If a member of the community wishes to make a complaint against an employee (faculty, staff or student employee) of a violation of the College's Sexual Harassment, Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy, the procedures below will apply. If both the complainant and the respondent are student employees, the students will instead use the complaint process for students found in the Student Handbook.
You may first meet with an appropriate administrator assigned to serve in these cases. Those administrators are as follows:
- For Complaints from Faculty: Provost of the College, (914) 395-2303.
- For Complaints from Staff of Faculty: Associate Vice President of Human Resources, (914) 395-2365.
- For All Types of Complaints: Title IX Investigator, (914) 323-6138.
If you are not comfortable speaking with one of the individuals listed, you may report an incident to your own supervisor, to your department head or to the department head of any of the individuals listed above. All College employees (including faculty, resident advisers, and staff, with the exception Health Services staff) who become aware of an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking are required to notify the Title IX Investigator, or other relevant administrator who will initiate a campus investigation into the matter. Under the guidance of these individuals, the Director of Campus Safety, or their designee will assist the complainant in making a complaint to the Yonkers Police if the complainant so desires.
Protection from Retaliation: The College does not tolerate retaliation or discrimination against any person and/or their family and friends, who brings forward a report, who cooperates in the investigation of a report, or who participates in the discipline process for an alleged violation of the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy. Anyone who believes they have been retaliated against as a result of their involvement with an investigation and/or discipline process for an alleged violation of the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking Policy should report the alleged retaliation to the AVP HR immediately. An independent investigation will be conducted and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.
In cases of faculty or staff reporting sexual harassment, should the individual decide to file a formal complaint, they should complete a Complaint Form for Reporting Sexual Harassment, and will meet with the Associate Vice President for Human Resources (AVP HR) or their designee to discuss the procedure for hearing the complaint. If the complainant so desires, they may be accompanied by an adviser of their choice. They will then provide a written statement to the AVP HR, describing the circumstances of the alleged incident or behavior. This statement will constitute the grounds for the complaint. The AVP HR or their designee will then meet with the respondent to discuss the complaint. The respondent will be given an opportunity to write a response to the complaint within one week, unless the time is extended because of unusual circumstances as determined by the AVP HR. An anonymous complaint may be brought to the College's attention through the Whistleblower Hotline, and will be treated as a complaint under this policy. The required complaint form will be completed by the College based upon the information provided.
Upon receipt of the complaint or notification of a possible sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking the AVP for HR will begin an investigation, with the assistance of the Title IX Investigator if the situation warrants. If the respondent is a faculty member the AVP for HR and the Provost of the College will conduct the investigation together. The investigation will include interviewing the complainant, the respondent and any witnesses. The complainant and the respondent may have an adviser of their choice present at the initial interviews. The AVP HR (and the Provost) may reach a conclusion based on this initial investigation. The AVP HR (and the Provost, if appropriate) will use a preponderance of the evidence standard to determine responsibility (i.e. it is more likely than not that the respondent was responsible for the prohibited behavior). The AVP HR (and/or the Provost in the case of a faculty member respondent) will report the resolution to both the complainant and respondent. This report will include the conclusions of the investigation and, where appropriate, any actions taken or penalties imposed. The facts about individual cases and their disposition are confidential. This means that such information is shared by the College only on a bona fide need to know basis. The college reserves the right to correct misinformation that becomes public. If it is not possible for the AVP HR (and the Provost if appropriate) to reach a conclusion, it will be necessary to conduct a more formal hearing. If a formal hearing is convened, the AVP HR will establish a panel to investigate the complaint. The procedure for forming this panel shall be as follows:
- Each year a pool of non-faculty employees shall be constituted on the recommendations of the Dean of Studies and Student Life and a pool of faculty members shall be constituted on the recommendations of the Provost.
- All members of the pool will be full time regular employees
- The College will strive for gender balance in the pool, to the extent practicable. All members of the pool will receive training for service on the panels.
- The panel for a specific case will be chosen from that pool through the following procedures:
- Individuals in the pool may recuse themselves in particular cases if there are factors that make objectivity impossible, such as a close friendship or a present or previous academic or professional relationship with the respondent or complainant.
- If the complainant is a student the registrar will be consulted to ensure that none of the faculty members has had an academic relationship with the complainant. Those who have taught or advised the complainant will be eliminated.
- The AVP HR will give the list of members in the pool to the complainant and to the respondent. Potential panel members may be excused in the event of a conflict of interest, lack of availability or other valid reason, as determined by the AVP HR. The AVP HR, reviewing the eligible pool members, will choose three to serve as the panel for that particular case.
- In the event that a panel member resigns or is otherwise unable to serve the AVP HR will appoint a replacement from the pool. If the pool does not yield three acceptable members of the panel, the AVP HR will appoint an employee who has already gone through the training as a substitute.
- In all cases the College will conduct an investigation, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to file a formal complaint.
- In all cases the College reserves the right to place the respondent on leave and to issue a no contact order until the case is decided.
Hearing procedures: The AVP HR will gather information to be brought to the panel. This will include (but not be limited to) the statements of the complainant and respondent, a list of witnesses who may have relevant information and other information related to the charges and the investigation report provided by the Title IX Investigator. The initial list of witnesses will be provided by both the complainant and respondent. Others might be identified during the investigation.
Witnesses identified at this stage will be required to submit a written statement describing their knowledge of the case. The AVP HR will determine an appropriate deadline for these statements to be submitted, typically a week to ten days after the request. If a witness fails to submit a timely statement the AVP HR may exclude any testimony by that witness.
