Purchase College is committed to fostering a diverse community of outstanding faculty, staff and students, as well as ensuring equal educational opportunity, employment, and access to service, programs, and activities, without regard to an individual’s race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction. Employees, students, applicants, or other members of the Purchase community (including vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subjected to harassment that is prohibited by law or treated adversely or retaliated against based upon a protected characteristic.
Purchase complies with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and harassment. These laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as Amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, and the New York State Human Rights Law. These laws prohibit discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- submission to such contact is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education
- submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting the individual
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s welfare, academic or work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning learning or work environment
Sexual harassment may include:
- subtle persistent pressure for sexual activity
- unnecessary touching, pinching, and/or brushing against a person
- sexual coercion or assault
- demanding sexual favors with implied or overt threats concerning work or academic decision or preferential treatment
- unwelcome verbal/expressive behavior of a sexual nature (e.g., jokes, sounds, obscene phone calls, demeaning graphic portrayals)
- stalking, cyber stalking, and failure to accept the termination of a consensual relationship with repeated overtures or other aberrant or negative behavior
Sexual violence has been defined as “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent,” including rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.
Domestic victim status has been defined by the Human Rights Law as an individual who is a victim of an act which would constitute a family offense under N.Y. Family Court Act §812. It is unlawful to discriminate against a domestic violence victim in hiring for a job, job advancement, requests for use of leave time, or other terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. It is also unlawful for an employer to take an action in retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination.
On-campus inquiries or complaints regarding violations of the nondiscrimination policy or Title IX may be addressed to:
Affirmative Action/Chief Diversity Officer and Title IX Coordinator
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
Inquiries may also be directed to:
New York Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10005-2500
Tel: (646) 428-3800, Fax: (646) 428-3843
TDD: (800) 877-8339
Recruitment efforts at any level of the university are designed to promote the hiring of the best-qualified candidate for any vacant position and to ensure that SUNY’s affirmative action guidelines are followed.
- Authorization to fill a vacant position is made by the president of Purchase College through the senior college officer in charge of the area in which the vacancy occurs.
- Search committees are established to fill faculty vacancies and most administrative vacancies. The college’s affirmative action officer consults with search committees so that the steps in the recruitment and appointment process may be reviewed in detail.
- Searches are conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined by the affirmative action officer to ensure a legal and productive search.
State employees shall not sponsor, organize, attend, or participate in any meeting or other activity, the purpose of which is related to State business, in any private establishment that does not afford full membership rights and privileges to any person because of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, disability, military status, or marital status.
(Executive Order 17, issued May 31, 1983, by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo)
The unlawful use, possession, manufacture, dispensation, or distribution of controlled substances in all campus work locations is prohibited. Employees who unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, or use a controlled substance will be subject to disciplinary procedures consistent with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and collective bargaining agreements.
Employees must abide by the terms of this statement and must notify the Offices of Human Resources and Affirmative Action of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace or at a work site no later than five working days after such a conviction.
The following information is provided by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, a standing committee of the Purchase College Senate. It is meant to detail your rights as a member of the Purchase College faculty in the event that you experience or are accused of harassment on campus. Please note, however, that the following information is subject to change; questions should be directed to the affirmative action officer (AAO) at (914) 251-5992. You also have representation provided by your union (UUP) and always have the right to confer with your union representative, who can help you determine what your rights are and how best to proceed.
Before reading any further, please review the college’s Student Code of Conduct, published by the Office of Community Standards, and the information specific to sexual harassment in this section.
Harassment of a faculty member by a student
If you believe a student is treating you in a way that violates the Student Code of Conduct, you have several avenues open to you. You may decide to pursue any one of these avenues or all of them simultaneously.
- If a student (or anyone else) on campus is physically or otherwise threatening you, call the University Police immediately. For example, if you find a threatening note on your door, your voicemail, or your email, contact the police. Anything that feels threatening to you should be investigated. Request that the police write a report, get the number of that police report, and follow up by requesting a copy of the report. It may be easier to bring a case against a harasser if you have a police report. However, keep in mind that if you decide to file a formal complaint through the police (i.e., press charges), the other avenues detailed below will no longer be available to you.
