Sexual Harassment

The Academy takes the issue of sexual harassment very seriously. Students, staff and faculty are urged to adhere to standards established by state and federal regulations.
The Academy recognizes that sexual harassment undermines the integrity of the academic and work environment, and prevents its victims and their peers from achieving their full potential. All members of the Academy community are entitled to work and study in an atmosphere free from sexual overtures or innuendos that are unsolicited and unwelcome. It is the particular responsibility of those members of the Academy community who hold positions of authority over others to avoid actions that are or can be considered sexually abusive or unprofessional.

Consensual and Therapeutic Relationships

The Academy strongly discourages faculty/students and staff/faculty or students entering into a romantic/sexual relationship while an instructional or professional relationship exists. Engaging in a romantic/sexual relationship with any student for whom a faculty member has, or should expect to have in the future, academic, instructional, evaluative, or supervisory responsibility is unacceptable, as is academic or clinical supervision of any student with whom a faculty member has a sexual/romantic relationship. Faculty members are asked to disclose to the Administration if a dating relationship does develop between themselves and a student. Doing so will not only help the Administration protect the student(s) but the faculty member(s) as well.

Additionally, the college discourages students and faculty from having a therapeutic relationship anywhere
other than in a professional, treatment office setting.

Harassment: While it is not easy to define precisely what harassment is, it includes: slurs, epithets, threats,
derogatory comments, visual depictions, unwelcome jokes and teasing.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and/or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which: 1) makes submission to or rejection of such conduct either an explicit or implicit basis for employment and/or academic decisions affecting the individual; or 2) unreasonably interferes with the individual’s employment or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Conduct which falls into the definition of sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature such as patting, pinching or unnecessary touching.
  • overt or implied threats against an individual to induce him or her to perform sexual favors or to engage in an unwelcome sexual relationship.
  • verbal harassment or abuse of a sexual nature, including intimating by way of suggestion a desire for sexual relations, or making jokes or remarks of a sexual nature to or in front of a person who finds them offensive.
  • use of sexually suggestive terms or gestures to describe a person’s body, clothing or sexual activities.
    displaying or posting offensive sexually suggestive pictures or materials in the work place.

Further Clarification of Sexual Harassment of Students

Sexual harassment can take two forms: quid pro quo and hostile environment.
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when a school employee or faculty member causes a student/employee to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct in order to participate in a school program or activity. It can also occur when an employee causes a student to believe that the employee will make an educational decision based on whether or not the student submits to unwelcome sexual conduct. For example, when a teacher threatens to fail a student unless the student agrees to date the teacher, it is quid pro quo harassment. It does not matter whether the student refuses to submit to the teacher’s demands and suffers the threatened harm, or does what the teacher wants and thus avoids the harm. In both cases, this act of harassment by the school employee is unlawful.
Hostile environment harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects a student’s/employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational/work environment.

Retaliation and Malicious or Frivolous Allegations

The Academy encourages reporting of all incidents of harassment, regardless of who the offender may be, or the offender’s relationship to the school. Please know that the Academy will make certain, to the best of its ability, that no harm comes to a student or staff member for reporting incidents of harassment. The school will take steps to prevent any retaliation by the alleged harasser or anyone else at the school. Federal regulations prohibit retaliation and students and staff members can be assured that the school will take strong responsive actions, if necessary. Moreover, The Academy recognizes allegations of harassment can cause serious damage to the personal reputation and career of the accused. If it is determined that a harassment allegation is malicious or frivolous in nature, the complainant will be subject to disciplinary action.

Confidentiality

The Academy recognizes that confidentiality is important. Anyone who suspects that he or she has been a victim of harassment is encouraged to report the matter. The school will make every effort to respect the confidentiality and privacy of all parties involved. When looking into the matter, particularly when a grievance is filed, the school will pay attention to any due process or other rights the accused student or teacher might have. However, the school will make sure that doing so does not interfere with the protections provided to the complainant by Title IX. Sometimes, a student complaining of harassment may ask that the school, in its investigation, not use his or her name. Similarly, a student may even ask that the school take no action. In these situations, the school’s ability to deal with the alleged harassment may be limited. However, the school may still be able to take some steps to address the matter. For example, the school will, at its minimum, report a sexual assault or other possible criminal activities to the police, even without a complaint from the student. In less severe cases, the school will at least keep track of the incident so that it can identify and take action against repeat offenders. However, when faced with a request for confidentiality or to take no action, the school must consider whether the alleged harassment may affect other students. If so, the school may need to take action to prevent those students from being harassed.

