Anti Harassment & Discrimination Policy

NESA will not tolerate bigotry, discrimination or other forms of harassment, including sexual harassment. Such behavior is prohibited by faculty, teaching assistants, staff, students and other individuals who encounter students in the pursuit of their education at NESA or NESA-affiliated sites.

Harassment, as defined by law and the corresponding terms of this policy, is a form of unlawful discrimination and goes against the mission of NESA. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has filed a complaint or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. NESA takes allegations of harassment, discrimination and retaliation seriously and will act promptly to investigate and resolve claims under this policy.

Faculty, teaching assistants, staff or students found to have violated this Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policy may be subject to the full range of disciplinary actions, as applicable, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the program.

Please note that while this policy sets forth our goals of promoting a learning and working environment that is free of harassment and discrimination, it is not designed or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take remedial action for conduct which we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies legal definitions of harassment and discrimination.


Definitions

Discrimination refers to the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on a student's or an employee's actual or perceived race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, political views or other characteristics as defined and protected by law, rather than on individual merit.

Harassment is defined as verbal, written, visual or physical conduct based on or motivated by a student's or an employee's actual or perceived race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, political views or other characteristics as defined and protected by law, that has the purpose or effect, from the point of view of a reasonable person, of objectively and substantially:

  • Undermining and detracting from or interfering with an individual's educational or work performance or access to school resources; or
  • Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment.

Harassment may include repeated derogatory remarks or taunts in the guise of jokes, disparaging references to others, the use of epithets, stereotypes, comments, taunts, gestures, threats, display or circulation of written or visual materials, and negative reference to an individual or individual's actions based on or motivated by one or more of the protected characteristics above, or other characteristics protected by law.

Harassment may also include sexual harassment, defined in Massachusetts as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or academic evaluation; or,
  • such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work or academic environment.

Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by a supervisor or instructor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised benefits such as favorable evaluation, increased benefits, or continued employment constitute sexual harassment.

The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and in addition to the above examples, other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a work place environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to male or female workers may also constitute sexual harassment.

While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness or persistence:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances -- whether they involve physical touching or not;
  • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life; comment on an individual's body, comment about an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
  • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
  • Inquiries into one's sexual experiences; and,
  • Discussion of one's sexual activities.

Confidentiality and Retaliation

Complaints of harassment and/or discrimination will be treated with confidentiality. Any resulting investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances, only sharing information with those who need to know in order to complete a thorough investigation.

All members of the NESA community should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about harassment and/or discrimination or who has, in good faith, cooperated with the investigation of a claim will not be tolerated. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, intentionally excluding the person, pressuring the person to drop the complaint or to be uncooperative with the investigation, treating or evaluating an individual in a different manner than other students, or otherwise negatively affecting the individual's learning or working environment.

Complaints of Harassment and/or Discrimination

NESA has procedures for both informal and formal complaints of harassment or discrimination for those who have reason to believe that one of the referenced behaviors is occurring. Any student or employee who believes he or she has been subjected to or has witnessed an act of harassment or discrimination has a right to file a complaint. Individuals with a complaint should contact to one of the administrators listed below.  If a student feels more comfortable going to another employee of NESA, that person should then report the information to one of the administrators below:

Susan L. Gorman  
President & CEO  
(617) 558-1788 x374  

 

Director of Student Affairs, Craig Allard, is NESA's Section 504, Title IX and Title VI Coordinator and oversees compliance with applicable regulations. He may also become involved in a complaint or investigation. All of the above individuals are available to discuss any concerns a student or other individual may have and to provide you with information on NESA's Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policy, including the complaint and investigation procedure.

Any member of the NESA community who has reasonable cause to believe that another member of the community is the victim of harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation, is encouraged to report that information to one of the two individuals identified above.

Informal Complaints and Dispute Resolution

Individuals who have reason to believe an act of harassment or discrimination may have occurred have the option of addressing the matter and seeking resolution informally by speaking either to one of the administrators identified above, or speaking to someone they are comfortable with who will report the situation to the appropriate individual.

