FAQs for Individuals Reporting Sexual Assault, Dating or Domestic Violence, or Stalking

For Individuals Reporting Sexual Assault, Dating or Domestic Violence, or Stalking

The Student Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy provides an opportunity to seek redress for harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence. The Student Sex- or Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Resources and Response Procedures are used to determine whether an incident constitutes a violation of this policy. Colgate offers many types of support, before, during and after a report or complaint is filed for all involved. The decision to come forward can be difficult, but we encourage all members of our community to reach out.

a. What is the Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG)?

The Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG) plays an important role in the implementation of the policy and process used to address complaints of harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence. PCRG members are an informal source of advice and referral for those who wish to discuss their concern before deciding whether to file a formal complaint. They undergo annual training on Colgate’s policy and procedures as well as issues related to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, impartiality, and the rights of Complainants and Respondents (including the right to a presumption that the Respondent is “not responsible” until a finding of responsibility is made), as well as how to conduct a fair and impartial investigation and a hearing process that protect the safety of all parties and promote accountability. They serve on hearing panels as well as appellate panels in cases of sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, or stalking.

b. What's the difference between the student conduct board and a PCRG hearing?

The Student Conduct Board hears cases involving potential violations of the Code of Student Conduct, the Academic Honor Code, the Policy on Alcohol and Drugs, the Policy on Hazing, and various other policies. A PCRG hearing is only used in cases involving possible violations of the University's Student Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Students serve on the Student Conduct Board along with faculty and staff, but there are no students on the PCRG.

c. What's the difference between a report and a complaint?

A report lets Colgate know that an incident occurred and allows us to provide supportive measures to the reporting individual. A complaint allows you to move forward with a case that will be investigated and addressed through the Student Sex- or Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Resources and Response Procedures. In some cases, the information provided in a report will require Colgate to act even absent a complaint, where the information provided indicates a risk to the community.

Listen and be there for them. Let them know that they are not alone and that you believe them. Let them know that they have different avenues for support. If an incident of sexual violence has just occurred, focus on immediate safety and health issues. Ask if they want to go to the Student Health Center, or see a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) at a hospital for a medical forensic exam, and help them to reach out to the counselor on call.

Supportive friends are oftentimes very helpful at any stage following an incident, even months later. You can offer to go with your friend to a confidential resource, or ask questions of a Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG) member, the Associate Provost for Equity & Diversity and Title IX Coordinator, or an Administrative Dean. You can read through the response procedures with them, and help make sure that they can stay connected to friends and activities.

For more on how to help a friend, click here.

There is no time limit, but the passage of time can make details and investigations more challenging, and if the responding individual is no longer a member of the university community, the university's ability to respond may be limited.

See Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures Section VII. A. 1.

Any member of the community can ask a Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG) member or the Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity and Title IX Coordinator to explain the policy or process and talk through "what if's" without disclosing an actual incident (if they are not prepared to do so). PCRG members can be an important resource for students who want information on the complaint process or what a PCRG hearing is like, and can serve as advisors to students who are party to a PCRG investigation and/or hearing if the party so chooses. PCRG members receive annual in-depth training on issues of sexual violence, sexual harassment and discriminatory harassment. Oftentimes, students will make an appointment (without sharing the reason) to get more information that they can share with a friend, or just ask questions to understand the process and understand options.

Appointments can be made by calling or e-mailing and you can always bring a support person with you.

If you're more comfortable reading, the full policy is here, and the process is described here.

If you speak to anyone in the counseling center or Haven, health services, or the chaplain's office, they are confidential resources and nothing will happen unless you decide you want it to. If you talk to a faculty or staff member other than a confidential resource, they may have an obligation to report what they know to the Title IX Coordinator so that you are provided supportive measures as appropriate (this includes Community Leaders). In most cases, we will do our best to respect your wishes regarding what further steps you wish to take, offer support, and answer questions.

In some cases, the information provided will require Colgate to act, for example where the community is at risk based on the information provided. If this were to happen, you would be kept fully informed of the steps we are taking even if you choose not to participate in the process.

Filing a report with Colgate is not the same as going to the police, and the criminal process is separate from the University process. We encourage any member of the community who believes that a crime has been committed to report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Campus safety will assist you in making such a report, if you decide to do so.

If you file a complaint, you will receive regular updates on where we are in the process, and you may also reach out at any time if you have questions as to the status of your case. We do our best to complete an investigation within 90 days, but sometimes that is not possible. For example, if a complaint is made near the end of a semester, the process may have to carry over to the next semester. If there is a hearing, you will learn the results of the hearing within a couple of business days.

Know that if you report or file a complaint, you are not alone. Regardless of whether you decide to file a complaint, your administrative dean can work with you on academic deadlines, housing accommodations, no contact orders and other arrangements during this difficult time. If you feel you need to take some time away, you can talk with your dean about your options as well, including a personal leave.

There are several options for confidential support:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services: 315-228-7385. After hours, call Campus Safety at 315-228-7333 and ask to talk with the counselor-on-call. No further explanation is needed.
  • Haven: 315-228-7385 during business hours (9:00am-4:30pm).
  • Student Health Services: 315-228-7750. After hours and for emergencies, contact Campus Safety at 315-228-7911.
  • University Chaplains: 315-228-7682 during business hours, garden level of the Chapel.
  • Victims of Violence: 24-hour sexual violence hotline: 855-966-9723.

