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  • Sexual Harassment Policy

    Adopted July 14, 1988
    [Revised and Approved November 20, 2013]

    The New School is committed to creating and sustaining a University environment in which students, faculty, and staff can study and work in an open atmosphere, unhampered by discrimination. This commitment is explicitly stated in all descriptions of University programs and in all the official catalogs of the academic divisions of the University. The University's statement on non-discrimination is:

    "The New School is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that promises diversity and tolerance in all areas of employment, education and access to its educational, artistic or cultural programs and activities. The New School does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, veteran status, marital or partnership status, or any other legally protected status."

    As a necessary part of its commitment to create and sustain an environment that is free of any kind of discrimination, The New School commits itself to prohibit sexual harassment and to confront and deal with it when it occurs. Sexual harassment is defined in this policy and procedures have been established for responding to concerns, allegations, and questions about sexual harassment brought by any member of the University community.

    The University's goal is to create a community free of sexual harassment. To do so requires good judgment, awareness, and intelligence. To sustain this kind of community also requires directness and clarity, since many members of the community may not immediately recognize instances of sexual harassment and the consequences of such conduct on individuals and the community. In order to achieve the goal of a community free of sexual harassment, standards of behavior and procedures for dealing with breaches of those standards must be established and implemented within the context of academic freedom. Education of the community on this issue will also be necessary. The University seeks to sustain a high standard of behavior and to correct breaches of that standard, regardless of whether the offending behavior would meet external legal standards of the term sexual harassment.

    Definition of Sexual Harassment

    Generally, sexual harassment is conduct that exploits power or authority in order to elicit sexual submission, or inappropriate sexual conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile or abusive environment for working, learning or enjoying other opportunities and activities. Sexual harassment can include a wide range of behaviors, from the actual coercing of sexual relations to inappropriate sexualization of the working or learning environment with words, materials or behavior. It may involve women being harassed by men, men being harassed by women, or harassment between persons of the same sex, and can take place across all gender identities.

    The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has issued guidelines that provide a basic definition of sexual harassment. While the EEOC guidelines apply only to faculty and other employees, the University prohibits sexual harassment of any member of the University community, whether such harassment is aimed at students, faculty or other employees.

    Based upon the EEOC guidelines, and for the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other expressive or physical conduct of a sexual nature, where

    • submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program or activity; or
    • submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for an employment or academic decision affecting the individual, or for a decision regarding an individual's status in a course, program or activity; or
    • such conduct has the purpose or effect, when judged from the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the complaining individual, of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or work performance, or with an individual's enjoyment of other University opportunities, programs and activities; or
    • such conduct has the purpose or effect, when judged from the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the complaining individual, of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for working, learning, or enjoying other University opportunities, programs and activities.

    Sexual harassment is generally found to be in two distinct forms. Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an individual makes an explicit proposition for sexual favors in return for express or implied job benefits or academic decisions, or where rejection of such a proposition is to be used for, or negatively effects, job benefits or academic decisions. Hostile environment sexual harassment occurs when conduct (either through its severity and/or its repetitive or consistent nature) has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment. Unwanted flirtations, advances or propositions of a sexual nature, or unwanted comments of a sexual nature about an individual's body or clothing, whether conveyed orally, in writing or by electronic transmission, or unwelcomed touching, such as patting, pinching, hugging, or brushing against an individual's body are illustrations of the kinds of conduct, if engaged in by an individual repeatedly and consistently, which could constitute hostile environment sexual harassment.

    Other Issues Concerning the Conduct of Members of the University

    The EEOC definition refers to legal standards for identifying sexual harassment. There are, however, other standards for conduct among its members that are important in a University setting. Although we do not wish to discourage collegial relationships which are essential to the educational mission of a university, members of the University must recognize the professional responsibility that faculty have for students' education and the considerable power that faculty have over students' careers. As a result, our standards for relationships between faculty and students at the University, and between other members of the University community, may be more restrictive than those encompassed in the EEOC definition which pertains to employment.

    Faculty members (and administrative staff) should be aware that any romantic involvement with students (or staff members who report to them) is considered inappropriate, and it might make them liable to formal action. Where these relationships develop, they should be immediately reported to the appropriate designated official. (See Guidelines for Dealing With Issues of Sexual Harassment & Discrimination.)

    Romantic involvements between faculty and students outside the instructional context also have the potential to lead to difficulties. Beyond these difficulties, and the risk of formal action, these involvements can have a negative effect on the community. Suspicions of favoritism may arise that affect the academic and/or work environment; there may be the appearance of exploitation even if the relationship is consensual. In addition, there is always the possibility that relationships that begin consensually will be subject to misinterpretation and that after they end, the faculty (or administrative staff member) will be vulnerable to accusations and recriminations.

    The foregoing paragraphs refer generally to faculty and students, or administrative staff members and those who report to them, but it is equally important that relations between students in all programs of the University adhere to a high standard of collegiality and mutual respect.

    The foregoing paragraphs are included within the purview of this policy statement, because it is important to keep this highest standard of professional behavior in mind and to avoid even the semblance of exploitation. At a university, in situations where colleagues, co-workers, teachers and students work together as equals, and where the atmosphere is collaborative, there will be a tendency to ignore distinctions and to behave as if they do not exist. Particularly, in the case of senior faculty and junior faculty and in the case of faculty and graduate students (when students are older, working adults) it may be easy to ignore differences in responsibility and power. But even in the case of non-traditional students, -- teachers have power and authority over all students -- this asymmetry should be acknowledged and respected. The same is true for the relations between supervisors and staff.

