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. Filing a Formal Complaint
IX. Supportive Measures
X. Emergency Removal
XI. Informal Resolution
XII. Investigation Process
XIII. Complaint Resolution
XIV. Formal PCRG Hearing Procedure
XVI. Statement of Rights
XVII. Disability Accommodations
XVIII. Coordination with Other Policies and Procedures
XIX. Complaints Against Non-Community Members
XX. Campus Crime Reporting and Statistics
XXI. Bias/Conflict of Interest
XXII. Discretionary Authority; Change in Applicable Law
XXIII. 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 sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression; sexual assault; domestic violence; dating violence; or stalking based on sex; other forms of sexual misconduct described below; or related acts of retaliation (collectively, “Sex- or Gender-Based Prohibited Conduct”). This document also provides procedures for the investigation and adjudication of allegations of Sex- or Gender-Based Prohibited Conduct by, against or between students or student organizations.
One or more of the university’s personnel policies or faculty or staff handbook policies may overlap with this procedure in a particular situation. The processes described herein apply to any situation where a student or a student organization is the Complainant or Respondent. In all other situations, the university reserves the right to apply this process or another applicable university policy or process. The university will apply this process to any situation where the university determines that Title IX requires the application of this process. Once a matter is adjudicated and a final result is reached using this process, the result is not subject to further review or appeal under other Colgate University policies or procedures.
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 unless the reporting individual requests it.
Certain personnel at the university have the responsibility to receive reports of Sex- or Gender-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:
- Supportive Measures. Supportive measures are intended to support the individual who experienced Sex- or Gender-Based Prohibited Conduct to continue in their involvement in the university’s programs and activities. Supportive measures may include no contact orders; academic accommodations; changes in housing assignment; or other academic, residential or work accommodations.
- Informal Resolution. An informal resolution is a resolution that the parties (i.e., the Complainant and the Respondent) agree upon to address the situation. Not all incidents are appropriate for informal resolution, and no party may be forced to participate in or accept an 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 Sex- or Gender-Based 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 Law Enforcement. If an incident involves criminal conduct, the victim may make a complaint to law enforcement.
The options for reporting listed above are not mutually exclusive. Furthermore, an individual may pursue any of the listed options without needing to pursue any of the others. 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 Complaint means a formal written complaint filed in accordance with Section VIII below. A formal complaint is necessary to initiate an investigation and adjudication process or the informal resolution process but is not necessary to access supportive measures.
- The term Complainant refers to the person who allegedly experienced conduct in violation of university policy. In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator may file a formal complaint and thereby initiate the investigation and adjudication process pursuant to this procedural document. In that instance, the Title IX Coordinator 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 term Title IX Violation means conduct defined as a Title IX Violation in the Colgate University Student Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
- The term University Standards Violation means conduct defined as a University Standards Violation in the Colgate University Student Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
The Colgate University Prohibited Conduct Response Group (PCRG) consists of members of the campus community dedicated to prevention of and response to all 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 sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression; sexual assault; domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking based on sex; or other forms of sexual misconduct. 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 two members of the PCRG plus a voting panel chair who 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 sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and 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 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 Sex- or Gender-Based 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.
- Help Restore Hope Center, 24-hour hotline 855-966-9723.
Employees may contact
- Employee Assistance Program, 315-451-2161.
- Help Restore Hope Center, 24-hour hotline 855-966-9723.
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, or 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 (such as extreme circumstances involving an immediate threat or danger, abuse of a minor, elder or individual with a disability, or when disclosure is required by law or court order). 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 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 Sex- or Gender-Based Prohibited Conduct to the university and/or (in the case of 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 Sex- or Gender-Based Prohibited Conduct to the university in person, by telephone, by email, or online. The following offices and individuals have been trained to receive and respond to reports:
- Renee Madison
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
- 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
Individuals 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 supportive 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 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, particularly in cases of sexual misconduct. 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 to 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, and similar considerations. A decision will be made and shared with the Reporting Individual. Ultimately, the university retains the right to act upon information relevant to 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, including certain sex offenses. 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 when required to comply with applicable law, the university may independently notify law enforcement.
