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. Students involved in a gender-based misconduct matter may request academic, residential, or work accommodations. The College is committed to providing an employment and/or 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 Education Amendments 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 the College and under 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. Inquiries regarding Title IX can be referred to the Title IX Coordinator or to the Office of Civil Rights (Department of Education, OCR; contact information is provided later in these procedures).
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 required 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 advocates, 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, the Respondent 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, sexual exploitation, 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 based on gender-stereotyping
• Inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor
• Videotaping and photographing activity of a sexual or personal nature without consent of those being recorded
• 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. Providing alcohol or other substances to another person without their knowledge or for the purpose of incapacitation to coerce sexual activity is a violation of the Policy. The personal 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 will be reviewed, separately from a sexual assault allegation, and based upon severity of infraction, whenever possible the College will respond educationally rather than as a disciplinary matter. 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, or with NYPD, or with both systems. Individuals also have the right to decline reporting. 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 encourages prompt reporting, but 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. The current relationship to the alleged perpetrator may also limit the available range of disciplinary action (e.g. if an individual is no longer employed by the College or enrolled as a student).
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:
Title IX Coordinator
105 Milbank Hall
Online reporting at Barnard.edu/doc/TitleIX
Columbia University Gender-Based Misconduct Office
(Jeri Henry, Columbia University Deputy Title IX Coordinator)
Online reporting at Columbia.edu/cu/dpsa
These people are responsible for coordinating the disciplinary process and for working with all involved parties.
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 (Amy Zavadil,email@example.com) or may be reported to Human Resources (Catherine Geddis, firstname.lastname@example.org). 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, should be filed with the Title IX Coordinator, 105 Milbank, 212-854-0037. Reports can also 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:
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
103 Low Memorial Library
Melissa Rooker, Columbia University Title IX Coordinator
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 or activities (regardless of location), or
- where the Complainant and Respondent are students, 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 individuals in identifying appropriate campus resources or local authorities if the individual would like to file a report. In addition, the College may take other actions to protect the individual and the campus community.
Reports from Others or Anonymous Reports
In cases where the sex and gender-based misconduct is reported anonymously or by an observer/concerned individual to the Title IX Coordinator, 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.
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.
Any attempt by a member of the Barnard College community to penalize, intimidate, harass, 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.
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 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 in a timely manner, or if either party requests to terminate mediation, the investigation and disciplinary process will proceed. It is anticipated that mediation efforts can be completed within forty-five (45) days, unless both parties agree to an extension of time and such extension is approved by the Title IX coordinator.
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 Respondent. If a satisfactory resolution is reached through this informal conversation, the matter will be considered closed. If these efforts are unsuccessful, unsuccessful or if either party requests to terminate mediation, a formal investigation process may commence. It is anticipated that informal resolution efforts can be completed within forty-five (45) days, unless the Complainant and Title IX Coordinator agree to an extension of this timeframe.
Reports of alleged sex and gender-based misconduct will be investigated in a thorough, impartial, and prompt fashion. Following the receipt of a report, information will be reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator to determine if there may be a reason to believe that a policy may have been violated, or if further information is necessary to determine formal investigation must 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 response 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” 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). During the investigation process, both the Complainant and the Respondent will have opportunity to provide the investigator with evidence and/or specify witness information. The Investigator will then prepare a report detailing the relevant content of the interviews and the documentation materials gathered. It should be noted, the complainant’s sexual history with anyone other than the respondent (to the extent relevant to the complaint) generally will not be considered for inclusion in an investigation report.
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. The next step, the Adjudication process is described below. If reasonable cause to proceed does not exist, the report will not be forwarded to the Adjudicator (as defined below). Such outcome will be communicated in writing to the complainant and respondent. However, the College will institute other forms of remedial, community-based efforts such as educational initiatives and/or trainings, as appropriate.
If sufficient information exists to proceed to the next step, the Respondent and Complainant will each individually have the opportunity to review the investigative report and the documentation materials from the investigation in the presence of the Title IX Coordinator (or deputy Coordinator).
