University Senate                                                                      Proposed: February 24, 2006

 

                                                                                                Adopted: Unanimously by voice vote   

 

 

RESOLUTION OF APPRECIATION

 

FOR THE WORK OF THE TASK FORCE ON SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

 

 

WHEREAS    sexual violence in all its forms threatens the well-being and the safety and dignity of the Columbia University community as a whole, and

 

WHEREAS    the Columbia University Senate has charged the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct with the duty to review, assess, and revise existing policies and procedures that address the issue of sexual violence within the Columbia University community, and

 

WHEREAS    the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct has, since February 2004, duly evaluated the existing policies in a process that involved seeking the advice and counsel of a wide array of members of the Columbia University community as well as that of experts on the issue of sexual violence;

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED              that the Senate accept, with gratitude, a substantial final report from  the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct that includes significant revisions of important facets of the current policy;

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED       that the Senate express its appreciation to the Task Force for two years of careful and thoughtful work, under sometimes difficult conditions.

 

                                                                                    Proponent: Executive Committee

 

 

 

 


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University Senate                                                                      Proposed: February 24, 2006

 

                                                                                                Adopted: As amended, by voice vote

 

 

RESOLUTION TO ADOPT

 

A NEW POLICY STATEMENT AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

 

BE IT RESOLVED   that in keeping with the recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct, the University Senate approve the new Policy Statement Against Sexual Assault (below).

 

                                                                                    Proponent: Executive Committee

 


Columbia University Policy Statement against Sexual Assault

Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College do not tolerate sexual assault of any degree and kind. The University community is committed to fostering a healthy and safe environment in which every member of the community can realize her or his fullest potential.

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.

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.

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. 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.

A student may choose to initiate disciplinary proceedings through Dean's Discipline, in which case s/he will file a complaint with theDean 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 who has been found to have violated this policy may be subject to sanctions including, but not limited to, reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension and dismissal. A student may also be barred from certain University facilities or activities, or asked to undergo an educational program. Penalties are imposed by the Dean of the student.s school in accord with University rules. The disciplinary authority of the University is vested by the Trustees in the President and the Provost and, subject to their reserved powers, in the Dean of each faculty. 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.

If a member of the community believes s/he has been sexually assaulted by an employee of the university, s/he is advised to contact:
Helen Arnold
Admin. Coordinator
701-A Lerner Hall
(212) 854 1717,
hva2002@columbia.edu

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University Senate                                                                      Proposed: February 24, 2006

 

                                                                                                Adopted: As amended, by voice vote without dissent

 

 

RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH

 

A PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SEXUAL ASSAULT

 

 

BE IT RESOLVED   that in keeping with the recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct, the University Senate ask the president to establish a standing Advisory Council on Sexual Assault consisting of administrators, faculty and student members, including at least one student Senator, which shall be charged with the following duties:

 

  1. Enact all recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct that are adopted by the University Senate.
  2. Reevaluate from time to time existing policies and procedures regarding sexual violence in the Columbia University community and present recommendations for revisions to the University Senate for approval.
  3. Collaborate with campus offices and organizations to expand and improve education, outreach and prevention in the area of sexual assault.
  4. Collaborate with campus security and health facilities to gather accurate information on the incidence of sexual assault in the Columbia University community.
  5. Oversee the selection of hearing panelists for the disciplinary procedure and receive the reports of the hearing panel in order to assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of the process.
  6. Submit an annual report to the President and to the Senate about ongoing campus-wide work to  address the issue of sexual violence.
  7. Ensure that all campus officials required to report under the Clery Act be trained as first responders and receive appropriate training on the online reporting mechanism.

 

                                                                              Proponent: Executive Committee

 

 

 

 


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University Senate                                                          Proposed: February 24, 2006

 

                                                                                    Adopted: As amended, March 31, 2006

 

 

 

RESOLUTION TO REVISE DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

 

FOR CHARGES OF STUDENT SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

 

BE IT RESOLVED   that in keeping with the recommendations of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct, the University Senate approve a revised set of disciplinary procedures (below) for students accused of sexual misconduct.

 

                                                                                    Proponent: Executive Committee

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 Administrator of the Disciplinary Procedures reports to the Advisory Council on Sexual Assault, 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 Advisory Council on Sexual Assault reports to the President.

..The Advisory Council on Sexual Assault 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 Advisory Council on Sexual Assault also selects a Board of Students to serve as Hearing Officers. Student 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 Procedures for Sexual Assault (DPSA) by submitting a written complaint to the DPSA Administrator.

..A Columbia student who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct, assault or violence committed by another Columbia student may begin proceedings under the DPSA by contacting the DPSA Administrator by phone, email, or office visit.

..At this first contact, the DPSA Administrator will explain the procedures, provide a written copy of the parties. rights and responsibilities, and assign to the student a DPSA Advisor to provide assistance, advice and support. The DPSA Advisor will follow up with 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. If charges are 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. If an allegation is made, but the respondent has continued enrollment in a different school within the Columbia University system, it becomes the discretion of the dean of the new school to agree to accept the allegation and refer the matter to the Office of Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault to convene a panel. If the dean does not agree, the student can pursue action outside the University.

..Only Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College students may avail themselves of the DPSA.

..Charges may only be brought against students who are currently enrolled in a school or on leave. In cases of students on leave, 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 DPSA 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, a written copy of the DPSA procedures, a written copy of the parties. rights and responsibilities, and a list of the possible range of penalties for a student found in violation of the policy. A student who has been found to have violated this policy may be subject to sanctions, including, but not limited to, reprimand, disciplinary probation, suspension and dismissal. A student may also be barred from certain University facilities or activities, or asked to undergo an educational program. Penalties are imposed by the Dean of the student's school in accord with University rules. The Administrator will explain the process, describe the parties. rights and responsibilities, and provide the name of the accused student's DPSA Advisor.

..The DPSA Administrator will inform the student that all of the proceedings and testimony may be subpoenaed for use in a civil or criminal case and that involvement in the University's proceedings does not protect a student from future prosecution.

..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. Under no circumstance will the respondent 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. Failure to respond to charges will not prejudice the hearing panel. Similarly, the student charging the violation may subsequently decide to withdraw the charge. 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, with 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.

4. Mediation

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 Columbia University community (staff or student).

.. 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, each 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.

..Neither party is entitled to legal representation (as that term is commonly understood) in the hearing procedure, though the member of the Columbia community serving as Advisor or Supporter may be an attorney by training. Either party is free to consult an attorney outside the hearing room

.. The parents of the parties are not permitted to serve as Supporters or to attend the hearing or the appeal.

6. Confidentiality Confidentiality about the proceedings, the participants in the proceedings, and the outcome of 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 do these requirements 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 with either 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 witnesses 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 they deem to be cumulative, irrelevant or disruptive.

.. The hearing is a fact-finding and adjudicative proceeding, and it is necessarily formal to a certain extent. However, it differs from courtroom process in a number of ways. A party is not entitled to cross-examine witnesses, though, as indicated in Article 9, both parties have the right at various stages of proceedings to submit questions to be put to witnesses. A party is not entitled to be present to confront witnesses or to confront the other party, though, as indicated in Article 10, every effort will be made to allow a party to watch the other party's testimony on closed-circuit television, so that he or she is aware in detail of the evidence that is being offered against him or her and thus has an opportunity to rebut it, in detail.

..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. Failure of the accused student to respond to questions should not prejudice the Hearing Panel.

..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 (30) 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.