Anti-Bullying and Anti-Cyber Bullying Policy

The state of Massachusetts defines bullying as “the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.” The State of Massachusetts defines cyber-bullying as “the means of bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.

New England Conservatory will not tolerate bullying in any form. Employees who believe they have been or are being bullied should report the incident to the Director of Human Resources.

Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

It is the policy of the Conservatory to maintain a work and academic environment that is free of sexual harassment and discriminatory actions based on race, color, gender, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veterans’ status, membership in uniformed services, or any other protected status. Unlawful employment discrimination and sexual harassment by officers, managers, faculty, supervisors, employees, students advisors, vendors, clientele, and contractors will not be tolerated.

Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment or unlawful discrimination, is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.

The Conservatory will investigate complaints of violation of this policy. Persons who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, suspension, and/or expulsion.

New England Conservatory’s Title IX Policy on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual- or Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment

New England Conservatory is committed to providing a safe environment where all members of the NEC community can reach their artistic, academic and personal potential. We comply with all state and federal guidelines relating to sexual misconduct and sexual‑ or gender‑based discrimination or harassment, including Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment Act (1972) and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (2013). 

This policy applies to allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual‑ or gender‑based discrimination and harassment between students or employees at NEC as mandated by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.


Allegations of Title IX violations that also involve staff or faculty may be reported to the Director of Human Resources:

Marianne Wisheart

St. Botolph Building (Room 203)

Phone: 617-585-1229



Allegations of Title IX violations that involve students should be reported to the Dean of Students

Suzanne Hegland                                            

St. Botolph Building (Room 224)                               

Phone: 617-585-1313                                         


Any allegations of Title IX violations that involve students, staff,or faculty may be reported our Director of Public Safety and Title IX Coordinator:

Michael Ryan
295 Huntington Avenue
Phone: 617-585-1180




·         THE BOSTON AREA RAPE CRISIS CENTER (800-841-8371)

·         NEC’S OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY (617-585-1100)

Sexual Assault is a traumatizing experience. NEC encourages victims of sexual assault to seek immediate medical evaluation at a local hospital emergency department where you will likely be examined by a nurse who specializes in sexual assault treatment. The collection of evidence is important, should you decide to press legal charges. Therefore, do not shower, bathe, douche, brush teeth, eat, drink, change clothing or urinate until you have reached the hospital. It is advisable to bring any clothing, bedding or towels that might contain evidence to the hospital in a paper (not plastic) bag. You will not be required to use this as evidence, but it is best to preserve it anyway. Evidence may be collected for up to five days. The hospital staff will assist you with the reporting process. However, they will not force you to file a police report.

I.                    Violations of NEC’s Title IX Policy

Sexual misconduct and sexual‑ or gender‑based discrimination or harassment can take a number of forms, including intimidation and the creation of a hostile environment. It can occur between strangers or acquaintances, or people who know each other well, including between people who are or have been involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. It can be committed by anyone, regardless of gender or gender identity, and can occur between people of the same or different sex or gender. This prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct and sexual‑ or gender‑based discrimination or harassment. Below you will find definitions and examples of violations of NEC’s Title IX policy.

A. Sexual Assault (including Rape)

Sexual assault is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:

·         Intentional touching of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent; or

·         Other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent; or

·         Coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent; or

·         Rape, which is penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent.

·         Rape is defined in Massachusetts by three elements: penetration of any orifice by an object; force or threat of force; against the will of the victim. Sexual assault is often more broadly defined as any sexual activity that is forced, coerced, or unwanted.

B. Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment, or whenever toleration of such conduct or rejection of it is the basis for an academic or employment decision affecting an individual. Conduct is considered “unwelcome” if the person did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.

Sexual harassment includes any conduct or incident that is sufficiently serious that it is likely to limit or deny a student or employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from the Conservatory’s educational programs or a faculty or staff member’s ability to work, which may include a single incident of sexual assault or other serious sexual misconduct.

1.            Forms of Prohibited Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can take many forms, and can:

·         Occur between equals, such as student to student, faculty member to faculty member, staff to staff, or visitor/contracted employee to staff or student

·         Occur between persons of unequal power status, such as supervisor to subordinate, faculty member to student, ensemble coach to student, or between any student leaders to their peers. Although sexual harassment often occurs in the context of an exploitation of power by the person with the greater power, a person who appears to have less power in a relationship can also commit sexual harassment (such as a student harassing a faculty member).

