Sexual Misconduct Complaint Process
Students have the option to file a complaint with the Dean of Students to begin the investigation and adjudication process. If you are interested in filing a complaint, would like to discuss your options, or have any questions about the process, contact the Dean of Students or the Sexual Assault Liaison. These conversations may require these individuals to file a non-identifying report of sexual misconduct (for federally-mandated record-keeping), but will not obligate you to begin the complaint process.
In cases where the alleged perpetrator is another Cornell student, student complaints will result in conduct charges being filed and investigated. Information describing the conduct process can be found in the Student Conduct Procedures section of the Compass, or by speaking with the Dean of Students, Sexual Misconduct Liaison or one of the Conduct Process Consultants. If the alleged perpetrator is a member of the Cornell faculty or staff, the Dean of Students can work with students to initiate grievance proceedings according to the faculty and staff handbooks.
What does the process involve?
Students who are filing sexual misconduct complaints will need to meet with and provide information to the Dean of Students about any incident leading to a complaint. The student(s) who is alleged to have violated the sexual misconduct policy will be notified in writing, and will meet with an administrative hearing officer to review the conduct charge, provide information about the incident and accept or deny responsibility for the violation. Both parties will be informed of the outcome and any sanctions applied (in the event that the accused student is found responsible), and both parties have rights for appeal. More information about the steps involved with the conduct process can be found in the Compass.
If the student is found responsible for sexual misconduct what sanctions might there be?
The sanctions applied will be based on the nature of the incident, any prior conduct violations, and sanctions that have been levied in prior, similar cases. Examples of specific sanctions can be found in the Sanctions section of the Compass.
How anonymous will this be?
The college will take every possible step to protect the confidentiality and respect a complainant’s request for anonymity. However, in order to fully investigate and adjudicate a sexual misconduct complaint it may not be possible to guarantee a student’s anonymity or full confidentiality.
Who can I use for support?
There are a number of people available on campus to provide support to students involved with sexual misconduct cases including the Counseling Center staff, College Chaplain and Sexual Misconduct liaison. You might also ask other members of the Cornell faculty and staff, such as advisors, to act as a support person.
What can I expect in a conduct hearing?
The Conduct Board chair will work with both the complainant and accused student to identify witnesses and solicit questions to be read during the hearing by the chair. The chair will also work with the students involved to determine procedures to help you feel safe during the hearing, such as having the complainant and accused student(s) physically separated from each other or having the complainant designate a proxy for the hearing. The Conduct Board chair is authorized to determine hearing procedures. Both parties will be informed of the outcome and any sanctions applied (in the event that the accused student is found responsible). Sanctions may include means to minimize contact between the complainant and accused student (e.g., residence hall reassignment).
What if the incident occurs off campus?
Instances of sexual misconduct involving two (or more) Cornell students are subject to College policies and conduct procedures even if the incident occurs off-campus (including over breaks or during an off-campus course).