Office of Diversity and Equity

Discrimination Complaints

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY STATEMENT

Western Connecticut State University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer, fully committed to the goal of providing equal opportunity and full participation in its educational programs, activities and employment without discrimination because of race, color, religious beliefs or association, sex, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, physical disability, including but not limited to blindness, learning disability or mental retardation, past or present history of mental disorder, or prior conviction of a crime, in accordance with state and federal laws. To that end, this statement of policy has been put forth to ensure that no qualified person be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of the university.

To file a complaint of discrimination, or for inquiries concerning the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy Statement, related laws and regulations for Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, please contact Mrs. Jesenia Minier-Delgado, Chief Diversity Officer, University Hall, Room 217, (203) 837-8277 or TTY (203) 837-8284.

Protection from Adverse Action

All individuals shall be free from all restraint, interference, coercion or reprisal on the part of their associates, supervisors and all others in making any complaint or appeal, in serving as a representative for a complaint, in appearing as a witness, or in seeking information. The above principles apply with equal force after a complaint has been resolved. Should these principles be violated, the facts shall be brought to the attention of the Chief Diversity Officer by the aggrieved party, his/her representative or any person affected. The Chief Diversity Officer shall bring all such situations to the attention of the President for confidential discussion, review, the potential for early proactive intervention and appropriate action.

Individuals are advised of their legal options to file complaints with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, and any other agencies, state, federal or local, that enforce laws concerning discrimination.

Accreditation and Policy

ACCREDITATION

Western Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation status by the New England Association should be directed to the university’s administrative staff. Individuals may also contact the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, 3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100, Burlington, MA 01803-4531. Call (855) 886-3272, Fax (781) 425-1001 or email cihe@neasc.org.

Accreditation by the New England Association has reference to the institution as a whole. In addition, the university is accredited by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.

Individual programs at the university are accredited by:

  • The Connecticut State Department of Education
  • The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation
  • The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs
  • The National Association of Schools of Music
  • The American Chemical Society
  • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • The Council on Social Work Education

RIGHTS RESERVED STATEMENT

Students attending Western Connecticut State University are required to familiarize themselves with this catalog. Primary responsibility for knowing and fulfilling all requirements rests with the individual student. The catalog in effect at the time of the student’s admission or readmission to a degree program governs degree requirements.

The Western Connecticut State University administration reserves the right, whenever advisable: (1) to change or modify its schedule of tuition and fees; (2) to withdraw, cancel, reschedule or modify any course, program of study, or degree or any requirement in connection with any of the foregoing.

BOR/CSCU Sexual Misconduct Reporting, Support Services and Processes Policy (revision effective June 16, 2016)

Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) will not tolerate sexual misconduct against students, staff, faculty, or visitors, whether it comes in the form of intimate partner violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation or sexual harassment, as defined in the BOR/CSCU policy. In an ongoing effort to prevent sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence on the CCSU campus, the University provides education and prevention programs for the CCSU community and pursues all criminal and administrative remedies for complaints of sexual misconduct.

WCSU is a community dependent upon trust and respect for its constituent members: students, faculty, staff and those visiting or under temporary contract. As noted in University’s Violence in the Workplace Prevention Policy, members of the University community have the right to a safe and welcoming campus environment. Acts of sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence threaten personal safety and violate the standards of conduct expected of community members.

Definitions:

Consent is defined as an affirmed and given freely, willingly, and knowingly of each participant to desired physical/sexual involvement. Consent is a mutually affirmative, conscious decision – indicated clearly by words or actions – to engage in mutually accepted sexual contact. Consent may be revoked at any time during the sexual activity by any person engaged in the activity.

