Updated August 2021
Table of Contents
II. Policy and Procedure Summary
III. Delegation or Reassignment of Authority; Use of External Resources
V. Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG)
VI. Confidential Resources
VII. Reporting Options
VIII. Complaint Intake
IX. Interim Remedies
X. Informal Resolution
XII. Assessment Following Investigation
XIII. Resolution Without a Hearing
XIV. Formal Hearing Procedure
XVI. Disability Accommodations
XVII. Coordination with Other Policies and Procedures
XVIII. Complaints Against Non-Community Members
XIX. Campus Crime Reporting and Statistics
XX. Bias/Conflict of Interest
XXI. Discretionary Authority; Change in Applicable Law
XXII. Procedure Enforcement
This procedural document provides information about supportive and protective measures available to members of the Colgate University community experiencing discrimination or harassment based upon characteristics protected by applicable law including race, color, pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin (including ancestry), citizenship status, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, or domestic violence victim status (collectively, “Prohibited Conduct”). This document also provides procedures for the investigation and adjudication of allegations of Prohibited Conduct by or between students or student organizations.
This procedural document provides options for persons who have experienced any form of Prohibited Conduct. As described more fully below, these options include the following:
- A report to a Confidential Resource. A confidential resource provides emotional and/or medical services and maintains confidentiality. A report to a confidential resource does not result in a university investigation or any other action to respond to the incident.
- A report to a Policy Administrator. Certain personnel at the university have the responsibility to receive reports of Prohibited Conduct and to take action based on those reports. A Policy Administrator will forward the information about the incident to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will discuss options with the Reporting Individual. The assistance the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer can facilitate includes the following:
- Initial or Interim Remedies. Initial or interim remedies are intended to support the individual who experienced Prohibited Conduct to continue in their involvement in the university’s programs and activities. These remedies may include no contact orders; academic accommodations; changes in housing assignment; or other academic, residential or work accommodations.
- Informal Resolution. Informal resolution is a process that enables the parties (i.e., the Complainant and the Respondent) to agree upon a resolution to the situation. Not all incidents are appropriate for informal resolution, and no party may be forced to participate in or accept informal resolution. This is a voluntary process.
- Formal Grievance Process. A grievance process includes an investigation and adjudication process. The outcome of a grievance process is that the person accused of Prohibited Conduct is found either responsible or not responsible for having committed a violation of university policy. A violation results in appropriate sanctions and other remedies to address the violation.
- A report to a Policy Administrator. Certain personnel at the university have the responsibility to receive reports of Prohibited Conduct and to take action based on those reports. A Policy Administrator will forward the information about the incident to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will discuss options with the Reporting Individual. The assistance the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer can facilitate includes the following:
- A report to Law Enforcement. If an incident involves criminal conduct, the victim may make a complaint to law enforcement.
The options for reporting above are not mutually exclusive, and an individual may pursue one option but not another. An individual may obtain the services of a confidential resource and decide at that time or a later time to report to the university. An individual may report to the university and also make a report to law enforcement, or may make a report to only the university or only to law enforcement.
Any person assigned a role pursuant to this procedural document may delegate their authority, or the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may require reassignment of such authority, to another appropriate person to avoid bias or conflicts of interest, or in other circumstances, as deemed necessary. In addition, to the extent permitted by applicable law (including Title IX and New York Education Law Article 129-B), appropriately trained personnel other than the Title IX Coordinator may oversee cases for reasons including, but not limited to, the need to facilitate efficient and timely administration of such cases. The university may also utilize appropriately trained external individuals for any role under this process as it may deem necessary or appropriate.
In addition to terms defined elsewhere in this procedural document, the following terms have the meanings set forth below:
- The term Complainant refers to the person who allegedly experienced conduct in violation of university policy. In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may initiate the investigation and adjudication process pursuant to this procedural document. In that instance, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer is not the “Complainant”; the Complainant remains the person who allegedly experienced the misconduct.
- The term Reporting Individual refers to a person who reports alleged misconduct. This may or may not be the same as the Complainant, and may be a witness, a bystander, or someone else with information about the alleged misconduct.
- The term Respondent refers to the person or organization alleged to have committed misconduct.
The Colgate University Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG) consists of members of the campus community dedicated to prevention of and response to Prohibited Conduct as defined in the Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policies for students, faculty and staff, including prevention of and response to discrimination or harassment based upon race, color, pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin (including ancestry), citizenship status, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, or domestic violence victim status. Members of the PCRG are announced in an annual distribution to campus. The list of members and a description of the group can be found here. Members of the PCRG are trained to serve in the following roles:
- To serve as a first point of contact and provide information and resources to a reporting individual or respondent,
- To serve in a facilitation role in informal resolution,
- To investigate complaints,
- To act as advisors to those involved in complaints,
- To serve on hearing panels to adjudicate allegations of Prohibited Conduct (as noted in Section XIV.A, a panel consisting of three members of the PCRG plus a nonvoting panel chair is responsible for adjudicating those allegations brought to a formal hearing under this procedural document),
- To serve on appellate panels, and
- To serve in an educative role for the community.
