Discrimination and Harassment

Suffolk University is committed to providing a successful learning and working environment for all members of its community free from any harassing or discriminatory conduct. Discrimination and harassment are unlawful and undermine the core values and the principles upon which Suffolk University was founded.

Suffolk University is committed to providing an environment that advances equal opportunity and is free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military or veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. This commitment applies to the University’s administration of, operation of and access to its academic and non-academic programs, policies and services as well as to its employment policies and practices.

The University prohibits retaliation against individuals who report discrimination or harassment, assist another in reporting a complaint or otherwise participate in an investigation. Accordingly, acts of discrimination or harassment or retaliation will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal or expulsion from the University.

The University’s Policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct, is designed to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory educational and work environment and to meet its legal obligations under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the University’s programs and activities, and other applicable federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination. The University has a policy which specifically prohibits sexual misconduct – the Suffolk University Policy & Procedures on Sexual Misconduct- which provides detailed information regarding the University’s prohibition against sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual activity, sexually exploitative behavior, as well as domestic or relationship violence, dating violence and stalking.

Sheila M. Calkins, BSN, JD
Director of Title IX and Clery Act Compliance
73 Tremont Street
13th floor
617-573-8027
title9@suffolk.edu

The following offices are also available to assist students and employees:

For CAS & SBS Students
Shawn Newton
Associate Dean of Students
73 Tremont Street
12th Floor
617-573-8239
snewton@suffolk.edu

For Law Students
Laura Ferrari
Law School Dean of Students
20 Tremont Street
4thFloor
617-573-8157
lferrari@suffolk.edu

For Employees
Gina Begley Interim Chief Human Resources Officer
Human Resources
73 Tremont Street
11thFloor
617-573-8415
rebegley@suffolk.edu

The University will provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access and opportunities with regard to employment, educational opportunities, and the University’s programs and services, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The University’s Section 504 Coordinators are:

For CAS and SBS Students
Andrew Cioffi
Director of Disability Services
73 Tremont Street
9th floor
617-994-6820
TTY: 617-994-6813
Fax: 617-994-6812
acioffi@suffolk.edu

For Law Students Ann Santos Associate Dean of Students 120 Tremont Street Dean’s Suite 617-573-8157 Fax: 617-305-3214 asantos@suffolk.edu

For Employees Gina Begley Interim Chief Human Resources Officer Human Resources 73 Tremont Street 11th floor 617-573-8415 Fax: 617-367-2250 rebegley@suffolk.edu

Students with disabilities who believe they have received inappropriate treatment or inadequate service from the University pertaining to their granted accommodations have the right to file a grievance.

CAS/SBS students wishing to file a grievance should do so with the Director of Disability Services. The grievance must be submitted in writing to disabilityservices@suffolk.edu and should include a detailed description of the inappropriate or inadequate service and supporting documentation (when appropriate). Students with disabilities must indicate the resolution they are seeking. CAS/SBS students with disabilities who are unsatisfied with the response from the Director of Disability Services may submit an appeal within 5 business days to the ADA Coordinator, Dr. Ann Coyne, Dean of Students, Student affairs Office, 73 Tremont Street, 12th Floor, Boston, MA 02108, 617-573-8239, or acoyne@suffolk.edu. Students with disabilities must state the resolution they are seeking. The decision of the appeal by the Dean of Students is final.

Law Students wishing to file a grievance may request an informal meeting with the Law School Dean of Students to appeal a decision made regarding accommodations. As soon as possible following the informal meeting, the Dean of Students will notify the student in writing of any changes to the decision. If the student disagrees with the decision of the Dean of Students, the student may file a written appeal to an Academic Associate Dean. The written appeal should state in detail the basis for the appeal and furnish all relevant documentation in support of the appeal. The Associate Dean of Students and the Dean of Students will also provide the Academic Associate Dean with any documentation or information relevant to the decision in question. In reviewing the appeal, the Academic Associate Dean may request a meeting with the student and may also request additional information pertinent to the appeal. After review, the Academic Associate Dean will issue a written decision to the student. The decision of the Academic Associate Dean regarding the reasonable accommodation is final and not subject to appeal.

The University works to prevent and address discrimination and harassment through educational programs, training, and complaint resolution. Suffolk University encourages all members of the University community to report any concerns or complaints of discrimination or harassment in accordance with the procedures set forth in this policy. Managers and supervisors are required to respond promptly and appropriately to allegations of discrimination and harassment that are brought to their attention.

