Report of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct
Patricia E. Grieve (Ten., A&S), Chair; Rebecca Baldwin (student, School of Nursing and University Senate); Bethany Chase (student, School of Social Work and University Senate); Tara Coleman (student, Barnard College); Carlos Cuevas (student, Columbia College); Alyssa Gafford (student, School of General Studies); Kevin McCarthy (Head Coach, Women’s Soccer and CC ’85); Stephen O’Brien (NT, SEAS, and University Senate); Gary Okihiro (Ten., A&S); Brian Paquette (Student Affairs, Mailman School of Public Health); Susan Rieger (Associate Provost, Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action)
The Senate Task
Force on Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, which consists of Senate and
non-Senate members, conducted fourteen months of research and discussions (February
2004-April 2005), into the complex issues of sexual misconduct on college
campuses, specifically, incidences of sexual assault committed by students
against other students. This report describes how
The Task Force recognizes the many
I. Charge of the Task Force and Background of Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures
We were given a broad charge by the Executive Committee of the University Senate to examine Columbia’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, as it applies to Columbia students of all schools (except the Law School) since its inception in 1995 and revisions in 2000, and to make recommendations regarding the educational and support services, and the disciplinary hearing procedures.
In the 1990s, students and administrators
In 1995, the University Senate approved
the resolution to have a Sexual Misconduct Policy, and approved a skeletal set
of Disciplinary Procedures that would apply to all students of all
“The Task Force is making four specific recommendations to the Senate to form the basis for resolutions to be presented at a later meeting. Firstly, that education and information about the issue of sexual misconduct be expanded under the oversight of the President’s Advisory Committee on Security; secondly, that an office be created entitled Coordinator, Sexual Misconduct Education and Prevention to have responsibility for education and training of the community on the issue of sexual misconduct, to provide mandatory education on sexual misconduct for all students, to expand the distribution and availability of information about resources, including complaint processes, and to collect statistics on its incidence on campus; thirdly, that a specialized discipline procedure for cases of sexual misconduct be continued, and that other options, including the option for mediating such cases continue to be available; and, fourthly, that the form of the alternative procedure be changed as described below. The Task Force wishes to emphasize that the most important aspect of the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct is education and information. Four years after its initial creation, the Task Force heard from many witnesses that students were still not aware of the existence of the Policy, where to receive advice and counseling, or how to commence disciplinary proceedings. The responsibility for informing students of the University’s prohibition against sexual misconduct and the availability of support services and complaint procedures rests throughout the community, not only with deans and residence advisors, and the Department of Security, but with any member of the community who has occasion to advise students. Thus, a widespread campaign to publicize the University’s policy and procedures and to educate all members of the community of their responsibilities is necessary. The focus of this campaign should be that the University will not tolerate sexual misconduct on campus.” 
When the Senate voted in 2000 to adopt five resolutions that resulted from the 1998-1999 Task Force Report, they added the mandate that the policy and procedures be reviewed again three years later. Specifically, the Senate resolved to continue the University Policy on Sexual Misconduct; to improve education and training about and prevention of sexual misconduct, and oversight of the Sexual Misconduct Policy; to create a full-time position of Coordinator, qualified in the areas of sexual misconduct, to oversee the policy and to educate students and others about the existence of resources for counseling and disciplinary procedures. The resolution called for the President’s Advisory Committee on Campus Security to establish three standing subcommittees of a broad representation of the campus community of people with demonstrated interest in the work of the subcommittees. A first standing subcommittee would conduct ongoing assessment of the availability of resources and appropriate standards of behavior with respect to sexual conduct, about the responsible use of alcohol, and to evaluate methods of educating and informing students about the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct. A second President’s Advisory Committee subcommittee should review the method of compilation of statistics on the occurrence of reportable crimes on campus, and make recommendations for improving the accuracy and completeness of these statistics. Finally, a subcommittee would review, in confidence, all reports of hearing panels and appeals, and assess the effectiveness of the Disciplinary Procedure, the training of hearing panelists and other matters with respect to the review issues of statistical reporting, education with respect to sexual assault, and discipline involving members of more than one institution.
