Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policies, Procedures and Resources
The State University of New York at New Paltz values diversity of thought, expression, and experience and is committed to providing an employment and educational environment that models equity, inclusion and respectful exchange of ideas. The College recognizes that the creation or application of standards that adversely impact the equity of educational or employment opportunities, rights or benefits is detrimental to its vision. Therefore, in compliance with federal and state laws, discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, disability, veteran status, marital status, or sexual orientation is prohibited. The College further recognizes that passive compliance with laws is only one step to ensuring that we remain an employer of choice as well as an enriched learning environment. The Affirmative Action Officer will:
- Respond to and determine appropriate resolution for claims of harassment or discrimination.
- Work with college leaders, department leaders, and Human Resources to examine practices and procedures and recommend modifications or changes that work to enhance or support a culture of non-harassment and non-discrimination.
- Work with student leaders, faculty and administration to explore and raise awareness of the various dimensions of diversity and discrimination.
- Work collaboratively across constituencies to provide educational programming and opportunities for respectful exchange.
The goal is to comply with both the letter and spirit of the law, to raise awareness and create opportunities that enhance diversity and inclusion on campus.
If you identify yourself as a member of any of the protected classes and believe that you have suffered discrimination or have been denied access to opportunities, please direct your complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator within 90 days of the incident. You will be advised as to the formal and informal resolution processes available to you. The Affirmative Action Officer will assist in bringing to appropriate resolution claims of discrimination or harassment under Title VII and Title IX.
Each claim is unique in its facts and circumstances. In some cases, the evidence available may not be sufficient to determine that a violation has occurred. This does not conclude that the claim of harassment was true or untrue or that harassment never occurred, but only that, more evidence is needed before further action is taken. Any additional examples or further evidence of harassment would be investigated fully.
Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible, however, the College has a duty to address claims of harassment and prevent future occurrences. A summary of employer guidelines and the complaint process is provided below. Complete details on the formal complaint process can be found at http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=451
Supervisors play a critical role in prevention and correction. Supervisors must respond to inappropriate and/or offensive behaviors that they observe or otherwise become aware of; even if an employee does not file a complaint. All formal or informal complaints of harassment or discrimination must be reported to the Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO. The obligation applies even if:
- The employee asks that the complaint be kept confidential.
- The employee does not use the words "harassment" or "discrimination."
- The complaint appears to lack sufficient information.
All supervisory personnel (administrators, deans, directors, department chairs, supervisors, and resident directors) are responsible for properly responding to discrimination and harassment complaints. You are not expected to adjudicate or make decisions on the merits of the complaint. Rather you are encouraged to seek appropriate assistance and resources when faced with a complaint.
- Promptly report all such complaints to the Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO.
- Remain current with education and training in the area of discrimination and harassment prevention.
- Discourage discrimination and harassment and ensure compliance with this policy in your responsibility areas.
Reporting an Incident of Harassment, Discrimination or Retaliation
Reporting or Filing A Complaint
- Complaints made by employees regarding harassment on the part of an employee should be directed to the Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO within 90 days of the incident.
- The Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO will assist the complainant in defining the charge and provide information about both internal and external mechanisms through which the complaint may be filed.
- Complaints handled on campus may be filed pursuant to the SUNY Discrimination Complaint Procedure, and resolution of the complaint may be pursued through the informal and formal process outlined therein.
- The Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO has twenty-four (24) days within which to investigate the allegations and reach a resolution.
The informal process varies depending on the circumstances and the severity of the situation. In most cases, when pursuing an informal resolution, the Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO meets with the complainant and the accused, either together or separately, and seeks to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both parties. If a resolution is reached through this informal process, the case is closed. The resolution includes a written communication to the complainant and the respondent.
If the Executive Director for Compliance and Campus Climate/AAO is unable to resolve the complaint to the mutual satisfaction of the complainant and the respondent within the 24-day guideline, the complainant may choose to proceed to a formal request for a tri-partite committee hearing. The tri-partite committee is comprised of staff members who have been pre-selected and trained in the grievance investigation process.
The findings & recommendations of the tri-partite committee are forwarded to the College President, who will determine appropriate action, which may include, but is not limited to, discipline pursuant to Article 19, Discipline of the UUP Agreement, and appropriate sections of the CSEA, PEF, and NYSCOBA (SSU) and PBANYS (ALES) Agreements, respectively.
