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1. NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION
Bard College is committed to ensuring equal access to its educational programs and equal employment without regard to an individual's sex, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, ex-offender status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Students, employees, applicants, and other members of Bard College community (including, but not limited to, vendors, visitors, and guests) shall not be subject to discrimination or harassment prohibited by law or otherwise treated adversely based upon a protected characteristic. Similarly, the College will not tolerate harassing, violent, intimidating, or discriminatory conduct by its students, employees, or any other member of, or visitor to, the College community. This includes, without limitation, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, dating violence, and domestic violence.
2. POLICY STATEMENT
Bard’s gender-based misconduct policy is in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and harassment, as well as provisions of response and services for victims of interpersonal violence. These laws include: Title IX, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, Section 304 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and New York State Enough Is Enough legislation. These laws and the College prohibit discrimination and harassment, including gender-based misconduct.
Bard College and its affiliated programs are committed to providing a learning environment free from sexual and gender-based harassment, discrimination, and assault (hereafter referred to as gender-based misconduct).
Bard College is committed to preventing, responding to, and remedying occurrences of gender-based misconduct. To that end, the College provides services and advocacy support for individuals who have been impacted by gender-based misconduct, as well as accessible, prompt, and thorough methods of investigation and resolution of incidents of gender-based misconduct.
Additionally, the College provides educational and preventative programs for employees and students throughout the academic year that promote awareness of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These include: primary prevention and awareness, definitions of domestic and intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, consent, bystander intervention techniques and safe practices, and risk reduction in the form of recognizing warning signs and how to avoid unwelcome interaction.
The gender-based misconduct policy should be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with the principles of free inquiry, free expression, and free speech to which Bard College is committed. The College’s policy against discrimination, harassment, gender-based misconduct, and retaliation is not intended to stifle these freedoms. Prohibited discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.
3. SCOPE OF POLICY
The College will respond to all alleged incidents of gender-based misconduct, inclusive of sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, nonconsensual sexual intercourse, nonconsensual sexual contact, intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation reported to have occurred:
Action taken and support provided regarding incidents of misconduct involving contract employees, visitors, and guests may be limited; however, the College will endeavor to respond, sanction and/or remedy to the extent possible, practical, and reasonable.
4. DEFINITIONS OF GENDER-BASED MISCONDUCT
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome, sexually based verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct.
Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment, and may be disciplined when it is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it:
Gender-Based Harassment: Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender stereotyping constitute gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment can occur if persons are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. In order to constitute harassment, the conduct must be severe, persistent, and/or pervasive, such that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or employment performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic, living, or working environment.
Intimate Partner Violence (inclusive of domestic and dating violence): The willful intimidation, economic control, manipulation, humiliation, isolation, coercion, threat of or actual physical harm as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, psychological violence, and emotional abuse. Intimate partner violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in a relationship. Intimate partner relationships are defined as short- or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons, intended to provide some emotional, romantic, and/or physical intimacy.
Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking behaviors may include pursuing or following, unwanted or nonconsensual communication or contact (including in-person contact, telephone or voice messages, electronic messages, social media messages, and text messages), unwanted gifts, trespassing, surveillance, and other types of observation.
Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited.
Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
5. ADDITIONAL DEFINITIONS
Consent: Affirmative consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
Complainant: Student(s), employee(s), and/or guest(s) of, or visitor(s) to, Bard College who allege that they have been subjected to gender-based misconduct. Complainants may be individuals or groups of individuals who allege that they have been the victim(s) of gender-based misconduct.
Respondent(s): Student(s), employee(s), and/or guest(s) of, or visitor(s) to, Bard College who are alleged to have violated this policy. Respondents may be individuals, groups, programs, academic or administrative units.
Witnesses: Persons who have information about the incident that will tend to prove, disprove, or otherwise inform an investigation of a complaint.
Inquiry: A request from a member of the College community for information about the policy, procedures, and resources available for addressing and supporting individuals impacted by incidents of gender-based misconduct.
Institutional Investigation: A fact-finding inquiry that attempts to determine whether Bard’s policy prohibiting gender-based misconduct has been violated. The investigator will pursue all relevant, disclosed witnesses and other information and will advise if additional potential violations are being investigated based on the information elicited.
Reasonable Person: A phrase used in tort and criminal law to denote a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and sober judgment in conduct.
