Title IX Grievance Procedures for Complaints of Sex Discrimination (including Sexual Harassment), Sexual Assault and Violence, Stalking and Domestic Violence
I. Non-Discrimination Policy; Designated Title IX Coordinator
Fordham University is an academic institution that, in compliance with federal, state, and local laws, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sex,gender, national origin, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, citizenship status, veteran status, disability, or any other basis prohibited by law. No otherwise qualified person shall be discriminated against in any programs or activities of the University because of disability. Likewise, no person shall be discriminated against on the basis of sex. Fordham University does not knowingly support or patronize any organization that engages in unlawful discrimination.
This policy is strictly enforced by the University and alleged violations receive prompt attention and appropriate corrective action. The University will take steps to prevent discrimination and harassment, to prevent the recurrence of discrimination and harassment, and to remedy the discriminatory effects of discrimination on victims and others, as appropriate.
Complaints of discrimination by students against other students should be brought to the complainant’s Dean of Students for handling. All other complaints involving students and employees, only employees, or third parties should be brought to the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance for handling.
The Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance is the University’s compliance officer for all forms of discrimination and is specifically designated as the University’s Title IX Coordinator, responsible for the University’s Title IX compliance efforts, including sex and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and violence, stalking, domestic violence, retaliation and athletics. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX and its implementing regulation may be referred to the designated Title IX Coordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. The Director may be contacted at:
Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance
Administration Building, Room 114
Rose Hill Campus
Members of the University community may also refer to the student brochure Campus Assault and Relationship Education (CARE) for detailed information on what steps to take to protect oneself and others from sexual violence before it happens, or in the aftermath of a sexual violence incident.
II. Who May Use These Grievance Procedures
These procedures provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints by students, employees, beneficiaries (i.e., applicants for admission or employment, and unions representing University employees) and third parties, alleging any form of prohibited sex discrimination against students, employees and/or third parties. In cases of alleged criminal or otherwise unlawful conduct, the University urges victims also to pursue charges with the University’s Office of Safety and Security, the local police and the courts (see Section VIII, below). Many University offices provide assistance and support services to victims of discrimination and violence (see Section VII, below).
III. Prohibited Conduct Covered by These Grievance Procedures
A. Unlawful sex and gender discrimination is any action that denies a person access to, or the benefits of, any program or activity or employment opportunity, solely on the basis of sex or gender.
B. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a program, course or activity;
2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting an individual; or
3. such conduct is sufficiently pervasive, offensive or abusive to have the purpose or reasonable effect of interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
1. physical assault;
2. unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or propositions of a sexual nature;
3. direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances is a condition of employment, promotion, good grades, recommendations, etc.;
4. unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which an individual regards as undesirable or offensive, including, but not necessarily limited to, sexually explicit jokes, statements and questions or remarks about sexual activity or experience.
C. Sexual assault and sexual violence refer to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will, or when a person is incapable of giving consent due to the use of drugs or alcohol, or is unable to give consent due to a disability. The University defines rape and sexual abuse as follows:
1. Rape: the carnal knowledge of a person forcibly and/or against that person’s will, or not forcibly or against that person’s will, where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. If a person engages in non-consensual sexual intercourse due to physical force, coercion or threat (actual or implied) the act is considered rape. A person who is asleep, unconscious, physically helpless or impaired due to drug or alcohol consumption, mentally incapacitated and/or disabled, is considered unable to consent.
2. Sexual Abuse: any actual or attempted non-consensual sexual activity, including, but not limited to attempted intercourse, sexual touching and certain forms of exhibitionism.
These definitions include, but are not limited to, any form of non-consensual intercourse and/or sexual activity, actual or attempted, by person(s) known or unknown to the victim. Non-consensual activity includes, but is not limited to, situations in which the victim is unable to consent because he/she is mentally incapacitated, is physically helpless due to drug or alcohol consumption or is unconscious.
D. Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that makes that person afraid or concerned for his or her safety. Stalking occurs by frightening, unwanted communication by any means, including by phone, mail or e-mail, or internet social networks. Threats may be direct or indirect, and conduct may include following or writing to a victim.
E. Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior, usually involving an intimate relationship, that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the other partner. Domestic violence may include dating violence based on the type and frequency of interaction of the relationship. Victims of such violence can seek orders of protection from both the family and criminal courts.
F. Sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence are also crimes under New York State Law and persons convicted of such crimes can be subject to severe penalties, including imprisonment for up to 25 years.
1. Sex offenses are defined in the New York State Penal Law and include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Sexual Misconduct -- sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct without such other person's consent.
b. Rape -- sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion or with another who is physically helpless, mentally disabled, incapacitated or incapable of consent because of age or other factors.
c. Criminal Sexual Acts -- engaging in oral or anal sexual conduct by forcible compulsion or with one who is physically helpless, mentally disabled, or incapacitated, or incapable of consent because of age or other factors.
d. Forcible Touching -- for no legitimate purpose, forcibly touching sexual or intimate parts of another person for degrading or abusing such persons, or for gratifying the actor’s sexual desire.
e. Sexual Abuse -- unlawful sexual contact with one who is incapable of consent because of age or other factors.
f. Aggravated Sexual Abuse -- unlawful insertion of foreign objects into the vagina, urethra, penis or rectum of another who is incapable of consent because of age or other factors.
2. Stalking as defined by the New York State Penal includes, but is not limited to:
a. Repeated threats to the health, safety or property of a person, or repeated contacts or following of a person after being clearly told not to do so.
b. A course of conduct that intentionally places another person in fear of physical injury, death or the commission of a sex offense.
3. Domestic violence is defined by the New York Penal Law to be a pattern of abusive behavior, usually involving an intimate relationship, that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the other partner. Domestic violence may include dating violence based on the type and frequency of interaction of the relationship.
IV. Grievance Process: Reporting, Investigation, Resolution
1. Complaints of discrimination by students against other students should be brought to the complainant’s Dean of Students for handling. All other complaints involving students and employees, only employees, or third parties should be brought to the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance for handling
As part of the University’s overall efforts to resolve incidents of sex discrimination of any kind and to prevent future incidents, it is expected that any individual with supervisory authority who obtains knowledge of an incident of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual violence, stalking or domestic violence, will advise the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator, if the incident is workplace related, or the Dean of Students (RH) or the Dean of Students (LC) if the incident is between students. The Dean of Students (LC) is the contact person regarding students at the Westchester campus.
2. Individuals are encouraged to report all sexual offenses, stalking, and/or domestic violence incidents immediately either to safety and security, the respective dean of students, residential life, the health center, or the counseling center. An incident report will be written and the dean of students or another designated University administrator will provide necessary assistance, information on medical and counseling resources and information related to formal reporting procedures.
In a sexual offense case, the victim may notify the Office of Safety and Security whether or not he/she goes to the hospital for a rape examination. However, a hospital visit is necessary in order to collect evidence, through a rape examination, in the event that the victim decides to file criminal charges. Personal information about the victim and records will remain confidential insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s right to investigate allegations of misconduct and take corrective action where appropriate.
3. Student victims of a sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic violence by another student(s) are encouraged to report the incident(s) and use the resources of the dean of students on the campus where the incident occurred or one of the administrators identified in Section VII, below. An initial discussion will give the victim the opportunity to recount what has taken place and discuss how best to proceed. The dean or administrator will review the University’s procedures and possible sanctions, the formal reporting procedures of the local police agency, and available medical and counseling resources. In addition, options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living situations can be discussed and provided if so requested, and such changes are reasonably available. It is at all times the victim’s decision whether he/she will file a complaint or continue with any form of resolution. Nonetheless, the University may, under certain circumstances be required to report and/or file a complaint to external authorities, and it may elect to conduct its own investigation when the University deems it is in the interest of the community to do so. Confidentiality will be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s right to investigate allegations of misconduct and take corrective action where appropriate.
B. Investigation and Resolution
Persons who believe they are victims of discrimination prohibited by Title IX may elect to use an informal process to resolve their issue and/or a formal process. Complaints will be investigated immediately upon receipt. The investigation will be adequate, reliable and impartial. Both parties will have an equal opportunity to provide witnesses and other information to the investigator who will make his/her determination based upon the evidentiary standard of a preponderance of the evidence, i.e., a finding that it is more likely than not that the alleged misconduct occurred or did not occur. Remedial action appropriate to the nature and severity of any misconduct found will follow. Interim sanctions may be imposed, such as changing academic or living situations, if requested or if the University deems them to be necessary to secure personal safety or a viable academic environment for either party.
