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Equal Opportunity and Title IX

Our mission statement states that "...Lesley prepares socially responsible graduates with the knowledge, skills, understanding, and ethical judgment to be catalysts shaping a more just, humane, and sustainable world." At Lesley, we believe that how we prepare socially responsible graduates is inextricably linked to how students experience the university academically, socially, and culturally.

We use our guiding Community Standards of Conduct to articulate the values and beliefs that define the experience of equity, diversity, and inclusion every person in the community deserves and should come to expect.

  • Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office

    The Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office supports our mission at Lesley of preparing socially responsible graduates. We partner with the team in the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDIJ), as well as other collaborators and stakeholders, to create the conditions that optimally support our Community Standards and other University policies.

    Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal funding. Consistent with Title IX, Lesley University prohibits discrimination against students, faculty, or professional staff based on sex in any of its programs or activities, including (but not limited to) educational programs, employment, and admission. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a kind of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX and by Lesley.

    Equal Opportunity, as defined by our Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Policy, is about Lesley’s commitment to preventing discrimination and promoting equal opportunity, affirmative action, and inclusion for all current and prospective faculty, students, and staff. This policy explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of federally- or state-prescribed protected categories, including but not limited to discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, pregnancy or parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, veteran or military status, or membership in Uniformed Services.

    Services

    The Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office provides these services:

    • Training and education related to the Community Standards, Title VII, Equal Opportunity, and Title IX
    • Policy development consistent with Massachusetts and federal regulations
    • Supportive measures and accommodations
    • Complaint resolutions for reports of violations of University policies

    When a Lesley community member personally experiences or observes a breakdown in Lesley's Community Standards, they can rely on the support and, when necessary, the intervention of the Community Standards Administrator - Equal Opportunity/Title IX Coordinator.

  • Community Standards Administrator - Equal Opportunity/Title IX Coordinator

    Lesley’s Community Standards Administrator and Equal Opportunity/Title IX Coordinator is Valerie Yeakel. Valerie is passionate about providing students, faculty, and professional staff with information, education, resources, and support to develop their self-awareness and capacity to understand in a manner that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    Additionally, Valerie responds to submitted reports of sexual violence and reports of discrimination or harassment based on a protected category, whether on the basis of race, national origin, gender identity, disability, or another protected category.

    Lastly, to ensure that they are working in alignment with Lesley’s Community Standards, Valerie regularly reviews the University’s policies related to Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence, Equal Opportunity and Inclusion, and Unequal Consensual Relationships.

Helping You to Address Violations

To report an incident, please submit a Community Incident Report.

  • Addressing Violations of the Community Standards of Conduct

    When a community member experiences or observes a breakdown in the Lesley University’s Community Standards, we encourage the community member to address the person directly so that the person has an opportunity to build self and environmental awareness.

    If the community member decides to have the conversation with the person who was directly involved in the breakdown of these Community Standards, there are several ways the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Justice (EDIJ) and the Equal Opportunity/Title IX Coordinator support their desire to address the issue in a way that engenders a positive outcome.

    These include the following forms of assistance:

    • Provision of conflict resolution tools and resources on how to effectively hold a crucial conversation
    • A thought partner to walk through how to communicate the impact of the experience on the community member
    • Role play exercises to provide opportunities to practice prior to the meeting
    • Provision of mediation facilitated by the Equal Opportunity/Title IX Officer or by the restorative justice team (known as BERT, the Bias Education and Response Team)
  • Addressing a Violation of Equal Opportunity/Title IX or Other Lesley Policies

    There should be no corner of society where harassment, discrimination, or sexual/physical violence is accepted or tolerated.

    At Lesley, we have the following policies designed to address, redress, and prevent these harms:

  • Deciding Whether to Report

    At Lesley University, our desire is to create a working, learning, and living environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves into the community. Whenever a community member experiences harassment, discrimination, sexual violence, or violence of any kind, we encourage the community member to submit a report right away.

    The University recognizes that deciding among these options can be difficult. We encourage complainants and witnesses to seek assistance from a Confidential Resource Provider before deciding how to proceed.

    You can find information about who the Confidential Resource Providers are, and how to contact them, in the Confidential and Private Reporting Resources section on this page.

