There are multiple channels for reporting Prohibited Conduct. Individuals may report Prohibited Conduct to law enforcement, to the Colleges, to both or to neither. These reporting options are not exclusive. Complainants may simultaneously pursue criminal and HWS disciplinary action. The Colleges will support Complainants in understanding and assessing their reporting options.

A. Preservation of Evidence

The Colleges recognize that making the decision to report Prohibited Conduct often takes time. Nevertheless, pending the decision to report, individuals are strongly encouraged to take immediate steps to preserve all evidence that might support a future report of Prohibited Conduct, an Order of Protection, or an investigation by law enforcement, by the Colleges, or both. Such evidence may include:

  • A forensic sexual assault examination conducted by a SANE nurse (as soon as possible but generally required to be within 96 hours of the incident);
  • Photographs of injuries, property damage, or the location of the incident;
  • Any clothing, sheets or other materials (items containing bodily fluids should be stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags, not plastic bags);
  • Electronic exchanges (e.g., text messages, emails, and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media posts, to the extent that they can be captured or preserved);
  • Photographs (including photographs stored on smartphones and other devices); and
  • Voice-mail messages and other physical, documentary and/or electronic data that might be helpful or relevant in an investigation.

Evidence may be lost by the changing of clothes, bathing, brushing teeth, eating and drinking. If possible avoid these actions prior to the forensic sexual assault examination. Electronic and photographic evidence may be lost through the upgrade or replacement of equipment (including smartphones), software and/or accounts or due to the passage of time.

B. Reporting to Law Enforcement

Individuals have the right to notify law enforcement or decline to notify law enforcement. Individuals may contact law enforcement directly (resources above). In keeping with its commitment to taking all appropriate steps to eliminate, prevent, and remedy all Prohibited Conduct, the Colleges encourage complainants to report Prohibited Conduct immediately to local law enforcement. Individuals may seek assistance in notifying law enforcement from the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Safety. The Title IX Coordinator can assist in setting up an initial meeting with law enforcement and can accompany individuals to that meeting. In instances that involve an immediate threat to health or safety, the Colleges may independently notify law enforcement.

C. Reporting to the Colleges

The Colleges encourage individuals who have experienced, have knowledge of, or have witnessed Prohibited Conduct to make a report to the Colleges. Under Title IX, once an institution has notice of an act of Prohibited Conduct, it is required to (1) take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred; and (2) take prompt and effective action to end any misconduct that occurred; remedy its effects; and prevent its recurrence. The Colleges will seek to honor the Complainant’s request(s) for anonymity, that an investigation not be pursued and/or that no disciplinary action be taken if it is possible to do so while also protecting the safety and well-being of the Complainant and the HWS community See below D.

Making a Report to the Colleges does not require participation in any subsequent HWS proceedings, nor is a report required in order for an individual to receive support or remedial measures.

Although there is no time limit for reporting Prohibited Conduct to the Colleges, the Colleges’ ability to respond may diminish over time, as evidence may erode, memories may fade, and Respondents may no longer be affiliated with the Colleges. If the Respondent is no longer a member of the HWS community, the Colleges will provide appropriate remedial measures, assist the Complainant in identifying external reporting options, and take other reasonable steps to respond under Title IX.

Individuals are encouraged to make a direct report of Prohibited Conduct by contacting the Title IX Coordinator:

Susan Lee
Title IX Coordinator
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Office of Title IX Compliance and Programs
603 S. Main Street
Seneca Room Annex (lake level)
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3922

D. Anonymous Reporting

Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of Prohibited Conduct, including through the Colleges’ online Bias Incident Reporting System. Any individual may report with or without disclosing a name, identifying involved persons, or requesting any action. Anonymous reports will go to the Title IX Coordinator and Campus Safety for review and appropriate response and action. The Title IX Coordinator is available to answer questions about reporting and procedural options at any time. Individuals may call the Title IX Coordinator to discuss options without identifying themselves or reporting any details about an incident, such as dates, times, locations, names of involved individuals and the nature of the incident.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.