Policy on Sexual Misconduct
I. Policy Statement
Every member of The City University of New York community, including students, employees and visitors, deserves the opportunity to live, learn and work free from sexual harassment, gen- der-based harassment and sexual violence. Accordingly, CUNY is committed to:
Defining conduct that constitutes prohibited sexual harassment, gender-based ha- rassment and sexual violence;
Providing clear guidelines for students, employees and visitors on how to report in- cidents of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence and a commitment that any complaints will be handled respectfully;
Promptly responding to and investigating allegations of sexual harassment, gender- based harassment and sexual violence, pursuing disciplinary action when appropri- ate, referring the incident to local law enforcement when appropriate, and taking action to investigate and address any allegations of retaliation;
Providing ongoing assistance and support to students and employees who make al- legations of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence;
Providing awareness and prevention information on sexual harassment, gender- based harassment and sexual violence, including widely disseminating this policy, and implementing training and educational programs on sexual harassment, gender- based harassment and sexual violence to college constituencies; and
Gathering and analyzing information and data that will be reviewed in order to improve safety, reporting, responsiveness and the resolution of incidents.
This is the sole policy at CUNY addressing sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence and is applicable at all college and units at the University. The CUNY community should also be aware of the following policies that apply to other forms of sex discrimination, as well as to other types of workplace violence and domestic violence that affect the workplace:
The CUNY Policy on Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination prohibits discrimination on the basis of numerous protected characteristics in accordance with federal, state and local law. That policy addresses sex discrimination other than sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence covered by this policy.
In addition, campus crime statistics, including statistics relating to sexual violence, which CUNY is required to report under the Jeanne Clery Act, are available from the Office of Public Safety at each college and/or on its Public Safety website.
II. Prohibited Conduct
A. Sexual Harassment, Gender-Based Harassment and Sexual Violence
This policy prohibits sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence against any CUNY student, employee or visitor.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic and electronic communications or physical conduct that is sufficiently serious to adversely affect an individu- al’s participation in employment, education or other CUNY activities.
Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expres- sion, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes that is sufficiently serious to adversely affect an individual’s participation in employment, education or other CUNY activities.
Sexual violence is an umbrella term that includes sexual assault, such as rape/attempted rape, criminal sexual act, forcible touching, and sexual abuse. If of a sexual nature, stalking/ cyberstalking (hereinafter “stalking”) and dating, domestic and intimate partner violence may also constitute sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence.
The complete definitions of these terms, as well as other key terms used in this policy, are set forth in Section XI below.
This policy prohibits retaliation against any person who reports sexual harassment, gender- based harassment or sexual violence, assists someone making such a report, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence complaint.
C. Certain Intimate Relationships
This policy also prohibits certain intimate relationships when they occur between a faculty member or employee and any student for whom he or she has a professional responsibility as set forth in Section X below.
III. Title IX Coordinator
Each college or unit of CUNY has an employee who has been designated as the Title IX Coordi- nator. This employee is responsible for compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, gender-based harass- ment and sexual violence, in education programs. The Title IX Coordinator has overall responsi- bility for implementing this policy, including overseeing the investigation of complaints at her/ his college or unit and carrying out the other functions of that position set forth in this policy. The name and contact information for all Title IX Coordinators at CUNY can be found on the university’s dedicated Title IX website at Campus Title IX Webpages.
IV. Immediate Assistance In Cases of Sexual Violence
A. Reporting to Law Enforcement
Students or employees who experience any form of sexual violence on or off-campus (including CUNY-sponsored trips and events) and visitors who experience sexual violence on a CUNY cam- pus are strongly encouraged to immediately report the incident by calling 911, contacting their local police precinct, or contacting their college public safety office, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Campus public safety officers can also assist the complainant with filing a complaint both on and off-campus, and in obtaining immediate medical attention, counseling and other services.
B. Obtaining Immediate Medical Attention and Emotional Support
CUNY is committed to assisting anyone who experiences sexual violence to seek comprehensive medical attention as soon as possible to treat injuries, obtain preventative treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and preserve evidence, among other things. For rapes in particular, imme- diate treatment and the preservation of evidence of the attack are important for many reasons, including facilitating a criminal investigation. In addition, individuals who have experienced or witnessed sexual violence are encouraged to seek emotional support as soon as possible, either on or off-campus.