In criminal cases, the preservation of evidence is critical and must be done properly and promptly. For example, in cases of sexual assault, it may be important not to shower, change clothes, or brush one’s hair, as physical evidence may be lost. In cases of violence or physical abuse, it may be important to document injuries by taking photographs. As described below, Campus Safety or the Hamilton Police Department can assist in filing a criminal complaint and in securing an appropriate physical examination, including by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
Additionally, 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. Such delays will not last more than ten calendar days except when law enforcement authorities specifically request and justify a longer delay.
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 New York State Police Campus Sexual Assault Victim Unit’s 24-hour Hotline (1-844-845-7269) and/or the Hamilton Police Department (315-824-3311, or 911 in an emergency) can assist in filing a criminal complaint, preserving evidence, and securing an appropriate physical examination, including by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner.
4. Public Awareness/Advocacy Events
If a member of the Colgate community discloses actions believed to constitute a violation of the Colgate University Student Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy through a public awareness event such as a candlelight vigil, a protest, a student organization or other event or forum, or other public event, Colgate is not obligated to begin an investigation. Colgate may, however, use the information to inform the need for additional education and prevention efforts.
A formal complaint is necessary to initiate a disciplinary resolution or informal resolution. A formal complaint must be in written form and must be signed by the Complainant or (as provided in this procedural document) the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. A third party or anyone other than the victim of the misconduct may report an incident as described above, but may not file a formal complaint. However, a formal complaint may be filed by a parent or guardian on behalf of a minor person.
A formal complaint is a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer alleging one or more violations committed by a Respondent and requesting that the university investigate the allegation. The Respondent may be either a student or an employee or a visitor, independent contractor, intern, or volunteer of the University. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer in person, by mail, or by electronic mail to: Renee Madison, vice president for equity and inclusion, firstname.lastname@example.org; or by submitting a complaint electronically via the University’s online portal. In order to qualify as a formal complaint, the document must contain the Complainant’s physical or electronic signature, or otherwise indicate that the Complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.
If a Complainant declines to sign a formal complaint or 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 there is sufficient cause to file a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may file a formal complaint. In such cases, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer is not considered to be a Complainant or other party under this process.
There is no formal time limitation on the bringing of a complaint, as long as the accused individual is a member of the campus community and/or remains subject to its jurisdiction, but prompt reporting is very strongly encouraged. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may exercise discretion in handling complaints when substantial time has passed since an alleged incident.
Following receipt of notice of a complaint, the Complainant is promptly given the opportunity to select a PCRG member or other individual of their choice (who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney) to serve as their advisor throughout the PCRG process, including during all meetings and hearings related to such process. The Complainant is also provided a document delineating their rights, resources, and options, including the right to make a report 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 supportive measures 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 a policy violation 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 order to comply with federal Title IX regulations, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer must “dismiss” allegations of Title IX Violation(s) alleged in a complaint if, at any time following receipt of the complaint, it is apparent that the allegations are not within the scope of Title IX, including that the conduct alleged:
- would not constitute sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking as defined as Title IX Violations in the Student Non-discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, even if proved,
- did not occur in the university’s education program or activity, or
- did not occur against a person in the United States. Even if allegations of Title IX Violations are subject to dismissal, the University may continue to process the allegations as University Standards Violations if the allegations, if true, would constitute University Standards violations.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer also may (but is not necessarily required to) dismiss a complaint or any of its allegations if at any time during the investigation or hearing if:
- the Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the complaint or any specific allegation,
- the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the university, or
- specific circumstances prevent the university from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the complaint or its allegations.
Any decision to dismiss a complaint or allegation pursuant to this section is immediately appealable pursuant to the appeal procedures set forth in this document.
Once a report is made under this process, the Complainant will be contacted by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer and offered individualized support as more fully described below. A report that triggers supportive measures need not be a formal complaint, and it may be made by a third party (i.e., someone other than the person allegedly subjected to misconduct). Once the Respondent is informed of a formal complaint or a report resulting in supportive measures that directly affect the Respondent, the Respondent will be contacted by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer and offered individualized support as more fully described below. The Respondent will also be given the opportunity to select a PCRG member or other individual of their choice (who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney) to serve as their advisor throughout the PCRG process, including during all meetings and hearings related to such process.
