Prevention of Bias-related Crime on the Excelsior University Campus

Statement of Policy

Excelsior University is first and foremost an adult learning community. Each undergraduate degree program has a liberal arts component designed to help students develop a broad-based understanding of multiple disciplines, provide a depth of academic experience to enrich students’ personal lives, and allow students to become more informed citizens of an increasingly complex and diverse world. Students are encouraged to plan their degree program to include study of the perspectives of various ethnic and cultural groups within society, understanding and valuing diversity.

Bias-related crimes occur most frequently when intolerance and lack of respect replace understanding the value of diversity in our world. Guided by the President’s Committee on Inclusion and with the approval of our Board of Trustees, Excelsior has an active program to bring awareness and diversity education to all staff. Excelsior seeks faculty and administrators who will diversify its curriculum and business environment. Students, faculty and staff are expected to demonstrate respect for others and an awareness of the ethical implications of actions. This atmosphere of respect for others will foster an environment which will diminish the instance and opportunity for bias-related crime.

One of the purposes of this document is to provide students with information regarding how to prevent, handle, and report incidents of bias-related crimes. Included is information regarding reporting procedures and support services available. This information is provided to assist you in understanding and preventing bias-related crimes, while meeting requirements of Article 129-aof New York Education Law.

Procedure

Definitions

Penal Law §485 provides that a person commits a bias-related/hate crime when he or she commits assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, manslaughter, murder, stalking, rape, a criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, kidnapping, coercion, criminal trespass, burglary, criminal mischief, arson, petit larceny, grand larceny, robbery or harassment, and either intentionally selects the person against whom the offense is committed or intentionally commits the act constituting the offense “in whole or in substantial part because of a belief or perception regarding the race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person.” It is important to note that a hate crime can be committed against an individual or their property.

Penalties
A bias-related crime is a “violent felony offense” which increases the charge for the underlying criminal act to a higher category crime with a maximum term of imprisonment ranging up to 20 years.

Protecting Against Bias-related Crimes and Other Violence
Excelsior University 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, Excelsior has established the following policies and practices:

  • The possession, abuse, or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol by students and employees on University property or as part of any Excelsior University activities is strictly prohibited.
  • All visitors to Excelsior University 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 Excelsior is officially closed, all entrances to University buildings remain locked. Only employees with prior authorization are admitted to the buildings during these times.
  • Excelsior University 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.

Prevention of Bias-related Crimes
Excelsior University is committed to making certain that its offices located in Albany, New York are bias free environments for employees, the students who are supported and advised via telephone, internet and correspondence, and all visitors. With this in mind, Excelsior has established the following policies and practices supporting diversity:

  • The Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy requires that students treat each other, Excelsior University staff and faculty, and test center staff with respect and understanding.
  • Excelsior supports the elimination of potentially biased language in its written and oral communication and requests that staff employ bias-free language principles in the preparation of all courses, examinations, content guides, catalogs, and all print-based and electronic publications and communications.
  • The Excelsior University Diversity and Inclusion Vision Statement celebrates an environment where all students, faculty and staff are valued.
  • The Presidents Committee on Inclusion provides leadership, direction and support for sustaining our diversity initiatives and priorities.
  • All staff attend one or more training sessions in areas which cover a broad spectrum of issues including diversity in hiring, advanced phone skills, diversity as a business imperative and legal strategies to promote diversity within the University community.
Reporting Bias Crimes or Other Violent Crimes on the Excelsior University Campus
Contact the vice president of human resources to report an incident of assault or other violence at Excelsior University, 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. Excelsior will actively intervene when there is evidence of a possible hostile or violent situation.

University Procedures
Once a bias-related crime or other violent incident has been officially reported to Excelsior 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 Excelsior does not have jurisdiction over actions and activities that occur off-campus and/or involve non-students. Hence, University 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, Excelsior 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 Excelsior 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.

Additional Resources:

Directory of Crime Victims Services
National Organization for Victim Assistance 9-5 EST, Monday through Friday
Phone: 703-535-6682 or toll-free 800-879-6682

Excelsior University students take traditional classroom courses through other accredited colleges and universities to fulfill Excelsior degree requirements. These students should inform themselves about diversity initiatives on their local campuses. Since many of our students studying on other campuses will not attend a traditional campus orientation session, we encourage students to contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs at the institution they attend with questions or concerns about diversity on that particular campus.

Students who complete Excelsior University distance courses are bound by our Student Rights and Responsibilities policy.

Individuals who complete online or Web-based courses through other colleges will typically be bound by the Student Code of Conduct of the institution offering those courses. Honor, integrity and respect for the rights of others are signature components of these codes and often address concerns of bias.