·         Be committed by an acquaintance, a stranger, or someone with whom the complainant has or had a personal, intimate, or sexual relationship.

·         Occur by or against a person of any sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

2.              Examples of Sexual Harassment

The following non-exhaustive list includes examples of behavior that could be considered sexual harassment:

·         Unwelcome sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention, or suggestive comments and gestures.

·         Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or pinching, that is uninvited and unwanted or unwelcome by the other person.

·         Humor and jokes about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender.

·         Insults and threats based on sex or gender; and other oral, written, or electronic communications of a sexual nature that a person communicates and that are unwelcome.

·         Written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; sexually charged name-calling; sexual rumors or ratings of sexual activity/performance; the circulation, display, or creation of e-mails or websites of a sexual nature. (For more information on misconduct using the Conservatory’s computing facilities, please see the Computer, Internet Use and Account Policy.)

·         Non-academic display or circulation of written materials or pictures degrading to a person(s) or gender group.

·         Unwelcome attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, inappropriate or repetitive compliments about clothing or physical attributes, staring, or making sexually oriented gestures.

·         Change of academic or employment responsibilities (increase in difficulty or decrease of responsibility) based on sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

·         Use of a position of power or authority to: (i) threaten or punish, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment; or (ii) promise rewards in return for sexual favors.

·         Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping.

C. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent.  Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

·         Prostituting another person;

·         Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;

·         Distributing 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 and objects to such disclosure; and,

·         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, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

D. Stalking

Stalking is a course of conduct involving more than one instance of inappropriate and unwanted attention, harassment, threatening or intimidating physical or verbal contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a person that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm or place that person in fear of harm or injury, including physical, emotional, or psychological harm. This includes the use of technology to pursue, harass, threaten, intimidate, or otherwise make unwelcome contact with another person. Stalking may involve people who are known to one another or have an intimate or sexual relationship, or may involve people not known to one another.

E. Relationship (Dating and Domestic) Violence

Relationship violence is abuse, violence, or intentionally controlling behavior between partners or former partners involving one or more of the following elements: (i) battering that causes bodily injury; (ii) purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury; (iii) emotional abuse creating apprehension of bodily injury or property damage; (iv) repeated telephonic, electronic, or other forms of communication — anonymously or directly — made with the intent to intimidate, terrify, harass, or threaten. Relationship violence can occur in all type of relationships (e.g., heterosexual, same sex, or any other type of relationship)

F. Retaliation.

Retaliation is an adverse action or attempt to seek retribution against the complainant, or any person or group of persons involved in the investigation and/or resolution of a sexual misconduct complaint. Retaliation can be committed by any person or group of persons, not just a respondent. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence, other forms of harassment, and slander and libel.

It is a violation of Massachusetts and federal law and a violation of this policy to retaliate against a person for filing a complaint of sexual misconduct or for cooperating in a sexual misconduct investigation. Any person who retaliates against a person who has reported sexual misconduct, filed a sexual misconduct complaint, or participated in a sexual misconduct investigation is subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

G. Hostile Environment.

A hostile environment exists when sexual harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to interfere with, or to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program based on sex. To determine whether a hostile environment exists, NEC will consider a variety of factors related to the severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the sex-based harassment, including: (1) the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; (2) the identity and relationships of persons involved; (3) the number of individuals involved; (4) the location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred; and, (5) the degree to which the conduct affected the student’s education or the employee’s employment.

The more severe the sex-based harassment, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to find a hostile environment. Indeed, a single instance of sexual assault may be sufficient to create a hostile environment. Likewise, a series of incidents may be sufficient even if the sex-based harassment is not particularly severe.

H.  Conduct in Relationships between Individuals of Different Conservatory Status

In the academic context, sexual harassment often involves the inappropriate personal attention by an instructor or other faculty or staff member who is in a position to exercise professional power over another individual. This could include an instructor who determines a student’s grade or who can otherwise affect the student’s academic performance or professional future. Sexual harassment can also occur between persons of the same Conservatory status. An example would be persistent personal attention from one colleague to another in the face of repeated rejection of such attention. Both types of harassment are unacceptable. They seriously undermine the atmosphere of trust essential to the academic enterprise or work environment.

