DCC Sexual Harassment Policy

Dutchess Community College

 Statement on Sexual Harassment

Dutchess Community College is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment and does not engage in unlawful discrimination based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence or dating violence victim status, or criminal conviction in the execution of its educational programs, activities, employment, daily operations or admission policies, in accordance with all applicable federal, state and local laws. These laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as Amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and the New York State Human Rights Law.

Employees, students, applicants or other members of the College community (including but not limited to vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law, or treated adversely or retaliated against based upon a protected characteristic. The College will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment including sexual assault, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct. It is therefore the responsibility and obligation of all members of the College community to report and or to assist others in reporting incidents of sexual harassment. All members of the College community are expected to cooperate and assist in investigations related to such incidents.

Dutchess Community College (DCC) has established a Title IX Coordinator to oversee the investigation of claims of violations of the College’s policy of non-discrimination and prohibition of sexual harassment and assault.

Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and other laws, regulations and policies prohibiting discrimination may be directed to:

Reports or inquiries of policy violations involving students and employees should be directed to:

Esther Couret, Director of Human Resources Management and Title IX Coordinator
Bowne Hall, Room 220
Dutchess Community College
53 Pendell Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Alternatively, reports or inquiries may be directed to:

The Office of the Vice President and Dean of Student Services and Enrollment Management
SSB, Room 304
Dutchess Community College
53 Pendell Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Inquiries or complaints regarding the College’s procedures and compliance with applicable laws, statutes, and regulations may also be directed to:

United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights
32 Old Slip 26th Floor
New York, NY 10005-2500
Tel (646)428-3800
Email OCR.NewYork@ed.gov.

400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline: 800-421-3481 TDD 877-521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov   Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr


I. Definition

Sexual harassment is behavior that is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when it meets any of the following:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for working, learning, or living on campus. 

Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals associated with the College, e.g., an employee and a supervisor; coworkers; faculty members; a faculty, staff member, or student and a customer, vendor, or contractor; students; or a student and a faculty member.

II. Types of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Misconduct

Such behavior includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other direct verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct includes pervasive or severe behaviors such as sexting, sexually laced humor, displays of sexually offensive materials, and other inappropriate sexually based actions. 

Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence

Sexual assault is a severe form of sexual harassment. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, forcible penetration with a part of one’s body or object, touching, pinching, patting, or pressing up against someone, exposing the genitalia, sexual based stalking or bullying, peeping, or the invasion of one’s sexual privacy.

Sexual assault is also defined as non-forcible sexual activity with a person who is physically or mentally incapacitated. Incapacity is defined as one in a state where he or she in unable to grant consent to sexual activity. Incapacity may occur in a person who is: under the influence of alcohol or drugs, suffering from a physical or mental illness, and or experiencing emotional trauma.

Consent is defined as an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent may be withdrawn at any time and past consent does not imply future consent.

The term ‘Dating Violence’ means violence that is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • The length of the relationship
  • The type of relationship
  • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

The term ‘Domestic Violence’ includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

  • A current or former spouse of the victim
  • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common
  • A person who is cohabitating or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse
  • A person who similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies
  • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from the person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies

Every member of the College community is entitled to a work and learning environment free from the devastating effects of sexual harassment. No person or group of individuals shall engage in sexual behavior toward any individual against his/her will and without his/her verbal consent. Dutchess Community College expressly prohibits the sexually aggressive conduct noted above and employees and students found engaging in it will be subject to severe disciplinary action on campus, including termination, suspension, or academic dismissal. In addition, any violators may also be subject to criminal charges and prosecution under local and state laws.

III. Reports of Sexual Harassment

When reporting an incident all individuals have the right and can expect:

  1. To have incidents of harassment or discrimination taken seriously by DCC,
  2. To have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through appropriate administrative procedures normally within 60 business days from notification, and
  3. That only people who need to know will be advised of the circumstances and that this information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual(s).

How to File Student Complaints of Sexual Harassment Against a Student

In addition to or in lieu of filing a criminal complaint with external authorities, students who feel they have been the victim of sexual harassment, including sexual assault or misconduct, have the right to file a Title IX complaint even if police conclude they do not have sufficient evidence of criminal violation. An internal report of sexual harassment does not require a corresponding report to local or other external authorities.

