2.8 Safety and Health Policies

2.8.3 Rape, Other Sexual Offenses, and Sexual Harassment

2.8.3 Rape, Other Sexual Offenses, and Sexual Harassment

2.8.3.1 Rape and Other Sexual Offenses

While Ithaca College has had a relatively low number of reported rapes on campus, incidents of rape and other forms of sexual offense have been increasing on college campuses nationwide in recent years. As an institution of higher education that believes in and promotes the rights and safety of all members of the campus community, Ithaca College will not tolerate such crimes on campus. Because both women and men may be the victims of sexual offenses or find themselves giving support to someone who has been a victim, the College is committed to educating all students about common circumstances that can lead to such offenses, possible methods of prevention, procedures for reporting offenses, and the laws and penalties related to them.

It is important for everyone to learn about sexual offenses since everyone is vulnerable to them. Your close friend, the person you are dating, or even you could one day become a victim of a sexual offense. Many people have had one or more incidents of sexual offense in their past, and some may not have fully dealt with the repercussions. All of us can benefit from a greater awareness and knowledge of the subject.

2.8.3.1.1 Definition of Rape

There are many kinds of sexual offense, ranging from harassment to rape. Although the legal definition of rape varies slightly from state to state, it is generally defined as sexual intercourse that is perpetrated without the consent of the victim. Sexual intercourse must occur for the definition of rape to apply.

Stranger Rape-The rape incidents we most frequently hear about in the media are stranger rapes, assaults in which the perpetrator and the victim do not know each other. While this form of rape is most widely publicized and perhaps most frequently reported, the more common form of rape, especially on college campuses, is acquaintance rape.

Acquaintance Rape-Acquaintance rape is the term used to describe rape in which the victim knows the perpetrator. The acquaintance may be a date or friend of the victim or someone the victim knows only casually. The same criminal laws and penalties apply to both acquaintance rape and stranger rape. Many of the acquaintance rapes committed on college campuses follow similar patterns. They often occur in an isolated setting such as a student's room. Frequently, the students involved in these assaults have been drinking or using drugs. An intoxicated victim may be unable by law to give consent to sexual intercourse. Use caution in situations involving

  • someone you don't fully trust
  • use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • group parties that may be conducive to peer pressure
2.8.3.1.2 Sexual Rights and Responsibilities
  • Every person's wishes and decisions need to be respected. Accept the fact that "no" means no. When someone says no, he or she means it. Don't read other meanings into the answer. Don't coerce a person to change his or her mind. If the person you are with agrees to have sex and then changes his or her mind at any time, you must respect that decision.
     
  • Don't assume that someone wants to have sexual activity or intercourse based on his or her nonverbal cues, such as style of dress, flirtatious acts, mannerisms, or silence. People have the right to dress and act the way they want without having to worry about being sexually assaulted.
     
  • Communicate your intentions as well as your sexual limits clearly. Ask your partner whether physical contact is okay. Don't interpret passivity or silence as permission.
     
  • Don't assume that previous permission for intimate contact applies to the current situation. If you have had sex with someone before, don't assume that he or she has agreed to have sex in the future.
     
  • If someone starts to offend you, firmly tell him or her to stop. Be assertive.
     
  • Avoid excessive use of alcohol and drugs as they can interfere with clear thinking and effective communication.
     
  • Trust your feelings. If you sense that you are being pressured into unwanted sex, make your feelings clear and, if possible, take steps to ensure your safety (including leaving the situation).
2.8.3.1.3 New York State Laws Pertaining to Sexual Offenses

The following information is intended to provide an overview of state laws regarding sexual offenses and their penalties. Please note that this is not an exhaustive or definitive list of such laws but rather is meant to indicate the kinds of conduct that are illegal and the range of penalties that may be imposed for such conduct.

Sexual Misconduct--Sexual misconduct is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent or engaging in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct with another person without that person’s consent. Penalties--The maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and/or one year in jail.

Rape--Rape is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion or by engaging in oral sexual conduct or anal intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent. Penalties--The rape statutes are classified as felonies with penalties of up to 25 years' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Criminal Sexual Act--Criminal sexual act is defined as engaging in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct by forcible compulsion or by engaging in such action with a person who is incapable of consent. Penalties--The criminal act statutes are classified as felonies with penalties of up to 25 years' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Sexual Abuse and Aggravated Sexual Abuse--Sexual abuse and aggravated sexual abuse are defined as subjecting another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion or subjecting another person who is incapable of consent to sexual contact. The use of a foreign object or finger inserted in the vagina, urethra, penis, or rectum constitutes aggravated sexual abuse. Penalties--The penalty for a sexual abuse offense may range from three months' imprisonment and/or a $500 fine to 25 years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine. Some types of sexual abuse may be classified as felonies.