The PCRG membership includes faculty and staff drawn from across the institution. The President appoints the members, who report to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. PCRG members receive annual training organized by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, including a review of Colgate policies and procedures so that they are able to provide accurate information to members of the community. All PCRG members are required to attend this annual training, which includes issues related to harassment or discrimination on the basis of the protected characteristics listed in Section I. above (e.g. race, religion, citizenship status, etc.), 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 pursuant to the applicable provisions of this procedural document), 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. All administrative advisors and on-call staff also undergo training with the PCRG regardless of whether they are formally appointed to the PCRG. Additional advanced training in investigation protocol, the conduct of adjudication hearings, informal resolution processes and the appellate process is provided annually to subsets of the PCRG members who serve in these roles.
PCRG members are usually appointed to three-year terms. Individuals who are interested in serving on the PCRG are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer.
Any person who has experienced Prohibited Conduct is encouraged to understand their options and to seek support for their emotional and physical needs. A person seeking confidential emotional support or healthcare may contact the following resources.
Students may contact
- The Counseling Center, Conant House, 315-228-7385 or for an after-hours emergency, call Campus Safety at 315-228-7333 and ask to speak with the counselor on-call.
- Office of the Chaplains, garden level of the Memorial Chapel, 315-228-7682.
- Student Health Services, 150 Broad Street, 315-228-7750.
Employees may contact
- Employee Assistance Program, 315-451-2161.
Sharing information with a Confidential Resource listed above does not constitute a report to the university and will not result in an investigation or in any remedial or disciplinary action. Information shared with the university’s Counseling Center, Student Health Center, and the university’s chaplains will not ordinarily be shared with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. When an individual shares information with a Confidential Resource (on campus or in the community) as a confidential communication in the course of a protected relationship, the Confidential Resource cannot disclose the information (including information about whether an individual has received services) to any third party without the individual's written permission or unless permitted or required consistent with ethical or legal obligations (e.g. an individual poses a threat to self or others). Similarly, medical and counseling records cannot be released without the individual's written permission or unless permitted or required consistent with ethical or legal obligations.
Confidential Resources submit non-personally identifying information about Clery-reportable crimes to Colgate Campus Safety for purposes of anonymous statistical reporting under the Clery Act.
Because Confidential Resources are there to support emotional, physical and spiritual needs and not to serve as part of the university disciplinary process, any person who desires for the university to take investigatory/disciplinary action must make a report to one of the Policy Administrators, listed below.
The university encourages all individuals to report Prohibited Conduct to the university and/or (in the case or criminal conduct) to local law enforcement. An individual may make a report to the university, to law enforcement, to neither, or to both. Campus processes and law enforcement investigations operate independently of one another, although appropriate officials may coordinate information with Campus Safety as part of an initial assessment of reports. Options for reporting to the university and/or to law enforcement are described below:
1. Where to Report
Anyone may make a report of Prohibited Conduct to the university in person, by telephone, or by email or online. The following offices and individuals have been trained to receive and respond to reports:
- Tamala Flack, Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer
Office of Equity and Diversity
102 Lathrop Hall
- Dorsey Spencer, Dean of Students
Office of the Dean of the College
121 McGregory Hall
- Kim Taylor, Dean for Administrative Advising and Student Conduct
Office of the Dean of the College
121D McGregory Hall
- Any PCRG member
- You may also use one of Colgate’s online reporting forms. The forms provide the option for you to report anonymously or non-anonymously. Providing anonymous information may help the university maintain accurate records regarding the number of incidents involving students, employees, and third parties; determine if there is a pattern of conduct with regard to a particular location or person; and alert the campus community to potential dangers when appropriate. Depending on the amount of information available in the anonymous report, however, the university’s ability to respond with an investigation or disciplinary action may be limited.
If a report is made to anyone other than the Policy Administrators listed above, the Reporting Individual risks the possibility that the information will not come to the attention of the proper university officials and may, therefore, not be acted upon.
There is no time limit for making a report. However, the passage of time may make effective responsive action difficult. Further, if the Respondent is no longer a member of the university community, the university’s ability to respond may be limited. Individuals with a concern are encouraged to make a report promptly.
Note: You may also contact the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, or a PCRG member to discuss how Colgate’s investigatory and disciplinary processes work. You need not disclose information about a specific incident in order to obtain general information about Colgate’s policies and procedures.
2. What Happens After Contacting a Policy Administrator
A Policy Administrator will discuss with the Reporting Individual available avenues and options. A Reporting Individual may be able to take advantage of multiple options simultaneously. Options include contacting local law enforcement (if the incident involves a crime) and/or a disciplinary proceeding against the Respondent or, in appropriate circumstances, informal resolution. In situations where the Reporting Individual’s well-being requires, other options may include interim measures as described in Section IX below. The university will review the facts and circumstances of each case, as well the Reporting Individual’s wishes, in deciding whether and what steps are reasonable and appropriate.
3. How Information Is Shared Within the University
A Policy Administrator is not a confidential resource. However, even Colgate offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer to investigate and/or seek a resolution and subject to other legal requirements. This is described further below.
4. How Decisions About Taking Action are Handled
A report to a Policy Administrator often does, but need not necessarily, lead to an investigation or disciplinary action. The decision about what action(s) to take depends on many factors, including the Reporting Individual’s wishes. A Reporting Individual may make a report to a Policy Administrator and request that the university take no investigatory or disciplinary action. The university endeavors to comply with Reporting Individuals’ wishes with respect to whether responsive action is taken. However, that is not always possible, as the university must weigh the Reporting Individual’s wishes against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of its community and meet other legal obligations.
