Two New York Locations

ROCKLAND: 845.358.1710
MANHATTAN: 212.625.0500

 

 

Safety and Security

Sexual Assault/Sex Offenses Policy & Prevention Program

Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault or Stalking

Nyack College will not tolerate any type of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking committed by students, faculty, staff, or against any student, faculty or staff by any individual not belonging to the campus community. Sexual offenses in the State of New York are outlined under Article 130 of the NYS Penal Law. Nyack College recognizes domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking as defined in this document. Committing such offenses can result in lengthy terms of imprisonment and civil action.

Hostile Environment Harassment

Hostile Environment Harassment is the most common kind of harassment. It occurs when repeated offensive behavior or comments create an unpleasant or intimidating environment. This includes offensive statements, materials or gestures (whether by mail, electronic communication or personal encounter) that defame the character, dignity or respect of an individual, ethnicity or culture. Such behavior will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. Hostile Environment Harassment may also involve sexual comments or inappropriate touching on a one-time basis.

Sexual Harassment

Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of New York State Law and the Federal Civil Rights Act. It is the policy of Nyack College to prohibit sexual harassment of its employees and students in any form. In maintaining this policy, the College seeks to assert basic Christian precepts, to affirm ethical standards universally accepted in the workplace and classroom, and uphold existing law. No practice or behavior that constitutes sexual harassment will be tolerated.

Sexual harassment is essentially a display of power intended to intimidate, coerce, embarrass or degrade another person. Usually the harasser has power over the victim (such as a supervisor over a subordinate or a larger person over one of smaller stature), and seeks to exploit unfairly that differential in power. In any form, such behavior undermines the atmosphere of trust and collegiality that Nyack College seeks to foster and is therefore unacceptable.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or academic progress; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment is illegal and immoral.

Sexual Assault and Date Rape

Sexual assault and date rape are extreme forms of sexual harassment. The use of threat or force to obtain sexual contact, including sexual intercourse, includes any of the following: (1) any intentional, nonconsensual touching or threat or attempt to touch an intimate body part of another person; (2) unwanted, inappropriate disrobing of another person or purposeful exposure of one’s genitals to another; (3) forcing, or attempting to force, any other person to engage in sexual activity of any kind. By definition, a person who is intoxicated, unconscious, mentally impaired, or threatened is unable to give consent.

Stalking

Nyack College describes stalking as any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instill fear in the victim, and/or threaten her or his safety, mental health, or physical health. Such behaviors and activities may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Non-consensual communication, including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, text and instant messages or e-mails, written letters, unwanted gifts, etc.
  • Threatening or obscene gestures;
  • Pursuing or following;
  • Surveillance or other types of observation;
  • Trespassing;
  • Vandalism;
  • Non-consensual touching

*These offenses may result in additional charges.

Stalking behavior will not be tolerated. Incidents occurring on or off campus are subject to college discipline when such actions materially affect the learning environment or operations of the College.

Stalking is a crime under New York State law. Incidences of stalking outside New York State may be admissible in court, if it is relevant to the case and may be punishable as a Class B misdemeanor or a class D felony. Legal options available to victims of stalking include reporting to the local police, seeking a remedy through civil proceedings, and/or utilizing the campus disciplinary process.

Reporting

Reporting a Student of Concern

For those in the Nyack community who teach, supervise, mentor and support our Nyack College students, the following guidelines may be helpful when you believe a student referral should be made.

  1. Immediate (but not an emergency): Contact either the Office of Student Development at (845) 675-4790 or x4790, Residence Life Professional Staff Area Coordinator on duty after 6:00PM at (845) 405-9038, or Campus Safety at (845) 222-8812 or x7191 if there is an immediate about the health or safety of a student. Please be sure to speak with someone in person so we can respond quickly.
  2. Ongoing but not an immediate health/safety concern: Contact the Dean of Students if your concern does not rise to an immediate health/safety level but you feel that the student could use an additional network of support. Possible referrals could include:
    1. A student who is missing a significant number of classes.
    2. A student who is expressing disturbing thoughts/feelings in written or oral work.
    3. A student who exhibits a change in usual behavior (onset of anxiety, anger, withdrawal).
    4. A student who shares a significant life event or incident that may be impacting his/her ability to be a student.

Upon getting the referral, typically within 24-48 hours, a member of the team will reach out to the student. The faculty/staff member’s name will likely be used in the context of, “Faculty/staff X shared with me through our normal processes of caring for students that they are concerned about you and I am reaching out to you to offer resources and support.” From there, the team member will work with the student to determine appropriate follow up measures.

Once the Student of Concern Committee has identified a student of concern, a decision is made to either address them individually or refer them to the Threat Assessment Team. Nyack College has established a second team entitled “Threat Assessment Team” to address situations where students may need further assessment due to an escalation of disruptive, threatening or worrisome behaviors that have the potential to impede their own academic progress or that have the potential to impede the ability of others to function successfully or safely.