A complaint of sexual harassment against another member of the College community may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator (845) 431-8673 or the Office of Student Services (845) 431-8974, and will be handled in accordance with the College’s disciplinary regulations and procedures.

Students may be suspended or permanently dismissed as a penalty for sexual harassment. In a case involving a complaint against another student of sexual assault or misconduct, the Complainant and the Respondent shall have the right to:

  • Receive information and access to College based support resources such as counseling, judicial support, and health information.
  • Notice concerning the process by which the College will handle the complaint and an opportunity to ask questions about the process.
  • A prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation of the complaint.
  • The opportunity to present his/her explanation of the facts during the College’s investigation.
  • Have the investigation of the complaint concluded within sixty (60) days of the university’s receipt of a complaint, unless circumstances make it impracticable for the College to complete its investigation within that time frame.
  • Notice of the outcome of the College’s investigation.
  • Have a disciplinary hearing conducted within thirty (30) days of a College charge that the accused student committed an act of sexual assault or misconduct, unless circumstances make it impracticable for the College to conduct a hearing within that time frame.
  • Notice of the date, time, and location of the disciplinary hearing, the right to have the disciplinary hearing closed to the public, and the right to request rescheduling of the hearing for a good cause.
  • The same access to any information or documents that will be used by the College during the disciplinary hearing, unless prohibited by law.
  • Challenge the seating of any Fair Procedure Committee member for good cause, which will be determined at the discretion of the chairperson of the Fair Procedure Committee, or, if the seating of the chairperson is challenged, then at the discretion of the majority of the Fair Procedure Committee.
  • Be accompanied by a person, other than an attorney or relative, who acts as an advocate but is not permitted to speak during the College’s investigation or a disciplinary hearing.
  • The opportunity to be present during the hearing, present witnesses and other evidence, and cross-examine adverse witnesses during the disciplinary hearing.
  • Testify or remain silent in a hearing at his/her option.
  • For the Complainant: Not to be questioned directly by the accused student (Respondent) during the disciplinary hearing.
  • For the Respondent: Submit a written impact statement to the Dean of Student Services or Fair Procedure Committee for consideration of the sanctioning phase of the disciplinary hearing, if the student is found guilty of the charges against him/her, or to the administrative hearing, if accused student pleads guilty to the charges again him/her.
  • Notice of the decision of the Fair Procedure Committee or the outcome of an administrative hearing within three (3) business days of the hearing.
  • Appeal the decision of the Fair Procedure Committee in accordance with College procedures.

How to File a Complaint Against a College Employee

A complaint of sexual harassment against a College employee or other non-student should be filed with the Office of Human Resources Management (845) 431-8670, and will be handled in accordance with the College’s discrimination complaint procedures.

How to File an External or Criminal Complaint Against a College Employee or Student

Victims of sexual assault or misconduct have the right to file an external or criminal complaint before, during, or after the College’s investigation of sexual assault or misconduct. Criminal complaints may be reported to local authorities such as Town of Poughkeepsie or Wappingers Falls Police Departments. External administrative complaints may be filed with the Office for Civil Rights email at ocr@ed.gov or online at http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html.

IV. Confidentiality

A victim’s report of sexual harassment to the College will be treated confidentially to the maximum extent possible. However, all College employees have an affirmative obligation to respond to reports of sexual harassment, even if the individual making the report requests that no action be taken. An individual’s request regarding the confidentiality of a report of sexual harassment will be considered in the dual contexts of the College’s legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source.

In addition, some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation. DCC is required by federal law to report the occurrence on campus of certain crimes, including sex offenses, in an annual report of crime statistics, but the report does not contain any personally identifiable information.

If a victim wants to discuss his/her situation confidentially with a College employee, he/she should contact a licensed counselor in the Student Counseling Center.

V. Retaliation

Retaliation against anyone who, in good faith, reports or participates in an investigation of an act of sexual harassment is strictly prohibited. Anyone responsible for retaliation, including the accused party or someone affiliated with the accused party, will be subject to disciplinary action by the College.