FAQ

Policies, Procedures, and Definitions

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 resources for students who have witnessed or experienced discrimination or harassment.

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, the UWC, 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 constitutes harassment that may be subject to formal sanctions?

Harassment means subjecting a student to objectively offensive, unwelcome conduct based on any of the protected characteristics, when such conduct (i) is severe, persistent, or pervasive and (ii) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the student’s work, academic performance, or participation in university activities, or creates and intimidating or hostile environment. Harassment may be found in a single severe episode, as well as in persistent behavior.  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. Harassment will be evaluated on a “reasonable person” standard.

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.  Read Yale’s full equal opportunity statement.

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, not hiring students based on any of the characteristics described above, would constitute 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.

Exploring Reporting Options

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. In many instances, non-adversarial, dialogue-oriented processes are effective in resolving concerns. In other circumstances, a more formal process may be appropriate.

In either case, complaints or concerns about equal opportunity, sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a protected veteran, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, racial harassment, or any other act of discrimination may be brought to the deans’ designees, the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs or to other identified members of the Yale community who can assist in identifying options and helping facilitate resolution. 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 (SHARE) Center or to a Title IX Coordinator (who 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 your deans’ designee or the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs (OEOP) for information on your options and to discuss an incident. Two experienced members of the OEOP, 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 heads of college for assistance in accessing the appropriate resources.

There are also additional members of the university community with special expertise and training.

 
What do I do if I experienced an incident by someone who is not a member of the Yale community?

If you experienced an incident of harassment of discrimination by someone who is not a member of the Yale community, you should still consider speaking to a dean’s designee, a representative from the Office for Equal Opportunity, or a dean within your school. They can direct you to sources of support and other resources and advice on options for response. Although, in some cases, the university’s ability to take action against someone who is not a member of the Yale community may be limited, it is always helpful to report and track such incidents.

May I submit a message anonymously through LiveSafe?

Yes, anonymous messages may be submitted to the SHARE Center and the Yale Police.  Messages submitted to the Title IX Office or the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs, while not anonymous, are treated confidentially.  These offices will work with you to address your immediate concerns, connect you with appropriate resources, review the options available for further action, and in many cases, help facilitate those actions. In many instances, actions can be taken, resolutions achieved, and accommodations made without sharing your identity. Some accommodations may require the office to work with other university personnel (e.g., deans, Human Resources, housing staff), but they will only be pursued with your permission.

You may ask that a complaint be pursued without revealing your name or other identifying details. Your request will be accommodated to the extent possible, but an anonymous complaint on its own cannot be the basis for disciplinary action. 

Resolving Complaints

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.
 
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.

Informal and Formal Complaint Processes

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?

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.

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.  

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. 

Confidentiality

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

Privacy concerns are often at the forefront when someone has experienced discrimination or harassment. It is useful to know the confidentiality that individuals can expect from each of the university resources. University officials are trained in the importance of confidentiality and the protocols for maintaining that confidentiality.

When you consult them in their professional capacities, SHARE Center counselors, healthcare providers (including mental health practitioners), and chaplains will not reveal any information you share without your explicit permission except in rare circumstances where your or another person’s health and safety is at imminent risk.

Title IX coordinators will not share identifying information with anyone beyond the Title IX office without your permission, except in the rare event of an immediate or ongoing threat to your safety or community safety. You may ask that a complaint be pursued without revealing your name or other identifying details. Your request will be accommodated to the extent possible, but an anonymous complaint on its own cannot be the basis for disciplinary action. In situations where a confidentiality request limits an investigation or prevents the University from taking direct disciplinary action, the University will take other reasonable steps to minimize the effects of the reported misconduct and to prevent its recurrence.

The Yale Police Department offers confidential consultations regarding possible criminal investigation. Ordinarily, the decision about whether or not to press criminal charges is up to you. In cases of sexual misconduct, the YPD will share information with the Title IX office, and will advise you about the resources and assistance the university can provide.

Certain individuals on campus have a responsibility to report allegations of sexual misconduct to a Title IX coordinator. These individuals include all faculty, certain administrators, UWC members, and students in official roles such as Communication and Consent Educators (CCEs), Peer Liaisons, and First-Year Counselors.

Some individuals, known as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) under the federal Clery Act, also have a responsibility to report allegations of sexual misconduct to the YPD without including identifying details.

Free Speech

How does the university balance harassment with free speech?

The university’s 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. Threatening and intimidating expression or action targeted at a particular student or group of students is not protected under the university’s free expression policies.

Safety

Whom should I call if I feel threatened or unsafe?

You should call the Yale Police Department (203-432-4400) or 911 (for emergencies) immediately.

University Reporting and Tracking of Discrimination and Harassment

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 dean’s designee for your school,  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.