It is imperative that any member of the Nyack College community – faculty, staff or students – immediately report any situation that could result in harm to anyone at the College.

Reporting an Employee of Concern

Workplace violence covers a wide range of disruptive behaviors that may include threats harassment, intimidation, bullying, assaults, stalking and domestic violence that enter the workplace. Lack of awareness and/or failure to commit to action are major contributors to violence in the workplace.

  1. Immediate (but not an emergency): Contact either the Office of Human Resources at (845) 675-4608 or x4608, or Campus Safety at (845) 222-8812 or x7191 (Rockland Campus) or at (646) 378-6198 or x6198 (Manhattan Campus) if there is an immediate concern about the health or safety of an employee. Please be sure to speak with someone in person so we can respond quickly.
  2. Ongoing but not an immediate health/safety concern: Contact the Director of Human Resources if your concern does not rise to an immediate health/safety level but you feel that the employee could use an additional network of support. Possible referrals could include:
    1. Job performance problems, such as inconsistent productivity, excessive tardiness and absenteeism, and poor relations with co-workers.
    2. Chronic, hypersensitive complaints about persecution or injustice.
    3. Holding grudges, inability to handle criticism, habitually making excuses, and blaming others
    4. Bizarre comments or behavior, especially if it includes violent content

Reporting Harassment

Any individual who believes that he/she has been the recipient of harassment is strongly encouraged to report the alleged occurrence(s) as soon as possible to a representative of the College with whom the individual feels comfortable discussing the matter (e.g., Residence Hall Director, Advisor, Student Development Staff member, Human Resources, etc.). The representative will then contact the Dean of Students if the alleged harasser is a student. If the alleged harasser is an employee of the College or a vendor/contractor of the College, the representative will contact the academic head at the respective campus or Human Resources. For instances of sexual harassment, students may also contact the Title IX Coordinator at (845) 675-4608.

Reporting Sexual Assault

If a member of the campus community is a victim of a sexual assault on campus, his/her first priority is to get to a place of safety. Nyack College strongly advocates that a victim of a sexual assault reports the incident in a timely manner. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. They should obtain necessary medical treatment, and ideally a victim of sexual assault should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical exam.

If an individual has been sexually assaulted they should contact the following offices depending on their comfort level:

  • Call Nyack College Campus Safety at x7191 OR (845) 222-8812
  • Contact the local police department at (845) 358-0206 and file a police report*
  • Students:
    • Call the Residence Life On Duty Phone (845) 213-9145
    • Call Counseling Services at (845) 675-4564
    • Report it to the Resident Assistant on duty in your dorm
  • Employees:
    • Contact Human Resources at (845) 675-4608

Keep a journal of everything that occurs, including dates, places and times of events. When the communication is electronic, save any voicemails, e-mails, text and instant messages.

Reporting Stalking

If an individual believes they are being stalked they should contact the following offices depending on their comfort level:

  • Call Nyack College Campus Safety x7191 OR (845) 222-8812
  • Contact the local police department at (845) 358-0206 and file a police report*
  • Students:
    • Call the Residence Life On Duty Phone (845) 213-9145
    • Report it to the Resident Assistant on duty in your dorm
  • Employees:
    • Contact Human Resources at (845) 675-4608

If you know the identity of the stalker, inquire about the possibility of obtaining a restraining order. Keep a journal of everything that occurs, including dates, places and times of events. When the communication is electronic, save any voicemails, e-mails, text and instant messages.

*Students and employees are not required to file a police report. Students can also contact Counseling Services, Residence Life, or Student Development for assistance in filing a police report. Employees may contact Human Resources for assistance in filing a police report.**

**Filing a police report will not obligate the victim to prosecute, nor will it subject the victim to scrutiny or judgmental opinions from officers. Filing a police report will:

  • Ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests;
  • Provide the opportunity for collection of helpful evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later (ideally a victim of sexual assault should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical exam);
  • Assure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.

Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation

Confidentiality of complaints and parties will be preserved to the greatest extent possible, understanding that the College may have an obligation to take some action even if the complainant is reluctant to proceed. Parties and witnesses to a complaint are also expected to maintain confidentiality of the matter, understanding that they will often not have all the facts and that they could impair the investigation by divulging information to persons outside of the investigatory process.

Publicly available records involving any incidents will protect the identity of all parties involved to the extent permissible by law by referring to parties as “Complainant 1, Complainant 2, etc.,” “Witness 1, Witness 2, etc.,” and “Accused 1, Accused 2, etc.”

All allegations of sexual harassment will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated, with appropriate support for and respect of the alleged victim. If it is determined that an intentionally false accusation of sexual harassment has been made, this too will be investigated thoroughly and treated seriously.

The College prohibits retaliation against persons who in good faith report violations of this policy or cooperate in an investigation. The College also prohibits the filing of knowingly false or misleading reports and providing knowingly false or misleading information in an investigation. Discipline or other action can result from either of these acts in violation of this policy.