If a Reporting Individual requests that no action be taken against the Respondent (i.e., no investigation or disciplinary action), the Policy Administrator will consult with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The university’s decision as to responsive action will depend on the nature of the offense, whether the Respondent has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender, whether the incident represents escalation in unlawful conduct from previously noted behavior, the risk that the Respondent will commit future acts of violence, whether there was a single perpetrator or multiple, whether the Respondent used a weapon or force, whether the Reporting Individual is a minor, whether available information reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group or organization, whether the circumstances otherwise suggest an ongoing or future risk to the campus community or the Reporting Individual, impact upon the university community, and similar considerations. A decision will be made and shared with the Reporting Individual. Ultimately, the university retains the right to act upon information that interferes with the university’s obligation to maintain a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all community members.
In its annual report of campus crime statistics, the university must report statistics concerning the occurrence on campus of certain crimes. This statistical report does not include any personally identifiable information concerning the Reporting Individual or the Respondent. Similarly, if Colgate issues a timely warning pursuant to the Clery Act to warn the campus community about a perceived immediate threat, the warning issued will not include any personally identifying information concerning a Reporting Individual.
Records concerning reports, investigations and disciplinary proceedings pursuant to this procedural document will be kept in private, secure files and only individuals with a legitimate right to know will be permitted access.
Any person may call 911 or Campus Safety at any time for immediate safety assistance. If you or someone else is experiencing an emergency, please call for immediate assistance.
1. General Considerations
Anyone who believes they were or may have been the victim of a crime is encouraged to report the incident to local law enforcement and pursue criminal charges. A Reporting Individual has the right to report, or decline to report, potential criminal conduct to law enforcement. Upon request, the university will assist a Reporting Individual in contacting law enforcement at any time. Under limited circumstances posing a threat to the health or safety of any individual or to comply with applicable law, the university may independently notify law enforcement.
Orders of protection and other forms of legal protection may be available to individuals who have experienced or are threatened with violence by another person. Colgate will reasonably assist such individuals in obtaining available legal protections, provide a copy of any order of protection or similar document it receives to the parties affected by it, explain the order of protection or similar document and the consequences for violating it, call upon and assist local law enforcement in effecting an arrest for violation of the order of protection or similar document, and abide by all legally issued orders of protection or similar documents, including denying the restricted person access to Colgate’s property, if necessary.
The existence of a criminal complaint does not relieve the university from the need to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred and take appropriate steps in response. Although the university and law enforcement processes are separate, in some cases, the university may delay temporarily the initiation of its internal processes while a law enforcement investigation is ongoing.
Options for reporting to law enforcement are described below.
2. Assistance from Campus Safety
Any member of the campus community may contact Colgate’s Campus Safety Department for assistance in filing a criminal complaint and preserving evidence at:
Colgate Campus Safety
88 Hamilton Street
315-228-7911 or 911 from a campus phone [Emergency line]
315-228-7333 [Non-emergency line]
3. Reporting Directly to Law Enforcement
Anyone may make a report directly to local law enforcement authorities. The Hamilton Police Department (315-824-3311, or 911 in an emergency) can assist in filing a criminal complaint and preserving evidence.
A third party or anyone other than the victim of Prohibited Conduct may report an incident as described above, but the person who allegedly experienced Prohibited Conduct is the Complainant for purposes of this procedure. If the person who allegedly experienced Prohibited Conduct does not wish to participate in the complaint and adjudication process, or the Complainant’s identity is unknown, and the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer determines that there is sufficient cause to pursue the matter, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may initiate the investigation and adjudication process pursuant to this procedural document.
Following receipt of notice of a violation or of a complaint, the Complainant (if any) is promptly given the opportunity to select a PCRG member or other individual, who must be a member of the campus community and may not be a practicing attorney, to serve as their advisor throughout the PCRG process, including during all meetings and hearings related to the process. The Complainant is also provided a document delineating their rights, resources, and options for reporting, including the right to make a report to Campus Safety, to local law enforcement, to the state police, or a combination thereof, or to choose not to report, to be protected from retaliation for reporting an incident, and to receive support and resources through Colgate or other community organizations.
An initial determination is made by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer as to whether a policy violation may have occurred and/or whether informal resolution might be appropriate. If the complaint does not appear to allege Prohibited Conduct or if informal resolution is agreed to by the involved parties and appears appropriate given the nature of the alleged behavior, then the complaint does not proceed to investigation. In making a decision as to whether to proceed to investigation, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer also considers the wishes of the Complainant. As noted above, a full investigation will be pursued if, among other reasons, there is evidence of a pattern of misconduct or a perceived threat of further harm to the community or any of its members.
Initial or interim remedies may be implemented in appropriate circumstances. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will determine such remedies as are necessary to protect the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community. Initial or interim remedies are intended to address the immediate and ongoing effects of Prohibited Conduct, or to prevent further harm to the alleged victim and to prevent further violations. These remedies may include referral to counseling and health services, education to the community, altering the housing situation of one or more of the involved students, altering work arrangements for student employees, providing campus escorts, implementing contact limitations between the parties, offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc. In circumstances where the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the presence on campus of the Respondent or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question, the university may, for the interim, suspend a student or organization pending completion of the PCRG investigation and procedures.
