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Sexual Misconduct

Confidential Sexual Assault Resources [pdf]

Health and Wellness Center Information about Sexual Assault

Sexual misconduct is prohibited at St. John Fisher College. For the purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct includes sex discrimination, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation. 

St. John Fisher College recognizes that sexual misconduct affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background.

The College recognizes its responsibility to develop and implement educational programs to help its students and employees to recognize and address sexual misconduct and/or remedy the effects of sexual misconduct and is committed to the prevention and/or reoccurrence of sexual misconduct in the College community.

Sexual Misconduct On or Off Campus (Jurisdiction)

Students are encouraged to seek support for and/or report sexual misconduct that occurs on or off campus.  Students will be held accountable for allegations of sexual misconduct on-campus. Additionally, students may be held accountable for allegations of sexual misconduct which happen off College property, including study abroad, internships and/or online if, in the judgment of the College, the ongoing effects of the alleged behavior(s) impact the College community and/or any member of the community.

Defining Sexual Misconduct

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination can come in multiple forms including:

  • Unequal educational services based on sex
  • Biased selection criteria that disfavor one sex
  • Gender stereotyping
  • Acts of aggression directed at another because of that individual's sex
Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate-partner violence, also referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence, includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence or abuse against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with an another person. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate-partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, or violence or threat of violence to one's self, one's sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner.

Intimate-partner violence includes, but is not limited to:

  • Physical violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Emotional violence
  • Economic abuse
  • Intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Property damage
  • Use of any form of communication, including electronic, to perpetrate any of the above is prohibited
Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and can involve any two persons or groups of persons. Forms of sexual harassment can include:

  • Stalking
  • Implied or overt threats or negative outcomes if someone refuses sexual advances
  • Unspoken sexual innuendo (for example, voice inflection or gazing at parts of the body other than the face)
  • Remarks of a sexual nature about an individual's body or appearance
  • Sexual jokes and shaming
  • Sexually suggestive pictures, drawings, or emails
  • Sexual assault, battery and/or coercion
  • Similar conduct of a sexual nature, including the use of technology to accomplish same

Sexual harassment is a violation of College policy and is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under Title IX.

Sexual harassment may create a hostile environment when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made an explicit or implicit term or condition of academic decisions and/or co-curricular opportunities,
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for academic decisions and/or co- curricular opportunities, or
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's educational experience or creates an intimidating, or abusive educational environment.
Sexual Assault

Sexual assault for the purposes of this policy is engaging in an unwanted sexual act through force or coercion involving:

  • Intentional contact of a sexual nature or for the purposes of sexual gratification without consent
  • Sexual intercourse without consent
Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation includes behaviors that do not otherwise constitute a violation of sexual misconduct policies. For the purposes of this policy, sexual exploitation includes but is not limited to:

  • Taking pictures or video or audio recordings of any person in a sexual act without his/her consent
  • Having taken or received pictures, video or audio of any person in a sexual act with his/her permission, the possessor of those images or audio distributes them in any manner without the subject’s written consent
  • Voyeurism
  • Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to any person
Affirmative Consent

Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in the sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or action create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Guidance for consent:

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  • When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.
  • A verbal “no” constitutes lack of consent, even if it sounds insincere or indecisive.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with a person(s) does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another person(s).
  • Individuals with previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give either initial or continued consent to sexual activity. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be voluntary and mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity each time.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated or when the person initiating the sexual activity should have reasonably known about the incapacitation. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
  • Consent cannot be given by anyone under the age of seventeen (17).
  • Consent cannot be given by anyone who is mentally disabled or mentally incapacitated.

Support after Sexual Misconduct

Confidential On-Campus Support

Health and Wellness Center, M-F 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wegmans School of Nursing, Suite 107, (585) 385- 8280.

Campus Ministry, M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Campus Center, (585) 385-8368.

