Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedure

The process outlined in this Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedure (the "Resolution Procedure") is intended to provide students and employees with prompt, fair, and effective means of addressing complaints of discrimination and harassment in violation of any of the following policies (the “Policies”).

These Policies are also available by paper, upon request to the Director of Human Resources and the Dean of Student Life/Interim Title IX Coordinator.

As used in this Resolution Procedures, “discrimination and harassment” includes violations of any of the Policies, for example, discrimination on the basis of race, discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, faculty-student romantic relationship, sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

A violation of one of the Policies may also result in a finding of violation of the University's Community Standards of Conduct Policy.

Complaint Resolution Procedure

This Complaint Resolution Procedure provides for a review of conduct alleged to have violated the Policies and results in an institutional determination of whether the Respondent violated the Policies. 

When investigating complaints of discrimination or harassment, if a Director or designee believes that there may also have been misconduct of a non-discriminatory or non-harassing nature, the Director or designee will also investigate such misconduct under the appropriate policy, such as the Community Standards of Conduct. This Resolution Procedure does not replicate or replace any external judicial or government process.

  • Step 1: Reporter

    For purposes of this Resolution Procedure, persons who submit complaints of harassment or discrimination on behalf of themselves or others are referred to as "Reporters."

    To initiate the investigation of a complaint under this procedure, the Reporter is encouraged to submit a complaint in writing to the Director or designee.

    If requested by the Reporter, the Director or designee will make a referral for assistance with writing the complaint. The Director or designee may decide to proceed with an investigation even if no written complaint is submitted. 

    The Director or designee meets with the Reporter to review the complaint and discuss this Resolution Procedure. The Director or designee informs the Reporter that the Respondent will be notified of the complaint, given a copy of the written complaint (if any) or informed of the nature of the complaint. The Respondent has 10 days to submit a response.

    At the discretion of the Director or the Director's designee, the Reporter may have an advisor of the Reporter's choice present at any investigatory or related meeting. The Respondent will have the same opportunity to bring an advisor. 

    "Advisor" means any individual who provides the Reporter or the Respondent support, guidance, or advice, provided, however, that an attorney may be present as an advisor only in connection with complaints alleging sexual violence, including sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence. 

    Lesley may limit the participation of the advisor by prohibiting the advisor from speaking during the meeting, addressing the investigators, or questioning any participant, but any such restrictions must be the same for both parties. Lesley may also remove or dismiss advisors who become disruptive or who do not abide by the restrictions on their participation. At the discretion of the Director or the Director's designee, other persons may participate in the meeting on behalf of the University. 

    The Reporter is expected to communicate with the University directly and not through legal counsel or other intermediaries.

  • Step 2: Respondent

    Upon receipt of the complaint from a Reporter, the Director or designee meets with the Respondent. The Director or designee gives a copy of the written complaint (if any) to the Respondent, or informs the Respondent of the nature of the complaint, and discusses this Resolution Procedure.

    The Respondent is encouraged to give an immediate oral response to the allegations and encouraged to submit a written response to the Director or designee within 10 days. If requested by the Respondent, the Director or designee will make a referral for assistance with responding to the complaint. The Director or designee proceeds with an investigation even if no oral or written response is submitted. The Director or designee sends a copy of the Respondent’s written response, if any, to the Reporter.

    At the discretion of the Director or the Director's designee, the Respondent may have an advisor of the Respondent's choice present at any investigatory or related meeting. The Respondent and the Reporter will be given the same opportunity to bring an advisor.

    "Advisor" means any individual who provides the Reporter or the Respondent support, guidance, or advice, provided, however, that an attorney may be present as an advisor only in connection with complaints alleging sexual violence, including sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence. Lesley may limit the participation of the advisor by prohibiting the advisor from speaking during the meeting, addressing the investigators, or questioning any participant, but any such restrictions must be the same for both parties. Lesley may also remove or dismiss advisors who become disruptive or who do not abide by the restrictions on their participation.  At the discretion of the Director or the Director's designee, other persons may participate in the meeting on behalf of the University.

    The Respondent is expected to communicate with the University directly and not through legal counsel or other intermediaries.

