The State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany tries to maintain a healthy, safe, and vibrant living and learning community that is free from gender inequality and sexual violence. SUNY Albany prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or any other protected class and also prohibits sexual misconduct.
The administration at SUNY Albany will not hesitate to start investigations and adjudication procedures if it learns of a possible sexual misconduct incident. If you have been accused of sexual harassment at SUNY Albany, you should also take the matter seriously, as the future of your education could be on the line.
At the Lento Law Firm, attorney Joseph D. Lento and his expert team can help protect your rights and interests during a sexual misconduct allegation process. We've provided the following information about sexual harassment at SUNY Albany to help you better understand your situation.
College Sexual Misconduct and Title IX at SUNY Albany
SUNY Albany has three key documents that pertain to sex-based discrimination, harassment, and misconduct. These documents are:
- Title IX Grievance Policy: This policy adheres to federal Title IX rules, which prohibit sexual harassment and misconduct at educational institutions that receive federal funding.
- Sexual Violence Response Policy: This policy applies in suspected incidents of sexual violence and may cover cases that aren't within the scope of Title IX.
- Discrimination Complaint Procedure: If a member of the university community brings forward a complaint under the Discrimination Complaint Procedure and it is sex discrimination, the matter gets referred to the Title IX Coordinator.
What Counts as Sexual Misconduct at SUNY Albany?
The Title IX policy at SUNY Albany prohibits the following:
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Forcible sexual offense (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object)
- Hostile environment harassment
- Nonforcible sexual offense (statutory rape)
- Quid pro quo harassment
The Sexual Violence Response Policy at SUNY Albany includes the following behaviors in its definition of “sexual violence”:
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual assault
- Intimate partner violence
The Sexual Violence Response Policy outlines the rights afforded both to purported victims of sexual violence and those accused of sexual violence. Students facing allegations of sexual violence are entitled to due process under this policy, as well as an advisor of their choice to assist them during disciplinary hearings and related meetings.
SUNY Albany Sexual Misconduct Process
Under the Sexual Violence Response Policy, the process for handling complaints of sexual misconduct starts when the Title IX Coordinator receives a notification. The Title IX Coordinator must conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine if the complaint violates university policies and if it should be sent to the Office of Community Standards.
If the results of the Title IX Coordinator's preliminary inquiry show that the allegation would constitute prohibited sexual violence if it were true, the Title IX Coordinator must start a formal investigation. The Title IX Coordinator and their investigation team will notify both parties involved and start to gather evidence and speak to witnesses.
Referral to Community Standards
The Title IX investigation results in a formal report, which both parties may review. If the report shows that the alleged action would constitute a violation of SUNY Albany’s Community Rights and Responsibilities policy, if true, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the case to Community Standards. From there, the case proceeds under the student conduct process in the Community Rights and Responsibilities policy.
Student Conduct Process
Under the student conduct process at SUNY Albany, cases may be resolved with an administrative resolution—which usually requires the accused student to accept responsibility for the violations they are accused of—or with a hearing before a student conduct body. At the hearing, students may present witnesses and ask questions. They can also confer with their advisor privately; the advisor may not address the student conduct body directly.
If the accused student does not agree with the decision of the student conduct body, they can appeal within seven days of the decision. The provost reviews the appeal and makes a final decision.
SUNY Albany Title IX Complaint Process
The Title IX Grievance Process and Sexual Violence Response Policy are similar in how complaints are handled, with a key difference. If a matter falls within the scope of Title IX, it proceeds under the Title IX Grievance Process only. If the university deals with a sexual violence complaint under the Sexual Violence Response Policy, it is adjudicated under the Community Rights and Responsibilities policy.
The Title IX Grievance Process at SUNY Albany goes as follows:
- Formal complaint: Only those who believe they are victims of sexual misconduct may file formal complaints with the Title IX Coordinator. In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator may file a formal complaint on someone's behalf.
- Information resolution: The matter may be solved by an informal resolution, without a hearing, if both parties agree.
- Investigation: The Title IX Coordinator's office investigates the formal complaint of sexual misconduct.
- Hearing: If the investigation demonstrates the possibility of a Title IX violation, the accused student and the complainant go before a hearing panel. Both sides may present witnesses and ask questions.
- Appeals: Either party may determine the hearing panel's decision within seven days and in writing. An appeal review board will make a final decision on the appeal.
What's at Stake for Students Found Responsible for Sexual Misconduct at SUNY Albany?
Students who are found responsible for sexual misconduct policy violations at SUNY Albany may face one or more of the following sanctions:
- Disciplinary warning
- Disciplinary probation
- Terminal disciplinary probation
- Removal from residence
- Suspension - disciplinary
- Dismissal – disciplinary
- Residence hall/apartment or campus restriction
- Education programs and service
- Parental notification
- Cease and desist directive
- No contact directive
- Temporary directives and actions
For a respondent found responsible for sexual misconduct at SUNY Albany, as with most any college or university, the unfortunate reality is that the minimum sanction is suspension, and dismissals are also routinely imposed. Everything is at stake when accused of sexual misconduct, so do not be deluded by any claims by the school as to what a likely outcome would be if a student is found responsible. Professional help is needed, and an accused student's rights and interests will be best protected when professional help is obtained as early as possible in the process.
How Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?
If you are accused of sexual harassment or misconduct at SUNY Albany, you might feel overwhelmed. An experienced student defense attorney-advisor can help you through the process, ensuring you stand up for your rights and making certain the investigation is fair and impartial. They can also coach you on how to conduct yourself during an investigation, at hearings and meetings, and help you work toward the best possible outcome.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his expert team at the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of college students across the country with sexual misconduct issues at their schools. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to protect your future.