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CARE/Sexual Misconduct FAQ

What are my options?
A student who believes they have experienced sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence is strongly encouraged to report these situations to the University. There are several options, but please report to the Department of Public Safety immediately if you feel you are in any way in danger or in need of emergency assistance.

Other options include the following:

  • Confidential Resources: The student may confidentially explore the situation and options available with a clinical counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services, a pastoral counselor in Campus Ministry, and/or a medical  provider in University Health Services without filing an official complaint.
  • Internal Reporting: The student can make a formal complaint to the dean of students, the Department of Public Safety, and/or the Title IX coordinator, and the University will investigate the complaint internally.
  • External Reporting: The student has every right to report the situation to the New York Police Department or theHarrison Police Department (in Westchester). If the student chooses to make such a report, a member of the University staff will be available to accompany the student throughout the process.

How do I make a formal report with the University?
Students are encouraged to report incidents to the Department of Public Safety, the dean of students; a member of the staff, such as a resident assistant, commuter assistant, or resident director; a faculty member; or another member of the University’s administrative staff. With the exception of clinical counselors in Counseling and Psychological Services, pastoral counselors in Campus Ministry, and medical providers in University Health Services, when a member of the faculty or staff is notified of a potential sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence incident, they are obligated by law to notify the Department of Public Safety. This office may interview the complainant and conduct an investigation. If an investigation is conducted, the Department of Public Safety will send the completed incident report to the appropriate dean of students to be handled as part of the University’s student conduct process.

If I do make a formal report with the University, do I have to go to the police?
No, but if the situation is reported to the police, the University will be available to accompany the student to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Fordham University encourages any student who is the victim of a crime to notify the Department of Public Safety immediately and to work with them to report the crime to the NYPD. In certain cases, the University reserves the right to notify local law enforcement as required by statute. Students always have the right to report any alleged crime to law enforcement directly.

Will the person who did this know I am talking with the University?
If the student is meeting with a clinical counselor at Fordham’s Counseling and Psychological Services, a pastoral counselor in Campus Ministry, or a medical provider in University Health Services to explore options, that meeting is almost always confidential, unless there is an immediate threat to oneself or others. If the student reports the incident to another member of the University staff, a faculty member, or the Department of Public Safety, the respondent may be interviewed.

If I do make a formal report, will I have to face the respondent in the student conduct process?
No. Fordham’s process does not require or request that a student see or speak with the respondent or be questioned by their representatives. Processes outside the University, such as those in the criminal justice system, may require this. Fordham will be available to support and accompany the student as these details are explained by outside authorities.

If I had been drinking or using drugs at the time of the incident, or if the person who assisted me had been drinking or using drugs at the time of the incident, will either of us be subject to the student conduct process?
No. The health and safety of every student at Fordham is of utmost importance. Fordham 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. Fordham strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to Fordham officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith who discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to Fordham officials or to law enforcement will not be subject to Fordham’s Code of Conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commissions of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

If I do make a formal report, will I have to participate in mediation with this person?
No. Fordham’s process in investigating sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence does not require or even allow for mediation. The University handles the investigation with each party separately.

What if someone retaliates against me for making the complaint?
Any member of the University community or third party who attempts either directly or indirectly to violate a University No Contact Restriction or to intimidate, threaten, retaliate, interfere with, restrain, coerce, discriminate against, or harass any person for reporting, attempting to report, or responsibly pursuing a complaint, or any person who 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 files a reasonable complaint of a suspected violation of the above referenced prohibited acts or brings forth information about such suspected violations, even if they may be found to be erroneous, will be covered by Fordham and will not be subject to discipline provided that the complaint is reasonable and brought in good faith.

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.

Will I have to move from my residence hall?
No. A complainant in cases of sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence will not be required to move. In the majority of cases, once a report is made and the investigation begins, the respondent is moved to another location if they live on the campus and in proximity to the complainant.

I have heard that investigations at other schools take a long time. How long will Fordham’s process take?
Fordham’s student conduct process for sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence 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 expedite these matters. If the process will take longer than 60 days, both the complainant and the respondent will be notified in writing as to the delay and the reason for the delay.

