What rights do I have if I am accused of sexual assault?

The rights of the person accused of sexual assault and the person reporting a sexual assault are set forth in detail in the Community Guide.  The Title IX Coordinator can provide additional information in this area, and answer all questions you may have.  Feel free to contact at any time: tgay@paulsmiths.edu or 518-327-6451. 


What if I am found responsible by campus judicial standards for violating the Student Conduct’s provisions prohibiting sexual misconduct?

The college may impose a range of sanctions, including suspension or dismissal from Paul Smith’s College. You also have the right to an appeal outlined in the Community Guide.  You may contact the Title IX Coordinator for more information at any time.  tgay@paulsmiths.edu   or 518-327-6451

What if I believe that I’ve been falsely accused of sexual assault?

You will have the opportunity to fully provide your side to the investigator and the Conduct Hearing Board. If there is a preponderance of the evidence to establish that you are not responsible, that will be considered in the investigation, and the Conduct Board’s analysis of the evidence will be provided in a written report upon completion of the hearing.

I would never want to hurt someone or be accused of sexual assault. What can I do to protect myself?

Listen carefully. Take the time to hear what your partner is communicating. If you feel you are getting “mixed messages,” ask for a clarification. We are an Affirmative Consent state. 

  • Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.  Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity.  Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent.  Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.  When consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.  Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute consent to any other sexual act.  A current or previous dating relationship will not constitute consent.  The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Certain conditions prevent a person from being able to consent.  Consent cannot be given if a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity.  A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand the who, what, when, or where of what is happening or is disorientated, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs.  An individual’s mental disability may cause him/her to be unable to give consent.  In New York, individuals under the age of 17 cannot give effective consent.  Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to give consent.  An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows—or should know—that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy.  Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  Affirmative consent cannot be given under coercion, force, or threat of physical harm or injury. 

 If you have not received an enthusiastic “yes” through words or actions to sexual contact or it seems they are not sure if they want to engage in the sexual activity, stop immediately!

It is the responsibility of the person initiating sexual contact or intercourse to get affirmative consent.  If it is not clear, stop.

Sexual Contact without consent is a crime. It is never acceptable to use coercion or force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances. Don’t ever assume that your partner wants to have sexual contact. 

Be aware that having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is rape. If you have sex with someone who is intoxicated to the point of incapacitation, drugged, passed out, asleep, incapable of giving consent or unaware of what is happening, that is a crime.

Get involved if you believe someone is at risk. If you see someone using force or pressuring another person, don’t be afraid to intervene by getting help or stepping in to change the dynamic of the situation. You may save someone from being assault.

If you have a question that is not here, please contact the Title IX Coordinator: Teresa Gay in Phelps Administration Building Room 001. (518) 327-6451 or email at  tgay@paulsmiths.edu.