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Title IX Grievance Procedures

Grievance Procedures for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct

 

Anyone who believes they have been subjected to gender-based or sexual discrimination or harassment (“sex and gender-based misconduct”) is encouraged to report these incidents.  Upon receiving a report, Barnard College (“the College”) will respond promptly, equitably, and thoroughly.  In addition, the College will take steps to prevent the recurrence of the alleged sex and gender-based misconduct and correct its effects, if appropriate. The College is committed to providing an learning environment free from gender-based discrimination or harassment.

Consistent with its commitment to addressing sex and gender-based misconduct, the College complies with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.  Sex and gender-based misconduct, as defined within the Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment in Employment Practices and in Student Academic and Campus Life (“Policy”) is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.  With respect to statements, discussions, or written materials that are germane to classroom or educational subject matter, any reports of discrimination or harassment will be considered in context.  The College is committed to encouraging meaningful, candid dialogue.  A discussion on the Concept of Academic Freedom and Harassment can be found in the Policy.

The grievance procedures below are specifically for the adjudication of complaints of sex and gender-based misconduct when such complaints involve Barnard College students, faculty, staff, administrators and/or third parties. 

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY

Any College official (e.g., faculty member, residence life staff member, dean, etc.) informed of an allegation of sex and gender-based misconduct involving students or other members of the College community is expected to file a report with the Title IX Coordinator.  Certain college officers who are serving in a privileged professional capacity (e.g., counselors, clergy, rape crisis counselors, medical service providers) are not bound by this expectation, except as required by law. 

When a report of sex and gender-based misconduct is investigated, the Complainant[1], the Respondent[2] and all identified witnesses who are interviewed in the investigation, will be notified of the College’s expectation of confidentiality/privacy.  The College will make all reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality/privacy of the parties involved in sex and gender-based misconduct investigations.  Breaches of confidentiality/privacy will be reviewed and may be considered a violation of the Policy and may result in additional disciplinary action.  Any action that could be deemed retaliatory will be dealt with according to this procedure (see ‘Retaliation’).

 

Definitions and Examples

Gender-based misconduct.  Gender-based misconduct comprises a broad range of behaviors focused on sex and/or gender discrimination that may or may not be sexual in nature. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence are forms of gender-based misconduct under the policy. Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship (current or former).  Sex and gender-based misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.  (See the Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment for full definitions)

Examples of Sex and gender-based misconduct

•   Pressure for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship

•   Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging

•   Pressure for or forced sexual activity

•   Unnecessary and unwelcome references to various parts of the body

•   Belittling remarks about a person's gender or sexual orientation

•   Inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor

•   Videotaping and photographing someone or people without consent

•   Obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature

•   Offensive sexual graffiti, pictures, or posters

•   Sexually explicit profanity

•   Use of email, the Internet, or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above referenced behaviors

The use of alcohol and other drugs. The use of alcohol and other drugs can have unintended consequences.  Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and affirmatively given.  The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of alcohol and other drugs on another person’s ability to give consent.  The use of alcohol and other drugs never makes someone at fault for being sexually assaulted.

The College’s primary concern is the safety of its community members and guests.   Sometimes students, in particular, are reluctant to report instances of sexual assault because they fear being charged with policy violations, such as underage alcohol consumption.  To encourage reporting, any other policy violations may be addressed (if necessary and/or informally, if appropriate) separately from a sexual assault allegation. The College alcohol policy can be found on the Barnard website.

Filing a Report

Any report of alleged sex and gender-based misconduct by a student, member of the faculty, staff or administration of Barnard College or a person who is not a member of the Barnard College community can be filed with the Title IX Coordinator, 212-854-0037, 105 Milbank Hall or other designated contact noted within the Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment (such as Human Resources).  Students should be advised that the Title IX Coordinator is obligated to act on any report of alleged sex and gender-based misconduct, to ensure measures are taken to stop adverse behavior and prevent its recurrence, as appropriate.  It is important to note, however that not every report leads to a disciplinary process.   Each report is reviewed individually.  The College makes every effort to protect the privacy of all individuals involved in such reporting or investigation.  Information can be shared via an online report form located on the Barnard website.

