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Discrimination and Harassment Policy

Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment in Employment Practices and in Student Academic and Campus Life

Barnard College is guided by the precept that in no aspect of its employment practices or educational programs should there be disparate treatment of persons because of improper considerations of race, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability.  In addition, Barnard College does not discriminate on the basis of alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity), marital status or partnership status, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics or domestic violence victim status in its employment practices.

Barnard College is committed to providing an environment free from sex and gender-based discrimination or harassment.  As such, the College does not tolerate any kind of gender-based discrimination or harassment, which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment and gender-based harassment.  Gender-based misconduct is a serious concern on college campuses throughout the country. To address this problem, the College provides educational and preventative programs, services for individuals who have been impacted by gender-based and sexual misconduct, and accessible, prompt, and equitable methods of investigation and resolution.

While Barnard College has long had an express policy against improper discrimination, it is to be understood the policy also explicitly encompasses the goal that faculty, staff and students are to be able to work and study free from harassment by any member of the College community. Barnard College does not tolerate and specifically prohibits any and all harassment against any person by a member of the College community. Appropriate disciplinary action may be taken against those found to have committed harassment, up to and including dismissal.

For the purposes of this document, the “College community” includes: students, faculty and staff; prospective students and employment applicants; visitors to and guests of the College.

Definitions

Harassment   

Discriminatory Harassment is harassment on the basis of a protected classification, including harassment of an individual in connection with a stereotyped group characteristic, or because of that person's identification with a particular group.  Such harassment is any conduct, verbal or physical, on or off campus, that has the effect, because of its severity and/or persistence, of unreasonably interfering with an individual or group's educational or work performance or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, work, or living environment.  

Discriminatory harassment includes but is not limited to:  epithets or slurs; negative stereotyping; denigrating jokes; and display or circulation in the working, learning, or living environment (including electronic transmission) of written or graphic material.  Sexual and Gender-based misconduct, which are described in detail below, constitutes a form of discriminatory harassment. 

Gender-Based and Sexual 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 this policy. Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship (current or former).  Gender-based misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex. 

Sexual Harassment  is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual assault and requests for sexual favors that affect educational or employment decisions constitute sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may also consist of unwelcome physical contact, requests for sexual favors, visual displays of degrading sexual images, sexually suggestive conduct, or remarks of a sexual nature. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal (including print or electronic communication) or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

1.      Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or admission to or participation in an academic program or College-sponsored activity; or

2.      Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting an individual's employment status or academic standing; or

3.      Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance on the job or in the classroom; or

4.      Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or study environment for an individual or group of individuals. 

Sexual harassment can occur regardless of the relationship, position or respective sex of the parties, same sex harassment violates this policy. Harassment because of one's actual or perceived sexual orientation also constitutes a violation of this policy.  Violation of this policy also includes harassment by a student of a faculty member or a subordinate employee of his/her supervisor. 

Intimate partner violence.   The use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse used to control a partner in an intimate relationship constitute intimate partner violence. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Intimate partner violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships. Intimate partner relationships are defined as short or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional/romantic and/or physical intimacy.  Also referred to as Domestic Violence or Dating Violence.

Stalking.  As mentioned in the definitions for gender-based harassment and intimate partner violence, stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  Stalking involves repeated and continued harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes the targeted individual to feel emotional distress, including fear and apprehension. Stalking behaviors may include: pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communication or contact - including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, electronic messages, text messages, unwanted gifts, etc.; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation.

Sexual Assault. The College defines sexual assault as any non-consensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts, or any form of sexual intercourse without consent.  Rape is a form of sexual assault.  Sexual assault occurs when the act is committed by: a) physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation; b) ignoring the objections or without the consent of another person; c) causing another's intoxication or impairment through the use of alcohol or other drugs; and/or d) taking advantage of another person's incapacitation, helplessness, or other inability to consent.

Consent. The presence of consent involves explicit communication and mutual approval for the act in which the parties are/were involved. A sexual encounter is considered consensual when individuals willingly and knowingly engage in sexual activity. The use of coercion in instances of sexual assault involves the use of pressure, manipulation, substances, and/or force. The absence of "No" is not a "Yes."

Consensual Relationships and Sexual Harassment   Actual or apparent authority that employees may have over a student is a strong factor in finding that certain types of conduct constitute sexual harassment.  This can be so even if a student has accepted the conduct, does not show signs of being harassed, or fails to file a complaint of harassment. 

Consistent with the College's policy on sexual harassment, consensual relationships are deemed sexual harassment when they are found to compromise the educational mission of the College.  Complaints of sexual harassment of students, including alleged consensual relationships, will be carefully evaluated in the context of the unique relationship and responsibility that faculty, administrators and other College employees have to students or employees.

The conduct alleged to constitute harassment under this policy will be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the complainant and considering all of the facts and circumstances. A single incident or a few incidents may not necessarily rise to the level of harassment; however, a single extreme incident could constitute prohibited discrimination or harassment. Each matter will be evaluated individually. 