Supportive measures are intended to restore or preserve, to the extent practicable, equal access to the university’s educational programs and activities and protect the safety of all parties without unreasonably burdening any other party or parties. As required by federal regulation, these supportive measures must be non-disciplinary and non-punitive to the parties. Supportive measures could include, but are not limited to:
- Changes or adjustment in academics such as the extension of deadlines or other course-related adjustments or allowing a withdrawal from a course without penalty;
- Changes to housing, transportation and campus working situations if those changes are requested by a party and reasonably available;
- Mutual “No Contact” orders and, in certain cases, one-way no contact orders;
- Access to campus escorts or other reasonable security or monitoring measures; and/or
- Counseling services (such as University Counseling services for students, and EAP counseling services for employees).
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer is responsible for coordinating the implementation of supportive measures, including coordinating with the various university departments and offices that may be involved. Supportive measures will be offered free of charge.
If a party’s request for a supportive measure is denied, the party will be afforded an opportunity to have the denial promptly reviewed to assess whether the supportive measure is reasonable under the circumstances. In addition, each party will, upon request, be afforded the opportunity for a prompt review of the need for supportive measures, including the potential modification of these measures, to the extent that the party is affected by the measure(s) being reviewed. The request for review of the denial of, need for, or details of supportive measures should be made to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer and may be made at any time. Each party will be allowed to submit evidence in support of, or in opposition to, the request to the extent the supportive measures under review affect that party. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will advise the parties of the result of the review. This determination is not subject to further review absent changed circumstances.
The University may need to undertake emergency removal of a student in order to protect the safety of its community, which may include contacting local law enforcement to address imminent safety concerns. Emergency removal is not a substitute for reaching a determination as to a student Respondent’s responsibility for misconduct allegations; rather, emergency removal is for the purpose of addressing imminent threats posed to any person’s physical health or safety, which 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. If the individualized safety and risk 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. This is the case regardless of the severity of the allegations and regardless of whether a formal complaint was filed.
In the event a determination is made that a student Respondent is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of an individual, the Dean for Administrative Advising and Student Conduct will provide written notice of the emergency removal to both the Complainant (if any) and Respondent. This notice will contain:
- the date the removal is set to begin,
- the reason for the emergency removal,
- the consequences of non-compliance, and
- how to appeal the decision.
If a student Respondent disagrees with the decision to be removed from campus, they may appeal the decision in writing to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer within ten (10) days of receiving the notice of removal. The burden of proof is on the student Respondent to show that the removal decision was incorrect. The emergency removal will remain in effect while the appeal is considered.
The emergency removal process applies only to student Respondents. Employee Respondents are not subject to this process and may be placed on administrative leave pursuant to the university’s policies and/or collective bargaining agreements during any process under this procedural document.
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 if the Respondent in a sexual misconduct complaint is a faculty or staff member of the university. The informal resolution process is also 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 formal complaint were proceeding under the formal investigation and resolution process.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officerwill offer the informal resolution process to the parties after a formal 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 and are not subject to further review or appeal under other Colgate University policies or procedures.
Once a formal 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 a policy violation, 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 at 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; such delays will not last more than ten calendar days except when law enforcement authorities specifically request and justify a longer delay. Both parties will be provided with written notice of any extension of the investigation beyond ninety (90) days, and of the reason for the delay. 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 Complainant and Respondent will receive a notice of investigation that will include, to the extent known:
- the identities of the involved parties;
- the date, time, location and factual allegations concerning the alleged violation;
- the policy provisions allegedly violated;
- a description of the investigation and adjudication process;
- potential sanctions;
- the right to an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney;
- the right to inspect and review evidence in accordance with this process;
- notice that knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information is prohibited under the Code of Student Conduct;
- consistent with the preponderance of the evidence standard used to determine responsibility, notice that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the process; and
- A statement about the university’s policy on retaliation.
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).
The Complainant and Respondent will be provided with advance written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of any meeting or interview in which they are invited to or expected to participate. The Complainant and Respondent have a right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice at any such meeting or interview, who may be an attorney.