Possible final sanctions range from a letter of reprimand to suspension or expulsion from the University or termination of employment by the University. Both the complainant and the accused will be advised in writing of the outcome of the process. A complainant or an accused person may appeal from a resolution achieved by either the informal or formal process. While the time to resolve a reported incident will vary from case to case, depending on the specific facts and circumstances, it is expected that in most cases complaints may be resolved, including time for appeal, within 60 days.
1. Informal Approach
A faculty, staff member, or student of the University, believing that he/she may be experiencing a form of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, other than sexual violence, may attempt to resolve the situation personally if he/she is comfortable in approaching the individual whose conduct is being questioned. If not so inclined, faculty should discuss their concerns and seek the advice of the department head; administrators and staff of a supervisor; and students of a member of the student affairs staff. Third parties should consult the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance. In cases where the alleged harasser is the department head or supervisor, faculty, administrators and staff should discuss the matter and seek the advice of the next highest level of authority. After consultation with the Director of Institutional Equity Compliance, the Dean of Students (RH), or Dean of Students (LC), the advisor may assist the individual in reviewing the situation in the context in which it occurred, aid the individual in identifying the problem, and review and implement options for resolution. The Dean of Students (LC) is the contact person regarding students at the Westchester campus.
The complainant may withdraw from the informal process at any time; however, that complainant may still proceed with the formal process for investigation and resolution described below.
In cases of sexual violence, the U.S. Department of Education has made it clear that mediation is not appropriate, even on a voluntary basis. In cases of sexual violence between students, the complainant should report the issue to the Dean of Students (RH), or the Dean of Students (LC). Students at the Westhcester campus should contact the Dean of Students (LC). In all other cases involving a student and a member of the University community, the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance should be contacted.
2. Formal Approach
If a matter cannot be resolved through the informal approach, or if the complainant chooses not to proceed informally, or if the complainant is a third party, the complainant may seek the assistance of an official Investigator. In cases of sex discrimination between students, the official Investigator will be the Dean of Students (RH), the Dean of Students (LC) or a designated Administrator. Students at the Westchester campus should contact the Dean of Students (LC). In other cases, the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance will serve as Investigator. The role of the Investigator will be to impartially and equitably fact-find, review, and resolve the complaint. The Investigator will handle complaints independently and will follow certain procedures:
a. Speak with the complainant and the individual accused to determine the nature of the incident and the context in which it occurred.
b. Conduct a discreet inquiry into the complaint, gathering and examining relevant facts, and interviewing witnesses as appropriate.
c. Depending on the nature and severity of the incident, other University officials may be involved in the investigation.
d. If the results of the investigation indicate that misconduct has occurred, the Dean of Students (RH) or the Dean of Students (LC) will determine the appropriate disciplinary sanctions. In the case of faculty and administrators, the Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance will make recommendations for resolution, including disciplinary action, to the appropriate Area Vice President; for staff, to the Executive Director of Human Resources Management.
e. Provide written notice to both parties of the outcome of the investigation.
f. In so far as practical, and to the extent appropriate to the circumstances, information gathered during the investigation, and the processes of resolution will be kept confidential.
g. Prepare and retain a record of the complaint, the investigation and findings, and the resolution.
Students subject to disciplinary sanctions that are appealable to the University Judicial Council (UJC) will follow the grievance process stated in the Student Handbook. Student complainants may file a written appeal to the Vice President for Student Affairs. Faculty who are subject to sanctions may file their appeal as a grievance with the Faculty Hearing Committee. Administrators may pursue their appeal as a grievance using the process outlined in the Handbook for Administrators. Union members may appeal following the grievance procedures outlined in their respective collective bargaining agreements.
All appeals will be conducted in an impartial and equitable manner by an impartial decision maker.
Sex discrimination is always a serious matter, but incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual violence are a particularly grave concern for both the complainant and the accused. The procedures designed to deal with such incidents must be handled with the utmost sensitivity. To the extent practical and appropriate to the circumstances, investigatory and resolution procedures, as well as appeal procedures, shall be held in strict confidence to reasonably insure the privacy of the parties concerned (complainant, accused, and witnesses, if any) and to offer as much protection as reasonably possible to the careers and reputations of the parties involved.
