Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Stalking Prevention

Statement of Policy

Excelsior College seeks to provide a safe environment for employees and students and does not tolerate any type of violence committed against students or employees. Though Excelsior is a nontraditional college community and its students learn at a distance rather than on a campus, the College is always mindful of issues of personal safety. Nontraditional students are not immune to incidents of violence. Everyone in the Excelsior College community should be educated about the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking with the goal of becoming knowledgeable and responsible for their own security and personal safety.

Excelsior College has designed this policy to provide its students with information regarding how to prevent, handle, and report incidents. Included is information regarding reporting procedures and support services available. Interpersonal violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, sex, socioeconomic status, or location.

This information is provided to assist in the prevention of violence in any form, while meeting requirements of New York Education Law 6432. The College's intent is to heighten awareness. This policy will complement the many programs that are available in students' local communities.

Procedure

Sexual assault is a crime in New York State and includes conduct ranging from touching intimate parts of the other party, without consent, to rape. The possible penalties range from imprisonment for not more than 25 years for rape to imprisonment for not more than one year for touching intimate parts without consent.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. The actual crimes that constitute a domestic violence offense are assault, rape, menacing, stalking, sex abuse, kidnapping, harassment, aggravated harassment and the violence can even rise to the level of murder. When the criminal acts occur between people living in the same dwelling and have an intimate relationship or a familial connection or blood relationship the criminal court considers this domestic violence.

Stalking is generally defined as specific repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward another person. A stalker can be a stranger, but most stalkers know their victims and can be a partner, an ex-partner, a family member, co-worker, or an acquaintance. In the U.S., every state has laws against stalking. Although laws vary by state, stalking is generally considered to be any unwanted contact between a stalker and his/her victim which directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear. There are four degrees of stalking under the NYS Penal law ranging from stalking in the fourth degree which is a Class B misdemeanor to stalking in the first degree which is a Class D felony.
 

Sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking are not just women’s issues and can happen anywhere and to anyone.

On traditional college campuses, occurrences of sexual assault and other violence are frequently associated with alcohol, and many victims know their assailants. Students who study at a distance from Excelsior College should be aware of personal safety and wary of potentially dangerous situations in their daily lives.

Excelsior College is committed to making certain that its offices located in Albany, New York, are secure and safe environments for employees and visitors. With this in mind, the College has established the following policies and practices:

  • The possession, abuse, or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol by students and employees on College property or as part of any Excelsior College activities is strictly prohibited.
  • All visitors to Excelsior College buildings, including students, must sign-in at the reception desk at the main entrance. Staff meet visitors at the main reception desk and escort them to the appropriate destinations.
  • During evening hours and when the College is officially closed, all entrances to College buildings remain locked. Only employees with prior authorization are admitted to the buildings during these times.
  • Excelsior College provides security personnel for regular evening work hours.
  • The Office of Human Resources sends email broadcasts to all employees with periodic reminders about personal safety and security issues.

Many Excelsior College students take traditional classroom courses through accredited colleges and universities to fulfill Excelsior degree requirements. These students should visit those institution’s Web sites or campus security offices to find out about the safety programs at those schools. (See Campus Security Report.)

Many colleges have "blue light" systems that aid in expediting calls concerning emergencies or criminal incidents. Such “blue light” call boxes are traditionally placed in areas of high pedestrian traffic on campus.

Services are available on many college campuses to escort students to their cars during evening hours.
Colleges may have personal safety workshops, which you can attend while a student on that campus.
View national Campus Crime Statistics on the U.s. Department of Education's Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool Web site.

Students and employees are encouraged to take a proactive approach to crime prevention and become responsible for their own security:

  • Make it a practice to avoid walking in poorly-lit areas, whether a city street, local college campus, public library, or shopping mall parking lot.
  • When walking in any parking lot, especially at night, students should have their car keys ready.
  • Students should be watchful of alcohol consumption and its effects on their behavior and the behaviors of others.
  • Students should pay attention to their own emotions. If they feel threatened or uncomfortable in any situation, they should leave immediately and seek safety.

