Date: Tuesday, September 30, 2014
To: THE NYU COMMUNITY
From: Diane Yu, Deputy President, and Marc Wais, Sr. Vice President for Student Affairs

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Dear Fellow Members of the NYU Community,

NYU is committed to fostering a community in which sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking are not tolerated; in which all its members are well informed and feel safe in reporting prohibited misconduct; in which those reporting incidents of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking are thoroughly and compassionately supported; and in which the investigative and disciplinary processes are guided by fairness and respect for all individuals.

To further reduce incidents and enhance our response to incidents of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking on campus and to bring the University into line with new federal mandates, NYU has – after a careful self-study and consultation with nationally recognized experts in the field – developed a new sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking policy. The new policy – which applies to students, faculty, administrators, staff, and third parties at NYU’s campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, as well as all our global sites – can be read here; it is effective as of September 30, 2014. We urge every member of the NYU community to read the new policy and the related accompanying documents. In addition, we have streamlined procedures to improve the way the University responds to reports of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking. We have also expanded support services and are enhancing educational and training initiatives designed to prevent sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking.

It is useful to note that our new policy was developed in response to a deadline imposed by the federal government in June 2014 to revise our policy no later than October 1, 2014. During this period, we consulted with key committees on campus, including the University Senate Executive Committee, as well as the Executive Committees of the Councils of the Senate (including students, faculty, administrators, and deans). We also consulted the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees, which endorsed our approach. These campus-wide representatives, including the Trustees, unanimously supported our moving forward to comply with the new federal mandates. We will devote this academic year to implementing the new policy and procedures and to eliciting feedback from the wider campus community.

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Key Changes

Among the most noteworthy changes that result from the new policy are:

  • A clearer definition of "consent"
  • Clear processes for how to proceed when those involved are students, employees, or third-parties (such as vendors)
  • Greater clarity on the expanded range of activities prohibited under the policy, including relationship violence and stalking
  • Streamlining of processes, with all investigations overseen by the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity, and all adjudications against students conducted by specially-trained personnel selected by the University’s Office of Community Standards
  • The establishment of a new Center for Sexual Misconduct Support Services to provide a complainant (the person who asserts sexual misconduct) with a single, confidential, supportive point-of-contact that connects him or her to an array of services – the University is in the process of hiring a director with expertise in this area
  • The establishment of dedicated confidential counseling services for respondents (the individual accused of prohibited misconduct), offering support and referrals as is helpful, through the Wellness Exchange Hotline
  • Greater clarity on the available protections for the complainant and the respondent, including the immediate measures that need be taken to address safety and psychological well-being
  • The establishment of Support Facilitators to provide guidance and assistance to both the complainant and respondent during the investigation and adjudication procedures
  • The expansion of prevention training and education for the entire NYU community, including new mandatory programs for all NYU students beginning in the 2015 spring semester

WHAT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO KNOW

In keeping with past practice, anyone who reports an incident of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking will continue to be encouraged by NYU to consider pursuing the matter with the NYPD or other appropriate local law enforcement agency.

Resources for Students: NYU has created a resource guide for students that contains information related to incidents of sexual misconduct.

Resources for Employees: NYU has created a resource guide for employees that contains information related to incidents of sexual misconduct.

Incidents Involving Complaints against Students: The full procedures for reporting an incident of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking involving a complaint against a student can be found here.

Incidents Involving Complaints against Employees: The full procedures for reporting an incident of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking involving a complaint against an NYU employee – faculty, administrator, or staff – can be found here.

Incidents Involving Complaints against Third Parties (e.g., an NYU contractor, vendor, or guest): Contact the Executive Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, who acts as NYU’s Title IX coordinator.

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GOING FORWARD – FURTHER FOSTERING A CAMPUS CLIMATE THAT REDUCES SEXUAL MISCONDUCT THROUGH TRAINING AND EDUCATION

Putting a new policy and streamlined procedures in place are important steps, but to make real progress, these actions must be accompanied by ongoing education and training efforts for the University community. Those efforts will include:

A New Dedicated WebsiteSexual Respect – that highlights key aspects of the policy, procedures, and resources.

Bystander Intervention Training that provides students with the tools to intervene when they encounter other members of the NYU community potentially in harm's way.

Mandatory Online Training Program for undergraduates that will begin in the spring semester focusing on education and prevention.

Expanding and enhancing training and education programs for graduate students, faculty, and staff.

Senate Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct within the University Senate that will provide advice and input on our policies, procedures, training, and preventive measures.

A Student Working Group Will Collaborate with Staff to Create a Student-Centered Communications Campaign that will collaborate on a peer-to-peer communications campaign focusing on sexual respect and campus culture.

Implementing a Campus Climate Survey in 2016 to better understand the extent of sexual misconduct at NYU.

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CONCLUSION

Sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking on campus are a national and international challenge. With the implementation of our new policies, procedures, support services, and training and education programs, NYU is committed to being at the forefront among U.S. colleges and universities in reducing acts of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking, and in responding to any reported act of prohibited conduct. We look forward to working with our community this year to assess progress and to continue to develop policies and practices that increase the safety of all members of our community.