Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Reports of sexual offenses
Q: Will my parents be notified regarding the charges, the hearing, outcome, etc.?
A: The University will not notify your parents regarding the charges, the hearing, outcome or any other aspect of your sexual assault complaint.
A: SUNY Fredonia works very hard to ensure a fair and balanced judicial process for both parties. If you feel uncomfortable about having to see the accused student, there are ways we can minimize contact (ex: screen, video conferencing equipment, etc). Both you and the accused student may ask questions of each other and all witnesses called to testify. To minimize contact between the two parties and ensure questions are relevant to the case, all questions are posed to the Judicial Board first. The Judicial Board then poses the question to the appropriate person. The accused student can not directly ask you any questions.
A: We encourage students to have a friend, counselor, or advocate present during the hearing and at other meetings associated with your sexual assault complaint. This person cannot speak on your behalf, but s/he can provide you emotional support.
A: The Judicial Board is compromised of faculty, staff, and students at SUNY Fredonia. Judicial Board members are expected to recuse themselves from cases where they know either the complaint or respondent. If you feel that someone on the board is unable to fairly hear your case, please notify the Coordinator of Judicial Affairs prior to the start of the hearing.
A: Judicial board hearings are closed proceedings. No one outside of Judicial Affairs and those on the Judicial Board are informed of disciplinary hearings. Judicial Board members are prohibited from discussing cases outside of the hearing.
A: There are a variety of sanctions that can be imposed on a person who is found responsible of violating the University Policy on Sexual Assault. They range from a disciplinary warning to suspension, or expulsion.
A: At the hearing, you and the accused student will have the opportunity to explain the circumstances surrounding the incident and call witnesses. Both parties can ask questions of any witnesses (through the Judicial Board).
A: If you file a complaint, you will be contacted by a professional staff member from Judicial Affairs to discuss the report. Usually, this person will want to have a one-on-one meeting with you to discuss the report, your options, and the process.
A: If it is the case that the sexual assault occurs off-campus and the aggressor is not part of the campus community, you should contact local law enforcement. You should also contact the Counseling Center who can provide you with assistance going through the legal system. As a campus, we can also disallow someone to come on campus that is a danger to our community by making them Persona Non Grata (PNG), so you should also inform the Judicial Affairs Office as well. If it is the case that the sexual assault occurs off-campus and the aggressor is a SUNY Fredonia student, you should report it to both the local law enforcement as well as Judicial Affairs. Since the campus has jurisdiction wherever the student is, we can seek discipline for off-campus misconduct.
Q: What is the difference between a Judicial Board Hearing and an Administrative Board Hearing?
A: They are both procedurally the same. The difference is who hears the case. The Judicial Board is a five person panel. This board is comprised of student members, as well as faculty and staff members. An Administrative Board is a three person panel comprised of faculty and staff members.
A: The Board will ask you to respond responsible or not responsible to the charges. The Board will then ask you to describe what happened. It is suggested that you prepare a statement beforehand so you don't leave out any details. At the end of the hearing, the Board will ask you if there is anything else you want them to know. This is your opportunity to let the Board know more information about yourself and highlight any major points. You should prepare something as well for this. The former is usually referred to as your 'closing statement'.
A: Yes. This person cannot get involved in the hearing; his/her role is to advise you.
A: Yes. It is asked, although not required, that you let the Director of Judicial Affairs know how many witnesses you are bringing prior to the hearing.
A: Yes. These questions must be asked through the Board.
A: If a student has prior violations, the board is not made aware of this before the hearing. The Board will only find out about prior violations if the student is found responsible.
A: The Board will usually make a decision on the same day of the hearing during their deliberations. They will then forward those recommendations to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Office of Student Affairs will usually inform the student of the outcome within 3-5 days following the hearing.
A: Yes. You can make one appeal to the President within 5 days of receipt of your finding letter. You can appeal on two grounds: that there was a procedural due process error or that there was evidence that was not entered at the hearing that would significantly change the outcome of the hearing. The President's decision is final and the case is not subject to further administrative review.
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