New England Conservatory Policy Against Sexual Misconduct and Other Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation
It is the policy of the Conservatory to maintain a work and academic environment for all members of the NEC community that is free of discrimination, harassment and bullying. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ethnic or national origin, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veterans’ status, and membership in uniformed services. Unlawful employment discrimination and sexual misconduct by officers, managers, faculty, supervisors, employees, students, advisors, vendors, clientele, and contractors will not be tolerated.
Everyone at NEC is expected to conform to NEC’s policies and rules.
Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about misconduct, discrimination, bullying or retaliation for having complained is unlawful and will not be tolerated.
Pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act, the Conservatory also prohibits all forms of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
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.
Any questions regarding this policy may be directed to:
Director of Human Resources
Room 203 St. Botolph Building
Definition of Unlawful Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
A. Unlawful Discrimination
Unlawful discrimination is strictly prohibited by the Conservatory and will not be tolerated. Treating an employee or student differently in the terms or conditions of his or her employment or education on the basis of the employee’s or student’s race, color, gender, 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 constitutes unlawful discrimination.
B. Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct is a form of discrimination that is illegal under both federal and Massachusetts state law and is strictly prohibited by the Conservatory. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual misconduct when:
- Submission to such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic advancement or participation in Conservatory programs or activities, or is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or
- Rejection of such advances, requests or conduct affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic advancement or participation in Conservatory programs or activities, or is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance, education, or participation in Conservatory programs or activities, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, work or academic environment.
Conduct Which May Constitute Unlawful Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct does not refer to words or actions of a welcome nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome and occurs in a variety of situations which share a common element: the inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or comments into the work or academic environment. Harassing conduct need not be motivated by sexual desire in order to constitute unlawful 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.
Sexual misconduct often involves relationships of unequal power. Such situations may contain elements of coercion, such 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 misconduct 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 a person’s ability to perform his or her work. Sexual misconduct can also involve behavior directed to and/or by students of the Conservatory, as well as employees and non-employees of the Conservatory, in short all members of the community may become harassers or victims of misconduct.
Examples of Sexual Harassment:
- Depending upon the circumstances and how they impact the workplace or academic environment, examples of sexual misconduct include but are not limited to such conduct as the following:
- Verbal abuse, insults, jokes, comments or innuendo of a sexual nature that include lewd, obscene or sexually suggestive displays or remarks;
- Physical contact, such as touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or pinching, that is uninvited and unwanted by the other person;
- The 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 unwanted requests for sexual favors;
- Threatened, attempted, or completed physical sexual assault;
- Indecent exposure;
- Romantic involvement (even if consensual) between supervisors and subordinates that impacts the workplace and/or other individuals in areas such as assignments, advancements and benefits;
- Romantic involvement (even if consensual) between supervisors and students they supervise that impacts the academic environment and/or other students in areas such as assignments, grades and academic benefits;
- Invading another’s “personal space”
- Physical sexual assault, coerced sexual intercourse, attempted rape, rape or other forms of sexual violence;
- Use of email, the Internet, or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above.
A pattern of any of the above listed behaviors that would tend to bring discomfort or humiliation
to a reasonable person at whom the behaviors were directed may constitute sexual harassment.
A single incident of physical conduct on the basis of sex or sexual violence may constitute sexual
Members of the New England Conservatory community should not assume that any of the forms of speech described above are protected by the principles of academic freedom or the
First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
When the Conservatory fails to take adequate steps to address sexual harassment, a hostile
environment may be created, and the Conservatory may be liable under Title IX for its lack of
response. Title IX applies to all members of the Conservatory community, including students and employees. A hostile environment exists when the sexual harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to interfere with an employee’s professional performance, or to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program based on sex. If the Conservatory knows or reasonably should have known about sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment, Title IX requires the Conservatory to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. If the Conservatory does not do so, it violates Title IX. As a result, it is extremely important that all employees report potential sexual harassment, including sexual assault, rape and sexual violence, of which they are aware to the Title IX Coordinator.
Sexual harassment may occur if one party engages in sexual activity with another party without consent. Consent must include explicit communication and mutual approval of the sexual activities in which the parties are involved. For consent, individuals involved in the sexual activity must willingly and knowingly engage in the activity. As a result, consent cannot be given due to physical force, intimidating behavior, threats, or coercion. Engaging in sexual activity with someone through force, intimidation, threats, or coercion is a violation of this Policy. Further, consent cannot be given by an individual who is incapacitated. For example, consent cannot be given by those incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, or by individuals who are unconscious. Knowingly engaging in sexual activity with someone who is incapacitated or who otherwise cannot give explicit consent is a violation of this Policy.
