Harassment Policy

Harassment Policy

Policy Statement

The State University of New York at Stony Brook is committed to providing a work and learning environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work and learn in an environment that promotes equal opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices. Harassment undermines the educational environment. Furthermore, harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and violates this policy. SUNYSB is committed to providing an environment free of harassment.

Retaliation against an individual for having filed a complaint under this policy, for having participated in any procedure under this policy, or for having been associated with a person who filed a complaint or participated in any procedure under this policy will be treated as harassment, and will not be tolerated.


Harassment is an attempt by one person to assert abusive, unwarranted power over another. Harassment takes many forms but can generally be defined as comment, conduct, or gesture directed toward an individual or group of individuals which is insulting, intimidating, humiliating, malicious, degrading, or offensive.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  •  Submitting to or rejecting this conduct is used as a basis for making decisions which affect the individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s performance; or
  • Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.


SUNYSB understands that it can be extremely difficult to come forward with a complaint of harassment and that it can be devastating to be wrongly accused of harassment. SUNYSB recognizes the interests of both the complainant and the respondent (person complained about) in keeping the matter confidential. SUNYSB shall not disclose to outside parties the name of the respondent unless such disclosure is required by a disciplinary or other remedial process. Access to information regarding a complain will be available only to those persons with a need to know.

Complaint Procedure

Any member of the SUNYSB medical student body who believes he or she has been subjected to harassment, as defined by this policy, may initiate the following informal or formal procedures for complaint resolution. Making a complaint to the Renaissance School of Medicine does not prohibit the complainant from seeking help from outside sources, such as the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action, campus or Suffolk County police, or private legal counsel.

Informal Procedure

The purpose of the informal procedure is to provide an opportunity to mediate a mutually acceptable resolution between parties. Under the informal procedure, the primary concern is not with determining if an actual violation of the harassment policy has occurred, but rather with attempting to restore an amicable relationship and sense of community between the parties. A complainant who may not wish to file a formal complaint may consult with one or more of the medical school policy officers to seek intervention for the purpose of ending conduct that the student believes to be in violation of the SUNYSB policy against harassment. Policy officers of the 2010-2011 academic year are xxxxxxxxxx. After consultation with one or more of the policy officers, the policy officer(s) may discuss the alleged conduct with the respondent, remind him or her of SUNYSB’s harassment policy, and seek a commitment by the respondent to comply with this policy. A complainant may request that, whenever possible, such a conversation will be held without revealing his or her identity directly to the respondent. Action taken by policy officers under this provision shall not constitute a finding of harassment. A complainant and respondent are encouraged to use the informal procedure prior to a formal complaint procedure. If a complaint cannot be resolved satisfactorily between the two parties, either may, at his or her discretion, seek resolution via the formal resolution below.

Formal Procedure

A student who makes a formal complain must do so in writing to the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Peter Williams (444-1025). The complain should be filed within 60 days of the event to which it refers and should include:

  1. Statement and description of the alleged event
  2. Name(s) of person(s) involved
  3. Date of event
  4. Other facts considered to be relevant
  5. Summary of steps student has already taken to resolve the problem
  6. Signature of the complainant

The Vice Dean will then appoint an ad hoc committee which shall consist of a faculty representative, at least one member of the school’s administration, a student currently matriculated in the School of Medicine, and a representative from the Office for Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity. This committee will be appointed within ten days of receipt of the written complaint and will be charged with the responsibility for investigating the complaint. The committee will act in an expedient manner to consider the facts of the complaint and will report findings to the Vice Dean. The Vice Dean will take whatever action he feels necessary or return the matter to the committee for further investigation. The final action of the Vice Dean will constitute the completion of the complaint procedure. This final action shall be communicated to the complainant and to the respondent. The ad hoc committee shall then be discharged. All records of the investigation and the resulting action will be maintained by the Vice Dean and will be treated with appropriate confidentiality. Any exceptions to this procedure will be addressed to the Vice Dean.  The complainant or respondent may, within 14 days, appeal the decision(s) made to the Dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine.  The decisions of the Dean are final.