    At the same time as we respect the differences in our roles, we want to sustain a collegial atmosphere and the informality of the University environment so that our mission -- the process of education -- can flourish. At no point, however, should the freedom, openness, and collegiality of the University permit an abandonment of responsibility.

    The highest standards of professional conduct pertain to all members of the faculty in their dealings with one another as well as with staff and students; the relationships between supervisors and members of the staff at all levels should also be governed by these standards. No member of the University should feel that the fulfillment of her or his duties is obstructed or impeded by sexual harassment from a teacher, colleague, or supervisor.

    The standards we have outlined above have their parallel in relationships among students in all academic divisions of the University. We expect those relations to be collegial and civil. Students should not engage in any behaviors that coerce, demean, or threaten other students.

    Policy on Discrimination

    Adopted December 13, 1990
    [Revised November 20, 2013]

    The New School is committed to being an academic community that is racially and culturally diverse, that values mutual respect, human dignity, and individual differences, and that is supportive of intellectual, artistic, and professional growth.

    These benefits are compromised when individuals or groups within the community engage in acts of discrimination and discriminatory harassment as well as coercion against other individuals or groups, including intimidation by threats and/or acts of violence or personal vilification on the basis of age, race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, veteran status, marital or partnership status, or any other legally protected status.

    Such acts undermine the fundamental values of the entire community and contribute to a hostile environment which may limit or deny access to the educational process, not just for those subjected to such acts but to the community as a whole. Acts of discrimination including discriminatory harassment are prohibited.

    This policy is not intended to discourage the expression of ideas that, while they may be offensive, are protected by the University's Policy on the Free Exchange of Ideas and the University's Statement on Freedom of Artistic Expression, and by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

    Speech or other expression constitutes discriminatory harassment if it:

    1. deliberately insults, stigmatizes, threatens or intimidates an individual or small group of specific individuals on the basis of age, race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity and expression), pregnancy, sexual orientation, religion, religious practices, mental or physical disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, veteran status, marital or partnership status, any other legally protected status or other personal attributes; and
    2. is addressed directly to the specific individual or individuals who it insults, stigmatizes, threatens, or intimidates; and
    3. makes use of "fighting words" or non-verbal symbols.

    In the context of discriminatory harassment, "fighting words" or non-verbal symbols are words, pictures or symbols that are, as a matter of common knowledge, understood to convey direct hatred or contempt for human beings and that by their very use inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.

    Individuals who believe they have been subject to discrimination in violation of this policy may obtain redress through the University's Sexual Harassment and Discrimination complaint procedures, or, where applicable, the collective bargaining agreement, as described in the Guidelines For Dealing With Issues Of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination*

    *It is also a violation of this policy to engage in hate/bias crimes which include violence, intimidation and/or destruction of property against a person based in whole or substantial part on a belief or perception regarding that person's race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender (including gender identity and expression), religion, religious practices, age, disability and/or sexual orientation or other legally protected status, regardless of whether the belief or perception is correct.

    Guidelines for Dealing with Issues of Sexual Harassment Discrimination

    Adopted March 8, 1990
    [Revised November 20, 2013]

    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, 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 a separate policy and procedure related to behavior that constitutes sexual assault and other sexual violence. Students, Staff and Faculty who want to file a complaint of sexual assault should contact the Designated Officials listed below or the Director of Security.

    Process for bringing a complain of sexual harassment or discrimination

    Any member of the university community seeking to file a complaint would meet with a designated official(s) or designee(s). During this initial meeting, the designated official(s) or designee(s) will listen, ask questions, review appropriate policies and procedures, and explain next steps. If it is determined that the complaint falls under the Policy on Sexual Harassment or Policy on Discrimination, the designated official(s) or designee(s) will investigate the complaint. This investigation includes information gathering and meeting with the alleged harasser and other relevant persons (e.g. witnesses). Once the investigation is complete, the designated official(s) will review the collected information, determine whether the University's anti-discrimination policies were violated, and recommend appropriate disciplinary/corrective measures.

    The determination and implementation of disciplinary/corrective measures will be based on the status of the alleged harasser. If the alleged harasser is a student, the matter will be processed as a complaint pursuant to the non-academic disciplinary procedures. If the alleged harasser is an employee, the complaint will be processed pursuant to the relevant disciplinary procedures. The findings and any disciplinary actions will be provided to both the person filing the complaint and the alleged harasser by letter.

    The New School's designated officials for hearing complaints of discrimination, including sexual harassment, are:

    Students: Assistant Vice President for Student and Campus Life (The University's Title IX Coordinator) at mcdonalt@newschool.edu or 212.229.5900 x3656

    Faculty and Staff: Senior Vice President for Human Resources at cantrelc@newschool.edu or 212.229.5671 x4900

    The designated officials may assign the initial meeting/ investigation to one of their designees (a staff member who reports directly to them and is experienced in handling such matters).

    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, including any related appeal process. 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 or discriminatory 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 applicable collective bargaining agreement, the Institutional Policies and Procedures Manual and the Full-Time Faculty Handbook. Where the designated official supports the imposition of significant discipline, i.e., suspension or termination of employment, and the person initiating process is a student, the University will become the complainant for purposes of processing the related disciplinary action.

    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 no later than sixty (60) calendar days after the alleged act constituting harassment or discrimination has occurred. A matter will be concluded no later than three months after the initial meeting with a designated official. 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 parties investigating the complaint, 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 designated officials/designees reviewing a case 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 the proceedings. He or she will review the facts and recommend appropriate action.

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