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Student Handbook
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Public Safety
Remember: All federal, state, and local laws apply at Rensselaer.
Rensselaer and the Law

All federal, state, and local laws apply at Rensselaer. Although the Institute may assist students who are charged with crimes, it will not protect anyone from prosecution. In addition, Rensselaer may impose sanctions of its own.

Alcohol And Other Drugs

It is illegal in New York state for persons under 21 years of age to possess alcoholic beverages with the intent to consume.

Rensselaer’s position on alcohol and illegal drugs is explicitly detailed in the publication Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and the brochure Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Prevention Program. This policy specifically states that “...Rensselaer will not disregard the law and will not shield individuals from the legal consequences of their actions should they violate the law. In addition, individuals who have violated the law are also subject to disciplinary action. Students will be disciplined according to the Student Handbook, faculty according to the Handbook for Academic Staff, and staff according to the Human Resources Policy Manual.” For more information, go to Alcohol and Drug Policy.
 
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of alcohol is prohibited on Institute property or as part of any activity sponsored by the Institute. Individuals or organizations who sponsor approved events involving beverage alcohol shall assume full responsiblity and liability for the event.
 
Consumption of beverage alcohol on campus is permitted only by persons age 21 or older:

  • In the privacy of their rooms.
  • At campus events where an alcohol permit has been obtained.
  • Possession or consumption of alcohol on campus by any person who is a student under age 21 is in violation of the New York State (NYS) law. Any person under age 21 who misrepresents his/her age in order to obtain alcohol has violated the GDA if that person is a student. If that person is an employee, policies of HR have been violated.
  • Any person who supplies or makes alcohol available to someone under age 21 has violated NYS statutes.
  • Campus events that are open to all students, or where 20% or more of the attendees will be under age 21, may not be granted an alcohol permit.
  • The consumption of alcohol or possession of an open container of alcohol is prohibited in all public or common areas on campus.
  • The serving or availability of alcohol at events being held ina predominately frosh residential facility is prohibited.
  • Alcohol will not be permitted at Rensselaer athletic events.
  • Displays of any alcohol related items or materials are not allowed in any residential facility.

Human Resource policies for exempt and non-exempt staff are addressed in Section VI (Employee Conduct) of the Human Resources Policy Manual (Revised 3/85). “Possessing liquor, narcotics, or explosives on the campus, without prior approval of an authorized representative of the Institute,” is a first degree offense.

Sexual Offenses

Sexual activity with a person against his or her wishes is a crime (N.Y.S Penal Law, Article 130). If the victim does not resist or express unwillingness, it could still be a crime.

Sexual activity means sexual contact and is not restricted to intercourse. The crimes specified under Article 130 range from a class A misdemeanor to class B felony. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense for which a sentence of a fine or imprisonment for more than 15 days, but less than one year, could be imposed. A felony is a criminal offense punishable by fine or imprisonment for more than one year.

In addition, Rensselaer may impose punishment ranging from disciplinary warning to expulsion and fines. The Rensselaer Handbook explains disciplinary action in the chapter on “Rights and Responsibilities of Students at Rensselaer.”

The outcome of sex offenses at Rensselaer depends on several factors. It is the decision of the victim to choose if and how to press charges. The mechanisms of adjudication are criminal court, civil court, a Rensselaer administrative proceeding, or all these.

Institute Disciplinary Procedures:

A victim of sexual assault can initiate a formal complaint with the Dean of Students Office if the accused is a Rensselaer student. If the accused is a member of the Rensselaer faculty or staff, Rensselaer's Affirmative Action process is utilized.

Student Judicial Procedure:

  • The alleged victim (complainant) files a report and request for action with the Dean of Students Office (and/or the Department of Public Safety) and a hearing officer is assigned the case.
  • An investigation occurs, including interviews with the complainant, the accused, and witnesses.
  • The hearing officer then hears the case, makes a determination of guilt or innocence, and imposes sanctions as appropriate.
  • The complainant and the accused are both entitled to a Student Judicial Advisor.
  • If found in violation of Institute Policy, the accused has the option of accepting the decision or appealing it.
  • Once a final judicial decision is determined, both the accused and the complainant are informed of the outcome and any sanctions imposed on the accused. (See the Rensselaer Handbook for further details).

Weapons Possession

The Institute Grounds for Disciplinary Action prohibits “use or possession of dangerous weapons, explosive devices or materials, including but not limited to firearms, dangerous knives, BB and pellet guns, air rifles, slingshots, ammunition firecrackers, bombs, whips, and martial arts weapons.” Possession of weapons or firearms of any sort is strictly prohibited on campus. Any weapons found will be confiscated and the owners subject to disciplinary action.

Missing Persons

Public Safety does not allow time to pass when someone is thought to be missing. Public Safety immediately files an incident report and enters into an investigation together with the local police jurisdiction.

Please take the time to communicate any change to arrival and/or travel intentions to friends, roommates and parents. More often then not, the missing person is delayed due to changing circumstances or to a simple change in plans. Please be considerate of persons who care for your safety.

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