Sexual Harassment Policy/Sexual Crimes Information

SUNY Old Westbury is committed to maintaining an environment in which students, faculty and staff as well as visitors can work together free of all forms of harassment, exploitation and intimidation. The University strongly condemns sexual harassment in any form and such conduct such as sexual assault or rape constitutes criminal offenses. Such behavior is a violation of SUNY policy and both federal and state law. SUNY Old Westbury will take any and all action needed to discourage, prevent, correct, and if necessary will arrest or discipline due to behavior that violates this standard of conduct. 

Rape and sexual assault, such as sexual abuse and criminal sexual acts, constitute crimes that are prohibited by New York State law (see Section 130 of the New York State Penal Code) and Section 4.3C of the Code for Student Conduct. Allegations of sexual assault or rape should be reported to the University Police Department at 516-876-3333. The campus directs all student involved in incidents of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator for examination and action regardless of who receives the complaint and all victims of such harassment are given the contact number for Stephanie Benzaquen (516-876-2740). The campus directs all faculty and staff involved in allegations of sexual or interpersonal violence on campus to report to Human Resources at 516-876-3179. Victims of a sex crime may choose to report the offense and seek guidance from the Center for Counseling & Psychological Wellness Services prior to any other notifications. Victims may also request the Title IX Coordinator, Stephanie Benzaquen, (516-876-2740), to change their academic and or living situations on campus after an alleged sexual offense.

Allegations of sexual assault or rape occurring on or off campus may be reported to the Nassau County Police Department, Village of Old Westbury Police Department, the Village of Old Brookville Police Department or any other competent authority. The University Police Department will provide whatever assistance is needed in the notification of other Departments. The Offices of Student Affairs, Counseling Services, Health Services, the Dean of Students, and the Title IX Coordinator are available for consultation relative to such incidents. Efforts will be made to ensure the confidentially of all reports, except what is required and necessary to investigate the alleged offenses. Campus authorities may issue a Campus Crime Alert to those areas of the University community affected by the crime. The issuance of this alert will depend on the particular circumstances of the crime. Victims providing information to the University Police may choose either criminal prosecution and/or a referral to the campus judicial discipline system.

Procedures and possible sanctions related to on-campus discipline are discussed in the Code for Student Conduct. Victims of sex crimes should contact the Dean of Students Office at Ext. 3067 for additional information. Further information on the procedures that should occur if a victim decides to report is available in the Student Handbook. It is important to note that the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have an advisor present during a disciplinary proceeding. The accuser and the accused will be informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary action including the sanction to be imposed. Such sanctions can include suspension and dismissal from the University.

Sexual Assault and the Law

The State University of New York at Old Westbury has programs to protect all members of its community from sexual assault, including programs for prevention and prosecution of those that occur within the jurisdiction of SUNY University Police at Old Westbury.

If you are sexually or otherwise assaulted on campus:

  • Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
  • Try to preserve all physical evidence; do not bathe, or change your clothes.
  • Contact University Police immediately (516-876-3333 or ext. 3333 on campus or use a Blue Light or other campus emergency phone).

Remember, assaults – sexual or otherwise – are crimes; they are not the victims’ fault. Victims have the right to pursue adjudication of crimes that occur on the Old Westbury campus through criminal courts and/or through the University’s internal disciplinary process (under the campus Code for Student Conduct). SUNY University Police are trained to assist with prosecution in both systems.

Sexual Assault Information (Aid to Victims of Violence)

If you are a victim of sexual assault, immediately report the assault to the police. Call ext. 3333 on campus, or 911 off campus. Police cannot investigate the incident as a crime unless you file a formal report. Reporting a crime to the police or to another campus office does not necessarily obligate you to follow through with criminal prosecution. A victim may choose to consult with other departments at the University or outside the University relative to the incident and seek their assistance.