On-campus resources include nurses and/or nurse practitioners at campus health offices and counselors at campus counseling centers. Counselors are trained to provide crisis interven- tion and provide referrals for longer-term care as necessary.
For off-campus resources, CUNY maintains a list of emergency contacts and resources, including rape crisis centers, available throughout New York City on its dedicated web page. This list includes a designation of which local hospitals are designated as SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner) hospitals, which are specially equipped to handle sexual assaults and trained to gather evidence from such assaults.
V. Reporting Sexual Harassment, Gender-Based Harassment or Sexual Violence to the College
CUNY encourages individuals who have experienced sexual harassment, gender-based harass- ment or sexual violence (referred to in this policy as “complainants”) to report the incident(s) to campus authorities, even if they have reported the incident to outside law enforcement, and regardless of whether the incident took place on or off-campus. Such reporting will enable com- plainants to get the support they need, and provide the college with the information it needs to take appropriate action. However, individuals should be aware that there are employees at their college/unit whom they can speak with on a strictly confidential basis before determining whether to make a report to college authorities. See Section VI below.
A. Filing a Complaint with Campus Authorities
Students who experience sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence should bring their complaint to one of the following campus officials/offices:
Title IX Coordinator;
Office of Public Safety;
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or Dean of Students;
Residence Life staff in CUNY owned or operated housing, including Resident Assistants.
Employees who experience sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence should bring their complaint to one of the following campus officials/offices:
Title IX Coordinator;
Director of Human Resources;
Office of Public Safety.
Visitors who experience sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence should bring their complaint to one of the following campus officials/offices:
Title IX Coordinator;
Office of Public Safety;
Residence Life staff in CUNY owned or operated housing, including Resident Assistants.
Once any of the individuals or offices above is notified of an incident of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, she/he will coordinate with the appropriate col- lege offices to address the matter in accordance with this policy, including taking appropriate interim and supportive measures. All information in connection with the complaint, including the identities of the complainant and the respondent, will be kept as confidential as possible and will only be shared with those who have a legitimate need for the information.
B. Support Assistance for Complainants
When a Title IX Coordinator receives a complaint of sexual or gender-based violence, she/he will work with the Chief Student Affairs Officer to identify a trained staff member to assist the com- plainant with support services and accommodations.
C. Request that the College Maintain a Complainant’s Confidentiality, Not Conduct an Inves- tigation, or Not Report an Incident to Outside Law Enforcement
After a report of an alleged incident of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence has been made to the Title IX Coordinator, a complainant may request that the matter be investigated without her/his identity or any details regarding the incident being divulged fur- ther. Alternatively, a complainant may request that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or that an incident not be reported to outside law enforcement.
In all such cases, the Title IX Coordinator will weigh the complainant’s requests against the college’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, em- ployees and visitors, including the complainant. A decision to maintain confidentiality does not mean that confidentiality can be absolutely guaranteed in all circumstances, but only that all efforts will be undertaken to keep information confidential consistent with law. Notwithstand- ing the decision of the Title IX Coordinator regarding the scope of any investigation, the college will provide the complainant with ongoing assistance and support, including, where appropri- ate, the interim and supportive measures set forth in Section VII of this policy.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that she/he will maintain confidentiality as re- quested by the complainant, the college will take all reasonable steps to investigate the inci- dent consistent with the request for confidentiality. However, a college’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action may be limited by such a request.
In any event, the college is required to abide by any laws mandating disclosure, such as the Jeanne Clery Act and New York’s Campus Safety Act. However, notification under the Jeanne Clery Act is done without divulging the complaint’s identity, and notification of sexual violence under the New York Campus Safety Act is not required and will not be done if the complainant requests confidentiality.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the college must report the incident to outside law enforcement, the college will cooperate with any criminal investigation, which may include providing the outside law enforcement agency with any evidence in its possession relating to the incident.
D. Action by Bystanders and Other Community Members
While those employees designated as “responsible” employees are required reporters as set forth in Section VI below, CUNY encourages all other community members, including faculty, students and visitors, to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence that they may witness. Although these actions will depend on the circumstances, they include direct intervention, calling law enforcement, or seeking assistance from a person in authority.
In addition, CUNY encourages all community members to report an incident of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence that they observe or become aware of to the Title IX Coordinator, and/or the offices of Public Safety and the Vice President of Stu- dents Affairs and/or Dean of Students at their college. Community members who take action in accordance with this paragraph will be supported by the college, and anyone who retaliates against them will be subject to disciplinary charges.