Retaliation: To take an adverse action against an individual or subject an individual to conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with that individual’s educational experience, work or academic performance, or creates an educational experience or academic or work environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating or hostile because of something that individual did to apply this policy. This may include complainants, respondents, witnesses, and other reporting persons.
6. AMNESTY FOR ALCOHOL and/or DRUG USE:
The health and safety of every student at Bard College is of utmost importance. Bard College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault occurs, may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Bard College strongly encourages students to report domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to institution officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith who discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to Bard’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to Bard’s code of conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault.
7. CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING AND IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE
Any member of the Bard community, or a guest or visitor, who believes they have been subjected to gender-based misconduct should seek support through at least one of the resources listed below. Behaviors that do not rise to the level of policy violations can be reported, as the College may still be able to provide options for resolution or remedy.
The College’s primary concern is the health, safety, and well-being of its community members. If you, or someone you know, have experienced gender-based misconduct, please do not hesitate to seek assistance.
Information provided to the resources listed below will not be disclosed to anyone outside of the conversation without stated permission, unless there is an immediate threat to self or others. Rules of civil and criminal procedure and law may result in certain records and conversations being subject to subpoena. Under those circumstances, confidentiality may only attach in matters involving medical and pastoral providers.
a. On-Campus Resources
BRAVE 24/7 Counselors (Ask for BRAVE) 845-758-7777
Counseling Services 845-758-7433
Health Services 845-758-7433
EAP (Employee Assistance Program) 800-272-7255
b. Off-Campus Resources
Rape/Sexual Assault Hotline 845-452-7272
Grace Smith House 845-452-7155
LGBTQ Antiviolence 212-714-1141
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) 800-656-4673 (HOPE)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233 (SAFE)
Anonymous reports made within the Bard community are filed and reported for statistical purposes only in accordance with the Clery Act. Reports made to off-campus resources are filed and reported for statistical purposes if Bard is made aware of such reports.
Even College offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and/or seek a resolution.
8. FORMAL REPORTING
a. Institutional Report
Any member of the community who wishes to file a report for gender-based misconduct may do so by following the procedures outlined below. Any responsible employee with knowledge of gender-based misconduct occurring among members of the Bard community must contact the Title IX Office to file a report. Individuals who wish to submit a report, or have questions regarding the reporting procedures for gender-based misconduct, may meet in person or talk by telephone with the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, to discuss the process, policies, resources, their institutional rights, as well as rights for reporting to the local authorities. They may also discuss options for no-contact notices through the College or local law enforcement and orders of protection through the court system. When information pertaining to specific incidents of alleged gender-based misconduct is shared, the Title IX Office will attempt to protect the privacy of all parties involved, but is required to initiate a preliminary inquiry and determine what, if any, further investigation is warranted. However, this does not mean a formal investigation is automatically initiated.
Reports can be submitted by contacting the Title IX Office, either:
Title IX Coordinator:
Tamara Ellis Stafford
b. External Reporting Line
Misconduct Reporting Line 888-323-4198
Any person who feels uncomfortable, compromised, or otherwise unable to file a complaint through the channels set forth above may make a report via the Misconduct Reporting Line. Reports of alleged violations of this policy may be made anonymously to the Misconduct Reporting Line; however, it is important to note that this is not a confidential reporting line. Individual identities may be disclosed through the process of investigation. Reports made to the Misconduct Reporting Line telephone number will be received by and responded to by a person outside of the Bard community. That person will determine, based upon the allegations made, whether this is a matter that constitutes an alleged violation of this policy. Alleged violations of this policy will be referred for investigation in accordance with the procedures set forth herein. Accommodations will be made, if necessary, based upon the specific allegations made. Any reports received via the Misconduct Reporting Line will be filed for statistical purposes, even if made anonymously.
Reports involving alleged misconduct against the Title IX Office may be made through this reporting line.
c. Anonymous Report
Anonymous reports may be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator through campus or regular mail at:
Office of Title IX Coordination
102 Gahagan House
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-5000
Due to restricted identifying information, the College’s ability to investigate and respond to anonymous complaints may be limited.
