D6: Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence and Stalking Prevention

Responsibility for Maintenance: Student Engagement and Learning Support; Campus Safety and Security; Title IX Coordinator

Date of most recent changes: September 25, 2018

I. Policy Statement

Onondaga Community College is committed to fostering a campus community where individuals are treated with dignity and where allegations of prohibited conduct, including, but not limited to: sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, sexual harassment, and stalking are treated seriously and timely resolved.

Consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Onondaga Community College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and services. Retaliation against an individual who files a complaint of sex discrimination is strictly prohibited. Services and protections are provided pursuant to this Policy and NYS Education Law Article 129-B regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction. Any questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the college’s Title IX Coordinator at 315-498-2516, or b.k.scholl@sunyocc.edu.

II. Reason for Policy

This policy complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act), and NYS Education Law Sections 6432 and 6439-6449.

III. Applicability of the Policy

This policy applies to all members of the College community.

IV. Related Documents

V. Contacts

Subject Office Name Title or Position Telephone Number URL
Questions Regarding Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Policies and Procedures Human Resources Vice President, Title IX Coordinator (315) 498-2516 b.k.scholl@sunyocc.edu
Sexual Assault Counseling Referral Counseling Center   (315) 498-2675 k.gadaleta@sunyocc.edu 
Off-campus support Vera House   (315) 468-3260  
Campus Emergency Campus Safety and Security   (315) 498-2311 campussafetydepartment@sunyocc.edu

VI. Definitions

The following definitions have been adopted by the State University of New York and its affiliated campuses:

Domestic Violence: Under New York law domestic violence is an act which would constitute a violation of the penal law, including, but not limited to: disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment, sexual misconduct, forcible touching, sexual abuse, stalking, criminal mischief, menacing, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, assault, attempted murder, criminal obstruction or breaching of blood circulation, or strangulation; creates a substantial risk of physical or emotional harm to a person or a person’s child; and, is committed by a family member. The victim can be anyone over the age of sixteen, any married person, or any parent accompanied by his or her minor child or children in situations in which such person or such person’s child is a victim of the act.

Dating Violence: New York law does not specifically define “dating violence.” However, under New York law, intimate relationships are covered by the definition of domestic violence when the act constitutes a listed crime and is committed by a person in an “intimate relationship” with the victim. See “Family or Household Member” for definition of “intimate relationship.”

Sexual Assault: The term “sexual assault” is not used in the New York State penal code. Instead, NYS law uses the terms “rape,” “fondling,” “incest,” and “statutory rape,” which meet the federal definition of sexual assault as used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program.

Rape: Rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse perpetrated by coercion, intimidation, or physical force, either threatened or actual. Rape also occurs when the victim is incapable of giving legal consent because the victim is less than 17 years of age, mentally incapacitated or incompetent, physically helpless, including by drug or alcohol consumption or due to being asleep.

Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or, not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

Sexual Misconduct: Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of consent.

Stalking: Occurs when one person engages in a course of conduct which is directed at a specific person and that course of conduct causes that person to be in fear of harm to himself or herself, property, a member of his/her immediate family, or an acquaintance. Cyber stalking is a form of stalking which can include, but is not limited to, phone, text, IM, Facebook, and other electronic means.

Affirmative Consent: Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent may be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.

Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.

Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

VII. Alcohol and Other Drug Use Amnesty in Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Cases

The health and safety of every student of the State University of New York and its New York State-operated colleges is of utmost importance. Onondaga Community College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence, including, but not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. The College strongly encourages students to report incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith who discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the College's code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault incident. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the College’s ability to provide amnesty in additional circumstances.

VIII. Procedures: Disclosing or Reporting an Incident

Confidential disclosure of an incident may be made to the Onondaga Community College Counseling Office at 315-498-2675.  In addition, there are a number of publicly available services through which a confidential report may be made, see:  

And assistance can also be obtained through:  

(Please note that these hotlines are for crisis intervention, resources, and referrals, and are not reporting mechanisms, meaning that disclosure on a call to a hotline does not provide any information to Onondaga Community College. Reporting individuals also are encouraged to contact a campus confidential or private resource so that the campus can take appropriate action in these cases). 

