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Policy Against Harassment

Updated 7/22/2014

FIT is committed to providing its staff, faculty, and students with the opportunity to pursue excellence in their academic and professional endeavors. This opportunity can exist only when each member of the community is assured an atmosphere of mutual respect, in which each person is judged solely on criteria related to academic or job performance. The college is committed to providing such an environment, free from all forms of harassment and discrimination, and ensuring students and employees the right to an environment free from discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult. Each member of the community is responsible for fostering mutual respect, for being familiar with this policy, and for refraining from conduct that violates this policy.

DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this policy, the term ďharassmentĒ means any unwelcome and/or offensive action, remark, or behavior that interferes with a personís work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile environment, based on an individualís gender, race, ethnic background, religion, national origin or citizenship, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or other criterion specified by law.

Some examples of harassment, which might offend, embarrass, or humiliate an individual include, but are not limited to: 

  • treating people differently because they fall within a category listed above;
  • offensive or suggestive comments, letters, emails, or telephone calls;
  • insults, jokes, teasing, threats, embarrassing comments, or other remarks that put people down or make them uncomfortable;
  • inappropriate pictures, cartoons, or other objects;
  • making obscene or rude gestures, or ogling or leering at someone;
  • unwanted or unnecessary touching or blocking someoneís movement;
  • mimicking a personís accent, or mocking or imitating a disability or stutter.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, whether between people of different sexes or the same sex, is defined to include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 

  • submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individualís employment or participation in an educational program;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for personnel decisions for academic evaluation or advancement affecting the individual;
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individualís work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Some examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • physical assault;
  • direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation;
  • a pattern of conduct (not legitimately related to the subject matter of a course if one is involved) intended to discomfort or humiliate, or both, that includes comments of a sexual nature or sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes whether delivered in person, in writing, or by email or voicemail message;
  • a pattern of conduct that would discomfort or humiliate, or both, a reasonable person at whom the conduct was directed that includes one or more of the following: unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a personís body; remarks of a sexual nature about a personís clothing or body; or remarks about a personís sexual activity or speculation about a personís sexual experience;
  • a pattern of conduct which implies discrimination or hostility toward a personís personal, professional, or academic interests because of gender or sexual orientation.

Complaint Procedure

Anyone who wants to complain about harassment is encouraged to contact the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator; any vice president; the General Counsel; or any dean, department director, or department chairperson. The Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator can be reached at 212 217-3360, via email at titleix@fitnyc.edu or in Room A605. Any senior administrator, dean, department director, department chairperson or coordinator, or any other person with supervisory responsibility who receives a complaint of harassment, must report the complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator immediately. When the harassment is or may be ongoing and the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator is not available, the supervisor to whom the complaint has been made should immediately contact the General Counsel or any vice president, any of whom can be contacted through Security if they are not on campus.

There are no time limits for reporting harassment. However, allegations of harassment should be reported as promptly as possible. Delay in making a complaint may make it more difficult for the college to investigate allegations. Individuals who believe they have been harassed may also file charges with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, or other agencies having jurisdiction over such charges. In general, the deadline to file such charges runs from the last date of unlawful harassment, not from the date that an internal FIT complaint is resolved. You are not required to wait until an internal FIT complaint is resolved before filing a charge with one or more of these agencies.

FIT will protect the confidentiality of harassment allegations to the extent possible. FIT cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, since it may not be able to conduct an effective investigation without revealing certain information to the alleged harasser or to potential witnesses. However, information about allegations of harassment will be shared only with those who need to know. Records relating to harassment complaints are kept confidential on the same basis.

The Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator will investigate harassment complaints and will take or recommend action as appropriate. Students, faculty, or staffs who are found, following appropriate disciplinary procedures, to have violated this policy are subject to various penalties, including termination of employment and permanent dismissal from the college.

Members of the FIT community who make false complaints of harassment for an improper or inappropriate purpose, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, will be subject to disciplinary action. FIT prohibits any form of retaliation against individuals who file a complaint of harassment in good faith.

FIT encourages individuals who believe they have been harassed to come forward. When a student or an employee complains about alleged harassment, FIT will investigate the allegation regardless of whether the complaint conforms to a particular format or is made in writing.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber-harassment involves the use of information and communication technologies (i.e. cellular phones) to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others.

The IT System of FIT imposes certain responsibilities and obligations, and is subject to college policies, and local, state, and federal laws. In making appropriate use of college computing resources students are not permitted to use mail or messaging services to harass, intimidate, or otherwise annoy another person, for example, by broadcasting unsolicited messages, or sending unwanted mail.

If the FIT is made aware that cyber-harassment is taking place through the use of college IT services, and/or personal technological devices, such actions will result in possible judicial sanctions up to termination and suspension/expulsion from FIT.

The disciplinary actions taken by FIT does not shield from any criminal charges that may be taken against the harasser.

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