Policy on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual- or Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment

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 and sexual or gender‑based discrimination or harassment, 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 sexual misconduct and sexual or gender‑based discrimination and harassment at NEC as mandated by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and applies to all members of the NEC community. Allegations of sexual misconduct involving any member of the NEC community should be reported to:

Nick Macke, Title IX Coordinator
Office of Human Resources
St. Botolph Building, room 203


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 policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct and sexual or gender‑based discrimination or harassment.


    1. Sexual Assault (including Rape)
      Sexual assault is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault is often more broadly defined as any sexual activity that is forced or coerced or unwanted. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:
      1. Intentional touching of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent;
      2. Other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent; or
      3. Coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent; or
      4. 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.
    2. Sexual Harassment
      1. Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile 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.
      2. Sexual harassment includes any conduct or incident that is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive that it is likely to limit or deny a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from NEC’s educational programs or an employee’s ability to work, which may include a single incident of sexual assault or other serious sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment can take many forms, and can:
        1. Occur between equals, such as student to student, faculty member to faculty member, staff to staff, or visitor/contracted employee to staff or student.
        2. 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).
        3. Be committed by an acquaintance, a stranger, or someone with whom the complainant has or had a personal, intimate, or sexual relationship.
        4. Occur by or against a person of any sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.
      3. The following non-exhaustive list includes examples of behavior that could, in appropriate circumstances, be considered sexual harassment:
        1. Unwelcome sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention, or suggestive comments and gestures.
        2. 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.
        3. Humor and jokes about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender.
        4. 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.
        5. 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 NEC’s computing facilities, please see the Computer, Internet Use and Account Policy.)
        6. Non-academic display or circulation of written materials or pictures degrading to a person(s) or gender group.
        7. Unwelcome attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, inappropriate or repetitive compliments about clothing or physical attributes, staring, or making sexually oriented gestures.
        8. Use of a position of power or authority to:
          1. 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
          2. promise rewards in return for sexual favors.
        9. Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping.
      4. Hostile Environment Harassment.  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. 
      5. 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.
    3. 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:
      1. Prostituting another person;
      2. Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
      3. 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,
      4. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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:
      1. causing bodily injury;
      2. purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury;
      3. emotional abuse creating apprehension of bodily injury or property damage;
      4. 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).
    6. Conduct in Relationships between Individuals of Different Conservatory Status
      1. 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.
      2. 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 NEC 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.
      3. 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 NEC 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.
    7. 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 at NEC.
    8. 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.
    9. 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 Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy unless the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate Conservatory officials, determines otherwise.
    10. Retaliation for Filing a Complaint of Sexual Misconduct
      1. Retaliation is any acts or words that constitute intimidation, threats, or coercion because of a person’s:
        1. Report of behavior defined in this policy
        2. Assistance in reporting behavior defined in this policy
        3. Participating in any acts or words that constitute intimidation, threats, or coercion as listed above
        4. Protest of conduct which is in violation of this policy, and that would also deter a reasonable person from reporting or assisting in reporting a violation of the policy, participating in any proceeding under the Policy or protesting of conduct in violation of this Policy.
      2. An adverse reaction does not include minor annoyances or another’s lack of good manners, as those actions will not deter a reasonable person from engaging in the process.
      3. 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 or termination of employment.
      4. Retaliation, occurring either during or after the filing of a sexual misconduct complaint, is a violation of NEC policy. If a member of the community feels that they are being harassed or retaliated against due to their involvement in a Title IX investigation, he or she should immediately notify the Title IX Coordinator.

