This policy applies to allegations of sexual misconduct between students at NEC.  Allegations of sexual misconduct that involve staff or faculty should be directed to the Director of Human Resources:

  • Marianne Wisheart
    St. Botolph Building (Room 203)

New England Conservatory is committed to creating a safe environment for all students. Changing attitudes toward sexual conduct starts with education. Therefore, we require all incoming students to take the Haven course, a web-based informational program that educates students on healthy relationships, the meaning of sexual consent and the role of the bystander in creating a safe and healthy community.

Likewise, designated NEC administrators will participate in a specialized training program. Currently in development by the Justice Department’s Center for Campus Public Safety, this program focuses on investigating and adjudicating sexual assault cases. 

In spite of our best intentions, sexual misconduct may occur on or off campus. We have established a clear set of policies and procedures to address these serious offenses.  

We encourage victims of sexual misconduct to report incidents to designated NEC officials and to the Boston Police Department. Designated NEC administrators are available to support victims and provide an explanation of their rights, including:

  • Access to counseling and medical services
  • Access to legal services, including obtaining a restraining order through the Boston Police Department
  • Strategies to avoid contact with the accused while the investigation is pending
  • The option to change enrollment status, such as taking a Leave of Absence

Defining Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes behaviors such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, rape, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, including behavior that is threatening, intimidating or coercive. Engaging in sexual conduct without mutual consent, or in situations when consent is ambiguous constitutes sexual assault.  Other forms of sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to*:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances—whether involving physical touching or not;
  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding another’s sex life;
  • Comments on a person’s body, sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or cartoons;
  • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, or suggestive or insulting comments;
  • Inquiries into a person’s sexual experiences;
  • Discussion of a person’s sexual activities;
  • Pressure for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship;
  • Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging;
  • Pressure for or forced sexual activity;
  • Belittling remarks about a person’s gender or belittling remarks about a person’s sexual orientation based on gender stereotyping;
  • Videotaping or photographing others without consent;
  • Making obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature;
  • Sexually explicit profanity; and
  • Use of email, the Internet, or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above. 

(*Adapted from the Boston University website)

Responding to Sexual Assault

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 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.

NEC encourages students to report acts of sexual assault to the Boston Police. The hospital staff will assist you with the reporting process.  However, they will not force you to file a police report.

While NEC strongly encourages victims of sexual assault to seek medical attention at a local hospital emergency room, we understand that some students may feel reluctant to take this step.  The following resources are also available to NEC students:

  • NEC Health and Counseling Services
    Room 112 in the St. Botolph Building (224 St. Botolph Street)
    Phone: 617-585-1284.

Any information shared with NEC Health and Counseling services is strictly confidential.  There is a healthcare professional on-call for phone consultations after-hours.  If Health and Counseling Services is closed, listen to the outgoing message for directions on how to page the doctor on-call.

  • The Boston Area Rape Crisis (BARCC) Hotline 
    Phone: 800-841-8371
  • Victims’ Rights Law Center
    Phone: 617-399-6720 x19
    Fax: 617-399-6722
    Address: 115 Broad Street, 3rd floor, Boston, MA 02110
  • Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit
    Phone: 617-343-4400

Reporting Sexual Assault to NEC Administrators

As mentioned above, students who wish to maintain strict confidentiality are encouraged to report acts of sexual assault to NEC Health and Counseling Services. Visits are confidential and medical records will only be released without your consent if subpoenaed by a court of law.

Students are also encouraged to report acts of sexual assault to any of the following NEC administrators who have been educated in the rights of and services available for victims:

  • Thomas Handel; Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator for Student against Student Sexual Assault
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph Building, room 224)
  • *Suzanne Hegland; Associate Dean of Students
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph Building, room 224)
  • *Rebecca Teeters; Academic and International Student Advisor
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph building, room 224)
  • * Joy Shi; Coordinator of International Student Services and Academic Advisor
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph building, room 224)

*Please note that these administrators are required to report allegations of sexual assault to the Title IX Coordinator named above.

Disclosing and Reporting

Disclosing is when you tell someone about sexual misconduct, but not necessarily for the purposes of officially reporting the incident to the school or for initiating a disciplinary procedure.  It is okay to tell someone because you need to talk or because you want help finding services. NEC recommends that students speak to a member of NEC Health and Counseling Services if they wish to disclose information about a sexual assault. Again, the staff of NEC Health and Counseling Services will not share information without your permission unless they are subpoenaed by a court of law.

