Sexual Assault Policy

Introduction

Buffalo State College will not tolerate sexual offense(s) in the work of academic setting. Offenders will be subject to appropriate campus adjudication processes, disciplinary action, and/or criminal proceedings. Buffalo State's sexual assault policy is designed to specifically address "the public well being" of Buffalo State students, faculty, and staff. To meet this dimension of Buffalo State College's mission statement and as an ongoing goal, we must strive to create a campus community which is intolerant of sexual harassment and all forms of abuse, including sexual assault. In sexual assault instances, the college is committed to the following threefold process: (1) To provide crisis intervention measures and a campus judicial response for the accuser and the accused; (2) To refer students to criminal authorities; and (3) To educate and promote discussion on interpersonal abuse and violence issues.

Definition

Sexual assault is any sexual behavior between individuals to which one person does not or cannot give full and free consent. Gross sexual imposition is much broader than the traditional concept of rape. Gross sexual imposition involves: (a) sexual act(s) or contact(s) with another which can involve compelling a person to submit by force or threat of force; (b) use of intoxicants to substantially impair a person's power to give consent; (c) engaging in such act(s) when there is reasonable belief that the other person suffers from a mental state which renders him or her incapable of understanding the nature of the contact; (d) when the person is under fifteen years of age; or (e) when the person is unaware a sexual act is being committed.

The abuse of alcohol or other drugs does not relieve individuals of their responsibilities to themselves or others. However, it is unlikely an accuser reporting an assault will be charged with lesser offenses involving drug and alcohol use and possession which occurred in conjunction with the assault.

Prevention

Buffalo State attempts to foster a safe learning and living environment on campus for all members of the college community. To accomplish this, Buffalo State considers the physical surroundings, educational programming that addresses all aspects of sexual assault (safety precautions and prevention, crisis management, reporting, medical and counseling services, availability of legal services, the college discipline system, academic schedules, living arrangement, etc.), and the campus response to sexual assault.

The college continually reviews and modifies its physical surroundings to enhance security and safety, such as campus lighting, locking procedures, blue light phones, escort vans, signage, etc. For further safety information, contact the University Police Department at (716) 878-6333. Buffalo State develops curricular and co-curricular educational programs concerning sexual assault. Involved students, faculty, staff and community members provide information and promote discussion on interpersonal abuse concerns. For further information about campus educational programs concerning sexual assault, contact the Counseling Center, Residence Life or the University Police Department.

Response

Buffalo State's response to sexual assault may involve a number of individuals and agencies, i.e., University Police, campus crisis intervention team, medical and counseling services personnel, and Crisis Services. In addition, for on-campus cases, there is a timely campus-based investigation which is confidential, thorough and protects individual rights and due process. The accuser is presented with options about how s/he wants to pursue the complaint.

Reporting

The guiding principle in the report of a sexual assault is to avoid possible re-victimizing of the accuser by forcing the individual into any plan of action. A student who has been sexually assaulted has several options. The available options are:

STUDENT OPTIONS

  • Discussing assault with friend, counselor, etc.
  • Pursuing medical treatment
  • Pursuing counseling services with appropriate agencies
  • Initiating a campus judicial and/or criminal complaint for on- and off-campus cases.
  • Deciding on the use of her/his name to agencies when filing a complaint

Students can be assured that, when they share assault information with medical, police, and/or college officials, confidentiality will exist within the framework of each agency's governing body (i.e. state law, licensing, FERPA, etc.) and follow a "need-to-know" policy.

ADMINISTRATIVE REFERRALS

The accuser who chooses to contact a college representative (or a college representative who may have been notified by other means) has the following referral options:

  • Medical facility
  • University Police (investigate criminal complaint)*
  • Crisis Intervention Team
  • Dean of Students Office for investigation of complaint and possible administrative and judicial action
  • Follow-up counseling to: Counseling Center, or non-campus counseling agencies such as Crisis Services.

* Off-campus cases are handled by the Buffalo Police Department with investigative assistance from University Police. A positive and collaborative working relationship exists among state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies and the University Police at Buffalo State College.

ASSISTANCE

Resources for the accuser/accused.

EMERGENCY
On-campus Emergency Police, Ambulance, Fire: (716) 878-6333
Off-Campus Emergency: Call 911

CAMPUS RESOURCES

Process

1. In the event of a medical and/or police emergency, University Police should be contacted by calling 878-6333. The accuser is encouraged to seek medical attention. A medical exam will treat physical problems and may answer other medical issues.

2. The accuser is encouraged not to destroy evidence by bathing, douching, changing clothes or cleaning up in any way. The accuser is encouraged to preserve evidence in a paper bag should a report be filed. A report to the University Police can empower the accuser by exercising her/his legal rights and can aid in the protection of others.

3. If the accuser wants to report the assault to the University Police, a crisis services volunteer may be notified for immediate emergency assistance. Additionally, an on-campus advocate from Counseling center is also available during daytime/weekday hours. A BSC crisis team member could be available to offer support to the accuser who may be experiencing possible conflicting feelings and thoughts and will aid the accuser in developing options. Once those options have been determined, the accuser is entitled to timely responses from the representatives of those agencies chosen.

4. The accuser and the accused may seek assistance at any time from the BSC Counseling Center at no charge. Referrals may be made upon request for relatives, partners and friends of either the accuser or the accused to various support agencies.

5. If the accuser has decided not to report the assault at this time, other alternatives may include:

A. Making a blind report to the police. (A report that notifies the police that a sexual assault has occurred, but gives no names or identification.)

B. Making the decision to report at a later date. However, early reports may improve the preparation of a viable prosecution. Filing a police report immediately following the incident does not force the accuser to file charges and prosecute the accused; however, it does aid in the preservation of valuable evidence if the accuser decides to prosecute at a later date.

C. At any time, the accuser may contact any of the referral agencies previously mentioned for help.

6. The accuser may choose to contact the Dean of Students Office. Initially the student making an accusation can expect the following from the Dean of Students Office (Note: The accuser's options may include, but are not limited to, on-campus judicial proceedings, civil suits and criminal prosecutions. The accuser will be referred to other agencies if appropriate.)

The accuser will be encouraged to file a police report. The police will then advise the accuser of the legal process. The accuser may also be encouraged to seek assistance at the Counseling Center and/or the Weigel Health Center. If the accuser does not choose to file a police report, the accuser may still file an administrative (judicial) complaint through the Dean of Students Office, for an on-campus assault as well as seeking support from Weigel Health Center or the Counseling Center.

Programming and Education

Information on Buffalo State's sexual assault education, prevention, and intervention may be found on the Counseling Center website. Weigel Health Center's Health Promotion Office regularly hosts workshops and training seminars on sexual assault and violence prevention. For more information, visit the Weigel Health Center website.

University Police

Buffalo State  •  1300 Elmwood Avenue  •  Chase Hall 110
Buffalo, New York 14222  •  Phone: (716) 878-6333

To submit a comment, compliment, or complaint e-mail police@buffalostate.edu