Affirmative consent is defined as a known, not assumed permission, to engage someone with no physical resistance or other negative response. A person who initially consents to sexual activity shall be deemed not to have affirmatively consented to any such activity which occurs after that consent is withdrawn. It is the responsibility of each person to assure that he or she has the affirmative consent of all persons engaged in the sexual activity to engage in the sexual activity and that affirmative consent is sustained throughout the sexual activity. It shall not be a valid excuse to an alleged lack of affirmative consent that the student or employee responding to the alleged violation believed that the student reporting or disclosing the alleged violation consented to the activity (i) because the responding student or employee was intoxicated or reckless or failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain whether the student or employee reporting or disclosing the alleged violation affirmatively consented, or (ii) if the responding student or employee knew or should have known that the student or employee reporting or disclosing the alleged violation was unable to consent because the student or employee was unconscious, asleep, unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition, or incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication. The existence of a past or current dating or sexual relationship between the persons involved in the alleged violation shall not be determinative of a finding of affirmative consent.

Report of sexual misconduct is defined as the receipt of a communication of an incident of sexual misconduct accompanied by a request for an investigation or adjudication by the institution.

Disclosure is defined as the receipt of any communication of an incident of sexual misconduct that is not accompanied by a request for an investigation or adjudication by the institution.

Sexual misconduct is defined as engaging in any of the following behaviors:

a)      Sexual harassment, which can include any unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education or employment; submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or employment environment.

Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Sexual flirtation, touching, advances or propositions
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
  • Pressure to engage in sexual activity
  • Graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or appearance
  • Use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual
  • Display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures or photographs
  • Sexual jokes
  • Stereotypic comments based upon gender
  • Threats, demands or suggestions that retention of one’s educational status is contingent upon toleration of or acquiescence in sexual advances.

Retaliation is defined as prohibited and occurs when a person is subjected to an adverse employment or educational action because he or she made a complaint under this policy or assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation.

b)      Sexual assault is defined as a violent act that shall include but is not limited to a sexual act directed against another person without the consent (as defined herein) of the other person or when that person is not capable of giving such consent. Sexual assault is further defined in sections 53a‐70, 53a‐70a, 53a‐70b, 53a‐71, 53a‐72a, 53a‐72b and 53a‐73a of the Connecticut General Statutes.

c)      Sexual exploitation is defined as an incident(s) when a person takes non‐consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone’s advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior   does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses.

Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non‐consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio‐recording of sexual activity;
  • Non‐consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information;
  • Going beyond the bounds of consent (for example, an individual who allows friends to hide in the closet to watch him or her having consensual sex);
  • Engaging in non‐consensual voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV to another without disclosing your STI status;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non‐consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose his or her genitals; or
  • Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography.

Sexual exploitation is further defined as a crime in Connecticut State Law.

d)     Intimate partner, domestic and/or dating violence is defined as a means of any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse of or person in a dating or cohabitating relationship with such individual that results from any action by such spouse or such person that may be classified as a sexual assault under section 53a‐70, 53a‐70a, 53a‐70b, 53a‐71, 53a‐72a, 53a‐72b or 53a‐73a of the general statutes, stalking under section 53a‐181c, 53a‐181d or 53a‐181e of the general statutes, or domestic or family violence as designated under section 46b‐38h of the general statutes. This includes any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse or by a partner in a dating relationship that results from (1) sexual assault (2) sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship; (3) domestic violence; (4) sexual harassment (5) sexual exploitation, as such terms are defined in this policy.

Offenses that are designated as “domestic violence” are against family or household members or persons in dating or cohabitating relationships and include assaults, sexual assaults, stalking, and violations of protective or restraining orders issued by a Court. Intimate partner violence may also include physical abuse, threat of abuse, and emotional abuse.

  • Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, slapping, pulling hair or punching.
  • Threat of abuse includes but is not limited to, threatening to hit, harm or use a weapon on another (whether victim or acquaintance, friend or family member of the victim) or other forms of verbal threat.
  • Emotional abuse includes but is not limited to, damage to one’s property, driving recklessly to scare someone, name calling, threatening to hurt one’s family members or pets and humiliating another person.
  • Cohabitation occurs when two individuals dwell together in the same place as if married.
  • The determination of whether a “dating relationship” existed is to be based upon the following factors: the reporting victim’s statement as to whether such a relationship existed, the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons reported to be involved in the relationship.

e)      Stalking is defined as repeatedly contacting another person when contacting person knows or should know that the contact is unwanted by the other person; and the contact causes the other person reasonable apprehension of imminent physical harm or the contacting person knows or should know that the contact causes substantial impairment of the other person’s ability to perform the activities of daily life.   As used in this definition, the term “contacting” includes, but is not limited to, communicating with (including internet communication via e‐mail, instant message, on‐ line community or any other internet communication) or remaining in the physical presence of the other person.