In September, 2003, the former director of OSMPE (Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Education), Misumbo Byrd, delivered a report to the Senate in which she expressed concerns and frustrations about OSMPE and what she believed to be a general lack of support for the office, its mission, and the University Policy and Procedures. In response to this, and in keeping with the Senate mandate of 2000, President Bollinger and the Senate agreed to establish a Task Force to review the policy and procedures, particularly the progress between the previous Senate Report of 1999 and the present.
II. Methods of the Task Force:
The Task Force conducted extensive research by reading all the materials available at Columbia that led to the establishment of the University Policy on Sexual Misconduct, and the activities and Senate resolutions that followed that initial creation of the Policy, by studying the policies, procedures, and institutional support services at other colleges and universities, articles on sexual assault in all its aspects, ranging from the kinds of physical and psychological trauma associated with sexual assault to the need for disciplinary hearing panelists to have specific training in order to understand how best to adjudicate such cases on a college campus, by inviting numerous guests to meet with the committee, and by meeting with and listening to the larger Columbia community.
In February 2004, the committee agreed to meet monthly. We also agreed to maintain strict confidentiality about the testimony of any speakers who requested it, and to respect the confidentiality of any specific cases we were informed about. In the spring of 2004, we met with General Counsel, representatives from the Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center at housed Barnard College, the staff and administrators of the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, who also run the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program, other Health Services staff, former staff and administrators of relevant programs and offices, representatives of student groups, including RSAP (Reform Sexual Assault Policy, formed in academic year 2003-2004), representatives of the Crime Victims Treatment Program at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, and deans from schools.
As we reported to the Senate at the end of April 2004, after spending the spring term trying to understand the function of the various offices on campus that deal with sexual violence, the kinds of, and reasons for, overlap of duties and resources, and the reasons for student confusion about the nature and availability of resources to deal with Sexual Assault in particular, the Task Force received a memorandum from VP for Student Services Lisa Hogarty, which informed the Task Force of a reorganization of offices and a reorganization of lines of reporting. Given the widespread concern by students about their perception that the University’s response to sexual violence on campus was often one of indifference and/or inadequate resources, and their view that the adjudication process was ineffectual and improperly located in Health Services offices, views which necessitated a very clear understanding by the Task Force of where all staff and resources lie and why, the Task Force became frustrated by having to start over learning about the offices. While we believe that the lack of notification of the plans to reorganize the offices we were striving to understand did not intend to undermine the work of the Task Force, it is nonetheless the case that some valuable time was wasted in the spring.
As the Task Force
had learned in spring 2004, the most successful campus policies have broad university
support and visibility, especially if the goal is a change in campus culture.
Moreover, we had learned through our research and discussions that athletes and
Greek life are often singled out (sometimes quite unfairly, in our view) in
articles about sexual assaults on campus. In the early fall of 2004, we
realized that the Task Force itself (especially after all four student members
graduated in May 2004) needed to represent a broader group of students, faculty
and administrators than it did. If the Task Force were to call for broad
university support for the resources on sexual violence and for a culture
change that would engage the entire community in raising awareness that
education and prevention of sexual violence rests with the whole community,
then an excellent place to start would be with the Task Force membership.
Students who joined the Task Force represented athletics, Greek life, RSAP (the
student committee formed in 2003-2004, Reform Sexual Assault Policy), Health
Sciences and Social Work. A coach, who is also a
In addition to
bringing the new Task Force members up to speed on the work of spring 2004, the
Task Force sent an email to the University community informing it of the Task
Force membership and individual contact information, the availability of a
private email account to contact the Task Force, and the scheduling of
community forums. The Task Force held open forums in November and December 2004
III. Findings of the Task Force
Current staff members in Barnard and
Those who participate in
The Task Force encountered widespread
student dissatisfaction with the policy and procedures for different reasons. Some
students believe that the problematic issues of sexual violence remain
unaddressed or marginalized at
Some students, and the members of RSAP in particular, expressed a desire for mandatory strict sanctions for a student found in violation of the Policy. Other students, including members of RSAP, told us that the sanctions recommended by the Hearing Panels were rejected by individual school deans, who imposed much less stringent sanctions. In particular, students objected to the sentence of community service for a student found in violation of the Policy. Students voiced concern over the underreporting of sexual assault on our campus either to campus security or to one of the offices that offers counseling services. Students were unhappy with the location of the Disciplinary Procedure, that is, as part of the office and duties of an administrator who works in education, prevention and counseling, and therefore as part of Student Services. For students whose concerns were perceived unfair treatment of the accused student, the issues were the hearing procedure itself and the location of the Office of Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Misconduct (ODMSM). Students objected to the fact that the complaining student would have developed a relationship with the Counselor, who then switches hats to become the Administrator who selects hearing panelists, notifies the accused student of the complaint, and serves as the coordinator, though not a hearing panelist, of the disciplinary procedures.
