School Policies

Canisius Definitions

Sexual assault refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol or other incapacity, such as being a minor or having an intellectual or other disability. Students must have affirmative consent before engaging in any sexual activity.

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. While not required by state or federal law, Canisius strongly recommends that students ask for and receive verbal consent before engaging in sexual activity.

Domestic Violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Dating Violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

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Canisius Policies

Community Standards
The Community Standards can be found within the Student Handbook, which details out what constitutes sexual violence, how the student disciplinary process works, and what your options and rights are if you have experienced sexual violence. You can view the full text of the Student Handbook here.

Amnesty for Reporting Sexual Violence
The health and safety of every student at Canisius College is of utmost importance. Canisius recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or  involuntary) at the time that violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Canisius strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to Canisius’s Community Standards for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.

Student Bill of Rights
All students have the right to:

  • Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  • Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
  • Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by the institution;
  • Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  • Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  • Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  • Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
  • Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;
  • Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
  • Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and
  • Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.
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Your Title IX Rights

Title IX is a federal law that protects students against sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence regardless of the student’s real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. If you have been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual violence you have an additional set of rights and protections under Title IX. (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681)

Your school must:

  • Have a clear published procedure for responding to reports of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence.
  • Have a Title IX Coordinator to handle complaints. The Coordinator’s contact information should be readily available.
  • Inform you of your reporting options, including notifying you of your right to report to the police and supporting you through this process should you choose to do so.
  • Allow you to have an advisor you choose present throughout the process.
  • Allow you to present evidence against the perpetrator(s) and/or bring in witnesses.
  • Give you timely access to any information that will be used in a hearing.
  • Allow you to attend any pre-hearing meetings that would give you and the perpetrator(s) a chance to testify.
  • Provide you with any final decision made as the result of a hearing in writing at the same time as the perpetrator(s), and allow you to appeal that decision.
  • Use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard when determining the outcome of a complaint. This means the perpetrator(s) should be found responsible if the investigation shows it is more likely than not that the violence occurred.
  • Conclude any investigation within a semester’s time of the report being filed.
  • Support you in obtaining a no-contact order that prevents the perpetrator from contacting or interacting with you, whether directly or indirectly.  Campus safety or police should enforce any no-contact order obtained.
  • Make any reasonable changes to your housing, class schedule, campus job, and/or extracurricular activity schedule to enable you to continue your education in a non-hostile environment. These accommodations should be made at no cost to you and cannot overburden you or limit your educational opportunities. The changes can be in place before, during, and after a complaint is filed, investigated, and adjudicated.
  • Provide you with tutoring, counseling, or other remedies at no cost to you if you need them to continue your education.
  • Protect you from retaliation or harassment of any kind due to your report.

Your school may not:

  • Force you to report to the police.
  • Discourage you from continuing to pursue your education. This includes telling you to take a leave of absence or to drop a club or class.
  • Wait to conduct an investigation until the conclusion of an ongoing legal investigation.
  • Retaliate against you for filing a complaint.
  • Make you sign a non-disclosure agreement for the result of the hearing.
  • Encourage or allow mediation to take the place of a formal disciplinary process in cases of sexual violence. 

If you believe your Title IX rights have been or are being violated, you can contact your Title IX Coordinator and/or report to the Department of Education at [email protected].

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