An 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 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.
The intent of an informal resolution process is for the parties to undertake a facilitated dialogue regarding the matters at issue related to the allegations to see if they can reach agreement on a resolution that leaves both parties feeling satisfied with that resolution.
The informal resolution process is not available in a complaint involving more than two parties unless (a) all parties voluntarily consent to use the informal resolution process, (b) there is an understanding among all parties about what happens when the right of any party to stop the informal resolution process and commence (or return to) the formal investigation and resolution process is invoked, and (c) there is an understanding among all parties about whether some parties, but not all, can agree to a resolution. No party should feel intimidated, coerced or threatened to participate in an informal resolution process, and the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will not authorize use of the informal resolution process where there is reason to believe that a party’s consent to use the process is not truly voluntary.
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 the Respondent indicates an intent to accept responsibility for all or part of the alleged misconduct, the formal investigation and adjudication process will be paused, and the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will determine whether informal resolution can be used according to the criteria above. If so, the informal resolution process will be used to determine whether all parties and the university are able to agree on sanctions and/or remedies. This result is not subject to appeal once all parties indicate their written assent to all agreed upon terms of resolution.
Supportive measures are available to both parties in the same manner as they would be if the complaint were proceeding under the formal investigation and resolution process.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will offer the informal resolution process to the parties after a complaint is filed by a Complainant if the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer believes informal resolution may be appropriate. Both parties must consent to use the informal resolution process. Either party in an informal resolution process may terminate it at any time and the complaint will proceed (or return) to the formal investigation and resolution process. In some instances, as detailed below, the facilitator in the informal resolution process may terminate the process as well.
If both parties consent to participate in the informal resolution process, the university will assign a facilitator who will act in an independent, impartial manner to facilitate a resolution between the parties. The facilitator will be trained on how to perform the role. The facilitator will also be screened to ensure that such person is free from conflicts of interest and bias.
The facilitator will schedule one or more meetings with the parties. The facilitator will assist the parties in communicating information and opinions to the facilitator and each other regarding the allegations in an effort to find common ground and a resolution of the allegations that is satisfactory to all parties. The facilitator may meet separately with each party to explore the party’s views about the allegations and desired outcome from the process. Either party can elect to have any meeting occur so that the parties are in different rooms and the facilitator “shuttles” between the parties.
Informal resolution may be appropriate if the parties are willing to openly exchange views and reach a resolution acceptable to both parties. The parties to this process should have a clear understanding of the allegations in the complaint and the issues that are in dispute since the investigation phase of the formal investigation and resolution process will not occur (or resume) if an informal resolution is reached.
The facilitator’s role is to conduct the informal resolution process in a way that is impartial and does not favor one party over the other. If the facilitator believes at any point in the informal resolution process that one party is not behaving in a way that allows for a productive resolution between the parties, the facilitator will discuss the matter in confidence with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, and either another facilitator will be appointed or the university will require that the informal resolution process be cancelled and the complaint will be addressed through the formal investigation and resolution process.
For the informal resolution process to have the best chance for success, the parties should be free to express themselves. As a result, the information received from both parties during the informal resolution process will be kept confidential by the facilitator but the facilitator may share information with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer as necessary to enable the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer to oversee the process in accordance with this procedural document.
In addition, the facilitator will not be available as a witness in any hearing that may occur should either party or the university terminate the informal resolution process before a resolution. This is in keeping with the concept that the facilitator is impartial and is only facilitating the interaction between the two parties.
Should the formal complaint proceed or be returned to the formal investigation and resolution process, the parties and any support persons may not disclose information shared by the other party during the informal resolution process in the hearing. All persons participating in the informal resolution process must sign a confidentiality agreement that provides that no information revealed by a party in the informal resolution process will be used against that party in a hearing. This confidentiality protection does not apply to information that is learned outside the informal resolution process through the investigation or otherwise (but not learned through a violation of the confidentiality agreement).
Each party may have a support person accompanying them to any informal resolution meeting. A support person is someone who provides support to a party during the informal resolution process. This role should be distinguished from the role of an advisor under the formal investigation and resolution process of this procedural document. For instance, the support person will not be permitted to question the other party.
A support person can help a party understand or explain the issues under discussion or simply help the party feel more comfortable during the informal resolution process. A support person should be someone with whom the party feels comfortable. A party may need to tell their support person sensitive things related to the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations. The support person may be a friend or relative or any other person the party trusts.
A support person cannot be someone who has been involved in the facts and circumstances in the allegations in any way. In addition, the other party and the facilitator must agree to the support person attending. The facilitator can also exclude a support person if their presence is disruptive during the informal resolution process.
A party must let the facilitator know in advance if they would like a support person to attend any informal resolution meeting and the name of the support person and that person’s relationship to the party. The facilitator will check with the other party to confirm that such party agrees to continue with the informal resolution with the support person present.
Support can be provided in several ways. Support people do not necessarily have to be present in an informal resolution session. Support people can be available to offer support in a nearby area and the facilitator can schedule breaks so that a party can talk with their support person outside the meeting. The support person can attend the informal resolution meeting but may not participate or speak during it. The support person can ask for a break if the person wishes to confer with the party.