The confidentiality necessary in cases of
sexual assault becomes an impediment to clearing up misperceptions and
incorrect information. It is certainly possible that the Task Force did not
receive all pertinent materials. Nevertheless, we were provided with the
reports of the actual cases from the past three years, and in no case did a
dean overturn the recommended sanction of the hearing panel, even if the
sanction was suspension or expulsion. This is consonant with what the deans
themselves told us. Nevertheless, we recognize that it differs from what the
students recounted, although all but one student who reported this also
confirmed that they themselves had not been privy to the hearing process or the
reports. Secondly, it is the case that students found in violation of the
Policy have received sentences of community service. There are two issues here
for the Task Force. We join the students in objecting to the use of the phrase
“community service,” which society should see as a privilege and a
contribution, not a “sentence” in an educational institution. Nevertheless, as
we will address below in the recommendations, we would not preclude the
appropriateness of recommending some form of education for a student found in
violation of the Policy. That is, we did not find evidence that establishing
minimum sanctions of suspension or expulsion would necessarily serve
The Task Force agrees that underreporting
of sexual assault remains an important issue, a point that was made also in the
1999-1998 Task Force report, in which it noted that
The Disciplinary Hearing Procedure descriptions do not appear in complete form in any single publication or website on campus. In addition, over the years, they have suffered from ad hoc changes and additions, which have made them confusing and inconsistent. The overall result, though, is a contradictory series of descriptions of the hearing procedure, found in multiple websites in Health Services and in Facets, which has done nothing to alleviate student claims of unfairness in the proceedings. When the Senate adopted the resolutions of the previous Task Force, the media levied harsh criticisms against the University for the perception of a lack of protections for the accused. It appears that some changes to the procedures in the past few years, such as the installation of closed-circuit television, have sought to maintain the non-adversarial conditions of student disciplinary proceedings, while allowing both the accusing student and the accused student access to all aspects of the hearing process. Below, we provide a revised set of disciplinary procedures that brings together in one document everything students need to know.
The Task Force also found problematic the
location of the Disciplinary Procedure in Student Services. This is the only
case of an adjudication process located within Student Services, which makes it
a marginalized enterprise, in addition to the perception problems that students
commented on, which are noted above. Student Services has accommodated the
Office of Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Misconduct, but does not seek to
retain it. However, the problem remains that there is no central office of
judicial affairs for the campus. If there were a central office of student life
or student affairs, the disciplinary procedures could be housed there. The Ad
Hoc Grievance Procedures Report (April 2005) came to a similar conclusion, that
This points to another finding of the Task Force. The lack of central offices for student life and student affairs has meant that the entire enterprise of the Policy and Procedures has had no oversight, no ongoing evaluation, in spite of the earlier Senate Task Force’s recommendation and the Senate’s resolution that the President’s Advisory Council on Campus Security establish committees for that oversight and ongoing evaluation.
During our months of research and
discussions, the Task Force learned that many students remain unaware of the
Expert witnesses testified to the role of alcohol in nationwide incidents of student sexual assault. Not only do a significant number of a school’s incidents occur in the first six weeks of the fall semester, but intoxication almost always plays a role. The orientation programs address the responsible use of alcohol, but the Task Force believes that the programs needs to continue to emphasize these links, and work with the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Response throughout the academic year, and not just during orientation, when students receive an overwhelming amount of information. When students hear about sexual assault, they understandably resist the idea that it could pertain to any of them, most of them finding it inconceivable that they could be in such a situation, either as victim or perpetrator. And yet, as the cases in recent years have demonstrated, the combination of young adults living away from home for the first time, easy access to alcohol and an irresponsible use of it, and the fact that alcohol causes the falling away of inhibitions have resulted in situations that might have been prevented. In order to increase the chances of preventing sexual assault, the campus culture must support the importance of intervention, which comes with a campus culture that refuses to tolerate sexual assault, and of individual understanding of the potential consequences of putting oneself in unsafe situations. The Task Force found that the linkages between responsible use of alcohol and the prevention of situations of sexual violence need to be made more clear and stated more frequently. In addition, just as “friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” the community needs to be more proactive in sending the message that we do not tolerate sexual assault. In the case of students, this means a more proactive culture of intervention, in which friends and acquaintances help to protect another student who appears to be in a potentially dangerous situation, and too intoxicated to give consent, or to prevent a student from taking advantage of a student too intoxicated to give consent. Finally, the Task Force found that other institutions encourage self-defense courses and other proactive preventive measures for students who find themselves in dangerous situations.