Off-Campus Law Enforcement, Medical and Mental Health Resources (Non-Confidential)
  • Police/Fire/EMS, 911
  • Monroe County Sheriff's Victim Assistance Program (585) 753-4389
  • Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Hospital Programs
    • Strong Memorial Hospital- Emergency Department
      601 Elmwood Avenue, Box 655
      Rochester, NY 14642
    • Rochester General Hospital - Pediatric Emergency Department
      1425 Portland Avenue
      Rochester, NY 14621
Protective Measures

In addition to medical and mental health support, support may also include Interim Student Conduct Actions and/or protections for the reporting person(s) and/or alleged respondent and/or witnesses. These protections may include a College No-Contact Order, changes in academic, work, parking/transportation and/or living situations if reasonable alternatives exist, and/or withdrawal from the College, following a disclosure of an alleged incident. Failure to comply with the terms of an Interim Student Conduct Action or College No-Contact Order is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and may result in further student conduct action and/or arrest. Additionally, the College will support the reporting person in reporting the incident to law enforcement officials if he/she chooses to pursue a criminal complaint.

Please note: Support/protective measures are available to the reporting person(s), alleged respondent and/or witnesses whether or not:

  • a report results in an investigation by the College
  • a report results in the initiation of the Student Conduct Process
  • the reporting individual(s), alleged respondent and/or witnesses choose to participate in the College's investigation process and/or Student Conduct Process

Students Rights and Information

Student Bill of Rights Regarding Sexual Misconduct

St. John Fisher College is committed to providing options, support and assistance to individuals reporting sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking to ensure that they can continue to participate in College -wide and campus programs, activities, and employment. All individuals reporting these crimes and violations, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, have the following rights, regardless of whether the crime or violation occurs on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad:

The right to:

  • Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  • Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
  • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the conduct or criminal justice process free from pressure by the College;
  • Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  • Be treated with dignity and to receive from the College courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  • Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  • Describe the incident to as few College representatives as practicable and not to be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
  • Be protected from retaliation by the College, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the College;
  • Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
  • Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the student conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process;
  • Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or student conduct process of the College.
Additional Rights When Disclosing Sexual Misconduct

At the first instance of disclosure by a reporting individual to a College Representative, who is a Responsible Employee, the following information shall be presented to the reporting individual:

  • You have the right to make a report to the Department of Safety and Security, local law enforcement, and/or state police, or choose not to report
  • To report the incident to the College
  • To have emergency access to the College’s Title IX coordinator or other appropriate official trained in interviewing victims of sexual assault who shall be available upon the first instance of disclosure by a reporting individual to provide information regarding options to proceed, and, where applicable, the importance of preserving evidence and obtaining a sexual assault forensic examination as soon as possible, and detailing that the criminal justice process utilizes different standards of proof and evidence and that any questions about whether a specific incident violated the penal law should be addressed to law enforcement or to the district attorney. Such official shall also explain whether he or she is authorized to offer the reporting individual confidentiality or privacy, and shall inform the reporting individual of other reporting options.
  • Disclose confidentially the incident to College representatives who may offer confidentiality pursuant to applicable laws and can assist in obtaining services for reporting individuals
  • Disclose confidentially the incident and obtain services from the state or local government
  • Disclose the incident to the College representatives who can offer privacy or confidentiality, as appropriate, and can assist in obtaining resources for reporting individuals
  • File a report of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking and the right to consult the Title IX coordinator and other appropriate College representatives for information and assistance. Reports shall be investigated in accordance with institution policy and reporting individual’s identity shall remain private at all times if said reporting individual wishes to maintain privacy
  • Disclose, if the accused is an employee of the College, the incident to the College’s Department of Human Resources or the right to request that a confidential or private employee assist in reporting to the appropriate Human Resources authority
  • Receive assistance from appropriate institution representatives in initiating legal proceedings in family court or civil court
  • To be protected by the College from retaliation for reporting an incident
  • To receive assistance and resources from the College, whether or not the reporting individual chooses to participate in the College’s investigation and/or Student Conduct process
  • Withdraw a complaint or involvement from the College process at any time
Alcohol and/or Drug Use Amnesty

The health and safety of every student at St. John Fisher College is of the utmost importance. The College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence occurs, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, may be hesitant to report incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. St. John Fisher College strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials.

A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the St. John Fisher College’s Student Code of Conduct for violation of the alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

Confidentiality v. Privacy

Reports of sexual misconduct made directly to the Campus Minister or to a provider in the Health and Wellness Center are confidential. Confidential means that the information is protected from being disclosed to anyone else. These are the ONLY resources at St. John Fisher College where confidential reports can be made.

All other offices and employees, including Responsible Employees, at the College are not confidential. However, College offices and employees, including Responsible Employees, who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information the reporting individual provides to the non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary to individuals with a need-to-know or as required by law, including the Title IX coordinator, to investigate and/or seek a resolution.