The University Police Department is a member, with the surrounding local Police Departments and the Nassau County Police Department, in the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program (S.A.N.E.). The S.A.N.E. program governs the methodology for dealing with the victim of an investigation of Sexual Assault crimes. The program has at its core, the utilization of specially trained nurses to deal with the victims of sexual assault and special provisions at North Shore Hospital where the program is based. The victims of sex-related crimes are treated with utmost respect, and caution is taken to secure all valuable evidence related to the crime. Guidance will be given to victims concerning the aftermath of the crime relative to tests for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, etc.

Training and educational programs relative to rape awareness and prevention of sexual assault are initiated and sponsored by the Center for Counseling & Psychological Wellness Services and the Office of Student Health and are available to all students and staff of the University.

No matter when or where a sexual assault has occurred, support and referral resources are available to provide assistance. Contact one of the University offices previously mentioned in this report.

Rape Aggression Defense Program

The R.A.D. program is designed to provide attendees with information, tactics, and considerations which may be useful for various types of abductive encounters perpetrated against women. R.A.D. focuses on basic tactics such as risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition, and risk avoidance. The program is also a basic self-defense class; women are taught easy, productive, and functional techniques that develop confidence quickly. The University Police Department offers R.A.D. classes each semester and often works in conjunction with Peer Educators, the Women's Center, Residential Life, Greek Organizations, and Student Activities.

Sexual Offender Community Notifications

Pursuant to an amendment to New York State’s Megan Law signed by Governor Pataki on March 11, 2002, New York State University Police Departments will receive direct notifications from the New York State Division of Criminal Services if a registered sexual offender enrolls at or is employed at our institution. Such information will be available at the University Police Department, documented on strategically located postings throughout the campus, and identified on e-mail alerts to the campus community. This information is also available at the following New York State web site: subdirectory for Level 3 Sex Offenders.

Policy on Mandatory Reporting and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Any employee or student of or volunteer for the State University of New York who witnesses or has reasonable cause to suspect any sexual abuse of a child occurring on State University property or while off campus during official State University business or University sponsored events shall have an affirmative obligation to report such conduct to the University Police Department immediately.  Such report should include the names of the victim and assailant (if known), other identifying information about the victim and assailant, the location of the activity, and the nature of the activity.  Upon receiving such a report, the University Police Department shall promptly notify the Commissioner of University Police at SUNY System Administration, who shall report such incidents to the Chancellor for periodic reporting to the Board of Trustees.

In addition, to aid in the prevention of crimes against children on property of the State University of New York and / or during official State University business at events sponsored by the State University of New York, relevant employees should be trained on the identification of such crimes and proper notification requirements.  Vendors, licensees or others who are given permission to come onto campus or to use University facilities for events or activities that will include participation of children shall ensure that they have in place procedures for training, implementation of applicable pre-employment screening requirements and reporting of child sexual abuse.

For purposes of this policy, the applicable definitions of child sexual abuse are those used in the New York State Penal Law in Articles 130 and 263 and Section 260.10, and “child” is defined as an individual under the age of seventeen (17).

Title IX Issues

SUNY Old Westbury is in compliance with the US Department of Labor, Title IX, Educational Amendments of 1972 which states that, “no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. These protections most definitely include instances of sexual harassment or assault and to that end the University has identified Stephanie Benzaquen its Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for examining instances of patterns of sexual harassment concerning recidivist offenders, geographic locations, groups of individuals, athletic teams or clubs and any other circumstances that have been identified as people, places and circumstances that are potential harassment threats to women on campus. The campus directs all incidents of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator for examination and action regardless of who receives the complaint and all victims of such harassment are given the contact number for Stephanie Benzaquen (516-876-2740). Finally, our University has taken steps to insure that its Title IX policies comply with the “Final Rule" recently issued to all colleges and universities by the U.S. Department of Education on May 19, 2020.

Upon receiving a complaint of sexual harassment, the University Police Department will document such and investigate the complaint immediately along with explaining to the victim their rights and alternatives along with providing the victim the contact information for the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will be notified of the incident and the UPD will continue to communicate with the Title IX Coordinator as to the development of the investigation and will share pertinent information. The University Police Department and other entities on campus have in the past and continue to receive training on issues dealing with domestic violence and sexual harassment.