This Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to and prohibits all forms of sexual, sex- or gender-based harassment, discrimination or misconduct-based upon gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation-including sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking, and sex- or gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.¹ Misconduct of this nature is contrary to the Colleges' institutional values and is prohibited by state and federal law.

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are committed to fostering a non-discriminatory and harassment-free educational, living, and working environment for all members of the HWS community, including students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors, through:

  • clear and effective policies;
  • a coordinated education and prevention program; and
  • prompt and equitable procedures for resolution of complaints.

Because the Colleges' ability to act is limited unless a report is made, all HWS community members are strongly encouraged to report information regarding any incident of sexual or gender-based misconduct directly to the Title IX Coordinator. HWS also encourages the prompt reporting of any incident of sexual or gender-based misconduct to local law enforcement or civil rights enforcement agencies.

Upon receipt of a report, the Colleges will take prompt and effective action by: providing interim measures and support for individuals who make a report or seek assistance under this Policy (referred to as a "Complainant," even if the individual does not decide to proceed with the complaint resolution process); conducting a review of the conduct under Title IX; addressing the safety of individuals and the campus community; and as warranted or pursued by the Complainant, pursuing resolution through informal measures or formal disciplinary action against the accused individual (referred to in this Policy as a "Respondent"). The Policy provides specific procedures for investigation and resolution based on the role of Respondent (student, staff, or faculty).

Upon receipt of a report, the Complainant shall be informed that the Complainant has the right to make a report to campus security, local law enforcement, and/or state police or choose not to report; to report the incident to HWS; to be protected by HWS from retaliation for reporting an incident; and to receive assistance and resources from HWS.

In all instances, the Colleges, not the Complainant, will bear the responsibility for investigating and taking appropriate action.

The Colleges require all members of the HWS community to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The Colleges will not tolerate sex discrimination or harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence, or sex- or gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature. Any individual who is found to have violated this Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy will face disciplinary sanctions, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment, as later described in this Policy.

Retaliation against any person or group who makes a complaint, cooperates with an investigation, or participates in a grievance procedure is a violation of HWS policy. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator or a member of the Title IX Team. The report of retaliation will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action independent of any sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of discrimination and/or harassment.

The Colleges encourage all members of our community to participate in the process of creating a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment on campus. In particular, the Colleges expect that all HWS community members will take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of sexual misconduct to which an individual is a bystander. Taking action may include direct intervention when safe to do so, enlisting the assistance of friends, contacting law enforcement or seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to exercise this positive moral obligation will be supported by the Colleges. The Colleges will respond to and address all reports of retaliation against a bystander who intervenes to stop an act of sexual misconduct, and will treat such retaliation as a violation of this Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy.

The Colleges' response will be overseen by the full-time Title IX Coordinator Susan Lee, who is available by telephone at 315.781.3922 or email at You can visit Ms. Lee in person in the Office of Title IX Programs & Compliance located on campus in the lower level of the Seneca Room Annex (lake level), 603 S. Main Street, Geneva, NY 14456.

The Colleges' Title IX Team will review this Policy on an annual basis in order to improve resources, supports, and responses and to capture evolving legal requirements. The Title IX Team's annual review will consider each year's experience, campus climate surveys, and the input of community focus groups.

¹ According to the Human Rights Campaign ( and the Transgender Law Center, sexual orientation is the preferred term used when referring to an individual's physical and/or emotional attraction to the same and/or opposite gender. "Gay," "lesbian," "bisexual" and "straight" are all examples of sexual orientations. A person's sexual orientation is distinct from a person's gender identity and expression. Gender identity (distinct from the term "sexual orientation") refers to a person's innate, deeply felt psychological identification as a man, woman or some other gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g., the sex listed on their birth certificate). Gender expression refers to the external manifestation of a person's gender identity (such as appearance, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions), which may or may not conform to socially-defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.;

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