Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedure

Policy Statement

As an educational institution Molloy College is committed to maintaining an environment in which its faculty, students, administrators and staff members are safe, can be trusted and count on others to be trustworthy and receive and extend to others respect as human persons. Indeed, mutual respect among faculty members, students, staff persons and administrators is an essential ingredient in the educational process and the greatest care must be taken that it not in any way be eroded.  Consistent with Molloy's respect for the rights and dignity of each employee, harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status or any other characteristic protected by law will not be sanctioned or tolerated.

Virtually all faculty members, administrators and staff members are, or can appear to be, in a position to exercise power or authority, directly or indirectly, over other persons on campus, whether or not an individual is enrolled in their classes, are subject to their direct supervision, or have some form of business to transact with offices at the College. Therefore, Molloy College prohibits romantic, sexual, exploitative relationships between College employees in a supervisory/subordinate role and between employees and students. 

 Reason for Policy
This policy delineates the process outlined to ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of any complaint. It is designed to provide a fair and reliable determination about whether any College policy has been violated. If so, the College will implement prompt and effective remedies designed to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. In cases of College employees, violations of harassment policy will be considered misconduct on the part of the employee and will be subject to institutional sanctions, including possible termination of employment. Treatment of allegations and imposition of sanctions will be governed by procedures specified in the Dismissal Procedure, p. 30a of the Faculty Handbook or section 406 of the Employee Handbook.

Additionally, the policy explains Molloy's approach to investigating, adjudicating and disciplining acts of harassment. An act of harassment may also be considered a crime. Molloy strongly encourages the reporting of such incidents to the local police by dialing 911. Public Safety will assist a complainant in reporting an incident to the police if they so request. 

The criminal process is separate and distinct from this policy. The fact that a criminal complaint has been filed, prosecuted or dismissed will not prevent Molloy College from pursuing disciplinary action. Despite any gendered nature of its language, this policy is inclusive of all members of the Molloy community. In this policy, the term "Molloy community" is used to refer to faculty, staff, students and others affiliated with the College by reason of employment or education. 

Complaint and Grievance Procedures

Any community member who believes that he or she has been the victim harassment is encouraged to report it immediately.  The College has designated the following individuals to receive complaints of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct:

  • The Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, Lisa Miller, 323-3046
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators: Enrollment Management, Brendan Caputo 323-4021, Athletics, Michael Grasso, 323-3602, Student Affairs, Janine McElroy, 323-3458, Academic Affairs, Mary Jane Reilly, 323-3023
  • Public Safety 323-3500

I. Advocacy Panel

The College has appointed several faculty, staff and administrators to serve on the College Harassment Advocacy Panel who are available to meet with any community member. The Advocacy Panel is a group of individuals composed of College employees who have been selected based upon their skill in resolving these issues, knowledge of this topic, training, and willingness to dedicate the time and resources necessary for completion of their responsibilities as assigned.  

Advocacy Panel members are instructed how to respond to allegations of harassment and are kept up-to-date on Molloy's current Harassment Policy and campus and national harassment cases and they stand prepared to provide information on the avenues of recourse available to resolve the alleged complaint.  

The members of the Advocacy Panel may change at any time but every effort will be made to ensure that the Panel meets on an annual basis, that it contains at least one female and one male member and that the composition of the panel is diverse.  

Each individual on the Panel can assume the following roles:

  • Meet with individuals who allege that they have been the victim of harassment;
  • Clarify the definitions of harassment and discuss how these definitions may or may not pertain in the circumstances described by the complainant;
  • Discuss with the complainant whether counseling should be considered based upon the circumstances;
  • Where appropriate, assist the complainant in filing a formal, written complaint regarding the harassment;
  • Facilitate the filing of the complaint;
  • Participate in on-going education for the campus community regarding matters of harassment to include the creation and dissemination of appropriate educational materials about harassment, and to conduct or host seminars or training sessions for all members of the campus community;

For a list of the members of the Advocacy Panel for each academic year (including names, titles, office location, office hours, telephone number, e-mail address) please see the Office of Human Resources or consult the Human Resources section of the Molloy College website.

II. On Campus and Off-Campus Behavior

This policy applies to conduct that occurs on any part of Molloy's campus or property. It also applies when college community members travel off-campus as part of a College activity, team, organization or event. Additionally, Molloy has the discretion to discipline behavior that occurs off-campus, and/or during a time when the College is not in session

 
III. Timeframe for Making a Complaint

While there is no time limit for bringing forward a complaint, the passage of time may make an incident difficult or even impossible to investigate fairly or fully and to adjudicate. Therefore, complainants are encouraged to make a complaint as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. 


