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Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, and Hate Crimes

Physical, psychological, and/or verbal harassment and/or discrimination and/or hate crimes are prohibited at St. John Fisher University.

Alleged violations of University policy will be subject to the Student Conduct Process for situations involving students or the process and procedures applicable to University employees for situations involving University employees. All St. John Fisher University students, faculty, staff, visitors, and guests are expected to comply with federal, state, or local laws as well as University policies.

The University recognizes its responsibility to develop and implement educational programs to help its students and employees to recognize and address discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and hate crimes and/or remedy the effects of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and hate crimes and is committed to preventing the occurrence or reoccurrence of these incidents in the University community.

Jurisdiction

Students will be held accountable for acts of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and/or hate crimes on-campus. Additionally, students may be held accountable for acts of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and/or hate crimes which happen off University property and/or online if, in the judgment of the University, the ongoing effects of the behavior(s) impact the University community and/or any member of the community.

Defining Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, and Hate Crimes

Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment

St. John Fisher University is committed to an educational environment which is free from physical, psychological, and/or verbal harassment and discrimination, based on all legally protected characteristics, including:

  • Race, color, ethnicity, or national origin
  • Religion or religious practice
  • Gender, gender identity or gender expression, or sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • Military status

Prohibited, unlawful harassment, and discrimination includes conduct based on one or more of the above categories which has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or abusive educational environment, or which unreasonably interferes with or adversely affects an individual's educational performance. Such harassment and discrimination can take many forms, including slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory comments, teasing, jokes, or demeaning written or graphic material (posters, pictures, etc.) as well as physical violence.

Hate Crimes

Criminal acts involving violence, intimidation, and destruction of property based upon bias and prejudice are referred to as hate crimes in New York State. A hate crime is committed when an individual is targeted for discrimination and/or discriminatory harassment because of their:

  • Religion or religious practice
  • Race, color or ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Gender or sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Ancestry
  • Age

A person does not have to identify within one of the target groups to be a victim of a hate crime. The crime is considered a hate crime if the perpetrator's perception puts a person in that target category.

A hate crime can fall under the categories of:

  • Hate violence against persons;
  • Hate motivated vandalism; or
  • Hate motivated threats and harassment.

Some factors which may indicate that an incident constitutes a hate crime are:

  • Bias-related comments or graffiti;
  • No economic motive for an assault or battery;
  • A crime involving disproportionate cruelty or brutality;
  • The offender's criminal history; or
  • If the crime occurs on a specific day or at a specific place or event that is relevant to the victim's race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.

A hate crime:

  • Threatens the safety and welfare of all citizens not just the intended target;
  • Inflicts on victims physical and emotional damage;
  • Sends a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs; and
  • Undermines the civility that is essential to maintain a diverse and healthy community.

Reporting Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, and Hate Crimes

The University will investigate and coordinate resolution efforts, as appropriate, to address allegations related to the targeted individual's membership in any of the protected categories.

A reporting person(s) has several choices for reporting the incident or getting more information about options. Prompt reporting is encouraged as time limitations may apply specifically as it relates to the ability of the University to act on a report or the ability to pursue criminal charges through a law enforcement agency.

Please Note: A reporting person(s) may choose to use any of the following reporting options below simultaneously.

Making a Report to the University

A report regarding discrimination and/or discriminatory harassment may be made to the Office of Safety and Security, the Office of Student Conduct, the Title IX coordinator, or the Human Resources Department.

  • The Office 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 Office of Student Conduct can be reached Monday-Friday, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. by phone at (585) 385-8498 or in person in Campus Center Suite 206. Non-confidential.
  • The Title IX coordinator can be reached Monday – Friday, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. by phone at (585) 385-8232 or in person in the Campus Center, Suite 206. 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 has control over the level of participation in the process to address the allegation. Choosing not to participate in the process may limit the University's ability to respond to a report. In addition, New York State law requires the University to report violent felony offenses to law enforcement. If law enforcement is contacted, the reporting person can choose the level of participation with law enforcement.

Making a Report to Law Enforcement

The University will assist any person in contacting law enforcement officials. Additionally, any Fisher 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 University may need to act on any information law enforcement shares with the University if there is a concern for the safety of the University community.

