Responsible Administrator: Director, Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX Coordinator
Responsible Office: Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX
Issue Date: 6/1/2023
Pratt is committed to fostering a welcoming, safe, non-discriminatory, and harassment-free educational, living, and working environment for its community.
Accordingly, Pratt strictly prohibits and does not tolerate unlawful discrimination on the basis of race (including traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles), color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, familial status, domestic violence victim status, caregiver status, military status, including past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other category or characteristic protected by applicable law.
The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of all forms of discrimination. Sometimes, discrimination involves exclusion from or different treatment in activities, such as admission, athletics, or employment. Other times, discrimination takes the form of harassment.
This policy applies to the entire Pratt community, including, but not limited to, students, student organizations, faculty, administrators, and staff, whether on or off campus, and third parties such as guests, visitors, volunteers, invitees, and alumni when they are on Pratt’s campus or participating in Pratt-sponsored activities. If the person accused of the discrimination or harassment is not a member of the Pratt community, the procedures here may not apply; however, a Pratt community member may still raise the complaint to Pratt to seek information about available resources and remedies and to receive supportive measures.
Disclosures that fall under Pratt’s Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policy must be addressed by that policy, including but not limited to incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Conduct that this Policy does not cover may be covered by other Pratt policies, including but not limited to Pratt Community Standards. Students seeking a review of an accommodation for a disability should use the Accommodations Review Process with the Learning Access Center.
This policy is not intended to discourage free expression and discussion of thoughts, ideas, and opinions essential to a higher education experience. The Institute will consider these principles in its response to complaints of discrimination that involve an individual’s statements or speech. However, discriminatory or harassing statements may not be protected expression under these principles and may be considered violations of this policy.
- Complainant: any individual who has reported being or is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation as defined under this Policy.
- Complaint: a written (hard copy or electronic) or oral report documented by Pratt alleges that a Respondent engaged in Prohibited Conduct and requests initiation of the procedures consistent with the Policy to investigate and resolve the allegation of the conduct.
- Discrimination: is the adverse differential treatment of a person or group based on a protected category (as identified in this Policy) rather than their individual merit.
- Discriminatory Harassment (Harassment): Unwelcome oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct against a person or group related to the actual or perceived membership of that person or group in a protected category, as defined by this Policy, that is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive or persistent in creating an intimidating or hostile environment, or interfere with or limit the person or group’s ability to meaningfully participate in or benefit from the Institute’s academic, employment, housing, or other related programs and activities. This can include online or digital harassment or conduct in which the parties are in the same place or at a distance.
Discriminatory Harassment includes but is not limited to conduct that stigmatizes, threatens, or intimidates an individual or group based on Protected Categories, including but not limited to intimidation, threatening telephone calls or mail (including electronic mail), graffiti, physical assault, harassment, vandalism, or destruction of personal property.
- Party or Parties: Respondent(s) and/or Complaint(s)
- Protected Categories: Race (including traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and protective hairstyles), color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, citizenship, genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, caregiver status, familial status, domestic violence victim status, military status, including past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
- Prohibited Conduct includes discrimination and harassment as defined by this Policy that occurs on Institute property, including Pratt residence halls or any other property on which an Institute program or activity occurs. Prohibited Conduct may also take place off of Institute property, including study abroad programs, internships, and related experience-based education sites, but which may impact the Institute community or in which both the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) are members of the Pratt community.
Prohibited Conduct may also take place online or remotely/virtually, including by text message and via social media, if it has an impact on the Institute community and/or if the parties are members of the Pratt community.
- Respondent: any individual who has been reported to be the one who engaged in the conduct that could constitute a violation as defined under this Policy.
The procedures in this policy may be available whenever the Respondent is a member of the Pratt community, regardless of the status of the Complainant, who may or may not be a member of the Pratt community. The procedures below may be applied to incidents, patterns, and/or to the campus climate, all of which may be addressed and investigated per this policy.
A determination regarding the applicable resolution process will be made by the Human Resources for cases related to faculty and staff and by Student Life for cases related to students.