The Complainant and the Respondent will be given an equal opportunity to present information. This includes the opportunity to present fact or expert witnesses and other evidence that the party believes tends to prove or disprove the allegations. However, at all times, the burden of gathering evidence remains with the university. The investigator(s) may decline to interview any witness or to gather information the investigator(s) find(s) to be not relevant or otherwise excludable (e.g., sexual history of the Complainant with a person other than the Respondent, materials subject to a recognized privilege, medical records in the absence of a release by the subject of the records, etc.). The investigator(s) will determine the order and method of investigation.
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.
Unless the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer has previously referred the case for resolution without a hearing, referred the case for determination pursuant to another university policy or procedure, authorized informal resolution, or dismissed the case (as described in Section XIII.A. below), an investigative report will be created. Before the investigative report is completed, the Complainant and Respondent will be provided an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence directly related to the allegations that is gathered in the investigation, regardless of whether the information will be relied on in reaching a determination.
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 this stage of the process (including for purposes of any subsequent hearing, and/or appeal[s]). Prior to the conclusion of the investigative report, the Complainant and Respondent, and each party’s advisor, if any, will be provided a copy of the evidence (which may be sent in hard copy or electronic format or made available through an electronic file sharing platform, as determined in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer), subject to redaction permitted and/or required by law. The Complainant and Respondent will be provided with at least ten (10) days to submit a written response, which the investigator(s) will consider prior to completion of the investigative report. Based on the parties’ written responses the investigator(s) will determine if additional investigation is necessary (and, if so, will complete any additional investigative steps), and will incorporate relevant elements of the responses and any additional relevant evidence into the report.
The investigative report will fairly summarize the relevant evidence; the report will not make conclusions as to credibility or responsibility, contain policy analysis, or render any recommendations as to findings or sanctions. The investigator(s) need not include information in the investigative report that the investigator(s) determine(s) not relevant or otherwise excludable. The investigator(s) will submit the investigative report to the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer.
At least ten (10) days prior to a hearing to determine whether there is responsibility for the allegations, the Complainant and Respondent, and each party’s advisor, will be provided a copy of the investigative report (which may be sent in hard copy or electronic format or made available through an electronic file sharing platform, as determined in the sole discretion of theTitle IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer) for their review and written response, subject to redaction permitted and/or required by law.
Absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer in consultation with the investigator(s), no party may introduce any new evidence not previously made available during the investigation in their response to the evidence and/or investigation report as described above. This shall not preclude a party from including in their response assertions as to the meaning of existing evidence, even if those assertions were not articulated during the investigation. In considering whether to permit introduction of new evidence based on extraordinary circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may consider factors including but not limited to (a) the significance of the proposed evidence, and (b) the reason the evidence was not produced during the investigation. If the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer decides to authorize acceptance of new evidence on this basis, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may (but shall not be required to) authorize the investigator(s) to reopen the investigation and take such further investigative steps as the investigator(s) deem(s) necessary or advisable.
Once an investigation is completed, the investigator(s) will meet with the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may convene this meeting prior to or after review of the evidence and completion of the investigative report as described in Section XII.D. Based on the meeting, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will make a decision as to what further process is warranted. 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 associate provost 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 consideration of informal resolution as described above, or may direct the complaint for a resolution without a hearing, or a formal hearing, based on the below criteria.
In cases other than those including allegations of Title IX Violations, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may dismiss the complaint at this stage, or earlier (including during the course of the investigation) if warranted by evidence received during the investigation, if they determine that continuing with the complaint process is not warranted (cases involving Title IX Violation allegations remain subject to dismissal in accordance with Section VIII.B above). In such event 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. A party may appeal a determination to end the process at this juncture in accordance with the appeal procedures set forth in this procedural document. If the process ends pursuant to this paragraph, supportive measures may still be available to the parties.
In cases (other than those including allegations of Title IX Violations) in which the alleged violations, and therefore the range of possible sanctions, are minor (such as probation for students, reassignment of duties for staff), a decision as to responsibility using a preponderance of the evidence standard will be made and a sanction implemented, with a statement of the findings of fact and rationale for the sanction. This determination will be made by the Dean for Academic Advising and Student Conduct for cases involving student Respondents, or the discrimination and harassment team (DHT) for cases involving staff Respondents, or a relevant member of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty chain of command or the Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity for cases involving faculty Respondents. A Complainant or Respondent may appeal the finding, sanction, or both, using the appeal process described in Section XIV.H.