FALSE REPORTING: An individual who is determined to knowingly have made false complaints, or accusations, or provided false information during an investigation, may be subject to disciplinary action by the institution. This provision does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report cannot be substantiated by subsequent investigation.
d. Criminal Report
Individuals have the right to decide whether or not to file a report with the New York State Police or the local enforcement agency where the misconduct occurred. The Title IX Coordinator is available to assist individuals in the process of reporting criminal complaints. What constitutes a criminal act will be defined by the penal code of the jurisdiction in which the misconduct allegedly occurred. The College system and legal system have investigation processes that work independently of each other and can happen concurrently. The burden of proof in a criminal proceeding is different than the burden of proof mandated by law for violations of Title IX.
To file a criminal report, individuals may contact:
9. INSTITUTIONAL INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES
Student reports of gender-based misconduct will be investigated in a thorough, reliable, impartial, and prompt fashion, with the goal of completing the process as expeditiously as possible and the intention to complete same within 60 days of notice to the institution, if possible. Any deviation from the 60-day time frame will be communicated promptly to both parties. The respondent and complainant will be contacted separately by the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, to review the policy, procedures, and rights and is available for communication and review of the process throughout the investigation.
Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to, and will be offered, a Title IX advocate to be present throughout the complaint process and during the investigation. The Title IX advocate is available to provide support regarding the investigation process.
The advocate is not a confidential resource; however, the investigation will not make inquiry into communication between the advocate and the party being supported. Any conversation with the advocate may be subject to lawful subpoena issued by a court of law or in connection with subsequent legal proceedings. The advocate may accompany the advisee to interviews and meetings, and talk quietly with and ask clarifying questions of the advisee, but should not answer questions or speak on the behalf of the advisee. Individuals are not required to have a Title IX advocate and may seek the support of an advisor of their choice, which may include an attorney. Confidentiality may attach if there is an attorney/client relationship between the advisor and advisee.
The Title IX Coordinator, or designee, serving as the initial intake officer, will document the statements of both the complainant and the respondent. These statements will then be reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, in consultation with their supervisor, to make a determination as to whether or not the allegations potentially constitute a violation of this policy. They may seek additional information to assist in this determination. If a determination is made that the allegations assert a violation of this policy, the matter will move forward into the formal investigation phase.
Formal investigations are conducted by trained investigators who are designated by the Title IX Office. The investigator will gather information and interview the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses who have material knowledge of the alleged incident(s). Since an investigator does not have the power of subpoena, the evidence gathered by the investigator is restricted to that which is voluntarily submitted.
The investigator will issue a written report of findings to the President of Bard College. This report will discuss the evidence submitted and the investigator’s opinion as to whether or not the preponderance of the evidence supports a determination that there was a violation of the College’s gender-based misconduct policy. The President, or designee, will review the report and make a determination of outcome along with the sanctions, if any, to be imposed. The President, or designee, may consult with the Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator, counsel, or others with specific knowledge or expertise. This determination will be shared with the Title IX Office, who will share the outcome with both parties.
10. NOTIFICATION TO PARTIES
Every effort will be made to ensure that both the complainant and respondent are updated at various points during the investigation. Both the complainant and the respondent are notified in writing at the following times:
Notice of Investigation
Conclusion of the Investigation
11. Range of Outcomes
An individual who has been found to have violated a gender-based misconduct policy may be subject to outcomes including, but not limited to, reprimand/warning, disciplinary probation, educational programming involving gender-based misconduct awareness, community restitution, prohibition from certain Bard facilities and/or activities, disciplinary leave of absence, suspension, expulsion, termination, a combination of these, or any sanction as is deemed just and proper.
Sanctioning outcomes/parameters may be impacted by the following criteria: severity of violation, motivation of behavior, disciplinary record, and the impact of safety concerns to the greater campus community.
12. THE APPEAL PROCESS
Any request to appeal may be submitted, in writing, within five (5) business days from the date of notification of outcome. The grounds on which an appeal may be based are:
The appeal request should be submitted through the Title IX Office for initial review and determination of whether the appeal is timely and within limited grounds. If the appeal is found to be ineligible or not timely, the original finding and sanctions will stand and the decision is final.
If the appeal is proper, both parties will be notified and informed of the grounds for the appeal. If sanctions have been imposed they will remain in place during the appeal process. If both the complainant and the respondent appeal, the appeals will be considered concurrently.