In order to change a campus culture, not
only do the offices and programs need to be welcomed in the residence halls,
but students need to encourage a change in culture as well. The Task Force
commends the admirable efforts of
Sexual Harassment falls outside the
purview of the Task Force, but the email correspondence pointed to widespread
concerns that people feel powerless to deal with it. The Task Force received a
significant number of emails from Arts and Sciences graduate students, from
staff members on
During our fourteen months of work, the
Task Force found that too often lost in the discussions about the student
disciplinary procedures is the fact that this process must fit the University’s
educational mission and its commitment to a healthy living and learning
environment for all its members.
But student discipline is not a legal proceeding, nor can it be allowed to substitute for one. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to remember that both the accuser and the accused are students, and both must be treated fairly in the disciplinary process.
We may not be able to eradicate all dissatisfaction, but if we can clarify the intention of the policy and procedures, spell out what it intends and does not intend to do, and can construct a disciplinary procedure that is consonant with the University’s educational mission, with the educational component of its disciplinary procedures, and is transparent and respectful of both students, the accusing student and the accused student, we believe we will have accomplished a lot. However, without the ongoing support of a central office of student affairs or student life, or an office of judicial affairs for the whole campus, or at the very least, the establishment of the oversight committees within the President’s Advisory Committee for Campus Security, as called for in 1999, education and prevention will not be campus-wide initiatives, nor will there likely be a change in campus culture.
Our recommendations have four general categories:
2. Oversight of the sexual assault offices and programs in order to evaluate their effectiveness in meeting student and general community needs.
3. The current offices that deal with the sexual assault issues of education, prevention and outreach to the community, counseling and adjudication of sexual assault cases, and campus security.
4. The student disciplinary procedures since 2000 and the ad hoc changes to them that resulted in confusing and, even worse, contradictory procedures, which led to widespread perceptions of unfair and unequal treatment of students.
1. The Policy
The current policy is confusingly described in a number of ways, mixing policy and procedure, while calling it something different, sometimes “the statement on the policy,” among other unclear headings. In addition, in Facets, while reference is made to “the policy,” no actual policy statement appears, whereas on the websites that refer to sexual misconduct, a number of statements appear that differ from those in Facets. For example, on page108, the policy does not appear, but references are made to it, and to how the policy defines sexual misconduct. However, one cannot find the definition under the word policy anywhere, so we recommend merging the various components into one statement against sexual misconduct, which we propose should be called by its more accurate name, sexual assault. The revised policy may then be followed by a detailed description of the procedures for the university-wide disciplinary process.
The Task Force determined that the University community needs one strong and clear policy statement that declares its opposition to sexual assault. This policy statement should use straightforward language, and include information about the jurisdiction of the policy. The Policy Statement against Sexual Assault must be visible to the university community. Although the policy and procedures will continue to be in Facets, they must be online and easily found.
Recommended new statement:
Sexual assault is non-consensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks or breasts. Sexual Assault occurs when the act is committed either by a) physical force, violence, threat or intimidation; b) ignoring the objections of another person; c) causing another’s intoxication or impairment through the use of drugs or alcohol; or d) taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation, state of intimidation, helplessness, or other inability to consent.
Sexual Assault is a serious problem on college campuses throughout the country. To counteract this problem, the University provides educational and preventive programs, resources for individuals dealing with sexual assault, and accessible methods of complaint resolution.
In recognition of the sensitive nature of sexual assault cases, and the difficulties inherent in reporting, the University provides students with three options in seeking recourse. A student may choose to initiate disciplinary proceedings through Dean’s Discipline, in which case s/he will file a complaint with the dean of the school of the accused student. Alternatively, a student may choose to file a complaint using the University-wide Disciplinary Procedure. This procedure, established specifically to address allegations of sexual assault, ensures that the members of the committee hearing the case will be specially trained in adjudicating sexual assault. A student may seek to pursue a third option, the mediation of sexual assault cases, either through the University’s Ombuds Office or through the Office of Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault.