Under this Policy, consenting romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and student, staff and student, or supervisor and employee are deemed unprofessional. Because such relationships interfere with or impair required professional responsibilities and relationships, they are prohibited under this Policy. The respective Codes of Ethics for most professional associations forbid professional-client sexual relationships. In this context, and for purposes of this Policy, the faculty-student relationship is properly regarded as one of professional and client. The respect and trust accorded a faculty member by a student, as well as the power exercised by the faculty member in giving praise or blame, grades, recommendations for further study and employment, and other benefits or opportunities diminish the student’s actual freedom of choice such that relationships thought to be consensual may in fact be the product of implicit coercion. Many elements of the staff-student and the supervisor-employee relationship are similar to those of the faculty-student relationship because of a similar imbalance of power and a similar need for trust. For purposes of this Policy, therefore, these relationships are also prohibited.
Faculty, staff members and supervisors are warned against the dangers of apparently consensual relationships. A faculty member or staff member who enters into a romantic or sexual relationship with a student, or a supervisor who enters into such a relationship with an employee, where a power differential exists, must realize that, if a charge of sexual harassment is subsequently lodged, it will be exceedingly difficult to disprove the claim on the grounds of mutual consent. Because that is so, it should be understood that relationships of this kind pose serious professional risks to any who enter into them.
Notice of Possible Sexual Harassment
The Conservatory is put on notice of possible sexual harassment when: (1) an individual files a
complaint using the Title IX Complaint Procedures; (2) a student files a complaint using the
applicable Student Complaint Process ( http://necmusic.edu/student-services/policies/sexual-misconduct); (3) an individual files a complaint or makes a report to a campus police department; (4) an individual makes a complaint to an outside agency or a court, and that complaint is served upon the Conservatory; and/or (5) any employee (i.e. faculty member or staff member) is aware of possible sexual harassment. Once on notice of possible sexual harassment, the Conservatory has responsibilities under Title IX.
Title IX Responsibilities Once on Notice of Possible Sexual Harassment
No member of the NEC community who receives a complaint of sexual harassment or who has knowledge of behavior that violates this Policy can ignore it. Any trustee, department chair, supervisor, faculty member, staff member, or other employee (“Responsible Individual”) who receives a complaint of sexual harassment (including sexual assault and sexual violence) or retaliation from a student, other member of the NEC community, or an individual otherwise participating in a Conservatory program is obligated to report the complaint to the Title IX Coordinator immediately.
Similarly, all members of the NEC community who have knowledge of behavior that they, in good faith, believe constitutes sexual harassment in violation of this Policy are encouraged to report that behavior to the Title IX Coordinator immediately.
It is not the Responsible Individual’s responsibility to assess liability or to determine whether
unwanted sexual behavior constitutes sexual harassment under this Policy. Rather, the
Responsible Individual must report immediately knowledge of any unwanted sexual conduct to
the Title IX Coordinator.
Any member of the NEC community who has a question about his or her responsibilities
under this Policy should contact the Title IX Coordinator.
While an investigation or grievance proceeding is pending, NEC will take interim measures as appropriate under the circumstances to assist or protect persons who were or may have been subjected to sexual misconduct. Interim measures may include, for example, changing work schedule or working situations of the person who was subject of the alleged misconduct and/or the person alleged to have committed the misconduct, or similar action. Such measures may also include connecting the persons who were or may have been subjected to sexual misconduct with counseling, health care, academic support, or other resources. Support services for respondents are also available.
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 employees 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.
Conduct Which May Constitute Unlawful Sexual Misconduct
Depending upon the circumstances and how they impact the workplace or academic environment, examples of unlawful discrimination could include the above-referenced examples concerning sexual misconduct, as well as the following types of conduct:
- Making decisions about a person’s employment, compensation or education based upon his or her race, color, gender, 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;
- Verbal abuse, offensive innuendo or derogatory words, concerning a person’s race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veterans’ status, or any other protected status;
- An open display of objects or pictures designed to create a hostile working/learning environment based on a person’s race, color, gender, 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.
Employee, Faculty and Student Responsibilities
Each employee, faculty member and student of the Conservatory is personally responsible for ensuring that his or her conduct does not sexually harass or unlawfully discriminate against anyone in the workplace. Each employee, faculty member and student is responsible for cooperating in any investigation of alleged sexual misconduct or unlawful discrimination if requested to do so by the person conducting the investigation.
Any person who observes an incident that may constitute sexual misconduct or unlawful discrimination or who otherwise becomes aware of such an incident should immediately notify one of following:
Director of Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator, Faculty and Staff
Room 203, St. Botolph Building
Provost and Dean of the College
Room 121, Jordan Hall
Thomas Handel; Dean of Students
Title IX Coordinator for Student against Student Sexual Assault and Alternate Chair of Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Committee
Office of Student Services
St. Botolph Building, room 224
Suzanne Hegland; Associate Dean of Students
Chair of Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Committee and
and Alternate Title IX Coordinator for Student against Student Sexual Assault
Office of Student Services
St. Botolph Building, room 224
In the educational setting within the Conservatory, there exists latitude for a faculty member’s 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 misconduct or other unlawful discrimination. Those participating in the educational setting bear a responsibility to balance their professional academic responsibilities and academic freedoms with a consideration of the reasonable sensitivities of other participants.
Nothing contained in this policy shall be construed to limit the legitimate and reasonable academic responsibilities and academic freedoms of the Conservatory’s professional educators.