Private (Non-Confidential) Reporting. To report an incident to one of the following College officials who can offer privacy and can assist in obtaining resources, please contact one of the following offices (please note that an official who can offer privacy may still be required by law and College policy to inform one or more College officials about the incident, including but not limited to the Title IX Coordinator):

  • Campus Safety and Security: Service & Maintenance Building, 315-498-2311 or by calling 911;
  • Title IX Coordinator: Bridget Scholl, Vice President, Human Resources; Coyne Hall, 315-498-2516;
  • Students Rights, Responsibilities and Residence Life: Daniel Nemeth-Neumann, Director, Gordon Student Center, #130, 315-498-2351.

Criminal Complaints. To file a criminal complaint with Campus Safety and Security and/or with local law enforcement: 315-498-2311. To file a criminal complaint directly with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office: 315-435-3092. To report a sexual assault on a New York college campus with the NYS State Police: 1-844-845-7269.

Anonymous Reporting. Individuals wishing to file an anonymous report of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking, and/or talk to the Title IX Coordinator for information and assistance without disclosing his or her identity are free to do so.

Employees. When the individual accused of violating these policies is an employee of the College, a reporting individual also may report the incident to Human Resources or may request that one of the above referenced confidential or private employees assist in reporting to Human Resources. Disciplinary proceedings will be conducted in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements. When the accused is an employee of an affiliated entity or vendor of the College, College officials will, at the request of the reporting individual, assist in reporting to the appropriate office of the vendor or affiliated entity and, if the response of the vendor or affiliated entity is not sufficient, assist to obtain a persona non-Grata letter, subject to legal requirements and College policy. Human Resources may be reached at 315-498-2516. Contact may be made with Human Resources for the College’s affiliated organizations and vendors through the Title IX Coordinator.

Withdrawal of Complaint. A reporting individual is entitled to withdraw a complaint and/or discontinue participation in the College process at any time. Similarly, a reporting individual is free to choose whether and when to report an incident to public authorities. The College reserves the right to pursue disciplinary or other action on its own where there is reasonable suspicion to believe that College policies have been violated.

IX. Resources

To obtain effective intervention service, contact the Counseling Center, Gordon Student Center, Room 230, 315-498-2675, between the hours of 8:30-4:30; or Vera House, 24-hour phone number: 315-468-3260. These services are confidential and offered free of charge.

Area medical resources include: Upstate Medical University Community General Campus, 4900 Broad Road, Syracuse, NY, 315-492-5011. Within 96 hours of an assault, you can get a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (commonly referred to as a rape kit) at a hospital. While there should be no charge for a rape kit, there may be a charge for medical or counseling services off campus and, in some cases insurance may be billed for services. You are encouraged to let hospital personnel know if you do not want your insurance policyholder to be notified about your access to these services. The New York State Office of Victim Services may be able to assist in compensating victims/survivors for health care and counseling services, including emergency funds. More information may be found here: https://ovs.ny.gov/help-crime-victims, or by calling 1-800-247-8035. Options are explained here:  https://www.suny.edu/violence-response/.

Applications and referrals for the Victim Assistance Program may also be obtained by contacting OCC’s Counseling Center at 315-498-2675. 

To best preserve evidence avoid showering, washing, change clothes, combing hair, drinking, eating, or doing anything to alter physical appearance until after a physical examination has been completed.

