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Definitions for Terms Used in Policies

Accused, or accused individual: a person accused of perpetrating a crime or conduct code violation.


Advisor: any individual who provides the accused or victim/survivor with support, guidance and/or advice.


Bystander: a person who observes a crime, impending crime, conflict or unacceptable behavior.


Bystander intervention: a bystander’s safe and positive actions to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk posed to another person. Bystander intervention includes recognizing situations of potential harm, identifying safe and effective intervention options, and taking action to intervene.


Clery Coordinator: Not an official title, but informally used to reference the individual, office, or group of individuals or offices tasked with collecting data for the Annual Security Report and submission to the Department of Education.


Code: As used here, this refers to the college or university’s Student Code of Conduct (or equivalent, if it is differently-named), for which changes are subject to the approval of the College Council for State-operated colleges and Board for community colleges.


Non-professional counselors and advocates: campus support resources that are not privileged or confidential. These individuals are not required to reveal personally identifiable information about a victim/survivor to the Title IX Coordinator, Clery Coordinator, or anyone else on campus. They are required to report aggregate data to the Title IX Coordinator, including nature, date, time, and general location of the incident.


Preponderance of the Evidence  the standard of proof in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases, which asks whether it is “more likely than not” that the sexual harassment or sexual violence occurred. If the evidence presented meets this standard, then the accused should be found responsible.


Privileged or Confidential Resources: Individuals that, with very few exceptions, are confidential resources to those wishing to disclose sexual violence. Such resources include licensed medical professionals, licensed mental health counselors, and clergy.


Protected person/individual: a person protected by an Order of Protection, which is issued by the court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person.


Responsible employee: an employee with the authority to redress sexual violence; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate school designee; or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. If a responsible employee is aware of sexual violence, then the college is considered on notice of that sexual violence.


Retaliation: adverse action against another person for reporting a violation or for participating in any way in the investigation or conduct process. Retaliation includes harassment and intimidation, including but not limited to violence, threats of violence, property destruction, adverse educational or employment consequences, and bullying.


Sex discrimination: includes all forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties against employees, students, or third parties. Students, employees, and third parties are prohibited from harassing others whether or not the harassment occurs on the SUNY campus or whether it occurs during work hours. Sex discrimination can be carried out by other students, college employees, or third parties. All acts of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, are prohibited by Title IX.


Sexual assault: a physical sexual act or acts committed against another person without consent. Sexual assault is an extreme form of sexual harassment. Sexual assault includes what is commonly known as “rape” (including what is commonly called “date rape” and “acquaintance rape”), fondling, statutory rape and incest. For statutory rape, the age of consent in New York State is 17 years old.


Sexual harassment: unwelcome, gender-based verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that is sexual in nature and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials, the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.


Sexual violence: physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or perpetrated where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.


Victim/survivor: a person who suffers personal, physical, or psychological injury. The policies use “victim/survivor,” and campuses are encouraged to ask each individual disclosing or reporting sexual violence how that person wants to be identified--whether as victim, survivor, witness, or another term.