To fall within the jurisdiction of the University’s administrative procedures, the alleged sexual assault must have been committed by a student on a student.
The University encourages students who believe that they have been subjected to non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature to report these incidents, whether or not they choose to file an official complaint. Reporting enables the University to protect the complainant and the larger community by taking appropriate actions.
The Task Force recommends the
establishment of an oversight committee to evaluate the ongoing effectiveness
of offices, programs and the disciplinary process to meet student needs, and
the needs of the larger
education and prevention of sexual assault must be a tangible part of student
orientation and ongoing education within the
The Task Force revised the current
procedures to streamline them, establish timelines for when each step will take
place, and ensure lines of communication among all parties. In addition, the
Task Force recommends some new steps to the procedures. First, the Deans will communicate
to the Hearing Panel the sanctions imposed, if a student has been found in
violation of the policy. Second, if possible, the administrator or coordinator
of the Disciplinary Procedure should not be a counselor in the education and
prevention programs, but someone housed in a central office of judicial affairs
or of student life. If such a central office continues to be unavailable at
Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault
The Office of Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault
·The Office of Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault (ODPSA) administers the Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault (DPSA).
·The Office is run by an Administrator who oversees the administration of the Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault.
·The Administrator reports to the Committee on Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures, which provides general oversight of the Policy on Sexual Assault (PSA) and the Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault. Members of the Committee are chosen by the President and serve for three (3) years.
·The Committee on Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures reports to the President.
·The Committee on Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures selects a Board of Deans to serve as Advisors and Hearing Officers. Members of the Board of Deans serve a term of three (3) years. Each complainant and respondent is assigned an Advisor, from the Board of Deans, by the Administrator to provide assistance, advice and support during the hearing process.
·The Committee on Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures also selects a Board of Students to serve as Hearing Officers. Students Board Members may serve for no more than three (3) years.
· Each case is heard by a Panel of three (3) Hearing Officers, made up of two (2) deans and one (1) student, selected from the Board of Deans and the Board of Students by the Administrator. All Hearing Officers receive training on sexual assault prior to service. No deans or students from the school of either of the parties to a case may serve as Hearing Officers in that case. No dean may serve as an Advisor to a student in his or her school. No dean may serve as an Advisor and a Hearing Officer in the same case.
Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault
1. The Complaint
A student institutes a formal complaint under the Disciplinary Procedure for Sexual Assault (DPSA) by submitting a written complaint to the DPSA Administrator.
·At this first contact, the DPSA Administrator will explain the procedures and assign to the student a DPSA Advisor to provide assistance, advice and support. The DPSA will contact the student.
·If a criminal investigation is underway or if the student has chosen to file a complaint with the police or the District Attorney’s office, the DPSA cannot be invoked until there has been resolution of these outside procedures.
·To institute formal procedures, the student needs to file a written complaint.
·A student may bring charges while he or she is enrolled in the school he or she was enrolled in at the time of the alleged violation but in no instance more than one calendar year after the occurrence. If charges are timely filed against a student who is in his or her final semester but the hearing process has not been concluded by the end of term, the accused student’s diploma may be withheld pending a final disposition in the case.
·Charges may only be brought against students who are currently enrolled in a school or on leave. In cases of students on leave, if the charge has been timely filed, the hearing may be postponed until the accused student has re-enrolled. Charges may not be brought against non-students, graduated students, or students who have been permanently withdrawn.
2. Notice to the Accused Student
On receipt of the written complaint, the DPSA Administrator notifies the student accused of violating the University’s Policy on Sexual Assault (PSA) of the charges which have been filed against him or her and the disciplinary procedures which will be followed.
·The Administrator will set a date for the hearing.
·The DPSA Administrator will assign a DPSA Advisor to the student accused of violating the PSA for the purpose of providing assistance, advice and support with the disciplinary process.
·The DPSA Administrator will call the student accused of violating the PSA into the DPSA Office to inform him or her of the charges. During this meeting, the Administrator will provide a written copy of the complaint, a letter stating the charges and the date of the hearing, and a written copy of the DPSA procedures. The Administrator will explain the process, describe the parties’ rights and responsibilities, and provide the name of the accused student’s DPSA Advisor.