- Contact the Office of Community Standards in Student Affairs. This office will write a report and then conduct a meeting with the accused student. If the student rejects the recommended sanctions, he or she can request a hearing. Trained students, faculty, and staff will be selected by the Office of Community Standards to constitute a committee of three to five people to hear the case. This Hearing Committee makes a decision and, if relevant, hands down sanctions. The range of sanctions for various kinds of violations is listed in the college’s Student Code of Conduct. Because of privacy laws, you may not be privy to what sanctions, if any, are handed down. Student Affairs may only release the outcome to the complainant if he or she is the recipient of aggressive physical or sexual harassment. Students have a right to appeal.
- See the affirmative action officer (AAO) as soon as possible after the incident. You will be asked if you want to file an informal or a formal complaint. In response to an informal complaint, the AAO will facilitate a discussion between the involved parties and try to broker a resolution.
If you choose to file a formal complaint, you will be asked to write a report detailing the incident or incidents. SUNY policy states that employees must file the written complaint with the affirmative action officer within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act or the date on which the complainant first knew or reasonably should have known of such act. (When the complainant is a student, he or she must file a complaint within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act or 90 calendar days after a final grade is received for the semester during which the alleged discriminatory act occurred, if that date is later.) The accused (respondent) will receive a copy, and then you will be asked to select one member from a list of trained members of the college community to serve on a three-person panel. The respondent will also select one member. The two members chosen then choose a chair from the list. The resulting Tripartite Panel hears all evidence and makes a recommendation to the president. The president decides on sanctions, if any. You can always switch from an informal to a formal complaint.
It is important to realize that the last two options (a.2 and a.3 above) are available to you simultaneously. Also, if you believe the college has not handled your complaint appropriately, you can always take your case to an external state or federal agency:
- A complainant is not required to pursue the SUNY internal procedure before filing a complaint with a state or federal agency.
- If a complainant chooses to pursue the SUNY internal procedure, the complainant is also free to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency at any point during the process.
- However, after filing with one of these outside enforcement agencies or upon the initiation of litigation, the complaint will be referred to the campus affirmative action officer, or in the case of sex discrimination, the Title IX coordinator (hereinafter, “AAO” refers to both the affirmative action officer and Title IX coordinator), for investigation with the Office of General Counsel. More detailed information may be obtained from the campus or SUNY-wide AAO.
Harassment of a faculty member by a member of the faculty, administration, or staff
If you feel threatened, call the University Police and ask that a report be filed, as discussed above. If you want to pursue a harassment complaint, see the affirmative action officer as discussed above. Again, you have the option to take your case to an external state or federal agency if you believe the college has not handled your complaint appropriately.
If you are accused of harassment
Please refer to the preceding information in this section. For formal complaints that are pursued internally, you (as the respondent) will choose one member from a list of trained members of the college community to serve on a Tripartite Panel that hears the case; refer to A.3 above for more information. However, please note that faculty members are not obligated to participate in noncontractual hearings of this nature. That is why it is imperative that faculty members see their union representative immediately and ascertain their rights.
Definitions of harassment can be found in the SUNY policy, Equal Opportunity: Access, Employment, and Fair Treatment.
Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII, §703), and sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated at the college. In addition, the Governor’s Executive Order No. 28 prohibits all state agencies from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 also prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity. One type of sex discrimination is sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence.
Academic freedom, creativity, professional achievement, and personal development flourish in a healthy environment. Such an environment must be one in which all employees and students can pursue their work free from coercion, intimidation, and exploitation. Harassment is antithetical to the mission of the college, and violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or termination.
The full text of the college’s sexual harassment policy is available on the Affirmative Action site. Please refer to the Title IX section of the college website and Faculty-Student Consensual Relationships below for additional information.
Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their power. It is ethically wrong for members of the faculty or staff to use their positions to exploit students. Voluntary consent by a student to a sexual relationship with a member of the faculty or staff is suspect, given the imbalance of power inherent in such a relationship. Students involved in such relationships are at risk of exploitation. Faculty or staff members involved in such relationships are creating potential conflicts of interest and personal liability to charges of sexual harassment and interference with the welfare and academic or work performance of others. It is the position of the president and Purchase College that no such relationships can be consensual, and any such relationship will be investigated and appropriate action taken.