X. Protection and Accommodations

The following protections and accommodations are available under this policy:

  • Individuals reporting offenses described in this policy will be provided written information about the importance of evidence preservation, how and to whom to report these crimes, options about involving law enforcement and campus authorities, and assistance in notifying law enforcement if the reporting individual chooses, as well as the option to decline to notify authorities. Please note that the criminal justice process uses a different standard of proof than the civil process or the college conduct process. Specific questions about whether an incident violates the penal law should be directed to the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office. Reporting individuals also will be provided information in writing about rights and institutional responsibilities regarding no contact orders, orders of protection, or other available applicable options.
  • When the accused is a student, to request that the College issue a “No Contact Order,” meaning that continuing to contact the protected individual is a violation of College policy subject to additional conduct charges. If the accused and a protected person observe each other in a public place, it is the responsibility of the accused to leave the area immediately and without directly contacting the protected person. Consistent with College policy and procedures, both the accused/respondent and the reporting individual may request a prompt review of the need for and terms of a no contact order. Parties may submit relevant evidence in support of their request.
  • To have assistance from Campus Safety and Security or other College officials to initiate legal proceedings in Family or Civil Court and to obtain an Order of Protection or, if outside New York State, an equivalent protective or restraining order.
  • To receive a copy of the Order of Protection or equivalent and have an opportunity to meet or speak with a College official who can explain the order and answer questions about it, including information from the order about the accused’s responsibility to stay away from the protected person(s).
  • To receive an explanation of the consequences for violating these orders, including but not limited to arrest, additional conduct charges, and interim suspension.
  • To have assistance from Campus Safety and Security in effecting an arrest when an individual violates an order of protection or, if Campus Safety and Security does not have arresting powers in the applicable jurisdiction, to call on and assist local law enforcement in effecting an arrest for violating such an order.
  • When the accused is a student and presents a continuing threat to the health and safety of the community, to have the accused subject to interim suspension pending the outcome of a conduct process. Consistent with College policy and procedure, any party may request prompt review of the need for and terms of an interim suspension.
  • When the accused is not a student but is a member of the College community and presents a continuing threat to the health and safety of the community, to have interim measures applied to the accused in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements, employee handbooks, and College rules and policies.
  • When the accused is not a member of the College community, to have assistance from Campus Safety and Security or other College officials in obtaining a persona non grata letter, subject to legal requirements and College policy.
  • To obtain reasonable and available interim measures and accommodations that effect a change in academic, housing, employment, transportation, or other applicable arrangements to ensure safety, prevent retaliation, and avoid an ongoing hostile environment, any individual may make a request through any of the offices referenced in this policy. The Title IX Coordinator can serve as a point of contact to assist with these measures, as well as to assist with a request for a prompt review of the need for and terms of any interim measures and accommodations that directly affect the requesting party. The Title IX Coordinator at Onondaga Community College is: Bridget Scholl, Coyne Hall, 315-498-2516, b.k.scholl@sunyocc.edu.

XI. Title IX Grievance Process

  • A reporting individual may request that student conduct charges be filed against an accused student. Conduct charges may be applied to any incident with a reasonable connection to the campus, including incidents that occur on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad.
  • Onondaga Community College’s Student Conduct proceedings are governed by Policy N5-Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures, the Onondaga Community College Student Conduct Procedures, federal and New York State law, including the due process provisions of the United States and New York State Constitutions.
  • The College will conduct a timely review of all complaints filed pursuant to this policy. Absent extenuating circumstances, review and resolution is expected to take place within 60 calendar days from receipt of the complaint. If an appeal is filed, a final resolution is expected within 30 additional days, absent extenuating circumstances.
  • The standard of review in all cases arising under this policy is a “preponderance of the evidence” – whether it is “more likely than not” that a prohibited act occurred and the accused person committed that act. If the totality of the evidence presented meets this standard, then the accused must be found responsible.

