code of community responsibility

Disclosure, Investigation, and Complaint Procedures

Employees and students should address harassment in order for everyone to enjoy a work and learning environment free from offensive and hostile behavior. Employees and students are strongly encouraged to seek information about campus resources available to them in cases of harassment and to disclose cases of harassment so that situations can be addressed.

Any member of the college community who believes he or she has been harassed, or has witnessed harassment at the college, is encouraged to disclose the conduct to a support person. If the person feeling harassed is a student, a support person may include, but is not limited to, an academic advisor, resident director, and/or counselor. If the person feeling harassed is an employee of the college, he or she may want to disclose information to the department chair, academic vice president and dean of faculty, and/or director of human resources.

Colby–Sawyer College has designated multiple individuals to coordinate its nondiscrimination compliance efforts. Questions, complaints, or concerns about issues of discrimination or harassment, including complaints of sex discrimination in violation of Title IX and age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination Act, may be directed as follows:

For Students: Associate Dean of Students, Ware Campus Center, Room 203. Phone: 603-526-3755.

For Non-Faculty Employees: Director of Human Resources, Colgate 123. Phone: 603-526-3740.

For Faculty: Academic Vice-President and Dean of Faculty, Colgate 131. Phone: 603-526-3760.

In addition, complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex may be directed to: Assistant Secretary, United States Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Washington, D.C. 20202.

Colby-Sawyer College has adopted grievance procedures to respond to complaints of discrimination or harassment, as follows: For Complaints about Students: Code of Community Responsibility

For Complaints about Non-Faculty Employees: Staff Handbook, Section 2

For Complaints about Faculty: Faculty Handbook, Section 2.10.3 and 2.10.4

Colby-Sawyer College's Title IX Coordinator is Doug Atkins, Vice President for Administration and Assistant Treasurer and Director of Human Resources.

Prohibition Against Retaliation

Students and employees who, in good faith, report what they believe to be harassment or who cooperate with any investigation shall not be subjected to retaliation. Any student or employee who believes he or she has been the victim of retaliation for reporting harassment or cooperating in an investigation should immediately contact campus safety or human resources. Any person found to have retaliated against a person who has cooperated in an investigation, or who is perceived to have cooperated in an investigation, will be in violation of this policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.

The remainder of the information in this section concerns student avenues for resolution. Information regarding employee complaint procedures can be found in the Employee Handbook or by contacting human resources.

Informal Action

Informal action can be pursued before or instead of a formal complaint process. When a person feels he or she has been harassed, an important first step is to convey to the perpetrator that his or her behavior is offensive. Notification can be verbal or written and delivered immediately or within a reasonable time frame.

Other informal actions could also include:

  • Keeping a log of times, dates, places, witnesses, the nature of the harassment, what the accused said and did, how the complainant responded

  • Writing a letter to the harasser that includes:

    • the writer's factual account of what happened, but without any subjective evaluation of such (this account should be as detailed as possible, including dates, places, and descriptions of the incidents);

    • a description of how those events made or still make the writer feel, e.g., disgusted, afraid, uneasy, confused, disappointed, etc.; and

    • what the writer wants to happen next and in the future.

To be most effective, the letter should be delivered only to the accused, in person, or by registered or certified mail. The writer should keep a copy of the letter. If the letter does not achieve its purpose, the letter can be used to support further complaints.

Formal Action

At any point an individual may feel that informal action is ineffective or has not produced the desired effect — to make the individual cease the harassing behavior. While the college hopes that informal action will be successful, any student who believes that he or she has been harassed by a member of the college community can seek to find resolution through formal action. Students who wish to file a formal complaint should meet with the associate dean of students and director of citizenship education, the director of campus safety, or another Colby-Sawyer faculty or staff member and submit a written statement describing the incident(s). Once harassment is disclosed to college personnel, the college is legally obligated to address and respond to the complaint. If the alleged harasser is a faculty member, formal action should be pursued through the academic vice president and dean of faculty. If the alleged harasser is a staff person, formal action should be pursued through the Office of Human Resources. If the alleged harasser is a student, formal action should be pursued through the Office of Citizenship Education.


Upon receipt of a claim alleging harassment, the college will investigate promptly the charges made by the complainant. However, it may be determined that due to the length of time between the alleged incident and the time of reporting, there is not enough information available to successfully adjudicate a claim of harassment.

Except as required by the demands of the investigation and enforcement of the policy, the complainant's claim will be treated as private by the college.

If the safety and/or well-being of the complainant or the accused is in question, persons accused of harassment may be banned from certain residence halls or buildings, or suspended from the college pending the hearing.

Any attempt by a person to intimidate, harass, or punish an individual who is bringing a complaint or involved in the hearing process, will result in disciplinary action.


Should an investigation produce enough information to substantiate an allegation of harassment, the case will then be referred to a hearing body appointed by the associate dean of students or designee. Administrative hearings provide each party with an opportunity to present information regarding the incident. The hearing body, once it has heard all sides and questioned parties, including relevant witnesses, will make a determination of responsibility or non-responsibility based on a preponderance of evidence standard. The hearing body will notify the respondent, and the complainant of the outcome of the hearing.


Should a student be found responsible for harassment, sanctions could range from admonition to permanent dismissal.

For more information regarding the conduct process, please refer to the Conduct System section of the Code of Community Responsibility.

Policy revised August 2013 by the vice president for student development and dean of students and the associate dean of students and director of citizenship education.

  • Our living and learning community is based on equality and respect and though at Colby-Sawyer College we respect free expression, we do not condone that expression when it is demeaning or harassing behavior.

  • Community members must be able to expect a reasonable level of personal safety in order to attain academic and personal excellence.

  • Violence of any kind has no place in our community as it harms the targeted student(s) and, by ripple effect, instills a level of fear and suspicion that is detrimental to the community as a whole.

  • Excellence
  • Interconnectedness
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship