Certain actions rise to the level of a crime. Federal and state laws specifically regulate crimes that are motivated by hate or bias and the College is required to report them to the local police.
Any bias related crime against a member of our community is viewed as an attack on the entire community and will not be tolerated. To help ensure an environment where an individual is free from such hateful acts, the College has enacted policies and procedures, which specifically deal with bias crimes.
The College encourages all members of the community to immediately report all incidents to the SLC Department of Public Safety and Security.
Definition: Hate or Bias Crime
The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office categorizes a bias crime as “any crime committed by a defendant against a victim when that victim (either a person or an institution) is intentionally selected, in whole or substantial part, because of that victim’s perceived race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation.”
The College sees prevention as a key element in decreasing the likelihood of bias crimes at the campus.
The following is a list of some of the preventive measures the College has undertaken:
The Office of Student Affairs, various faculty members and guest speakers will provide education and discussion of issues of bias, criminal actions, diversity and tolerance. This will take the form of workshops, seminars, discussion groups and film presentations throughout the year.
The Director of Public Safety and Security includes a section on bias crimes, policies and laws during the security and safety orientation presentation given to all news students.
The Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs provides a variety of programs to ensure that all faculty, staff and students are valued as integral parts of the College community.
The Committee on Student Life has a Diversity Subcommittee. This subcommittee is formed to examine and respond to issues related to prejudice and exclusion, and to look at ways to enhance multicultural dialogue and understanding on the campus.
The College distributes and makes available an informational pamphlet on Bias Crimes. Included in the pamphlet is:
- Prevention information.
- Information on the Hate Crimes Act of 2000.
- Internal and external penalties for the commission of bias crimes.
- College procedures for dealing with bias crimes.
- The availability of counseling and other support services for victims of bias crimes.
- The methods the College uses to advise and update students about security procedures.
- Lastly, the nature of and common circumstances relating to bias crime on college campuses.
After a Bias Crime is reported to the College’s Department of Public Safety and Security, a security officer will be immediately dispatched to take a security report. All evidence will be documented and preserved. Pictures of the crime scene will be taken if necessary.
The Yonkers Police Department will be called, as well as the College Director of Public Safety and Security. EMS will be called if anyone is injured.
College officials will cooperate and assist with the Yonkers Police Department’s investigation of the crime.
The victim(s) will be offered counseling services through the College’s Health Services. He/she will also be given the names and telephone numbers of on- and off-campus victim advocates.
The following campus offices and committees will be notified of the Bias Crime:
- Office of the President
- Office of Student Affairs
- Office of the Dean of Studies and Student Life
- Office of Human Resources and the Dean of the College if a faculty or staff member is involved.
- Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies if a graduate student is involved.
- Committee on Student Life
- Subcommittee on Diversity
A notification of the crime in the form of a security advisory/alert, if appropriate, will be made to the College community via e-mail.
An internal investigation will be conducted by the College’s Department of Public Safety and Security.
College Disciplinary Measures
For undergraduate students, the Associate or Assistant Deans of Student Affairs or the Dean of Studies and Student Life may consider the matter or decide to send it to the College’s Student Conduct Review Board.
For Graduate Students, the Dean of Graduate Studies will handle the matter.
The following sanctions may be given to students found responsible for Bias Crimes:
- Permanent expulsion from the College
- Suspension from the College
- Permanent loss of campus housing
- Suspension from campus housing
- Housing Probation
- Social Probation
Possible penalties for bias crimes committed by faculty or staff includes warnings, formal reprimands, suspension without pay, or termination of employment.
Note: If the bias crime involves an alleged sexual assault, then Sarah Lawrence College’s Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures will be followed and will supersede the College’s bias crime policy and procedures.
New York State Law Involving Bias Crimes
Under the NYS Hate crimes Act of 2000 (i.e. Section 485.05 of the NYS Penal Code) in addition to the criminal charges and the penalties a perpetrator must face for the “crime” element of a hate crime, the law allows for additional charges for the “hate” element as well. This significantly increases the crime the perpetrator is charged with, as well as, the penalties and time of imprisonment if convicted.