    Some members of the University community have a responsibility to report suspected violations. For more information about reporting responsibilities, see the section Reporting an Incident of the Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy (also included within the Employee and Faculty Handbooks).

  • How to Report an Incident and What to Expect

    At Lesley, we use the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Procedures to address your reports:

    1. The person who was impacted by an experience, or the person who heard about or observed the incident, completes a Community Incident Report.
    2. The Community Standards Administrator reviews the submission and follows up with the reporter(s) and/or the impacted person(s) to discuss their options for how to proceed.
    3. The Community Standards Administrator determines whether other stakeholders need to be involved in the resolution process, with the informed consent of the impacted person(s).
    4. The Community Standards Administrator continues to work with the person(s) who submitted the report (and any potential stakeholders) until the issue is resolved.

     

    If in doubt, please contact Valerie Yeakel at vyeakel@lesley.edu. In an emergency situation, please contact your local police department by calling 911 or Lesley’s Public Safety Office at 617.349.8888.

    Community Incident Report Process in the form of a 4-step flow cart
    Chart: How to Report an Incident and What to Expect
  • Respecting Your Privacy

    The Equal Opportunity/Title IX Office respects the privacy of students, professional staff, and faculty. If you decide to seek a resolution through our office, to the greatest extent possible, we will not disclose your identity or the identities of witnesses or respondents during our resolution process.

    There may be times when we need to disclose some information about the incident to witnesses so that they can meaningfully provide information relevant to the investigation. We ask all witnesses to keep this information private and we may only give them enough information to provide their perspective and memory.

    When we request accommodations or supportive measures on behalf of parties, we will need to provide your name in support of those requests, but we will not provide information relating to why you need those accommodations or supportive measures without your informed consent to do so.

    We redact our final investigation reports so that the identities of those involved in the investigation are kept private, except on a need-to-know basis to certain other administrators.

    Finally, participants within an investigation or resolution process with our office are protected from retaliation based on their report or participation in the process. If at any point during or after communications with our office a participant feels that they have been retaliated against, they are advised to contact us, as we can provide support.

  • Anonymous Reports: Protecting Your Privacy

    There are times when a person will not report an incident. All Lesley community members have the option to submit an incident report anonymously. Reporting anonymously means that you inform the Community Standards Administrators of an incident, but do not identify yourself by name in your report.

    The Community Standards Administrator will keep your disclosure private and will not inform the University or police of your name or other identifying details. The Community Standards Administrators have an obligation to keep record of your report for state and federally mandated statistical reporting, but the record will have no identifiable information about the reporter.

    You may choose to make an anonymous report if you would like to disclose to the Community Standards Administrators about an incident you have witnessed or experienced for informational purposes. If you choose to make an anonymous report, but identify a respondent, or a person who you allege is violating Lesley’s Community Standards, we will assess whether there is sufficient threat posed to pursue other campus intervention.

  • Confidential and Private Reporting Resources

    At Lesley, we respect the desire of community members to address a breakdown in their experience of our Community Standards and University policies in whatever way that meets their needs.

    Confidential Resource Providers are not required by law to report known incidents of sexual assault to University officials. They can provide supportive measures, accommodations, provide information on where and how to seek medical attention, contact law enforcement, and can provide support for you through legal or administrative processes you may choose to undertake.

    Students

    Students who would like to speak confidentially about sexual misconduct with someone at Lesley and without making a report, may contact the Confidential Resource Provider, Alice Diamond.

    Lesley’s Counseling Center or Student Health Service can also provide students with confidential support, and are not required by law to report known incidents of sexual assault to University officials.

    Faculty and professional staff

    Faculty and professional staff may contact Samantha Carpinella or Max Meristil in Human Resources, as they both act as Confidential Resource Providers for the campus. Lesley’s Employee Assistance Program is also available to all staff, faculty, and administrators.

    For more information about reporting responsibilities, please review Lesley’s list of Sexual Misconduct Confidential and Private Reporting Resources.

Additional Resources

Need help?
Contact Us
If you wish to submit a report or have questions about Lesley's policies or the applicable process, contact Valerie Yeakel, the Equal Opportunity/Title IX Coordinator.