3.03 Discrimination and Harassment

Effective Date: September 1, 2013 (revised)


Harassment and discrimination are contrary to the College’s mission as an educational institution in which tolerance and respect are central. Trinity College takes allegations of all types of harassment, abuse and discrimination seriously and will promptly investigate complaints, take any action necessary to end the behavior and impose appropriate penalties.


Members of the College community are prohibited from engaging in physical or verbal acts that have the purpose or effect of denying the right to equal access to education or employment on the basis of Protected Class as defined in Policy 3.01 Statement on Commitment to Diversity. Discrimination is deemed to have occurred when there is evidence of differential treatment, i.e., when an agent or employee of the College, acting in his or her official capacity, treats a student or employee differently based on membership in the aforementioned protected classes without a non-discriminatory reason to do so, with the result that the person is prevented from participating in or gaining the privileges of programs and services of the College. Discrimination may also occur between parties of equal authority, or between students, based on the Protected Classes.

General Harassment/Abuse:

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, physical or non-physical behavior, such as assault, abuse, stalking, hazing, invasion of privacy, and intimidation. The following definitions provide examples of behavior that will not be tolerated:

Assault is nonconsensual physical contact that places someone in fear or apprehension of immediate harm. Relationship violence may also be categorized as assault.

Stalking refers to a pattern of behavior where an individual willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another in his/her course of daily activities in such a way that the stalker’s actions can reasonably be found to interfere with another person’s ability to perform his or her regular duties or cause that person to feel frightened, intimidated, harassed, threatened or molested.

Invasion of privacy is unauthorized taking and use of facts, information, and/or property not in the public domain that a reasonable person would desire to keep from the public eye.

Intimidation is spoken, written or physical conduct directed toward an individual or individuals that unreasonably interferes with his/their full participation in the Trinity College community or that is intended to create or may be reasonably determined to have created a threatening or hostile environment.

Discriminatory Harassment:

Is harassment based on Protected Class. Discriminatory harassment includes conduct specifically directed at an individual or a small group of individuals and expresses hatred or contempt on the basis of stereotyped group characteristics or because of a person’s identification with a particular group. Discriminatory harassment also includes any action or speech directed toward members of the Protected Classes that reasonably can be determined to be threatening in content or is spoken in a manner that suggests violence toward such persons is imminent. Discriminatory harassment is deemed to have occurred when harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits a student’s or employee’s ability to participate in or gain the privileges of programs and services of the College.

Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment is not only incompatible with the mission of the College; it is also a form of sex discrimination that violates federal law (Title VII and Title IX), Connecticut law and Trinity College policy. The College, its agents, supervisory employees, staff, and students shall be held liable for their acts of sexual harassment and are subject to appropriate college disciplinary action and personal liability. Sexual harassment, whether opposite or same sex, includes but is not limited to: unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other behavior of a sexual nature, on or off-campus, when:

submission to such conduct is made a condition, explicit or implicit, of an individual’s education or employment; or

submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a factor in or basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education or employment; or

such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education or employment by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, living, or work environment.

While it is not possible to list all the circumstances that may be considered sexual harassment, the following are examples of conduct which, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment: physical, verbal, visual or written conduct of a sexual nature, including, but not limited to, pressuring someone for dates; retaliation for non-submission to a request for sexual favors; and electronic messages or photos.

For more detailed information, click here for the Sexual Harassment Brochure

Romantic Relations:

All relationships that occur in a hierarchical relationship present an imbalance of power. By virtue of his or her position, a supervisor has control over the terms and conditions of a person’s employment, or a student’s academic standing.

Therefore, Trinity College affirms and upholds a policy which discourages romantic relations between supervisors, whether staff or faculty, and non-supervisors when a supervisory relationship exists. Additionally, this policy forbids such relationships when a faculty member has or may have responsibility for a student through any professional supervisory obligations, including teaching, advising, departmental, committee, and coaching.

This latter statement applies equally to graduate and IDP students. We expect faculty and supervisors to avoid engaging in romantic relationships with individuals over whom they exercise or have the potential to exercise power. When such situations cannot be avoided, counsel should be sought from the appropriate College representative to ensure that any necessary steps are taken to avoid potential conflict.

Student Sexual Harassment:

Investigations and procedures related to sexual harassment of students by students are conducted by the Dean of Students. The procedures are outlined in the College Regulations section of the Student Handbook.


Anyone who believes him or herself to have been harassed or discriminated against is encouraged to consult with any of the following:

Trinity College’s Title IX Coordinator & Ombudsperson for Administrative Staff Dean Karla Spurlock-Evans

Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC) Director Laura Lockwood

Director of Human Resources

Associate Directors of Human Resources

Faculty Ombudsperson

Dean of Students

Associate Deans of Students

Campus Safety Director or Campus Safety Officers

If the complaint-taker deems the situation to be a case of sexual harassment, it is his/her responsibility under the law to bring the matter to the appropriate party - Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty, or Human Resources.