E. Amnesty for Drug and Alcohol Use
CUNY strongly encourages students to report instances of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence as soon as possible, even if those reporting or the alleged victim may have engaged in the inappropriate or unlawful use of alcohol or drugs. Therefore, a student who reports or experiences sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence will not be disciplined by the college for any violation of CUNY’s Policy Against Drugs and Alco- hol in connection with the reported incident, subject to the conditions in CUNY’s Medical Am- nesty/Good Samaritan policy.
F. Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
Certain members of the CUNY community who interact with, supervise, chaperone, or other- wise oversee minors in programs or activities at CUNY or sponsored by CUNY are required to report immediately to the New York State Maltreatment Hotline if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or maltreatment of individuals under the age of 18. Information regarding mandated child abuse reporting is available on the Office of the General Counsel web page. If anyone other than New York State mandated reporters has reasonable cause to believe that a minor is being or has been abused or maltreated on campus, she/he should notify either the Title IX Coordinator or Director of Public Safety. If any CUNY community member witnesses child abuse while it is happening, she/he should immediately call 911.
G. Reporting Retaliation
An individual may file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator if she/he has been retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, assisting someone making such a report, or participating in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence complaint. All retaliation complaints will be investigated in accordance with the investigation procedures set forth in Sec- tion VIII of this policy, and individuals who are found to have engaged in retaliation will be sub- ject to disciplinary action.
VI. Reporting/Confidentiality Obligations of College and University Employees
An individual who speaks to a college or CUNY employee about sexual harassment, gender- based harassment or sexual violence should be aware that employees fall into three categories:
(1) “confidential” employees, who have an obligation to maintain a complainant’s confidentiality regarding the incident(s); (2) “responsible” employees, who are required to report the incident(s) to the Title IX Coordinator; and (3) all other employees, who are strongly encouraged but not required to report the incident(s).
A. Confidential Employees
(i) For Students
Students at CUNY who wish to speak to someone who will keep all of the communications strictly confidential should speak to one of the following:
Counselor or other staff member at their college counseling center;
Nurse, nurse practitioner or other staff member in the college health office;
Pastoral counselor (i.e., counselor who is also a religious leader) if one is available at their college; or
Staff member in a women’s or men’s center, if one exists at their college.
The above individuals will not report any information about an incident to the college’s Title IX Coordinator or other college employees without the student’s permission. The only exception is in the case where there is an imminent threat to the complainant or any other person.
A student who speaks solely to a “confidential” employee is advised that, if the student wants to maintain confidentiality, the college may be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator. However, these professionals will assist the student in receiving other necessary support. A student who first requests confidentiality may later decide to file a complaint with the college or report the incident to local law enforcement and thus have the incident investigated.
(ii) For Employees
Although there is no one directly employed by CUNY to whom CUNY employees can speak on a confidential basis regarding sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, free confidential support services are available through CUNY’s Work/Life Program, which is administered by an outside company. Confidential community counseling resources are also available throughout New York City:
B. “Responsible” Employees
“Responsible” employees have a duty to report incidents of sexual harassment, gender- based harassment or sexual violence, including all relevant details, to the Title IX Coordinator. Such employees are not permitted under any circumstances to maintain a complainant’s confidential- ity. To the extent possible, information reported to responsible employees will be shared only with the Title IX Coordinator, the “responsible” employee’s supervisor, and other people respon- sible for handling the college’s response to the report.
Before a complainant reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee shall advise the complainant of the employee’s reporting obligations—and if the complainant wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the complainant to confidential resources.
CUNY has designated the following individuals as “responsible” employees:
(i) Title IX Coordinator and her/his staff
(ii) Office of Public Safety employees (all)
(iii) Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and all staff housed in those offices
(iv) Residence Life staff in CUNY owned or operated housing, including Resident As- sistants (all)
(v) College President, Vice Presidents and Deans
(vi) Athletics Staff (all)
(vii) Department Chairpersons/Executive Officers
(viii) Human Resources staff (all)
(ix) University Office of the General Counsel employees (all)
(x) College/unit attorney and her/his staff
(xi) College/unit labor designee and her/his staff
(xii) Faculty members at times when they are leading off-campus trips
(xiii) Faculty or staff advisors to student groups
(xiv) Employees who are Managers (all)
(xv) SEEK/College Discovery staff (all)
C. All Other Employees
Employees other than those identified in subsections “A” and “B” above are permitted but not required to report any possible sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence; however, they are encouraged by CUNY to make such a report.