  • Step 3: Review of the Complaint

    Absent exceptional circumstances, the Director or designee will review and investigate the complaint. The Director or designee meets separately with the Reporter and Respondent, as needed, to consider their positions and to ascertain facts. The Reporter and the Respondent may each submit documentation in support of their positions and will be given the opportunity to review all documentary evidence presented.

    The Reporter and the Respondent may also share the names of individuals who they believe have knowledge or information relevant to the complaint. The Director or designee may meet with anyone whom the Director or designee believes has information that may be useful to the investigation. Witnesses and others are expected to communicate with the University directly and not through legal counsel or other intermediaries. 

    If at any time during the review of the complaint, a Reporter (or a victim or survivor) declines to cooperate with the Director or designee, or if the Director or designee determines that the Reporter no longer wishes to pursue the complaint, the Director or designee will notify the Reporter (and, as appropriate, the victim or survivor) that the University may not be able to effectively review or respond to the allegations in the complaint.

    If the Respondent refuses to cooperate and/or respond in a timely manner, the Director or designee may forego further investigation and recommend the implementation of corrective action and/or sanctions, or the Director or designee may take any other action the Director or designee determines is necessary or appropriate to resolve the complaint. Failure to cooperate meaningfully may be grounds for discipline, including suspension or termination.

    Whether or not the Reporter, the Respondent, or other parties cooperate with the Director or designee during the investigation, the Director or designee will determine in his/her/their discretion whether to proceed with or otherwise conclude the investigation based on the information available.

    In the interest of fairness or prompt resolution of an investigation, the Director or designee may limit the number of amendments to a complaint or a response to a complaint submitted by a Reporter or Respondent, and the number of meetings with each party or witness. 

  • Step 4: Resolution of the Complaint

    Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Director or designee determines whether there has been a violation of the Policies. In making that determination, the Director or designee evaluates whether a preponderance of the evidence presented establishes whether the Respondent violated the applicable policies. The Director's designee must consult with a Director before concluding an investigation, issuing findings, and determining any corrective actions. A Director must consult with the other Director before concluding an investigation, issuing findings, and determining any corrective actions.

    If a policy violation is found:

    If the preponderance of the evidence (i.e. "more likely than not") establishes a policy violation, the Director or designee reviews the findings to determine what corrective actions are appropriate. The Director or designee may consult with others within the University when determining corrective actions, and must meet with an employee’s hiring source (a Dean or Vice President) before imposing corrective actions.

    The Director or designee then sends simultaneous letters to the Reporter and the Respondent to communicate the findings and the procedures for appealing the determination, if any.

    The Respondent will be notified of any corrective actions to be imposed on the Respondent. The Reporter will be notified of any corrective action imposed on the Respondent which directly relates to the Reporter and any other corrective actions which the University is required to disclose under applicable law. 

    For example, the Reporter will be notified if the Respondent is subject to an order directing the Respondent not to contact the Reporter. If the Reporter is not the victim or survivor of the misconduct, the victim or survivor will be notified of any such corrective action. Any corrective action taken as a result of the Director's or designee's determination is implemented immediately. 

    Corrective Actions:

    Corrective action may include, but is not limited to:

    • A written warning or reprimand placed in a student’s record or an employee’s personnel file;
    • Mandatory training and/or counseling;
    • Probation for students;
    • Dismissal from university housing;
    • Suspension from participating in university activities;
    • Suspension without pay;
    • Non-renewal of contract; and/or
    • Dismissal from Lesley University or termination of employment.

    If there is no finding of a policy violation:

    If the Director or designee determines that the preponderance of the evidence does not establish a policy violation, the Director or designee may recommend that Lesley University take no further action. However, the Director or designee may nevertheless impose non-punitive corrective actions (such as a no-contact order) as circumstances warrant to prevent further disputes, as a safety precaution, or for the welfare of the university community. In such cases, the Director or designee follows the procedures set forth in the immediately preceding paragraphs.

  • Step 5: Appealing the Finding

    Who May Appeal:

    Employees and students, whether as Reporter or Respondent, may appeal a finding by a Director or designee.

    Grounds for Appeal:

    Appeals from the determination of a Director or designee are permitted on the following bases only:

    1. Facts showing that a procedural error affected the decision, or,
    2. Information relevant to the decision that was not available at the time of the Director's or designee's review.

