Stony Brook University, otherwise known as the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, is a renowned public research university and the largest (by property) public university in New York (with over 1,400 acres of land). The Stony Brook Seawolves compete in Division 1 of the NCAA, and the school has been affiliated with five Fields Medalists (a prestigious mathematics award).
Chances are, if you're at Stony Brook, you have worked diligently to get there. You have a lot to lose if you're facing allegations of sexual misconduct or Title IX offenses. This article will examine what Title IX is, how Stony Brook differentiates between Title IX and sexual misconduct, and how they handle both of these types of accusations. You or your loved one does not have to navigate this challenging circumstance alone. An expert attorney advisor will most likely benefit you greatly.
How are Title IX and College Sexual Misconduct Policies Different at Stony Brook University?
At Stony Brook University, there is a distinction between Title IX offenses and procedures and sexual misconduct offenses and procedures. Stony Brook has created an overview that distinguishes the differences between the two. And, the Stony Brook University Code of Student Responsibility states, “Sexual misconduct that falls outside the scope of the University's Title IX policy is prohibited as it violates this Code.” This policy was adapted after the May 2020 Department of Education statement.
As per that statement, Title IX offenses at Stony Brook must occur physically, “On-campus premises, premises that SBU has “substantial control over,” or activity occurring within the SBU hardware, software and internet network.” Additionally, the definition of sexual assault is such that the offense must be severe and pervasive, rather than severe or pervasive; another aspect of this adjustment is that Title IX applies to “objectively offensive” rather than the “subjective standard” that falls within the purview of the sexual misconduct process.
The overview goes on to differentiate between the steps in the investigatory stage for both offenses and then speaks to the determination and hearing procedures. Make sure to take a look at the chart so you are familiar with the differences in each step.
What Sanctions Might Stony Brook Impose?
There is a long list of potential sanctions that the Review Panel can recommend to the Vice President of Student Affairs or the Assistant Vice President for Equity and Access. The options include:
- Written warnings
- Special restriction (access to locations) or loss of privileges
- Residential probation
- University probation
- University Service & Educational Projects and Programs
- Residential Service & Educational Projects and Programs
- Suspension from Residence Halls
- Expulsion from Residence Halls
- Suspension from the University
- Expulsion from the University
- Restriction from personal contact
Although this list seems to offer a smorgasbord of sanctions, most frequently, if the offense is severe, the sanctions will be suspension or expulsion. Additionally, under the definition for non-consensual sexual intercourse and/or penetration, the policy states, “This also includes what may be referred to as sexual assault, which is also commonly known as “rape,” whether forcible, or non-forcible, “date rape” and “acquaintance rape.” For parties found responsible for Non-consensual sexual intercourse and/or penetration, the available sanctions are suspension with additional requirements and expulsion” (emphasis added).
Is There a Long-Term Impact for College Sexual Misconduct?
If Stony Brook University finds that a student is guilty of sexual misconduct or Title IX violations, there are the immediate sanctions, such as suspension and expulsion. The sanctions can have a snowball effect, however, and impact more beyond just one's attendance at school. The finding could make it challenging to transfer to another school, to gain admittance to a graduate program, such as law school or medical school, and you could increase your financial burden if your financial aid package is affected by the expulsion or suspension. Frequently, aid is based on enrollment status, so if you are not enrolled in classes that semester, your aid could be at risk.
How are Allegations Investigated and Decided on?
Although the aforementioned chart offers an overview of the two processes, in this section, we'll include a few more specifics. For the process, the expected time frame is 90 calendar days from the receipt of the complaint to the determination of a finding. It is possible that interim measures will be put into place. That could include temporary restriction from personal contact, although you should not reach out to your accuser, regardless. It could also include:
- Interim suspension
- Alternate academic scheduling
- Campus restrictions
- Technological restrictions
- Housing restrictions
- Employment restrictions
Informal resolutions are only available for sexual misconduct cases (not Title IX) and only in instances where the Office of Equity and Access “believes that mediation would be an appropriate option for resolution.”
At the hearing itself, there are a few key differences to be aware of. In sexual misconduct cases, it's possible to waive the right to a live hearing; this is not an option for Title IX. On the other hand, lie detector evidence is allowable for a Title IX case, and parties who do not agree to cross-examination will have their statements waived. These are not applicable to sexual misconduct cases.
What is the Appeal Process at Stony Brook University?
The appeal process at Stony Brook is available to sexual misconduct cases in instances where there was a procedural error, new evidence is available, or the sanction was disproportionate with the charge. To pursue an appeal, students must submit a written application within seven days of receiving the findings of the hearing. If everything is submitted on time and one of the permissible grounds is true, then the Appeals Panel will review the file and provide the student with a written decision.
Choose an Experienced Attorney-Advisor for Your Stony Brook University Defense
If you or your loved one has to manage Title IX or sexual misconduct allegations, you don't have to walk the path alone. Protect your future by finding an attorney-advisor with national experience. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have many years of experience successfully defending students. To learn more about how you can protect your future, call the Lento Law Firm at 888.535.3686 or reach out online.