Submitting a complaint that is not in good faith or providing false or misleading information in any investigation of complaints is prohibited

Discrimination

Discrimination is conduct that is based upon an individual’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military or veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law.

Harassment

Harassment is conduct based upon an individual’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, military or veteran status or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law. The conduct must create an environment that would be intimidating, hostile or offensive to a reasonable person and which interferes with an individual’s academic status, academic performance, education, living or work environment, work status or work performance.

It is difficult to define with precision the kinds of conduct that constitute harassment, because it depends on circumstances such as the severity, persistence and/or pervasiveness of the conduct and the type, frequency and duration of the conduct.

Harassing conduct may take many forms including, but not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference or impediment with academic status, academic performance, education, living or work environment, work status or work performance.

Suffolk University also prohibits sexual harassment, which is addressed in The Suffolk University Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Policy.

Bias Incident

A bias incident is an act of conduct, speech or expression of bigotry, harassment or intimidation that one could reasonably conclude is directed at an individual or a group because of that individual or group’s actual or perceived race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, military or veteran status. A bias incident can be a form of harassment.

Hate Crime

A hate crime is any criminal offense committed against an individual or a group, which is motivated in whole or in part by the alleged perpetrator’s bias against a race, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, disability or sexual orientation. Hate crimes may include threatened, attempted, or actual crimes and include, but are not limited to, assault and battery, vandalism or other destruction of property, or verbal threats of physical harm.

The University will treat information it receives with appropriate sensitivity. However, the University cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality in all situations.

Confidential Options - Student-Only Resources

If you are a student and you want to speak confidentially about discrimination or harassment, including a bias incident or a hate crime, you may speak with the professional counselors in the University Counseling, Health and Wellness Center and the University Chaplain or Catholic Priest in the University Interfaith Center.

Contact information for these resources as well as Non-Confidential Reporting options are listed below:

Counseling, Health and Wellness
Professional Counselors
73 Tremont Street, 5th floor
617-573-8226

Interfaith Center
The Reverend Amy Fisher, University Chaplain
Sawyer 823
617-573-8325
Confidential Options - Employee-Only Resources

Employee Assistance Program
E4 Health (formerly Lifescope) provides you and your family members with free, confidential, 24/7 access to licensed, master’s level clinicians to assist in finding solutions to help balance personal and work challenges. The goal is to help you simplify your life. Employees and their family members can access services via phone at 800-828-6025 or on the web at www.helloe4.com (username: Suffolk University; password: guest).
Non-confidential Options

Student Affairs/Dean of Students (CAS and SBS students)
12th floor, 73 Tremont Street
617-573-8239

Dean of Students Office (Law Students)
4th floor, 120 Tremont Street
617-573-8157

Diversity Services (All Students)
Sawyer 828
617-573-8613

Housing and Dining (CAS and SBS students)
7th floor, 73 Tremont Street
617-305-2500

Human Resources (Employees)
5th floor, 73 Tremont Street
617-573-8415

Safety & Security (Students and Employees)
Floor A, 8 Ashburton Place
Non-emergency lines: 617-573-8113 or 617-573-8333

Reporting Discrimination or Harassment, Including a Bias Incident or a Hate Crime, to the University

Members of the University are strongly encouraged to report all forms of discrimination or harassment, including a bias incident or a hate crime. They may notify any of the offices or departments below which can explain all reporting options:

Counseling, Health and Wellness (Confidential Resource)
5th floor, 73 Tremont Street
Counseling: 617-573-8226
Health and Wellness: 617-573-8260

Interfaith Center (Confidential Resource)
The Reverend Amy Fisher, University Chaplain
Sawyer 823
617-573-8325

Student Affairs /Dean of Students (CAS and SBS students) (Non-confidential Resource)
12th floor, 73 Tremont Street
617-573-8239

Dean of Students Office (Law Students) (Non-confidential Resource)
4th floor, 120 Tremont Street
617-573-8157

Diversity Services (All Students) (Non-confidential Resource)
Sawyer 828
617-573-8613

Residence Life and Housing (CAS and SBS students) (Non-confidential Resource)
7th floor, 73 Tremont Street
617-305-2500

Human Resources (Employees) (Non-confidential Resource)
11th floor, 73 Tremont Street
617-573-8415

Suffolk University Police and Security Department (Students and Employees) (Non-confidential Resource)
Floor A, 8 Ashburton Place
Non-emergency lines: 617-573-8113 or 617-573-8333

Online and/or Anonymous Reports

Reports may be made online. Anonymous reporting, however, may impact the University’s ability to respond or pursue appropriate action against the alleged perpetrators. Online reports will be reviewed by the Title IX coordinator.