At the Institute’s discretion, complaints under this Policy may be addressed informally through mediation, education, training, or a formal resolution process described below.
How, When, and Where to Disclose or Report
Pratt encourages prompt disclosure of concerns about Prohibited Conduct experienced, observed, or learned by members of its community to allow the Institute to promptly and effectively respond.
To use the resolution procedures below, Complainants must report within 180 calendar days following the alleged discriminatory act(s) or 90 calendar days after a final grade is received, for the semester during which the discriminatory act(s) occurred, if that date is later.
Any employee receiving such a disclosure must promptly notify the Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX.
Available disclosure and reporting options are:
- Contact the Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX
Dr. Bill Boerner, Acting Title IX Coordinator
200 Willoughby Hall, Brooklyn NY 11205
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, 718-687-5443
- Submit a Discrimination and Harassment Form in Maxient. The Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX receives these submissions, and they will be referred to the appropriate employee or representative for investigation, as applicable.
- For anonymous disclosure and reporting, please submit the incident(s) through EthicsPoint. Pratt will address anonymous disclosures per this policy, but any investigation may be limited based on the information provided in the anonymous submission.
Response to Disclosures or Reports
Provide information about rights and resources
Upon receipt of a disclosure or Complaint of Prohibited Conduct, the Director of the Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX or designee (the Director) will contact the Complainant to provide information on resources, offer supportive measures, and explain the Complainant’s options and rights, including the right to file a complaint and resolution options. The Director will offer a voluntary meeting to discuss these rights and options with the Complainant.
Supportive and Interim Measures
In some instances, Pratt Institute may determine whether there is an immediate danger or risk to the Complainant, other persons, Institute personnel, or property posed by the Respondent or Respondents. It will take an interim protective action, which may include interim suspension, interim residential suspension, removal or reduction of access to classes or a work site, and/or a no-contact order. The Respondent(s) will be provided notice of the interim action(s) and may challenge the interim action(s), or a part of it, by appealing to the AVP for Human Resources or Vice President for Student Affairs, who will review and determine whether the interim action was arbitrary and/or capricious. For employees, the Institute will provide any additional rights, where relevant, secured by collective bargaining agreements or other policies.
This policy does not alter any institutional obligations under federal disability laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Parties may request reasonable accommodations in the processes in this Policy for disclosed disabilities. Accommodations will be granted if appropriate and that do not fundamentally alter the Process. Pratt will not affirmatively provide disability accommodations that have not been specifically requested by the Parties, even where the Parties may be receiving accommodations in other institutional programs and activities.
Requests for accommodations in connection with allegations of Prohibited Conduct should be made to Pratt. The Institute will provide information about the employee’s request for accommodation only to those having a need to know such information in order to implement the accommodations.
Determination of Resolution Options
The Institute will communicate with the Complainant to understand what outcome the Complainant seeks. Should a concern be raised that does not meet the standard of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy, then a formal resolution under this policy would not be available. Pratt will share information about other available resources and resolutions available, including educational options or supportive measures.
In general, the Institute will respect a Complainant’s request not to move forward with a resolution, but will weigh that request with considerations for the impact on the Complainant and the Pratt community.
Determining whether conduct is harassment is based both on the subjective views of the person or group reporting the harassment as well as the objective views of the Institute staff charged with investigating and making a determination, who will assess whether a reasonable person, based on the totality of the circumstances known, would find the complained of behavior to be severe and/or persistent or pervasive so as to create an intimidating or hostile environment.
Dismissal of Allegations
The Institute may dismiss a complaint at its discretion if:
- Pratt Institute determines that the allegations, if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy
- the Complainant(s) or Complainants do not participate or stop participating, and/or
- The Respondent is no longer a member of the Pratt community or was never a member such that the Institute does not have jurisdiction.
