FAQ

What do the policies and procedures on this website relate to?

This website informs students, and others who support them, about Yale’s policies on non-discrimination and provides information on what they can do if they have witnessed or experienced discrimination or harassment.

What is the university’s non-discrimination policy?

Yale does not discriminate in admissions, educational programs, or employment against any individual on account of sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. Yale’s full equal opportunity statement can be found here

What behavior is covered under the university’s policies and procedures?

Discriminatory or harassing behavior that is motivated by any of the characteristics described in the university’s non-discrimination policy is covered under these policies and procedures. For example, disparate treatment of students in a classroom, or hiring or not hiring students for employment based on any of the characteristics described above, are examples of discrimination prohibited under the university’s policies. Acts of violence or physical force such as restraint or assault, sexual misconduct, stalking, intimidation or coercion, threatening communications, and defacement of property, motivated by any of the characteristics described above, are examples of conduct that could be harassment prohibited under the university’s policies.

What are my options if I have experienced discrimination or harassment?

Your options may be different depending on the nature of the incident, the status of the person about whom you are complaining (student, faculty, staff member, or third-party), and whether you wish to proceed formally or informally to seek resolution.  

For example, complaints or concerns about equal opportunity, racial harassment, or any other act of discrimination related to race, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression may be brought to the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs (“OEOP”) or can be raised with other identified members of the Yale community. Complaints or concerns relating to racial or ethnic harassment may also be brought through the President’s Procedure for Addressing Students’ Complaints of Racial or Ethnic Harassment. Complaints or concerns about disability-related issues should be brought to the University’s Section 504 Coordinator, Valarie Stanley, 203-432-0849. Other options and formal complaint procedures are identified on this website under File a Formal Complaint. Complaints that may involve violations of criminal law may be brought to the attention of the Yale or New Haven Police. Complaints may also be reported to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Complaints about sexual misconduct should be reported to the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education Center (SHARE) or to a Title IX Coordinator (which also can advise on sex discrimination), regardless of whether your complaint is about students, faculty, staff, or a third-party (i.e. individuals who are not students or employees of the university, such as guests and consultants).

Is there someone I can speak with to discuss an incident and understand my options?

You don’t need to navigate these different procedures on your own. You can always go to the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs for information on your options and to discuss an incident. Two experienced members of that office, Valarie Stanley and Jamaal Thomas, are familiar with the university’s policies and the various complaint processes and procedures. 

The dean of student affairs in your school is also a good resource for help with determining your options. Yale College students may also consult their residential college deans or masters for assistance in accessing the appropriate resources.

Additional members of the university community with special expertise and training are identified here.

 

Are there resources available to me if a complaint is made against me under these processes or procedures?

Students who are the subject of any complaint, whether an informal complaint, a complaint brought under a school’s disciplinary procedures, or a complaint brought under the President’s Procedure for Addressing Students’ Complaints of Racial or Ethnic Harassment, are encouraged to consult with and seek the support and advice of their deans, or any other administrator or faculty member with whom they have a trusted relationship. If the complaint is disciplinary or involves the President’s Procedure, students are entitled and encouraged to bring an adviser with them to all meetings. The university has advisers available to serve students who cannot otherwise identify someone to serve in this role. Additionally, the university chaplains serve a primary role in supporting students. Students also are encouraged to make an appointment with Mental Health and Counseling if they feel upset or in distress.  

What will be the university’s response to my complaint?

Every incident is unique, and each circumstance requires its own response. The university’s policies and procedures are designed to address concerns at the appropriate level. Generally, students find that recognition of an incident, conversation, education, and other informal remedies provide a satisfactory response and resolution to what they have experienced. In some cases, students will wish to seek disciplinary or formal complaint processes through which discipline or remedies may be imposed or recommended.
 

What constitutes harassment that may be subject to formal sanctions?

Sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive conduct that creates a hostile environment by interfering with an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs or activities may be subject to formal sanctions. For example, a single incident that involves violent conduct or threat of violence is usually sufficiently severe to be considered harassment. In other circumstances, less severe but persistent conduct, such as unwanted repeated contact, may be considered harassment. Also, conduct that subjects an individual to arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory treatment on the basis of race or ethnic origin will constitute racial or ethnic harassment. 

May I bring a formal complaint?

Yes, if your complaint meets the requirements of the available complaint processes, you may bring a formal complaint. Most of the procedures available to address complaints of discrimination or harassment encourage starting with informal resolution, as matters can often be addressed effectively through conversation or other informal mechanisms. Please note that the formal complaint processes require that formal complaints be brought within 45 days of the action complained of or the incident giving rise to the complaint.

Do I need to first try to resolve a matter informally or may I start with a formal complaint?

No. You are not required to try to resolve a matter informally; you may start with a formal complaint. See “May I Bring a Formal Complaint?”

What is the difference between an informal and formal complaint process?

Informal resolution through any of the procedures or processes described on this website does not include extensive investigation, a hearing, or a determination as to the validity of the allegations. Informal resolution may include mediation, education, and conversation. The goal is to achieve a resolution that is desired by the complainant and acceptable to the parties. A formal complaint involves a specified process that includes a review and adjudication of the facts by a committee. It may involve a hearing and result in a written report that includes findings, draws conclusions, and makes recommendations to a decision maker.

If I bring forward a complaint about harassment or discrimination, will it remain confidential?

All complaints will be treated confidentially. Concerns brought to university chaplains in their professional roles or to SHARE will remain strictly confidential, except in rare, extreme circumstances. Other administrators may share information on a need to know basis in order to address a complaint, for the safety of any member(s) of the community, or for meeting the university’s legal obligations, such as required by Title IX and FERPA.

May I bring a complaint forward about another student? Or about staff members and faculty?

Yes. Every member of our community will be held accountable if they engage in acts of discrimination or harassment. Different processes are available depending on the nature of the behavior complained about and the person who engaged in the prohibited behavior.

If I report an incident, what kind of remedy is available to me?

It depends on the nature of the incident, what you are seeking, and the process you choose to pursue your complaint. In some serious cases, a sanction may be appropriate through a student, staff or faculty disciplinary process. In other cases, a resolution may be achieved through conversation and mutual agreement.

How does the university balance harassment with free speech?

The university will not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. The university’s strong free speech policies provide robust protection to speech, but speech that is sufficiently serious to constitute harassment is actionable under the university’s disciplinary policies. 

Can I report incidents involving people who are not part of the Yale community?

You can report such incidents, although the university may be more limited in the action it can take in response.  

Whom should I call if I feel threatened or unsafe?

You should call the Yale or New Haven Police immediately.

Can I report an incident to administrators and also to the police?

Yes, if you feel threatened or you believe someone may have violated the criminal laws, you should report the incident as soon as possible to the Yale or New Haven Police. At the same time, or later, you may share information with university administrators to understand your options for internal resolution. 

Does Yale have a "bias incident" reporting system?

The university’s current policies and procedures address incidents of discrimination and harassment. Although current Yale policies do not use the term “bias incident,” discriminatory or harassing acts motivated by a person’s race, ethnicity, sex, or other characteristics enumerated in Yale’s non-discrimination statement constitute violations of university policy, regardless of what terms are used to describe the incident. Such incidents should be reported to the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs, or for complaints of racial or ethnic harassment, to the President’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Harassment, or to other individuals and offices identified on this website. These administrators will listen to you and work with you on taking appropriate action and finding a satisfactory resolution. 

Is Yale considering adopting new ways to report, track, and address incidents of discrimination and harassment?

During the spring 2016 term, the university will review and adopt measures to strengthen its mechanisms for reporting and resolving discrimination. In addition to reviewing the effectiveness of our own policies, processes, and procedures, we will examine mechanisms used at other universities, such as electronic reporting tools and informal resolution mechanisms.