MCPHS University is committed to creating and fostering a positive learning, working, and living environment where all members of our community can thrive. Federal laws, like Title IX (prohibiting sex discrimination), the Clery Act (mandating reporting of crimes on campus), and the 2013 Campus SaVE Act (broadening the scope of responsibility to include dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking), embody the obligations of colleges and universities to provide a safe and secure educational environment free from discrimination, harassment, and violence.
It is important that all members of the MCPHS University community be part of our support and response systems for sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. We must all work together to sustain and improve robust and effective practices to address this serious issue.
As you review the information concerning Title IX on the MCPHS University website, please feel free to contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Brigid Harrington, directly to express any concerns or to provide your suggestions to improve the University’s policies and practices.
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…” – Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
MCPHS University is committed to providing a safe and positive living, learning, and working environment. The University has a responsibility to ensure that all students, staff, faculty, and visitors can enjoy the benefits and opportunities the University has to offer in an environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The term “Sexual Harassment” is defined pursuant to 34 CFR Part 106 as:
unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex “determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectionably offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity”; an employee conditioning the provision of aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome conduct(quid pro quo); or sexual assault (as defined by the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)). The alleged conduct must have occurred in the United States within an MCPHS education program or activity, which includes “locations, events or circumstances over which the school exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred.”
The University will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. The University recognizes that discrimination and harassment related to a person’s sex can occur in connection with misconduct related to a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability, or other protected classes. Targeting a person based on these characteristics is also a violation of state and federal law and the University’s Protection from Discrimination and Harassment Policy. As appropriate, the University will endeavor to coordinate the investigation and resolution of sexual harassment complaints with the investigation and resolution of complaints of discrimination or harassment based on other protected classes. There is a presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
There is a presumption of innocence throughout the grievance process, with the burden on the university to gather information and to prove the alleged conduct meets the definition of sexual harassment pursuant to Title IX.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Kevin Dolan 617.732.2144 Kevin.Dolan@mcphs.edu
Dean of Students and Senior Student Affairs Officer
Jacinda Félix Haro 617.732.2929 Jacinda.FelixHaro@mcphs.edu
The complainant and respondent are treated equitably while addressing allegations of sexual harassment. Equitable remedies should include supportive measures for the parties that are non-disciplinary, non-punitive in nature and designed to restore or preserve equal access to education programs and activities while addressing the allegations through a fair and unbiased grievance process.
A. THE COMPLAINT
The university has actual knowledge of a potential Title IX violation when notification is given to the Title IX Coordinator or any official who has the authority to institute corrective measures.
Upon notification of a potential Title IX violation, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss supportive measures; to consider the complainants wishes with respect to supportive measures; to inform the complainant of availability of these measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint; and to explain the grievance process and the procedure for filing a formal complaint.
Emergency Removal of a student-respondent may still be appropriate, provided the university does an individualized safety and risk analysis; determines there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of students or employees that justifies removal; and, provides notice and an opportunity for the respondent to challenge the decision immediately following removal. Non-student employees may be placed on administrative leaves during investigations.
The complainant or Title IX Coordinator file a document alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the university investigate the allegation of sexual harassment, known as a “formal complaint.” A complainant may only file a formal complaint under this policy if the complainant is participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the university.
The university treats the complainant and respondent equitably throughout the grievance process. All university officials involved in the grievance process must not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party. The respondent is presumed not to be responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The parties are advised as to the range of possible disciplinary sanctions and remedies that the university may implement following any determination of responsibility. The university will determine responsibility based on the evidentiary standard of Preponderance of the Evidence and both parties are permitted to appeal the final decision.
The university will provide for an informal resolution process such as mediation after the filing of a formal complaint. Informal resolution does not involve a full investigation and adjudication. The informal resolution process may begin at any time prior to a determination regarding responsibility. The university must provide the parties with the written notice as to the allegations and the requirements of the informal resolution process. The parties must voluntarily agree and provide written consent to the Informal resolution process. The parties have the right to withdraw from the informal process and participate in the formal grievance process any time prior to a determination regarding responsibility. Informal resolution is not permitted in cases of harassment of a student by an employee.
