When Lesley receives a complaint, it promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigates the matter in a fair and expeditious manner. Lesley investigates to determine what occurred and then takes appropriate steps to resolve the situation. For detailed information on the procedure, including how to file a complaint and the steps of the investigation process, please refer to Lesley University's Complaint Resolution Procedure.
The University will investigate all incidents occurring on Lesley University property. Further, the University will investigate all incidents involving University sponsored programs or University vehicles regardless of whether the incidents occur on University property.
With respect to complaints of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and Title IX Sexual Harassment, persons who have received relevant annual training will investigate the complaints, make findings, and determine sanctions, if any. Findings are determined according to a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. more likely than not).
An investigation by the University is different from any police or government investigation, and a police or government investigation does not relieve the University of its independent obligation to investigate the conduct under Title IX or this Policy.
Amnesty for Student Witnesses and Complainants
Lesley University offers a limited amnesty to student Complainants and witnesses. Student Complainants and witnesses will not be subject to a disciplinary sanction for a violation of the Drugs and Alcohol Policy, nor conduct outlined in the Student Handbook, for any disclosures related to the incident unless the initial report was not made in good faith or the violation was egregious.
As described in more detail in the Complaint Resolution Procedure, the University may decide to provide supportive measures while an investigation is pending, such as no-contact orders, or to take other restorative and preventative measures, such as education, training, monitoring, supervision, security, academic support, physical health and mental health services, counseling, etc.
If the University determines that this Policy was violated, the University may impose sanctions including but not limited to a written warning or reprimand placed in a student’s record or an employee’s personnel file, mandatory training 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 the University or termination of employment, in addition to any criminal penalties pursued by the state and law enforcement. In addition, the University cooperates in the enforcement of protective orders, no-contact orders, restraining orders, or similar orders issued by a criminal or civil court.
The University takes steps to prevent the recurrence of any discrimination or harassment, to remedy its effects on the complainant and others, and to promote or restore the complainant’s equal access to University programs and activities, as appropriate.
Where possible, the University will assist persons complaining of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or Title IX Sexual Harassment by separating the parties. Where feasible and warranted, the University will also seek to change academic, living, transportation, and work situations at the complainant’s request. The University may also take other steps such as approving leaves of absence and extensions on assignments or requiring training and counseling. Such accommodations are available regardless of the complainant’s choice to report the crime to the University or local law enforcement or to pursue University disciplinary action, and any information about such accommodations or supportive measures will be kept confidential to the extent such confidentiality does not impair the University’s ability to provide the accommodations.
Duty of Good Faith
Lesley University prohibits any member of the Lesley community from knowingly or recklessly bringing a false complaint against another member of the Lesley community. Any such action can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the University or dismissal from employment with the University.
Protection Against Retaliation
Retaliation is unlawful. Lesley University does not permit retaliation against any individual who makes a report pursuant to this policy or who cooperates in the investigation of such reports.
Any student found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
Any employee found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment at Lesley University.
Further, in the context of Title IX Sexual Harassment-related matters, the University defines and prohibits retaliation as follows:
Retaliation means intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations or this Policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding alleged Title IX Sexual Harassment. Retaliation is strictly prohibited. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for policy violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, constitute retaliation, as do any adverse action taken against a person because they have made a good faith report of prohibited conduct or participated in any proceeding under this Policy. Retaliation may include intimidation, threats, coercion, harassment, or adverse employment or educational actions that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this policy. Charging an individual with a policy violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance process under this Policy does not constitute prohibited retaliation, provided, however, that a determination regarding responsibility is not alone sufficient to establish that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.
Confidentiality and Use of Information:
Reasonable efforts will be made 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 individual who reportedly experienced the alleged misconduct, that individual’s request). If a Reporter (or the individual who reportedly experienced the alleged misconduct) insists that the Reporter’s name (or the name of the individual who reportedly experienced the alleged misconduct) or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the Respondent or others, Lesley’s ability to respond may be limited.
However, the Coordinator will evaluate requests for confidentiality and may, in the Coordinator’s discretion, share information or take action in order to assist the Reporter or the University community.
Information gathered during one investigation may be used in other investigations at the discretion of the University.
In the context of Title IX Sexual Harassment, the May 2020 Title IX regulations contemplate that certain information will generally be treated confidentially, except as qualified by statements in those regulations. For example, the regulations provide that universities must maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to a complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the institution to provide the supportive measures. The regulations also provide that universities must keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. 1232g, or FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99, or as required by law, or to carry out the purposes of the Title IX regulations, including the conducting of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising under those regulations.