Purchase College is committed to providing a safe workplace and learning environment, both on campus and any of its off-site locations. The college will respond promptly to threats, acts of violence, and acts of aggression against its employees, including those of domestic violence. This policy sets forth standards for employee conduct and guidelines for reasonable precautions. The accompanying procedures outline responses to threats or violence, should they occur in the workplace. This policy shall not act to abridge, modify, or in any way limit the administration of the federal laws and the laws of the State of New York. The full text of this policy is available on the Human Resources site under Policies and Procedures.
Reporting Workplace Violence
Workplace violence or threats of workplace violence should be promptly reported to the appropriate college official. Reports of imminent danger should be directed to the New York State University Police at (914) 251-6911. Reports can be made directly to the director of human resources, the NYSUP chief of police, or members of the Workplace Violence Advisory Committee. Other reporting mechanisms include an “Anonymous Workplace Violence Report” link on the faculty/staff portal (under Faculty Staff Resources) or via the Workplace Violence Hotline at (914) 251-5970.
Domestic violence permeates the lives and compromises the safety of thousands of New York State employees each day, with tragic, destructive, and often fatal results. Domestic violence occurs within a wide spectrum of relationships, including married and formerly married couples; couples with children in common; couples who live together or have lived together; gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender couples; and couples who are dating or who have dated in the past.
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of coercive tactics, which can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic, and emotional abuse perpetrated by one person against an adult intimate partner, with the goal of establishing and maintaining power and control over the victim. In addition to exacting a tremendous toll from the individuals it directly affects, domestic violence often spills over into the workplace, compromising the safety of both victims and coworkers and resulting in lost productivity, increased health care costs, increased absenteeism, and increased employee turnover.
Purchase College, to the fullest extent possible without violating any existing rules, regulations, statutory requirements, contractual obligations, or collective bargaining agreements, will take all appropriate actions to promote safety in the workplace and respond effectively to the needs of victims of domestic violence.
The full text of this policy is available on the Human Resources site under Policies and Procedures.
New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
In 1992, New York State created the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the country’s only executive-level state agency dedicated to the issue of domestic violence. Its mission is to improve New York State’s response to and prevention of domestic violence with the goal of enhancing the safety of all New Yorkers in their intimate and family relationships. Its primary office is located in Albany, New York, with a satellite office in New York City.
Under current law and a policy adopted by the SUNY Board of Trustees on January 11, 2007, smoking is banned on SUNY campuses in indoor areas, including residence halls, and in vehicles owned or leased by the university. In addition:
- Under a policy adopted by Purchase College in the spring of 2012, smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of the entrance to or the windows of any campus building. Smoking is also not permitted in, on, or around any athletic facility or field. Smokers found on athletic fields will be required to move to the access roads or parking lots if they choose to smoke. Cigarette litter must be properly disposed of in designated receptacles and not discarded on the ground.
- In April 2014, the Purchase College Senate approved a measure to have a 100 percent tobacco-free campus environment implemented within four years, in alignment with the Tobacco-Free SUNY Resolution passed in June 2012. The college’s full Tobacco-Free policy is available on the Human Resources site under Policies and Procedures.
- As of the spring 2017 semester, smoking is also prohibited on the main campus plaza.
All employees and students are responsible for complying with these policies. By June 2018, tobacco use will not be permitted anywhere on property owned, leased, or operated by the college.
Faculty and staff who would like alternatives to smoking and referrals to smoking cessation programs may call the coordinator of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at (914) 251-6550. EAP services are free for faculty and staff.
Purchase College seeks to encourage and sustain an academic environment that both respects individual freedom and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of all members of its community. In keeping with these objectives, Purchase College has established a policy and guidelines governing the possession, use, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages on the Purchase College campus that conform to the laws of the State of New York. Underage possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is not permitted at Purchase College. Selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to persons under the age of 21 or persons who are inebriated is not permitted at Purchase College. Consumption of alcoholic beverages and possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages are limited to designated locations, as specified in the Purchase College Alcohol Policy, available on the College Policies site.
Faculty members may not accept gifts directly on behalf of the college or the State University of New York. All prospective donors should be referred to the Purchase College Foundation, Office of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
Please refer to Gifts and Gratuities in the Ethics section for related information.