Report Sexual Harassment

Mrs. Jesenia Minier-Delgado, the University’s Title IX Coordinator, is responsible for oversee and monitor (in conjunction with other University affiliates) all Title IX programming, resources and services related to sexual harassment and violence, investigating all Title IX claims and filed complaints.

To request a copy of the policy, complaint procedures and related forms, or to discuss a known concern or file a sexual harassment complaint, you may contact Mrs. Jesenia Minier-Delgado, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity & Equity, University Hall, Room 214, telephone: (203) 837-8277, TTY (203) 837-8284, email: minierdelgadoj@wcsu.edu.

Protection from Adverse Actions

All individuals shall be free from restraint, interference, coercion or reprisal on the part of their associates, supervisors and all others in making any complaint or appeal, in serving as a representative for a complaint, or in appearing as a witness or in seeking information. The above principles apply with equal force after a complaint has been resolved. Should these principles be violated, the facts shall be brought to the attention of the Chief Diversity Officer by the aggrieved party, his/her representative, or any person affected. The Chief Diversity Officer shall bring all such situations to the attention of the President for confidential discussion, review, the potential for early proactive intervention and appropriate action.

Individuals are advised of their legal options to file complaints with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division and any other agencies, state, federal or local, that enforce laws concerning discrimination.

Confidential counseling is also available. For more information, please contact Mrs. Jesenia Minier-Delgado, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity & Equity, University Hall, Room 214, telephone: (203) 837-8277, TTY (203) 837-8284, email: minierdelgadoj@wcsu.edu.

University’s Interpersonal Violence Policy

Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) asserts that all students have the right to be free from interpersonal violence such as stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual harassment or assault. To treat all violence with the utmost seriousness, all non-confidential WCSU employees (including faculty) are required to submit an Anonymous Report Form when aware of any interpersonal violence; although student information will remain secure, it may be shared with the appropriate WCSU officials. Confidential, on-campus locations not required to report include the Counseling Center, Women’s Center, and Health Services. More information is available at www.wcsu.edu/diversity/CaRRT.asp.

Confidentiality

When the University receives a report of sexual misconduct, all reasonable steps will be taken by the designated University Title IX Coordinator and known affiliates to preserve the privacy of the reported victim while promptly investigating and responding to the report. While the University will strive to maintain the confidentiality of personally identifiable student information reported, which information is subject to privacy requirements of the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), the University must also fulfill its duty to protect the campus community.

Confidential resources are defined as follows: The University has a campus based counseling center, health center and pastoral counseling staff members whose official responsibilities include providing mental health counseling to members of the University community as well as off campus counseling and psychological services, health services providers, member(s) of the clergy, and the University’s Women’s Center for Greater Danbury. The personnel of these centers and offices are bound by state statutes and professional ethics from disclosing information about reports without written releases.

Information provided to a confidential resource by a victim of a sexual misconduct or the person reported to have been the victim of sexual misconduct cannot be disclosed legally to any other person without consent, except under very limited circumstances, such as an imminent threat of danger to self or others or if the reported victim is a minor. Therefore, for those who wish to obtain the fullest legal protections and disclose in full confidentiality, she/he must speak with a confidential resource. The University will provide a list of such confidential resources in the College or University’s geographic region to victims of sexual misconduct as well as publish these resources on‐line and in various publications.

Where it is deemed necessary for the University to take steps to protect the safety of the reported victim and/or other members of the campus community, the University will seek to act in a manner so as not to compromise the privacy or confidentiality of the reported victim of sexual misconduct to the extent reasonably possible.  Therefore, the University Title IX Coordinator, as well as the University Police and Director for the University Office of Judicial Affairs have the ability to issue temporary no contact orders to protect both the victim and other parties from any form of contact during the commission of an investigation.