2.8.3.1.4 Definitions According to New York State Penal Law

"Sexual intercourse" has its ordinary meaning (penis to vagina penetration) and occurs upon any penetration, however slight.

"Oral sexual conduct" means conduct between persons consisting of contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the anus, or the mouth and the vulva or vagina.

"Incapable of consent" refers to a person who is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated (by a narcotic or intoxicating substance taken or administered without consent), physically helpless, or under 17 years of age.

"Forcible compulsion" means to compel by the use of physical force or a threat (expressed or implied) that places a person in fear of immediate death or physical injury to himself or herself or to another person.

"Physically helpless" means that a person is unconscious or otherwise physically unable to communicate an unwillingness to act.

2.8.3.1.5 Reporting Rape and Other Sexual Offenses

Unfortunately, many victims of sexual offenses remain silent, not seeking help from family, friends, or authorities. It is important to remember that the reporting of such crimes provides the College and the community with the opportunity to identify the person responsible and address the factors that might prevent such an occurrence in the future. Reporting a sexual offense quickly is important to preserving evidence that may be necessary to prove the offense occurred. Ithaca College provides medical, psychological, investigative, and other support services to assist victims of rape or other sexual offenses in dealing with the inevitable repercussions of such a traumatic event. In addition, the victim may receive assistance in changing his or her on-campus living and academic situations after an alleged sexual assault incident, if such changes are reasonable and available. The College also provides for the use of a "safe room," if available, for short periods of time whenever a victim needs or wishes to be relocated immediately from the residence hall room.

If you are a recent victim of a sexual assault and would like to discuss your options regarding medical care or psychological care, you can contact the Counseling Center (607-274-3136) or the Hammond Health Center (607-274-3177). If you would like to discuss judicial or criminal action options, you can contact the Office of Public Safety (607-274-3333). In any case, the services of a victim advocate from the Advocacy Center will be offered to you. Whether or not you want to pursue legal action, immediate psychological support is available through the Counseling Center, and your medical needs can be attended to at the Health Center. Contacting any of these offices in no way commits you to a course of action. You will remain in charge of decisions about your care.

If you were a victim of a sexual assault in the past and would now like counseling and support, such assistance is available to you at the Counseling Center.

Counseling Center -- The Counseling Center (607-274-3136) is located on the ground floor of the Hammond Health Center and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For emergencies that cannot wait until the next business day, a counselor is on call in the evenings and on weekends when the College is in session. The counselor on call can be reached by calling the Health Center (607-274-3177) or the Office of Public Safety (607-274-3333). The nurse on duty at the health center may ask for brief background information prior to paging the counselor on call, but the only information you need to give is your first name and a telephone number. You will receive immediate, confidential counseling and support. A counselor can also help you determine the need for medical attention and advise you regarding the importance of preserving possible evidence should you wish to file judicial charges or a criminal complaint. That counselor can also assist you in coping with the effects of your assault.

J. David Hammond Center for Student Health Services -- The clinical staff at the Hammond Health Center is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. while classes are in session and can coordinate your confidential medical evaluation. The health center can also assist with information about and prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The Advocacy Center -- Ithaca College uses the services offered by the Advocacy Center in helping victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and dating violence. The Advocacy Center provides sexual assault and dating violence prevention education programs targeted to general audiences and men-only groups. They also provide workshops on topics of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) victimization. The Advocacy Center also provides supportive counseling, advocacy, a 24-hour hotline (607-277-5000), accompaniment, information and referral, support groups and therapy. Services are provided by staff, trained volunteers, and clinical consultants. The advocate will counsel you by providing information regarding the possibility of a law enforcement investigation into the incident as well as medical and counseling resources that are available. She will also accompany you through whatever process you select. If you report that you have been the victim of a sexual assault, Ithaca College staff will explain services to you and assist you in using services, if you so choose. This assistance from the Advocacy Center can be in addition to the medical, psychological and campus public safety services already provided to victims by Ithaca College. All Advocacy Center services are confidential and free of charge.

SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) -- Victims of sexual assault in all areas of Tompkins County, including the City of Ithaca and Ithaca College, are offered the services of a program called SANE. The service is offered to anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The SANE program is a team consisting of specially trained nurses, rape crisis and sexual abuse advocates, doctors, and law enforcement officials that assist survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse with their medical, emotional and legal needs. The purpose of the program is to provide skilled and sensitive treatment as well as to collect forensic evidence. If the victim of a sexual assault chooses to report the crime to a law enforcement agency, the evidence can be used to arrest and prosecute the offender. The SANE program is co-sponsored locally by The Advocacy Center and Cayuga Medical Center.