Additional Resources Available:

  • Local Police
  • Hospitals
  • Rape Crisis Centers
  • Counseling Centers
  • Crime Victims Programs

New York State Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline:
800-942-6906
TTY: 800-818-0656
Spanish language 800-942-6908
Spanish language TTY: 800-780-7660
In NYC: 800-621-4673 or dial 311
TTY: 866-604-5350

The NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence has a listing of domestic violence hotlines by county.

National Domestic Violence and Crime Victims Hotlines:

Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-621-4673

Safe Horizon’s Crime Victims Hotline: 866-689-4357

Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault & Incest Hotline: 212-227-3000

TDD phone number for all hotlines: 866-604-5350

National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center

Contact the vice president of human resources to report an incident of assault or other violence at Excelsior College, to confidentially discuss an incident, if you are undecided about proceeding with charges, or if you have general questions about aggressive actions.

Any potentially dangerous situation must be reported immediately to a representative in the Office of Human Resources. Reports of incidents warranting confidentiality will be handled appropriately, and information will be disclosed to others only on a need-to-know basis. The College will actively intervene when there is evidence of a possible hostile or violent situation.

Ensure the victim’s safety. If the victim is in danger, dial 9+911 for the police. It is important that you and the victim be safe and that you not place yourself in a dangerous situation.

Seek immediate medical treatment. In the case of sexual assault, it is important not to encourage the victim to wash, bathe, or change clothes before seeking medical attention in order to protect valuable evidence, should the victim decide to report the assault and prosecute the assailant. A medical examination does not commit her/him to pressing charges. Staff members should help to arrange the transport of the victim to the hospital as soon as possible. Not all injuries are immediately apparent. A medical evaluation is necessary to evaluate internal injuries, sexually-transmitted disease, pregnancy, and to gather information for the police. The mode of transportation depends on the victim’s condition and preference.With the victim’s consent, referral to the emergency room and rape crisis intervention, as appropriate.

Incident reporting: Students and employees are encouraged to report all incidents of assault or other violence to the College in order to receive help in accessing support services and in prosecuting the alleged offender. However, the decision whether or not to report the incident and whether or not to press charges must be made by the victim and respected by all members of the College. If the victim does not give permission to disclose identity, with the sole exception of the threat to personal safety, the identity of the victim cannot be given. Reporting information can include only time, place, manner, and current condition of the victim. All information must be devoid of all demographics about the victim and other identifying information.

When a College staff member is informed of an assault or other violent incident, the staff member will seek the victim’s consent to notify the vice president of Human Resources or a Human Resources representative. The staff member will not disclose either the name or other identifying information without the victim’s consent. College staff members are encouraged to consult their supervisors when they have concerns or doubts regarding the safety and well being of a victim or other person, in order to take steps to ensure the safety of the victim and others. In rare cases, this consultation may need to occur even without the victim’s consent.
 

Once an assault or other violent incident has been officially reported to the College for administrative and/or criminal action, the vice president of Human Resources will initiate action on the student’s or employee’s behalf.

Students should be aware that the College does not have jurisdiction over actions and activities that occur off-campus and/or involve non-students. Hence, College officials will be somewhat limited in the amount of assistance they will be able to provide to the victim of a crime of this type. Students who are victims of a crime committed off-campus who wish to initiate criminal action should contact the police department with jurisdiction over the locale in which the offense was committed. In this type of incident, and in those involving non-student perpetrators, the College will continue to make all reasonable efforts to assist the student in reporting crimes and in receiving medical, legal, academic, and psychological support.

If the accused is a member of the College community, the Office of Human Resources will review evidence and statements made by the victim and conduct an investigation. Students will be encouraged to seek out counseling resources for emotional support.
 

Excelsior College provides videos, educational guides, and other materials that promote the awareness of sex offenses. Information about specific programs is generally available through the Office of Human Resources.

Contact the Office of Human Resources at 518-464-8532 for assistance or more information.