NU Policies, Procedures, and Measures

Policies

Includes information on the policies and procedures surrounding discrimination and the role of the OEI.

Sets the process for handling sexual misconduct, per Title IX, VAWA, Clery, and NY Education Law 129B

Behavior that violates university standards of conduct listed here and elsewhere will be subject to educative action through the appropriate student conduct process.

Regardless of where the conduct occurred, who was involved, or to what degree an individual decides to report the incident, supportive measures are often available. Most commonly, these measures include class changes, dorm room transfers, or other academic accommodations that are necessary to assist a student who is being unfairly disadvantaged by actions or trauma related to an incident of discrimination or violence.

Even without a formal report,  it is encouraged that parties work with the OEI to request interim measures that could be of assistance. Interim measures include No Contact Orders and Campus Bans which may be available on a case by case basis.

Procedures

The Non-Discrimination Policy & Grievance Procedures  outline the operations of the OEI. The OEI handles all matters involving allegations and complaints of discrimination based on a protected category (including sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, military or veteran status, domestic violence victim status, pregnancy, or other category protected by law).

Niagara University affirms its commitment to equal opportunity and non-discrimination and recognizes its responsibility to provide for all employees, students and visitors an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment based on protected category (including sex, race, age, disability, color, creed, national origin, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, military or veteran status, domestic violence victim status, pregnancy, or any other category protected by law).

The university does not tolerate any actual or attempted reprisals or retaliation against an employee, student or visitor who raises a sincere or valid concern regarding harassment or discrimination, and any retaliation is strictly prohibited. 

For further information regarding Title IX, please contact:

Megan Altman-Cosgrove
Title IX Coordinator
Office for Equity & Inclusion
O’Shea Hall, B27; PO Box 2034
Niagara University, NY 14109
716.286.8314
Email

For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit the Office of Civil Rights for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1.800.421.3481.

For all other inquiries related to the above, including disability, please contact:

Lisa Arnet
Vice President of Human Resources
Alumni Hall Annex
Niagara University, NY 14109
716.286.8690
Email

Affirmative Consent

Verbatim Language

“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.”

Additional Mandatory Language That May Be Worded as Appropriate for Each Institution:

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily 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.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. 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.
  • When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

Definitions

On campus, only Health Services, Counseling Services, and Campus Ministry's ordained priests acting in their official capacity can truly be confidential. All other NU employees have an obligation to immediately report any incident of discrimination, including sexual assault and intimate partner violence, to the Office for Equity & Inclusion and Title IX Coordinator. There, your privacy will be respected as much as possible.

The Office for Equity & Inclusion (OEI) will respect a complainant's  (and every person's) privacy as much as possible. In cases of sexual assault, stalking, domestic/dating violence, the complainant is in control of whether any action or investigation moves forward, and the complainant's identity can remain private. Only in instances of imminent danger to the campus or the threat of a repeated attack by the perpetrator will any action take place without the complainant's request, and even then, will be done so in a way to protect the complainant's identity as much as possible and will never force a complainant to participate in the investigation.

Minor and moderate student conduct violations and crimes that are revealed in reports to the Office for Equity & Inclusion (OEI) will not be pursued or prosecuted by campus officials. This especially applies to alcohol and drug possession violations. In most cases, these violations will not even be disclosed, except insofar as they are relevant to investigations and/or witness reports. This applies to victims, complainants, respondents, witnesses, the accused, and/or anyone providing information. New York State Police have also indicated that they have a similar view as to the prosecution of minor crimes that are revealed during sex assault and intimate partner violence investigations.

There is no statute of limitations (or time limit) for when a complainant can file a claim with the OEI, even if the incident occurred years prior. There are, however, statutes of limitations on bringing criminal cases against defendants; for more info on criminal law statutes of limitations, contact the Title IX Coordinator or the police directly.

Retaliation, which is materially adverse action taken against a person for reporting or objecting to  discrimination, sexual harassment,  sexual assault, dating/domestic violence or for participating in an investigation or other proceeding related to discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence is a violation of this Policy, whether or not it occurred.

This applies to any activity on or off campus, through direct or indirect conduct, via electronic means or social media, or through third parties. Reports of retaliation will be accepted, evaluated and handled under the same processes and procedures set forth in this Policy. Any action that would keep an individual from coming forward to make or support a claim of unlawful harassment or discrimination may constitute retaliation. Such retaliation is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. For example, both the New York State Human Rights Law and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect individuals who engage in “protected activity.”

Protected activity occurs when a person has:

  • Made a complaint of sexual harassment, either internally or with any anti-discrimination agency;
  • Testified or assisted in a proceeding involving sexual harassment under Title VII, the Human Rights Law, or other anti-discrimination law;
  • Opposed sexual harassment by making a verbal or informal complaint to management, or by simply informing a supervisor or manager of harassment;
  • Reported that another employee has been sexually harassed; or
  • Encouraged a fellow employee to report sexual harassment.

Even if the alleged discrimination, sexual harassment,  sexual assault, dating/domestic violence does not rise to the level of a violation of law, the individual is protected from retaliation if the person had a good faith belief that the practices were unlawful. However, the retaliation provision is not intended to protect persons making intentionally false charges of discrimination, sexual harassment,  sexual assault, dating/domestic violence. Those found responsible for engaging in retaliation will be subject to discipline.