Prohibition Against Retaliation

As stated in the Student Code of Conduct (Section 16.05), and specifically required under Title IV and Title IX, the College prohibits retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint, or participating in any manner in an investigation or hearing in response to an allegation of discrimination or harassment, including allegations of sexual misconduct. The College recognizes that retaliation can take many forms, may be committed by an individual or a group against an individual or a group, and that a Respondent can also be the subject of retaliation by the Complainant or a third party. Persons who believe they are experiencing retaliation should immediately contact the Safety and Security Department at (585) 385-8111 to report their concern. The Safety and Security Department will investigate and provide its findings to the appropriate College staff for further action. The College will respond promptly to any report of retaliation and may pursue action through the Student Conduct Process as appropriate, which may include Interim Actions. Additionally, the College will not retaliate against any person who reports an allegation of sexual misconduct. Persons who believe they are experiencing retaliation by a College employee should contact the Title IX coordinator or the Office of Civil Rights, US Department of Education.

Terms used in Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures

Accused – a person accused of a violation who has not yet entered in to the College’s Student Conduct Process

Bystander – a person who observes a crime, impending crime, conflict, potentially violent or violent behavior, or conduct that is a violation of Student Code of Conduct or other College policies

Campus Security Authority (CSA) - As required by Federal law and College policy, when informed by a student of an allegation of sexual misconduct, College employees designated as Campus Security Authorities are required to report the incident to the Safety and Security Department.

Reporting Individual – encompasses the terms victim, survivor, complainant, claimant, witness with victim status, witness and any other term used by the College to reference individual who brings forth a report of sexual misconduct


Sexual Activity:

  • Contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus. Contact involving the penis occurs upon penetration, however slight
  • Contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or the mouth and the anus
  • The penetration, however slight, of the anal or genital opening of another by a hand or finger or by any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person
  • The intentional touch, not through the clothing, of the genitalia of another person who has not attained the age of 16 years with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person

Sexual Contact – the intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

If this is an emergency, please contact the Department of Safety and Security at (585) 385-8111 or 911.

A reporting person(s) has several choices for both reporting sexual misconduct as well as getting more information about their options for reporting and support. Prompt reporting is encouraged as time limitations may apply specifically as it relates to the ability of the College to act on a report or the ability to pursue criminal charges through a law enforcement agency. A reporting person(s) may choose to use any of the following reporting options simultaneously. Mediation will never be used as a process for addressing allegations of sexual misconduct.

Please Note: If an individual discloses information through a public awareness event such as candlelight vigils, protests, or other public events, the College is not obligated to begin an investigation based on such information. The College may use the information provided at such an event to inform its plans for additional education and prevention efforts. Should the person disclosing information wish to make a report, they should review the information that follows.

Responsible Employees

Responsible Employees are faculty and staff members who are trained to help students understand their options regarding both receiving support and reporting sexual misconduct. Responsible Employees are unable to guarantee confidentiality but they will maintain your privacy to the fullest extent.

The Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education describes a Responsible Employee as a person who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence, who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate school designee, or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

St. John Fisher College has identified the following as Responsible Employees on the Responsible Employee Listing [pdf]

Title IX Coordinator

The College’s Title IX coordinator is available to help students understand their options regarding both receiving support and reporting sexual misconduct. The Title IX coordinator is unable to guarantee confidentiality but they will maintain your privacy to the fullest extent. Additionally the Title IX coordinator is responsible for ensuring compliance with Title IX regulations.

The Title IX coordinator, Meg Flaherty, can be reached Monday - Friday, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by phone at (585) 385-8232, at, or in person in the Campus Center, room 210.

Learn more about Title IX compliance at St. John Fisher College.

Report to the College

Reports Made to the College | Investigation Process | Working with Law Enforcement | Student Conduct Review

A report regarding sexual misconduct may be made to the Department of Safety and Security or the Office of Human Resources.

  • The Department of Safety and Security can be reached 24 hours a day 7 days a week by phone at (585) 385-8111 or in person at the Haffey Hall Lobby. Non-Confidential.
  • The Human Resources Department can be reached Monday-Friday, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by phone at (585) 385-8048 or in person in Kearney Hall 211. Non-confidential.

Once a report has been made, a reporting person(s) has control over the level of participation in the process. Choosing not to participate in the process may limit the College's ability to respond to a report. New York State law requires the College to report violent felony offenses to law enforcement. If law enforcement is contacted, the reporting person(s) can choose the level of participation with law enforcement.