It is important to emphasize that faculty members other than those specifically identified in subsection “B” above have not been designated as “responsible” employees and do not have an obligation to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator, although they are encouraged to do so.
VII. Interim and Supportive Measures
The college will take immediate steps to protect the complainant and other affected parties, as well as the college community at large, following an allegation of sexual harassment, gender- based harassment or sexual violence. In general, when taking such interim and supportive mea- sures, the college will seek to minimize the burden on the complainant.
Interim and supportive measures may include, among other things:
(i) Making necessary changes to academic programs, including a change in class schedule, making appropriate accommodations to permit the complainant to take an incomplete or drop a course or courses without penalty, permitting the com-
plainant to attend a class via skype or other alternative means where appropriate, providing an academic tutor, or extending deadlines for assignments;
(ii) Making necessary changes to residential housing situations or providing assistance in finding alternate housing;
(iii) Changing an employee’s work assignment or schedule;
(iv) Providing the complainant with an escort to and from class or campus work location;
(v) Arranging appropriate transportation services to ensure safety;
(vi) Prohibiting contact between the complainant and the respondent (“no contact” orders);
(vii) Offering counseling services to the complainant, to the respondent, and, where ap- propriate, to witnesses, through the college Counseling Center or other appropriate college office, or a referral to an off-campus agency;
(viii) Providing the complainant assistance in obtaining medical and other services, in- cluding access to rape crisis centers;
(ix) Providing the complainant assistance with filing a criminal complaint and seeking an order of protection;
(x) Enforcing an order of protection;
(xi) Addressing situations in which it appears that a complainant’s academic progress is affected by the alleged incident;
(xii) In exceptional circumstances, seeking an emergency suspension of a student or an employee under applicable CUNY Bylaws, rules, policies and collective bargaining agreements.
VII. Investigating Complaints of Sexual Harassment, Gender-Based Harassment or Sexual Violence
The college will conduct an investigation when it becomes aware, from any source (including third-parties not connected to the college or university), that sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence may have been committed against a student, employee or visitor, unless the complainant has requested that the college refrain from such an investigation and the college has determined that it may do so.
A. The Investigation
The college Title IX Coordinator is responsible for conducting the investigation in a prompt, thorough, and impartial manner. The college Title IX Coordinator shall inform the respondent that an investigation is being commenced and shall inform the respondent of the allegations of the complainant. If there is a written complaint, the respondent shall be provided with a copy of the complaint unless circumstances warrant otherwise. The Title IX Coordinator shall coordinate investigative efforts with other college offices, and may designate another trained individual to conduct all or part of the investigation. A respondent employee who is covered by a collective bargaining agreement may consult with and have a union representative present at any inter- view conducted as part of such investigation.
The college Title IX Coordinator shall take prompt and effective steps reasonably calcu- lated to end any sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, including: (i) taking interim measures; (ii) preventing retaliation; (iii) providing the complainant and the re- spondent with periodic status updates of the investigation and notice of outcome of the inves- tigation; (iv) informing the complainant of her/his right to file a criminal complaint; (v) coordinating with law enforcement agencies, as appropriate, after consultation with Public Safety; (vi) maintaining all documents of the investigation; and (vii) drafting a report of findings, which is to be submitted to the College President.
If any administrator designated by this policy to participate in the investigation or resolution of a complaint (including but not limited to the Title IX Coordinator) is the respondent, the College President will appoint another college administrator to perform such person’s duties under this policy. If the President is the respondent, the investigation will be handled by the University Title IX Coordinator or her/his designee.
While mediation is not permitted in cases where sexual violence is alleged, it may be appropri- ate where sexual harassment or gender-based harassment allegations have been made by a student or employee but there is no allegation of sexual violence. Mediation is a process whereby the parties can participate in a search for fair and workable solutions. Mediation re- quires the consent of both the complainant and the respondent, but does not require the com- plainant and respondent to meet face-to-face. Either party, however, has the right to end the mediation at any time and proceed with the investigation process. A respondent who is covered by a collective bargaining agreement may consult with and have a union representative present at any mediation session.
