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Sexual Harassment Policy

Scope of Definition
School Commitment
Procedures for Handling Complaints of Sexual Harassment
Federal and State agencies


Andover Newton Theological School is committed to creating and maintaining communities in which students, faculty, and staff can work together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation or intimidation. Specifically, all persons associated with Andover Newton should be aware that the School condemns sexual harassment. Such behavior is an affront to God and human dignity, is prohibited both by law and by School policy, and will not be tolerated. It is the intention and responsibility of the School to take whatever action may be needed to prevent and correct behavior which is contrary to this policy, and if necessary, discipline persons who violate this policy.


Sexual harassment includes repeated or coercive sexual advances toward another person contrary to his or her wishes. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other abusive verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or relating to sexual orientation constitute sexual harassment when:

1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition or circumstance of instruction, employment, or participation in other School activity;

2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual; or

3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance or creating a discriminating, intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment.

Scope of Definition

In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record of the incident as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred. As defined above, sexual harassment is a specific form of discrimination in which power inherent in a relationship is unfairly exploited. While sexual harassment most often takes place in a situation where a student or employee is in a subordinate position of power between the persons involved, this policy also recognizes that sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same seminary status, e.g., student-student, faculty-faculty, staff-staff or may occur in a reverse situation of power differential, e.g., student-faculty or administration, employee-supervisor.

September 21, 2006ts of sexual harassment involving any member of the Andover Newton community or participants in Andover Newton business, including persons in Clinical Pastoral Education sites and Field Education settings.

School Commitment

It is the responsibility of the administration of the School to uphold the requirements of basic human justice, and with regard to sexual harassment specifically, to ensure that the School's environment be kept free of it. For that purpose, these policies and procedures are adopted to avoid misunderstandings by faculty, administration, students, supervisors and staff on (1) the definitions of sexual harassment and (2) procedures specifically defined to resolve complaints of sexual harassment.

Justice requires that the rights and concerns of both complainant and respondent be fully assured. The School shall make every effort to assure and protect these rights, and shall undertake no action that threatens or compromises them.

Procedures for Handling Complaints of Sexual Harassment

I. A Sexual Harassment Task Force will be established by the initiation of the President within two weeks of the beginning of each academic year composed of the following:

A. a member of the President's Council, other than the President, selected by the President's Council

B. one faculty member selected by the Faculty Association

C. one staff member selected by the Staff Association

D. two students selected by the Student Association in consultation with organized student constituencies.

To ensure gender balance and racial representation, the President may require substitutions. In a case in which a member of the Task Force is a complainant or respondent a replacement for that case will be selected by the appropriate constituent group.

It is recommended that an organizational meeting of the Task Force be convened by the President early in the academic year.

II. Several options may be taken in addressing incidents of alleged sexual harassment.

A. The complainant may appeal to a member of the Sexual Harassment Task Force for counsel or to request that member's aid in resolving the matter. This informal procedure will be kept confidential and will not be recorded in the minutes of the Task Force. In such an event the member may report to the Task Force and participate in discussions and informal resolutions but shall not vote in later Task Force decisions in the event that formal proceedings are instituted.

B. The complainant may attempt to resolve the matter directly with the individual accused of sexual harassment.

C. The complainant may report the incident to the supervisor (in the case of students, to the Dean of Students) of the individual allegedly engaged in sexual harassment, in an effort to resolve the matter.

D. Where other such informal efforts to resolve the complaint may not be wise, appropriate, or successful, the complainant may appeal to the Task Force in resolving the complaint informally. A record of this complaint and its resolution will be maintained in the minutes of the Task Force, which minutes shall be kept confidential to the Task Force.

E. If an informal resolution of the complaint does not seem possible or does not succeed and if the matter is not settled within 10 working days, the complainant and the Task Force will institute formal proceedings which shall include the following steps:

1. gathering oral and written statements from the parties involved in the alleged harassment, and from others who may have pertinent information, such as witnesses, qualified professional consultants, etc. The respondent may appear before the Task Force and present witnesses in his or her behalf.

2. determining actions appropriate to resolve the matter; these may include:

a. the finding that sexual harassment has occurred, and that the appropriate body or officer of the School is called upon to take action accordingly; such action may include one or more of the following:

  • a formal reprimand, with defined expectations for changed behavior;
  • recommending or requiring remedial action such as but not limited to psychological or psychiatric assessment, counseling and/or treatment, education and so forth;
  • probationary standing, with the terms of the probation clearly defined;
  • dismissal from the School - suspension.

    b. the finding that no sexual harassment occurred. In the course of investigating the allegations of the complainant, the supervisor (if involved) and members of the Task Force shall contact only those persons whose participation is reasonably necessary to the investigation of the complaint, and shall otherwise keep the facts of the investigation confidential.

A written summary of the Task Force proceedings will be maintained in the minutes of the Task Force, and in the permanent file of the complainant and the respondent.

If the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the disposition of the matter, he or she has the right to appeal in writing within 30 days to the President of the School, who may review and affirm or alter the disposition.

The complainant or respondent may appeal the decision of the President by addressing an appeal in writing within 30 days to the chair of the Board of Trustees. The chair shall refer the matter to the Executive Committee of the Board within 30 days and said committee will resolve the matter, with discretion to take any further evidence that it may deem necessary before making its final determination.

Federal and State agencies charged with enforcement of the Sexual Harassment law

In addition to the above, if you believe that you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with either or both of the government agencies set forth below. Using our complaint process does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies. Each of the agencies has a 300 day time period from the date of the alleged act of sexual harassment in which to file a complaint.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
One Congress Street, 10th floor
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 565-3200

The Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place 6th floor, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-3990

Updated June 24, 2005