For a list of other support services, see section 2.8.3.4.

Pursuing Judicial and/or Criminal Action -- In addition to seeking medical assistance and emotional support, you have the right to choose to pursue criminal action and, in the case of an on-campus incident, to provide the College with information to pursue judicial action. The decision to pursue judicial action for an on-campus incident in no way restricts you from also filing criminal charges.

On-Campus Incidents (Office of Public Safety) -- The Office of Public Safety (607-274-3333) investigates reported sexual offenses that occur on the Ithaca College campus. The Office of Public Safety will discuss with you your rights and the procedures involved in pursuing criminal charges. If you file a complaint with the Office of Public Safety, the office will keep you informed of the investigation status. Incidents that are classified as felonies are usually investigated jointly by the Office of Public Safety and the Tompkins County District Attorney's Office. The Office of Public Safety works cooperatively with other law enforcement agencies during investigations.

Alleged violations of the Ithaca College Student Conduct Code will be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs (607-274-3375). This office will take judicial action against any student involved in an act that threatens the safety and welfare of another individual. Judicial action is pursued according to the procedures outlined in the student conduct code. A victim of a sexual offense has additional rights under the Student Conduct Code (see section 7.1.2 of Volume VII).

The possible sanctions that can be imposed as a result of determination of responsibility in a case of sexual offense follow the same range of sanctions available for any policy violation at Ithaca College. The College reserves the right to summarily remove a student from College housing or from the College campus pending a judicial hearing when such action is necessary to ensure the protection and welfare of the College community.

Off-Campus Incidents -- Incidents that occur off the Ithaca College campus are investigated by the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction. All support services listed in this section are available to you regardless of where the incident took place. The Office of Public Safety can help you in identifying the appropriate investigative agency or agencies and in contacting them.

All investigations, regardless of the location of the incident, are conducted in cooperation with other support efforts such as counseling and medical services. Criminal prosecution of incidents that occur on campus or elsewhere in Tompkins County is coordinated and conducted by the Tompkins County District Attorney's Office.

Rape and Abuse Crisis Hot Line -- Victims of sexual assault and relationship violence can also call the Advocacy Center 24-hour Hot Line (607-277-5000) for counseling and support services beyond those available at Ithaca College. You can choose to call the hotline anonymously.


2.8.3.2 Sex Offender Registry and Access to Related Information

Incarceration may remove a sex offender from the streets but it does nothing to prevent the offender from committing another crime when released.

The Federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, enacted on October 28, 2000, went into effect October 28, 2002. The law requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement agency information provided by a state concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in a state to provide notice, as required under state law, of each institution of higher education in that State at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student.


2.8.3.2.1 Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA)

By Chapter 192 of the Laws of 1995 signed into law by Governor George E. Pataki on July 25, 1995, the Sex Offender Registration Act-Correction Law Article 6-C (SORA) established a Sex Offender Registry within the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The SORA was enacted to assist local law enforcement agencies to protect communities by: 1) requiring sex offenders to register with the State; and, 2) providing information to the public about certain sex offenders living in their communities. The SORA took effect, and became operational on January 21, 1996.

While modeled upon the provisions of the federal Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, the SORA recognizes concerns unique to the State of New York. An individual is designated a sex offender based on conviction for a New York State offense or an attempt to commit an offense that correlates with the Wetterling requirements. The SORA also requires registration of those individuals convicted in another jurisdiction if the offense is equivalent to a New York State registerable offense. Individuals convicted of certain enumerated sex offenses or sexually violent offenses on or after the effective date of the Act must register with the Division. Additionally, any person convicted of a qualifying offense that was incarcerated or under parole or probation supervision on that date is included in the Sex Offender Registry.

The following web sites give direct information relative to advising the Ithaca College community where law enforcement agency information provided by New York State concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained.

http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/

NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services

http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/nsor/index.htm

New York State Sex Offender Registry: Information about the New York State Sex Offender Registration Act

Search: Subdirectory of High-Risk (Level 3) Sex Offenders

Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA)

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Sex Offender Registry Information Line 1-800-262-3257


2.8.3.3 What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. As such it is illegal and unethical, and will not be tolerated at Ithaca College.

Sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be demands for sexual favors in which a student's right to participate in or benefit from any College-sponsored program or activity (e.g. student employment, classes, residence life) is conditioned on his or her acquiescence to those demands. It can be graphic images of a sexual nature such as graffiti, posters, or pinups; it can be verbal remarks like constant sexual banter or taunting, or repeated unwelcome invitations for dates; and it can be physical conduct like unwelcome hugging, coerced kissing, or physical assault. There are power imbalances that naturally exist in the relationships between faculty or staff members and students. As a result, it is a violation of the Ithaca College sexual harassment policy (see section 2.6), if a faculty or staff member is involved in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a student over whom he or she has supervisory, instructional, or evaluative authority. This rule applies even if the relationship is consensual.