The college shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that the investigation and resolution of a complaint are carried out as timely and efficiently as possible. However, the college may need to delay the fact-finding portion of its investigation during the evidence-gathering phase of a law enforcement investigation. While some complaints may require extensive investigation, whenever possible, the investigation of complaints should be completed within sixty (60) calen- dar days of the receipt of the complaint. If there is a delay in completing the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall notify the complainant and the respondent in writing.
E. Report of Findings
Following the completion of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall report her/his find- ings to the College President in writing. Following such report, the College President shall re- view the complaint investigation report and authorize such action as she/he deems necessary to address the issues raised by the findings. In the event the complainant or the respondent is a student, the report shall also be sent to the Chief Student Affairs Officer. A copy of the report shall be maintained in the files of the Title IX Coordinator.
F. Disciplinary Action
Following an investigation, the College President may recommend that disciplinary action be commenced against the respondent student or employee.
(i) Discipline against students
In cases where a student is accused of a violation of this policy, including retaliation, the mat- ter shall be referred to the college’s Office of Student Affairs and action shall be taken in ac- cordance with Article XV of the CUNY Bylaws, which contains the student disciplinary process at CUNY. Under the student disciplinary process, complainants have the same right as respondents to receive notice of the charges, to attend and participate fully in a disciplin- ary hearing, to appear through a representative of their choice, including an attorney, to re- ceive notice of the decision of the faculty-student disciplinary committee, and to appeal. Penalties for students instituted after a hearing before the faculty-student disciplinary com- mittee range from a warning to suspension or expulsion from the University.
(ii) Discipline against employees
In cases where an employee is accused of a violation of this policy, including retaliation, the matter shall be referred for disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable CUNY policies, rules and collective bargaining agreements. Penalties for employees include reprimand, suspen- sion or termination of employment following applicable disciplinary procedures. For many re- spondent employees, these procedures may include a hearing before a non-CUNY fact-finder, as required by collective bargaining agreements.
(iii) Action against visitors
In cases where the person accused of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence is neither a CUNY student nor a CUNY employee, the college’s ability to take action against the accused is extremely limited. However, the college shall take all appropriate actions within its control, such as restricting the visitor’s access to campus. In addition, the matter shall be referred to local law enforcement for legal action where appropriate.
(iv) No disciplinary action
In cases where a determination is made not to bring disciplinary action, the Title IX Coordinator shall inform the complainant and the respondent of that decision contemporaneously, in writing, and shall offer counseling or other support services to both the complainant and the respondent.
G. False and Malicious Allegations
Members of the CUNY community who make false and malicious complaints of sexual harass- ment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, may be subject to disciplinary action.
H. Relationship of CUNY’s Investigation to the Actions of Outside Law Enforcement
In cases where the complainant files a complaint with outside law enforcement authorities as well as with the college, the college shall determine what actions to take based on its own in- vestigation. The college may coordinate with outside law enforcement authorities in order to avoid interfering with their activities and, where possible, to obtain information regarding their investigation. Neither a law enforcement determination whether to prosecute a respondent, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, is dispositive of whether the respondent has commit- ted a violation of this policy.
I. Filing External Complaints
Complainants have the right at any time to file complaints with the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the U.S. Department of Education, alleging violations of Title IX, and to file complaints with other appropriate agencies alleging violations of other federal, state or local laws. Contact infor- mation for OCR and other relevant agencies is set forth on the CUNY Title IX web page.
IX. College Obligations Under this Policy
In addition to addressing possible violations of this policy, colleges/units of CUNY have the fol- lowing obligations:
A. Dissemination of Policies, Procedures and Notices
The college Title IX Coordinator, in coordination with the Office of Student Affairs, Office of Public Safety, Human Resources Department and other appropriate offices, is responsible for the wide dis- semination of the following on her/his campus: (i) this Policy; (ii) CUNY’s Notice of Non-Discrimina- tion; (iii) the Title IX Coordinator’s name, phone number, office location, and email address; and (iv) contact information for the campus Public Safety Office. Such dissemination shall include posting the documents and information on the college website and including it in any student or faculty handbooks and in residence life materials. The CUNY offices of Student Affairs, Human Resources Management and Legal Affairs shall assist in such training and educational programming.