If the school discovers an incident of harassment, it has an obligation to stop it and make sure that it does not happen again. Sanctions may include appropriate disciplinary and/or remedial action, warning, censure, suspension, or dismissal from employment or from the program.

Complaint Procedure: Sexual Harassment

Any student, staff member, faculty member, or other person who believes he or she has been unlawfully harassed should immediately report it to a responsible school official. These include the Executive Director, Academic Dean, Clinic Director, Student Dean, Admin VP , or in the case of an employee, his or her immediate supervisor. Generally, an incident should be reported as soon as possible but within 180 days from the date of occurrence. The school will move quickly to determine what happened. When a student reports sexual harassment, the school will explain how its grievance and investigation procedures work and offer the student the opportunity to use them.

Levels of Resolution

Consultation
A student or staff member may consult with the Executive Director, Academic Dean, or Admin VP to discuss issues related to sexual or other harassment, whether or not “harassment” actually occurred, and whether the person seeking information is a complainant, a person who believes his or her own actions may be the subject of criticism (even if unwarranted), or a third party. Often there is a desire that a consultation be confidential or “off the record.” This can usually be achieved when individuals discuss concerns about harassment without identifying the other person(s) involved, and sometimes even without identifying themselves. The level of confidentiality depends on what legal protections are necessary for the safety of the campus community.
Direct
If the student or staff member feels comfortable doing so, he or she should confront the harasser directly, describe the offensive behavior as objectively as possible, and communicate to him or her that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop.

Informal Resolution

  • A “Notice of Concern Form” will be completed by the school official first hearing the complaint.
  • The “Concern” form will then be submitted to the Executive Director who will act as facilitator to attempt to mediate and resolve complaints.
  • Activities undertaken toward this end include fact gathering through fact-finding interviews and discussions with the complainant and respondent as well as with other school officials.
  • Informal resolution may be attained through mutual consent, clarification of perceptions, insuring both parties are comfortable with future interaction, and may include remedial measures or disciplinary sanctions.
  • Complaints following the Informal Resolution format will attempt to be resolved within a two-week period.

Formal Resolution

  • If there is no satisfactory informal resolution, the complainant may then follow the Academy’s Grievance Procedure at step 3 by filing a formal written grievance with the Executive Director, on a complaint form provided by the Academy. (The Grievance Policy is published in the Student, Employee and Faculty Handbooks).
  • The Executive Director will assign an impartial investigator to assist in investigating the complaint.
  • The parties involved will have the opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence.
  • The investigator may independently seek out witnesses or other information.
  • The investigation will be treated seriously, afforded high priority and will be completed in a timely fashion. Involved parties will be kept apprised of the process.
  • Upon completion, all parties will be given notification of the outcome of the complaint, including determinations of credibility and findings of facts based on credible evidence.
  • Information will be released to any other parties on a “need to know” basis only.
  • If harassment has been deemed as such, the school will take steps to prevent its recurrence and will correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, where and when appropriate.
  • Any party dissatisfied with the process or decisions resulting from the investigation will have an opportunity to appeal the findings through the Academy’s Grievance Procedure at step 4 (The Grievance Procedure is published as described above).

Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Sex Offenses

Sexual Harassment Prevention: Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment. Clear communication that harassment will not be tolerated is essential. The Academy is committed to providing community-wide awareness of its complaint procedure to ensure that the school takes immediate and appropriate action, and
that each member of the school community feels comfortable bringing any issue to the school’s attention when necessary.

Non-Discrimination

The Academy does not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, national or ethnic origin, religion, disability, medical condition, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or status as a disabled veteran in all rights, privileges, educational policies, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school.