    1. Who can I tell if I want to keep it confidential?
      Members of our Health and Counseling Center are the only NEC employees NOT required to disclose sexual misconduct violations. Any information shared at the NEC Health and Counseling Center is strictly confidential. Health care providers in our center can provide confidential advocacy, crisis counseling and medical services, as well as explain options for additional support. Visits are confidential and medical records cannot be released without your consent unless subpoenaed by a court of law. 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 at 617-585-1284 for directions on how to page the doctor on-call. NEC’s Health and Counseling Center is located at 241 St. Botolph Street, Room 112.
    2. Are there times when NEC cannot keep the information confidential?
      1. NEC respects the desire for confidentiality and will always strive to protect a person’s right to privacy. However, confidentiality can limit NEC’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action. Additionally, NEC may be required to break confidentiality if the reported incident was systemic or part of a broader pattern, or poses a credible threat to the safety of the NEC community or the public at large. 
    3. Do I have to tell the police?
      NEC urges students to report instances of sexual misconduct or domestic abuse to the police. However, we understand that sometimes people are hesitant to take this step. A police report is NOT required for NEC to begin an investigation into a sexual misconduct violation. Similarly, while the involvement of law enforcement may slightly alter NEC’s approach, it will not preempt NEC from conducting its own determination as to whether this Policy was violated.
    4. How do I report a violation to someone at NEC?
      1. Students are encouraged to report violations to staff within the Office of Student Services or the Office of Public Safety who have been educated in the rights of and services available for both complainants and respondents.
      2. Employees are encouraged to report violations directly to the Title XI Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources.
      3. Violations may be reported orally or in writing at any time without limitation.
      4. Designated NEC administrators are available to support both the complainant and the respondent, and provide an explanation of rights, including access to counseling and medical services and the ability to institute a separate criminal complaint, including obtaining a restraining order through the Boston Police Department.
    5. What will happen to the person I have accused?
      The responding party has a right to be informed of the accusation and of the investigative procedures, including the right to an advisor. 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/she may suspend or otherwise restrict NEC access for the accused without prejudice to his or her record until the conclusion of the disciplinary proceeding.
    6. Student 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 – or who witnesses an assault or a violation of this Policy – should not be afraid to report the incident to school officials.

