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:

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. In addition, all incoming undergraduates are required to attend a workshop during orientation. Likewise, designated NEC administrators, faculty, and members of the Residence Hall staff participate in specialized training programs led by BARCC.

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. 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. 

Responding to Sexual Assault (The information below pertains to students who live on or off campus, and for incidents that take place on or off campus.)

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 hesitant  to take this step.  The following resources are also available to NEC students:

  • The NEC Health and Counseling Center
    112 of the St. Botolph Building (224 St. Botolph Street)
    Any information shared at the NEC Health and Counseling Center is strictly confidential.  There is a healthcare professional on-call for phone consultations after-hours.  If the Health and Counseling Center is closed, listen to the outgoing message for directions on how to page the doctor on-call.
  • The Boston Area Rape Crisis (BARCC) Hotline 
  • 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 the Title IX Team
As mentioned above, students who wish to maintain strict confidentiality are encouraged to report acts of sexual assault to the NEC Health and Counseling Center. 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 Title IX Team made up of the following NEC administrators who have been educated in the rights of and services available for victims:

Suzanne Hegland; Dean of Students
Title IX Coordinator for Student against Student Sexual Assault 
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph Building, room 224)

Rebecca Teeters; Assistant Dean of Students
Alternate Title IX Coordinator for Student against Student Sexual Assault
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph Building, room 224)

Allesandra Cionco; Director of Residential Life
    Office Adjacent to Student Lounge in Jordan Hall Building

Stephanie Barnes; Academic and International Student Advisor
    Office of Student Services (St. Botolph building, room 224)

Michael Ryan; Director of NEC’s Department of Public Safety
    295 Huntington Ave, Room 207

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 the NEC Health and Counseling Center if they wish to disclose information about a sexual assault. Again, the staff of the NEC Health and Counseling Center will not share information without your permission unless they are subpoenaed by a court of law. Please note that the administrators named above and all members of the Residence Hall Staff are required to report all allegations of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, including the names of the students involved, and relevant facts such as date, time and location of incident. In addition, NEC is obliged to anonymously include all allegations of sexual misconduct in our Clery report.  (No names are ever included in the Clery report.)

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 or with a member of the Residence Hall staff, they will advise you on the difference between disclosing and reporting and of their responsibility to report all incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. 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

Step 1: Title IX Coordinator Initial Response
When the Title IX Coordinator receives credible allegations of sexual misconduct, he/she will take the following steps:

  1. Provide the accuser with access to healthcare and counseling services
  2. Advise the accuser on his or her right to pursue the allegations through the courts and/or through the Conservatory’s judicial system
  3. Advise all students involved on our efforts to maintain confidentiality (see above)
  4. Advise all students involved on our policy against retaliation (see below)
  5. Advise the accused student of the accusations and the judicial process
  6. Initiate an investigation.  During the investigation, the Title IX coordinator will attempt to separate the accused from the accuser.  This may require a room-change in the residence hall, and/or a temporary change of course/rehearsal schedules.

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.

Step 2: Initiating an Investigation
A prompt and impartial investigation of the complaint is conducted by the Title IX Coordinator or a qualified designated Conservatory Investigator. 

Investigations of the complaint will consist of the following actions:

  1. providing a copy of the written complaint or statement to the person accused;
  2. requesting and reviewing the response of the person accused;
  3. providing a copy of that response to the complainant if the accused provides a written response to the complaint;
  4. reviewing relevant Conservatory policies and documents, and reviewing documents of  both parties;
  5. interviewing persons identified by both parties as ones having information pertinent to the allegations;
  6. interviewing other persons having information pertinent to the allegations;
  7. collecting further evidence relevant to the investigation;
  8. presenting the evidence to each party and considering any rebuttal; and
  9. any such other steps as the Title IX Coordinator or a qualified designated Conservatory Investigator believes are necessary.

Step 3: Determination Based on Preponderance of the Evidence

On the basis of the documentation, interviews, and other relevant information gathered through the investigation, the Title IX Adjudicators, made up of three members of the Title IX Team (listed above), will make a determination regarding whether the person accused violated Conservatory policy, using the preponderance of the evidence.

Step 4:  Statement of Findings and Recommendation

The Title IX Adjudicators will provide a written Statement of Findings and Recommendations to the parties, Dean of Students, and the Provost and Dean of the College. This Statement of Findings and Recommendation will be provided in summary to the complainant and the accused.

Step 5:  Appeals

The conclusions in an investigation report of a policy violation (or no violation) are generally final and cannot be appealed by either the complainant or the respondent, unless either person can raise one or more of the following grounds:

  • There was a substantial procedural error (the process was not followed in a way that could have significantly affected the outcome);
  • There is a finding of fact in the report that is material (would be important to the outcome of the case) that is not supported by the information provided to the investigator; or
  • There is new and specific information that is material to the outcome of the case and that was not considered at the time of the Formal Review.

All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Provost and Dean of the College within ten business days of receipt of the investigation report. The Provost and Dean of the College will review the request and determine if one of the three grounds for an appeal listed above has been asserted. If so, Title IX Coordinator or qualified designated Conservatory Investigator will notify the complainant and the respondent that the appeal will be considered.

If the Provost and Dean of the College decides that no ground for appeal applies, he/she will notify the parties that the appeal has been denied. If the Provost and Dean of the College determines that a ground for appeal does apply, he/she will:

  • Affirm, modify, or overrule the conclusions in the investigation report, or
  • Refer the matter for additional investigation, reconsideration, or informal resolution

The Provost and Dean of the College’s decision or referral will be made in writing within ten business days of receiving an appeal. A copy of the appeal decision will be sent to the complainant, respondent, and the Title IX Adjudicators. If any conclusions of the investigation are modified or overturned in the appeal, the Title IX Adjudicators will reconsider any prior decision based on those modified or overturned conclusions, and will inform the complainant, and respondent of the results of the reconsideration.

Amnesty for Underage Drinking, Excessive Drinking and Illegal Drug Use
Although underage drinking, excessive drinking and illegal drug use are violations of NEC’s Code of Conduct, students will be given amnesty for these offenses when there are allegations of sexual assault.  In other words, a student who is assaulted while under the influence of drugs or alcohol should not be afraid to report the incident to school officials.

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) -