Sexual Misconduct Policy

I. Introduction

Molloy is committed to a learning, working and living environment where all members of the community feel safe and respected.  Acts of sexual harassment are serious violations of our policies and our values. This policy aims to ensure that all members of the Molloy community can study and work together without being subjected to sexually inappropriate behavior.

In this policy, the term "Molloy community" is used to refer to faculty, staff, students and others affiliated with the College by reason of employment or education. Despite the gendered nature of its language, this policy is inclusive of all members of the Molloy community.

The purpose of this policy is twofold: first, to establish clear procedures for the handling of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment allegations and second, to educate the College community with respect to the limits of acceptable conduct. By educating students about Molloy's expectations, this policy aims to prevent sexual misconduct and sexual harassment from occurring. 

An underlying premise of this distinction between acceptable and unacceptable conduct is the notion of mutual respect and clear consent. It is important to realize that the use of alcohol or drugs can blur the distinction between consent and coercion.  However, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not a defense to an allegation of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.

Any community member who believes that he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct or has experienced sexual harassment is encouraged to report it immediately. The College has designated the following individuals to receive complaints of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct:

  • The College Title IX Coordinator, Lisa Miller 323.3046
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators: Brendan Caputo 323.4021 and Michael Grasso 323.3602 Janine McElroy 323-3458 and Mary Jane Reilly 323.3023
  • Public Safety 323.3500

This policy explains Molloy's approach to investigating, adjudicating and disciplining acts of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. Many acts of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment are also crimes. Molloy College strongly encourages the reporting of such incidents to our Public Safety Office by dialing 11. Public Safety will assist a student in reporting an incident to the police if the student so requests. The criminal process is separate and distinct from this policy. The fact that a criminal complaint has been filed, prosecuted or dismissed will not prevent Molloy from pursuing disciplinary action.

The College has appointed several faculty, staff and administrators to serve on the College Harassment Advocacy Panel who are available to consult with any community members regarding the definition of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment as well as the College's procedures and options available for addressing situations of concern. A list of current Harassment Advocacy panel members and contact information can be found on the College website.

II. On Campus and Off-Campus Behavior

This policy applies to conduct that occurs on any part of Molloy's campus or property. It also applies when students travel off-campus as part of a College activity, team, organization or event. Additionally, Molloy has the discretion to discipline student behavior that occurs off-campus, and/or during a time when the College is not in session. In making these determinations, the Vice President for Student Affairs in conjunction with the Title IX Coordinator considers whether the behavior impacts the campus environment (as would be the case, for example, if one student sexually assaults another student in an off-campus apartment or overseas during a semester abroad, or if a student sends another student lewd and threatening sexual e-mails while at home during the semester break).  In understanding this aspect of Molloy's expectations for student behavior, it may be helpful to think of student status as "portable" and therefore operative even when students are not on Molloy's campus or property.

III. Timeframe for Making a Complaint

While there is no time limit for bringing forward a complaint, the passage of time may make an incident difficult or even impossible to investigate fairly or fully and to adjudicate. Therefore, students are encouraged to make a complaint as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. Although not an ideal situation given the passage of time, a former student may make a complaint against a current student. However, the reverse is not true: the complaint of a current student against a former student is not subject to adjudication pursuant to this policy. Nevertheless, Molloy officials will help the complaining student report the allegations to the appropriate off-campus authorities.

IV.  Sexual Misconduct Offenses Include, but are not limited to:

  1.  Sexual Harassment
  2.  Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same)
  3.  Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
  4.  Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Harassment: Federal and state laws prohibit sexual harassment. These laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the New York State Human Rights Law.

It is defined as unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting someone's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's educational program and/or activities and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation. This policy prohibits conduct that would violate the above mentioned laws. However, as a supportive and collegial community, Molloy also prohibits student behavior that sexually demeans or humiliates other community members as described below, even if the conduct does not violate the law.

Types of Sexual Harassment include:

Hostile Environment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive. Examples include an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking and gender-based bullying.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
  • The submission to or rejection of such conduct could result in adverse educational or employment action(s).

Retaliatory harassment is any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person's participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. 

V. Examples of Harassment:

  • A professor insists that a student have sex with them in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether or not the student accedes to the request
  • A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes through social media, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender
  • Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor's office, on the exterior of a residence hall door or on a computer monitor in a public space
  • Two supervisors frequently "rate" several employee's bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance
  • A professor engages students in discussions in class about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. They probe for explicit details and demand that students answer although they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant
  • An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend turning him into a social pariah on campus

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, that is without consent and/or by force.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or woman that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy
  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity
  • Engaging in voyeurism
  • Knowingly transmitting an STD to another individual
  • Sexually based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

VI.  Additional Applicable Definitions

Consent is permission freely given by word or action, by all participants to an activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of all parties to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be an expression in words or actions that the other individual has consented to that particular sexual conduct.

A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or are disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or drugs. A student who engages in sexual activity when the student knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. It is not an excuse that the student accused of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the other.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that they no longer want the act to continue, and, when that happens, the other person must stop immediately.

In New York State, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 17-years-old) cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact with a person less than 17-years-old is a crime as well as a violation of this policy even if the minor wanted to engage in the sexual act.

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes it clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual inter-action, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent.

Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g. to understand "the who, why or how" of their sexual encounter). 

VII. Other Misconduct Offenses (when gender-based)

  1. Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person
  2. Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender
  3. Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another
  4. Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the College community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity as defined further in the Molloy Hazing Policy
  5. Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally
  6. Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other
  7. Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community. 

