Student Life

Sexual Misconduct/Title IX

Dominican Center spring stairs

About | FAQs | Policies | Resources


In keeping with the college's Catholic Dominican traditions and Judeo-Christian values, we are committed to maintaining a college community in which all are treated with respect and dignity.

Mount Saint Mary College is committed to providing a living and learning environment that is free from discrimination and harassment, including violence of any kind. We encourage anyone who has information regarding an incident of sexual assault or another crime to report it to the office of Security and Safety at 845-569-3200, or to contact the Title IX Coordinator, Michael O’Keefe, at TitleIXCoordinator@msmc.edu or 845-569-3597.

What is Title IX?

In 1972, Congress enacted amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 which included a section called Title IX-Prohibition of Sex Discrimination. The pertinent text of Title IX is “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

In essence, Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on a person’s sex. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence.

FAQs

Who is MSMC’s Title IX Coordinator?
Michael O’Keefe, the Executive Director of Operations and Risk Management. He can be reached at: TitleIXCoordinator@msmc.edu, 845-569-3597 or by visiting his office located at 319 Powell Avenue, 2nd floor.

Does anyone assist the Title IX Coordinator?
Yes. Sharnie Canary, Director of Human Resources, is the Deputy Title IX Coordinator. She can be contacted at sharnie.canary@msmc.edu, 845-569-3548, or by visiting her office at 369 Powell Avenue.  Kelly Yough, Dean of Student Affairs, works very closely with the Title IX Coordinator on matters involving students.  She is also an important resource and can be reached at kelly.yough@msmc.edu, 845-569-3110, or by visiting her office in Hudson Hall.

What is the role of the Title IX Coordinator?
The Title IX coordinator is responsible for overseeing the College’s response to Title IX reports and complaints, and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports and complaints. The Title IX Coordinator also:

  • Answers questions and provides guidance on Title IX matters including compliance and related College policies.
  • Acts as a resource for all members of the College community.
  • Assists with training students and employees.
  • Assists with the investigation and adjudication of complaints.

How does the College define consent?
Affirmative consent is defined as 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. Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop. Past consent does not imply future consent and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity. The initiator has the sole responsibility to confirm consent. Coercion, force, intimidation, or threat of harm invalidates consent. An individual of minority age cannot give consent.

What is the College’s stance on amnesty?
The College 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. The College 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 who discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to the College’s code of conduct action 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.

What’s the difference between confidentiality and privacy?
Confidentiality means that the person you tell something to will not tell anyone else without your permission. Privacy means the person will only share the information you tell them with others at the College who have a need-to-know.

Confidential resources on campus are the Director of Counseling and counselors in the Counseling Center, and the College Chaplain.  Contact information for both on and off-campus confidential resources can be found here.

How do I make a complaint?
If you are the victim of sexual assault or another crime, contact Security & Safety at 845-569-3200. You may also contact the Title IX Coordinator (Michael O’Keefe, TitleIXCoordinator@msmc.edu, 845-569-3597). His office is located at 319 Powell Avenue, 2nd floor.

Will a report to College officials automatically trigger an investigation?
The College is mindful of the effects of sexual discrimination on complainants, particularly with reports of sexual assault. Requests not to initiate an investigation will be weighed against the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of its community.

Policies

The College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy is designed to help the College protect the safety, rights, and dignity of all students, faculty, administrators, staff, and visitors. It contains the Students’ Bill of Rights, provides definitions for different aspects of interpersonal and sexual violence, defines affirmative consent and the College’s amnesty policy, details the grievance procedure, and provides important additional information.

The College’s student handbook and employee handbook reinforce the Sexual Misconduct Policy and provide guidance on proper behavior by students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Where can I find the Sexual Misconduct Policy?
The policy can be found in the student handbook, employee handbook, or at www.msmc.edu/sexualmisconductpolicy

Resources and Help

Mount Saint Mary College is committed to the safety and well-being of all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and visitors, and we strive for an environment that is free of all forms of sexual discrimination. However, if you or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault or discrimination, we want to help. Resources are available both on and off-campus. Our policies allow for both an informal and formal grievance procedure, depending on the circumstances.

Resources
Resources are available both on and off-campus. You may choose whatever resource(s) you feel most comfortable with. For available resources, please see this list of Resources for Victims of Sexual Misconduct

Campus Experiences Survey
Results of the campus climate survey.

Share this page