New York State law requires Jefferson Community College to inform students about the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2000 and how hate crimes (also known as bias-related crimes) can be prevented on campus.
Hate/bias crimes have received renewed attention in recent years, particularly since the passage of the federal Hate/Bias Crime Reporting Act of 1990 and the New York State Hate Crimes Act of 2000 (Penal Law Article 485). Copies of the New York law are available from the Student Activities Center.
Hate crimes are criminal activity motivated by the perpetrator’s bias or attitude against an individual victim or group based on perceived or actual personal characteristics, such as their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
Bias-related behavior includes any action that discriminates against, ridicules, humiliates, or otherwise creates a hostile environment for an individual or group protected under this law.
Penalties for Hate/Bias-Related Crime
Penalties for bias-related crimes are very serious and range from fines to imprisonment for lengthy periods, depending on the nature of the underlying criminal offense, the use of violence or previous convictions of the offender. Hate/bias crime incidents that rise to a felony level are reported to the district attorney. Non-felony hate/bias crime incidents may be adjudicated through the Code of Student Conduct. Sanctions imposed by the College may include suspension and expulsion depending on the severity of the crime.
Reporting a Hate/Bias-Related Crime Incident
An individual who believes that s/he has been a target of a bias-related crime is encouraged to immediately report an incident to the Campus Security Office, the Vice President for Students, the Vice President for Administration and Finance, or the Affirmative Action Officer. The incident will be reviewed and investigated, and a determination will be made as to how the allegation will be handled.
Hate/Bias-Related Crime Prevention Information
Students are informed about hate/bias-related crime prevention measures through a series of programs which include classroom instruction, seminars and workshops sponsored by academic departments, Student Activities Center, Advising, Career, and Transfer Center (ACT), STAR Program, New Student Orientation and the Campus Security Office. Information regarding these programs is posted widely on campus and students are encouraged to attend.
Availability of Counseling and Other Support Services
Counseling and personal support is available to victims of hate/bias-related crime through the Advising, Career, and Transfer Center (ACT) located on the ground floor of the Jules Building. Another source of assistance is through the Jefferson County Victim’s Assistance Center, 120 Arcade Street, Watertown, New York 13601 or the Victim Assistance Hotline at 782-1855.