Supplemental Policies

Hate or Bias-Related Crime

The University at Albany strives to protect all members of the University community by prosecuting hate or bias-related crimes that occur within the campus jurisdiction. Criminal offenses may include, but are not limited to, assault, endangerment, imprisonment, manslaughter, murder, stalking, rape, kidnapping, burglary, larceny, and robbery.

The full text of the applicable NYS law may be found in Section 485 of the NYS Penal Code. As with any conviction for a misdemeanor or a felony under NYS law, the punishment for hate crimes may include fines and/or imprisonment, depending on the underlying crime.  

If you are a victim of, or witness to, a hate or bias-related crime on campus, report it to the University Police by calling 911 in an emergency, using a Blue Light Phone, or campus telephone at 518-442-3131. You may also report to Community Standards at 518-442-5501 or [email protected].

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) can also offer assistance at 518-442-5800 or [email protected]. For peer assistance when classes are in session or after normal business hours, call the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Hotline at 518-442-5777.

Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed to limit or restrict freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.  


Code of Conduct Definition

Hazing is any reckless or intentional conduct in connection with the initiation into, or affiliation with, any organization which degrades, humiliates or endangers the mental or physical health of any person, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate. It can also include activities that damage, destroy or remove any public or private property.

Supplemental Information

Hazing is a societal problem that is not limited to fraternities or sororities, but can occur in any organization. Hazing is a pre-meditated act of power and control over others and is considered victimization. It is abusive, degrading and often life-threatening.

Soliciting, directing, aiding or otherwise participating, actively or passively, in such activities constitutes hazing. In addition, apathy or acquiescence in the presence of hazing is not a neutral act and is considered approval of the hazing behavior.

Examples of hazing activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Forced or required participation in physical activities such as calisthenics, exercises, games or “make work” activity;

  • Forced consumption of food, alcohol, water, illegal substances;

  • Forced, required or condoned application of foreign substances to the body resulting in lewdness or a potential for ridicule or bodily harm (such as tattooing or branding);

  • Participation in activities that involve illegal acts such as “pledge ditches” and kidnappings, scavenger hunts and thefts;

  • Creation of excessive fatigue and stress through deprivation of privacy or sufficient sleep (defined as a minimum of six consecutive hours per day) or decent and edible meals;

  • Deprivation of access to means of maintaining personal hygiene;

  • Forced or required conduct that would embarrass or negatively affect the dignity of the individual, such as forced nudity or partial nudity, including coercing or allowing an individual to dress in a degrading manner as part of initiation or affiliation with a group;

  • Use of physical brutality (including paddling; striking with fists, feet, open hands or objects; and branding);

  • Participation in or creation of situations that cause psychological harm or substantial emotional strain, such as causing a member or pledge to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule or other verbal abuse, causing embarrassment or shame to a member or pledge, or compromising the dignity of a member or pledge.

If you have been hazed, have witnessed hazing, or suspect that someone you know has been hazed, you can report your observations confidentially. You can do this by contacting the Office of Student Involvement at 518-442-5566 or you can report your observations confidentially on the web. This website also has additional information about hazing.

Illegal File Sharing & Copyright Infringement

What is it?

As a concept, copyright is very simple: it occurs when you put words on paper, transmit words via email, record your own music, write computer software, or create images. Once you do any of these, your work is protected by copyright. If someone else wants to use it, they must get permission from you. If they use the material without your permission - it's copyright infringement. It's that simple.

A more formal way of presenting this concept is to say that copyrighted material includes almost all forms of original expression fixed in a tangible medium. Once it is fixed in this tangible medium (you cannot copyright a thought or daydream) it enjoys legal protections even if no formal copyright notice is filed or attached.

Copyright infringement is any reproduction, display, or distribution (sharing) of copyrighted material without permission of the copyright owner.

File Sharing

Sharing copyrighted files using a peer-to-peer application such as Limeware, Bit Torrent, or DC++ is copyright infringement.

Even if you paid for the material (e.g., Itunes, own the CD), sharing it is infringement. Buying a copy of a song or film does not give you permission to distribute it.

If you do not have permission from the copyright holder to distribute the file, and you share it, you are guilty of infringement.

How do they catch me?

When you install file sharing software such as Limewire, the software puts itself in your Start Up folder. So every time you start your computer, and the whole time that it's running, the file sharing application is running in the background, doing what it was designed to do: share your files.

Even if you are not using it to search for, or download, material, the application is hard at work serving up whatever files you've saved to other people, including agents who are working for copyright holders.

Representatives of the authors and copyright holders such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are using the same file sharing software to search for copies of their songs and films being shared from your computer. When they find them, they send the University or Apogee a "take down" notice, and you lose your network access.

Getting Sued

In a worst case scenario, you could be sued by a copyright holder for infringement. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in. It is going to cost you real money because you will be taken to court and will need a lawyer to defend you. In 2008, nine University at Albany students were sued by Arista Records for copyright infringement.

The question you have to ask yourself is: Is it worth jeopardizing my undergraduate or graduate education for a free copy of an episode of Family Guy?

Strict Liability

Copyright is a strict liability offense. Under the federal copyright statutes, neither intent nor knowledge of infringement is necessary to hold a person liable.

In practical terms, this means that you cannot plead ignorance to escape liability. And the liability can be serious. Sound recording copyright infringements can be punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Copyright holders have been known to seek damages of up to $150,000 per song.

For More Information: Legal Sources of Online Content

Investigation of Violent Felony Offenses

Violent felony offenses are defined in subdivision one of section 70.02 of the New York State Penal Law to include, but  are not limited to, degrees/classes of: murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, aggravated sexual abuse, assault, burglary, robbery, arson, criminal possession of a dangerous weapon, etc.

All members of the University at Albany community are expected to immediately report all suspected or actual violent felony offenses occurring at or on the grounds of the University, to the University Police Department by dialing 911 from a University telephone or 518-442-3131 from a cell phone.

Investigation of Missing Students

A missing student is defined as any currently registered student of the University at Albany who has not been seen by friends, family members or associates for a reasonable length of time, and whose whereabouts have been questioned and brought to the attention of a member of the University staff or faculty member.

The University Police will initiate an investigation when they are notified that a student, who resides in a University operated residence is missing, with no reasonable explanation for their absence. Ordinarily, the investigation will be initiated immediately after this notification.

In the event the student does not reside in a University residence, the appropriate municipal local police authorities should be notified. In the event of a missing student residing on campus, University Police will notify the parents/family members regarding the student’s whereabouts.