Process for Reports Made to the College

The College addresses allegations of sexual misconduct consistent with its responsibility to ensure both individual and community safety, its commitment to providing an environment free from sex and gender discrimination, and its obligations under New York State law to report allegations of sexual misconduct that constitute violent felony offenses.

Investigation Process

The College should seek consent from reporting individuals prior to conducting an investigation. Declining to consent to an investigation shall be honored unless the College determines in good faith that failure to investigate does not adequately mitigate either a potential risk of harm or a discriminatory environment to the reporting individual or other members of the community. Honoring such a request may limit the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue conduct action against an accused individual. If the College determines that an investigation is required, it shall notify the reporting individual(s) and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist them. Factors used to determine whether to honor such a request include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether or not the accused has a history of violent behavior or may be a repeat offender;
  • Whether the incident represents escalation unlawful or improper conduct on behalf of the accused from previously noted behavior;
  • The increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts in violation of this code;
  • Whether the accused used a drug, weapon, or force to facilitate violation of this code;
  • Whether the reporting individual is a minor (under the age of 17); and
  • Whether the institution possesses other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether available information reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.

When an incident of alleged sexual misconduct is reported to the College, and the reporting individual has consented to an investigation or the College has determined in good faith that an investigation is required, the Department of Safety and Security will begin an investigation. The reporting person(s) and alleged respondent should expect that:

  • The investigation will be prompt, thorough, and equitable.
  • The investigation will include interviews with all available involved parties, including witnesses and other persons with first-hand knowledge of the alleged incident.
  • There will be a complete review of any related, relevant documents when appropriate.
  • The disclosure of facts to parties and witnesses will be limited to what is reasonably necessary to conduct a fair and thorough investigation.
  • Participants in the investigation will be advised of the importance of maintaining confidentiality throughout the process.
  • At any time during the investigation, the investigating officer will make recommendations to appropriate College Officials for Interim Student Conduct Actions and/or protections for the reporting person(s), respondent, and/or witnesses.
  • An investigation will result in a written report that, at a minimum, includes a statement of the allegations, the issues, and a summary of the information being forwarded to the Office of Student Conduct (when a student is the accused) or the Office of Human Resources (when an employee is the accused) for review and action.

Working with Law Enforcement

In keeping with New York State Law, incidents involving violent felony offenses reported to the College are automatically reported to local law enforcement authorities. The College's Director of Safety and Security will determine if an incident involves a Violent Felony Offense under New York State Law.

In all cases reported to law enforcement, the College will coordinate its investigations and responses with those of law enforcement.

Student Conduct Review

After the investigation process is completed by the Department of Safety and Security and their report is received by the Office of Student Conduct, the Student Conduct Process may be initiated which may include Interim Student Conduct Action. If a student is the accused, the Student Conduct Committee hearing process will be used to adjudicate the allegations. Throughout the process, the Office of Student Conduct will communicate with the reporting person, respondent, complainant, and any witness(es) about opportunities for participation, information, and support. The Student Conduct website has an outline of the Student Conduct Process. The Student Conduct Process is separate from, and may be in addition to, any criminal charges a person may choose to pursue with law enforcement.

Report to Law Enforcement

The College will assist any person in contacting law enforcement officials to report an allegation of sexual misconduct. Additionally, any St. John Fisher College campus community member may contact 911 independently. Upon reviewing the facts of the case, law enforcement may decide to prosecute the matter and further participation with law enforcement may be required. Once criminal charges are initiated, charges can be withdrawn only with the proper consent of the District Attorney's Office. In compliance with Title IX regulations, the College may need to act on any information law enforcement shares with the College if there is a concern for the safety of the College community.

St. John Fisher College fully supports all local, state, and federal laws prohibiting rape and sexual assault and will cooperate with law enforcement officials who investigate such allegations to the fullest extent allowed under the law.

Process for Reports Made to Law Enforcement

When reported to law enforcement, they will follow their procedures. If you choose to contact law enforcement directly, the College may or may not be informed of your report by law enforcement. If you wish to make the College aware and involved, please contact the Department of Safety and Security or the Office of Student Conduct.

Additional Reporting Options

In addition to the reporting choices above, persons may direct information about their allegations to the Office of Civil Rights, US Department of Education.

Sexual Misconduct information was last reviewed: September 1, 2017