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Equal Opportunity and Title IX

The Office of Equal Opportunity at Lesley is responsible for addressing and responding to reports of discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence, to help create a campus where all members of our community have access to the University. In light of this mission, we work to promote equal opportunity and inclusion for all individuals. 

Our Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence, and our Complaint Resolution Procedure outlines the University’s processes for responding to reports of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. These policies address the University’s aim to provide an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment on the basis of protected categories, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. Discrimination and harassment undermine the basic principles of the Lesley community and are strictly prohibited.

  • Equal Opportunity

    Equal opportunity is premised on the idea that all individuals should have equal access to the University, regardless of membership in a protected class. Some of the laws incorporated into the body of equal opportunity law include:

    •  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    •  The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 
    •  The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
    •  Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008

    All of the above federal laws prohibit retaliation against a person who files a charge of discrimination or participates in a related process.

    Lesley forbids discriminatory or harassing conduct that is based on an individual's race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, national origin or ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, pregnancy or parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, veteran or military status, membership in Uniformed Services, and all other categories protected by applicable state and federal laws (together, “protected categories”). Lesley also prohibits retaliation against any person who brings a report of discrimination or harassment or against anyone who cooperates in an investigation or related proceeding.

  • Title IX

    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. It states that:

    “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

    In accordance with Title IX, Lesley University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities, which extends to admission to and employment with the University. Individuals who have questions about the application of Title IX can contact the University’s Director of Equal Opportunity using the contact information below. 

  • Director of Equal Opportunity

    Lesley’s Director of Equal Opportunity 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.

  • Policies

Helping You to Address Violations

To report an incident or concern, please submit an Equal Opportunity Report or report anonymously using the EthicsPoint reporting hotline.

  • Reporting

    In keeping with Lesley’s shared respect for human dignity and social justice values, we ask that all members of the community take it upon themselves to bring forward concerns about discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct or sexual violence. As a matter of University policy, all employees (faculty, adjunct faculty, and staff), with the exception of certain employees in the student Counseling Center and the student Health Service Center who have obligations of confidentiality, must immediately report to the Director of Equal Opportunity if they learn about potential instances of discrimination and harassment, including misconduct and sexual violence. The University encourages students who learn of such conduct to report to the Director of Equal Opportunity. Reports can be made by:

    • Emailing the Office of Equal Opportunity at equalopportunity@lesley.edu.
    • Using our Equal Opportunity Report, which allows individuals to report anonymously.
    • Using our new EthicsPoint reporting hotline, which also allows individuals to report anonymously. EthicsPoint is a third-party hotline that provides ways for individuals to report either online or by phone by calling (833) 500-1789. Reports that are made through EthicsPoint will be referred to Lesley’s Office of Equal Opportunity. 
    • Contacting Lesley’s Director of Equal Opportunity, Valerie Yeakel, directly by emailing vyeakel@lesley.edu or by calling (617) 349-8643.

    Reports that are made directly to the Office of Equal Opportunity or through our Community Incident Report form or EthicsPoint reporting hotline will be reviewed by the Office of Equal Opportunity. Our office will protect the privacy of any individuals involved to the extent possible. Lesley strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes a report pursuant to the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy or who cooperates in the investigation of such reports.  

    Members of our community who have been impacted by sexual misconduct or sexual violence can contact the Office of Equal Opportunity for resources and to discuss supportive measures without having to go through a formalized investigation process.

  • 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).

  • What to Expect After Submitting a Report

    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 Director of Equal Opportunity 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 Director of Equal Opportunity determines whether other stakeholders need to be involved in the resolution process, with the informed consent of the impacted person(s).
    4. The Director of Equal Opportunity continues to work with the person(s) who submitted the report (and any potential stakeholders) until the issue is resolved.

    Reporting Overview

    1. A report is made to OEO. OEO will review the report and confirm receipt of the report with the reporter.
    2. Outreach from OEO is made to the impacted individual to provide support and resources.
    3. A staff member from OEO will meet with the impacted individual if the impacted person would like to do so.
    4. The OEO staff member will discuss the impacted person’s experience and outline potential resolution options with them.
    5. OEO begins a resolution process, if appropriate, which may included outreach to the respondent.

    If in doubt, please contact the University’s Director of Equal Opportunity, 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.  

  • Respecting Your Privacy

    The Office of Equal Opportunity 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 Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator of an incident, but do not identify yourself by name in your report.

    The Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator will keep your disclosure private and will not inform the University or police of your name or other identifying details. The Director of Equal Opportunity & Title IX Coordinator has 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 Director of Equal Opportunity 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 and discuss their experience in whatever way meets their needs. One option that individuals have at Lesley is to speak to a Confidential Resource Provider. 

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

    Students who would like to have a confidential conversation about their experience with discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence, can contact the Confidential Resource Provider for students, Yamileyka Rojas. Yamileyka can be reached by emailing yrojas2@lesley.edu.

    Employees who would like to have a confidential conversation about their experience with discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence, can contact the Confidential Resource Providers for employees, Samantha Carpinella and Max Meristil. Samantha can be reached by emailing scarpine@lesley.edu, and Max can be reached by emailing meristil@lesley.edu.

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 and Title IX Coordinator.