Individuals reporting criminal acts of sexual or gender-based misconduct may also choose to file a report with the New York City Police Department.  The College system and police/legal system work independently from one another.  Individuals can file reports with the College, with NYPD, or with both systems.  Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards in this policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether or not gender-based misconduct, under this policy, has occurred. 

The College does not limit the timeframe for filing a report of sex and gender-based misconduct.  Reports can be submitted at any time following an incident, although the College’s ability to take any action may be negatively affected by the length of time between the alleged incident and the report.

 

Complaints Against Students

Reports of alleged gender-based misconduct by a student (including students of Columbia University) should be filed with either of the resources below:

Amy Zavadil,

Title IX Coordinator

Barnard College  

212-854-0037

azavadil@barnard.edu

105 Milbank Hall

Online reporting at Barnard.edu/doc/TitleIX 

Student Services for Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct

212-854-1717

ssgbsm@columbia.edu

Wien Hall 108C

Online reporting at Columbia.edu/cu/dpsa

These people are responsible for coordinating the disciplinary process and for working with all involved parties.  The Assistant Director of Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct also serves as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator focusing on reports of sex and gender-based misconduct by students.

Reports involving a Barnard College Faculty Member, Staff Member, Administrator or Visitor/Vendor

Reports of sex and gender-based misconduct by a Barnard faculty member, staff member or administrator should be filed with the Title IX Coordinator or may be reported to Human Resources.  Reports of sex and gender-based misconduct by a visitor to or vendor of campus, or when the identity of the alleged perpetrator is unclear, reports should be filed with the Title IX Coordinator, 105 Milbank, 212-854-0037.  Reports can be filed electronically as noted above.

Reports involving a Columbia University Faculty Member, Staff Member, or Administrator

Reports of sex and gender-based misconduct by a non-Barnard faculty member, staff member or administrator should be filed with the following office:

Columbia University
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
103 Low Memorial Library
(212) 854-5511

 

Jurisdiction

The College is able to respond formally to alleged incidents of sex and gender-based misconduct:

  • that occurred on campus,
  • that were part of official College programs (regardless of location), or
  • where the Complainant and Respondent are a student, member of the faculty, staff or administration of Barnard College.

If the offender is unknown or is not a member of the College community, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will assist students in identifying appropriate campus resources or local authorities if the student would like to file a report. In addition, the College may take other actions to protect the student and the community.

Third-Party Reports

In cases where the sex and gender-based misconduct is reported to the Title IX Coordinator by a third-party, the Complainant will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator that a report has been received.  The Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Complainant to discuss her/his options and available resources at the College and in the community.

Self Help

An individual who believes that she or he is the subject of discriminatory or harassing behavior may choose to deal with the alleged offender directly through a face to face discussion, a personal telephone conversation, e-mail correspondence, or other written correspondence.  In some cases, this approach may resolve the situation; in others, it may be ineffective or place the individual in an uncomfortable, insecure, or compromised position.  Under no circumstances should an individual feel pressured to address the alleged offender directly or otherwise handle the matter alone, and a decision not to confront an individual  she or he believes to be discriminatory or harassing will not be viewed negatively.  If self-help measures prove unsuccessful or impractical, an individual may choose to report the situation and pursue other methods of resolution as described in these procedures.

Complainant Request for Anonymity

A Complainant may make a request for anonymity.  This type of request means that the Complainant does not want his/her identity known to the respondent or witnesses, or that the Complainant wishes to withdraw a report. In these situations, the College will make all reasonable attempts to comply with this request; however, the College’s ability to investigate and respond may be limited.

In addition, the College is required by Title IX to weigh the Complainant’s request for anonymity with the College’s commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment.  If the College cannot maintain a Complainant’s request for anonymity she/he will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator.  In situations where a member of the College community becomes aware of a pattern of behavior by a single Respondent, the College will take appropriate action in an effort to protect the College community.

Retaliation

Any attempt by a member of the Barnard College community to penalize, intimidate, or retaliate in any way against a person who makes a report of or who is otherwise involved in an investigation of discrimination or harassment is completely prohibited.  Any person who believes that he or she has been the victim of retaliation for reporting discrimination or harassment or cooperating in an investigation should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator.  Any person who retaliates against a person in response to a report or cooperation in an investigation will be in violation of policy and will be subject to the appropriate discipline process.

