Letter to the Editor: Managing Misconduct

Charlotte Johnson

Sexual misconduct and the university’s policy regarding such offenses, discussed in a recent Maroon-News editorial, are issues of great importance to Colgate’s administration and to all members of our campus community. The university does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind.

As noted in the Student Handbook, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment violate Colgate’s Code of Student Conduct and in many circumstances violate the law. Violators are subject to university disciplinary action and/or criminal prosecution.

After a yearlong review of the current sexual misconduct policy, a committee comprised of faculty and staff drafted a set of recommended revisions to the policy which were approved by the Student Affairs Board on Tuesday. The next step is for the Student Government Association to review and vote on the policy.

The revisions will clarify community expectations and clarify the process for students who believe that they have been a victim of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or other forms of disallowed conduct. Many of the issues raised in the recent Maroon-News article are addressed. Specifically, the new policy will do the following: establish clear definitions, clearly lay out the procedures for reporting incidents, clarify the procedures for filing a complaint, reiterate the rights of victims in connection with on-campus disciplinary proceedings and identify accessible resources and options for victims.

In addition, the university is in the process of developing an on-line tutorial for students, faculty, and staff. This tutorial, along with planned workshops, will increase awareness regarding the policy and help ensure that members of the community know where to go for help.

I strongly encourage any student, member of the staff or faculty who has been subjected to non-consensual sexual contact to report the incident to Campus Safety. While I realize it can be difficult for victims to come forward, the university can take appropriate actions when a student has filed a report. In reporting the case a student ensures the university is made aware of the case and with the information, the university can allow for the protection of the victim and the campus community.

This is a challenging issue to wrestle with, but we can only confront it if we raise awareness about it. A first step is ensuring that incidents are reported and properly handled. We also need to make sure that the university’s policy and the relevant resources are readily available. To that end, we have established a section of the Campus Safety website (www.colgate.edu/campussafety) called sexual misconduct resources. I welcome your suggestions for links and resources that should be added to that site as well as any suggestions you have for campus programs or support systems that should be in place here at Colgate.

Charlotte Johnson

Vice President and Dean of the College

Contact Dean Johnson at

[email protected]