Reporting is when you tell someone because you want the school to be aware of the sexual misconduct or you want to initiate a complaint and/or start a grievance or disciplinary process.  When you initiate a conversation regarding sexual assault with one of the administrators named above, they will advise you on the difference between disclosing and reporting and of their responsibility to report allegations of sexual assault to the Dean of Students. While NEC strongly advises victims of sexual assault to pursue their case through the NEC judicial system and the local police, we will not require students to do so.


NEC respects a student’s desire for confidentiality and will always strive to protect a student’s right to privacy.  However, confidentiality can limit the Conservatory’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action.  Additionally, the Conservatory may be required to break confidentiality if the reported incident poses a credible threat to the safety of the NEC community or the public at large.  Official school records are protected under FERPA, but like medical records, are subject to subpoena.

Administrative Response to Allegations of Sexual Assault and Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct

  1. When the Title IX Coordinator receives credible allegations of sexual misconduct, he will take the following steps:
  2. Provide the accuser with access to healthcare and counseling services
  3. Advise the accuser on his or her right to pursue the allegations through the courts and/or through the Conservatory’s judicial system
  4. Advise all students involved on our efforts to maintain confidentiality (see above)
  5. Advise all students involved on our policy against retaliation (see below)
  6. Advise the accused student of the accusations and the judicial process
  7. Convene a meeting of the NEC Sexual-Misconduct Judicial Committee
  8. Initiate an investigation

As with all disciplinary cases, if the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is an imminent risk to the safety of community members or the ongoing functions of NEC and its community, he may suspend or otherwise restrict NEC access for the accused student without prejudice to his or her record until the conclusion of the disciplinary proceeding.

NEC Sexual Misconduct Judicial Committee

The NEC Sexual Misconduct Judicial Committee is a subcommittee of the Disciplinary Committee, and includes the Associate Dean of Students (chair), one faculty member, the Director of Residential Life, a student member of the Residence Life Staff (RA or GA), and a representative of the Student Senate. An accused student may challenge any Committee member for cause, which might include such matters as personal involvement, prior bias, or conflict of interest. Challenges for cause must be in writing and will be decided by the Provost and Dean of the College. A simple majority constitutes a Committee quorum. The Sexual Misconduct Judicial Committee hearings are closed to the public; only the Committee members, the person(s) bringing the disciplinary charges, witnesses, accused students and their advisors (one per accused student), and appropriate administrative and faculty personnel (at the discretion of the Associate Dean of Students) are permitted to attend. In conducting its sessions, the Committee will follow these provisions:

  1. Notice: an accused student will receive written notice of the hearing at least five working days before the date of that session, unless the Dean of Students determines that circumstances warrant a hearing on shorter notice.
  2. Advisors: an accused student may ask for an advisor from within the NEC community to help in preparing a response to the charges and/or to appear at a hearing. Attorneys are not permitted, unless related criminal charges are pending in the courts, in which case the student’s attorney may be present but may not participate. In addition, any person bringing charges to the Committee may seek the assistance of any member of the Conservatory community.
  3. Evidence, Testimony, Witnesses: an accused student and anyone bringing charges has a right to present relevant evidence, testimony, and witnesses; to know the nature and source of any evidence or testimony; and to question any such testimony. The Conservatory expects all participants to respect the confidentiality of its proceedings.
  4. Committee Procedures: the Committee considers evidence, listens to witnesses, and interprets the disciplinary code. It reaches decisions by a majority vote.
  5. Decision: the accused student and the accuser will receive the Committee’s decision in writing within five working days of the completion of the hearing, unless specific circumstances preclude a decision within that time. This decision may range from exoneration to expulsion. 
  6. Appeals: a student has the right to appeal any sanction imposed by the Dean of Students or the Sexual Misconduct Judicial Committee. To do so, he or she must file a letter of appeal within one week of notice of the sanction(s). This appeal must be based on either procedural error or new evidence (that is, evidence not available at the time of the initial hearing) and must be addressed to the Provost and Dean of the College, who will consider and decide all appeals. An appeal does not presuppose a right to a new hearing, although the Provost and Dean of the College may conduct such a hearing if he wishes, or he may appoint a new committee, provided that it is conducted in accord with regular procedures.
  7. The Provost and Dean of the College may affirm the Committee’s original decision, revise its sanctions, or direct that the case be reheard. The decision will be communicated to the accused student and the accuser, in writing, no more than two weeks after the appeal is filed; such a decision is final. 

Policy Against Retaliation

Retaliation, occurring either during or after the filing of a sexual misconduct complaint, is a violation of NEC policy. If a student feels that they are being harassed or retaliated against due to their involvement in a sexual misconduct investigation, he or she should immediately notify the Title IX Coordinator (617-585-1310) -