Please be aware that this policy is currently under review & revision to reflect changes and requirements being put forward by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice Violence Against Women Campus SaVE Act.
Harassment Hotline: 888-323-4198
Discrimination and harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, will not be tolerated. Those believing that they have been unlawfully harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, alienage, age, military veteran’s status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity or sex, including sexual harassment should contact the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Human Resources, or Safety and Security.
For those who for any reason feel unable to report incidents of harassment or discrimination to a College official, Bard College has established an ombuds officer reachable via the harassment hotline. The ombuds officer is authorized to confidentially receive complaints, concerns or inquiries about alleged acts, omissions, improprieties, and/or broader systemic problems within his/her jurisdiction and to listen, offer options, facilitate resolutions, informally or formally investigate, or otherwise examine these issues independently and impartially. If a complaint warrants a formal investigation, all parties involved will be interviewed individually in person or over the phone with the potential for follow up discussions. Upon completion of the investigation a report is submitted for the College President‘s review. Final decisions regarding investigations rest with the President.
This service is available to any member of the College community (student, faculty, and staff) who feel that they have been victimized by harassment and/or discrimination or who have questions regarding conduct or policies.
Discrimination is the unlawful and intentional act of unfair treatment of a person based on race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, or military veteran status.
Harassment is unwelcome, hostile, or inappropriate conduct directed toward an individual because of his or her protected status. Such conduct violates College policy if it (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, living, or learning environment for the affected individual, or (2) substantially interferes with that individual’s working, living, or learning environment. This can include persistent comments or jokes about an individual’s religion, race, age, or gender; verbal behavior, including insults, remarks, epithets, or derogatory statements directed at an individual or group; nonverbal behavior, including graffiti, inappropriate physical advances short of physical violence; and assault, including physical violence or the threat of physical violence.
What constitutes sexual harassment may vary based on particular facts and circumstances. Generally, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature may be considered to constitute unlawful sexual harassment when either:
1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction or employment decisions or evaluations or participation in Bard activities.
2. The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Retaliation is any kind of reprisal, or adverse or negative action, taken against an individual because he or she has (1) complained about alleged discrimination or harassment as defined above, (2) participated as a party or witness in an investigation relating to such allegations, or (3) participated as a party or witness in a court proceeding or administrative investigation regarding such allegations. An individual is considered to have engaged in retaliation even when the complaint at issue is ultimately found to lack merit, as long as the complaint was made in good faith.
Procedures for Investigation and Resolution of Discrimination/ Harassment, Sexual Harassment or Retaliation Complaints
Any members of the College community who has observed or has been involved in an incident of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or retaliation will usually wish to attempt informal resolution of the matter first. Resources for informal resolution include: Office of the Dean of the College, Dean of Student Affairs Office, and Human Resources. If the matter cannot be satisfactorily resolved through such informal communications, or if an individual wishes to file a formal complaint, the following process should be employed:
When a student, or any other member of the College community, believes that he or she has been discriminated against, harassed, sexually harassed, or retaliated against by a member of the community (including faculty, staff, and students), the complainant should notify the Dean of Student Affairs Office, the Office of the Dean of the College, or Human Resources.
All members of the College community have an obligation to make sure that complaints about discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or retaliation are directed to the appropriate administrative office for investigation and evaluation.
Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the date of the alleged misconduct, and a written complaint is required. Accommodations can be made in circumstances where this is not possible. The accused will be notified of the substance of the complaint.
Complaints about Students
Upon receipt of complaint against a student, an administrative committee including members of the Dean of Student Affairs Office or the Office of the Dean of the College will investigate the circumstances of the complaint and make a recommendation to the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean of the College, that (a) reviews the facts of the case, (b) determines whether a disciplinary violation has occurred, and (c) recommends sanction for any such violation. In appropriate circumstances, the committee may, in consultation with the vice president for administration, employ the services of the ombuds officer, who will conduct a thorough investigation. During the investigation, a designated staff member will act as a support for the student reporting the incident and another staff member will serve as a support for the accused student. The Dean of Campus Life organizes logistical components of the investigation and acts as a resource to answer questions regarding the investigation or process. At the conclusion of an investigation, a report is generated and shared directly with the president. Designated members of the Dean of Students Affairs Office or Office of the Dean of the College will meet individually with the accused and accuser to discuss the results of the investigation, and implement any applicable sanctions as recommended; sanctions vary and are determined by the severity of the violation. As in all cases appeals for administrative decisions may be directed to the Student Judiciary Board; however, in cases of ombuds investigations, appeals will go directly to the president.
Complaints about Faculty or Staff
Complaints of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or retaliation by a faculty or staff member shall be investigated according to the Bard College Employee Handbook found on the Human Resources website http://www.bard.edu/about/employment/handbook/.
The College has an independent obligation to investigate potential misconduct, even if a complainant does not want to initiate an official process. Therefore, absolute confidentiality cannot be promised with respect to a complaint of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or retaliation. The College wishes, however, to create an environment in which legitimate complaints are encouraged, while also protecting the privacy of all involved in an investigation. Complaints about violations of these policies will therefore be handled in strict confidence, with facts made available only to those who need to know in order for the College to promptly and thoroughly investigate and resolve the matter.
Bard College is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression. The College’s policy against discrimination, harassment, or retaliation is not intended to stifle this freedom, nor will it be permitted to do so. Prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, however, are neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom, and such conduct is incompatible with the values of this College. To ensure that academic freedom considerations are properly considered in any investigation and resolution of a complaint, the Office of the Dean of the College will be consulted and appoint a designee to be added to any investigative body for any complaint that appears to raise questions about academic freedom or appropriate pedagogy.
Members of the Bard College community are always subject to local, state, and federal laws, and nothing in these procedures is intended to limit or postpone the right of an individual to file a complaint or charge with appropriate federal, state, or local departments or agencies. An individual is not required to use this complaint resolution procedure before pursuing other remedies.