    1. After receiving a report of conduct that could implicate the Policy, the Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee will take a number of initial steps. These initial steps are not an investigation. Rather, these initial steps will enable NEC to assess the need to take any immediate action to address the safety of the Complainant and/or NEC community, and to determine the next steps for investigating the reported conduct and the need for any interim measures. These initial steps may include, but are not limited to, the following:
      1. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant and encourage the Complainant to meet to discuss the nature and circumstances of the reported conduct, review relevant documentation that is available, and address the Complainant’s immediate physical safety needs, including the need for any interim measures. Examples of interim measures may include no-contact orders, requests for academic adjustments or other accommodations, access to additional support services, changes to living, transportation and working situations, and other actions to address the situations and concerns raised on an interim basis.
      2. The Title IX Coordinator will assess the reported conduct to determine whether the circumstances pose a threat to the health or safety of NEC community that warrants issuance of a timely warning, a stay-away order for any persons, or any other interim protections. The Title IX Coordinator will consult with senior administrators re: same.
      3. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant about:
        1. the availability of the Policy;
        2. the right to report (or decline to report) the matter to Public Safety and/or to local law enforcement if the conduct is potentially criminal in nature; and
        3. that a report to law enforcement will not change NEC’s obligation to potentially investigate the matter but it may briefly delay the timing of the investigation if a law enforcement agency requests that NEC delay its process for a reasonable amount of time to allow it to gather evidence of criminal conduct.
      4. The Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee will notify both the Complainant and the Respondent of the available resources for seeking medical treatment, counseling, spiritual guidance, or other interim measures. These resources can be found at https://necmusic.edu/title-ix/resources.
    2. If the Title IX Coordinator determines the reported conduct could implicate the sexual misconduct policy, he or she will contact the Complainant to discuss that determination. If, at this time, the Complainant requests that the process not move forward, NEC will weigh that request and the reasons for it against NEC’s obligation to address any risk of harm to the Complainant or other individuals in the community and the nature of the incident or conduct at issue. Except in limited circumstances in which a Complainant’s request not to proceed to investigation is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will proceed to initiate the investigation.
    3. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the reported conduct would not implicate the Policy, he or she will advise the Complainant of such in writing and refer the reported conduct to the appropriate administrator for handling consistent with any other appropriate Conservatory policy. (If new information is subsequently provided, the decision whether or not to investigate under the Policy may be reevaluated.)
    4. Notice of an Investigation
      If, during the initial assessment, it is determined that the reported conduct could trigger the Policy and an investigation is required, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a written notice to the Complainant and Respondent that will include a brief description of the allegations, the portion(s) of the Policy that are alleged to have been violated, and any interim measures in place about which either Party must be made aware. This written notice does not constitute a finding or a determination of responsibility.
    5. The Role of Advisors in the Process
      In connection with an allegation of sexual misconduct involving sexual violence, other inappropriate sexual contact, relationship violence or stalking, each Party, including any Reporting Party, may have a single advisor of such Party’s choice present during the disciplinary proceeding, including any related meeting, interview, or hearing, held pursuant to the Policy. Advisors may not participate actively while present at any disciplinary proceeding and may not speak or otherwise communicate on the part of the Party that the advisor is advising. However, the advisor may ask to suspend any meetings, interviews, or hearings briefly to provide private consultation related to the disciplinary proceeding in progress. An advisor is subject to the same confidentiality expectations applicable to others in attendance. Accommodations, including scheduling of interviews or reviews, generally will not be made for any advisers if they unduly delay the process. The advisor is not permitted to attend a meeting or proceeding without the Party (as a proxy or otherwise) without the prior approval of the Title IX Coordinator, as determined in his/her sole discretion. The Conservatory reserves the right to take appropriate action regarding any advisor who disrupts the process, or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation as determined in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
    6. Designation of Investigator
      The Title IX Coordinator will designate at least one investigator to conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation of the reported conduct and prepare a report of investigative findings (the “Investigative Report”). At NEC’s discretion, more than one investigator may be assigned. NEC may also exercise discretion in assigning an external investigator to conduct the investigation with NEC’s internal investigator. (In addition, NEC may assign an external investigator, without assigning an internal investigator.) All investigators – internal or external – will be selected from a group of qualified and trained individuals employed by NEC or engaged by NEC for the purpose of conducting investigations under the Policy. The Title IX Coordinator will provide the Parties with the name of the person(s) assigned to investigate the reported conduct (the “Investigator(s)”). As soon as possible, but no later than three (3) calendar days after receiving notice of the identity of the Investigator(s), the Parties should inform the Title IX Coordinator (in writing) of any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest with regard to the selected Investigator(s). The Title IX Coordinator will consider the nature of the conflict and determine if different individuals should be assigned as Investigator(s). The Title IX Coordinator’s decision regarding any conflicts is final.