Additional Reporting Options

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

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: (800) 421-3481
Fax: (202) 453-6012; TDD: (800) 877-8339
Email: OCR@ed.gov

Process for Addressing Allegations of Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, and/or Hate Crimes

The University will respond to alleged discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and/or hate crimes that occur on- or off-campus when that misconduct impacts a community member (student or employee) as an alleged victim or the accused.

The process to address allegations of discrimination and/or discriminatory harassment and/or hate crimes will vary depending on the method used to report the allegation.

Process for Reports Made to the University

The University addresses allegations of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and/or hate crimes consistent with its responsibility to ensure both individual and community safety, its commitment to providing an environment free from discrimination, discriminatory harassment and/or hate crimes, and its obligations under New York state law to report allegations of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and/or hate crimes, and crimes that constitute violent felony offenses.

Investigation Process

When an incident of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and/or a hate crime is reported to the University, the Office of Safety and Security will begin an investigation. The reporting person and alleged perpetrator should expect that:

  • The investigation will be prompt, thorough, and impartial.
  • 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 University officials for Interim Actions and/or protections for the reporting person and/or alleged perpetrator and/or witnesses. These protections may include a University No Contact Order, changes in academic, work, and/or living situations if reasonable alternatives exist. Failure to comply with the terms of an Interim Student Conduct Action or University No-Contact Order is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
  • 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 alleged perpetrator) or the Office of Human Resources (when an employee is the alleged perpetrator) for review and action as appropriate.

Support/Protective Measures

In addition to medical and mental health support provided by the Health and Wellness Center, support may also include protections for the reporting person and/or alleged respondent and/or witnesses. These protections may include a University No-Contact Order, changes in academic, work, and/or living situations if reasonable alternatives exist, following a report of an alleged incident. Additionally, the University will support the reporting person in reporting the incident to law enforcement officials if they choose to pursue a criminal complaint.

Office of Student Conduct Process (for allegations involving students)

After the investigation process is completed by the Office of Safety and Security and their report is received by the Office of Student Conduct, the Student Conduct Process will be initiated. If a student is the alleged perpetrator, the Student Conduct Committee Hearing process will be used to address the allegations. Throughout the process, the Office of Student Conduct will communicate with the reporting person about opportunities for participation, information, and support. The process is outlined on the Student Conduct website.

Please Note: The Student Conduct Process is separate from any criminal charges a person may choose to pursue with law enforcement.

The Human Resources Department Process (for allegations involving University employees)

Allegations involving University employees will be addressed through the University's Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure set out in Policy D1.1 through D1.3.2 of the St. John Fisher University Employee Handbook [pdf]. Upon receipt of an allegation, a human resources representative will meet with the alleged perpetrator if that individual is a University employee, the party(ies) who allege harassment, and any witnesses. After the investigation process is completed by the Office of Human Resources, a letter of findings will be provided to both the alleged perpetrator and the person who was the subject of the action. Human Resources and appropriate management will decide on an appropriate course of action with respect to the alleged offender, if the investigation reveals that an individual has harassed, discriminated against another individual, or committed a hate crime. Determinations made through this process are final.

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 University may or may not be informed of your report by law enforcement. If you wish to make the University aware and involved, please contact the Office of Safety and Security or the Office of Student Conduct.

Prohibition Against Retaliation

As stated in the Student Code of Conduct (Section 16.05), and specifically required under Title IV and Title IX, the University 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, discriminatory harassment, and/or a hate crime. The University 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 Office of Safety and Security at (585) 385-8111 to report their concern. The Office of Safety and Security will investigate and provide its findings to the appropriate University staff for further action. The University 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 University will not retaliate against any person who reports an allegation of sexual misconduct. Persons who believe they are experiencing retaliation by a University employee should contact the chief Title IX officer for the University or the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education.

Title IX Compliance

The Title IX coordinator responsible for ensuring compliance with Title IX regulations is Megan Flaherty. She can be reached at (585) 385-8232 or by email at titleix@sjfc.edu. The University’s Title IX coordinator is not a confidential resource.

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

Discrimination, discriminatory harassment, and hate crimes information was last reviewed: August 18, 2014