Informal resolution is a voluntary, remedies-based, structured interaction between or among affected parties that balances support and accountability without taking formal disciplinary action against the respondent. Informal resolution is designed to eliminate the Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects in a manner that meets the needs of the complainant while maintaining the safety of the campus community. Informal Resolution will not be used to impose disciplinary action against the Respondent and will not be reported to third parties; however, it may be considered in the event of future findings of responsibility for Prohibited Conduct or other violations of Pratt’s policies.
Availability of Informal Resolution Process
The Parties may elect to enter Pratt Institute’s informal resolution process at any time after filing a Formal Complaint by making a written request to the Office of Institutional Equity & Title IX and Title IX Coordinator.
Use of the informal resolution process is voluntary, and both the Complainant, Respondent, and the Director must agree to use of the Informal Resolution process. No Party may be required to participate in the informal resolution. Pratt Institute will not condition enrollment, employment, or enjoyment of any other right or privilege upon agreeing to an informal resolution.
At any time after the commencement of the informal resolution process, the Director may determine that the informal resolution process is not an appropriate method for resolving the matter and may require that the matter be resolved through the formal process.
Factors that the Director may weigh in considering the appropriateness of the informal resolution process include but are not limited to, the gravity of the allegations, whether there is an ongoing threat of harm or safety to the campus, whether the respondent is a repeat offender, and whether the Parties are participating in good faith. The Director determination on whether Informal Resolution is appropriate is not subject to appeal.
Exiting the Informal Resolution Process
Either Party or the Director may end the Informal Resolution Process. At this time, the investigation and/or adjudication process will start or resume where it left off. Information disclosed or obtained for the informal resolution process may be incorporated into the formal investigation provided that the Parties disclose and review such information under the applicable adjudication procedures.
Required Written Notice
If a party requests the initiation of an alternative resolution process and the Director agrees that the matter is appropriate for alternative resolution, each party will receive a written notice that discloses:
- The allegations;
- The requirements of the alternative resolution process, including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations;
- The parties’ right to withdraw from alternative resolution and resume or initiate disciplinary resolution concerning the formal complaint; and
- Information about maintenance of records or how records could be shared.
Available Restorative Approaches
With approval from the Director, after consultation and intake with the alternative resolution coordinator, the complainant and the respondent may voluntarily agree on the process(es) that best meets the interests and needs of the parties, including.
- Facilitated Dialogue
A structured and facilitated conversation between two or more individuals, most often the complainant, the respondent, and/or other community members. The focus is often on providing a space for voices to be heard and perspectives to be shared. Depending on stated interests, the participants may sometimes work towards developing a shared agreement, although working towards an agreement is not always the intended outcome.
- Restorative Circle or Conference Process
A facilitated interaction where the individuals who have experienced harm can come together with an individual(s) who assumes responsibility for repairing the harm (to the extent possible). A circle or conference may include multiple community members to explore individual and community impact, harm, obligations, and opportunity for repairing them. Parties must agree on all those who will be present.
- Shuttle Negotiation
An indirect, facilitated conversation (either verbally or through written communications) individually with the complainant, the respondent, and/or other participants to discuss experience and perspective and explore interests while working towards meeting expressed needs. This negotiated process does not require direct interaction between the parties or the parties and other participants, but rather, independently, with a coordinator.
Role of the Facilitator
Informal resolution processes are managed by facilitators, who may not have a conflict of interest or bias in favor of or against complainants or respondents generally or regarding the specific Parties in the matter. The Director may be the facilitator, subject to these restrictions.
All facilitators must have training on topics such as bias, microaggressions, mediation, conflict resolution, active listening, Restorative Justice, trauma-informed practices, the scope of the institution’s education program or activity, how to conduct informal resolution processes, and how to serve impartially, including avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, or bias.
Written Informal Resolution Terms
The terms of the Informal Resolution will be in writing. Once the Parties, and the Director, have agreed, in writing, to the terms of the Informal Resolution, the agreement is considered final and is not subject to withdrawal or appeal. Both Parties are equally bound to follow the terms of the Informal Resolution agreement.
