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  • To Binghamton University Students,

    Recently, there have been very disturbing social media posts reporting incidents of sexual violence involving former and current Binghamton University students and some of our student organizations.

    These stories are deeply troubling and, indeed, gut-wrenching for me. Hard as they are to hear, I am grateful that individuals have brought them to our attention. No one should ever feel as if they have nowhere to turn if they are assaulted or experience any behavior that violates their personal safety, their right to a safe environment and their right to a safe college experience. These stories demonstrate disgusting behaviors and clearly illustrate how much work the University and student body have to do to ensure the safety and dignity of all of our students.

    I’ve read the stories, I hear you and I am committed to making real progress to put a halt to any sexual assaults within our community and commit that all Binghamton University offices will continue working with all students to make them feel heard and supported and to encourage students to report incidents. We have been proactive on many fronts in providing appropriate resources, training and educational messages, and we have established clear and easily accessed avenues for students to file complaints, receive justice, share their stories and receive counseling for whatever their experience has been. However, we are always working to improve systems and processes in this area, and we will continue to do so.

    Therefore, I have asked that our Division of Student Affairs conduct a thorough review and examination of all of our internal procedures, policies and processes surrounding issues involving sexual assault. This process will begin with our Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Staff will reach out to all fraternities and sororities to reiterate our expectation that their members complete a sexual assault prevention program. We will require verification of completion as part of the accreditation process for Greek life organizations.

    Binghamton’s Office of Health Promotion and Prevention Services (HPPS) will continue to provide and update our broad range of education and training programs designed to help prevent sexual violence and encourage reporting of any incidents. We will also improve the ways we go about informing our students of available help and resources. HPPS provides more than 100 interpersonal violence prevention presentations during the academic year, including on topics of bystander intervention, consent education and dating violence. Our 20:1 program — which has gained national recognition — will continue to be an integral part of prevention measures. For a complete list visit of programming, see Interpersonal Violence Prevention.

    Binghamton University does not tolerate sexual violence, harassment or assault. We make every effort possible to provide a fair and equitable process while protecting the rights of all parties involved. The specific sections of the Code of Student Conduct that pertain to sexual assault hearings come from New York state law (Enough is Enough). We are committed to investigating sexual violence charges thoroughly and fairly while holding those found responsible culpable for their actions.

    Any students bringing forward a complaint alleging sexual misconduct have the opportunity to elect what action will be taken by the University. They may elect police action, referral to student conduct, both — or no action. A student can change that election if they wish at a later date.

    When a student elects to refer the matter to Student Conduct, an initial investigation is done by the staff to determine what charges are to be made under the code. When a student is charged with violating the Code of Student Conduct, the student can accept responsibility for the charges, and the case is resolved by Administrative Agreement that includes appropriate disciplinary sanctions. If the student disputes the charges, the case is forwarded for review by a Student Conduct Board. Conduct boards in sexual misconduct cases consist of specially trained students and staff.

    Since August 2017, the names of 63 alleged perpetrators have been referred to the Office of Student Conduct via this process.

    Of those 63 alleged perpetrators:

    • 45 were charged by the office
    • 5 were not charged due to lack of sufficient information
    • 13 were not investigated/charged/brought to hearing at the request of the reporting individual

    Of those 45 charged perpetrators:

    • 36 were found responsible, of which 17 were suspended or expelled and the remainder were placed on probation and/or lost housing privileges
    • 8 were charged and found not responsible
    • 1 had the charges dropped

    These numbers reflect that the University takes sexual assault seriously and provides redress to victims. These numbers reflect the cases where students have sought assistance from the Office of Student Conduct. We are painfully aware that there are many, many more individuals who have experienced sexual violence whose cases are not reflected here. To reduce the number of assaults and ensure that all victims seek assistance and redress, we are committed to enhancing programming designed to change student culture and also to encourage victims to come forward.

    This is our promise to you: We will continue to work to change the culture on our campus and be responsive to victims of sexual assault while listening to everyone and helping those who seek support. In return, we ask that, whenever possible, all students report any incidents they have direct knowledge of or have been directly involved in to any one of these offices: Decker Student Health Services Center, University Counseling Center, Office of Student Conduct, Residential Life, the University Ombudsman, Title IX coordinator, the CARE Team or the UPD/local police. By doing so, we can make sure that each incident is fully investigated and adjudicated as appropriate.

    Sincerely,

    Harvey G. Stenger
    President

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