Sexual Assault Response Policy

The State University of New York and SUNY Morrisville are committed to providing options, support and assistance to victims/survivors of these crime and violations regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, or criminal convictions, have the following rights, regardless of whether the crime or violation occurs on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad. We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment in which all members are treated with dignity and respect. To that end, the college takes the strongest possible stance against sexual misconduct in all its forms, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence or the use of coercion, intimidation or exploitation of others for sexual purposes. The college is actively engaged in educating its members about these vital issues and in providing timely support and assistance to victims of sexual assault.

Sex Offenses, Lack of Consent

Whether or not specifically stated, it is an element of every offense defined in this article that the sexual act was committed without consent of the victim. Definitions relating to this policy are below:

Affirmative Consent - Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not constitute consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  • When consent is withdrawn or cannot be given, sexual activity must stop.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent.
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

Burden of proof in all cases is “the preponderance of the evidence standard” – whether it is “more likely than not” that the violation occurred. If the evidence presented meets this standard, then the accused must be found responsible.

Sexual assault - New York State does not specifically define sexual assault. However, according to the Federal Regulations, sexual assault includes offenses that meet the definitions of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s UCR program.

  • Rape - The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • Incest - Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory Rape - Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of consent in New York State (17 years is the age of consent in New York State.)

Sexual harassment - unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to effectively alter or deny the individual reasonable access to University resources or that such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or sexually offensive environment for learning, working or living on campus.