If the appeal is proper, a copy of the appeal will be provided to the other party, who will then be given three (3) business days to submit a written response, which will also be exchanged. Any statements and evidence submitted will be reviewed by a committee of the Board of Trustees, or designee. If the appeal is denied, the parties will be notified and the matter closed. If the Board of Trustees, or designee, determines that it needs additional information, it may refer the matter back for further investigation. If returned for further investigation, the process will recommence at the formal investigation stage as previously described herein, or as directed by the Board of Trustees, or designee. If the appeal is granted, the committee from the Board of Trustees, or designee, will issue a decision advising that the appeal was granted and which, if any, sanctions or penalties are upheld, overruled, modified, or returned to the President of Bard College, or designee, for reconsideration. The Title IX Office will notify the complainant and the respondent, in writing, of the decisions involving the appeal as well as the disposition.
13. INTERIM MEASURES
Individuals who have been involved in an incident of gender-based misconduct have a right, regardless of their decision to file a formal complaint, to request interim measures such as: restrictions on contact between the complainant and respondent; restrictions from areas on campus; removal or relocation from residential areas, classroom environments, or employment locations; temporary suspensions (of respondents); academic accommodations in the form of tutoring, independent study, or course withdrawal without academic penalty.
14. CONTACT INFORMATION
Title IX Coordinator:
Tamara Ellis Stafford 845-758-7542
Title IX Supervisor:
Dean of Campus Safety and Operations
Students seeking accommodations for a disability in connection with this process should contact the Disability Services Office:
Disability Support Coordinator
Stevenson Library, 2nd floor
15. STUDENTS’ BILL OF RIGHTS
All students have the right to:
16. PARENTAL NOTIFICATION
The College’s ability to notify parents or guardians about any complaints or allegations made with respect to this policy is limited by federal law, including but not limited to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
17. FILE RETENTION POLICY
The College will maintain disciplinary files for seven (7) years. After seven (7) years, the files will no longer be available except in cases resulting in expulsion or suspension.
All records maintained by the College are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Please click here for a complete list of exceptions under FERPA.
18. PUBLIC RECORD KEEPING
It is the College’s obligation to report crime statistics. Information available to the public includes neither the details of the incident nor identifying information of those involved in the investigation. Every effort is made to be compliant with the law and at the same time respect the privacy and confidentiality of those involved in the investigation.
19. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Additional information regarding Title IX can be found at www.bard.edu/titleix.
20. RELEVANT GOVERNMENT RESOURCES
The government agencies below may provide additional resources for students or employees wishing to file a complaint of gender-based misconduct:
21. GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE COLLEGE’S GENDER-BASED MISCONDUCT POLICY
Inquiries and complaints regarding the College’s Gender-Based Misconduct Policy may be made externally to:
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20202-1328
Customer Service Hotline: 800-421-3481
NOTE: This policy is subject to review and revision on a regular basis. Contact the Title IX Office to ensure you have the latest version of this policy.
 These definitions are pursuant to the Office of Civil Rights’ guidelines.
 A hostile environment exists when there is unwelcome conduct of individuals in the educational or work environment, creating an atmosphere that is intimidating, hostile, abusive, or offensive to the reasonable person. A reasonable person, as defined in tort and criminal law, is a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and sober judgment in conduct.
 Quid pro quo is defined as sexual harassment that occurs when employment or academic decisions resulting in a significant change of status are based on an employee’s or student’s submission to, or rejection of, unwelcome verbal or physical sexual conduct.
 An institutional investigation is a separate process from a criminal investigation, which can occur concurrently. An institutional investigation is conducted to determine if a policy has been violated. Information cannot be subpoenaed by the investigator conducting the institutional investigation.
 The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is the landmark federal law that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses
 A responsible employee is defined as any Bard administrator, faculty, professional staff member, or peer counselor. Climate surveys, classroom writing assignments, human-subjects research, and events such as Take Back the Night or similar speak-outs do not constitute notice to the Title IX Office.
 For more information about this exam: https://www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-recovery/rape-kit
 Bard College maintains a relationship with an outside panel of trained investigators, primarily attorneys, who are not employees of the institution, and who are charged with conducting a full and complete investigation.
 “Preponderance of the evidence” means that there is a greater than 50 percent chance, based on all reasonable evidence, that gender-based misconduct occurred, as compared to “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard used in criminal cases.