For over 150 years, the City University of New York's Hunter College has led the way in educating students in a supportive environment. The written policies and procedures at CUNY clearly reflect intolerance for behavior such as sexual misconduct. Complaints such as those of sexual harassment are always taken seriously because these actions are contrary to the goals of the institution. The administrators responsible for Title IX compliance want all students, faculty, and staff to understand their rights to be free from hostilities. Speech or conduct that relates to gender bias, sexual orientation, or gender identity has no place in the environment of institutions of high learning.
Acts of discrimination at educational institutions are possible as early on as within the admissions process. Recruitment or admissions activity may not discriminate on the basis of gender. All applicants must be afforded equal access to programs regardless of their sex. The administration encourages students to pursue fields of study where their gender has been underrepresented. Discrimination is not tolerated in the many aspects of campus activity including academics, athletics, within campus organizations, campus housing, and much more.
Student Bill of Rights: CUNY Hunter College
Leadership at CUNY has created a Student Bill of Rights that addresses matters such as domestic partner violence, sexually-based misconduct, and other related issues. Students have a right to contact the local authorities as needed when they have been a victim of crime. The administration is required to conduct all disciplinary matters impartially. Victims have easy access to counseling and medical care. Those who report a possible Title IX violation should be able to do so without encountering forms of retaliation. All those involved in campus disciplinary actions have a right to have a personal advisor and any rulings may be appealed.
The concept of affirmative consent requires that those involved in sexual activity are doing so voluntarily. Consent may not be the result of coercion. Individuals must be 17 years-of-age or older in order to legally give consent. It is possible that an individual who is heavily intoxicated may be unable to provide consent for participation in sexual activity because they are incapacitated. If an individual withdraws consent, all activity of a sexual nature is to stop.
The campus administration is only to disclose the identity or information of those involved in a complaint of sexual misconduct when need to carry out their duties. Individuals are encouraged to report such incidents knowing that their confidentiality will be maintained. This commitment to privacy is critical in matters that may be of a sensitive nature.
The Title IX Coordinator and those designated to address related complaints strive to do so promptly. The accused party will receive written notification regarding the nature of the allegations. Staff will proceed to gather relevant evidence and information from witnesses.
Role of the Advisor
Both the complainant and respondent may name an advisor—who may or may not be an attorney. Those serving in this role may offer advice and guidance throughout the process. Advisors generally accompany the party to meetings and hearings. The advisor should assume a passive and supportive role in hearings and must refrain from speaking directly on behalf of a party.
The details of these proceeding tend to be sensitive in nature; therefore, hearings are always closed. If a respondent acknowledges responsibility for the alleged violation(s), they are afforded a chance to present their “side of the story” and may also have their input considered regarding sanctions. When the respondent denies the allegations, the hearing coordinators will present the evidence and testimony. Both parties may present facts and information during the hearing process. The burden of proof used in these matters is by the preponderance of the evidence standard. The hearing panel is ultimately responsible for considering the evidence and making a ruling.
After a hearing panel makes a ruling, sanctions or penalties may be imposed. The more serious offenses such as sexual assault or domestic violence often lead to suspension or expulsion. When suspension or expulsion is imposed, the student's disciplinary records (transcripts) will contain information showing the violation(s) occurred.
Right to Appeal
Parties will always have an opportunity to appeal a ruling. Written notification must be submitted no later than 15 days after a disciplinary ruling. The basis or grounds for an appeal are as follows:
- Evidence suggests that written policies or procedure were not properly adhered to
- Some new evidence has emerged that could alter the outcome
- The sanctions that have been imposed are believed to be excessive based on the nature of the violation(s)
CUNY Hunter College Title IX Coordinator Contact
John T. Rose, Esq.
Dean for Diversity and Compliance / Title IX Coordinator
695 Park Avenue, Room E1706
New York, NY 10065
Importance of Retaining Legal Representation
Students must avoid underestimating the consequences that may be incurred from violations of these forms of conduct. Students and their families may be allocating significant resources such as time and money to their academic future. When serious sanctions are handed down such as suspension and expulsion from the institution, these educational plans are likely to be adversely impacted. Having an attorney function in the advisory role is tremendously beneficial in how well you are prepared in hearings. You are more likely to have well-prepared opening or closing statements and be capable of confidently responding to questions. In addition, your attorney may attempt to negotiate with the administration in efforts to reach an amenable solution.
Attorney Represents Students Accused of Sexual Misconduct at CUNY Hunter College
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have many years of valuable knowledge and experience in representing students at colleges and universities in New York that are facing disciplinary concerns. Matters such as those involving sexual misconduct can have long-lasting ramifications. These disciplinary processes are often also extremely time sensitive. For this reason, it is important to contact an attorney promptly after being made aware of allegations. We encourage you to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.