New England Conservatory (NEC or the “Conservatory”) is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the NEC community is, on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any NEC program or activity. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination in that it denies an individual equal access to NEC’s programs or activities. This Title IX Policy is designed to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory educational and work environment and to meet legal requirements, including: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the University’s programs or activities; relevant sections of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment; and Massachusetts laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It does not preclude application or enforcement of other NEC policies.
It is the policy of NEC to provide educational, preventative, and training programs regarding sexual misconduct; to encourage reporting of incidents; to respond promptly and equitably to sexual misconduct in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent; to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct from denying or limiting an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from NEC’s programs or activities; to offer to the parties supportive measures as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge; and to provide prompt and equitable methods of resolution.
Violations of this Policy may result in the imposition of sanctions ranging from an admonition or warning up to, and including, termination, dismissal, or expulsion. The remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to NEC’s programs or activities may range from course-related adjustments and no contact orders to restrictions on access to campus, campus locations, or campus activities. Retaliation against an individual for making a report or complaint of sexual harassment, or for participating or refusing to participate in any proceeding regarding such a complaint, or for opposing discriminatory practices is prohibited.
This Title IX policy explains the process that will apply to reports of sexual misconduct as defined by the regulations implemented by the Department of Education (“DOE”) in August 2020 (the “federal Title IX regulations”) and applies to all members of the NEC community. Allegations of sexual misconduct involving any member of the NEC community should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator:
Katrina Chapman, Title IX Coordinator
Allegations of misconduct that do not meet the definition of sexual misconduct as defined by DOE regulations (including definitions of prohibited conduct and jurisdictional elements) may be prohibited by other NEC policies, including, but not limited to, NEC’s Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. Members of the NEC community with questions about whether alleged misconduct falls under this or the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy should contact the Title IX Coordinator.
TITLE IX PROHIBITED CONDUCT
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 (see definition for “Coercion”), where an individual does not consent (see definition for “Consent”) 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.
Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Violence committed by: a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, or someone similarly situated; a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; or any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the location in which the crime of violence occurred.
Title IX Sexual Harassment
Title IX Sexual Harassment includes conduct on the basis of sex that meets one or more of the following definitions:
1) Conditioning the provision of any educational benefit or service on a person’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (“quid pro quo” sexual harassment); or
2) Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the Conservatory’s educational programs or activities (“hostile environment” sexual harassment).
Determinations that an individual committed sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, as defined in this Prohibited Conduct section, may constitute one form of hostile environment sexual harassment and/or may be considered with other forms of hostile environment sexual harassment.
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 to 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.
Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against individuals who report conducted prohibited by this Title IX Policy, assist another in making a report, or participate in an investigation of the report, including the Complainant, Respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of an allegation. Retaliation includes subjecting a person to an adverse employment or educational action because they made a complaint under any portion of the Title IX Policy, or responded to, assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation under the Title IX Policy. Retaliation may also include abuse or violence and other forms of harassment. Any individual or group of individuals can engage in prohibited retaliation.
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, NEC retains discretion to review the allegation under another NEC policy.
STANDARD OF PROOF
Preponderance of the Evidence. The standard of evidence that NEC uses to determine both students’ and employees’ responsibility for violating this TIX Policy and in any allegations of misconduct, including but not limited to claims of discrimination or harassment, is the preponderance of the evidence. This means that in reviewing allegations of Prohibited Conduct, the totality of the evidence will be considered to determine whether the Respondent is more likely than not to have been responsible for a violation of the Title IX Policy.
- The preponderance of the evidence standard is not the standard used for criminal culpability in most jurisdictions and a determination of responsibility under the Title IX Policy does not equate with a finding of a violation of criminal laws;
- Conversely, lack of a prosecution, dismissal, or lack of a criminal conviction does not necessarily imply that the Conservatory’s Title IX Policy was not violated. The two procedures are significantly different and use different standards for determining violations.