B. TITLE IX INVESTIGATION
- Initiating the investigation. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties of the allegations of sexual harassment, including sufficient details known at the time of filing and allowing sufficient time to prepare a response before the initial interview. The details include the identity of the parties, the alleged conduct constituting sexual harassment, the date and location of the alleged conduct. The written notice must contain a statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The notice must inform the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The notice must inform the parties of the section of the Student Code of Conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
- Time frame. The university will endeavor to complete its investigation in sixty (60 days). However, there may be reasonable delays or extensions as circumstances arise.
- Standard of Proof. The “preponderance of the evidence” standard shall be applied to sexual harassment complaints. This standard requires a finding that it is more likely than not that sexual harassment occurred in order to assign responsibility to the respondent.
- Gathering information. The university will conduct prompt and thorough interviews of the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses. Both parties will have an opportunity to suggest witnesses. The investigator will interview the suggested witnesses unless the investigator determines that the information that the party claims the witness will share is not relevant. The burden of gathering both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence and proof sufficient to reach a determination of responsibility is on the university. The university will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or gather and present relevant evidence. The parties are both allowed to have their advisor of choice present during any grievance proceeding. The university may restrict the extent to which the advisor may participate in the proceedings as long as the restrictions apply equally to both parties. Written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, interviews or meetings must be provided to a party whose participation is invited or expected with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate. An investigative report will be generated at the end of the investigation. Prior to completion of the investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will send each party and their advisors any evidence gathered that is directly related to the allegations for their inspection and review with ten (10) days-notice to submit a written response, prior to completion of the final investigative report. The final investigative report is sent to the parties and their advisors ten (10) days prior to the live hearing.
- Mandatory Dismissal. If the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined above, or did not occur in the university’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then the Title IX Coordinator must dismiss the formal complaint. Such dismissal does not preclude action under another policy or provision of the university’s code of conduct. Upon dismissal, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reason for the dismissal simultaneously to the parties. Both parties will have a right to appeal the dismissal pursuant to the appeal procedures described below.
- Discretionary Dismissal. The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss the formal complaint, if at any time during the investigation or hearing: the complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant wishes to withdraw the formal complaint; the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the university; or circumstances prevent the gathering of evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility. Both parties will have a right to appeal the dismissal pursuant to the appeal procedures described below.
Once the Title IX Coordinator is satisfied that the investigation is completed, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the complainant and the respondent as to the live hearing.
C. Live Hearing
The 2020 amendments require all postsecondary schools to hold a live hearing at the conclusion of the investigative process. The decision makers preside over the live hearing. The parties (through their advisors) may make opening statements and the decision makers may question the parties. The University must provide an advisor, without fee, to a party who does not have an advisor present for the live hearing. Each party's advisor is permitted to ask the other party and any of the witnesses all relevant questions on behalf of their party.
- Recording or Transcript. The university must create an audiovisual recording or transcript of the live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.
- Determination Regarding Responsibility. The decision makers must issue a written determination regarding responsibility simultaneously to the parties using the preponderance of the evidence standard. The written statement must include the allegations constituting sexual harassment, describe the procedural steps taken, the findings of fact supporting the determination, conclusions regarding the application of this Policy and a statement the findings and the rationale, as well as the procedures and basis for appeal.
Both respondent and complainant may appeal a determination regarding responsibility and from a dismissal of a formal complaint based on: (1) procedural irregularity that affected the outcome; (2) new evidence not previously available that could affect the outcome; and (3) bias or conflict of interest on the part of a Title IX official that affected the outcome.
MCPHS University and the community offer a wide range of support and assistance services and programs to meet the diverse needs of those seeking help or information.