B. Training and Educational Programming
The college Title IX Coordinator, in coordination with other applicable offices, is responsible for training all employees who are required to report incidents of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence under this policy, for ensuring that designated offices are offering and administering the appropriate educational programming to all incoming and transfer stu- dents, residence hall students, athletes, fraternity/sorority groups, student leaders, and/or any other student groups which the college determines could benefit from education in the area of sexual harassment, gender- based harassment and sexual violence, and ensuring that desig- nated offices promote awareness and prevention of sexual harassment, gender-based harass- ment and sexual violence among all students and employees.
C. Assessing Campus Attitudes
The college’s Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President responsible for human resources, Title IX Coordinator and/or such employees designated by the college President, in coordination with other applicable offices, are responsible for obtaining current information regarding stu- dent experiences with sexual harassment, gender-based harassment and sexual violence. Any survey or assessment instrument shall be structured to be in compliance with any requirements set forth in applicable law and shall be reviewed and approved in advance by the University Title IX Coordinator.
D. Dating, Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence
As noted above, CUNY’s Domestic Violence in the Workplace policy provides that colleges shall assist employees who are victims of dating, domestic or intimate partner violence that affects their employment. Similarly, colleges shall assist students who are the victims of dating, domes- tic or intimate partner violence, including referring them to resources and taking other appropri- ate supportive measures.
In addition, if a student or employee makes a complaint of dating, domestic or intimate partner violence and the alleged perpetrator is a CUNY student or employee, the college shall investigate the matter if the alleged conduct may constitute a violation of this policy, and take appropriate action based on such investigation, which may include disciplinary action.
X. Rules Regarding Intimate Relationships
A. Relationships between Faculty or Employees and Students
Amorous, dating or sexual activity or relationships (“intimate relationships”), even when appar- ently consensual, are inappropriate when they occur between a faculty member or employee and any student for whom he or she has a professional responsibility. Those relationships are inappropriate because of the unequal power dynamic between students and faculty members and between students and employees who advise or evaluate them, such as athletic coaches or workplace supervisors. Such relationships necessarily involve issues of student vulnerability and have the potential for coercion. In addition, conflicts of interest or perceived conflicts of in- terest may arise when a faculty member or employee is required to evaluate the work or make personnel or academic decisions with respect to a student with whom he or she is having an intimate relationship. Finally, if the relationship ends in a way that is not amicable, the relation- ship may lead to charges of and possible liability for sexual harassment.
Therefore, faculty members and other employees are prohibited from engaging in inti- mate relationships with students for whom they have a professional responsibility, including undergraduates, graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows.
For purposes of this section, professional responsibility for a student means responsibil- ity over academic matters, including teaching, counseling, grading, advising for a formal project such as a thesis or research, evaluating, hiring, supervising, coaching, making decisions or rec- ommendations that confer benefits such as admissions, registration, financial aid, other awards, remuneration, or fellowships, or performing any other function that might affect teaching, re- search, or other academic opportunities.
B. Relationships between Supervisors and Employees
Many of the concerns about intimate relationships between faculty members or employees and students also apply to relationships between supervisors and employees they supervise. Those relationships therefore are strongly discouraged. Supervisors shall disclose any such relation- ships to their supervisors in order to avoid or mitigate conflicts of interest in connection with the supervision and evaluation of the employees with whom they have an intimate relationship. Mitigation may involve the transfer of either the supervisor or employee, reassigning the respon- sibility to evaluate the employee to a different supervisor, or other appropriate action.
For purposes of this section, supervising an employee means supervising in an employ- ment setting, including hiring, evaluating, assigning work, or making decisions or recommenda- tions that confer benefits such as promotions, raises or other remuneration, or performing any other function that might affect employment opportunities.
XI. Definitions of Terms in this Policy
A. Sexual Harassment
is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual ad- vances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, graphic and electronic commu- nications or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
(i) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo);
(ii) such conduct is sufficiently serious that it alters the conditions of, or has the effect of substantially interfering with, an individual’s educational or work experience by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment (hostile environment). The effect will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of a complainant.
Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the individual did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.
While it is not possible to list all circumstances that might constitute sexual harass- ment, the following are some examples of conduct that might constitute sexual harassment depending on the totality of the circumstances:
(a) Inappropriate or unwelcome physical contact or suggestive body language, such as touching, groping, patting, pinching, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual’s body;
(b) Verbal abuse or offensive comments of a sexual nature, including sexual slurs, persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes, degrading words regarding sexuality or gender, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations;
(c) Visual displays or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; or
(d) Undue and unwanted attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, staring, or making sexually suggestive gestures.
