Abuse and Harassment of Minors and Adults: Guidance for Teachers College Faculty and Staff on Reporting Obligations
Abuse and Harassment of Minors and Adults:
Recent events at other universities have served as a powerful reminder that we are all obliged to report and help prevent assault, abuse and harassment. Changes in federal guidance on Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination at educational institutions, have modified our legal obligations. Please carefully read these guidelines to understand what is required of you.
1. All allegations of sexual harassment or violence must be reported. As traditionally understood, sexual harassment involves subjecting an individual to humiliating, abusive, or threatening conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work or educational environment based on his or her membership in a protected group. As currently defined, it also includes gender-based harassment and sexual violence (such as sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence). You must report any allegations of sexual harassment of any adult or child to one of the following:
• Janice Robinson, Title IX Coordinator & VP for Diversity & Community Affairs, email@example.com, (212) 678-3391
• Melissa Tihinen, CU Student Services for Gender-Based & Sexual Misconduct, firstname.lastname@example.org (212) 854-1717
The College will take appropriate steps to investigate and respond. If you learn, directly or indirectly, of an allegation of harassment or violence, you are obligated to report it. You should also describe available resources to anyone complaining of or concerned about harassment and encourage him or herto contact one of those listed above or a member of the TC Harassment Panel. www.tc.edu/policylibrary/protection_from_harassment.
a. Please review the CU Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students www.columbia.edu/cu/dpsa and the TC Policy on Protection from Harassment, www.tc.edu/policylibrary/protection_from_harassment, for more information.
b. While the law on other forms of discriminatory harassment is less clear in specifying community members’ obligations, you should also report (to the same people) allegations of harassment based on race, color, religion, creed, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, disability, or other protected classes.
• A psychologist, counselor or other health care provider, http://health.columbia.edu/services/overview
• A clergy member, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/earl/ucm_ministry.html
Remember: TC faculty and staff members who are psychologists, counselors or lawyers cannot promise confidentiality to a student or colleague unless they are acting in their professional counseling or legal advice-giving capacity. These privileges do not apply to instructor-student or collegial relationships.
2. Special Duties involving Abuse or Mistreatment of Children:
If a child is in immediate danger, call the police (911) immediately. Then call Lori Fox (212) 678-3438, Janice Robinson (212) 678-3391, or Public Safety at (212) 678-3333.
In New York, “mandated reporters” have an obligation to report abuse or mistreatment of minors, including sexual assault. Even if you are not a mandated reporter, you can help protect children by following the same procedures.
Call the Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 635-1522 (mandated reporters) or 800-342-3720 (others). If you make a report, you must also alert TC immediately by contacting Lori Fox (212) 678-3438, Janice Robinson (212) 678-3391, or Public Safety (212) 678-3333. TC needs to know about possible abuse to protect children and the TC community.
Many members of the TC community work with minors. There are minors at Hollingworth, the Rita Gold Center and elsewhere on campus; many faculty and students work with children in schools and other institutions. Many TC programs have specific procedures for reporting abuse; faculty and staff supervising TC students who work with minors should provide guidance on reporting obligations and procedures. If your program has established procedures, please follow them. If you are not sure what to do or if you have questions, please call Lori Fox, General Counsel, or Janice Robinson, VP for Diversity and Community Affairs and Title IX Coordinator.
3. Policies and Procedures are available in the TC Policy Library, www.tc.edu/policylibrary. They include:
• Protection from Harassment Policy, www.tc.edu/policylibrary/protection_from_harassmentNote that the Interim Policy is being reviewed and will be revised. Please direct comments and questions to Janice Robinson, Katie Embree, Lori Fox or any Harassment Panel member.
• Columbia/Barnard/TC Gender-Based Misconduct Policies for Students, www.columbia.edu/cu/dpsa
• TC Grievance Procedure Outline (general guidance on grievance options and procedures),www.tc.edu/policylibrary/grievance_procedures_outline
For more on reporting child abuse, see www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/publications/Pub1159.pdf.
If you are not sure whether you are a mandated reporter, assume that you are. In New York, mandated reporters include psychologists, social workers, therapists, mental health professionals, substance abuse and alcoholism counselors, EMTs, certain hospital personnel, registered nurses and physician assistants, school officials (including teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, social workers, nurses, administrators and others required to hold teaching or administrative licenses or certificates), child care, foster care, residential care, day care center and social service workers, and children camps directors. A full list is at www.ocfs.state.ny.us/main/publications/Pub1159.pdf. Mandated reporters must report– or cause to be reported-- suspected abuse or maltreatment when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child encountered in their professional capacity is abused or maltreated or when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused or maltreated because a parent, guardian, or other legally responsible person encountered in their professional capacity states from personal knowledge facts, conditions or circumstances which, if correct, would mean that the child is abused or maltreated.
“Minor” generally means under 18; some professions must also report abuse of other vulnerable individuals.