Title IX and Non-Discrimination Notice

Manhattan College is committed to ensuring equal access to its educational programs and employment opportunities without regard to sex, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status. Manhattan College is committed to providing an environment not impaired by sex and gender-based misconduct, including sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs, activities and employment practices. Therefore, students, employees, applicants and other members of the Manhattan College community (including without limitation, vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subject to discrimination or harassment or otherwise treated adversely based upon a protected characteristic. This includes, without limitation, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. 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 policy applies to conduct occurring on campus, during any College program or activity on or off-campus or abroad, including academic programs, admissions, athletics, recruitment, financial aid, housing, employment, as well as certain off-campus conduct perpetrated or suffered by a Manhattan College student, employee, staff member, or third party member of the College community.

The College encourages individuals to report all gender-based misconduct immediately to the Title IX coordinator, one of the deputy coordinators or another College staff member. The College will fully and promptly investigate all allegations of gender-based misconduct and will impose disciplinary measures, or take similar actions, as may be appropriate.

Title IX and the College strictly prohibits retaliation. Any person who attempts to penalize, intimidate or threaten a person who makes a report or cooperates in an investigation of gender-based misconduct, harassment or discrimination will be disciplined. Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of retaliation should immediately contact the Title IX coordinator or one of the deputy coordinators.

This College policy is in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and harassment. These laws include Title IX (prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sex), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Administrative Code. 

Definitions

Sex and Gender-Based Misconduct encompasses a broad range of behaviors including sex and/or gender discrimination which may or may not be sexual in nature. Sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence such as domestic, dating violence and stalking are other types of gender-based misconduct prohibited by law and this policy. Gender-based misconduct can be perpetrated by men or women and can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Examples of gender-based misconduct include pressure to date or engage in a romantic or intimate relationship, unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging; inappropriate remarks about a person’s gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation; inappropriate sexual innuendo or humor; unnecessary or unwelcome references to parts of the body; and pressure for or forced sexual activities.

Sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX and by Manhattan College policy. Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests to engage in sexual conduct or for sexual favors, and other behavior of a sexual nature where:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education or employment;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual; and/or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or demeaning educational or employment environment.

Sexual harassment can be verbal, visual or physical and can occur regardless of the relationship, position, gender, or sexual orientation of the parties involved. It can be overt (e.g., in a suggestion that a person can get a higher grade by submitting to sexual advances), or implied from conduct or circumstances. Sexual harassment can also consist of unwelcome attempts to make an educational or professional relationship into a personal one. It may include severe, persistent and pervasive unwelcome sexual flirtation or inappropriate or derogatory language, including jokes involving individuals or classes of people, or persistent requests for dates. A single incident or few incidents may not necessarily amount to harassment, but a single extreme incident could constitute prohibited discrimination or harassment. Sexual harassment can also include the display of offensive materials, unwelcome physical contact, or serious physical abuse such as sexual assault or rape. 

Sexual Assault is any non-consensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks or breasts, or any form of sexual intercourse without consent. Rape is a form of sexual assault.

Domestic Violence may include violent acts by a current or former spouse; by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; by a person who is or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse; by a person similarly situated to a spouse; between a parent and child; between members of the same household in an intimate relationship; or by any other person similarly situated. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional or economic in nature.

Dating Violence can be violence or abusive behavior used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. It can be violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social, romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined by factors such as the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved.

Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking may include the monitoring of an individual online or involve the use of social media, email or other technology. It may also include unwanted observation or surveillance.

Consent is voluntary and sober. It requires words or actions that show a voluntary willingness or agreement to engage in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is not present when one is incapable of consent, by reason of intoxication or incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol, when subject to coercion or threat of coercion, or subject to force. Consent to conduct does not occur when a person is incapable of evaluating the nature of the conduct, incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, a sexual act or other acts. Submission to conduct does not mean the conduct was welcome or consensual; in other words, the absence of “no” does not mean “yes.”

Just because someone has consented to certain sexual activities in the past does not mean that that person is consenting to sexual activity at present. Further, even if someone consents to certain types of sexual contact that does not mean that person also wants to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual activities.

Alcohol and Drug Use

The consumption of alcohol and other drugs can have unintended consequences and create an atmosphere of confusion as to whether consent was freely given. If students do consume alcohol or other substances they are encouraged to do so responsibly.