A resolution is reached only if both parties agree and if the resolution is accepted by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The facilitator will not impose an outcome, although they may assist the parties in suggesting resolutions that appear to meet the parties’ needs. If there is no agreement on a resolution, the complaint will proceed (or be returned) to the formal investigation and resolution process outlined in this procedural document.
The university imposes no restrictions on the possible outcomes reflected in a resolution so that the parties are free to fashion a resolution that meets their needs, subject to acceptance by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. A resolution may include discipline, up to and including expulsion/termination of employment, if the parties agree.
The facilitator will draft a document reflecting the agreement between the parties that becomes final once it is signed by all parties and accepted by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. This written and signed resolution indicates that the complaint has been resolved under this process without the need to pursue the formal investigation and resolution process.
After a written resolution has been finalized, the university will keep a record of the parties’ written consent to the informal resolution process and the written resolution. Results of complaints resolved by informal resolution are not appealable under this process.
Once a complaint has been filed, the informal resolution process should proceed with due promptness. The university imposes no specified timeframe for the process but the facilitator may choose to terminate the informal resolution process (and either party may elect to terminate the process) if insufficient progress is being made.
If an informal resolution process does not result in an agreed-upon resolution, investigation of the allegations in the complaint will commence (or resume) and the formal investigation and resolution process will proceed from there.
In cases where the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer determines that a complaint appears to allege Prohibited Conduct, and the Complainant wishes to pursue a formal complaint or the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer decides that the university, based on the alleged policy violation, wishes to pursue a formal complaint, then the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer appoints PCRG member(s) who do not have a conflict of interest to conduct the investigation. The university reserves the right to consult with legal counsel throughout the complaint resolution process, and to utilize external investigators if warranted in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The university may temporarily withhold a student's degree and/or diploma if the student is the subject of a pending complaint or investigation, or has disciplinary charges pending.
Investigation of complaints will be completed within ninety (90) days when reasonably possible, but an investigation may take longer when (among other things) the university is not in session. The university also may, but shall not be obligated to, delay the institution of its processes when criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated. University action will not be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may determine that cases where the allegations arise out of the same set of facts should be consolidated for purposes of the investigation and/or adjudication. Instances where consolidation of complaints may occur include but are not limited to cross-complaints filed by the parties against each other, multiple complaints by a single Complainant against a Respondent, or multiple complaints by a single Complainant against multiple Respondents.
The Respondent will receive notice, in advance of any interview or other meeting they are required or entitled to attend, of the PCRG investigation including the date, time, location and factual allegations concerning the violation, the specific policy provisions alleged to have been violated, and the possible sanctions. The Respondent will also be notified of their right to select a PCRG member or other individual, who must be a member of the campus community and may not be a practicing attorney, to serve as their advisor throughout the PCRG process, including during all meetings and hearings related to such process. If, in the course of the investigation, the university decides to investigate allegations that are not included in the notice initially provided to the parties, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties.
The Complainant and Respondent will be provided with notice of the name of the appointed investigator(s) and an opportunity of not more than three (3) days after the notice to raise an objection to the investigator(s) based on any alleged bias or conflict of interest known to the party. If an objection is raised, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will determine whether bias or a conflict of interest in fact exists and necessitates the replacement of the investigator(s).
During the investigation, which is an impartial fact-finding process, the Complainant and the Respondent will have an equal opportunity to share information and request that witnesses be interviewed. In the absence of their consent, the Complainant and Respondent will not be interviewed together or be required to meet. The investigator(s) retains discretion to determine how to conduct the investigation and what information is necessary and relevant.
No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings or interviews. If the investigator(s) elect(s) to audio and/or video record interviews, all parties involved in the meeting or interview will be made aware that audio and/or video recording is occurring.
Once an investigation is completed, the investigator(s) will meet with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer and the Dean for Administrative Advising and Student Conduct. Based on that meeting, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will make a decision as to whether the results of the investigation warrant proceeding with the complaint process. If the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer determines that the alleged incident is more properly handled pursuant to another university policy or procedure, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will direct the matter to the appropriate procedure or personnel.
If the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer determines that the allegations and available information warrant a continuation of the process, then the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may authorize informal resolution, or may direct the complaint for a resolution without a hearing, or a formal hearing, based on the below criteria. If the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer determines that continuing with the complaint process is not warranted, the process will end, and the Complainant and Respondent will be so informed. This notice will include findings of fact and the rationale for the determination.
In cases where the alleged violations, and therefore the range of possible sanctions, are minor (less than suspension or expulsion), the Dean for Administrative Advising and Student Conduct may make a decision as to responsibility using a preponderance of the evidence standard and may implement a sanction, with a statement of the findings of fact and rationale for the sanction. A Complainant or Respondent dissatisfied with the sanction may request reconsideration of the sanction (but not the finding of responsibility) in writing within five calendar days of notification of the sanction to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, who will determine whether to uphold or modify the sanction. In cases where the alleged behavior is of a nature that may warrant the imposition of a sanction of suspension or expulsion, or that are otherwise not appropriate for resolution without a hearing as set forth above, the matter will normally proceed to a formal hearing as described below.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will appoint a non-voting panel chair and three members of the PCRG to the hearing panel who do not have a conflict of interest in the case. PCRG members who served as investigators or as advisors to the Complainant or Respondent may not serve as hearing panel members. The panel will meet at times determined by the chair.