Interim Measures

During the investigation and until resolution of the matter, interim measures may be issued, including but not limited to: restrictions on contact between the Complainant and the Respondent, bans from areas of campus, and/or appropriate changes in academic, campus housing, or employment schedule.  Failure to adhere to the parameters of any interim measures is a violation of policy and may lead to additional disciplinary action.

Mediation

Mediation is not an option for resolution in cases involving allegations of sexual assault.  In cases involving other forms of alleged sex and gender-based misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator (or designated contact in collaboration with the Title IX Coordinator) will determine whether mediation is an appropriate mechanism of resolution based on information provided about the incident.

In cases where mediation is deemed to be an option, parties wishing to pursue this form of resolution will confirm such request in writing addressed to the appropriate adjudicator.  The parties should not contact each other to discuss mediation.  Mediation will be pursued only with the consent of both parties.  If the mediation results in a resolution, the formal disciplinary procedure will be concluded and the case will be closed.  If the parties are unable to reach a resolution, or if either party requests to terminate mediation, the investigation and disciplinary process will proceed.

Informal Resolution

In instances where it is deemed possible and safe, the College may choose to resolve reports through informal means.  If it is determined that an informal resolution may be appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will speak with the Complainant about this option.  If the Complainant agrees, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will speak with the person alleged to have engaged in misconduct.  If a satisfactory resolution is reached through this informal conversation, the matter will be considered completed.  If these efforts are unsuccessful, a formal investigation process may commence.

Investigation

Reports of alleged sex and gender-based misconduct will be investigated in a thorough and prompt fashion.  Following the receipt of a report, if it is determined that there may be a reason to believe that a policy may have been violated, a formal investigation may commence.  If investigation is to commence, the Respondent will be notified that a report has been filed and he/she will have the opportunity to submit a written statement within five (5) business days, whenever possible.  The Respondent and Complainant will be given the opportunity to meet separately with the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) to review the Policy and procedure. 

The Title IX Coordinator (or designated, trained investigator(s)) will interview the Complainant, Respondent, and, as applicable, any witnesses. The Complainant and Respondent may each have a “support person”[3] present at all interviews in which they participate.  The Investigator will also gather any pertinent evidentiary materials (this may include, but is not limited to, emails, written documents, or photographs).  The Investigator will then prepare a report detailing the relevant content of the interviews and the documentation materials gathered.

Directly following the conclusion of the investigation, a determination of whether or not to proceed to the next step will be made by the Title IX Coordinator. This determination will be based on whether reasonable cause exists to believe that a policy violation may have occurred. If reasonable cause does not exist, the report will not be forwarded to the Adjudicator (as defined below). However, the College will institute other forms of remedial, community-based efforts such as educational initiatives and/or trainings, as appropriate. 

 

Administrative Resolution

If sufficient information exists to proceed to the next step, the Respondent and Complainant will have the opportunity to review the investigative report and the documentation materials from the investigation.

Following this review, the Respondent will be given the opportunity to respond to the alleged violation of policy in the following ways: 1) No response; 2) Not Responsible; or 3) Responsible.

If the Respondent accepts responsibility, the appropriate “Adjudicator”[4] will be notified.  Based on the information provided by the investigative materials, the Adjudicator (or designee) will determine the appropriate sanctions. The Complainant and Respondent will be made aware of the sanctioning decision.  The sanctioning outcome will be communicated to both parties within five (5) business days of receipt of the investigation report, whenever possible.  Any reasonable delay will be communicated to both parties.  The Respondent and Complainant will then have the opportunity to appeal the Adjudicator’s (or designee’s) sanctioning decision. The acceptance of responsibility, however, is not appealable (see Appeals Process). 

If the Respondent declines responsibility, or chooses not to respond, the case will be forwarded to the appropriate Adjudicator for review and adjudication.

 

Adjudication Process

The Adjudicator is charged with determining, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether or not policy has been violated upon a review of the investigative materials.  If a violation is found, the Adjudicator will then determine the appropriate sanction to be imposed.

Review of Investigative Materials

The Adjudicator will review the materials within five (5) business days of delivery.  If the Adjudicator requires clarification on any of the materials, the Investigator and/or Title IX Coordinator will assist the Adjudicator in obtaining such clarification.  Though it is typically not necessary, the Adjudicator may consult with the Title IX Coordinator to request to meet with the Respondent, Complainant and/or any of the witnesses (separately) in order to clarify information in the investigative materials.  However, if the Adjudicator requests to meet with either the Complainant or the Respondent, the other party will also be given an opportunity to meet with the Adjudicator.