Mandated Reporting by College and University Employees

Other than confidential resources as defined above, in addition to employees who qualify as Campus Security Authorities under the Jeanne Cleary Act, all employees are required to immediately communicate to the University designated recipient (i.e., University Title IX Coordinator) any disclosure or report of sexual misconduct received from a student regardless of the age of the reported victim. All employees are also required to communicate to the University’s designated recipient (e.g., Title IX Coordinator) any disclosure or report of sexual misconduct received from an employee that impacts employment with the institution or is otherwise related to the business of the institution.

Upon receiving a disclosure or a report of sexual misconduct, employees are expected to supportively, compassionately and professionally offer academic and other accommodations and to provide a referral for support and other services to either the University designated recipient (i.e., University Title IX Coordinator) by filing an Anonymous Report Form.

Furthermore, in accordance with Connecticut State law, with the exception of student employees, any paid administrator, faculty, staff, athletic director, athletic coach or athletic trainer who, in the ordinary course of their employment, has a reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a person under the age of 18 years has been abused or neglected, has been placed in imminent harm or has had a non‐accidental injury is required by law and Board policy to report the incident within twelve hours to their immediate supervisor and to the Department of Children and Families.

Rights of Parties

Those who report any type of sexual misconduct to the University designated recipient (i.e., University Title IX Coordinator) will be informed in a timely manner of all their rights and options, including the necessary steps and potential outcomes of each option. When choosing a reporting resource, the following information should be considered:

  • All reports of sexual misconduct will be treated seriously and with dignity by the institution.
  • Referrals to counseling and medical services will be made available immediately and will be confidential, whether or not those who report feel ready to make any decisions about reporting to the University/local police, to a University employee or the University Title IX Coordinator.
  • Those who have been the victim of sexual misconduct have the right to take all available action, with the University, criminal and/or civil legal action against the individual allegedly responsible.
  • Those who seek confidentiality may contact a clergy member(s), a University counseling center psychologist, a University health center care provider, the Women’s Center of Greater Danbury and/or the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence − all of whom are bound by state statutes and professional ethics to maintain confidentiality without written releases.

Options for Changing Academic, Housing, Transportation and Working Arrangements

The University will provide assistance to those involved in a report of sexual misconduct, including but not limited to, reasonably available options for changing academic, campus transportation, housing or working situations as well as honoring lawful protective or temporary restraining orders. The University shall create and provide information detailing the procedures to follow after the commission of an incident and/or any sexual violence, including people or agencies to contact for reporting purposes or to request assistance, and information on the importance of preserving physical evidence.

Support Services Contact Information

It is BOR/CSCU policy that whenever the University Title IX Coordinator or other University employees receives a report that a student, faculty or staff member has been subjected to sexual misconduct, the University Title IX Coordinator or other affiliated employee(s) shall immediately provide the student, faculty or staff member with contact information for and, if requested, professional assistance in accessing and using any appropriate campus resources, and/or local advocacy, counseling, health, and mental health services. The University shall develop and distribute contact information for this purpose as well as provide such information on‐line.

Right to Notify Law Enforcement & Seek Protective and Other Orders

Those who report being subjected to sexual misconduct shall be provided written information about her/his right to:

(1)   Notify local law enforcement and receive assistance from the University Police Department in making the notification; and

(2)   Obtain a protective order, apply for a temporary restraining order or seek enforcement of an existing order. Such orders include:

  • standing criminal protective orders;
  • protective orders issued in cases of stalking, harassment, sexual assault, or risk of injury to or impairing the morals of a child;
  • temporary restraining orders or protective orders prohibiting the harassment of a witness;
  • family violence protective orders; or
  • the University’s new temporary no contact order.

Employee Conduct Procedures

Employees who are reported to have engaged in sexual misconduct are subject to discipline in accordance with the procedures applicable to the employee’s classification of employment.

Student Conduct Procedures

The Student Code of Conduct provides the procedures for the investigation, definitions of terms, and resolution of complaints regarding student conduct, including those involving sexual misconduct, as defined herein.