Once an informal report of harassment or discrimination is reported to the appropriate individual, NESA will speak to the complainant and the accused individual within three business days. In many instances, counseling, advice, informal discussion, or mediation may be useful in resolving perceived instances of harassment or discrimination. If a matter can be resolved to both parties' satisfaction in the above matter, NESA will consider the matter resolved and notify both parties in writing of the outcome. At any point in the informal process, the complainant may choose to pursue the matter formally.

If the matter is not addressed to the complainant's satisfaction within ten business days, the designated administrator will meet with the complainant to determine if he/she would like to pursue the matter formally. In some instances, even where the complainant decides not to pursue the matter, NESA may decide that the allegations should be fully investigated.

Formal Complaints

Individuals who have reason to believe an act of harassment or discrimination may have occurred have the option of filing a formal complaint. Individuals can submit a formal complaint in writing to one of the administrators listed above, or can elect to speak to a member of the faculty or staff about the incident and request that it be pursued formally. This individual must then report the request to one of the individuals identified above.

After initial review of facts or allegations, complaints that are not credible, lack merit, are insubstantial or outside the scope of this policy may be dismissed and the complainant will be notified in writing. Complaints falling outside of the purview of the Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Policy or under the scope of other policies within the Student Handbook will be treated as dictated by the applicable policy.

Investigation and Resolution of Formal Complaints

All complaints will be reviewed and resolved in a prompt and equitable manner in accordance with this policy and legal requirements. Except when circumstances dictate a different timeline, once designated administrators have been alerted of a formal complaint, the following will happen:

  • Within three business days, the administrator assigned to investigate the complaint will review the complaint and interview the complainant about the alleged incident(s) and review any documentation or evidence he/she wishes to present.
  • If the complaint is deemed credible, within three business days of meeting with the complainant, the administrator will interview the accused about the alleged incident(s) and review any documentation or evidence he/she wishes to present.
  • Within three business days of meeting with the accused, NESA will speak with any pertinent witnesses and gather any evidence, as warranted under the circumstance.
  • The investigation will be completed within ten business days of the receipt of a formal complaint by one of the designated administrators, except when circumstances dictate a need for additional time.
  • Within three business days of the completion of the investigation, all materials will be reviewed and a determination will be made whether an act of harassment or discrimination occurred; both parties will be notified of NESA's findings in writing.

If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, NESA will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where it is appropriate, will also impose disciplinary action. If harassment and/or discrimination are found to have occurred, a copy of the complaint and final determination will be placed in the offending faculty, staff or student member's file.

Individuals who wish to appeal the decision can do so by submitting a written request to one of the designated administrators.  The matter will then be referred, if possible, to a member of the administration who remained uninvolved in the initial investigation for review.

Except when circumstances dictate more time, the administrator selected for appeal will review the investigation and come to a determination within five business days. The process may include additional interviews and reviewing new evidence as applicable. Once a final determination has been reached, within two business days, both parties will be notified of NESA's findings in writing.

Disciplinary Action

If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been committed by one of our employees or students, we will take such corrective and/or disciplinary action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may include, but is not limited to counseling, reprimands, warnings, suspension, or termination from employment or expulsion from the program.

State and Federal Remedies

In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to harassment or discrimination, you may file a formal complaint with the following government agencies set forth below. Using NESA's complaint process does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies. There are limitations for filing a claim.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
Phone: 800-669-4000
TTY: 800-669-6820

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place
6th Floor - Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-994-6000
TTY: 617-994-6196

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
5 Post Office Square, 8th floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02109-3921
Phone: (617) 289-0111
TTY: (877) 521-2172

Statutory/Regulatory Authority

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 104; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 100, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 110; 804 CMR 1.00: M.G.L. c. 151B, c. 151C and c. 272, § 98; 804 CMR 3.00: M.G.L. c. 151B, §3.