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Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence

Updated 7/22/2014

FIT seeks to create and maintain a safe environment in which all members of the community – students, faculty, administration, staff, guests and visitors – can learn and work free from the fear of sexual violence.  FIT prohibits sexual violence by its students, faculty or staff.  Sexual violence covered by this policy includes sexual assault, stalking, and domestic and intimate partner violence.  The college will promptly investigate all allegations of sexual violence, and take appropriate disciplinary action upon finding a violation of this policy by a member of the FIT community.  The college is committed to supporting victims of sexual violence that occurs on campus.  Just as important, FIT offers education and training programs intended to prevent sexual violence from happening in our community.

FIT also prohibits harassment of a sexual nature and has relevant policies on discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment.  This policy statement sets forth information for students and other members of the FIT community to follow in the event that they or someone they know have been a victim of sexual violence, as well as the support services provided by the college and disciplinary procedures. 

Sexual violence is an intolerable intrusion into the most personal and private rights of an individual.  It impacts both the victim and the community as a whole.  FIT wants all victims of sexual violence, including assault, stalking, and domestic and intimate partner violence, to be aware of the many resources FIT offers to support them.  The community must also be confident that those who are found to have committed sexual violence will be disciplined up to and including expulsion for students or termination for employees.  The training and educational opportunities available at the college for students and employees are intended to help prevent sexual violence as well as to teach how to deal with its aftermath.

Policy

DEFINITIONS

Sexual Assault: Any non-consensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks or breasts.  Sexual assault occurs when the act is committed by: (a) physical force, violence, threat or intimidation; (b) ignoring the objections of another person; (c) causing another’s intoxication or impairment through the use of alcohol or other drugs; and/or (d) taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation, helplessness, or other inability to consent.

Consent: Explicit communication and mutual approval for the act in which the parties are/were involved.  A sexual encounter is considered consensual when individuals willingly and knowingly engage in sexual activity.  The use of coercion in instances of sexual assault involves the use of pressure, manipulation, substances and/or force.  The absence of “no” is not a “yes.”

Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  Stalking involves repeated and continued harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes the targeted individual to feel emotional distress, including fear and apprehension.  Stalking behaviors may include:  pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communications or contact – including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, electronic messages, text messages, unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation.

Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence: Physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship. Such violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior.  Domestic and intimate partner relationships are defined as short- or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional and/or romantic physical intimacy. Such relationships may occur in marriage, cohabitation, dating, or within the family, and may be same-sex.

The Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs: Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and affirmatively given.  The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of alcohol or other drugs on another person’s ability to give consent.  The use of alcohol and other drugs never makes someone at fault for being sexually assaulted.

SUPPORT SERVICES

Students: Students have available to them the services of trained professionals in the Counseling Center, Health Services, Residential Life and Student Life.  See contact information below.

Employees:  Faculty, administrators and staff may use the services of the Employment Assistance Program.

CONFIDENTIALITY

The college recognizes that confidentiality is particularly important to victims of sexual violence.  A victim who has made a report may make a request for confidentiality or privacy at any point.  This may include a request to remain anonymous to the alleged perpetrator or witnesses, or even to withdraw the report.  FIT will make all reasonable efforts to honor such a request limiting information to those who need to know for an investigation to commence.  However, requests for confidentiality may limit FIT’s ability to investigate and respond to the allegations.  The college cannot guarantee complete confidentiality because of its responsibility to safeguard all members of the community and its obligations under the law, including Title IX.

FALSE COMPLAINTS

Members of the FIT community who make false reports, with the exception of reports which even if erroneous, are made in good faith, will be subject to disciplinary action.

NON-RETALIATION

FIT prohibits any form of retaliation against individuals who in good faith file a report, participate in an investigation of a report, or are accused of violating this policy, and after investigation have been found not to have violated this policy.

EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING PROGRAMS

FIT provides training to members of the community who may have to respond to incidents of sexual violence.  Educational programs to raise awareness of sexual violence are presented regularly by the Counseling Center, Health Services, Residential Life, Campus Security, and Student Life.  These programs are publicized to students during Student Orientation. For employees, online training is provided.

Procedures

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

In the event of an assault, contact Campus Security or the New York City Police at 911.  They will assist the victim to get medical attention and to secure evidence of the assault. It is extremely important that victims of physical assault receive comprehensive medical attention promptly.  The college’s Health Services can provide treatment to students.  Employees should see their own health care provider.  In the case of sexual assault, victims, whether students or employees, should go immediately to a hospital emergency room.  Treatment and preservation of evidence are crucial to a criminal investigation.  For a person who believes he/she is a victim of date rape as a consequence of alcohol and/or other drugs, should have a toxicology examination at the hospital as quickly as possible as drugs may remain in a person’s system for only a short time.  Most hospitals have rape victim protocols which are very supportive of victims.

CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

Sexual assault, stalking, and domestic and intimate violence are all crimes under New York State law.  FIT strongly supports victims of sexual violence and encourages them to report the crime to the New York City Police Department (NYPD).  If a victim reports a crime of sexual violence to FIT campus security, FIT security will assist the victim in making contact with NYPD to make a report.

REPORTING

As soon as possible after an incident of sexual violence, the victim, whether a student or employee, should notify the Title IX Coordinator (Affirmative Action Officer).  Students may also report incidents to Residence Life and Student Life personnel.  Employees may report incidents to the Vice President for Human Resources.

INTERIM MEASURES

During investigation and until resolution of a report of sexual violence, interim measures may include, but are not limited to, restrictions on contact between the victim and alleged perpetrator, a ban from the campus, and/or removal or relocation from residence halls or the workplace.

ORDERS OF PROTECTION

FIT shall comply and assist with enforcement of all known Orders of Protection (OPs), particularly orders in which abusers have been ordered to stay away from the FIT campus. If requested by the victim of domestic violence or law enforcement, FIT shall provide information in its possession concerning an alleged violation of an OP.

Students are encouraged to bring their OPs to the attention of the Dean of Students, or alternatively, the FIT Department of Security. Employees are encouraged to bring their OPs to the attention of the Vice President of Human Resource Management and Labor Relations or, alternatively, the FIT Department of Security.

Once the OP has been brought forward, the OP will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the office of the FIT Director of Security, which is accessible on a 24-hour basis. Additionally, regarding students, a copy of the OP will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the office of the Dean of Students. Regarding employees, a copy of the OP will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the office of the Vice President of Human Resource Management and Labor Relations.

In the case of a campus emergency requiring the presentation of the OP to law enforcement, if the FIT Director of Security is unavailable to obtain the document, the Assistant Vice President of Administration will have access to the Department of Security’s cabinet where the OP is locked.

A trained FIT professional will discuss with the student or employee a plan on how to best proceed to ensure the safest possible college and/or work environment for the student, employee and all other affected FIT-related individuals. With the student or employee’s permission, this plan may include options such as providing a copy of the OP and/or photo of the perpetrator to security or front desk personnel; identifying a supervisor/colleague who would be able to assist with the identification of the perpetrator; blocking the subject/perpetrator from being entered into the Visitor Management System; and creating a personal campus or workplace safety plan.

A student is responsible to notify the Dean of Students and/or the FIT Director of Security if there are any changes to the OP. An employee is responsible to notify the Vice President of Human Resource Management and Labor Relations and the FIT Director of Security if there are any changes to the OP.

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