Marymount Manhattan College
Sexual Harassment and Unlawful Discrimination Policy
Effective on: November 16, 2012
Revised on: September 25, 2012
Marymount Manhattan College (the College) strives to create a workplace and an academic environment that excludes all types of harassment and discrimination. As a matter of policy, the College specifically prohibits unlawful employment discrimination and sexual harassment by officers, senior administrators, managers, supervisors, faculty, staff employees, students, advisors, vendors and contractors. In addition, and as a matter of policy, the College considers retaliatory behavior unlawful. Therefore, the College will not tolerate retaliatory acts against individuals who have complained about sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, or against individuals who cooperate with the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination. Violators of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action that may include termination of employment, expulsion, and/or termination of an existing contractual relationship with the College.
Policy Prohibiting Relationships Between College Employees and Students
- Unlawful Discrimination
Differential treatment based upon race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other protected status that affects the terms or conditions of employment or education constitute unlawful discrimination. As a matter of policy, the College strictly prohibits, and will not tolerate, unlawful discrimination.
- Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination, and is illegal under both Federal and New York State laws. The College will not tolerate sexual harassment, or any form of harassing behavior. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and physical or verbal conduct of a similar nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such advances, requests or conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, academic advancement or participation in College programs or activities, or used as a basis for employment or academic decisions; or
- Rejection of such advances, requests or conduct affects a term or condition of employment, academic advancement or participation in College programs or activities, or is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's job, academic performance, education, or participation in College programs or activities, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, workplace or academic environment.
Retaliating directly or indirectly against a person who has filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of any type of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or to provide false or misleading information, or engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person's educational, living, or work environment. Depending on the circumstance, retaliation may be unlawful, whether or not the complaint is ultimately found to have merit. Any act of retaliation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, such as but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training or suspension and/or immediate termination of employment.
Conduct That May Constitute Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome, gender-based verbal and physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or denying someone the ability to become or continue to be a productive member of the College community. This type of behavior can occur in a variety of situations that share a common element: the inappropriate introduction of sexual advances or comments into the workplace or academic environment. Harassing conduct does not have to be motivated by sexual desire in order to constitute unlawful sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment often involves relationships of unequal power. Such situations may contain elements of coercion, as when compliance with requests for sexual favors becomes a condition for granting privileges or favorable treatment on the job or in the classroom. However, sexual harassment may also involve relationships among persons of equal authority or power, such as when repeated unwelcome advances or demeaning verbal comments by a co-worker towards another co-worker unreasonably interferes with the ability to perform one's job. Sexual harassment can also involve behavior directed to or by students, as well as employees and non-employees of the College. In short, all members of the community may become harassers or victims of harassment. Depending upon specific circumstances, and how they affect the workplace or academic environment, examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, such interpersonal conduct as:
- Verbal abuse, insults, jokes, comments or innuendo of a sexual nature that can include lewd, obscene or sexually suggestive displays or remarks;
- Uninvited and unwanted physical contact, such as touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or pinching. Note that in arts education, and especially in theatre and dance instruction, students and faculty engage in touching and other physical contact that is necessary and appropriate to the teaching and learning process, and that the same contact might not be appropriate in another class environment;
- Requests or demands for sexual favors accompanied by implicit or explicit promised rewards or threats concerning an individual's employment status or educational status;
- Repeated, unwelcome social invitations, sexual flirtations, advances, propositions or unwarranted requests for sexual favors;
- Threatened, attempted, or completed physical sexual assault or indecent exposure;
- Romantic involvement between supervisors and subordinates that affects the workplace and/or other individuals in terms of assignments, advancements and benefits; or retaliation against an employee for complaining about the type of behavior described above. Refer to Policy Prohibiting Relationships between College Employees and Students.
- Romantic involvement between teachers and the students that they supervise that affects the academic environment and/or other students in terms of assignments, grades and academic benefits; or retaliation against a student or an employee for complaining about the type of behavior described above. Refer to Policy Prohibiting Relationships between College Employees and Students.
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Conduct Which May Constitute Unlawful Discrimination or Harassment Based Upon Other Classifications Protected by Law
Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that degrades or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual because of his or her race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other protected status. For example, ethnic harassment includes harassment based on immutable characteristics associated with race (e.g., skin color or accent). Religious harassment may include demands to alter or renounce a religious belief in exchange for job benefits. As a matter of policy, the College prohibits behavior which:
- Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment;
- Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or
- Otherwise unfairly and adversely affects an individual's employment opportunities.
Legally actionable harassment based upon race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, genetic information or any other protected status is often difficult to define. As a matter of policy, however, the College will not tolerate the following behavior, regardless of whether such behavior rises to the level of legally actionable harassment:
- Decisions about a person's employment, compensation or education that are based upon race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status;
- Verbal abuse, offensive innuendo or derogatory words, concerning a person's race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status;
- Any open display of objects or pictures designed to create a hostile working/learning environment based on a person's race, color, gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status;
- Jokes, pranks, or other forms of humor that are demeaning or hostile with regard to race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other protected status.