If I would like to make a formal complaint with the University but not involve NYPD, what happens?
A complainant is encouraged to report the incident to the Department of Public Safety; the dean of students; a member of the staff, such as a resident assistant, commuter assistant, or resident director; or another member of the University’s faculty or administrative staff. When a member of the administrative staff or faculty is notified of a potential sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence incident, they are obligated by law to notify the Department of Public Safety. A member of the staff in the Department of Public Safety may contact you to schedule a meeting and take your complaint. Public Safety may then interview the respondent and any witnesses, and the final report will be forwarded to the appropriate dean of students. The dean of students will have a member of the student affairs professional staff reach out to the student. That staff member will accompany the student during the entire process and act as the administrative support person. After the initial report and once the University’s conduct process begins, the student may also choose to be accompanied by one advisor of choice who may be present for related meetings or proceedings. The dean of students will schedule a time to meet with each student and their respective administrative support person and advisor of choice (if requested) to review the statements and answer any questions regarding the process. In most cases, the dean will meet with the students and administrative support persons and advisors of choice (if requested) a second time to check facts and then have a final meeting to explain the outcome of the case, which both students will also receive in writing. In certain cases, the University reserves the right to notify local law enforcement as required by statute.

Do I have to prove that I have been the victim of sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, or domestic or dating violence?
No. Fordham does not place the burden of proving that an attack has occurred on the student. After the incident is investigated by the Department of Public Safety and moves into the conduct process, the dean of students works with a standard called “preponderance of information.” This means that the dean will use their judgment based on all available information from public safety, the complainant, and the respondent and witness interviews to determine whether there is enough information to confirm that a violation of University policy has occurred and what the appropriate action by the University will be.

Do I have to tell my story before a panel?
The Fordham student conduct process is confidential. Meetings and interviews are private and include the complainant, the administrative support person, an advisor of choice (if requested), and the dean of students. The respondent is interviewed separately with their own administrative support person, an advisor of choice (if requested), and the dean of students. If a student appeals the outcome of the investigation, however, it is possible that the complainant would be called by the appeals body. This body is called the Student Conduct Review Council and is composed of two faculty, two students, and one administrator who convene to hear appeals. Calling complainants to present information before an appeals body is strongly discouraged by the senior vice president for student affairs and the associate vice president for student affairs, who manage the appeals process. It is also discouraged by the dean of students, who presents all relevant information to the board instead.

What if I have class with the person who attacked me?
While every case is different, efforts will be made to assist the complainant in eliminating or minimizing contact with the respondent. When a situation is reported and/or being investigated, all parties are warned to avoid direct contact or risk possible conduct violations. In some cases, the respondent will be moved to a different residence hall or removed from residence or campus pending the outcome of the case. Unless notified that the respondent has been removed, the complainant should be prepared for the possibility of seeing the respondent on campus. Complainants are encouraged to inform the administrative support person and the dean of students as soon as possible if the complainant has classes or lives in the same residence hall as the respondent. In any case, it will be important to avoid direct contact with this person.

Can I make a report about someone with whom I have been in a relationship?
Yes. A student can make a report about anyone they believe has violated the University’s policy on sexual offenses, stalking, or domestic or dating violence. There may be times when this person has an existing relationship with the complainant. People in relationships can violate the sexual offenses, stalking, or domestic or dating violence policy, and it is important for the complainant to receive assistance and know their options for reporting the incident. Students are encouraged to contact staff if they are in this situation.

What happens if I disclose information about an incident during public awareness and advocacy events?
The University will not begin an investigation based on information that a person chooses to share during public awareness events that are designed and intended to be safe spaces for survivors to share experiences. These events could include candlelight vigils, “Take Back the Night,” protests, or other public events. The University may decide, however, to use the information learned at such an event to inform its efforts for additional education and prevention efforts.

What if the incident involves a staff or faculty member?
You may use any of the reporting options listed above, but the response will be handled by the University’s Title IX coordinator. Fordham’s interim Title IX Coordinator is Patricia Scaglione, the director of equity and compliance (TitleIX@fordham.edu, 718-817-3112, Cunniffe House 114). The Department of Public Safety and the dean of students will coordinate and assist in the investigation conducted by this office into any complaints involving staff or faculty, and play the main role in providing support for you separate from the investigation.

Would I face conduct violations if I report that I am in a romantic or sexual relationship with a faculty or staff member that is prohibited?
No, the faculty or staff member is the person who would be investigated for possibly violating the University’s policy because of the imbalance of power in the relationship.

Where can I see how many violations of Fordham’s sexual offense, stalking, and domestic or dating violence policy are reported?
All crime statistics reported to Fordham are, in turn, reported to the community and the federal government. The Department of Public Safety keeps crime statistics for the campus and surrounding areas, is required to report these statistics to the federal government (the data can be found at ope.ed.gov/security/GetOneInstitutionData.aspx), and will provide statistics to any interested member of the community who contacts the office (718-817-2222). All crime statistics are also shared with faculty, staff, and students on an annual basis, and student media such as the student newspapers routinely review public safety reports and publish items from which names and identifying information have been removed for privacy.