Policy Against Retaliation
No faculty member, administrator, staff member, student, member of the public or applicant for employment may be subject to reprisal or retaliation of any kind for claims or concerns raised in good faith. Any person who feels he or she has been subjected to such adverse actions should report this to the Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator. Anyone found to be engaging in retaliatory practices or behaviors may be found to be creating a hostile environment. Anyone found to knowingly file a false or malicious claim would be found to be in violation of this policy, and will be treated as a serious matter.
The State University of New York at New Paltz believes that employees and students deserve an environment that is free from sexual harassment or discrimination in any of its forms. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s continued employment, promotion, advancement or other condition of employment.
- Rejection of such conduct is used as retaliation or a basis for employment decisions affecting an employee or job applicant.
- Such conduct is intended to interfere with, or results in the interference of an employee’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
- Such conduct denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the educational institution’s program. In addition such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment
Types of Sexual Harassment include:
"Quid Pro Quo"("this for that," "something for something"), this is most often seen in circumstances where there is an actual or perceived imbalance of power. Quid Pro Quo harassment may be explicit (I will give you a good grade/promotion if you go out with me) or more subtle.
Hostile Environment is unwelcome, pervasive, or continuous harassment, including sexual harassment, which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment that prevents or interferes with an individual’s ability to work or study.
This is most often seen when a person or persons “sexualize” the environment in ways that result in fear, discomfort or an inability to function productively in work or learning. Explicit forms can be continuous remarks about somebody’s body or clothing, posting sexually explicit photos, or by engaging in sexually charged comments or conversation. This form of harassment is not necessarily about positional power: a peer, a superior, or a subordinate or individuals of the same sex can create a hostile environment.
- Each of us plays a role in creating the culture of our College and we must hold each other to a high standard of conduct and civility.
- You don’t have to have the answer! But if you think you have witnessed harassment or discrimination, report it to the Affirmative Action Officer.
- If someone reports an incident to you but does not specifically use the words “harassment” or “discrimination,” you should still report the concern to the Affirmative Action Officer.
- It is not the intent of the offending party that matters; it is the impact on the individual(s) or how that person(s) perceive to have experienced harassment.
- Third parties, whether or not they are the target of such harassment, may make a claim of a hostile work environment.
- Though the typical standard is “pervasive or continuous,” you should also be aware that a single act, if egregious or violent in nature, may be enough to constitute a hostile work environment.
What you can do to make a difference
- Use good judgment about professional, civil behavior and be aware that in a diverse community, there are diverse opinions on what is appropriate and what is offensive.
- If you see it or hear it, say “No!” Say it firmly, without smiling or apologizing. Ignoring the situation won’t change the behavior.
- Talk to the person involved if you feel you can. You might explain why you were offended by what occurred. Sometimes a person is unaware of how their actions are received. Raising awareness and clearing of the air may be all that is necessary.
- Keep a record of what occurred. Include direct quotes, witnesses, and patterns to the harassing behavior. Save any relevant cards, letters, voicemail or e-mail messages sent, however harmless they may seem.
- Take action. If the behavior persists or you are not comfortable addressing it yourself, discuss the situation with your supervisor and/or the AAO/Title IX Coordinator.
Acts of Bias and Bias Crimes
SUNY New Paltz does not condone or tolerate acts of bias or bias crimes. The behaviors that spur these acts are contrary to our mission and out goal of providing a safe, respectful and inclusive community. Hate crimes, also called bias crimes or bias-related crimes, are based in the perpetrator's bias against an individual victim or group based on perceived or actual personal characteristics, such as their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or expression, or disability. These are characteristics protected by law and as such penalties for bias-related crimes are very serious and range from fines to imprisonment.
In addition to preventing and prosecuting hate/bias crimes, the University Police Department also assists in addressing bias-related activities that do not rise to the level of a crime. Such activities should be reported immediately. These activities, referred to as bias incidents, are defined by the College as acts of bigotry, harassment, or intimidation directed at a member or group within the New Paltz community based on national origin, ethnicity, race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or expression, disability, veteran status, color, creed, or marital status.
If you believe you are a victim of or have witnessed a bias/hate crime, please contact UPD or the Office of Compliance and Campus Climate as soon as practicable.
Stalking is non-consensual, willful and continuous communication with, and/or harassment of another person. It is often malicious and may stretch over long periods of time. This type of harassment is based in power and stalkers are often attempting to directly or indirectly intimidate, threaten or create fear in one’s sense of safety. Stalking tends to escalate in both intensity and frequency over time and may lead to physical violence. Examples of stalking may include repeated following, repeated telephone calls and hang-ups; letters; unwanted gifts and packages; spreading harmful gossip; vandalism or theft. Stalkers may also enlist their friends to obtain information or to create opportunities for stalking.