Adjudicator Findings

The Adjudicator will decide, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether there has been a violation of any sex and gender-based misconduct policies upon a complete review of the investigative report and materials.  Preponderance of evidence means that the adjudicator is convinced based on the information provided that a violation of policy was more likely to have occurred than not have occurred.  The Adjudicator will render a decision within fifteen (15) business days following the delivery of the investigative materials.

If the Adjudicator determines that a violation has occurred, the Adjudicator will then determine the appropriate sanctions.  Consideration may be given to the nature of and the circumstances surrounding the violation, prior disciplinary violations, precedent cases, College safety concerns and any other information deemed relevant by the Adjudicator.  The Adjudicator will render a sanctioning decision within five (5) business days of the date the decision is rendered.

Range of Sanctions

Faculty, staff or administrators who are found in violation of any sexual or gender-based misconduct policy are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.  Students are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion.  In any case, educational programming may be required.   Guests and other persons who are alleged to have engaged in sex or gender-based misconduct are subject to corrective action, which may include removal from campus and termination of contractual arrangements.  Vendors or other agencies in contract with the College will be promptly notified if any of their employees are alleged to have violated policy, and such employees may be banned from any or all college properties and may also be subject to action deemed appropriate by their respective employer.  Restrictions regarding access to College property or events may also be imposed.

The Appeals Process

The Respondent and Complainant may request an appeal of the decision and sanctions rendered by the Adjudicator.  The three grounds upon which an appeal of the decision or sanctions may be made are:

  1. The party believes a procedural error occurred, which the party feels may change or affect the outcome of the decision;
  2. The party has substantive new evidence that was not available to the investigator at the time of the hearing and that may change the outcome of the decision;
  3. The party feels that the severity of the sanction is inappropriate given the details of the case.

Disagreement with the finding or sanctions is not, by itself, grounds for appeals.

The request for an appeal, including the grounds upon which the request is based, should be submitted in writing to the appropriate Appeals Officer[5] (as identified in the outcome letter) within five (5) business days following the date on the outcome letter. 

However, in situations where the Respondent is a faculty member who has been sanctioned with either suspension or dismissal, the Respondent has the option to appeal the severity of the sanction to the Committee on Grievance in accordance with the Code of Academic Freedom and Tenure.

The appropriate Appeals Officer (or Committee) can determine whether a change in the Adjudicator’s decision is warranted.  If a change in this decision is necessary, the Appeals Officer will review the appeal and Adjudicator’s rationale and make a final decision. This decision is not appealable.

Appeals will not be reviewed or considered beyond the Appeals Officer (or designee).  Appeals decisions will be rendered within ten (10) business days after the receipt of the formal appeal request.

Outcome Notification

Every effort will be made to ensure that both the Complainant and Respondent are updated at several points during the investigation and process.  Both the Complainant and Respondent will be notified, in writing, at the following times:

Conclusion of the Investigation

•    After the conclusion of the investigation – both parties will be provided the opportunity to review the investigative materials.

Administrative Resolution

•    The Respondent accepts responsibility for being “in violation”.

•    The sanctions determined by the Adjudicator (or designee) after the Respondent accepts responsibility.

Adjudication

•    The Adjudicator’s finding of “in violation” or “not in violation”.

•    If the finding is “in violation” the sanctions determined by the Adjudicator (or designee).

Appeals Process

•    If an appeal has been filed by either party at any point in the outcome phase.

•    The final resolution of the appeals process, if applicable.

 

Time Frames

If the time frames provided in this procedure cannot be met, the appropriate officer will notify the Complainant and Respondent in writing of the delay and will provide a date by which the appropriate undertaking will be completed.