    7. Nature of the Investigation
      The investigation will include separate interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses whom the Investigator(s) believe will provide necessary and relevant information. The investigation may include the review of documentation or other items relevant to the reported conduct. The Investigator(s) will provide the Parties with written (letter or email) notice of meetings at which their presence is required.
    8. The Parties’ Identification of Potential Witness and Documentation
      The Parties have the opportunity (and are expected) to provide the Investigator(s) with the identification of potential witnesses who have specific information about the reported conduct and with whom they would like the Investigator(s) to speak. The Parties also have the opportunity (and are expected) to provide the Investigator(s) any documentation or other items they would like to be considered. All information described in this section must be presented to the Investigator(s) in writing and include a brief description as to how the persons, documents, and/or items are relevant to the reported conduct. This information must be provided to the Investigator(s) during the investigation phase and without delay upon becoming aware of it. The Investigator(s) will exercise discretion in their determination of what information to consider and which potential witnesses identified by the Parties can provide relevant information to the investigation.
    9. Investigation Prohibitions
      Neither Party will be permitted to question or cross-examine the other Party during the investigation or disciplinary proceedings. Moreover, the Investigator(s) generally will not consider information related to either Party’s sexual history outside of the conduct in question.
    10. Content of the Investigative Report
      At the conclusion of the investigation phase, the Investigator(s) will prepare an Investigative Report, which should include a summary of the factual information presented during the investigation phase, including inconsistencies (if any) between different sources of information. The Investigative Report will not include a determination by the Investigator(s) as to whether a Party has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, or what sanctions may be appropriate.
    11. Review by the Parties
      The Parties will have an opportunity to review the Investigative Report and may submit written comments about the content of the Investigative Report to the Investigator(s) within five (5) calendar days of the date they are notified that the Investigative Report is available for review. This review will take place at a secure location and in a secure manner determined by NEC. The time to submit written comments can be extended for a brief period if the Title IX Coordinator concludes, in his/her sole discretion, that the additional time is warranted, and upon written request of the Party seeking the extension that explains the reason the additional time is necessary. Likewise, the secure location and manner of reviewing the Investigative Report can be modified if the Title IX Coordinator deems it necessary and appropriate. The Parties may have the advisors review the Investigative Report with them. Photographs or any other copies of the Investigative Report are not allowed by either Party or the advisors. The comments submitted by the Parties may not exceed ten (10) double spaced pages. After reviewing the submissions, if any, from the Parties, the Investigator(s) may determine that either additional investigation is required or no further investigation is needed. If further investigation is conducted, the Investigator(s) will include any additional relevant information in the Investigative Report. The Investigative Report will then be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. Any submissions made by either Party pursuant to this section, as well as any other documentation deemed relevant by the Investigator(s), will be attached to the Investigative Report.
    12. Adjudication
      1. The respondent and the complainant will receive written notification of the Title IX Coordinator’s findings and sanctions. Sanctions may range from exoneration to expulsion or termination of employment.
      2. The Title IX Coordinator will review the report submitted by the designated investigator(s) and make a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether there was a violation(s) of the sexual misconduct policy.
    13. Appeals
      1. Upon receiving notice of the final outcome, either party may file an appeal.  Within five (5) business days of receiving written notice of NEC’s determination on responsibility and sanctions, either the Complainant or the Respondent may appeal the decision by submitting to the Title IX Coordinator a letter stating why the party requesting the appeal believes the determination of responsibility and/or the sanctions were inappropriate.
      2. A party may appeal only on the following grounds: (i) newly discovered material information that was not known to the appellant party during the investigation and which likely would have changed the finding of responsibility or the sanction imposed had it been available; or (ii) substantial procedural error that materially prejudiced the appellant party. The party submitting the appeal must set forth in detail the grounds for review and must attach all materials that the party wishes to have considered in the appeal process. The Title IX Coordinator will provide a copy of the appeal submitted by one party to the other party and provide them five (5) business days to provide a written response.
      3. Following the receipt of the appealing party’s review and expiration of the time period for the other party to respond, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Appellate Officer who will decide the merits of any appeal and in so doing, may consult with the investigator(s), the Title IX Coordinator, and any other individual that the Appellate Officer deems appropriate. The purpose of the appeal is not to rehear the case; rather, it is to determine if there is sufficient information presented to allow a reconsideration of the original decision.
      4. Any action assessed or recommended by NEC may be enforced, in whole or in part, pending the outcome of the appeal at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, including a removal or suspension.

