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Title IX Policies and Procedures at Cornell

In addition to the various other procedures and rules under Policy 6.4, “Prohibited Bias, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual and Related Misconduct,” at Cornell University, the institution has a policy of Amnesty, which generally relates to how the University handles the conduct of the complainant or victim in a particular case. Worthy of conferencing with a Student Disciplinary attorney at Cornell, this Amnesty policy recognizes that students who, for example, have been drinking or using drugs might be reluctant to report incidents for an obvious reason. Simply, because a student may have reasonable concern that there are potential academic or legal consequences for their own conduct which will be exposed upon the reporting of a Title IX violation or Cornell Code of Conduct infraction. With this in mind, the University’s policy in this regard is that a student who reports prohibited conduct to a Cornell official or to law enforcement shall not be subject to action under the University’s Campus Code of Conduct, such as for a violation of the University's alcohol or drug use policies. It's important to note that this has absolutely no impact or bearing on whether or not the reporting person may be subject to criminal charges and prosecution related to their own actions during another person's commission of prohibited conduct. Again, to be overwhelming clear, merely because Cornell may not commence a disciplinary proceeding does not mean criminal or other legal exposure does not exist.

It's important to mention that the reporting of harassment, stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence sexual exploitation, and other forms of sexual misconduct often takes time. This is largely a result of the trauma experienced by victims of this kind of discrimination and criminal conduct, as well as the very real and reasonable reservations many people have when faced with choices relating to reporting to the University and/or law enforcement. Cornell's policy publicly states that the University strongly encourages victims of this kind of conduct to take steps to preserve all evidence that might become relevant at a future proceeding or investigation by Cornell and/or the Ithaca Police Department, while the individual is making the often difficult and agonizing decision of whether and to whom to make a report.

Faculty and staff at Cornell University, with some limited exceptions, are required to report alleged sexual and other misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator when they become aware of it, either by chance or because the victim of the conduct tells the faculty member or staff member. This means that anonymous reports cannot be made through faculty or staff, and the faculty or staff themselves cannot report anonymously. Faculty and staff must provide the name, date, time, location, and description of the incident, to the extent they are aware of all that information.

Upon receiving a complaint or report, the first step of the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will typically be to contact the complainant, if that person is known, or another individual reporting the prohibited conduct. The Coordinator or Deputy will typically offer support services, and he or she will be expressly advised by the Coordinator or Deputy of their option to pursue a formal complaint. If the student or other victim/complainant elects to proceed with a formal complaint, the case continues that track, through investigation, hearings as necessary, and disciplinary action, if any.

With an eye toward reinforcing and encouraging people to participate in the investigation and disciplinary process, the University makes it a policy to protect such participants from disclosure of their involvement to the extent possible. Parties involved in a Title IX case are encouraged by the University and its policies to refrain from disclosing information that they become aware of throughout the process to others, with the exception of certain family, advisors, health professionals and the like. Cornell goes a step further and formally prohibits students from distributing documents that come into their possession during the pendency of a Title IX case.

These proceedings can be incredibly sensitive and private for all involved, whether you are a victim or an accused. The Title IX attorneys and student misconduct lawyers at Saland Law can help to ensure confidentiality to the greatest extent possible and help to protect your rights throughout the process. Simply, failure to protect these rights and argue from a place of strength as best you can will jeopardize your legal and academic standing in a potentially irreparable manner. Instead of becoming a statistic, becoming the recipient of an indelible mark on your academic record or even being hauled in front of a Thompkins County or Ithaca City judge after an arrest, retain the right legal counsel to advocate with a strategy to win.

Call our New York student misconduct attorneys, Title IX and student disciplinary hearing lawyers at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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