Yale University’s Equal Opportunity Statement
The University is committed to basing judgments concerning the admission, education, and employment of individuals upon their qualifications and abilities and affirmatively seeks to attract to its faculty, staff, and student body qualified persons of diverse backgrounds. In accordance with this policy and as delineated by federal and Connecticut law, Yale does not discriminate in admissions, educational programs, or employment against any individual on account of that individual’s sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a special disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era or other covered veteran, or national or ethnic origin; nor does Yale discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
University policy is committed to affirmative action under law in employment of women, minority group members, individuals with disabilities, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, and other covered veterans.
Inquiries concerning these policies may be referred to Valarie Stanley, Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs, 221 Whitney Avenue; 3rd Floor, 203-432-0849.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions that receive federal financial assistance. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Stephanie Spangler, at 203.432.4446 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 8th Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109-3921; tel. 617.289.0111, fax 617.289.0150, TDD 800.877.8339, or email@example.com.
Sexual Misconduct Policies at Yale
Yale University is committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working, and living environment founded on civility and mutual respect. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the standards and ideals of our community and will not be tolerated.
Yale aims to eradicate sexual misconduct through education, training, clear policies, and serious consequences for violations of these policies. The University’s Title IX Coordinator has responsibility for ensuring compliance with Yale’s policies regarding sexual misconduct. The University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) and the Title IX coordinators in each school will address allegations of sexual misconduct.
Many forms of sexual misconduct are also prohibited by Connecticut and federal law, including Title IX of the education amendments of 1972, and Connecticut statutes relating to sexual offenses, and could result in civil liability or criminal prosecution.
Definition of Sexual Misconduct Including Sexual Harassment
Sexual misconduct incorporates a range of behaviors including sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, voyeurism, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person.
Much sexual misconduct includes nonconsensual sexual contact, but this is not a necessary component. For example, threatening speech that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to constitute sexual harassment will constitute sexual misconduct. Making photographs, video, or other visual or auditory recordings of a sexual nature of another person without consent constitutes sexual misconduct, even if the activity documented was consensual. Similarly, sharing such recordings or other sexually harassing electronic communications without consent is a form of sexual misconduct. Both men and women are protected from sexual misconduct, and sexual misconduct is prohibited regardless of the sex of the harasser.
Violations of Yale’s Policy on Teacher-Student Consensual Relations and Relationships between Staff Members are a form of sexual misconduct.
Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment. Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as in persistent behavior. Both men and women are protected from sexual harassment, and sexual harassment is prohibited regardless of the sex of the harasser.
Definition of Sexual Consent
Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity throughout a sexual encounter. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no”; a clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply present or future consent. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time.
Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. A person is mentally or physically incapacitated when that person lacks the ability to make or act on considered decisions to engage in sexual activity. Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom you know – or reasonably should know – to be incapacitated constitutes sexual misconduct.
Guidance Regarding Sexual Consent
Consent can only be accurately gauged through direct communication about the decision to engage in sexual activity. Presumptions based upon contextual factors (such as clothing, alcohol consumption, or dancing) are unwarranted, and should not be considered as evidence for consent.
Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, and you are thus urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect.
Policy on Teacher-Student Consensual Relations
The integrity of the teacher-student relationship is the foundation of the University’s educational mission. This relationship vests considerable trust in the teacher, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as a mentor, educator, and evaluator. The unequal institutional power inherent in this relationship heightens the vulnerability of the student and the potential for coercion. The pedagogical relationship between teacher and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning and personal development.
Whenever a teacher is or in the future might reasonably become responsible for teaching, advising, or directly supervising a student, a sexual relationship between them is inappropriate and must be avoided. In addition to creating the potential for coercion, any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process by creating a conflict of interest and may impair the learning environment for other students. Finally, such situations may expose the University and the teacher to liability for violation of laws against sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
Therefore, teachers (see below) must avoid sexual relationships with students over whom they have or might reasonably expect to have direct pedagogical or supervisory responsibilities, regardless of whether the relationship is consensual. Conversely, a teacher must not directly supervise any student with whom he or she has a sexual relationship. Undergraduate students are particularly vulnerable to the unequal institutional power inherent in the teacher-student relationship and the potential for coercion, because of their age and relative lack of maturity. Therefore, no teacher shall have a sexual or amorous relationship with any undergraduate student, regardless of whether the teacher currently exercises or expects to have any pedagogical or supervisory responsibilities over that student.
Teachers or students with questions about this policy are advised to consult with the University’s Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator of his or her school, the department chair, the appropriate dean, the Provost, or one of his or her designees. A student or other member of the community may lodge a formal or informal complaint regarding an alleged violation of this policy with the University’s Title IX Coordinator, with the Title IX Coordinator of his or her school, or with the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct.
Violations of the above policies by a teacher will normally lead to disciplinary action. For purposes of this policy, “direct supervision” includes the following activities (on or off campus): course teaching, examining, grading, advising for a formal project such as a thesis or research, supervising required research or other academic activities, serving in such a capacity as Director of Undergraduate or Graduate Studies, and recommending in an institutional capacity for admissions, employment, fellowships or awards. “Teachers” includes, but is not limited to, all ladder and non-ladder faculty of the University.
It also includes graduate and professional students and postdoctoral fellows and associates only when they are serving as part-time acting instructors, teaching fellows or in similar institutional roles, with respect to the students they are currently teaching or supervising. “Students” refers to those enrolled in any and all educational and training programs of the University. Additionally, this policy applies to members of the Yale community who are not teachers as defined above, but have authority over or mentoring relationships with students, including athletic coaches, supervisors of student employees, advisors and directors of student organizations, Residential College Fellows, as well as others who advise, mentor, or evaluate students.
Policy on Relationships Between Staff Members
Staff are expected to avoid romantic or sexual relationships with employees and trainees for whom they have or might reasonably expect to have supervisory or reporting responsibilities.
Under no circumstances can a supervisor directly supervise or evaluate any employee or trainee with whom he or she has a romantic or sexual relationship. If such a relationship exists or develops, the supervisor and employee must promptly disclose it to the Department Head or the Human Resources Generalist. Arrangements, which may include reassignment or relocation, will be made to address any issue of conflict of interest. Any decision affecting any aspect of employment (for example, transfer, promotion, salary, termination) must be made by disinterested and qualified supervisory personnel.
Violations of this policy will normally lead to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Individuals with questions about this policy or staff concerned about a romantic or sexual relationship in violation of this policy are encouraged to speak with their supervisor, Human Resources Generalist, or any University Title IX Coordinator.