Oftentimes students have reached out to their friends, organization leaders, Links, trusted faculty, administrative advisers, counseling, health services, and the chaplaincy. This is a personal decision but we encourage anyone who has experienced any form or harassment, discrimination or sexual violence to come forward. You can ask the Associate Provost for Equity & Diversity and Title IX Coordinator or any PCRG members questions about the policy and process, and talk to friends and get the support you need to decide what you want to do next. Your administrative dean can work with you on academic deadlines, housing accommodations, no contact orders, requests for review of supportive measures, and other arrangements you may need under the circumstances.
See Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures Sections VI. and IX.

If a student decides to report an incident, the first step is usually talking with the investigator(s). All PCRG investigators have experience and training in trauma-informed investigation so they know how to listen carefully and compassionately. Students may also be asked to write out their statements in their own words, speaking in detail about what they recall from the incident. Usually, the investigator will need to ask some questions at that time and ask clarifying questions at other times during the investigation. You have the right to be accompanied by an adviser of choice throughout the investigative and adjudicative process, including at any interview. During the investigation, which is an impartial fact-finding process, the parties will have an equal opportunity to share information and request that witnesses be interviewed.

If a hearing is scheduled, you and the other party may be asked questions by the panel members who,like the investigators, have also been trained in trauma-informed approaches. The advisors for both parties ask questions of the other party and witnesses. However, before the party or witness answers a question posed by an advisor, the chair of the hearing panel first determines whether the question is relevant, and will limit or disallow questions on the basis that they are irrelevant, unduly repetitious (and thus irrelevant), or abusive.

See Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures Section XIV. B-D .

No. Students do not serve on the panel that hears and decides cases of alleged sexual misconduct. Since a reporting or responding party may have anyone accompany them as their advisor of choice, a fellow student could potentially serve as an advisor to a student, although this is not common.

This is a decision that we can't make for you. Some people who have filed complaints have engaged a lawyer, but others have not. However, the hearing process includes questioning of the parties and witnesses by the parties’ advisors. Therefore, at the conclusion of the investigation into a complaint and upon the request of a party, the university will appoint, without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the university’s choice who will be a licensed attorney to assist that party from and after the investigative stage of the process, and for any subsequent hearing, resolution without a hearing and/or appeal(s)

See Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures Sections XII. D. and XIV. C.

No, except in rare circumstances where notification is necessary to address an immediate safety concern. It is up to you to decide whether you want to tell your family. Families of the responding party are usually only informed if there is an emergency removal, and/or if a sanction of suspension or expulsion is imposed as a result of a hearing.

No. A survivor will not get points or have disciplinary consequences for alcohol or other drug violations, or for other minor violations of Colgate policy, at the time of the incident. We also provide amnesty to reporting bystanders as well.

See the Sexual Misconduct Policy Section IV.

Supportive measures for the reporting party can be implemented immediately, such as counseling, a no contact order, changes in housing, or academic adjustments or accommodations. The University may need to undertake emergency removal of a student in order to protect the safety of its community, and to address imminent threats posed to any person’s physical health or safety that may arise out of alleged misconduct or the allegations of misconduct. Emergency removal may be total (i.e., the student is suspended from the university) or partial (e.g., the student is suspended from being present on campus, or presence is limited to specified areas, times or purposes) at the discretion of the university based on the circumstances. Prior to removing a student Respondent through the emergency removal process, the University will undertake an individualized safety and risk analysis, and if that analysis determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the alleged misconduct or the allegations of misconduct justifies removal, then a student Respondent will be removed..

See Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures Sections IX. and X.

A no contact order is issued when a student brings forward a concern regarding interactions with another student and requests that the student have no further avoidable contact with them.

The no contact order is not a disciplinary action and does not appear on a student's academic record, but it is designed to provide a measure of relief for a student who wishes to maintain distance from another student both inside and outside of class. A no contact order cannot guarantee that the individuals will not encounter one another on Colgate's campus, but it does establish parameters for those encounters in terms of distance and communication. The parties are each afforded the opportunity for a prompt review of the need for supportive or accommodative measures, including the potential modification of these measures. The parties are each allowed to submit evidence in support of, or in opposition to, the request. If a no contact order is in place, any alleged violations of the no contact order are investigated. In the event a violation is substantiated, further restrictions may be imposed and/or disciplinary action may be warranted.

The standard of proof used in cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault is the "preponderance of the evidence", or more likely than not. This standard of proof is lower than "beyond a reasonable doubt" or "clear and convincing evidence". The initial presumption is that the responding individual is not responsible. Then, the evidence presented is assessed and a determination is made as to whether it is more likely than not that a policy violation has occurred. If the hearing panel members determine that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred, then an appropriate sanction is imposed.

Yes, an informal resolution process is possible if both parties consent to use it. The informal resolution process is a voluntary process in which a trained facilitator assists the parties in resolving the allegations made by a Complainant. An informal resolution prioritizes educational and conciliatory approaches over more adversarial contestation of the facts. One objective of the informal resolution process is to provide to the parties an opportunity to learn and understand each other’s concerns and address them as collaboratively and usefully for the parties as possible, with the assistance of the facilitator.Informal resolution may include discipline, up to and including expulsion, if the parties agree.

The informal resolution process may also be used if the Respondent wishes to accept responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations. If so, the informal resolution process can be used to determine whether all parties and the university are able to agree on sanctions and/or remedies.

If an informal resolution process does not result in an agreed-upon resolution, then the formal investigation and resolution process will proceed from there.

See Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures Section XI.

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Haven is a sexual violence response center that provides confidential care, support, advocacy, and trauma-informed clinical services for survivors.