The University Title IX Coordinator can assist in explaining the student conduct process, but will and work with the Director for the University Office of Judicial Affairs, on actions related to student misconduct from non-academic matters. Please note that there can be multiple investigations that occur between the University Title IX Coordinator and the Director for the University Office of Judicial Affairs.  The Student Code of Conduct provides an equal, fair, and timely process (informal administrative resolution or a formal adjudication) for reported victims and accused students.

Reported victims of sexual misconduct shall have the opportunity to request that an investigation or disciplinary proceedings begin promptly; that such disciplinary proceedings shall be conducted by an official trained annually in issues relating to sexual misconduct and shall use the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) standard in making a determination concerning the alleged sexual misconduct.

Both the reported victim of sexual misconduct and the accused student are entitled to be accompanied to any meeting or proceeding relating to the allegation of sexual misconduct by an advisor or support person of their choice, provided the involvement of such advisor or support person does not result in the postponement or delay of such meeting as scheduled and provided such an advisor or support person may not directly address the Hearing Body, question witnesses or otherwise actively participate in the hearing process or other meeting pertaining to a report of sexual misconduct and each student shall have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on her/his behalf during any disciplinary proceeding.

Both the reported victim and accused student are entitled to be provided at the same time written notice of the results of any disciplinary proceeding, normally within one (1) business day after the conclusion of such proceeding, which notice shall include the following: the name of the accused student, the violation committed, if any, and any sanction imposed upon the accused student. Sanctions may range from a warning to expulsion, depending upon the behavior and its severity of the violation(s). The reported victim shall have the same right to request a review of the decision of any disciplinary proceeding in the same manner and on the same basis as shall the accused student; however, in such cases, if a review by any reported victim is granted, among the other actions that may be taken, the sanction of the disciplinary proceeding may also be increased. The reported victim and the accused student are entitled to be simultaneously provided written notice of any change in the results of any disciplinary proceeding prior to the time when the results become final as well as to be notified when such results become final.

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the accused student and the reported victim have the right to keep their identities confidential.

ANNUAL SECURITY REPORT

Western Connecticut State University is committed to assisting all members of the WCSU community in providing for their own safety and security. In compliance with the Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act, the university compiles an Annual Campus Security Report, which can be downloaded at http://www.wcsu.edu/police/pdf/Annual-Campus-Security-Report-2015.pdf. The report may be requested from the Western Connecticut State University Police Department at any time, day or night. A copy can be mailed upon request by calling (203) 837-9304.

Both the website and annual reports provide information about campus security and topics such as crime prevention, university police law enforcement authority and crime reporting procedures. Information also is provided about crime statistics for the previous three calendar years of reported crimes that occurred in both on-and off-campus facilities. This information is required by federal and state law and is provided by the university’s police department.  The Annual Fire Safety Report is available at www.wcsu.edu/efs/EHS/fireprevention.asp.

Forms

University Discrimination Complaint Form (PDF)

University Discrimination Complaint Withdrawal Form (PDF)

University Discrimination Complaint Procedures (PDF)

Other state and federal agencies that process discrimination complaints

There are several state and federal agencies that enforce laws concerning discrimination in employment and education. Because each agency has its own time limitation/period for filing complaints, the Complainant should contact the agency for accurate advice. The following is a list of some of those agencies.

Offices of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO)

999 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut 06105 (860) 566-7710
100 Broadway, Norwich, Connecticut (860) 886-5703
55 W. Main Street, Suite 210, Waterbury, Connecticut 06702 (203) 805-6530
350 Fairfield Avenue, 6th Floor, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604 (203) 579-6246

United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

135 High Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06103
(860) 240-4277

United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

33 Arch Street, Ninth Floor
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 289-0111

Connecticut Labor Department

Regulation of Wages Division
200 Folly Brook Boulevard
Wethersfield, CT 06109 (860) 566-3450

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building
Government Center, Room 475
Boston, MA 02203 (617) 565-3200

Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women

18-20 Trinity Street
Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-8300