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Duty to Report
Every employee, faculty member, administrator and student of the College is personally responsible for ensuring that his or her conduct does not sexually harass or unlawfully discriminate against anyone in the workplace or educational setting. Similarly, every employee, faculty member, administrator and student is responsible for cooperating in any investigation of alleged sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination if requested to do so by the College officials or legal authorities authorized to conduct such investigation. Any person who observes an incident that may constitute sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination or who otherwise becomes aware of such an incident should immediately notify one of the authorized investigators listed in Section X of this document.
Within the College's educational setting, there is latitude for a faculty member to exercise professional judgment in determining the appropriate content and presentation of academic material. Academic curriculum and pedagogical goals that serve legitimate and reasonable educational purposes do not, in and of themselves, constitute sexual harassment or other unlawful discrimination. Faculty members who participate in the educational setting have a responsibility to balance their professional academic responsibilities and professional judgment in light of the reasonable sensitivities of other participants in the same educational setting.
Nothing contained in this policy should be construed to limit the legitimate and reasonable academic responsibilities and professional judgment of the College's professional educators.
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Procedures for Reporting Unlawful Discrimination and Complaints of Sexual or Other Harassment
All members of the community are encouraged to make a formal report of incidents to an authorized investigator. Any complaints received by these individuals will be considered official notice to the College. Formal reports of sexual or other harassment or unlawful discrimination will be taken seriously and all reports will be investigated and resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting means only people who need to be notified will be informed and information will only be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual.
Any person, who receives a complaint of sexual or other harassment or discrimination from an employee or a student, or who otherwise knows or has reason to believe that an employee or a student has been subject to sexual or other harassment or discrimination, must report the incident promptly to an authorized investigator. See Section X.
Student: If a student believes that s/he has been subject to discrimination or sexual or other type of harassment, whether by another student, co-worker, faculty member, vendor, contractor or any other person with whom s/he comes in contact with at the College, the individual should report the incident promptly to the Title IX Coordinator, Misty Beasley at 212.774.0759.
Employee: If an employee believes that s/he has been subject to discrimination of sexual or other type of harassment, whether by another employee, vendor, contractor or any other person with whom s/he comes in contact with at the College, the individual should report the incident promptly to the Director of Human Resources, Bree Bullingham at 212.517.0532.
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Procedures for Addressing Complaints of Sexual or Other Harassment or Unlawful Discrimination
When the College receives a complaint alleging discrimination or harassment, it will promptly investigate the allegations in a fair and expeditious manner. The College will make every effort to conduct its investigation in a manner that maintains privacy to the extent practicable under the circumstances. If the College determines inappropriate conduct has in fact occurred, it will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where appropriate will also impose disciplinary action.
The following is a summary of the College's follow-up procedure when the Title IX Coordinator or Director of Human Resources receives a complaint:
The Title IX Coordinator and/or Director of Human Resources, together with the appropriate area Vice President or Dean, will conduct a prompt and impartial investigation of the complaint. This investigation consists of (but will not necessarily be limited to) interviews of the individual who lodged the complaint, the person(s) against whom the complaint was made, and other individuals who may have witnessed the reported incident or incidents.
Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator(s) meet individually with the person who lodged the complaint and the person (s) against whom the complaint was made, to report the results of the investigation and, where a remedy is determined to be appropriate, to inform the parties of the steps that will be taken to remedy the situation.
Following the completion of an appropriate review of the complaint, the complainant and/or the accused may appeal the disposition of the complaint in accordance with College grievance procedures. The Office of Human Resources, the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the College and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs can provide information concerning these procedures.
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In the event that the investigation reveals that discrimination, sexual or other harassment, or other inappropriate or unprofessional conduct (even if not unlawful) has occurred, further action will be taken, including disciplinary action, such as but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training or suspension and/or immediate termination of employment.
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All actions taken to investigate and resolve complaints through this procedure will be conducted with as much privacy and discretion as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation. All persons involved in the investigation will treat the situation respectfully. In order to conduct a thorough investigation, the investigator(s) may discuss the complaint with witnesses, and those persons involved in or affected by the complaint, as well as those persons deemed necessary to assist in the investigation or to implement appropriate disciplinary action.
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Authorized Investigators of Complaints of Sexual or Other Harassment and Unlawful Discrimination
The following College administrators are responsible for investigating complaints of sexual harassment and unlawful discrimination under this policy. The College reserves the right to retain any outside party to investigate complaints of sexual or other harassment and/or unlawful discrimination:
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Employees are prohibited from entering into romantic and/or sexual relationships with students. Such relationships are inherently unequal in power and therefore cannot be truly consensual. Possible violations of this policy will be investigated and reviewed by the appropriate Vice-President along with the Director of Human Resources and may constitute grounds for disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
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