Amorous relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances have inherent dangers when they occur between an instructor or other faculty or staff member of the Conservatory and a person for whom he or she has a professional responsibility (i.e., as studio teacher, ensemble coach, instructor, advisor, evaluator, supervisor). Implicit in the idea of professionalism is the recognition by those in positions of authority that in their relationships with students or staff there is an element of power. It is incumbent upon those with authority not to abuse, nor to seem to abuse, the power with which they are entrusted.

The consequences of asymmetries can be felt in many different contexts and types of relationships. What constitutes “power” varies according to context and individual. For example, although the conservatory may not recognize a student in an extracurricular organization to have power over a student who would like to join that organization, one or both of the students in question may perceive their relationship to be affected by a power dynamic. As members of a community characterized by multiple formal and informal hierarchies, it is incumbent upon each of us to be aware of and sensitive to the ways in which we exercise power and influence and to be judicious in our relationships with others.

1.  Prohibited Sexual Relations with Students

No faculty member shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with any undergraduate student at NEC. Faculty members are defined as full-time, part-time, and visiting faculty.

Furthermore, no faculty member, studio teacher, ensemble coach, instructor, teaching assistant, teaching fellow, tutor, teaching graduate assistant, or undergraduate course assistant, shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any student, including a graduate student, who is enrolled in a course taught by that individual or otherwise subject to that individual’s academic supervision before the supervision has concluded and, if applicable, a final grade on the student’s supervised academic performance has been submitted to the Registrar. Academic supervision includes teaching, advising a thesis or dissertation, supervising research, supervising teaching, grading, or serving as Chair of the Department of the student’s academic program.

2.  Relationships between Individuals of Different Conservatory Status

Amorous relationships between individuals of different Conservatory status that occur outside the instructional context can also lead to difficulties. In a personal relationship between an instructor or other faculty or staff member, and an individual for whom the instructor or other faculty or staff member has no current professional responsibility, the instructor or other faculty or staff member should be sensitive to the possibility that he or she may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for that individual’s instruction or evaluation.  This could involve being called upon to write a letter of recommendation or to serve on an admissions or selection committee involving the individual. In addition, one should be aware that others may speculate that a specific power relationship exists even when there is none, giving rise to assumptions of inequitable academic or professional advantage for the student involved. Although graduate students, teaching fellows, tutors, and undergraduate course assistants may be less accustomed than Faculty members to thinking of themselves as being in a position of greater authority by virtue of their professional responsibilities, they should recognize that they might be viewed as more powerful than they perceive themselves to be.


A. Consent

Consent must be informed and voluntary, and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent can be given by words or actions as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding the scope of sexual activity. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or when coercion, intimidation, threats, or duress is used. Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent.

Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Past consent to sexual activity with another person does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to that same sexual activity with another person.

If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that he or she cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption that meets this standard, or being asleep or unconscious.

B. Incapacitation

Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because the person is mentally and/or physically helpless due to drug or alcohol consumption, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the person is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. Some signs of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements (e.g., stumbling, falling down), lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, the inability to speak or communicate orally, or the inability to communicate for any reason.

It is a violation of this policy and Massachusetts law to engage in sexual activity with a person who is incapacitated, regardless of whether the person appeared to be a willing participant. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of capacitation, especially in cases when alcohol or drugs are involved.

C. Force

The use of force to cause someone to engage in sexual activity is, by definition, non-consensual contact, and is prohibited. Force may include words, conduct, or appearance. Force includes causing another’s intoxication or impairment through the use of drugs or alcohol. Under this policy, force includes the use of any of the following:

·         Physical Force, Violence, or a Weapon

·         Threats

·         Intimidation and Implied Threats

·         Coercion

D. Miscellaneous Definitions.

·         Complainant: The person making the allegations of sexual misconduct.

·         Respondent: The person against whom a complaint of sexual misconduct has been made.

·         Reporter: A person who has information that sexual misconduct may have been committed by a student or a participant in an NEC program and who initiates a complaint.