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  • Guidelines for Dealing with Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

    The Board of Trustees of The New School has approved the preceding Policies on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination. These policies provide a discussion of the standards of behavior to which the university community adheres in this regard.

    These policies are statements of values and standards; they do not include procedures. The following Guidelines for Dealing with Issues of Sexual Harassment and other forms of discrimination have been established in order to provide a structure and procedures for dealing with actual charges of sexual harassment or discrimination as defined in the policies. The procedures uphold the basic requirements of fairness and accord full consideration and respect to the complainant and to the person complained against.

    These guidelines are for members of the university including faculty, students enrolled in degree granting programs and administrative staff. For clerical union employees, the university's Sexual Harassment and Discrimination policies have been incorporated within the current collective bargaining agreement with the union local. There are two different procedures to be followed depending upon the status of the employee bringing a claim of having been sexually harassed or otherwise been discriminated against. If a claim is brought by an employee of having been harassed while in the status of a clerical union employee, it will be handled through the grievance machinery established in the collective bargaining agreement. If the claim of harassment or discrimination is brought by a member of the university while in the status of a student, administrative staff or faculty member, the university-wide Sexual Harassment and Discrimination complaint procedures will be followed. An employee cannot utilize both procedures simultaneously.

    The university has assigned the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel the task of providing detailed information and guidance on the process to both the complainant and the person complained against.

    Steps in Bringing a Complaint of Sexual Harassment or Discrimination

    1. Initial discussion of a situation by complainant with a designated official in an effort to resolve the problem. When the investigation is concluded, the designated official should submit a confidential report, within thirty (30) calendar days, of the outcome to the Provost.
    2. If Step 1 is not successful in resolving the matter, either party may submit a written complaint to the Provost for his/her reconsideration. The Provost may further investigate the matter or make a decision based on the submitted materials. The Provost may also, at his/her sole discretion, refer the matter to a Panel of the university–wide Committee on Harassment and Discrimination for its consideration and recommendation.
    3. If the matter is referred to a Panel for its review, the Panel shall meet and determine whether or not the complaint warrants a formal investigative hearing or can be resolved without further investigation. The Panel's recommendation will then be sent to the Provost for his/her consideration.
    4. The Provost will review the recommendation of the Panel of the University-wide Committee, and decides on a penalty, if appropriate. When the Provost announces the decision, the alleged harasser or the complainant may request the Provost reconsider the decision and/or the penalty. The Provost's decision after this recommendation, if any, is final.

    Initial Discussion with a Designated Official

    Because sexual harassment or discrimination is often difficult to discuss, a complainant may want to speak first with a designated official. A complaining party should speak with one of the following designated officials listed below.

    Students who wish to file a complaint of Sexual Harassment and/or have comments or suggestions about this policy should contact:

    Thomas J. McDonald
    Assistant Vice President for Student and Campus Life
    79 5th Avenue, 5th Floor
    mcdonalt@newschool.edu
    212.229.5900 x3656

    Faculty and Staff should contact:

    Carol Cantrell
    Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations
    79 5th Avenue, 18th Floor
    212.229.5671

    Review of the Complaint by a Panel of the University–Wide Committee on Harassment and Discrimination

    Composition of the Committee

    The university–wide Committee is a standing committee of six persons selected annually by the Provost of the university. The Committee shall consist of: two faculty; two administrators; and two students (one undergraduate and the other a full-time graduate) selected from nominations submitted by the Senior Vice President for Student Services.

    A Panel of three (3) Committee members will be selected to hear each case referred to the university-wide Committee on Harassment and Discrimination. A Panel will be selected in the following manner: the complainant and alleged harasser (hereinafter referred to as the "responding party") may each select one member from the six-person standing committee and the Provost will select the third member. The Chair will be appointed by the Provost. However, the students shall not be selected for a Panel where a case does not involve a student as either a complainant or responding party. A student complainant may also request that students not participate on a Panel and only one student may be chosen for any one panel. Any member of the university-wide Committee with an interest in the matter, who has actively participated in the Step 1 process, or who the complainant or the responding party justifiably has a conflict of interest, may be asked to disqualify himself/herself from participating on the Panel.

    At any time during the Step 2 process, the Provost or Panel shall have the authority to enter into an informal resolution of the complaint that is acceptable to both the complainant and responding party. Upon informal resolution of a complaint, the matter will be deemed closed.

    Discipline

    Where the investigation of a complaint results in a conclusion that the imposition of discipline is necessary and appropriate, such discipline will follow the basic structure of penalties under the established disciplinary procedures at the university. For students, faculty or staff these penalties will have different significance and practical consequences.

    Since our goal is to deal directly and clearly to prevent and to correct sexually harassing behavior, in cases of severe harassment or discrimination (i.e. involving sexual assault, quid pro quo sexual harassment, multiple charges, or a history of complaints), the university reserves the right to take summary disciplinary action pursuant to the University Code of Conduct and/or pursuant to existing university employment procedures, including those contained in the Full-Time Administrative Staff Handbook and the Guidelines On The Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty contained in the Full-Time and Part-Time Faculty Handbooks.

    General Considerations

    Timing

    In order to preserve a healthy environment for education in the university community, complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination should be dealt with in a timely fashion. Except for good cause, a complainant must initiate the process by taking Step 1 no later than sixty (60) calendar days after the alleged act constituting harassment or discrimination has occurred. After Step 1 has been initiated it should be dealt with within twenty (20) calendar days. After Step 2 begins, it should take no longer than two months after receipt of both parties' written statements and responses to complete. A matter will be concluded no later than three months after the initiation of Step 1 proceedings. This is a blueprint for a schedule, but the goals of fairness and full consideration may extend (or accelerate) the schedule, when necessary.

    Confidentiality

    The Panel must seek to determine the facts of the case in order to make a fair determination and finding in as confidential a manner as practical. The members of the Panel or designated officials reviewing a case at Step 1 shall not discuss a case except in formal sessions dedicated to that purpose. The privacy of both parties to a case will be respected insofar as possible.

    Protection from Retaliation

    All individuals involved in the consideration of a complaint of sexual harassment or discrimination will be protected from retaliation, such as threats, false countercharges, the punitive use of grades, arbitrary dismissal or denial of promotion. Individuals should be protected from retaliation both during and after a complaint is considered. Any indication of retaliation should be promptly reported to the designated official who is (or was) responsible for the consideration of the case during Step 1 proceedings. He or she will review the facts and recommend appropriate action.

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