Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if I or a friend may have been sexually assaulted?
If you wish report the incident, pursue a complaint against the alleged perpetrator, and/or if you wish to discuss your options, consult with the College's Director of Community Standards (Title IX Coordinator), Catherine Berryman (315-859-4020 from 8:30am-4:30pm M-F or on call at 315-859-4000). Conversations will be kept as private as possible. The Title IX coordinator may be required to take some form of action in order to prevent further acts from occurring on Hamilton’s campus. See the Hamilton Sexual Misconduct Policy (Article VII, Section B) for more details.
If you wish to receive confidential help, a confidential counselor is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the Hamilton College Counseling Center (315-859-4340). The Hamilton College EMTs (315-859-4000) are also available to help you or your friend get the immediate medical care you need.
If you wish to pursue a criminal complaint, contact Campus Safety at 315-859-4141 or the Title IX coordinator at 315-859-4020 to arrange a meeting with the New York State Police or the Oneida County Sheriff or you can contact the New York State Police directly through the Campus Sexual Assault Victim Unit’s 24-hour hotline: 1-844-845-7269. Filing a police report does not obligate you to follow through with legal action but it does preserve physical evidence. This process can happen simultaneously with filing a complaint with the College.
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Help Restore Hope Center coordinates Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) services for medical attention (injuries from a sexual assault are not always immediately apparent) and collecting physical evidence (a “rape kit”) at a regional hospital. The College strongly encourages any individual who has experienced sexual violence to obtain a rape kit, which is critical: (1) to diagnose and treat the full extent of any injury or physical effect and (2) to properly collect and preserve evidence. There is a limited window of time (typically up to 72 to 96 hours) following an incident of sexual assault to preserve physical and other forms of evidence. Gathering such evidence does not commit an individual to pursuing legal action against the assailant, but does preserve that option. Although it may be difficult following a sexual assault, individuals who are considering or may consider legal action should try not to shower, rinse mouth, brush teeth or change clothes to allow for the maximum possible collection of evidence by a SANE nurse or other health care provider. The results of the SAFE exam will not be shared with on- or off-campus disciplinary authorities unless you choose to share them yourself. SANE services are coordinated through Help Restore Hope Center’s 24/7 hotline every Thursday at 6pm through Monday at 8am, Help Restore Hope can still provide resources and care outside of these times.
Also, save any physical evidence, including text messages, phone records, and/or phone records related to the possible incident.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of Hamilton’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact a member of the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board, the Title IX Coordinator, or a member of the counseling center staff. Any of those individuals can help you determine available options.
Will I receive points when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if I have illegally used drugs or alcohol?
Hamilton’s Sexual Misconduct Policy states that: “Persons cooperating by furnishing information in good faith in connection with College processes under this Policy (whether as Complainants, Respondents or witnesses), or in connection with law enforcement proceedings arising out of reported incidents of Sexual Misconduct, will not be subject to College code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies, or other minor conduct offenses (i.e., those that can be expected to result in sanctions no more than probationary status) based on their conduct occurring at or near the time of a reported incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault” (Article V, Section F). Therefore, the College will not take action against you for minor violations of the Student Code of Conduct (such as drinking and/or drug use) that may have occurred at the time of the incident in question.
Does information about a sexual misconduct complaint remain private?
- Privacy will be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis, meaning that anyone with direct involvement (e.g. the Title IX Coordinator, HSMB members, and Dean of Students) will maintain the privacy of the complaint.
- Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure are prohibited.
- In complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In addition, some administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g. the President and Director of Campus Safety).
- If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, law enforcement will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a complainant must speak with the police.
- Hamilton is required to report major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
Will my parents be told?
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the College’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to speak with their parents.
Will the accused student know my identity?
If you file a formal complaint through college procedures. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim in order to participate in the investigation.
Do I have to name the perpetrator?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint. Survivors should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the College's ability to respond comprehensively.
Will I have to pay for counseling?
No, counseling services at the Hamilton College Counseling Center are provided free of charge.
Can I change my residence hall room?
- If you want to move, you may speak with the Title IX Coordinator, who will work with the Office of Residential Life to accommodate you depending on what rooms are available.
- If you want the accused student to move, and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue a formal or informal complaint.
- We can impose a no contact order, and a room change for the accused student can usually be arranged quickly.
- Other accommodations available to you might include: Change of housing to a different on-campus location; Assistance from College support staff in completing the relocation; Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling; Taking an incomplete in a class; Transferring class sections; Temporary withdrawal; Alternative course completion options.
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct complaint?
- The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused student’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint.
- A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove his/her complaint.
- If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information.
- Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused student.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator, who can explain the Hamilton’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also wish to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center or seek other community assistance.
Information adapted from material provided by Association of Title IX Administrators