At least one week prior to the hearing, or as far in advance as is reasonably possible if an accelerated hearing is scheduled with the consent of the parties, the designated hearing panel chair will send a letter to the parties stating the following:
- A description of the alleged violation(s) (including, to the extent known, the date, time, location and factual allegations, and a reference to the specific Colgate policy provision(s) alleged to have been violated); a description of the applicable procedures; and the sanction or sanctions that could be imposed.
- The time, date, and location of the hearing. If any party does not appear at the scheduled hearing, the hearing will be held in absentia. For compelling reasons, the hearing panel chair may reschedule the hearing.
- The names of the hearing panel members, and how to challenge participation by any hearing panel member for bias or conflict of interest.
- The right to an advisor. The parties may have the assistance of one PCRG member or other individual at the hearing. The advisor must be a member of the campus community and may not be a practicing attorney.
- A statement about the university’s policy on retaliation.
Participants in the hearing will include the non-voting chair, the three members of the panel, the investigator(s) who conducted the investigation on the complaint, the Complainant and Respondent (or up to three organizational representatives in a case where an organization is charged), advisors to the parties, and any called witnesses. Hearings are private, and observers, other than the parties’ advisors, are not allowed. Hearings involve the discussion of sensitive, private topics. Therefore, any person present for any part of the hearing is urged to use discretion in discussing the hearing with uninvolved parties. Panel members are required to treat the hearing as completely confidential.
Prior to the hearing (or, if prior exchange is not feasible, at commencement of the hearing), the parties will submit to the chair the names of all witnesses the party intends to call and a brief description of the subject(s) about which the party believes the witness has relevant information. The chair will exclude any witness the chair deems unnecessary. The chair will share with all parties the names of all witnesses whom the chair has approved to be called (and/or from whom a written statement will be accepted), and all relevant and available documentary information. The chair may decide that certain witnesses do not need to participate in the hearing if their testimony can be adequately summarized by the investigator(s) during the hearing. The chair of the hearing panel is in charge of organizing the presentation of information to be considered by the hearing panel.
Hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same location or, at the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the hearing virtually, with technology enabling the hearing panel and the parties to simultaneously see and hear any party or witness providing information or answering questions. If either party so requests, the hearing will be conducted with the parties located in separate rooms using technology as described in the preceding sentence.
If desired, the Complainant and the Respondent will have a reasonable opportunity to present facts and arguments and to present questions through the chair, or otherwise if determined by the chair, to witnesses appearing before the hearing panel. If alternative appearance mechanisms are desired (screens, remote participation as described above, etc.), the parties should request them from the chair at least five calendar days prior to the hearing. Neither party (Complainant nor Respondent) is required to attend, and, if either or both fail or decline to attend, the hearing will be held in that person’s absence. The chair may allow a party to submit a written statement in lieu of attendance and/or the chair and panel may rely on the party’s statements as gathered in the investigation and presented at the hearing by the investigator(s).
Hearings will be recorded by the university. Cell phones and recording devices may not be used by the parties or their advisors in the hearing room(s).
The Complainant and Respondent may have present with them during the hearing an advisor. The advisor must be a member of the campus community and may not be a practicing attorney. The advisor’s role is limited to consulting with their advisee. The advisor may not speak during the hearing, object to any aspect of the proceeding, or disrupt the hearing in any way, and any consultation with the advisee while the hearing is in progress must be done in writing only. The advisor may consult with the advisee verbally outside the hearing during breaks, when such breaks are requested and granted by the chair. If the chair determines that an advisor is not adhering to these or other ground rules, the advisor will be expelled from the hearing, and the hearing will continue without opportunity for the party to secure a new advisor.
The chair will explain procedural ground rules prior to or at the outset of the proceeding, and the chair may impose additional ground rules as may be reasonably necessary for the orderly and efficient progress of the proceeding. Once the procedures are explained and the participants are introduced, the chair may call the investigator(s) to present the report of the investigation. The investigator(s) may be asked to respond to questions posed by the chair or PCRG panel members. The investigator(s) may be present during the entire hearing process. The findings of the investigation and the investigator(s)’s findings are not binding on the panel, though any undisputed conclusions of the investigation report will not be revisited, except as necessary to determine sanctions/responsive actions or as determined necessary by the chair.
Formal rules of evidence will not apply. Any information that the chair and panel believe is relevant and credible may be considered, including hearsay, history and information indicating a pattern of behavior.
The chair will address any concerns regarding the consideration of information prior to and/or during the hearing and may exclude irrelevant or immaterial information. The chair will have discretionary authority to determine all questions of procedure, including but not limited to the method by which questions will be posed to parties (including the method by which a party will be allowed to pose questions to be answered by the other party, the investigator, or any witness). The chair is also empowered to determine whether particular questions, evidence or information will be accepted or considered, including whether a particular witness will or will not be called and, if called, the topic(s) that the witness or the parties will be permitted to address. Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information will present and respond to questions on their own behalf and not through anyone else.