A student can be harassed by another Ithaca College student, by a College employee, or even by someone visiting the campus or attending a College-sponsored event but who has no formal association with the College.

2.8.3.3.1 What Should You Do?

Ithaca College is committed to ensuring that sexual harassment does not occur in any area or activity of the College. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment, a number of individuals on campus can assist and advise you.

Informal approaches to resolution and formal complaints of sexual harassment are handled by the Office of Employee Relations if the accused harasser is an employee, and by the Office of Judicial Affairs if the accused harasser is a student. You are encouraged to contact either office with any questions about sexual harassment.

Depending on the circumstances, you may want to discuss the situation with a supervisor (if the problem is related to employment) or with your residence director, area coordinator, or another professional staff member in the Office of Residential Life.

Help is also available at the Counseling Center (607-274-3136). If you think your physical safety may be in jeopardy, you should contact the Office of Public Safety (911 from any Ithaca College phone or 607-274-3333 from a non-College phone) right away.

2.8.3.3.2 What are the Procedures?

Complaints in which Ithaca College employees (staff and faculty) are accused of sexual harassment are addressed through the Ithaca College Guidelines for Resolving Discrimination Complaints. Complaints in which a student is accused of sexual harassment are addressed through the Ithaca College Student Conduct Code (Volume VII, section 7.1). Complaints against individuals who are not formally associated with the College should be referred to the Office of Employee Relations.

The College will respond to complaints of sexual harassment promptly and equitably. Retaliation against individuals bringing complaints will not be tolerated, and confidentiality will be maintained as far as it is possible and practicable. Individuals found in violation of the sexual harassment policy are subject to disciplinary action, the nature of which shall be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Copies of the Ithaca College Sexual Harassment Policy (see section 2.6), and the Ithaca College Guidelines for Resolving Discrimination Complaints (see section 2.7) are available at the Office of Employee Relations. Copies of the Ithaca College Student Conduct Code are available at the Office of Judicial Affairs, East Tower lobby; and in Volume VII, section 7.1.2.


2.8.3.4 Counseling and Support Services

Director of Employee Relations

Assistance in resolving incidents of illegal discrimination and sexual harassment through informal problem solving or formal complaint procedures.

Cayuga Medical Center at Ithaca Emergency Room

Physicals, medical exams, lab work, crisis counseling, and referrals. 101 Dates Drive, Ithaca. Emergency room: 607-274-4411.

Chaplains

Counseling, support, and referrals. Muller Chapel. 607-274-3103

Counseling Center

Confidential, short-term counseling, crisis intervention, consultation, and referrals. Hammond Health Center, ground floor. 607-274-3136.

Hammond Health Center

In cases of rape, physical examinations can be conducted by a physician at the Hammond Health Center. The center also offers lab work and referrals. 607-274-3177.

The Advocacy Center

A 24-hour hot line; individual and group counseling also available.

Hot line: 607-277-5000. Information: 607-277-3203.

Residential Life

Residence directors and resident assistants have training in problem solving, listening, and referral. East Tower lobby. 607-274-3141.

Support Groups

The Mental Health Association of Tompkins County has up-to date information on support groups for women who have been sexually assaulted and battered women's groups. 518 West State Street, Ithaca. 607-273-9250.


2.8.3.5 Education

Ithaca College attempts to educate students regarding rape and other sexual offenses in a number of ways.

2.8.3.5.1 Safety Awareness Committee

The Safety Awareness Committee is a staff, faculty, and student group committed to educating the campus community on various safety issues/topics. This committee also encourages crime prevention through programming and a variety of publicity strategies.

2.8.3.5.2 Office of Public Safety

The Office of Public Safety and its trained staff also assist in the promotion of personal safety and the prevention of crime, including rape and other sexual offenses. The campus "Daily Crime Log" is compiled by the Office of Public Safety and made available for publication in the Ithacan as well as the Office of Public Safety's web site (/sacl/safety/) to alert the campus community promptly to crime incidents and to heighten student awareness regarding safety issues. Through its many educational efforts and services, described elsewhere in this section, the Office of Public Safety actively promotes safety and advises and updates the campus community about security procedures.

2.8.3.5.3 Health Promotion Committee

The Health Promotion Committee is responsible for raising awareness and providing programming regarding a variety of health issues, including substance abuse prevention, sexual health, fitness and exercise, nutrition and body image, relationships, and mental health issues. The committee provides workshops, peer advocacy support, research and evaluation with the goal of encouraging students to make informed and responsible decisions about personal and community health.

Last Updated: January 14, 2014