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” 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 decision and sanctioning decision. The sanctioning outcome will be communicated in writing to both parties within five (5) business days of receipt of the investigation report, whenever possible. The reason for any 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.
The Adjudicator is charged with determining, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether it is more likely than not that 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.
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. Both respondent and complainant will be notified in writing of the outcome and sanctions (if applicable), and/or remedies.
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 or alcohol/substance assessment may be required. Sanctions may include reassignment of work duties or location; reassignment of class meetings; reassignment of or removal from living accommodations; restrictions on contact with Complainant; access restrictions to College property and/or events, disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion. 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, ban from campus, and/or 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.
Regardless of how a matter proceeds in this process, remedies may be made by the College, such as reviewing protocol, providing or enhancing training to staff and/or students, issuing no-contact directives or access restrictions, or considering request for accommodations. Accommodation requests are reviewed on a case by case basis, but may include, but are not limited to, measures such as moving a student’s housing assignment, adjusting a campus work schedule, assisting with academic support, seeking extensions for assignment, or allowing a student to withdraw and/or retake a course without penalty.
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 (as identified in the outcome letter) within five (5) business days following the date on the outcome letter. Each party will be notified if an appeal request will be considered and be provided the opportunity to respond.
However, in situations where the Respondent is a tenured/tenure track 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. In such instances, as above, the Complainant will also have the ability to respond to such appeal request.
The appropriate Appeals Officer (or Committee) can determine whether a change in the Adjudicator’s decision is warranted. Any Appeals process will be conducted in an impartial manner by an impartial decision maker. 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 appeals decision is final.
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. Both parties will be notified in writing of appeal outcome.
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:
Commencement and conclusion of mediation
• Upon approval of request for mediation and upon resolution (or termination) of such mediation – both parties will be provided written notification.
Commencement and conclusion of informal resolution
• Upon completion or termination of an Informal Resolution process, both parties will be provided written notification.
CONCLUSION OF THE INVESTIGATION
• After the conclusion of the investigation – both parties will be provided the opportunity to review the investigative materials, in the presence of the Title IX Coordinator (or designee).
• The Respondent accepts responsibility for being “in violation”.
• The sanctions determined by the Adjudicator (or designee) after the Respondent accepts responsibility.
• 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).
• 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.
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:
- Staff can access the Employee Assistance Program
- Student Campus Resources:
- Columbia University Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center – (212) 854-HELP
- Barnard Primary Care Health Services – 212-854-2091
- After Hours Clinician-on-Call 855-622-1903
- Columbia Students can access Columbia Health Services – (212) 854-9797
All members of the community can seek assistance through the following contacts:
Barnard – (212) 854-3362
Columbia – (212) 854-2796
Title IX Coordinator (212) 854-0037
Columbia University Gender-Based Misconduct – (212) 854-1717
St. Luke’s Hospital Crime Victims Treatment Center – (212) 523-4728,http://www.cvtc-slr.org
Safe Horizon – (212) 523-4728
New York Police Department – 911 (Manhattan Special Victims 212-335-9373)
Additional information about gender-based and sexual misconduct can be found on the Barnard website at www.barnard.edu/doc/titleix
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
New York—Region II
32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10005
U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women
Complainant and Respondent Rights
The following rights are available to both parties 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.
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; November 2012; August 2013; January 2014; August 2014; amended November 2014
 A Complainant is the individual who files a report or the person who a report is filed on behalf of by a third party.
 A Respondent is the person against whom a report has been filed.
 The “support person” may be an individual of choice, but must be someone not otherwise involved in the incident or investigation. The “support person” may attend, but shall not participate, in the interview / process.
 An “Adjudicator” is the College Official designated, and trained, for decision making based upon the position of the Respondent.
 The Appeals Officer (or designee) receives appropriate training in handling misconduct cases in an impartial manner, as do Adjudicators