VI. Retaliation Prohibited
Any member of the University community who attempts to interfere with, restrain, coerce, discriminate against, or harass (whether overtly or covertly) any individual responsibly pursuing a complaint of sex discrimination of any kind, will be subject to prompt and appropriate disciplinary action.
An individual who brings a reasonable charge of sex discrimination in good faith, even if it may be erroneous, will not be subject to discipline. However, the use of this policy for false, malicious, or frivolous purposes, is strictly prohibited. Any student, faculty, or staff member who brings a false, malicious, or frivolous charge of sex discrimination against another member of the University community may be subject to disciplinary action.
VII. Resources: Whom to Contact
A. For incidents between two or more students:
Ms. Michele C. Burris Keating Hall 100 (718) 817-4750
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Mr. Christopher N. Rodgers McGinley Center 242 (718) 817-4755
Assistant Vice President/Dean of Students at Rose Hill
Mr. Keith Eldredge LL 408 (212) 636-6250
Dean of Students at Lincoln Center
(also serves as the contact person
for the Weschester Campus)
Kimberly A. Russell Loschert Hall-Bsmt (718) 817-3080
Assistant Dean of Students/Director
of Residential Life at Rose Hill
Ms. Jenifer D. Campbell MCM 108C (212) 636-7100
Director of Residential Life at Lincoln Center
B. For all other incidents involving students, faculty, staff or third parties:
Anastasia Coleman ADN 114 (718) 817-3112
Interim Director of Institutional Equity and
Compliance (Title IX Coordinator)
Mr. Jeffrey L. Gray Keating Hall 100 (718) 817-4750
Senior Vice President for Student Affairs
Stephen Freedman, Ph.D. ADN 229 (718) 817-3040
Provost LL 224 (212) 636-6263
Mr. Michael Mineo FMH 506 (718) 817-4931
Executive Director, Human Resources
Mr. Grant Grastorf FWC 147 (914) 367-3202
Academic Operations Administrator
C. Additional Resources
Rose Hill Counseling Center O'Hare-No Wing Bsmt (718) 817-3725
Lincoln Center Counseling Center MCM 211 (212) 636-6225
Rose Hill Campus Ministry MGC 102 (718) 817-4500
Lincoln Center Campus Ministry LL 217 (212) 636-6267
Westchester Campus Ministry Westchester 133 (914) 367-3420
Human Resources Department FMH 506 (718) 817-4931
Office of Legal Counsel ADN 111 (718) 817-3112
VIII. Reporting Procedures for Local Police Departments
A victim of a sexual offense, stalking, and/or domestic violence always has legal recourse outside the University. If civil or criminal proceedings are filed, the University reserves the right to conduct its own investigation and proceedings notwithstanding the status or resolution of any civil or criminal proceedings.
The reporting of the incident to the police involves several aspects. If a victim calls the police to respond to the scene, a uniformed officer in a patrol car will go to the victim’s location. The victim may request that a specific gender officer respond, but there is no guarantee that a specific gender officer will be available. The police, however, try to accommodate the victim. For incidents involving possible sex crimes, the uniformed officers will generally notify a detective or a specialized unit staffed with personnel who are trained to gather information about sex crimes and explain the investigative procedures of the police department, including possible options available to victims of sex crimes. The local precinct detective squad will investigate stalking and domestic violence offenses.
In sex offense cases, the officers who respond to the call will want to examine the scene of the crime and obtain evidence (e.g., clothes, sheets). If the perpetrator is known to the victim, the police will want to interview the perpetrator and any witnesses to the incident. They will also encourage the filing of a formal complaint. If a victim wishes to press criminal charges against the perpetrator, a hospital visit should be made as soon as possible. It is best that physical evidence be collected at the hospital immediately. The police will encourage a hospital visit at the time of the incident and can assist the victim in securing necessary transportation to the hospital. If charges are filed but no arrest has been made, a victim may have the option to decline further prosecution. If the perpetrator already has been arrested and indicted, withdrawing charges may not necessarily be an option for the victim.
Anyone who suspects that someone on campus is in danger, should immediately notify the Fordham University Office of Safety and Security at (718) 817-2222.
Updated on Monday, August 20, 2012