regarding sexual assault that all new students are required to complete; peer education workshops on topics that include the nature of sexual offenses, stalking and/or domestic or dating violence; keys to prevention and coping with the aftermath of an assault; safety and security presentations; residential life presentations; rape awareness programs; individual and group counseling; and other victim support services. Fordham University will enforce this Policy on Sexual Offenses through internal disciplinary procedures and security programs. “Rape” and “Sexual Abuse” under this policy shall be defined as:
1. Rape: the carnal knowledge of a person forcibly and/or against that person’s will, or not forcibly or against that person’s will, where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his or her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. If a person engages in non-consensual sexual intercourse due to physical force, coercion or threat (actual or implied) the act is considered rape, a felony in New York state. A person who is asleep, unconscious, physically helpless or impaired due to drug or alcohol consumption, mentally incapacitated and/or disabled, is considered unable to consent.
2. Sexual Abuse: any actual or attempted non-consensual sexual activity, including, but not limited to, attempted intercourse, sexual touching and certain forms of exhibitionism.
These definitions include, but are 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. Non-consensual activity shall include, but not be limited to, situations where the victim is unable to consent because he/she is mentally incapacitated, is physically helpless due to drug or alcohol consumption or is unconscious.
Sexual Harassment is considered an intolerable offense by University standards. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will, or when a person is incapable of giving consent due to the use of drugs or alcohol, or is unable to give consent due to a disability. For more information regarding Sexual Harassment, please see the specific policy statement contained within this handbook.
Stalking and Domestic or Dating Violence
Fordham University is committed to maintaining a safe environment to study, work and grow. Fordham University has a zero tolerance policy relative to stalking and domestic or dating violence. Those persons who violate this standard will be held strictly accountable for their actions.
Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that makes that person afraid or concerned for his or her safety. Stalking occurs by frightening, unwanted communication by any means, including by phone, mail or e-mail, or internet social networks. Threats may be direct or indirect, and conduct may include following or writing to a victim.
The New York Stalking Law
The New York State Penal Law establishes the specific criminal offense of stalking and allows for the prosecution of persons who engage in an intentional course of threatening conduct. Courts can now impose severe penalties against persons found guilty of this crime. The description of the four offenses of stalking and the penalties that may be imposed by the court, upon conviction, are as follows:
- A person who repeatedly threatens the health, safety or property of a person, or repeatedly contacts or follows a person after being clearly told not to do so has committed stalking in the fourth degree, a class B misdemeanor, which upon conviction could mean up to three months in jail.
- A person who engages in a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in fear of physical injury, death or the commission of a sex offense, and any stalker who stalks three or more persons or has been previously convicted of stalking within ten years has committed stalking in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor, which upon conviction could mean up to a year in jail.
- A person aged 21 or older who stalks a child under 14 years of age, and a person who, while displaying a weapon, engages in a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in fear of physical injury, death or the commission of a sex offense, has committed stalking in the second degree, a class E felony, which upon conviction could mean up to four years in prison.
- A stalker who causes physical injury or commits another specified crime while stalking has committed stalking in the first degree, a class D felony, which upon conviction could mean up to seven years in prison.
For complete descriptions of these stalking offenses, please see NYS Penal Law Article 120.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior, usually involving an intimate relationship, that is used one by partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions orthreats 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. Victims of such violence can seek orders of protection from both the family and criminal courts.
New York’s Domestic Violence Law
- requires police to arrest batterers who violate "stay away" orders of protection or commit a felony or a misdemeanor against another household or family member
- enables victims to bring their cases to family and criminal courts concurrently, instead of forcing victims to choose between them
- requires violators face felony charges when harassing or threatening a victim during an order of protection violation
- provides that, in the case of repeated violations, including threatening phone calls, faxes or e-mail messages, violators could face up to four years in prison (seven years if a victim suffers physical injury)
- maintains a statewide Orders of Protection Registry to aid police and courts when taking action
- allows courts to give orders of protection, even when the offender does not reside in New York State, thus giving victims who live or work in New York protection
- requires police to determine the primary physical aggressor, so that victims of domestic violence are not inappropriately arrested along with their abusers when more than one person alleges violence
- ensures safety for victims of domestic violence by promoting more rigorous interstate enforcement of orders of protection
Dating Violence is defined as abusive behavior, usually but not always involving an intimate relationship, that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. Dating 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 person. 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.
REPORTING PROCEDURES FOR THE UNIVERSITY
Individuals are encouraged to report all sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic or dating violence incidents immediately either to safety and security via telephone, in person or online; to the dean of students; via the health center or through the counseling center. An incident report will be written and the dean of students or another designated University administrator 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 Office of Safety and Security whether or not he/she goes to the hospital for a rape examination. However, a hospital visit is necessary in order to collect evidence, through a rape examination, in the event that the victim decides to file criminal charges. 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 and living situations can be discussed and provided if so requested, and such changes are reasonably available. It is at all times 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.
If a victim elects to initiate a formal complaint against another student or group of students, the information should be put in writing and filed with the dean of students. The student against whom the complaint is lodged is also encouraged to file a written account with the dean of students. Such a complaint would be handled in accordance with the University judicial procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. The victim and the student against whom the complaint is lodged must represent themselves during the judicial process. However, a member of the student affairs staff (either male or female) will be assigned to both parties, if so desired, to act as a support person throughout the process. While this person may be present during individual interviews conducted by the dean of students, no active participation is permitted. In sexual offense cases, the victim and the student against whom the complaint is lodged are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding. Possible sanctions for persons found in violation of sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic violence policies range up to and include suspension and/or expulsion from the University. Students subject to disciplinary sanctions that are appealable to the University Judicial Council (UJC) 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 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 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 judicial process.
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.
For more detailed information regarding sexual offenses, rape, sexual abuse, sexual violence, stalking and domestic or dating violence please see the Campus Assault and Relationship Education (CARE) Brochure, which can be found in the Student Handbook or obtained from your Resident Assistant or Resident Director, the Residential Life Office, the Dean of Students Office, the Safety and Security Office, Student Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services.
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 domestic 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 you wish 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 as 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 Whom to Contact, section VII of the Title IX Grievance Procedures in the Student Handbook and/or the Fordham University Office of Safety and Security (718) 817-2222; if someone is in immediate danger, please notify the Fordham University Office of Safety and Security (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.*
- SEXUAL MISCONDUCT is sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct without such other person's consent.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- SEXUAL ABUSE is unlawful sexual contact with one who is incapable of consent because of age or other factors.
- 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 4 yrs
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 25 yrs
130.80 Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child 2nd Degree D Felony not to exceed 7 yrs
130.85 Female Genital Mutilation E Felony not to exceed 4 yrs
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.