The AVP HR will serve as the panel coordinator. The panel will review the complaint, the response, and all other witness statements and documents. The panel will then identify a list of witnesses to meet with the panel. The selection of that list will be based on the relevance of the witness’ information (i.e. direct knowledge of the complaint and its alleged consequences). The panel may call witnesses who were not suggested by either the complainant or respondent but who may have relevant information. If time permits the witnesses will be asked to provide written statements. If not the panel will interview the witness in question.
The panel will meet with the complainant and respondent. This may take place at the same time or separately.
Both the complainant and respondent will have the option of having a personal adviser present when they meet with the panel. Members of the hearing panel or those who will serve as witnesses in the case may not serve as an adviser. The AVP HR will instruct the advisers about confidentiality (i.e., that they are expected to preserve in confidence all information they acquire in connection with their role as advisers). The sole role of the advisers is to provide advice and support to the complainant or the respondent. The advisers may not ask questions or speak on behalf of the person they are advising or present evidence.
Both complainant and respondent will be required to meet with the panel. If the respondent refuses to do so, she or he will be informed of the possibility of damaging consequences to their case, especially in the giving up of direct access to testimony and evidence and the hearing or meetings will proceed in his or her absence. If the complainant refuses to do so the panel will deliberate based on the statements and evidence available.
Persons called as witnesses shall meet with the panel. If a witness is no longer available to attend the hearing or meeting, as determined by the panel, his or her written statement will be accepted in lieu of the interview.
The panel hearing or meeting shall be closed to all but the AVP HR, the panel, the complainant, the respondent, their advisers, and the witnesses during their interviews. During a hearing that takes place with both the complainant and the respondent present at the same time, the parties will be separated. They will be able to hear each other, but not see each other.
If the hearing or meeting takes place with both complainant and respondent at the same time, the complainant and respondent may ask questions of each other and of the witnesses. The parties will not ask questions of each other directly, they will provide the question to the AVP HR who will ask the question of the other party. If the meetings are separate, both parties will be given the opportunity to provide questions to the panel to obtain responses from the other party and/or the witnesses. The AVP HR will determine whether questions are irrelevant or otherwise inappropriate and their decisions will be final.
In the case of a hearing which takes place with both complainant and respondent at the same time, the following is the order of business, variations may occur depending on the circumstances of the individual cases. In the case of separate meetings, theAVP HR will conduct the meetings.
- Director, HR explains the process
- Opening statement by complainant
- Opening statement by the respondent
- Panel questions the complainant
- Panel questions the respondent
- Complainant and respondent may ask questions of each other by providing questions to the AVP HR
- Witnesses are interviewed by panel and parties
- Questions from the parties and further questions from the panel
- Final statement by complainant
- Final statement by respondent
- Dismissal of complainant, respondent, and advisers
- Deliberation by the panel
At the conclusion of the hearing or the panel meetings the panel will meet together to complete its review of information and its consideration of the complaint. The panel will use a preponderance of the evidence standard to determine responsibility (i.e. it is more likely than not that the respondent was responsible for the prohibited behavior).The panel will report its findings of fact and its conclusions in writing to the AVP HR. The AVP HR will determine any penalties to be imposed, as provided below.
- Written warning (only available for a finding of harassment)
- Formal reprimand (only available for a finding of harassment)
- Suspension without pay. (In the case of a faculty member, the AVP HR will make this recommendation to the Advisory Committee on Appointments.)
- Termination of employment: AVP HR will make this recommendation to the President for staff members or to the Advisory Committee on Appointments for faculty members. If applicable, Advisory Committee may begin the process for revocation of Tenure.
The AVP HR will report the resolution to both the complainant and respondent. This report will include the conclusions of the panel and, where appropriate, any actions taken or penalties imposed. The facts about individual cases and their disposition are confidential. This means that such information is shared by the college only on a bona fide need to know basis. The college reserves the right to correct misinformation that becomes public.
The College will strive to complete the investigation and hearing in a prompt manner, consistent with fairness.
If a complaint is made against the AVP HR, the President or their designee will take on the roles normally played by the AVP HR and the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees or their delegate will serve as the point of appeal. If a complaint is made against the President, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees will be in charge of the process.
Appeals: The complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal any action taken or penalty imposed to the President (or to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees if the complaint is made against the President.) The appeal must be filed within ten working days of receiving the decision. An appeal does not provide a rehearing of the case. In the case of a faculty member the Provost or their designee will consider the appeal. An appeal may be made on one of three grounds only:
- Newly discovered evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing.
- An error in procedure sufficient to warrant an overturn of the panel’s conclusion or a new hearing.
- Inappropriate application of College rules, regulations or policies to the facts (This may include an appeal of the penalty imposed)
The President ’s, Provost's (or Chairman of the Board’s) response to an appeal may include without limitation one or more of the following: sending the case back to the panel for further review; ordering a new hearing; revising the penalty; setting aside the decision of the panel. The decision of the President, Provost(or Chairman of the Board) is final.
Use of the internal procedure outlined above does not foreclose subsequent legal action. Complainants and respondents may wish to obtain legal advice as they consider the course of action open to them. The hearings will not be tape recorded, although members of the panel may take written notes.
Record keeping: A permanent written record of the formal complaint process and its outcome will be retained by the AVP HR. This record will include the charge, all statements by complainant, respondent and witnesses, other documentation or evidence discovered by the investigation. Notes taken by the individual panel members in the process of the panel investigation and hearing will not be maintained in the permanent record.
Usually, the resolution of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking complaints are completed within 60 days of the report. However, each proceeding allows for extensions of timeframes for good cause with written notice to the accuser and the accused of the delay and the reason for the delay.
Family Educations Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)
Compliance with the provisions of the SLC Policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Sexual Assault does not constitute a violation of section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g), commonly known as the Family Educations Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).