·After the accused student has received notification of the complaint, the DPSA Advisor shall contact him or her.
3. The Right to a Hearing
A student charged with violating the PSA is entitled to notice of the specific charges, an opportunity to be heard, and an opportunity to appeal the disposition of the case to the Dean of his or her school. A hearing under the DPSA is not a judicial proceeding; violations of the PSA do not subject the accused student to criminal penalties.
·An accused student is presumed not to have violated the PSA.
·The respondent shall be given at least 10 days notice of the hearing except in those rare instances when it may be necessary for reasons of safety or other exigency to schedule a hearing without advance notice. In the event of such a hearing, the normal process may be suspended though under no circumstance will the student be denied notice of the specific charge, the right to be heard and the right to appeal.
·While it is expected that an accused student will participate in the disciplinary process, he or she retains the right to decline participation; he or she cannot be required to respond to charges or to appear at a hearing. Similarly, the student charging the violation may subsequently decide to withdraw it. Neither of these decisions halts the disciplinary process. Once a complaint has been submitted, the Panel assigned to the case has the option to proceed with the hearing and render a decision based on the evidence provided, without or without the participation of the student bringing the complaint and/or the accused student.
·A charging student who wishes to withdraw the complaint and an accused student who does not wish to participate in the hearing process are advised to contact the Administrator to discuss their rights.
At any time after a complaint has been received, but prior to a decision being rendered by the Hearing Panel, the parties may agree to settle the matter between themselves with the help of a mediator and the Administrator.
·To pursue mediation, the interested party or parties must contact the Administrator.
The parties may not contact each other directly to discuss this option but must negotiate through the Administrator
·Mediation may be pursued only with the consent of both parties.
·If mediation is agreed upon, the Administrator will facilitate selection of a mediator. In the event the decision to proceed by mediation is made after the hearing has begun, the Panel will suspend the hearing to allow the mediation to proceed.
·If the parties are able to reach a resolution by mediation, the hearing will be concluded and the case closed. No further action may be taken.
·If the parties are unable to resolve their differences by mediation, the hearing will resume.
5. The Right to a Supporter
Both students are
entitled to have a Supporter present at the hearing. The Supporter must be a member of the
· Both the student bringing the charge and the accused student may decide whether or not to consult the designated DPSA Advisor after the initial contact between the Advisors and the students. In either case, the student has the right, in addition, to choose a member of the University community to serve as his or her Supporter through the process. An Advisor may not serve as a Supporter, but he or she may attend the hearing as an observer.
·A Supporter may not be a witness. If the Panel believes that a designated Supporter could be called as a witness, it will request that the Supporter be replaced.
·A Supporter’s function is to support the student. During the hearing, the Supporter may in a non-disruptive manner talk quietly or pass notes to the student; he or she may not pose questions or otherwise intervene in the process.
·Nothing in these procedures prohibits either student from consulting an attorney but neither is permitted to have an attorney present during the disciplinary hearing or appeal. The Supporter may not be an attorney.
·The parents of the parties are not permitted to serve as Supporters or to attend either the hearing or the appeal.
Confidentiality about the proceedings and the participants in the proceedings must be maintained by all individuals involved.
·The Administrator will inform both students of the requirements of confidentiality of the proceedings and the need to inform any potential witnesses of these requirements.
·The requirements of confidentiality do not prohibit either student from informing his or her family, a counselor, or a legal advisor of the charges and proceedings or from seeking assistance in his or her defense; nor does it prohibit either from speaking to potential witnesses.
·Breaches of the confidentiality of the proceedings or acts of retaliation against any student bringing a complaint constitute violations of the Sexual Assault Policy.
7. Constitution of the Hearing Panel
The hearing will take place before a Panel consisting of two deans and one student, all three chosen from a trained pool and all three having no school affiliation or other connection to one of the parties.
·Within ten (10) days of receiving the complaint, the DPSA Administrator shall constitute a Hearing Panel consisting of two deans and one student and notify the parties of its membership. The Administrator will inform the parties of their right to challenge any member based on a conflict of interest or prior acquaintance or association. The student member may be excluded by agreement of the two parties. The parties are given three (3) days after receiving notification of the Panel’s constitution to register their objections to any member. All Panelists have received training on sexual assault prior to service.