    Both the Reporter and Respondent may submit appeals for these reasons. To illustrate, a procedural error that prevented an eye witness from speaking with the Director or designee may provide the basis for an appeal, if the information from the witness contradicts one or more factual findings necessary to the determination of a policy violation.

    Similarly, there may be a basis for an appeal if an eye witness does not become available until after a determination has issued. A student or employee who elected not to participate in the Resolution Procedure waives the right to appeal.

    Determinations made by the Director or designee may be appealed once to the Provost.

    Notice of Appeal:

    A Respondent or a Reporter wishing to appeal the Director’s or designee’s findings must give written notice to a Director within 7 university business days of receiving written notice of the findings. The notice of appeal must state the basis for the appeal.

    Corrective Action Pending Appeal:

    While an appeal is pending, corrective action, if any, may be suspended or modified, in the discretion of a Director, in consideration of all the circumstances, as applicable. If the appeal is denied, the corrective action or sanctions will be immediately reinstated.

    Review of the Appeal:

    One of the Directors will determine whether the notice of appeal provides a basis for the appeal as described above. If a Director conducted the investigation and issued findings, the other Director must determine whether the notice of appeal provides a basis for the appeal as described above.

    If it does, the Director will forward the appeal and a copy of the Director’s or designee’s findings to the Provost for review. The Provost (or the Provost’s designee) reviews the appeal and the findings and considers the alleged procedural error or newly available information. 

    The Provost (or the Provost's designee) makes a determination to:

    1. Uphold the findings
    2. Review the findings and make a decision on the merits
    3. Assign the review to another University official as appropriate, or,
    4. Instruct the Director or designee to re-open the Resolution Procedure.

    The decision of the Provost (or the Provost’s designee) will be based upon the preponderance of the evidence standard and will be final. The Reporter and Respondent will simultaneously be sent a letter notifying them of the results of the appeal. There are no further rights of appeal.

  • Scope

    This policy applies to the Lesley University community, including faculty, adjunct faculty, staff, students, alumni/ae, vendors, contractors, consultants, guests and visitors.

    The University retains the right to determine whether to address a report of misconduct outside of these Complaint Resolution Procedures in circumstances if:

    • The safety of the University community is at risk
    • The material facts are undisputed
    • There are extenuating circumstances involving any of the persons involved, or,
    • The Dean of Student Life/Interim Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate administrators, determines it is in the best interest of the University or the community to do so.
  • Oversight

    The Director of Human Resources and the Dean of Student Life/Interim Title IX Coordinator (the "Directors") are each charged with conducting investigations, resolving complaints, and determining any corrective actions and sanctions related to discrimination and harassment.

    Each Director must consult with the other Director before the investigating Director may conclude an investigation, issue findings, and determine any corrective actions. The Directors may delegate the authority to conduct investigations, make findings, and determine any corrective actions, but, one of the Directors must be consulted before the designee may conclude an investigation, issue findings, and determine any corrective actions.

    The designee may not further delegate without the approval of both Directors. On occasion, the University may designate a third-party investigator.

    If at any time during the course of investigating or resolving a complaint of discrimination or harassment, the Directors or designee (in consultation with a Director) determine that a complaint is not within the scope of the policies, the person initiating the complaint is referred to the appropriate office, and the Director's or designee's investigation is concluded.

  • Notification of Law Enforcement

    In the case of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, Lesley University assists complainants in notifying law enforcement authorities if they choose to do so.

    Complainants have the right not to notify law enforcement authorities; however, the University may in some cases have an obligation to report certain incidents to law enforcement authorities. Preserving evidence may be important to future criminal, civil, or disciplinary proceedings including, where necessary, to obtaining protection orders.

  • Duty of Good Faith

    The University prohibits any member of the Lesley community from knowingly or recklessly bringing a false complaint against another member of the Lesley community.

    Any employee or student found to be violating this prohibition will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the university.

  • Complaint Submission Deadlines

    A complaint should be submitted to the Directors or any of the offices named below as soon as practicable. The University encourages written complaints.