IV. Definition of Harassment

Under this policy, harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship or any other characteristic protected by law that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating hostile, or offensive work/academic environment and/or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work/academic performance; or, otherwise adversely affects an individual's employment/academic work.

Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; and the circulation of written or graphic material either in person or through social media or other electronic medium that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group.  

 
Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting someone's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.  

Types of Sexual Harassment include:

Hostile Environment  includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are:

  •   Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and when
  •   The submission to or rejection of such conduct could result in adverse educational or employment action(s).


Retaliatory harassment is any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person's participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. 

Examples of Harassment

1.   Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;

2.   Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of a protected characteristic;

3.   Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;

4.   Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the College community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy);

5.   Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally.

6.   Violence between strangers or those in an intimate relationship to each other;

7.   Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.

Acts of sexual violence are considered harassment. The Molloy College Sexual Misconduct Policy details these complaints more thoroughly.

V.    Sanctions

A determination as to whether harassment occurred depends on the totality of the circumstances, such as the severity of a particular incident, the context in which it occurred, whether the conduct was repeated, whether the conduct was verbal or physical, and whether it was threatening or merely annoying.  For purposes of federal and state law, harassment has occurred if a reasonable person would have found the behavior offensive and his or her living, learning or working environment would be impaired as a result of the conduct.  However, Molloy reserves the right to discipline offensive conduct that is inconsistent with community standards even if it does not rise to the level of harassment as defined by federal or state law.

In assessing a disciplinary penalty, the seriousness of the harassment incident will be evaluated.  Although relatively minor incidents usually result in lesser forms of disciplinary action, Molloy reserves the right to impose any level of discipline, up to and including termination of employment for any act of harassment, based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case.


VI.   Retaliation

Victims have the right to report harassment without fear of retaliation.  Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, or reprisals.  For example, it would be retaliatory to intimidate a witness or to shun a person from a student organization in retribution for the person's having made a complaint of harassment.

Molloy strictly prohibits retaliation by anyone against a person who makes a report of harassment or assists someone with a report, or participates in any aspect of the investigation or resolution of a report.

Acts of retaliation are subject to the standard disciplinary procedure set forth by procedures specified in the Dismissal Procedure, p. 30a of the Faculty Handbook or section 406 of the Employee Handbook.


VIII.  Confidentiality

Molloy understands that a victim of harassment may wish to talk about the incident with the assurance that the discussion will be confidential.  There are several support resources that victims may utilize on a confidential basis.  These include Personal Counseling Services, the Campus Ministry's Office, and College Health Services.  Because these services are confidential, a discussion with any of these sources does not result in a complaint being filed with the College or result in action being taken by the College to respond to the incident. A victim who wants emotional support only should contact the confidential counseling resources listed above.  Anyone wishing to have an incident investigated, mediated or adjudicated must make a complaint in accordance with the procedures described below.

A victim can seek advice from certain resources who are not required to share private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear for the victim's safety, or the safety of others. These are individuals who the College has not specifically designated as "responsible employees" for purposes of putting the institution on notice and for whom mandatory reporting is required, other than in the stated limited circumstances. These resources include those without supervisory responsibility or remedial authority to address sexual misconduct, such as office staff, adjunct faculty and others. These individuals have been instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, but not to share any personally identifiable information about the report unless authorized by the complainant, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect the victim or other members of the community. If personally identifiable information is shared, it will only be shared as necessary with as few people as possible, and all efforts will be made to protect the complainants' privacy.

Molloy College has designated the following groups of employees as "Responsible Employees": The College President, Vice Presidents, Deans, Assistant and Associate Deans, employees with supervisory responsibility, employees of the student affairs offices, public safety department and athletics as well as all full time faculty and their administrative staff. If you are unsure of someone's duties and ability to maintain an individual's privacy, ask them before you talk to them. They will be able to tell you, and help you make decisions about who can help you best.

The College endeavors to respect and follow the wishes of an individual who brings forward a harassment concern.  However, they should understand that Molloy may have ethical and legal obligations to investigate, attempt to resolve or adjudicate incidents of harassment that come to its attention.  Therefore, depending on the circumstances, it may not be possible for a conversation with Public Safety personnel, the Director of Human Resources or other administrators to be kept in confidence always or, said another way, for these individuals simply to listen without taking action.