  • An individual’s consumption of alcohol or other drugs never places them at fault for being sexually assaulted or victimized by any other form of gender-based misconduct.

The College’s primary concern is for the safety and well-being of its students and other members of the College community. Therefore it is imperative that you report sexual assault, harassment and other forms of gender-based misconduct, even if those involved may be violating other College policies, such as those regarding underage alcohol consumption. The College expects that members of the community will look out for each other and immediately report troubling behavior so that the College can put a stop to it, address the effects of the behavior and prevent its recurrence. If you are not sure whether misconduct has occurred please contact the Title IX coordinator or one of the other individuals listed.

Safe Bystander Interventions

Observers of a sexual assault or other types of gender or intimate partner based misconduct such as domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, may be able to help the victim. However, it is important that you do so in a positive manner and in a way that keeps you and the victim safe. Appropriate interventions will depend on the situation. Safe and appropriate options for bystanders may include calling the public safety office in violent or potentially violent situations, intervening if you believe someone is in a potentially uncomfortable or unsafe situation, and/or encouraging the target of such conduct to report the incident and seek support.

Retaliation

Manhattan College will not tolerate retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited by Title IX. Any attempt by a member of or visitor to the Manhattan College community to intimidate, penalize, or threaten a person who reports or who is otherwise involved or cooperating in, a report of discrimination, misconduct, or harassment is strictly prohibited. Any person found to have participated in an act of retaliation will be disciplined accordingly. In some cases knowingly making a false report of discrimination or harassment can amount to retaliation. 

Procedures

Manhattan College’s greatest concern is for the safety and physical and mental health of all its students, faculty, staff, and guests and is committed to maintaining a welcoming and supportive educational climate. Therefore, the following procedures are available to all students, staff, administrators and faculty who feel they have experienced or witnessed gender-based misconduct, including sexual harassment and gender discrimination as discussed above.

The College will promptly and equitably respond to all issues involving gender-based misconduct. It may be necessary to adjust on a case-by-case basis, the procedures and timeframes discussed in this section due to the nature and complexity of the issues, the parties involved, and the College’s academic calendar. Both the complainant and the accused will be notified of any procedural or timeframe adjustments.

Reporting Misconduct

All members of the College community, including students, staff, faculty, vendors, and visitors who experience, witness, or hear about gender-based misconduct, including sexual harassment and sexual assault, are encouraged immediately to contact the College’s Title IX coordinator, Vicki Cowan, in person at 305 Memorial Hall, by phone at (718) 862-7392, or by email at vicki.cowan@manhattan.edu, or reach out to any of deputy Title IX coordinators.

In an emergency please call 911 or the Public Safety office at (718) 862-7333. There is no time limit on how long after an incident you can make a report of misconduct. However, the College’s ability to respond to a report may be hindered by the length of time between the alleged misconduct and the report itself.

Once the College is informed of alleged misconduct, the Title IX coordinator or her designee will notify the complainant and the accused of their rights pursuant to Title IX. The Title IX coordinator will help the parties navigate the formal complaint process, should you choose to engage it, access appropriate medical, emotional or academic services, discuss possible interim arrangements during the investigation and resolution phases, understand your rights, and answer your questions along the way. The College is obligated by Title IX to promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigate and resolve all complaints, whether made formally or informally. The Title IX coordinator or her designee will therefore respond to every report of alleged sex or gender-based misconduct, facilitate the implementation of measures to stop the behavior, and take steps to prevent its recurrence.

If you have been the victim or target of a sexual assault or other type of sexual misconduct, you are also encouraged to contact the NYPD in addition to the College. The local NYPD precinct is the 50th Precinct and is located 3450 Kingsbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463 and can be reached at (718) 543-5700. You do not have to file a report with the police, but if you would like to do so, someone from the College can accompany you to the local police precinct to support you through the process. In certain circumstances, depending on the type of conduct alleged and the parties involved, the College may be independently obligated to contact the police.

Confidentiality

Any College official (e.g. faculty member, residence life staff member, dean) informed of possible discrimination, harassment or sex or gender-based misconduct must report it to the Title IX coordinator. Certain College officers who serve in a privileged professional capacity (e.g. Counseling Center staff, the College Physician and the College Chaplain) are not necessarily bound by this requirement, except as required by law.

Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX coordinator and those assisting with an investigation and those participating in any disciplinary proceedings, will make all reasonable efforts to maintain confidentiality and respect the privacy of those involved. The College understands that reports of this nature can be difficult, emotional and stressful. Therefore the College will only share information as is needed to conduct a prompt, thorough and effective investigation. All members of the College community should understand that even if the complainant asks the College not to pursue an investigation, or decides to attempt to resolve the situation informally, the College must still investigate the allegations and address the conduct as may be necessary.

Investigation

After the receipt of a report of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, or sexual or gender-based misconduct, the Title IX coordinator or one of the deputy coordinators will meet with the complainant to gather as much information as possible. The Title IX coordinator and/or the designee(s) will also meet with any witnesses or individuals who may have information about the conduct at issue.

If after this initial fact-finding phase the College determines that a violation of College policy may have occurred, it will proceed with a full investigation. The complainant and the accused will be notified that an investigation is underway and will be afforded the opportunity to meet independently with the Title IX coordinator or the designee to review this procedure and to have his/her rights explained. The Title IX coordinator or the designee(s) will also meet with the accused to listen to his or her side of the story and to gather any evidence he or she may offer to better understand the nature of the conduct at issue. The complainant and the accused will have the opportunity to submit names of individuals with knowledge of the situation and the College will follow up with those individuals. The Title IX coordinator or the designee will counsel the complainant and the accused on academic and other emotional supports available.

During an investigation, the Title IX coordinator or an appropriate designee may ask for written statements and other documents or evidence which may aid in the investigation. Therefore, it is important to preserve all evidence associated with the conduct or that you think might help others understand what happened. Such evidence can include text messages, Facebook or Instagram posts, photos, voicemails, emails or items of clothing.

Depending on the type of conduct and the parties involved, the College may unilaterally contact the NYPD. The College will continue its own investigation into the alleged conduct, regardless of whether or not the police decide to pursue their own investigation. The College will cooperate with all police investigations and will honor and enforce any judicial no-contact, restraining, or protective orders the parties may obtain outside the College process.

During the investigation process interim measures will be discussed with the parties and implemented as may be appropriate. Possible interim measures available to students, faculty, staff or other individuals participating in this process may include a change in class schedule, housing arrangements and/or work arrangements. All efforts will be made to minimize the impact that these interim measures have on the complainant.

In some cases mediation may be appropriate. Mediation is a process in which the College can arrange for the complainant and the accused to meet to see if they can resolve the situation with the assistance of a third party mediator who will attempt to help guide the accused and the complainant to a mutually acceptable outcome. The mediator will likely be an administrator and will be assigned by the College. Mediation is completely voluntary.

In cases involving a potential sexual assault or other forms of sexual violence or intimidation, however, mediation is not an appropriate option. Mediation will only be pursued with the consent of both the complainant and the accused. At any time during the mediation process the complainant or the accused may stop the mediation.

Both the accused and the complainant will be updated throughout the investigation process. Typically an investigation will take 60 days, but that may vary depending on the nature and complexity of a case. At the close of an investigation, the Title IX coordinator or the designee will prepare a brief report detailing the essential content of interviews and the pertinent evidence gathered. He or she will present that report to the appropriate vice president, dean or equivalent senior administrator. Both parties will be provided copies of that report. 

If, based on the report, ­­­­­the appropriate vice present, dean or equivalent senior administrator determines that it is reasonable to conclude that a violation of this policy occurred, (he/she) will recommend that the matter proceed to a hearing before a hearing officer designated by the College. 

If the case does not go to hearing, the College may institute appropriate supports for those involved and community-wide training and/or awareness efforts to prevent the sort of conduct alleged from occurring again. Even if the matter does go to a hearing, support and training may be provided.

Formal Hearing

If the matter is referred to a hearing officer, both the accused and the complainant will be informed of the date and time of the hearing. The accused and the complainant have the right to challenge the choice of hearing officer if the appointment of a specific hearing officer creates a real or perceived conflict of interest. Each party will have an opportunity to submit further evidence prior to the hearing and will be afforded the opportunity to review this additional evidence before the start of the hearing. Both parties will be notified of possible sanctions. The hearing will not be open to the College community at large.