Throughout the conduct proceedings, the respondent and the reporting individual will receive:

  • The same opportunity to be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choice who may assist and advise the party throughout the process and any related hearings or meetings. Participation of the advisor in any proceeding is governed by federal law and the Student Code of Conduct. Advisors are required to conduct themselves in a manner supportive of the proceedings and consistent with the rules of the conduct process.
  • A prompt response to any complaint and to have a complaint investigated and adjudicated in an impartial, timely, and thorough manner by individuals who receive annual training in conducting investigations of sexual violence, the effects of trauma, impartiality, the rights of the respondent including the right to a presumption that the respondent is "not responsible" until a finding of responsibility is made, and other issues related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
  • An investigation and process conducted in a manner that recognizes the legal and policy requirements of due process, including fairness, impartiality, and a meaningful opportunity to be heard, and is not conducted by individuals with a conflict of interest.
  • Advance written or electronic notice of the date, time, and location of any meeting or hearing they are required or eligible to attend. Accused individuals also will be told the factual allegations upon which the accusation is based, the specific provisions of the code of student conduct alleged to have been violated, and the possible sanctions.
  • Timely review of the allegations. The conduct process will run concurrently with a criminal justice investigation and proceeding, except for temporary delays as requested by external municipal entities while law enforcement gathers evidence. Temporary delays should not last more than 10 days except when law enforcement specifically requests and justifies a longer delay.
  • The right to offer evidence during an investigation and to review relevant evidence in the case file or otherwise in the possession of the College. The College official presiding at and/or hearing a case may exclude evidence that has not been shared or adjourn the hearing to afford all parties the opportunity to review evidence to be presented during a hearing. The College official presiding at and/or hearing a case will make the final decision relating to the admissibility of all evidence, consistent with this policy.
  • The right to present evidence and testimony at a hearing where appropriate.
  • A range of options for providing testimony via alternative arrangements, including telephone/videoconferencing or testifying with a room partition.
  • The right to exclude prior sexual history with persons other than the other party in the conduct process or their own past mental health diagnosis or treatment from admittance in the College disciplinary stage that determines responsibility. Past findings of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault may be admissible in the disciplinary stage that determines sanction.
  • The opportunity to ask questions of the decision maker and via the decision maker indirectly request responses from other parties and any other witnesses present.
  • The opportunity to make an impact statement during the point of the proceeding where the decision maker is deliberating on appropriate sanctions.
  • Simultaneous (among the parties) written or electronic notification of the outcome of a conduct proceeding, including the decision, any sanctions and their rationale, any available appeals procedures; changes that may occur prior to the outcome becoming final; and, when the results will be final.
  • Written or electronic notice of the sanction(s) that may be imposed on the accused based upon the outcome of the conduct. For students found responsible for sexual assault, the available sanctions are suspension with additional requirements and expulsion/dismissal.
  • Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination before a panel, which may include one or more students, that is fair and impartial and does not include individuals with a conflict of interest.
  • The right to have access to a full and fair record of a student conduct hearing, which shall be preserved and maintained for at least five (5) years.

    Both the accused and the reporting individual retain the right to choose whether to disclose or discuss the outcome of a conduct hearing. Disclosures by the institution will occur, if at all, only after a final determination has been made and all appeals have been exhausted unless otherwise required by law.

    For more information about the conduct process at Onondaga Community College, please contact: Student Conduct Office, 220 Gordon Student Center, 315-498-2444.

XII. Prevention Education and Awareness

Onondaga Community College maintains educational programs to promote prevention, intervention, and reporting of rape, acquaintance rape, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, among other topics. These education programs include primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and new employees designed to reduce risk, encourage reporting, and engage bystanders in prevention. Disclosures by students at these events do not require the College to begin an investigation but will inform education and prevention efforts. In addition, the College offers ongoing awareness and prevention programs to continuing students and employees, including faculty. Among the strategies the College uses to ensure effective communications with appropriate officials about these and other issues impacting on students and campus well-being is the “We Care” reporting process. All members of the College community are invited to share information of concern with the We Care team by submitting a report (which may be made confidentially) through this link.

XIII. Sexual Offenders

Pursuant to New York State law, the State Sexual Offenders Registry may be accessed at the following link: http://www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/nsor/ . 

Approved by the OCC Board of Trustees April 3, 2006

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 28, 2010

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 17, 2014

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees March 6, 2015

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees September 29, 2015

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees June 19, 2018

Updated and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees September 25, 2018