Harassment, Discrimination and Stalking Policy
Harassment, Discrimination and Stalking Policy*
*Concerns of gender-based harassment, discrimination or stalking should refer to the Gender Based Misconduct policy and procedures at https://www.bard.edu/genderequity/policy/.
Discrimination and harassment of any kind, will not be tolerated. Those believing that they have been unlawfully harassed or discriminated against on the basis of their 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, should contact the Dean of Student Affairs Office, Human Resources, or Office of Safety and Security.
Any person who feels uncomfortable, compromised, or otherwise unable to file a complaint through the channels set forth below 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 at 888-323-4198; 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 which 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. 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.
Discrimination is the unlawful and intentional act of unfair treatment of a person based 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-or offender status.
Unwelcome, hostile, or inappropriate conduct directed toward an individual because of their 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.
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.
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 further this policy. This may include complainants, respondents, witnesses, and other reporting persons.
Procedures for Investigation and Resolution of Non-gender based Discrimination, Harassment, Stalking or Retaliation Complaints
Any members of the College community who has observed or has been involved in an incident of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may wish to attempt informal resolution of the matter first. Resources for informal resolution include: Office of the Dean of the College, Bard Community Response Team, 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 they have been discriminated against, harassed, stalked 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, stalking, 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 an external investigator, 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 Students 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 external investigations, appeals will go directly to the President.
Complaints about Faculty or Staff
Complaints of discrimination, harassment, stalking, or retaliation by a faculty or staff member shall be investigated according to the Bard College Employee Handbook found on the Human Resources website https://www.bard.edu/humanresources/forms/.
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.
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, stalking 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.