Outcomes of Informal Resolutions
Measures that may be agreed to as a result of the alternative resolution process may include:
- Attending workshops or trainings for the respondent;
- Regular meetings for a Respondent with an appropriate College individual, unit, or resource;
- Permanent extension of a (one-way or mutual) no-contact directive;
- Respondent completion of an educational plan with regular meetings with the adaptable resolution coordinator or other appropriate College staff or faculty member.
- The investigator will take steps to obtain, review, and preserve documents sufficient to assess the allegations, including documents, emails, or phone records that may be relevant to the investigation.
- The investigator will seek to interview all parties involved, including any relevant witnesses.
- The investigator will create written documentation of the investigation (such as a letter, memo, or email) that summarizes the evidence obtained within the investigation.
- Following the conclusion of an investigation, Pratt will notify the parties of the outcome.
The timeframe for the investigative process under this Policy begins with filing a Complaint. The Investigation and Determination Process will generally be concluded within a reasonably prompt manner and no longer than ninety (90) calendar days after the filing of the Complaint, provided that the Process may be extended for a good reason, including but not limited to the availability of a party or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.
At its discretion, the Institute may pause the process to allow any criminal or other external investigation or other proceeding to proceed or for other good cause. Still, the Institute’s policies may use a different system and have a different standard (e.g., the preponderance of the evidence versus beyond a reasonable doubt) which may mean that the Institute’s determinations and findings do not match those of other external processes.
The Institute may consolidate complaints under this policy as appropriate, for example, if there are multiple complaints where the allegations of policy violations arise from the same facts or circumstances. Accordingly, the Institute may use the findings or investigative materials from a matter it deems related, even if that matter falls under a different policy. Pratt may consolidate complaints alleging Prohibited Conduct against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of Prohibited Conduct arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
Standard of Review
Pratt Institute uses the preponderance of the evidence as the standard to determine whether there has been a violation of this Policy. This means that the Institute will gather evidence and information to determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation or set of violations did or did not occur.
The burden of gathering evidence and determining whether a violation or set of violations occurred is on the Institute, not the parties. The fact that a party does not participate or only partially participates is not, in and of itself, evidence that may be used against that party, but those not participating are not sharing their side of any encounter or set of facts, so those statements or pieces of evidence may not be considered (or even known) in the investigation and determination.
The Investigation will include factual findings and conclude whether a preponderance of the evidence shows that the complaint of violation or violations did or did not occur. If the respondent is found responsible, the investigative report will be provided to the applicable employee as designated in Section E below. A written outcome letter will be provided to all involved parties. This outcome is final; there is no appeal.
Bargaining Unit Members
Institute employees who are bargaining unit members may have other procedural rights under a collective bargaining agreement. Employees may contact their union representative for more information.
- Pratt will discipline any employee (faculty and staff) or student found responsible for violating this Policy. The issuance of any sanctions will be intended to address the violation(s), limit and respond to the effects of the violation(s), and prevent such violation(s) in the future.
- Human Resources will handle the discipline of an employee and may include an oral or written warning, reprimand, withholding of a promotion, demotion, re-assignment, suspension with or without pay, compensation adjustment, or discharge. This may also include remedial measures such as educational or academic work, additional training, or other related actions to help the Respondent understand the impact of their actions on others within the Institute community and learn not to commit such violations in the future.
- Sanctions for a student found responsible for violating this policy will be handled via the Student Conduct process and may include warning, reprimand, suspension or expulsion, depending upon the nature of the violation, and may also include remedial measures such as educational or academic work, additional training, or other related actions to help the Respondent understand the impact of their actions on others within the Institute community and learn not to commit such violations in the future.
The Institute prohibits retaliation of any kind. Retaliation is a materially adverse action and may include intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any individual to interfere with any right or privilege secured by this policy or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation or proceeding.
Retaliation should be reported in accordance with Section A of these procedures.
For Questions Regarding This Policy Contact:
Justin Kelley, Assistant Vice President for Student Life
Pratt Institute, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
200 Willoughby Avenue | Main Building | Brooklyn, NY 11205
Phone: (718)-687-5443 | firstname.lastname@example.org