In all other cases, an investigation will go forward only with the consent of the complainant.

In all cases, confidentiality at all levels will be maintained to the extent possible within the scope of state and federal law.

An investigation, which may include meeting with witnesses, followed by a hearing, may need to be conducted to determine the status of the accused parties.

A student may make a report of sexual harassment up to five years following graduation.

The procedures for filing a complaint against a Faculty member are published in the Student Handbook, and in the appendix to the Faculty Manual. No actions concerning a Faculty member’s behavior which could be construed to affect his or her status at the College should be taken outside of the procedures of Appendix A.4 of the Faculty Manual.

Following an investigation, disciplinary measures will be taken commensurate with the findings. This may include penalties up to and including termination or expulsion.


State and federal laws and College policies protect against retaliation for reporting prohibited discrimination and harassment, filing a complaint of prohibited discrimination or harassment, or participating in the investigation of such a complaint. Any person who retaliates against an individual reporting or filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment is subject to disciplinary procedures up to and including expulsion or termination by the College.

This protection exists even if a complaint is eventually dismissed or is deemed to lack merit. Intentionally false accusations will not be tolerated, however, and a person will be held accountable for making intentionally false claims of prohibited discrimination or harassment.

Colleagues who assist others in raising a complaint of prohibited discrimination or harassment by offering advice and moral support, or by giving testimony or documentary evidence in support of a complaint, are similarly protected.

Instances of retaliation should be promptly reported to the individual responsible for handling the original claim of discrimination or harassment.


In accordance with Connecticut law, all faculty and staff members who have supervisory responsibilities (this includes the supervision of a Teaching Assistant, Graduate Student or mentor) are required to attend a two-hour sexual harassment prevention training program within six months of their assumption of supervisory responsibilities.

Sexual Misconduct:

Trinity College expressly prohibits sexual misconduct in all forms. Sexual misconduct includes the following:

Non—consensual Sexual Intercourse, Rape:

Any sexual penetration (oral, vaginal, or anal), however slight, with any object or sexual intercourse without effective consent. Rape is a crime of violence in which one person forces, coerces or manipulates another person into sexual intercourse. Rape includes vaginal, oral or anal penetration and includes forced or coerced oral sex.

Non-consensual Sexual Contact: Sexual Assault:

Any intentional sexual touching without effective consent, whether such touching is direct or through clothing. Sexual touching includes any intentional sexual contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or himself or herself with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, even though not involving the previously mentioned body parts.

Sexual Exploitation:

Sexual exploitation is any conduct in which a person takes nonconsensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the person being exploited. This refers to behavior that does not constitute sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.

Definition of Effective Consent:

Effective consent is informed, freely- and actively-given mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent may never be given by minors (in Connecticut, those not yet sixteen (16) years of age), mentally disabled persons and those who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug use (voluntary or involuntary) or those who are unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless. Consent that is obtained through the use of fraud or force (actual or implied) whether that force be physical force, threats, intimidation, or verbal coercion, is not effective consent.

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) was created to provide students with a safe and confidential way to report sexual misconduct and to receive any assistance necessary following a sexual assault. SART is coordinated by the WGRAC Director. SART members, their photos, reporting options, “date-rape drug” information and prevention tips for women and men can be found on the SART website: www.trincoll.edu, hit “S” then go to Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).

Additionally, any member of the campus community, student, faculty or staff, is strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual misconduct to any of the individuals identified in the PROCEDURES section, listed above.

Students who report have these options:

Anonymous Reporting: SART members have reporting forms. Students can opt to fill out this form with the SART member, describing the incident, but without listing their name or the name of the alleged perpetrator. These reports become statistics for the College, and do not bind a student to formal reporting. Students have the option of filing a formal or informal report.

Formal Reporting: Students have the option of filing a formal report with the Dean of Students office, i.e. pressing charges. Students can fill out the form with the SART member, identifying the student’s name and the name of the alleged perpetrator, then meet with a Dean to request that the College hold an investigation and a hearing to determine guilt or innocence, and assign a disciplinary measure if guilt is found. The hearing is conducted by a panel of administrators or the student Honor Council.

Police Report: Students are encouraged to file a report with the Hartford Police, but this decision is left up to them.

Informal Reporting: Students who do not want to pursue the formal or police option may meet with the Dean of Students to discuss other possible avenues of resolution.

For more detailed information, click here for the SART Brochure.


Students found guilty of sexual assault face a range of disciplinary measures up to and including expulsion. In cases of alleged sex offense,

The accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding; and

Both the accuser and the accused must be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding that is brought alleging a sex offense. Compliance with this paragraph does not constitute a violation of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For the purpose of this paragraph, the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding means only the institution’s final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanction that is imposed against the accused.

See the following policies for additional relevant information:

3.01 Statement on Commitment to Diversity 18

5.05 Corrective Action 108

5.06 Ombudsperson 112

5.08 Acceptable Use of College Computer Systems 122