Gender-Based Misconduct Policy 

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New England Conservatory (NEC) is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment. We comply with all state and federal guidelines relating to sexual misconduct, including Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment Act (1972), the Violence Against Women Act (1994 and 2013), and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (2013). 

This policy applies to allegations of gender-based misconduct at NEC that do not apply to Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and applies to all members of the NEC community. Allegations of gender-based misconduct involving any member of the NEC community should be reported to a Title IX Officer:  

Nick Macke, Title IX Coordinator
Office of Human Resources
St. Botolph Building, Room 203 
617-585-1229 

Prohibited Conduct Under the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and/or the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy

Sexual Misconduct 

The Conservatory prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct refers to a broad spectrum of behavior encompassing sexual harassment and all forms of non-consensual sexual activity.  Sexual misconduct affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientation, and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background.  The Conservatory will utilize this general term in both its Title IX Policy as well as its GBM Policy, as appropriate.   

Sexual Assault  

Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent. This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where an individual does not consent (see definition for “Consent” above) to the sexual act, or where an individual is incapacitated. Sexual assault includes the following: 

  • Penetrating or attempting to penetrate another individual without their consent.  This includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part or object, or oral copulation by mouth-to-genital contact. 

  • Having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without consent.  Sexual contact includes kissing, touching the intimate parts of another, causing the other to touch one’s intimate parts, or disrobing of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, mouth, or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner. 

*Sexual Assault will typically be considered under the Conservatory’s Title IX Policy unless certain jurisdictional criteria is not met.  In those situations, the Conservatory has the discretion to consider such conduct under its GBM Policy. 

Sexual Exploitation 

An act or acts committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any non-legitimate purpose.  Examples include, but are not limited to: observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; non-consensual streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; prostituting another individual; knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without his or her knowledge; and inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.  

*Sexual exploitation is prohibited behavior that will typically be addressed through the Conservatory’s GBM Policy unless it is consolidated with other forms of Title IX prohibited conduct in this section. In those situations involving consolidation under the Title IX Policy, the Conservatory requires a substantial factual overlap with the allegations of the specific matter at hand before this Title IX Policy will be utilized.   

Intimate Partner Violence 

Intimate partner violence, also referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, or relationship violence, includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual or dating relationship with that person. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior.  Intimate partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior, including, but not limited to threats, assault, property damage, violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner.  Intimate partner violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientation and does not discriminate by racial, social, or economic background.  

The Conservatory will not tolerate intimate partner violence of any form. The Conservatory also recognizes that certain forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, harm to others, emotional and psychological abuse, harassing conduct, and retaliation may all be forms of intimate partner violence when committed by a person who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating or other social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the reporting party.  In such situations, all potential charges may be included.  

*Intimate Partner Violence will typically be considered under the Conservatory’s Title IX Policy unless certain jurisdictional criteria is not met.  In those situations, the Conservatory has the discretion to consider such conduct under its GBM Policy. 

Pregnancy and Lactation Discrimination 

Individuals that are pregnant, have given birth, or have related issues (including lactation) may request a reasonable accommodation to enable them to attend school and/or perform their job.  If an individual believes that they were discriminated against because of any of these issues or other related issues, that could violate the GBM Policy.  

Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment is a form of discriminatory harassment occurring within an employment or educational context that federal and state law addresses with very specific provisions.  In cases where sexual harassment is alleged, the Conservatory has a duty to act promptly, so as to assure that if such harassment is, in fact, occurring or has occurred, corrective action is taken and further harm is prevented.  

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests of sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:  

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic or employment success (also known as quid pro quo harassment),  

  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment evaluation and decisions affecting such an individual (also known as quid pro quo harassment), or  

  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, learning, or work environment (also known as the creation of a hostile environment).  

The effect of sexual harassment will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of a Reporting Party. A single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to provide a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. However, under the new federal regulations, behavior must be severe and pervasive, as well as subjectively and objectively offensive.  That is, not only must the Reporting Party feel that the behavior is offensive, but a reasonable person similarly situated must also consider such behavior to be offensive.  

*Sexual Harassment will typically be considered under the Conservatory’s Title IX Policy unless certain jurisdictional criteria is not met.  In those situations, the Conservatory has the discretion to consider such conduct under its GBM Policy. 

Stalking 

A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: fear for their safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. This includes cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media is used to pursue, harass, or make unwelcome contact with another person.  Stalking may involve individuals who are known to one another or have an intimate or sexual relationship, or may involve individuals not known to one another.  

*Stalking will typically be considered under the Conservatory’s Title IX Policy unless certain jurisdictional criteria is not met.  In those situations, the Conservatory has the discretion to consider such conduct under its GBM Policy. 

Retaliation  

Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against the reporting party, responding party, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation; including subjecting a person to an adverse employment or educational action because they made a complaint under any portion of the Title IX Policy or the GBM Policy, or responded to, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation under either Policy. Any individual or group of individuals, not just a responding party or reporting party, can be guilty of retaliation. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence and other forms of harassment.  

Retaliation allegations may be consolidated with other forms of prohibited conduct defined in this section if the facts and circumstances significantly overlap.  If the facts and circumstances do not significantly overlap, then the Conservatory retains discretion to adjudicate the allegation under a different but appropriate policy.  For example, if a Responding Party retaliates against a Reporting Party with regard to the filing of a complaint, that behavior could be consolidated with the other prohibited conduct alleged, provided appropriate notice is afforded.  On the other hand, if the retaliatory conduct is committed by one of the parties’ friend group who are not otherwise subject to a grievance under this Title IX Policy, that behavior could be adjudicated under another student or employee conduct policy which prohibits such behavior.   

Prohibited Sexual Relations with Students 

No employee shall request or accept sexual favors from, or initiate or engage in a romantic or sexual relationship with, any student of any status at NEC. Unless specific written permission is provided in extremely limited circumstances to be discussed with NEC’s Human Resources office, this is an absolute prohibition.

*This form of relationship is prohibited behavior that will typically be addressed through the Conservatory’s GBM Policy unless it is alleged to be a form of sexual harassment, in which case NEC reserves the right to use its Title IX Policy. NEC also reserves the right to consolidate this form of prohibited conduct with other forms of Title IX prohibited conduct in this section.  In those situations involving consolidation under the Title IX Policy, the Conservatory requires a substantial factual overlap with the allegations of the specific matter at hand before this Title IX Policy will be utilized.   

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 differential 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. 

Unless specific written permission is provided in extremely limited circumstances to be discussed with NEC’s Human Resources office, this is an absolute prohibition. 

*This form of relationship is also prohibited behavior that will typically be addressed through the Conservatory’s GBM Policy unless it is alleged to be a form of sexual harassment, in which case NEC reserves the right to use its Title IX Policy.  NEC also reserves the right to consolidate this form of prohibited conduct with other forms of Title IX prohibited conduct in this section.  In those situations involving consolidation under the Title IX Policy, the Conservatory requires a substantial factual overlap with the allegations of the specific matter at hand before this Title IX Policy will be utilized.   

Other Prohibited Forms of Sex Discrimination 

This includes forms of different treatment on the basis of sex (including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression) that is not otherwise set forth as Prohibited Conduct (above). Such conduct will be treated under NEC’s GBM Policy unless the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate Conservatory officials, determines otherwise. 

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