In cases involving allegations of Title IX Violations, and in all other cases where the alleged behavior is of a nature that may warrant the imposition of a sanction of suspension, expulsion or termination of employment, or are otherwise not appropriate for resolution without a hearing as set forth above, the matter will proceed to a formal hearing.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will appoint a hearing panel consisting of a panel chair who may be an external adjudicator or a PCRG member and two additional members of the PCRG who do not have a conflict of interest in the case. In cases involving faculty parties, the appointed PCRG members will be faculty members. PCRG members who served as investigators or as advisors to the Complainant or Respondent may not serve as hearing panel members. A hearing before the panel will be convened not less than ten (10) days after the parties have been provided access to the final investigative report, for the purpose of determining whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the charge(s).
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will notify the parties in writing of the date, time, and location of 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.
Participants in the hearing will include the members of the hearing panel, the Complainant and the Respondent, their respective advisors, the investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, and witnesses (solely during their own testimony). Hearings are private. Observers or additional support personnel, other than the parties’ advisors, are not allowed unless deemed necessary by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer for purposes such as accommodation of a disability or language translation. 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).
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.
The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer may postpone the hearing for good cause as determined by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. Good cause may include, without limitation, unavailability of one or more participants due to unanticipated events or circumstances, the timing of academic breaks or holidays, or other extenuating circumstances.
The chair of the hearing panel is in charge of organizing the presentation of information to be considered at the hearing. Generally, the hearing will proceed in the following order:
- Opportunity for Opening Statement by the Complainant
- Opportunity for Opening Statement by the Respondent
- Summary of the results of the investigation by the investigator(s), including items that are contested and those that are not
- Questions for the investigator(s) by the hearing panel and, if desired, on behalf of Complainant and the Respondent (as described below)
- Questions for the Complainant by the hearing panel and, if desired, on behalf of the Respondent (as described below)
- Questions for the Respondent by the hearing panel and, if desired, on behalf of the Complainant (as described below)
- Questions for each witness by the hearing panel and, if desired, on behalf of Complainant and the Respondent (as described below)
- Opportunity for Closing Statement by the Complainant
- Opportunity for Closing Statement by the Respondent
Formal rules of evidence will not apply. Except as otherwise expressly prohibited by this procedural document, any information that the chair of the hearing panel determines is relevant may be considered, including hearsay, history and information indicating a pattern of behavior, and character evidence. All evidence previously made available to the parties for inspection and review prior to completion of the investigative report as described above will be made available at the hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of questioning. Absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the chair of the hearing panel, no party may seek to introduce at the hearing any evidence not previously made available in accordance with the preceding sentence, other than the investigative report itself and any responses to the investigative report submitted by the parties as described above. In considering whether to permit introduction of new evidence based on extraordinary circumstances, the chair may consider factors including but not limited to (a) the significance of the proposed evidence, and (b) the reason the evidence was not produced during the investigation. If the chair decides to admit new evidence on this basis, the chair may take such actions, if any (including adjournment or remanding the evidence to the investigator(s) for further investigation), as the chair deems advisable to enable the other part(y)(ies) to respond to, and the hearing panel to understand, the meaning and implications of the evidence.
The chair of the hearing panel will address any concerns regarding the consideration of information prior to and/or during the hearing and may exclude irrelevant information. Subject to the terms of this procedural document, the chair will have discretionary authority to determine all questions of procedure, to determine whether particular questions, evidence or information will be accepted or considered, to call breaks or temporary adjournments of the hearing, to alter the order of the proceedings from that described above, and/or to recall parties or witnesses for additional questions as the chair deems necessary or appropriate. The chair may impose additional ground rules as the chair may deem necessary or appropriate for the orderly and efficient conduct of the hearing, which will apply equally to both parties.
The Complainant and the Respondent may each have present with them during the hearing an advisor of their choice. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing, the university will provide, without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the university’s choice.