VIII.    Reporting Procedures & The Complaint Process

An individual who feels that he or she has been the victim of harassment may consult a member of the Harassment Advocacy Panel or go directly to the Director of Human Resources to make a complaint.

Members of the Advocacy Panel do not make a determination as to the nature of the incident being reported, but can:

  • Clarify the definitions of harassment and discuss how these definitions may or may not pertain in the circumstances described by the complainant
  • Discuss with the complainant whether counseling should be considered based upon the circumstances
  • Where appropriate, assist the complainant in filing a formal, written complaint regarding the harassment
  • Facilitate the filing of the complaint with the appropriate party

Complainants have the right and can expect to have incidents of harassment be taken seriously when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures.  Witnesses are expected to cooperate fully with an investigation and share their knowledge of any incident in a truthful and honest manner.  Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual.

The College offers both informal and formal resolution options.  Generally, the College seeks to follow the complaining party's wishes as to which procedure to pursue.  However, there may be situations in which, due to the nature of the allegations, informal resolution is inappropriate.  This decision will be based on factors such as the egregiousness of the allegations, whether the accused individual is a repeat offender, or whether there is otherwise reason to believe that the safety or interests of the campus community demand adjudication.  In those instances, the College will apply the formal procedure only.

Informal Resolution Procedures
Informal procedures are designed to assist the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. An individual wishing to employ informal procedures in the resolution of a complaint will meet with the Director of Human Resources or designee, who will explain the process and options available to the complainant.

(i)    Mediation
Mediation sessions will be held only if the complaining party and the accused party both agree to mediate. The goal of mediation is to facilitate the parties' discussions with each other such that a mutually acceptable resolution can be reached. At any point in the process or if no mutual resolution is reached, the complaining party may move the complaint to the formal adjudication process described below.

(ii)    Contractual Agreement
In certain situations, a formal understanding is reached between the parties. This agreement is formalized in writing and is subject to approval by the Director of Human Resources or her designee. The terms may include a pledge that the parties will have no further contact with each other, known as a "No Contact Agreement." Once a contractual agreement is signed, it may not be revoked, and the terms may not be appealed. An employee's failure to adhere to any term of the agreement may result in formal disciplinary action.


Formal Adjudication Procedure
Formal procedures are designed to determine the merits of the allegations through adjudication and, where appropriate, to determine a disciplinary consequence for the accused.

(i)    Formal Statement

An individual wishing to have a complaint formally adjudicated will be asked to give a  statement of complaint to the Director of Human Resources.  The complaint should be as specific as possible and the report of the complaint should be signed and dated by the complainant.


The grievance should clearly describe the alleged incident(s), when and where they occurred and the desired remedy sought. Any supporting documentation should be included.  The Director of Human Resources will investigate the complaint or forward the statement to a trained investigator to meet with the complaining person and explain the process.


(ii)    Investigation

The investigator will then take the following steps:

 

  • Initiate any necessary remedial actions
  • Determine the identity and contact information of the complainant
  • Identify the correct policies allegedly violated
  • Conduct an immediate initial investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to charge the accused individual, and what policy violations should be alleged as part of the complaint

If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the grievance should be closed with no further action

  •   Meet with the complainant to finalize the complaint  
  •   Prepare the notice of charges on the basis of the initial investigation
  •  Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a   witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the accused individual, who may be given notice prior to or at the time of the interview
  •   Complete the investigation promptly, and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
  •   Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not)
  •   Prepare a complete report of the investigation and findings
  •   Share the findings and update the complainant on the status of the investigation and the outcome
  •   Present the findings to the accused individual, who may accept the findings, accept the findings in part and reject them in part, or may reject all findings

(iii)  Possible Outcomes of the Complaint Process

1.  If the investigator finds that further adjudication is not warranted, he or she will consult with the Director of Human Resources and/or Vice President of Academic Affairs and/or Vice President for Student Affairs.  If they concur, the complaint will be dismissed and the investigation will be closed. 

 
2.  When the accused individual accepts the findings that he or she violated College policy, the Director of Human Resources in conjunction with the appropriate Vice President will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation.  The College will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence and mitigate its effects on the victim and larger College community.