Interim Confidential Resource Provider
Associate Provost for Academic and Professional Affairs
MCPHS Counseling Services
- Boston 617.732.2837
- Worcester 508.373.5690
- Manchester 603.314.1781
Medical and Behavioral Options
- Boston Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) 617.667.7000
- Fenway Community Health Center’s Violence Recovery Program 617.927.6250
- Worcester St. Vincent Hospital 508.363.5000
- UMass Memorial Medical Center 508.334.1000
- Manchester, NH Elliot Hospital 603.669.5300
- Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS in Portsmouth, NH) 888.747.7070
General Student Resources, Referrals and Support
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.7233
- Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN) 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
- Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Hotline 800.841.8371
- Boston Police Department Sexual Assault Division 617.343.4400 or 911
- Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery 617.667.8141
- Victims' Bill of Rights – Boston [PDF]
- Pathways for Change/Worcester Rape Crisis Center Hotline 800.870.5905 | www.rapecrisiscenter.org
- Worcester County District Attorney’s Office 508.755.8601
- Daybreak 508.755.9030
In the case of an emergency, call 911 and then contact the University Office of Public Safety. In a non-emergency situation, contact the Office of Public Safety, which can provide assistance in notifying the appropriate law enforcement agency, e.g., police, District Attorney, etc.
Anyone who has witnessed, knows about, or has experienced sexual harassment or other sex discrimination, is encouraged to seek help and report his or her concerns. There are a number of ways to report concerns and to get needed information, assistance, and resources.
Retaliation of any kind against individuals who report concerns or who participate in an investigation process is prohibited. The University will not tolerate retaliation by any employee or student. Retaliation is a serious violation of the Title IX Policy, as well as of federal, state, and local law. Anyone who believes he or she is a victim of retaliation should report the matter immediately to the Title IX Coordinator.
The University encourages the reporting of all concerns regarding sexual harassment. Sometimes individuals are hesitant to report instances of sexual harassment because they fear being charged with other policy violations. Because the university has a paramount interest in protecting the well-being of its community and remedying sexual harassment, other policy violations will be considered, if necessary, separately from allegations under the Title IX Policy.
CRIMINAL COMPLAINTS AND REPORTS
911 – Emergency – All Campuses
Individuals may choose to file a report with both law enforcement and the University when an incident occurs that constitutes both a crime and a violation of University policy. Those individuals may contact local law enforcement directly or ask the assistance of MCPHS Public Safety in doing so. For those situations, which may present imminent or ongoing danger, the University encourages individuals to report immediately by calling 911.
Individuals who may be the victim of Sexual Assault are encouraged to take steps to preserve evidence of the incident and report it immediately to law enforcement. Steps to preserve evidence include but are not limited to:
- Not bathing, showering, brushing teeth, drinking, eating, douching or changing clothes until the evidence can be collected;
- Place clothing articles or others garments in separate paper bags for preservation;
- Maintain all original writings or electronic documentation relating to incident or alleged perpetrator (e.g., texts, emails, pictures, videos, social media postings, telephone logs, etc.).
MCPHS PUBLIC SAFETY
BOSTON (non-emergency) 617-732-2900
WORCESTER (non-emergency) 508-373-5800
MANCHESTER (non-emergency) 603.314.1771
UNIVERSITY TITLE IX COMPLAINTS AND REPORTS
Chief Human Resource Officer
Dean of Students and Chief Student Affairs Office
Jacinda Félix Haro
The MCPHS Compliance Hotline is anonymous, toll-free, 24-hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week to report concerns.
The MCPHS University Office of Counseling Services is a confidential resource. Counselors working within the scope of their professional license can offer confidentiality to any person who wishes to disclose the name of potential victim and information about conduct that could constitute sexual harassment without that person having to report it to the Title IX Coordinator.
Interim Confidential Resource Provider
Associate Provost for Academic and Professional Affairs