Title IX Grievance Procedure
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, American Institute does not discriminate against persons because of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, creed, race, age, or national origin. American Institute has designated CFO Stephen Schwartz as Title IX coordinator for all campuses. Any questions, concerns or grievances can be directed to him at:
Procedures for Reporting and Responding to Reports of Discrimination
- Stephen Schwartz
711 Westchester Ave., Suite 207, White Plains, NY 10604
P: 914-368-7261 Email: sschwartz(at)americaninstitute(dot)edu
The following procedures have been adopted by the school to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex. These procedures are designed to provide a supportive process for individuals who report discrimination and to ensure a fair process for individuals who are accused of discriminatory conduct. Internal investigation of allegations of institutional discriminatory treatment or systemic discriminatory practices is intended to ensure that the School meets its commitment to an open and inclusive educational and employment environment. These procedures also describe the School’s efforts to conduct timely, thorough, and fair investigation as required by law.
Sexual misconduct, including sexual misconduct and sexual violence, has been recognized as a form of discrimination in violation of Title IX. For emphasis, sexual misconduct may be referred to specifically herein, and in addition to “discrimination” which refers generically and inclusively to all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex.
Making Reports of Title IX Discrimination
The Title IX Coordinator has primary responsibility for coordinating efforts for investigation, resolution, implementation of corrective measures, and monitoring the educational environment and workplace to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination on the basis of sex. Managers, department administrators, and supervisors have a duty to identify and report discriminatory behaviors. Employees and persons with responsibility for supervising or ensuring safety of others (including student employees in the course of their employment duties) have a duty to report discriminatory behaviors observed or reported to them. Managers, department administrators and supervisors should be directly involved in resolving allegations of discrimination or sexual misconduct. American Institute will investigate allegations of discrimination in consultation with the respondent’s supervisor, provided the supervisor is not an alleged perpetrator. Managers, department administrators and other supervisors have a duty to monitor the respondent’s behavior and to take appropriate disciplinary action if he or she continues to violate school policy or procedure including further acts of discrimination and/or acts of retaliation.
Investigation of Reports of Title IX Discrimination; Oversight by Title IX Coordinator
American Institute’s Title IX Coordinator has authority to:
- Accept all complaints and referrals from all campuses.
- Keep accurate records of all complaints and referrals for the required time period according to the School’s record retention policy;
- Conduct investigations to the level required under DOE regulations;
- Make findings of fact;
- Identify specific corrective measures to stop, remediate, and prevent sex discrimination including sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct;
- Make recommendations for corrective measures including training, counseling and/or discipline, when appropriate;
- Refer any recommendation for discipline in accordance with school policy;
- Oversee implementation of corrective measures, which may include follow-up to ensure that appropriate action was taken to complete the recommended actions;
- Require a school administrator responsible for taking corrective action who decides not to adopt a recommendation of the Title IX Coordinator to explain this decision in writing;
- If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the reasons offered by a school administrator for not adopting a recommendation for corrective action are insufficient, he or she shall bring the matter to the attention of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors and COO, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator and any legal counsel, shall direct the administrator to take appropriate corrective measures to ensure that discrimination is prevented from recurring and its effects on the complainant and others are remedied.
To assure School-wide compliance with this policy and with federal and state law, the Title IX Coordinator must be advised of all reported incidents of discrimination or sexual misconduct and their resolution, regardless of where the complaint is brought, investigated, or resolved. The Title IX Coordinator will monitor and coordinate the resolution of complaints by other offices with concurrent jurisdiction over Title IX discrimination or sexual misconduct.
The following procedures apply to members of the campus community as defined by American Institute’s policy prohibiting harassment:
Sex Discrimination: Behavior or action that denies or limits a person’s ability to benefit from, fully participate in educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex. Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include, but are not limited to, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual violence, failure to provide equal opportunity in educational programs and co-curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy, and employment discrimination.
Sexual Misconduct: A range of behaviors including sexual harassment and sexual violence. Includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that (a) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or to create a hostile or abusive educational environment, or (b) explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Gender Discrimination or Gender Harassment: Includes discrimination or verbal/ physical harassment which is based on the person’s gender but which is not sexual in nature. American Institute’s policies prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include discrimination or sexual misconduct on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex-stereotyping.