For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment also includes acts that violate an individual’s right to privacy in connection with her/his body and/or sexual activity such as:
(i) Recording images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual ac- tivity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
(ii) Disseminating images (e.g. video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure;
(iii) Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent.
B. Gender-based harassment
is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes that is sufficiently serious that it alters the conditions of, or has the effect of sub- stantially interfering with an individual’s educational or work experience by creating an intimi- dating, hostile, or offensive environment (hostile environment). The effect will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the complainant. An example of gender-based harassment would be persistent mocking or disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity.
C. Sexual violence
is an umbrella term that includes: sexual assault, such as rape/attempted rape, criminal sexual act, forcible touching and sexual abuse, as well as dating, domestic and intimate partner vio- lence. Stalking, while not necessarily sexual in nature, can be a form of sexual violence depend- ing upon the circumstances.
(i) Sexual assault
is any form of sexual contact (i.e., any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party) that occurs without consent and/or through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion. Examples of sexual assault include:
(a) Rape and attempted rape
is engaging or attempting to engage in sexual intercourse with another person:
without such person’s consent; (b) where such person is incapable of giving consent byreason of being mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; or (c) where such person is less than seventeen years old. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight.
(b) Criminal sexual act
is engaging in oral or anal sexual conduct with another person without such person’s consent.
(c) Forcible touching
is intentionally touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another person without the latter’s consent for the purpose of degrading or abusing such person; or for the purpose of gratifying the actor’s sexual desire.
(d) Sexual abuse
is subjecting another person to sexual contact without the latter’s consent.
is intentionally engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that:
(a) is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such person, a member of such person’s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted; or
(b) causes material harm to the mental or emotional health of such person, where such conduct consists of following, telephoning or initiating communication or contact with such person, a member of such person’s immediate family or a third party with whom such person is acquainted; or
(c) is likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that her/his employment, business or career is threatened, where such conduct consists of appearing, telephoning or initiating communication or contact at such person’s place of employment or busi- ness, and the actor was previously clearly informed to cease that conduct.
(iii) Dating, domestic and intimate partner violence
is a pattern of coercive behavior that can include physical, psychological, sexual, economic and emotional abuse, perpetrated by one person against an intimate partner. Such violence may oc- cur in all kinds of intimate relationships, including married couples, people who are dating, couples who live together, people with children in common, same-sex partners, and people who were formerly in a relationship with the person abusing them.
is a knowing, informed, voluntary and mutual decision to engage in agreed upon sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permis- sion regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or failure to resist does not, in and of itself, demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a par- ticipant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Past consent to sexual activity between individu- als does not constitute consent to subsequent sexual activity between those individuals, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not necessarily imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Whether one party to sexual activity is in a position of authority or influence over the other party is a relevant factor in determining consent.
In order to give consent, one must be of legal age (17 years or older) and not mentally or physically incapacitated, or physically helpless, unconscious or asleep. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxi- cants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. Consent is not valid if it is the result of coercion, intimidation, force or threat of harm.
refers to the individual who alleges that she/he has been the subject of sexual harassment, gen- der-based harassment or sexual violence, and can be a CUNY student, employee (including all full-time and part-time faculty and staff), or attention by someone other than the complainant
is an individual who is present at a CUNY campus or unit but is not a student or an employee.
refers to the individual who is alleged to have committed sexual harassment, gender-based ha- rassment or sexual violence against a CUNY student, employee, or visitor.
is an allegation of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence made under this policy.
is adverse treatment of an individual as a result of that individual’s reporting sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, assisting someone with a report of sexual harass- ment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence, or participating in any manner in an inves- tigation or resolution of a sexual harassment, gender-based harassment or sexual violence report. Adverse treatment includes threats, intimidation and reprisals by either a complainant or respondent or by others such as friends or relatives of either a complainant or respondent.
are employees who have the authority to either (a) make tangible employment decisions with regard to other employees, including the authority to hire, fire, promote, compensate or assign significantly different responsibilities; or (b) make recommendations on tangible employment decisions that are given particular weight. Managers include vice presidents, deans, directors, or other persons with managerial responsibility, including, for purposes of this policy, depart- ment chairpersons and executive officers.