 

The Concept of Academic Freedom and Employment Responsibility   

Under the College’s Code of Academic Freedom and Tenure “all officers of instruction and all officers of administration while giving instruction are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects and . . . they are entitled to freedom in research and in the publication of its results.”   Similarly, students are encouraged to openly express their views and opinions.  While not all conduct can be shielded by claims of academic freedom or freedom of expression, the College is committed to encouraging meaningful, candid discussion in the classroom and in other academic settings and recognizes that there can be a tension between the need for frank and open discussion and the right of individuals to be free from injury caused by harassment. 

Harassment must be distinguished from behavior that, even though unpleasant or disconcerting, is appropriate to the carrying out of certain instructional, advisory, or supervisory responsibilities of education or employment. Instructional responsibilities require appropriate latitude for pedagogical decisions concerning the topics discussed and methods used to draw students into discussion and full participation.  Supervisory responsibilities require appropriate latitude for decisions concerning the methods of fulfilling institutional and work related obligations.  Therefore, in determining whether alleged conduct constitutes harassment, it is necessary to examine all of the relevant information available, including the nature of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

The complete Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students (Including Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Gender-based Harassment Polices) can be downloaded from Columbia’s website: www.Columbia.edu/cu/dpsa.  In addition, the complete Grievance Procedures for allegations of sexual or gender-based misconduct and General Grievance Procedures can be found on the Barnard College website.

Who May Bring a Report of Discrimination or Harassment?

A report alleging discrimination or harassment may be brought by any member of the College community.  Note that the person reporting the information need not be the intended or even apparent target of the conduct that is alleged to be harassment.  Reports may also be brought by individuals who are not members of the community, but who believe that discrimination or harassment may have occurred.

In certain instances, the College may investigate allegations of discrimination or harassment based on information received from individuals within or outside the College community, or from other sources, such as newspaper accounts or anonymous letters or phone calls. 

In all cases, before further action will be taken, the College will carefully consider the source and nature of the information received; the specificity of the information; the objectivity and credibility of the source of the report; whether it can identify individuals who were subjected to the alleged discrimination or harassment; and whether those individuals want to pursue the matter.  If there is sufficient reason to believe that a violation of this policy may have occurred, an investigation will be commenced.

Duty to Report Staff, faculty, and student Resident Assistants (RAs) have a duty to report knowledge of alleged or observed incidents of harassment to their supervisor and/or the Associate Dean for Equity/Title IX Coordinator upon learning such information.  Any member of the community may consult with the Title IX Coordinator to review available information and determine applicable reporting obligations and/or available resources.

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 a report of discrimination or harassment is completely prohibited.  Retaliation may be found even when the underlying report does not constitute discrimination or harassment in violation of policy.  A retaliatory adverse action is an action taken to deter a reasonable person from opposing a discriminatory or harassing practice, and/or from pursuing his/her rights.  Examples of adverse actions include termination, denial of promotion or participation in otherwise qualified employment or educational opportunity, and unjustified negative evaluations or references.  Adverse actions may not include petty slights and annoyances such as isolated negative comments in an otherwise positive or neutral evaluation, snubbing of an individual, or negative comments that are justified by poor work or assignment performance or history.  Employees who have filed a report or expressed opposition to potentially discrimination or harassment are still expected to perform their job functions and follow their employer’s legitimate workplace rules and responsibilities.

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.  Members of the College community are expected to cooperate with investigations of violation of this policy.  Any person who retaliates against a person in response to a report or cooperation in an investigation will be in violation of this policy and will be subject to the appropriate discipline process. 

False Reports

Any person who knowingly files a false claim of discrimination or harassment will be in violation of this policy and will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary process. 

 

What to Do if You Believe You Have Been Subject to Harassment or Discrimination?

Individuals who believe they have been victims of discrimination or harassment may initiate a report in accordance with the information below:

For complaints against:

Nature of Report

Applicable Grievance Procedure

Contact Person(s)

Students, Faculty, Staff (including Union staff), or third parties

sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination

Grievance Procedures for Sexual or Gender-Based Misconduct

 Or

Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students (as applicable)

Amy Zavadil,
Associate Dean for Equity
Title IX Coordinator
Milbank Hall, 105
212-854-0037

OR

Designated Contacts, noted below, based upon the role of the respondent

Students

Discrimination or harassment (other than sex and gender-based)

General Grievance Procedure

 
Amy Zavadil,
Associate Dean for Equity
212-854-0037
 

Administrators

Discrimination or harassment (other than sex and gender-based)

General Grievance Procedure

AVP for Human Resources
Milbank Hall
212-854-2551

Faculty

Discrimination or harassment (other than sex and gender-based)

General Grievance Procedure

Vice Provost
Milbank Hall, 110
212-854-2708

Unionized Employees

Discrimination or harassment (other than sex and gender-based)

General Grievance Procedure

(in conjunction with

Collective Bargaining Agreements, as appropriate)

AVP for Human Resources
Milbank Hall
212-854-2551

Third Parties

All reports of discrimination or harassment

Appropriate Grievance Procedure as dictated by the identity of the respondent

AVP for Human Resources
Milbank Hall
212-854-2551
 
OR
 
Amy Zavadil,
Associate Dean for Equity
Title IX Coordinator
212-854-0037

Policy effective as of August 2011; Modified as of January 2012, August 2012, November 2012; August 2013