At the hearing both parties will have the opportunity to present witnesses and testimony. The burden of proof will not be solely on any one party. Should the accused fail to attend the hearing, the hearing officer may proceed in absentia. The hearing officer will make the final determination about which witnesses will be heard, what evidence will be accepted, and matters relating to hearing procedures.

The hearing officer will make a determination based on the preponderance of the evidence, which means he or she will determine whether it is reasonable to conclude, based on the evidence available, that it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct occurred. Both parties may consult with legal representatives outside the hearing process, but lawyers will not be allowed to participate in the hearing process itself. The complainant and the accused will be notified in writing of the hearing officer’s determination and any penalty imposed; such notice will be provided on a simultaneous basis, to the extent feasible. The complainant will be informed of subsequent modifications to the sanctions, if any are made.

Appropriate disciplinary penalties will be determined according to the parties involved and the severity and/or duration of the conduct; an individual’s prior record can be taken into consideration in determining a penalty. Possible penalties include exclusion from certain College buildings, classes, residence halls, and College events as well as suspension, expulsion, and/or discharge from employment or enrollment. Individuals doing business at the College or third party vendors found to be in violation of this policy may be banned from the College and the College will notify their respective employers of all charges and disciplinary outcomes. Visitors may also be banned from the College.

Resolution and Appeal

Both the complainant and the accused have the right to appeal a hearing officer’s decision or penalty in certain limited circumstances, such as: (1) a party believes a procedural error substantially impacted the original finding or penalty; (2) a party has substantial new evidence that was not available during the investigation or hearing and which would substantially impact the original decision or penalty; or (3) a party feels that the penalty is substantially outside the scope or guidelines set by the Manhattan College Community Standards and Student and Faculty Code of Conduct.

Requests for an appeal must be made in writing, include the grounds for appeal, and be received by the Title IX coordinator within 10 days of notification of the hearing officer’s decision.

Appeals of the hearing administrator’s decision will be heard by an appellate officer. The appellate officer will be a neutral administrator assigned by the College in consultation with the Title IX coordinator; the appellate officer assigned will be determined based on the circumstances and the parties involved. All appellate decisions are final. Both parties will be informed of the outcome of any appeal.

Remedies

Depending on the nature of the allegations, possible supports and remedies for the complainant that could be implemented during an investigation/hearing/appeal as well as after its conclusion, may include, but are not limited to: providing an escort to ensure that the complainant feels safe traveling between work, school and home; ensuring the complainant and the accused do not attend the same classes, live in the same residence halls, or eat in the same dining halls; providing academic, counseling, or medical services; and arranging for the complainant to retake or withdraw from a course without penalty.

Corrective Action

The College will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that future harassment, discrimination and misconduct does not occur, and that the complainant and those who participated in the investigation and hearing process do not experience any form of retaliation. The College will also take appropriate steps to address the discriminatory effects of the misconduct including offering training programs, presentations that address issues of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and gender-based misconduct, as well as counseling services and academic support.

If you experience subsequent harassing, discriminatory, threatening or retaliatory conduct, you should immediately report it to the Title IX coordinator. Someone from the College will follow up with both parties after the resolution of the matter to determine whether there has been any new or recurring misconduct.

Should a complainant or any other individual experience continuing, additional or new forms of discrimination, harassment, misconduct, or retaliation he or she should immediately inform the Title IX coordinator or one of the designees.

Miscellaneous

The College reserves the right to reasonably adapt the time frames or processes described in this policy in light of the nature of the complaint and the time of year during which it was received, to ensure a full and fair investigation and resolution, or due to other similar significant factors.

If more than one College procedure can be used to address a matter, the College has the authority to determine which procedures will be followed.

Resources

*In an emergency, please call 911 or the College Public Safety office at (718) 862-7333 (available 24/7).

Fr. George H. Hill
College Chaplain
Miguel Hall, 1st floor
(718) 862-7972
george.hill@manhattan.edu

College Counseling Center
Miguel Hall, 5th floor
(718) 862-7394

Student Health Center
Alumni Hall 104
(718) 862-7217

RAPE Crisis Hotline
(914) 345-9111

Safe Horizon’s Rape, Sexual Assault and Incest Hotline
(212) 227-3000

New York City Police Department 50th Precinct
3450 Kingsbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463
(718) 543-5700

College Public Safety Office
Jasper Hall, 1st floor
(718) 862-7333 (available 24/7)
publicsafety@manhattan.edu