 

Resources for Anyone Who Experiences Gender-Based Misconduct

The College’s primary concern is with the health, safety, and well-being of the members of the College community.  If you or someone you know may have experienced any form of gender-based misconduct, we urge you to seek immediate assistance.  Student assistance can be obtained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:

  • Columbia University Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center – (212) 854-HELP
  • Health Services – Clinician-on-Call
    • Barnard – 866-966-7788
    • Columbia – (212) 854-9797

All members of the community can seek assistance through the following contacts:

  • Public Safety:
    • Barnard – (212) 854-3362
    • Columbia – (212) 854-2796
  • Title IX Coordinator (212) 854-0037
  • Student Services for Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct – (212) 854-1717
  • St. Luke’s Hospital Crime Victims Treatment Center – (212) 523-4728
  • Safe Horizon – (212) 523-4728
  • New York Police Department – 911 (Manhattan Special Victims 212-335-9373)
  • Crime Victim's Treatment Center - 212-523-4728, http://www.cvtc-slr.org

Additional information about gender-based and sexual misconduct can be found on the Sexual Violence Response website at http://health.columbia.edu/services/svprp.

Relevant Government Resources

Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator(s) and to OCR.  The below government agencies may provide additional resources for anyone wishing to file a complaint of gender-based misconduct:

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

http://www.ed.gov/ocr

New York—Region II
32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Telephone: 646-428-3800
Email: OCR.NewYork@ed.gov

 

U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women

http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/

 

Complainant Rights

Complainants are afforded the following rights in this process:

•           To be treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity throughout the process.

•           To seek support services at the College or referrals for support services off campus.

•           To privacy and protection under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as applicable.  The College will make all reasonable efforts to ensure preservation of privacy, restricting information to those with a legitimate need to know.

•           To be informed of the College’s Policies and Procedures related to Gender-Based Misconduct.

•           To a prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations.

•           To review all applicable documents prior to the review by the Adjudicator.

•           To challenge the Adjudicator if a conflict of interest is present.  

•           To participate or decline to participate in the disciplinary procedure. However, the Adjudicator will determine an outcome with the information available to him/her.

•           To discuss alternatives to procedures, where alternatives may be reasonable and acceptable to involved parties.

•           To refrain from making self-incriminating statements.  However, the Adjudicator will determine a resolution with the information available to him/her.

•           To appeal the decision made by the Adjudicator and sanctions determined by the Adjudicator (or designee).

•           To be notified, in writing, of the case resolution – including the outcome of any appeal.

•           To report the incident to law enforcement if she/he wishes to do so.

•           To understand that information collected in this process may be subpoenaed in criminal or civil proceedings. 

Respondent Rights

Respondents are afforded the following rights in this process:

•           To be treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity throughout the process.

•           To seek support services at the College or referrals for support services off campus.

•           To privacy and protection under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as applicable.  The College will make all reasonable efforts to ensure preservation of privacy, restricting information to those with a legitimate need to know.

•           To be informed of the College’s Policies and Procedures related to Gender-Based Misconduct.

•           To a prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations.

•           To review all applicable documents prior to the hearing.

•           To challenge the Adjudicator if a conflict of interest is present.  

•           To participate or decline to participate in the disciplinary procedure. However, the Adjudicator will determine a resolution with the information available to him/her.

•           To discuss alternatives to procedures, where alternatives may be reasonable and acceptable to involved parties.

•           To refrain from making self-incriminating statements.  However, the Adjudicator will determine a resolution with the information available to him/her.

•           To appeal either the decision or the sanctions determined by the Adjudicator (or designee).

•           To be notified, in writing, of the case resolution – including the outcome of the appeal.

•           To understand that information collected in this process may be subpoenaed in criminal or civil proceedings. 

Independent Investigation

The College, at the discretion of the General Counsel, may conduct an investigation independent of, or in addition to, the procedures provided herein at any time. The investigation may involve complaints or allegations concerning gender-based misconduct against the College, or any of their employees or students.      

 

Policies effective as of August 2011; amended August 2012; amended November 2012; amended August 2013; amended January 2014

[1] A Complainant is the individual who files a report or the person who a report is filed on behalf of by a third party. 

[2] A Respondent is the person against whom a report has been filed.

[3] The “support person” must be a current member of the Barnard College Community, not otherwise involved in the incident or investigation.  The “support person” may attend, but shall not participate, in the interview / process.

[4] An “Adjudicator” is the College Official designated, and trained, for decision making based upon the position of the Respondent.

[5] The Appeals’ Officer (or designee) receives appropriate training in handling misconduct cases, as do Adjudicatorss appropriate training in handling misconduct cases, as do Adjudicators