Inquiry: A request from a member of the American Institute community for information about the policy or the procedures for resolving a situation that involves discrimination or sexual misconduct. An inquiry may also refer to an informal notification that discrimination or sexual misconduct may have occurred and/or request for information about where or how to bring a complaint.
Complaint: A description of facts that allege violation of American Institute’s policy against discrimination or sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator may request that a complaint be made in writing.
Complainant: Student(s) or employee(s) of American Institute who alleges that she or he has been subjected to discriminatory practices or sexual misconduct. A third-party complainant is a person who brings a complaint on behalf of another member(s) of the campus community who has allegedly been the subject of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Complainants may be individuals or groups of individuals who have been impacted by discrimination or sexual misconduct.
Respondent(s): Person or persons who are members of the campus community who allegedly discriminated against or harassed another person or persons. Respondents may be individuals, groups, programs, academic or administrative units, or the institution.
Witnesses: Persons who have information about the alleged sexual misconduct that will tend to prove, disprove, or otherwise illuminate an investigation of a complaint.
Investigation: A fact finding inquiry by the Title IX Coordinator that attempts to determine whether behavior in violation of policy prohibiting discrimination or sexual misconduct occurred, and to make recommendations for resolution of the discriminatory or harassing conditions.
- Options for Resolution
Individuals making reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct shall be informed about options for resolving potential violations of the policies which prohibit discrimination or sexual misconduct. These options include informal dispute resolution, referral to other school offices or programs, formal investigation by the Title IX Coordinator, and availability of resources outside the School process. The School shall respond, to the greatest extent possible, to reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct brought anonymously or brought by third parties not directly impacted by the discrimination or sexual misconduct. However, the response to such reports may be limited if information contained in the report cannot be verified by independent facts.
Complainants and other individuals bringing reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct shall be informed about the range of possible outcomes of the report, including interim protections, remedies for the individual harmed by the discrimination or sexual misconduct, and disciplinary actions that might be taken against the accused as a result of the report, including information about the procedures leading to such outcomes.
Retaliation: An individual who is subjected to retaliation (e.g., threats, intimidation, reprisals, or adverse employment or educational actions) because he or she (a) made a report of discrimination or sexual misconduct in good faith, (b) assisted someone with a report of discrimination or sexual misconduct, or (c) participated in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a report of discrimination or sexual misconduct, may make a report of retaliation under these procedures. The report of retaliation shall be referred by the Title IX Coordinator to the appropriate academic or administrative supervisor.
Temporary Measures: The School may at any point in the complaint process elect to place the respondent on investigative leave, reassignment, or authorize other types of temporary measures while an investigation is pending, including but not limited to “no contact” provisions.
Procedures for Informal Resolution
American Institute encourages informal resolution options when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively, or when inappropriate behavior does not rise to the level of violation of school policy as determined by the Title IX Coordinator, but nonetheless is adversely affecting the workplace or educational environment. Informal resolution may include an inquiry into the facts, but typically does not rise to the level of an investigation.
Informal resolution includes but is not limited to options such as referral to another campus office or program, mediation, separation of the parties, referral of the parties to counseling programs, or conducting targeted educational and training programs. Situations that are resolved through informal resolution are usually subject to follow-up after a period of time to assure that resolution has been implemented effectively. Steps taken by the Title IX Coordinator to help the parties achieve informal resolution will be documented.
Some reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct may not be appropriate for informal resolution, but may require a formal investigation at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
Procedures for Formal Investigation
In response to reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct in cases where the complainant does not wish to engage in informal resolution, where informal resolution is not appropriate, or in cases where attempts at informal resolution are unsuccessful, the Title IX Coordinator may conduct a formal investigation. In such cases, the individual making the report shall be encouraged to file a written complaint. In cases where there is no written complaint, such as situations that involve a third party complaint, the Title IX Coordinator, may initiate an investigation after making a preliminary inquiry into the facts, and will inform the person(s) who were allegedly harmed by discrimination or sexual misconduct of the decision to initiate an investigation.
Investigations of reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct shall incorporate the following standards:
- The Title IX Coordinator is the designated school person to conduct formal investigation of allegations of discrimination or sexual misconduct, and to coordinate school response(s) to complaints of the same.
- The individual(s) accused of conduct violating the School policy prohibiting sexual misconduct shall be provided a copy of the written complaint or otherwise informed of the substance of the allegations. If the individual(s) accused cannot be located, attempts at notification shall be documented,
- The individual(s) conducting the investigation shall be familiar with the policy prohibiting discrimination or sexual misconduct and have training and/or experience in conducting investigations.