8. Timetable for the Hearing
Under ordinary circumstances, the hearing shall be set to begin no less than ten (10) and no more than thirty (30) days after the accused student has received written notice of the complaint and a copy of the complainant’s written statement.
9. Presentation of Evidence
Both the student bringing the complaint and the accused student will be given the opportunity to make a statement, present witness testimony, offer documentary evidence, and provide rebuttal testimony and evidence. Copies of all written documents submitted by either party to the Administrator in preparation for the hearing will be given to the Panel and to the opposing party.
·In advance of the hearing, the accused student is advised to provide to the Administrator a written response to the charge, a description of the evidence he or she would like to present, a list of witnesses to be called, and a set of questions to be put to the student bringing charges and the witnesses to be called.
·The student bringing the charge may also submit a description of the evidence he or she would like to present, a list of witnesses to be called, and a set of questions to be put to the accused student and the witnesses to be called.
·The Panel will determine the witnesses to be called, the questions to be asked of them, and the documents to be reviewed as deemed necessary to assure fairness for the parties and to observe the safeguards of these Disciplinary Procedures. See e.g. Nos. 3 and 11.
·At least three (3) days in advance of the first session of the hearing, the parties shall submit to the Administrator for distribution to the Hearing Panel a brief summary of the anticipated testimony of each of their witnesses. In the event the Panel decides to hear a witness's testimony, the brief summary will be provided to the other party, if possible, two days in advance of the witness's appearance.
·The Administrator will schedule the appearance of witnesses, advise them about the procedure, and notify them of the requirements of confidentiality.
·During the hearing, both students will have the opportunity to submit questions before a witness testifies, during a break in testimony, and after a witness has testified. Witnesses may be recalled and questioned by the Panel as it deems necessary in the interest of fairness.
· Parties may offer the names of rebuttal witnesses to be called; they may also offer rebuttal evidence. The Panel may call rebuttal witness and admit rebuttal evidence as it deems necessary in the interest of fairness.
10. Testimony by Closed-Circuit Television
At the request of one of the parties, provisions will be made for each to watch a simultaneous transmission of the other’s testimony on closed-circuit television, rather than have them present in the same room to hear the other testify. The Panel may also decide that in some circumstances witnesses' testimony should be made available to the parties by simultaneous closed circuit-transmission.
11. Hearing Procedure
During a hearing, the Hearing Panel shall make all procedural decisions they deem necessary to assure fairness and avoid undue delay.
·The Hearing Panel will determine the admissibility, relevance, and materiality of the evidence offered, and may exclude evidence or witnesses which they deem to be cumulative, irrelevant or disruptive.
· The hearing is not an adversarial courtroom-type proceeding. Conformity to the legal rules of evidence is not required. A party does not necessarily have the right to be present to hear other parties or witnesses or to cross examine them.
·Prior to and during the hearing, at the discretion of the Panel, extensions of time may be granted to either party for good reason.
·The Hearing Panel may stop the hearing at any time if any person becomes disruptive.
·An accused student has the right to testify in his or her own defense but may choose not to do so. In the event either the complainant or accused chooses not to appear or to testify, he or she will be informed that the Hearing Panel may nonetheless proceed to a decision.
·Either party may submit evidence of the history of any sexual relationship between the parties. If either party submits such evidence, then the other party has the right to rebut that evidence.
·The prior sexual history of either party, other than the history of a sexual relationship between the parties, is not admissible in the hearing, except testimony submitted by a party concerning his or her own sexual history.
·A verbatim transcript of the hearing will be kept for the use of the Panel and for purposes of appeal.
·The Hearing Panel may seek guidance from the Office of General Counsel at any time prior to or during the hearing with respect to procedural issues.
12. Closing Statements
Before the Panel retires for its deliberations, each party shall have the opportunity to present a written or oral argument, based on the evidence submitted, in support of his or her position. Both parties may also submit an “impact statement” to the Panel. In the event of a finding of a violation of the Sexual Assault Policy, the Panel may consider the impact statements in making a recommendation for a penalty; it shall not consider impact statements in the absence of the finding of a violation.