3.  In the event that the accused individual rejects the findings in part or entirety, the Director of Human Resources will convene a hearing to determine whether the accused individual is in violation of the contested aspects of the complaint. At the hearing the findings will be admitted and the investigator may give evidence. The hearing will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policies forming the basis of the charge. The goal of the hearing is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the civil rights of all participants. The Director of Human Resources has final decision making authority with regard to formal complaints, subject to appeal. Where an accused individual is found in violation, the Director of Human Resources and appropriate Vice President will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation. The College will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence and mitigate its effects on the victim and larger College community.

 
(iv) Time Frame and Grounds for Filing an Appeal Request:

In the event that an accused individual accepts the findings of the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed.  Sanctions imposed can be appealed by any party according to the grounds, below. 

All sanctions imposed will be in effect during the appeal. A request may be made to the Director of Human Resourcesfor special consideration in exigent circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the College is that the sanctions will stand. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the person to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.

The decision may be appealed by a written petitionwithin three (3) business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the judgment or the sanctions imposed.  Any party who files an appeal must do so in writing to the Director of Human Resources who will share the appeal with the other party. All appeals and responses are then reviewed to determine if the appeal meets the grounds for appeal and is timely. The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the documentation is forwarded to a trained panel for their consideration. The party requesting appeal must show error as the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.
  2. To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included
  3. The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation

XII.   Statement of Rights

Statement of the Rights of the Alleged Victim

  • The right to an investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of harassment made in good faith
  • The right to be treated with respect by college officials
  • The right not to be discouraged by college officials from reporting an assault to both on-campus and off-campus authorities
  • The right to be informed of the outcome and sanction of any disciplinary hearing, usually within 24 hours of the end of the conduct hearing
  • The right to be informed by college officials of options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the student so chooses. This also includes the right not to report, if this is the victim's desire
  • The right to be notified of available counseling, mental health or student services for victims, both on campus and within the community
  • The right to have complaints of harassment responded to quickly and with sensitivity
  •  The right not to be questioned by the alleged harasser or to be required to question the alleged harasser
  • The right to appeal the finding and sanction of the conduct body, in accordance with the established standards for appeal
  • The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the complaint, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses who will be called to give testimony, except in cases where a witness' identity will not be revealed to the accused student for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the alleged victim/complainant, which will always be revealed)
  • The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and allowed by law
  • The right to a hearing closed to the public
  • The right to petition that any member of the conduct body be removed on the basis of demonstrated bias
  • The right to bring a victim advocate or advisor to all phases of the investigation and campus conduct proceeding
  • The right to ask the investigators to identify and question relevant witnesses, including expert witnesses
  • The right to be fully informed of campus conduct rules and procedures as well as the nature and extent of all alleged violations contained within the complaint
  • The right to have College policies and procedures followed without material deviation
  • The right to be informed in advance of any public release of information regarding the complaint
  • The right not to have released to the public any personally identifiable information about the complainant, without his or her consent


Statement of the Accused Person's Rights

  •   The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of harassment made in good faith
  •   The right to be treated with respect by College officials
  •   The right to be informed of and have access to campus resources for medical, counseling, and advisory services
  • The right to be fully informed of the nature, rules and procedures of the campus conduct process and to timely written notice of all alleged violations within the complaint, including the nature of the violation and possible sanctions
  • The right to a hearing on the complaint, including timely notice of the hearing date, and adequate time for preparation
  • The right to make an impact statement for the campus conduct proceeding and to have that statement considered in determining the sanction
  • The right to appeal the finding and sanction, in accordance with the established standards for appeal
  •  The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the complaint, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses who will be called to give testimony, except in cases where a witness' identity will not be revealed to the accused student for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the alleged victim/complainant, which will always be revealed)
  • The right to a hearing closed to the public
  • The right to petition that any conduct officer be removed on the basis of bias
  •  The right to have College policies and procedures followed without material deviation
  • The right to have an advisor or advocate to accompany and assist in the campus investigation and hearing process.  This advisor can be anyone,  but the advisor may not take part directly in the hearing itself, though they may communicate with the accused as necessary 
  • The right to a fundamentally fair process, as defined in these procedures
  • The right to a campus conduct outcome based solely on evidence presented during the conduct process.  Such evidence shall be credible, relevant, based in fact, and without prejudice
  • The right to written notice of the outcome and sanction of the hearing
  • The right to be informed in advance, when possible, of any public release of information regarding the complaint.


 
Molloy College Mission Statement

Molloy College, an independent, Catholic college, rooted in the Dominican tradition of study, spirituality, service and community, is committed to academic excellence with respect for each person. 
Through transformative education, Molloy promotes a lifelong search for truth
and the development of ethical leadership.