Except with respect to questioning as described below, the advisor’s role is limited to consulting with their advisee, and the advisor may not present evidence, address the hearing panel 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 a quiet non-disruptive manner or in writing. The advisor may consult with the advisee verbally outside the hearing during breaks, when such breaks are granted by the chair of the hearing panel. An advisor’s questioning of the other party and any witnesses must be conducted in a respectful, non-intimidating and non-abusive manner. If the chair determines that an advisor is not adhering to these or other ground rules, the advisor may be required to leave the hearing, and the hearing will proceed without an opportunity for the party to obtain a replacement advisor; provided, however, that the university will assign an advisor of the university’s choosing, without charge, for the purpose of conducting questioning on behalf of the party as provided below.
Witnesses are not permitted to bring an advisor or other person to the hearing, absent an approved disability accommodation or a need for a translator. The hearing panel may be advised by and/or consult with the university’s legal counsel as the chair of the hearing panel deems necessary or appropriate.
The hearing panel will permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility; provided that questions that seek disclosure of information protected under a legally recognized privilege will not be permitted unless the person or entity holding the privilege has waived the privilege in writing. Questioning must be conducted by the party’s advisor in a respectful, non-intimidating and non-abusive manner, and never by a party personally. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing, the Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity and Title IX Coordinator will arrange for the university to provide, without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the university’s choice to conduct questioning on behalf of that party.
Only relevant questions may be asked by a party’s advisor to a party or witness. Before the party or witness answers a question posed by an advisor, the chair of the hearing panel will first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question. The chair will limit or disallow questions on the basis that they are irrelevant, unduly repetitious (and thus irrelevant), or abusive. The advisor posing the question may request that the chair reconsider any decision to exclude a question and the chair, after soliciting the other party’s advisor’s opinion, will render a final determination. Such decisions by the chair are final and not subject to further objection or reconsideration during the hearing.
Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, other than questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior that (a) are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged misconduct, or (b) concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent (for example, to demonstrate indicia of consent in previous encounters between the parties allegedly identical to purported indicia of consent in the incident in question).
If a party or witness does not submit to questioning by a party’s advisor at the hearing, the hearing panel may nevertheless rely on statements of that party or witness, during the hearing or otherwise, in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, but may also determine what significance to afford those statements in view of the lack of cross examination (for example, the hearing panel may determine wither the statements are sufficiently reliable in the absence of cross examination). The hearing panel will not, however, draw an inference as to responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer questions posed by the other party’s advisor.
Following the 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.
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.
In addition to the impact statement(s), 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.
Sanctions that may be imposed on employees include warning, required counseling as a condition of continued employment or return to employment, implementation of a performance improvement plan, loss of annual pay increase, demotion, suspension with pay, suspension without pay, termination, or other actions deemed appropriate.
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 requirement 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 the following information:
- A description of the charges that were adjudicated;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the submission of the formal complaint through the determination, including notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the applicable policy provisions to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions to be imposed on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the College’s educational programs or activities will be provided to the Complainant; and
- The procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal.
- Students: 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.”
- Employees: Should an employee resign while charges are pending, the personnel records of that employee will reflect that status. As may be necessary and appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the conduct upon the victim and the community.
1. Grounds for Appeal; Submission Requirements
A Complainant or Respondent may appeal a decision to dismiss a complaint or specific allegations in a complaint, the result of any formal hearing, or a resolution without a hearing, as described in this section. All such appeals must be submitted in writing within ten calendar days of the delivery of the notice of dismissal, or written findings of the hearing panel or the decision maker in the event of resolution without a hearing, as applicable. Appeals in cases in which the Respondent is a member of the faculty or staff shall be submitted to an appellate panel comprised of the Provost and a PCRG member designated by the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer. (For faculty cases, the PCRG member will be a faculty member.) Appeals in cases in which the Respondent is a student 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 irregularity that affected the finding(s) regarding responsibility or dismissal; or
- New evidence has come to the attention of one of the parties that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, and that could affect the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal or the nature or severity of any sanction that may have been imposed; or
- The Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, investigator(s), or member(s) of the hearing panel had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal; or
- Any sanction imposed is disproportionate to the nature or severity of the violation or violations or otherwise inappropriate.