VIII.    Sanctions

A determination as to whether harassment occurred depends on the totality of the circumstances, such as the severity of a particular incident, the context in which it occurred, whether the conduct was repeated, whether the conduct was verbal or physical, and whether it was threatening or merely annoying. 

For purposes of federal and state law, harassment has occurred if a reasonable person would have found the behavior offensive and his or her living, learning or working environment would be impaired as a result of the conduct. However, Molloy reserves the right to discipline offensive conduct that is inconsistent with community standards even if it does not rise to the level of harassment as defined by federal or state law.

In assessing a disciplinary penalty, the seriousness of the sexual harassment incident will be evaluated. 

  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (where no intercourse has occurred) will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.*
  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion.*
  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on sexual exploitation or sexual harassment will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous campus code violations.*
  • The conduct body reserves the fight to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing nor any appeals body will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do s

IX. Definition of Retaliation

Victims have the right to report sexual harassment and sexual misconduct without fear of retaliation. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation or reprisals. For example, it would be retaliatory to intimidate a witness or to shun a person from a student organization in retribution for the person's having made a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

Molloy strictly prohibits retaliation by any student against a person who makes a report or sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, assists someone with a report, or participates in any aspect of the investigation or resolution of a report.

Acts of retaliation by students are subject to the standard disciplinary procedure set forth in the Due Process Procedure for Student Discipline in Non-Academic Areas and in certain cases, may result in suspension. Acts of retaliation by other members of the community, such as faculty or staff, are subject to sanction as set forth in the College's Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures.

X. Confidentiality

Molloy understands that a student who has been the victim of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment may wish to talk about the incident with the assurance that the discussion will be confidential. There are several support resources that students may utilize on a confidential basis. These include Personal Counseling Services, the Campus Ministry Office, and College Health Services

Students are encouraged to consult these sources for confidential emotional support. Because these services are confidential, a discussion with any of these sources does not result in a complaint being filed with the College or result in action being taken by the College to respond to the incident. A student who wants emotional support only should contact the confidential counseling resources listed above. A student wishing to have an incident investigated, mediated or adjudicated must make a complaint in accordance with the procedures described below.

A victim can seek advice from certain resources who are not required to share private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear for the victim's safety, or the safety of others. These are individuals who the College has specifically designated as "responsible employees" for purposes of putting the institution on notice and for whom mandatory reporting is required, other than in the stated limited circumstances. These resources include those without supervisory responsibility or remedial authority to address sexual misconduct, such as office staff, adjunct faculty and others. These individuals have been instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, but not to share any personally identifiable information about the report unless authorized by the complainant, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect the victim or other members of the community. If personally identifiable information is shared, it will only be shared as necessary with as few people as possible. All efforts will be made to protect the complainants' privacy.

Molloy College has designated the following groups of employees as "Responsible Employees:"

The College President
Vice Presidents
Assistant and Associate Deans
Employees with supervisory responsibility
Employees of the Student Affairs offices
Public Safety Department
Athletics as well as all full-time faculty and their administrative staff

If you are unsure of someone's duties and ability to maintain an individual's privacy, ask them before you talk to them. They will be able to tell you, and help you make decisions about who can help best.

The College endeavors to respect and follow the wishes of an individual who brings forward a sexual misconduct or sexual harassment concern. However, students should understand that Molloy may have ethical and legal obligations to investigate, attempt to resolve or adjudicate incidents of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment that come to its attention. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, it may not be possible for a conversation with Public Safety personnel, the College Title IX Coordinator, or other administrators to be kept in confidence always or, said another way, for these individuals simply to listen without taking action.

XI.    Reporting Procedures & The Complaint Process

An individual who feels that they have been the victim of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct may consult a member of the Harassment Advocacy Panel or go directly to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators to make a report of an incident

Members of the Advocacy Panel do not make a determination as to the nature of the incident being reported, but can:

  • Clarify the definitions of harassment and discuss how these definitions may or may not pertain in the circumstances described by the complainant
  •  Discuss with the complainant whether counseling should be considered based upon the circumstances
  •  Assist the complainant, where appropriate, in filing a formal, written complaint regarding the harassment
  •   Facilitate the filing of the complaint with the appropriate party

Complainants have the right and can expect to have incidents of sexual misconduct taken seriously by the institution when formally reported and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Witnesses are expected to cooperate fully with an investigation and share their knowledge of any incident in a truthful and honest manner. If a case involves underage drinking, the College shall not charge the following individuals with a violation of the University's alcohol policy: the victim, the witnesses, and other individuals reporting, in good faith, incidents and/or assisting victims of sexual misconduct. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses and the accused individual. 

The College offers both informal and formal resolution options. Generally, the College seeks to follow the complaining party's wishes as to which procedure to pursue. However, there may be situations in which - due to the nature of the allegations - informal resolution is inappropriate. This decision will be based on factors such as the egregiousness of the allegations, whether the accused student is a repeat offender or whether there is otherwise reason to believe that the safety or interests of the campus community demand adjudication. In those instances, the College will apply the formal procedure only.

Molloy College Mission Statement
Molloy College, an independent, Catholic college, rooted in the Dominican tradition of study, spirituality,
service and community, is committed to academic excellence with respect for each person.
Through transformative education, Molloy promotes a lifelong search for truth
and the development of ethical leadership.