    Complaints submitted to Lesley University do not stop the clock or extend the filing deadlines with courts or with external federal and state anti-discrimination agencies.

    Delay in submitting a complaint or failure to provide details of the alleged act(s) of discrimination or harassment may diminish Lesley University's ability to respond in a timely and effective manner.

  • Protection Against Retaliation

    The University does not permit retaliation against any individual who brings a complaint pursuant to this Resolution Procedure or the Policies, or who cooperates in the investigation of such complaints.

    Any employee or student found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.

  • Confidentiality and Use of Information

    We will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy and confidences of all parties during the investigation, consistent with and subject to the University’s need to investigate the complaint and/or implement any corrective action.

    Lesley will make reasonable efforts to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with a Reporter’s request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation (or, if the Reporter is not the victim or survivor of the alleged misconduct, the victim's or survivor's request).

    However, a Director will evaluate requests for confidentiality and may, in the Director's discretion, share information or take action to assist the Reporter or the University community.

    If a Reporter (or the victim or survivor) insists that the Reporter's (or victim's or survivor's) name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the Respondent or others, Lesley’s ability to respond may be limited.

    Information gathered during one investigation may be used in other investigations at the discretion of a Director.

  • Interim Safeguards and Corrective Actions

    As circumstances warrant, Lesley University shall implement interim safety measures to protect individuals from harm. Lesley may take other restorative and preventative measures, such as education, training, monitoring, supervision, security, academic support, physical health and mental health services, counseling, etc.

    These measures may also include:

    • Temporary suspensions;
    • Removal from housing;
    • Changes to academic, transportation, work, extracurricular activities and dining situations;
    • Escort services;
    • No contact or no trespass orders, and similar restraints on access to Lesley property, Lesley programs, or members of the Lesley community.

    When taking steps to separate the Reporter (or the victim or survivor, if that is not the Reporter) and Respondent, the University will seek to minimize the burden on all parties. Any information about such accommodations or protective measures will be kept confidential to the extent such confidentiality does not impair the University's ability to provide the accommodations.

    Students and employees may request interim restorative and preventive measures by contacting either Director.

    Policy violations, including violation of interim measures, will result in corrective actions and sanctions, which may involve affirmative requirements such as education, training, counseling, monitoring, supervision, no-contact orders, and security, as well as disciplinary actions, up to and including suspension and dismissal from the university.

    The University reserves the right to address any behavior it considers inappropriate or inconsistent with the University’s expectations, standards, and values, even though such behavior may not rise to the level of a violation of University policy.

    The university takes steps to prevent the recurrence of any discrimination or harassment and to remedy its effects on the complainant and others, as appropriate.

  • Changes to and Variations from this Complaint Resolution Procedure

    The University maintains the right to amend these Resolution Procedures at any time. Changes will be posted here, on the Lesley University website.

    These procedures are designed to promote fairness. Accordingly, variations are permissible when undertaken to promote fairness to the individuals involved or for the welfare of the Lesley community. Variations generally will not invalidate a decision unless the variations prevented a fair review of the reported misconduct.

Report incidents of discrimination and harassment to any one of the following people or offices:
Reports of discrimination and harassment may also be made to the police by calling 911.

Lesley University encourages anyone who has been subjected to discrimination or harassment to report it immediately; delayed reporting may diminish the University's ability to investigate and respond effectively to the report.

Lesley takes steps to provide a prompt and effective response to all reports of sexual violence about which it becomes aware, whether or not a complaint is filed. If one of the persons or offices listed here receives a report of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, that person or office must promptly notify the Dean of Student Life/Interim Title IX Coordinator.
State and Federal Resources
While we encourage students and employees to report claims to the University, employees and students may also file a complaint with the the following federal and state anti-discrimination agencies:

Policy History

Issued: January 1, 2007
Revised: June 1, 2009
Revised: September 30, 2013
Revised: June 30, 2016
Revised: August 31, 2017
Revised: October 27, 2017

Responsible Officials

The Director of Human Resources and the Dean of Student Life/Interim Title IX Coordinator.

Lesley University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer. The foregoing Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedures are not intended to create a contract between Lesley and its students, employees or other persons. Lesley reserves the right to amend or revoke its policies at any time without notice.