Unless the chair determines it is appropriate, no one will present information or raise questions concerning:
- incidents not directly related to the possible violation unless they show a pattern, or
- the character of the Complainant or Respondent.
Prior disciplinary violations and character information may be considered for purposes of assessing sanctions (if applicable) as and to the extent provided below.
Following conclusion of the hearing, the hearing panel will deliberate and render a determination by majority vote as to whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the alleged violation(s). The hearing panel will use “preponderance of the evidence” as the standard of proof to determine whether each alleged violation occurred. “Preponderance of the evidence” means that the hearing panel must determine whether, based on the evidence presented, it is more likely than not that the Respondent engaged in the conduct charged. A lack of preponderance does not necessarily mean that the Complainant has been dishonest or made a false complaint, but rather that the weight of the evidence did not indicate that it was “more likely than not” that a violation occurred.
If the hearing panel determines that the Respondent is responsible for the violation(s) in question, it moves to a consideration of sanctions. Each party may submit a written personal impact statement to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer for consideration by the hearing panel in determining an appropriate sanction if there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the charges. The parties must submit their statements to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer prior to the hearing. Up to two character reference letters submitted on behalf of each party will be introduced into consideration, and sanctions will be determined by the hearing panel. In addition to the impact statement(s) and character references, if any, factors considered when determining sanctions may include:
- the nature and severity of, and circumstances surrounding, the violation(s);
- the Respondent’s state of mind at the time of the violation(s) (intentional, knowing, bias-motivated, reckless, negligent, etc.);
- the Respondent’s previous disciplinary history (or lack thereof);
- the need for sanctions to bring an end to the conduct; and/or to prevent the future recurrence of similar conduct;
- the need to remedy the effects of the conduct on the Complainant and/or the community;
- the impact of potential sanctions on the Respondent;
- sanctions imposed by the university in other matters involving comparable conduct; and
- any other lawful factors deemed relevant by the hearing panel.
The following are the sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:
- Warning: A formal statement that the behavior was unacceptable and a warning that further infractions of any university policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe disciplinary action.
- Probation: A written reprimand for violation of the policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any university policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be specified and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, non-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
- Suspension: Termination of student or organizational status for a definite period of time and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure at Colgate.
- Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status or indefinite revocation of university recognition of organizational status.
- Withholding Diploma: The university may withhold a student's degree and/or diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities.
- Revocation of Degree: The university reserves the right to revoke a degree awarded from the university for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of university policies, procedures or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
- Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the hearing panel may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate, including but not limited to the following:
- Mandated counseling so a student has the opportunity to gain more insight into their behavior.
- “No contact” directive (including but not limited to continuation of a no contact directive imposed as a supportive measure): a prohibition against having contact with one or more identified persons, in person or through telephonic, electronic, written or other means. A no contact directive may include additional restrictions and terms.
- Apology: Requiring the student or organization to write a letter of apology to those involved.
- Campus or Community Service: Requiring unpaid service to the university or area community stated in terms of type and hours of service.
- Restitution: Reimbursement for damage to or misappropriation of property, or for personal injury, and other related costs.
- Housing related sanctions:
- Loss, revocation or restriction of privilege (e.g., exclusion from specified locations or alteration of status in the housing lottery or other selection system) to live in university housing.
- Loss, revocation or restriction of off-campus living privileges.
Sanctions take effect immediately, unless the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer stays implementation pending completion of any appeal process.
For those crimes of violence that the university is required by federal law to include in its Annual Security Report, the transcripts of suspended or expelled students found responsible after a hearing and appeal, if any, shall include the notation “Suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation” or “Expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation”. Transcript notations for suspensions imposed under this procedural document may be removed at the discretion of the registrar in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, but no earlier than one year after the conclusion of the suspension. Transcript notations for expulsion shall not be removed.
Other Remedial Actions
In appropriate cases, the university may take other steps as may be necessary to correct the effects of or prevent further discrimination or harassment (e.g., banning an individual from campus, changing housing assignments, arranging for the retaking of an exam, removal or reversal of a discriminatory performance evaluation, etc.).
The parties will receive simultaneous written notification of the outcome of the hearing without a commitment to protect the confidentiality of the outcome. It shall be the decision of each party whether that party will disclose or discuss the outcome of any hearing or appeal. The notification will include written notice of the findings of fact, the decision and (if applicable) the sanction, as well as a rationale for the decision and (if applicable) the sanction and information with respect to appeal procedures.
The university reserves the right to not permit a student to withdraw, and to place a hold on the release of a student’s transcript, if that student has an investigation or charges against them pending under this procedural document. Should a student decide to leave and not participate in the investigation and/or hearing, the university may opt to proceed in absentia to a reasonable resolution and that student will not be permitted to return to Colgate unless all levied sanctions have been satisfied. If a student withdraws while subject to a complaint, investigation or charges based upon alleged conduct constituting a crime of violence that the university is required by federal law to include in its Annual Security Report, the transcript of the student shall include the notation “Withdrew with conduct charges pending.”
