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Sexual Harassment Policy

I. Purpose

It is the goal of The Boston Architectural College ("the BAC") to promote an educational environment and workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of employees, faculty or students occurring in the workplace or in other settings in which employees, faculty or students may find themselves in connection with their involvement with the BAC is unlawful and will not be tolerated by this organization. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated.

To achieve our goal of providing an environment free from sexual harassment, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated. We have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be dealt with, if encountered by employees, faculty or students in their involvement with the BAC.

Because the BAC takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of harassment. Where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action up to and including termination where appropriate.

Please note that while this policy sets forth our goals of promoting an environment that is free of sexual harassment, the policy is not designed or intended to limit our authority to discipline or take remedial action for workplace conduct which we deem unacceptable, regardless of whether that conduct satisfies the legal definition of sexual harassment.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all employees, faculty (including volunteer faculty), and students.

III. Definition of Sexual Harassment

The legal definition for sexual harassment, as cited in Mass General Law section 151B, is: "sexual harassment" means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

(a) quid pro quo—submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for employment decisions; or

(b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work environment.  Discrimination on the basis of sex shall include, but not be limited to, sexual harassment.

Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by a supervisor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised job benefits such as favorable review, salary increases, promotions, increased benefits, or continued employment, constitutes sexual harassment.

The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad. 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 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 which is unwelcome, or may constitute sexual harassment, depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:

  • 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.
  • Disseminating sexually explicit voice mails, emails, and website downloads.

All employees should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment, and retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is unlawful and will not be tolerated by this organization.

IV. Procedures for Complaints of Sexual Harassment

If you feel you have been subjected to sexual harassment in the context of your involvement with the BAC, you should report the incident immediately. This may be done in writing or verbally to:

Diana Ramirez-Jasso, Interim Provost—for complaints concerning faculty.
Richard Griswold, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students—for complaints concerning students.
Kathy Rood, Vice President for Finance and Administration—for complaints concerning administrative staff. 

Please address written communications to: The Boston Architectural College, 320 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115. All of these persons may be reached by calling 617.585.0200. These persons are also available to discuss any concerns you may have, and to provide information to you about the BAC's policy on sexual harassment and BAC's complaint process.

V. Sexual Harassment Investigation

When we receive the complaint, we will promptly investigate the allegation in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. The person filing the complaint is obligated to provide precise and detailed information, including but not limited to, a summary of the harassment complained of, the person alleged to be responsible, and the resolution sought .in addition to the names of any witnesses present.

The investigation will include a private interview with the person filing the complaint and with witnesses. The person alleged to have committed sexual harassment will also be interviewed. When the investigation has been completed, the BAC will, to the extent appropriate, inform the person filing the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the conduct, of the results of that investigation. The BAC reserves the right to terminate the investigation at any time if the person filing the complaint fails to cooperate.

If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where it is appropriate we will also impose disciplinary action up to and including termination.

VI. Disciplinary Action

If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been committed by one of our employees, we will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from counseling to termination of employment, and may include other forms of disciplinary action as deemed appropriate. Accusations made out of malice or for groundless and improper reasons will be subject to disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.

VII. State and Federal Remedies

In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with either or both of the government agencies set forth below. Using the BAC's complaint process does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a short time period for filing a claim (EEOC—300 days; MCAD—300 days).

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

475 John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
1.800.669.4000 TTY 1.800.669.6820

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)

Boston Office:
One Ashburton Place
Sixth Floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108

Springfield Office:
436 Dwight Street
Second Floor, Room 220
Springfield, MA 01103

To obtain information provided by our state local law enforcement agency concerning registered sex offenders:

Boston Police Department
650 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02116-6199

Mass.gov Public Safety

Support Groups

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
RAD—Rape Aggression Defense