Frequently Asked Questions from Respondents
What is Title IX?
“Title IX” refers to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, a civil rights law. It prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding.
What types of situations are reported to the Title IX Office?
Any matters involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, pregnancy discrimination, and other discrimination based upon sex or gender, are reported to the Title IX Office.
Who has to report these kind of situations to the Title IX Coordinator?
“Responsible employees” are people who are supervisors, faculty, and employees who regularly interact with students. They’re required by law to report sex/gender discrimination, relationship violence, and stalking to the Title IX Coordinator so the College may offer resources to the involved students; help the students understand what their rights are; and explain what the Student Conduct investigation/hearing process is, if the student who was impacted by the behavior (“respondent”) requests an investigation. By tracking this information, the College may be able to identify patterns and trends to help promote campus safety.
Will my parents be notified?
If the College has reason to believe that a student’s health or safety is at risk, it may communicate with the student’s emergency contact. Otherwise, the College may only talk to a student’s parents or guardians about a situation concerning sexual violence, stalking, etc., if the student has signed an authorization giving consent. If no authorization is signed, the College may only talk about its process and is prohibited from talking about any particular situation to parents/guardians.
Will the Title IX Coordinator take the side of the complainant?
No. That is not the Title IX Coordinator’s role. The Title IX Coordinator’s role is one that ensures due process and equity to all of the students involved; the Title IX Coordinator is not an advocate for the complainant or the person accused (“respondent).
Who can I talk to confidentially about my situation?
Counselors and health care professionals at Hazen Student Health/Counseling Center are confidential. Information shared with a confidential resource will not be disclosed (unless there’s a threat of harm to self or others).
Hazen Student Health/Counseling: (585) 395-2414; Walk-in hours are from 8 – 11 am on Monday – Friday.
Additionally, SUNY developed a great resource that provides both on and off campus resources, depending upon your location.
Is there other support available to me?
Yes. A respondent has the right to the following:
- No Contact Order: The Title IX Coordinator can issue a No Contact Order between students, which prohibits contact between them, but is not disciplinary.
- Faculty Notice: A notice to faculty can be issued that states the student is experiencing a stressful situation; the letter is not issued by the Title IX Coordinator, and these letters are issued for a variety of reasons (illness, a death in the family, etc).
- Alternate work schedules: If the students work together on campus, the Title IX Coordinator can arrange alternative work schedules.
- Change in residential housing: A student may choose to be moved. In limited circumstances, the College may require the respondent to move.
- SAFE Ride: Students may use SAFE Ride to request an escort/ride from University Police Student Patrols to a location on campus. Contact (585) 395-SAFE between the hours of 8 pm – 2 am.
- Academic Success Center: Tutoring and academic support services are available to all students. If a student is struggling with their courses because of a situation related to a report of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking, we encourage them to take advantage of the available services.
- Course Withdrawal/re-assignment: The College may be able to assist a student with withdrawing from a class/scheduling a different section.
- Other: There might be other circumstances in which the Title IX Coordinator/College may be able to help.
What if something happened off-campus?
- Student Conduct: If the respondent is a student, then the complainant has the ability to proceed with a Student Conduct investigation at SUNY Brockport. If the complainant attends a different university, that student has the right to request that the College conduct a Student Conduct investigation. The Code of Student Conduct states, ”When a nexus between a student’s behavior and the College exists and the College is aware of the behavior, a student may be subject to the College’s disciplinary action.” The College has discretion to determine whether the Code of Student Conduct should be applied to off-campus conduct.
- Criminal action: The complainant has the ability to file a police report with the appropriate law enforcement agency and proceed with criminal charges, regardless of where the situation occurred.
What happens after the Title IX Coordinator is notified? Will the College automatically begin an investigation through the Student Conduct system?
The Title IX Coordinator will first reach out to the complainant to let them know that they have a right to request a Student Conduct investigation and/or make a police report. If the complainant does not want to proceed with a Student Conduct investigation, sometimes the College still needs to move forward.
Exceptions to when a Student Conduct investigation may be started, despite the complainant's wishes, include:
- If the respondent has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender
- If the incident is an escalation of behavior
- If the respondent used a weapon
- If the complainant is a minor
- If there’s a pattern of perpetration by a particular group or at a given location.
If no investigation is conducted, it is possible the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the respondent to have a discussion about the reported situation and/or to enter a No Contact Order, which is usually entered against both students. After a report is made, and if the College does not conduct an investigation, it is possible that the respondent party may never be contacted or made aware that a report was made. The College tracks this information, however, to help identify patterns and to comply with state and federal laws.
What is the Student Conduct investigation process?
If the College conducts an investigation, you have the right to have an advisor with you at all meetings. The College has many trained faculty/staff who are able to fill this role. However, you may choose someone not affiliated with the College, like an attorney, to serve as your advisor.
Two investigators will be assigned and will talk to the complainant, take their statement, ask for witness names, and request any documentary evidence (including text and social media messages). The investigators will also talk to you and follow the same process. The investigators are neutral and will not make any findings. When the investigation is completed (it usually takes several weeks, and investigators may need to talk to you to ask some follow up questions), the investigators will write a report and may recommend a Student Conduct hearing.
The standard of evidence for any Student Conduct hearing is preponderance of the evidence (“more likely than not”). If a hearing is held, the hearing officer or hearing board members will review the case and make a determination whether it is more likely than not that the Code of Student Conduct was violated.
A hearing officer will be appointed, and the hearing officer (or board) will ask the complainant, you, and witnesses some questions. You and the complainant will be separated by a partition or you may choose to appear by video. The hearing is closed, meaning that only the parties and the hearing officer (and board) are allowed to be present throughout the hearing. If a witness appears, they will do so only to give their statement and answer questions, then they will leave.
Both parties are provided with an outcome letter within 10 business days of the hearing and both have a right to appeal.
Will the police be called?
It is the complainant who decides whether to contact the police.
What happens if a criminal complaint is filed?
When a criminal complaint is made, the police conduct an investigation and may refer the matter to the District Attorney’s Office to determine if there is enough evidence to support a violation of New York State Penal Law and to press charges. The standard of evidence in a criminal matter is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
You may choose to communicate with your parents/guardians to determine how to best proceed.