Services Available to Students and Employees

Anyone that reports that they themselves or someone has been a victim shall be provided this entire policy in writing.

Counseling and other support services are available to any victim of sex offenses through the Counseling Services Department in Boon Campus Center on the Nyack Campus and numerous public and private agencies in Rockland County. Informational resources and materials may be obtained at the Counseling Services Department, Health Services Department and Human Resources Office. A listing of local public and private agencies can also be found on the Nyack College Safety and Security website: http://www.nyack.edu/content/ImportantPhones.

Student victims have the option to change their academic and/or on-campus living situations after an alleged sexual assault, if such changes are reasonably available. Alternate on-campus living options may be discussed in conjunction with Residence Life and Auxiliary Services.

Depending on the particular allegations of a reported issue, employee victims may be given an adjustment to their work environment while an investigation proceeds.  Whenever possible and appropriate, the interim adjustments would be made to the accused employee, rather than to the complainant.  Such adjustments may include a work location change, supervisor change, work duties change and/or an administrative leave.  Employees and their dependents may contact the Employee Assistance Program for confidential support, resources, and information.  Human Resources can also assist with referral to professional counseling.

In accordance with the Violence Against Women Act (18 U.S. Code § 2265) Orders of Protection, No Contact Orders and Restraining Orders, regardless of in which jurisdiction they have been issued, can be filed with the College by bringing the actual order to Campus Safety. Once received, Campus Safety will file a copy with the local police department. The information in the order of protection, along with any other information, will be provided to all security personnel in order to reduce the possibilities of a violation of the order. If there is reason to believe that a person named in the Order has violated the court order while on the Nyack College campus, Campus Safety, Student Development, or Human Resources can assist the individual in reporting the incident to the appropriate police department.

Disciplinary Actions for Student Perpetrators

Any violation of this policy shall result in disciplinary action including, but not limited to, warning, reprimand, probation, suspension, expulsion or dismissal. Retaliation against an individual for bringing a sexual harassment complaint is prohibited by law and will lead to further disciplinary action. Nothing in this policy shall preclude a student from seeking redress through external legal proceedings.

Procedures for disciplinary action for allegations of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking committed by students are outlined in the Student Handbook section “Student Disciplinary Process.” Investigation and proceedings related to allegations of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and/or stalking will be prompt, fair and impartial. Members of the Student Disciplinary Committee receive annual training on these issues and how to conduct investigations and hearing processes that protect the safety of the victims and promote accountability.

Since Title IX is a federal civil right, the appropriate standard of evidence is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard of evidence means that a hearing must determine whether a complaint of sex discrimination is “more likely than not” to have occurred or 51% likely to have occurred. This standard applies for all complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and violence, because Title IX outlines standards for school disciplinary processes — not criminal complaints, which require the highest standard of evidence, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Both the accuser and the accused can have an advisor of their choice available during all proceedings and any related meetings. They will both be informed in writing of:

  1. The outcome of the proceedings.
  2. The appeal procedure, which is also outlined in the Student Handbook.
  3. Any changes to the outcome of the proceedings before they become final.
  4. When the outcome is finalized.

Disciplinary Actions for Employee Perpetrators

Following the assessment, report, and recommendation of an Investigatory Committee, the administration will consider the presented recommendations and make decisions about employee disciplinary steps.  Such disciplinary steps may include further education for an individual, further education for a work group, verbal discussion or counseling, written warning, suspension, demotion, transfer, reduction in salary, or termination.

Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention

Nyack College educates the campus community about sexual harassment and assault throughout Campus. Primary prevention and awareness sessions are held during orientation for all incoming students. Sessions include the definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual offenses (forcible and non-forcible), stalking, and lack of consent as outlined in this document. Sessions also include how to recognize abusive behavior, avoid potential attacks, and safe and positive options for a student intervene or prevent harm when there is risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. These policies are also stated during all hall meetings held by residence life at the beginning of every semester.  The Office of Counseling Services also provides applicable brochures in their office which are available to students.

On-going prevention and awareness training sessions are provided to students throughout the semester via workshops, special speakers, and other programs. These sessions include special workshops during the Sexuality Series sponsored by the Office of Spiritual Formations, and trainings held by the local police department. Services and programs that are available during the academic year are announced in the beginning of every semester during the campus wide mandatory all hall meetings. Students who accept leadership positions (Resident Assistants, Worship Leaders, Orientation Assistants) receive additional training the week prior to Fall Orientation on sexual harassment and assault prevention and how to act in a leadership role when these situations arise.

Prior to Fall orientation, Student Development staff is trained about awareness and prevention of sexual harassment.  Human Resources is currently in the process of selecting a vendor to provide web-based training solutions to all employees.  This vendor should be fully implemented by January 1, 2015.  Following implementation, employees will annually complete web-based training on Sexual Harassment.  Human Resources will monitor compliance with mandatory training.  Employees are also invited, and sometimes required, to attend the prevention services and programs available to students.