13. The Panel’s Findings
After considering all the evidence offered at the hearing, the Panel shall determine whether the accused student has violated the PSA. It shall then notify the parties and the Dean of Students of the accused student’s school of its decision. In the event the Panel concludes that a violation of the PSA has occurred, the Panel shall recommend a sanction to the accused student’s Dean of Students.
·All deliberations of the Hearing Panel will be held in private.
·In making its determination the Panel will rely on the evidence, testimonial and documentary, offered at the hearing. As part of the decision process, the Panel shall prepare a written report, summarizing the evidence, stating the rationale for the decision, and, in the appropriate case, recommending a penalty.
·For there to be a finding of a violation of the PSA, the Panel need not be unanimous but both deans must be convinced by clear and convincing evidence that the violation has occurred.
·In the event the Panel determines there has been a violation of the PSA, it shall submit its written report to both students and to the Dean of Students of the accused student’s school.
The Panel shall also reconvene the parties to inform them of the findings. If it is not possible for all members of the Panel to attend this session, they shall designate a member or members to represent the Panel.
·If the student member of the Panel disagrees with the Panel’s findings, he or she may write a dissenting report to be submitted to the Dean of Students of the accused student’s school together with the written report submitted by the deans.
·In the event the Panel determines there has been no violation of the PSA, it shall provide a summary report to both students and notice of its finding to the Dean of Students of the accused student’s school. It shall submit the written report to the Administrator for the ODPSA files.
14. The Imposition of Sanctions
When a violation has been found and a penalty recommended, the Dean of Students of the accused student’s school may choose to implement or modify the Panel’s recommendation; he or she cannot change the Panel’s finding. Penalties include but are not limited to probation, suspension, or dismissal. They may also include a prescribed educational program.
·The Dean of Students of the accused student’s school will inform both students, the Panel, and the DPSA Administrator of the penalty to be imposed.
·The Dean of Students will also inform the accused student of his or her right of appeal.
15. The Appeals Process
A student found to have violated the PSA has the right to appeal the decision and the penalty to the Dean of his or her school.
·The student must submit the appeal within thirty (300 days of receiving notice of the penalty imposed by the Dean of his or her school.
·The Dean will send notice of the appeal to the Panel and to the DPSA Administrator
·The appeal must be in writing and clearly state the grounds for the appeal.
·The Dean is expected to rely upon the written record of the hearing; he or she may consult with the Panel members but ordinarily he or she will not conduct a new factual investigation or consider new evidence.
·The standard for review is whether the decision made and the penalty imposed are reasonable under all of the circumstances of the case.
·Both parties, the Panel and the DPSA Administrator will be informed of the outcome of the appeal.
·There is no further right to appeal within the University.
Appendix: Proposed poster/website page “If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, support is available.”
 The Task Force would like to thank members from spring 2004, Margo Amgott (Health Services), Coco Fusco (NT, Arts and Senate), and four students who graduated, Alida Bouris (Social Work and Senate), Melanie Flamm (Barnard), Brian Pompeo (School of Public Health and Senate), and Jax Russo (Columbia College). We would also like to thank Rachel Efron (Health Services) for her invaluable help last year.
 The Columbia Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedure may be found at www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/eoaa/docs/discrim_sexharass.html and in Facets pp. 104-08.
Particularly troubling was the fact that most of the email correspondence
expressed concerns about sexual harassment at
 In some
colleges and universities, the general term “sexual misconduct” refers to any
violation of codes of conduct that is sexual in nature. In such cases, “sexual
misconduct” is then broken down into categories such as the broad “sexual
violence” (which can refer to sexual assault in general or to any abuse
occurring in intimate relationships), or sexual harassment and sexual assault.
It is rare to find the term “sexual misconduct” used to refer exclusively to
sexual assault, as
 The full report may be found at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/senate/annual_reports/99-00/TF1299.html.
 The full text of the Senate resolutions may be found at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/senate/resolutions/99-00/TF022500.html.
 In addition to the similarity of office names and overlap of responsibilities, we noted that the signage in Lerner did not match the names and acronyms of the offices themselves.
 The extensive website of the Department of Justice Violence against Women Office (VAWO) provides useful data and helpful information on sexual assault, including reporting to police and seeking medical attention, myths and facts about sexual assault, awareness information on sexual assault and violence against women online resources: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo/SexAssaultInfo.htm.
 Studies confirm that recidivism in cases of sexual offenses remains a major problem.