1. Grounds for Appeal; Submission Requirements
A Complainant or Respondent may appeal the result of any formal hearing. All appeals must be submitted in writing within ten calendar days of the delivery of the written findings of the hearing panel. Appeals shall be submitted to an appellate panel comprised of the Dean of the College and a PCRG member designated by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. Any party may appeal a decision, but only on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:
- A procedural error or omission occurred during the process which, based upon the entire record, is reasonably likely to have changed the outcome of the hearing (e.g., substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.); or
- New information, unavailable prior to or during the hearing, has come to the attention of one of the parties which, had it been known at the time of the hearing, and based upon the entire record, is reasonably likely to have changed the outcome of the hearing or the nature or severity of any sanction that may have been imposed; or
- Any sanction imposed is disproportionate to the nature or severity of the violation or violations.
Any appeal must include a clear statement of the nature of any claimed procedural error or new information, or the basis of any claim of disproportionality. In the case of a claimed procedural error or new information, the appeal must also include a statement of the likely impact of the claimed error or newly discovered information on the proceedings.
2. Appeal Procedures
In the event of an appeal by any party, all parties and the chair of the PCRG hearing panel shall be notified that the appeal has been submitted and shall have a reasonable opportunity to respond to the appeal in a manner determined by the appellate panel. The decision will be sustained if the appeal is not timely or is not made on the basis of one or more of the grounds listed above, or the appellate panel concludes that the grounds for appeal are not supported by the record as a whole. Any decision that is not appealed, or that is sustained on appeal, is final. The appellant shall have the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that one or more of the grounds for appeal are meritorious, and any party may also attempt to show that this burden has not been met.
Additional principles governing appeals are the following:
- Because the appellate panel has not heard the evidence directly, deference must be given to the PCRG hearing panel on evidentiary matters and the appellate panel must sustain the decision unless one of the three grounds for appeal listed above has been established.
- In the event that the appellate panel determines that the appellant has met the burden of establishing that one or more grounds for appeal have merit, the appellate panel has discretion to take action consistent with that determination. That may include, without limitation, in the case of procedural error or new information, remanding the case in whole or in part to the original hearing panel, remanding the case in whole or in part to a new hearing panel and, in the case of disproportionality of a sanction, modifying that sanction as appropriate.
- Once an appeal of a case is concluded no further appeals are allowed, except to the extent that one or more parties seek review of proceedings ordered by the appellate panel on remand.
In implementing this procedure, records of all complaints, resolutions, and hearings will be kept by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. Others will have access to the records only on a need-to-know basis. Except as required by law, no public release of such records may be made until a final determination is made (i.e., when no appeal of the decision of the hearing is sought, or in the event of an appeal, when the decision of the appellate panel is communicated to the parties). Any such release shall be made in accordance with any applicable Colgate policy and federal and state laws.
A Complainant or Respondent with a disability who requires accommodation in the complaint, investigation, hearing or any other phase of the process is responsible for disclosing the need for accommodation to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may consult with the Office of Disability Services in deciding whether to grant a disability accommodation request.
A particular situation may potentially implicate one or more university policies or processes. The university reserves the right to determine the most applicable policy or process and to utilize that policy or process. Without limiting the foregoing, if determined appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, the processes described in this procedural document may be used to respond to, investigate and adjudicate conduct allegedly violating the University Code of Student Conduct and/or other policies if the alleged conduct is related to or arises out of the same facts, circumstances or incidents as alleged Prohibited Conduct to be addressed pursuant to this procedural document.
A complaint against a non-community member for violation of the Colgate University Student Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy will be handled and addressed as the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer deems appropriate. However, in all such cases, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will ensure that the matter is appropriately investigated and that appropriate responsive action is taken, up to and including banning the non-community member from Colgate property.
Colgate University is committed to providing a safe, supportive, and secure environment for the entire university community, including visitors. The University will provide upon request all campus crime statistics as reported to the United States Department of Education. To obtain a copy, contact the associate director of campus safety, 315-228-7333. You may also view crime statistics for all colleges and universities at the United States Department of Education's website.
In its annual report of campus crime statistics, the university must report statistics concerning the occurrence on campus of certain crimes, including certain sex offenses. This statistical report does not include any personally identifiable information concerning the victim or the accused. Similarly, if Colgate issues a timely warning pursuant to the Clery Act to warn the campus community about a perceived immediate threat, the warning issued will not include any personally identifying information concerning a victim.
In the event that any person assigned a role pursuant to this procedural document is aware of any relationship, fact, circumstance or occurrence that they reasonably believe creates or constitutes bias or a conflict of interest that would render them incapable of performing the role in an impartial manner, that person shall identify the bias or conflict of interest to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer at the earliest practicable time. Similarly, any Complainant or Respondent who objects to the participation of any person assigned a role pursuant to this procedural document based upon bias or a conflict of interest shall identify the conflict of interest to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer at the earliest practicable time. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will determine whether bias or a conflict of interest in fact exists and necessitates replacement of the person in question.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer shall have discretionary authority to construe and interpret this procedural document, and to determine the meaning of any disputed or uncertain provisions. In the course of any process under this procedural document, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the university website, with the appropriate effective date identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation, or interpretations thereof, require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this document. If government laws or regulations change – or court decisions alter – the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this procedural document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations or holdings.
The person responsible for the implementation of this policy internally is:
Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer
The Office of Equity and Diversity
102 Lathrop Hall
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346
Inquiries and complaints may be made externally to:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800-421-3481
Facsimile: 202-453-6012 TDD#: 877-521-2172