Any appeal must include a clear statement of the nature of any claimed procedural irregularity or new information, or the basis of any claim of bias or inappropriate sanction. In the case of a claimed procedural irregularity, bias or new information, the appeal must also include a statement of the likely impact of the claimed irregularity, bias or newly discovered information on the proceedings.
2. Appeal Procedures
In the event of an appeal by any party, the other part(y)(ies) shall have a reasonable opportunity to respond to the appeal in writing. In addition, the chair of the hearing panel (or the decision maker in cases involving resolution without a hearing), or the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officerin the case of an appeal from a dismissal, may provide input to the appellate panel in writing, and/or the appellate panel may consult with them in such other manner as it deems appropriate. The decision or dismissal 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 or dismissal 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 hearing panel, or to the decision-maker in cases involving resolution without a hearing, as applicable, on evidentiary matters in consideration of findings or sanctions, and the appellate panel must sustain the decision unless one of the 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 irregularity or new information, remanding the case in whole or in part to the original hearing panel or in cases involving resolution without a hearing the decision maker, remanding the case in whole or in part to a new hearing panel and, in the case of disproportionality or inappropriateness of a sanction, modifying that sanction as appropriate.
- Once an appeal 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.
Both parties will receive simultaneous written notice of the outcome of any appeal, including the finding on each ground for appeal, the rationale for each finding, and any specific instructions for further proceedings (if applicable) and/or other actions taken by the appellate panel. Once the appeals process is complete, the result is final and is not subject to further review or appeal under other Colgate University policies or procedures.
In implementing this procedure, the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer,will maintain for a period of not less than seven years records of
- each investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript of a hearing, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on a Respondent, and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the university’s education program or activity;
- any appeal and the result of the appeal;
- any informal resolution process and the result of that process; and
- all materials used to train the Title IX Coordinator and Equity and Diversity Officer, (as Title IX Coordinator), investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. The university will make the training materials publicly available on its website.
Access to the other records described above will be made available only on a need-to-know basis or as required by law. Except as required by law, no public release of the content of such records may be made until a final determination is made (i.e., when no appeal of the decision 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 only be made in accordance with any applicable Colgate policy and federal and state laws.
Pursuant to New York Education Law Article 129-B, all students have the right to:
- Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police.
- Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously.
- Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by Colgate.
- Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
- Be treated with dignity and to receive from the university courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available.
- Be free from any suggestion that the Complainant is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations.
- Describe the incident to as few institutional representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident.
- Be protected from retaliation by Colgate, any student, the accused and/or the Respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the university.
- Access at least one level of appeal of a determination.
- Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a Complainant, accused, or Respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process.
- Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of Colgate.
A Complainant has the right:
- To be treated with respect by university officials.
- To experience a safe living, educational, and work environment.
- To take advantage of campus support resources (such as Haven, Counseling & Psychological Services, the Office of the Chaplains, and University Health Services for students, or EAP services for employees), and to receive courteous, fair and respectful treatment.
- To decline to have an allegation resolved through informal resolution procedures.
- To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct (such as minor alcohol violations) that is ancillary to the incident.
- To attend in person or via videoconference any hearing in which the Complainant is bringing the charge and to be situated in a different room from the Respondent during the hearing if so desired.
- To receive written notification of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, including a statement detailing the factual findings supporting the determination and the rationale for the sanction imposed.
- To have complaints heard in substantial accordance with these procedures.
A Respondent has the right:
- To be treated with respect by university officials.
- To experience a safe living, educational, and work environment.
- To take advantage of campus support resources (such as Counseling & Psychological Services, the Office of the Chaplains, and University Health Services for students, or EAP services for employees), and to receive courteous, fair and respectful treatment.
- To refuse to have an allegation resolved through informal resolution procedures.
- To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct (such as minor alcohol violations) that is ancillary to the incident.
- To attend in person or via videoconference any hearing in which the Respondent is charged and to be situated in a different room from the Complainant during the hearing if so desired.
- To receive written notification of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, including a statement detailing the factual findings supporting the determination and the rationale for the sanction imposed.
- To have complaints heard in substantial accordance with these procedures.
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 Sex- or Gender-Based 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 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 procedural document internally is:
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
13 Oak Drive
Hamilton, NY 13346