The investigation generally shall include interviews with the parties if available, interviews with other witnesses as needed and a review of relevant documents as appropriate. Disclosure of facts to witnesses shall be limited to what is reasonably necessary to conduct a fair and thorough investigation. Participants in an investigation shall be advised that maintaining confidentiality is essential to protect the integrity of the investigation and will be advised to refrain from discussing the pending investigation.
- At any time during the investigation, the investigator may recommend that interim protections or remedies for the complainant or witnesses be provided by appropriate school officials. These protections or remedies may include separating the parties, placing limitations on contact between the parties, or making alternative workplace or student housing arrangements. Failure to comply with the terms of interim protections may be considered a separate violation of the policy prohibiting sexual misconduct.
- The investigation shall be completed as promptly as possible and in most cases within 60 working days of the date the written complaint was received. In the event that an investigation cannot be completed within 60 days, the parties shall be notified in writing.
- Generally, an investigation will result in a written report that, at a minimum, includes a statement of the allegations and issues, a summary of the information considered, findings of fact, and a determination by the investigator as to whether school policy has been violated. For allegations of discrimination or harassing behavior, there are three possible findings:
- (a) Substantiated: It is more likely than not that the allegation is true.
(b) Unsubstantiated: It is not possible to determine whether the allegation is true or untrue. There is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove that the allegation is true.
(c) Unfounded: It is more likely than not that the allegation, while made in good faith, is untrue. A finding that the allegations are unfounded does not indicate that the complaint was improper or knowingly false.
- No person shall make an allegation that he or she knows to be untrue or knowingly provide false information during the course of an investigation. Making a false complaint or giving false information is a violation of this Policy and may be a basis for discipline, including expulsion or termination. Evidence of false complaints or false information shall be referred to the Title IX Coordinator.
- The report also may contain recommendation for actions to resolve the complaint, including but not limited to educational programs, counseling/coaching, mediation, remedies for the complainant, and a referral to disciplinary procedures, as appropriate.
- The report may be used as evidence in other related procedures, such as subsequent complaints, grievances and/or disciplinary actions.
- The complainant and the respondent shall be informed in writing of the completion of the investigation and the outcome of the investigation. The complainant shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any, that are directly related to the complainant, such as a recommendation that the accused not contact the complainant. The complainant may be notified generally that the matter has been referred for disciplinary action, but shall not be informed of the details of the recommended disciplinary action without the consent of the respondent. The respondent shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint and shall be notified generally of referrals for disciplinary action and recommended disciplinary action.
- Complainant and respondent(s) may request a copy of the investigative report pursuant to school policy governing privacy and access to personal information and pursuant to Paragraph B, below.
- Copies of the investigative report will be provided to those school administrators, academic leaders, and supervisors who are directly responsible for implementing measures to correct and prevent discriminatory or harassing conditions.
- Regardless of the method of resolution or the outcome, Complainant is at all times free to pursue a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, their individual state Civil Rights Commission, the United States Department of Education (Office for Civil Rights), the United States Department of Labor (Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs), or by consulting a labor/employment attorney at her or his own expense.
American Institute shall protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of discrimination or sexual misconduct to the extent allowed by state and federal law and school policy. A report of discrimination or sexual misconduct may result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the School community. The School may be required to disclose personal information in accordance with state or federal law.
- a) Confidentiality of Reports of Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
The Title IX Coordinator attempts to balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace. Confidentiality is an aspiration, but is not always possible or appropriate. An individual’s requests regarding the confidentiality of reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such requests will be considered in the dual contexts of the School’s legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or sexual misconduct and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation.
- b) Confidential Resources
There are confidential resources may be available on campus. Because content of discussions with confidential resources is not reported to an office of record, such discussions do not serve as notice to the School to address the alleged discrimination or sexual misconduct.
- Annual Reporting
The office of the Title IX Compliance Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records relating to discrimination or sexual misconduct reports, investigations, and resolutions. Records shall be maintained in accordance with school records policies, generally six years after the date the complaint is resolved. Records may be maintained for a longer period of time at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator in cases where the parties have a continuing affiliation with the School. All records pertaining to pending litigation or a request for records shall be maintained in accordance with instructions from school legal counsel. Requests for information should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.