Filing a Complaint with the University

Please follow the following procedures if you would like to file a complaint with the University regarding discriminatory behavior.

If you have experienced discrimination or harassment and you do not know who perpetrated the conduct, please consult your Dean of Students Office or, if you are an employee, the Human Resources Office.

For a complaint about a CAS or SBS student, please refer to the Community Standards and Student Code of Conduct

For a complaint about a Law student, please refer to the Disciplinary Procedure Policy

For a complaint about an employee, please contact Gina Begley, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer, at 617.573.8415 or rebegley@suffolk.edu.

Filing an External Complaint

In addition to or in lieu of filing an internal complaint with Suffolk University, an individual who believes the University’s response was inadequate or has otherwise been subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment or retaliation may file a formal complaint with the government agencies that are identified below. Using the University complaint process does not prohibit a person from filing an external complaint.

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
JFK Federal Building, Room 475
Boston, MA 02203
Telephone: 800-669-4000
Fax: 617-565-3196

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
Telephone: 617-994-6000
Fax: 617-994-6024
TTY: 617-994-6196

United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
5 Post Office Square, 8thFloor
Boston, MA 02109
Telephone: 617-289-0111
Fax: 617-289-0150

With the changing landscape of the responsibilities placed on universities to proactively ensure an environment free from discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct, Suffolk University has created the Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Prevention Team.

The Team is a group of individuals from across the university who seek to foster, support and promote a University culture and climate that fully welcomes diversity by helping to prevent discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. The Team meets several times a year to discuss any new developments in the area of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct, issues or concerns happening in the Suffolk University community as well as in our neighborhood, to review policies and procedures, and to ensure the dissemination of information and education throughout the University community.

Why It Is important to Report Bias Incidents & Hate Crimes:

The police and the University need to know the number, type, and range of bias incidents and hate crimes that impact our community. Reporting these acts will help Suffolk University identify the problem areas to improve services that deal with this type of victimization. As a witness to a bias incident or hate crime, you have a unique opportunity to play a vital role in the internal and/or external justice system. By reporting the incident, information you provide will help the University ensure that offenders answer for their offenses and will help resolve larger issues. The information you give by reporting a hate crime or incident you may witness will:

  • Help bring the perpetrator to justice—this could prevent further occurrences and protect other Suffolk University community members;
  • Help you—you may find it beneficial to talk about what has happened and your feelings about it;
  • Help the Suffolk University community—all such offenses have a negative effect on our community and should be pursued actively.

If you believe that you may have been the target of or a witness to a bias incident or and/or a hate crime, there are several steps you should follow:

  • If necessary, obtain medical attention, and if you feel unsafe call SUPD immediately at 617-573-8111.
  • If possible, preserve any evidence and document the incident as thoroughly as possible (graffiti, phone call recording, e-mail message, letter, and so forth) by taking pictures, videotaping, and writing down everything you or witnesses remember, and keeping the contact information of any witnesses. The protocol for dealing with graffiti is first to inform SUPD, which will then photograph the graffiti.  After photographs are taken, Facilities will be notified to remove the graffiti.
  • Report the incident to the appropriate authority. 

You may also submit an on-line and/or anonymous report. Anonymous reporting, however, may impact the University’s ability to respond or pursue appropriate action against the alleged perpetrators. On-line reports will be reviewed by the associate dean of students, or designee.

If you are not sure whether or not a bias incident may be a hate crime, report it anyway to SUPD at 617-573-8239.

It is best to report an incident as early as possible to facilitate the investigation. SUPD, and other offices will be able to refer you to a variety of support resources both on and off campus that will be helpful. Please do not hesitate to request this information at any time. It is important to talk to someone if you experience or witness a bias incident or hate crime

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  Race
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  In person verbal
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  Physical assault without weapon
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Suffolk University will offer training to university responders including RAs and members of the Residence Life Staff, SUPD, members of the Facilities Department, Residence Life Staff, members of the Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Prevention Team and classes or departments on how to identify and respond to discrimination and harassment, including bias incidents and/or hate crimes.

If you are interested in participating in a training or scheduling a training for your group or department, please contact diversity@suffolk.edu or 617-573-8613.