Stalking or cyber stalking (the use of technology to stalk) are not usually physical but they can have real and devastating consequences:
Victims of stalking often experience continuous stress or anxiety and vulnerability. Over time these can cause a person to develop an all-consuming sense of fear. Stalking often disrupts or seriously impacts everyday activities. Victims of stalking often develop an inability to work or attend school, participate in social events, shop, etc. More serious impact can include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, problems sleeping and eating.
What do I do if I think I am being stalked/cyber stalked?
Take reasonable steps when you go out. Trust your instincts and common sense. Keep in mind risk reducing behaviors to stay and feel safe.
Tell someone! A friend, a teacher, a co-worker, the Dean of Students, or a Student Affairs staff member, Title IX/AA Officer, or UPD. We can work together to help support you.
Document the stalking. Keep track of what, where and when (dates and occurrences) of the unwanted communication. Don’t erase texts, social media posts, emails or voicemails and don’t destroy or discard any physical examples, such as unwanted letters or unwanted gifts.
Stalking and Cyber stalking are crimes. If you believe you are a victim of stalking or cyber stalking, you are encouraged to seek support and assistance. You can speak with the Title IX Coordinator/AA Office who will provide you with resources and options on reporting stalking/cyber stalking.
Laws and Policy Resources
Information on Title VII non-discrimination in employment
Information on Title IX non-discrimination
Information on veteran employment obligations
Information on the NYS Hate Crimes Act of 2000
Information on stalking
Information on partner violence
External Enforcement Agencies
Persons who choose to file a complaint with the College will not lose their right to file with an external enforcement agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the State Division of Human Rights, or The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The College may continue its investigative process as advised by SUNY Counsel’s Office and as long as it does not conflict with the jurisdiction of these outside agencies. Anyone raising a concern or complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator will receive information on internal as well as external enforcement resources.
Raising Awareness and Reducing Risk
Trusting your instincts and applying common sense are important to being and feeling safe. No one has the right to harass, sexually assault, physically or psychologically abuse or stalk you. Here are some strategies to help reduce the risk whether it’s sexual assault, relationship abuse, or stalking.
Tips for safety
- Try to park or walk in well-lighted, well-traveled areas. Avoid short cuts through dark, isolated areas.
- Know where campus blue light emergency phones are located.
- If you have access to a cell phone, keep it charged and with you when you are out.
- If you are walking or exercising with ear-buds, keep aware of your surroundings.
- When possible, walk or travel with others. UPD provides escort service (see http://www.newpaltz.edu/police/escort.html)
- Sign up for NP Alert http://www.newpaltz.edu/npalert
- If you are in immediate danger, dial 911 or call UPD (845) 257-2222
Reduce the risk of sexual assault
- Be mindful of or reduce the consumption of alcohol. This puts you in the best position to assess risk or risky behavior.
- Always have a safe plan to get home.
- Tell someone (a roommate or friend) where you are going and when you are expected back.
- You have a right to set and change limits! Say “No.” Say it firmly, without apologizing.
- Understand another’s right to set and change limits. No means no. Don’t negotiate the limit-respect the limit.
- Don’t assume previous consent means current consent.
- Don’t assume that there is a “signal” or “hint” inviting the behavior. Be sure that the person can and has given consent.
Some signs of an abusive relationship
- Feeling afraid in any relationship is not healthy. Listen to yourself if you are getting "bad vibes." Trust your instincts.
- Excuses or blaming you for the abusive behavior. You are not at fault!
- Know that even one instance of physical, verbal or emotional violence is too much. Often it can escalate.
- Be aware of shifts in the relationship, such as urging you to give up existing friendships or family connections, telling you what to wear, or with whom you can associate. That is control/possessiveness, not a relationship.
- Tell someone! A friend, a teacher, a co-worker, Student Affairs staff member, Title IX/AA Officer, or UPD. We can work together to help support you.
Reduce the risks of stalking/cyber stalking
- Limit the distribution of personal information, including home address and phone numbers. Be careful about what you choose to post on public websites or social media, such as Facebook.
- Getting to know someone is great, but be careful of anyone who seeks to obtain too much personal information about you too quickly.
- Don’t share passwords, pin numbers or personal documents such as licenses or ID.
- Fully shred all personal information before disposing of anything in the trash.
- Tell someone! A friend, a teacher, a co-worker, Student Affairs staff member, Title IX/AA Officer, or UPD. We can work together to help support you.