Students are also encouraged to report possible incidents of sexual misconduct to the police. This option applies regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator is a member of the Cornell community. Local law enforcement authorities may be contacted at: Mount Vernon Police Department - 895-6141 or 911 (9-911 from on campus); 213 First Street West, Mount Vernon.
Any staff member identified in this policy can help arrange a private meeting place for initial contact with the police. While the College has no control over any police investigation and legal processes that may follow, College staff will continue to work with students to provide support.
If you have experienced sexual assault and think that at some point you may wish to pursue a legal complaint, it can be beneficial to get an evidentiary exam immediately following the assault and to file a police report about the incident. The exam and subsequent medical treatment are free to individuals who have been victimized.
What is the difference between Cornell’s complaint process and the legal process?
There is a difference between Cornell’s complaint process and an external legal process. Cornell’s complaint process is an internal complaint process, meaning that it was created for the Cornell community. Cornell students involved in a complaint – whether as a complainant or a respondent – will be provided support, assistance, and advice from Cornell College community members. The investigation will be an internal investigation and an internal college board will be the decision-makers regarding whether a policy has been violated. Attorneys are not allowed to participate in the internal process. The College process is designed to be educational in nature, and to address the needs of all the individuals involved and the Cornell community as a whole.
The legal process – whether criminal or civil – is an external process, meaning that the process is outside the control or authority of the College. Anyone who believes that they are a victim of a crime may take steps to file a criminal complaint with local authorities. Victims of sexual misconduct who report an incident to the police need not retain a private attorney because the legal issues will be handled through the county attorney’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are accused of a crime or are considering filing a civil action against the alleged perpetrator.