    1. Withdrawal While Charges Pending
      1. Should a student decide to withdraw from NEC while charges are pending, the investigative process will proceed in the student’s absence to a reasonable resolution. The student will not be permitted to return to NEC unless all sanctions have been satisfied. The student will not have access to an academic transcript until the allegations have been resolved. 
      2. Should an employee decide to resign from NEC while charges are pending, the investigation process will proceed in the employee’s absence to a reasonable resolution. The employee will not be permitted to reapply for new employment with NEC unless all sanctions have been satisfied.
    2. Duty of Honesty
      All Parties and witnesses are obligated to be completely honest during the course of the entire process set forth in this Policy. Any person who knowingly makes a false statement – either explicitly or by omission – in connection with any part of the process may be subject to separate Conservatory disciplinary action. A report made in good faith, however, is not considered false merely because the evidence does not ultimately support the allegation of violation of the policy.
    3. Duty of Cooperation
      All Parties and witnesses are obligated to cooperate with the Title IX Coordinator and any persons charged with implementing the Policy and these procedures. Any person who knowingly interferes with the actions taken to implement the reporting, investigation, or resolution of matters under the Policy may be subject to separate and/or additional Conservatory disciplinary action.
    4. Respect for Privacy
      NEC values the privacy of individuals involved in the reporting, investigation, and/or resolution of matters subject to the Policy. The U.S. Department of Education has provided guidance indicating that there are situations in which it may be necessary for an institution to override a request for privacy or confidentiality in order to meet its obligations under the law. In the event circumstances result in NEC overriding a request for privacy or confidentiality to meet its obligations, it will do so with the utmost sensitivity and respect for the circumstances and the individuals involved.
    5. Recording the Proceedings
      The Parties are not permitted to make video, audio, or other electronic, photographic, or digital recordings of any meetings or proceedings held under the Policy or these procedures or the Investigative Report. The Title IX Coordinator may make exceptions to this prohibition in limited circumstances if he or she concludes, in his or her sole discretion, that a recording is warranted, and upon written request of the Party seeking the recording that explains the need for the recording.
    6. Special Situations
      NEC retains the right to determine, in its sole discretion, if it will address a report of conduct under the Policy administratively and outside of the process described herein when the safety of NEC community is at risk, if the material facts are undisputed, if there are extenuating circumstances involving either of the Parties, or if the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate administrators, determines it is in the best interest of NEC and/or the community to do so.
    7. Responding Party Voluntary Agreement to Policy Violation
      At any point prior to the conclusion of the investigation, a Respondent may agree in writing to the alleged violation(s) of the Policy and, in the cases of sexual harassment not involving sexual violence, other inappropriate sexual contact, sexual exploitation, stalking or relationship violence, may offer a proposed sanction. It is within NEC’s sole discretion whether to accept the proposed sanction or assign a different sanction. In cases of sexual violence, other inappropriate sexual contact, sexual exploitation, stalking or relationship violence, the Title IX Coordinator will determine and impose sanction(s) pursuant to the Policy.
    8. Optional Informal Resolution Process
      1. A Party may request an informal resolution of a complaint rather than an investigation by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. All Parties and the Title IX Coordinator must agree to informal resolution for this option to be used. The Title IX Coordinator will assess the request for informal resolution against the severity of the alleged violation and the potential risks to campus community members. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that informal resolution is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the Parties.
      2. The Title IX Coordinator will designate a Conservatory representative to facilitate a dialogue with the Parties in an attempt to reach a resolution. The allegation will be deemed resolved when the Parties expressly agree to an outcome that is acceptable to them and which is approved by the Title IX Coordinator in consultation with other appropriate Conservatory administrators. A Party may withdraw from the informal resolution process at any time prior to its completion and NEC will continue the investigation.
      3. The Title IX Coordinator may initiate an investigation at any time that deems it appropriate in his or her sole discretion.

    1. Complainant
      1. The complainant is the person making the allegations of sexual misconduct.
    2. Consent
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. 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.
      4. Consent which is informed, freely and actively given through clear words or actions, and creates mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. Effective Consent is achieved only where each party mutually understands what behavior the party’s partner consents to and what behavior the party’s partner does not consent to with regard to physical and sexual interactions. Effective Consent at one time does not imply Effective Consent at any other time. Effective Consent cannot be obtained: (1) through silence alone (absent a non-verbal action clearly demonstrating consent); (2) from minors (under the age of 16 in Massachusetts), individuals with mental disabilities, or incapacitated persons; or (3) through physical force, threat of physical force (by words, gestures, or non-verbal actions), coercion, fraud, intimidation, or incapacitation.
    3. Incapacitation
      1. 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.
      2. 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.
    4. False Allegations
      Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
    5. 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:
      1. Physical Force, Violence, or a Weapon
      2. Threats
      3. Intimidation and Implied Threats
      4. Coercion
    6. Respondent
      The respondent is the person against whom a complaint of sexual misconduct has been made.

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Reporting Violations
Investigation & Adjudication Process