On August 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) issued new Title IX regulations. The CIA’s Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Discrimination (“HSMD”) Policy has been updated as required to comply with these new Title IX regulations.
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The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment, in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and other federal, state, and local laws. The CIA does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, or any other protected group or classification under federal or state laws. These principles also apply to admissions, financial aid, academic matters, career services, counseling, housing, employment policies, scholarship programs, medical services, and all other programs and activities available at the CIA.
The Culinary Institute of America, pursuant to Title IX, Title VII, and state laws also prohibits sexual harassment, which includes alleged incidents of sexual assault or other sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking in accordance with Title VII, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, and the Campus SaVE Act, as well as Article 129-B of the New York Education Law (New York) and Section 67836 of the California Education Code (California).
Although Title IX is commonly associated with sex-based discrimination in athletics, the law is much broader. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that provides:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in all college programs and activities, including, but not limited to, admissions, recruiting, financial aid, academic programs, student services, counseling and guidance, discipline, class assignment, grading, recreation, athletics, housing, and employment. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against people for making or participating in complaints of sex discrimination.
The Legal Advisor is designated as the CIA Title IX Coordinator and Age Discrimination Act Coordinator, who is responsible for coordinating compliance with the complex legal and regulatory framework governing Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Discrimination (except for disability-based issues). The Title IX/Age Discrimination Act Coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing all complaints of Sexual Misconduct and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems. In addition, the CIA has designated a Deputy Title IX/Age Discrimination Act Coordinator. Inquiries and Complaints concerning these issues may be referred to either:
Joanna Smith, JD
Title IX and Age Discrimination Act Coordinator and Legal Advisor
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Office: Roth Hall, W401F
Assistant Director—Faculty Relations
Deputy Title IX and Age Discrimination Act Coordinator
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Office: Roth Hall, Room S324
The Dean of Academic Engagement and Administration is designated as the CIA Section 504 Coordinator, who is responsible for coordinating compliance under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law prohibits discrimination based upon disability and requires the CIA to ensure that Students are not excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of any program or activity of the CIA based on disability. Disability-related complaints and associated requests for accommodation are governed by the CIA’s Americans with Disabilities Act/Section 504 Compliance Policy (CMP-023). Any individual who believes they may have been discriminated against in an educational program, activity or employment situation on the basis of a disability may file a Complaint with:
Carolyn TragniDean—Academic Engagement and Administration
Americans with Disabilities/Section 504 Coordinator (504 Coordinator)
Section 504 Coordinator
The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Office: Roth Hall, Room S-319
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 1-877-521-2172
The Title IX coordinator is responsible for coordinating compliance with the above applicable laws and regulations and has been charged with managing the CIA’s response to reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking when those reports involve members or visitors to the CIA community. Informed by current federal law and guidance, the coordinator aims to ensure that the CIA’s responses promptly and effectively stop problem behavior, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.
The Title IX coordinator’s responsibilities include:
Summary of changes. Much of the prior HSMD Policy remains unchanged. The same conduct is now covered by the DOE regulations—conduct that:
If the conduct falls within the above-noted criteria, the CIA must address the conduct through the newly designated Title IX DOE Grievance Process, which is now included in the HSMD Policy. The Title IX DOE Grievance Process may involve a formal investigation, alternative resolution, or other inquiry. If a formal investigation is conducted under this process, it now has additional steps for the parties to review and comment on the evidence during and at the end of the investigation. Some of the other notable changes in the process include: (1) the insertion of a mandatory “live” recorded hearing following an investigation, and prior to policy determination; (2) indirect questioning of parties and witnesses, through advisors (who may be attorneys) who ask questions of the other party during a hearing.
If the conduct does not fall withing the above-noted criteria (i.e., other forms of Prohibited Conduct), the CIA will continue to respond through the processes that existed prior to August 14, 2020 and are contained in the HSMD Policy as “Investigation and Adjudication Procedures For Prohibited Conduct Other Than Title IX DOE Sexual Harassment.” Like the DOE Grievance Process, complaints handled under these procedures could result in a formal investigation, fact finding hearing, alternative resolution, or other inquiry—or the matter could be considered closed. If a formal investigation is conducted, it would not involve a hearing unless either party does not accept the preliminary determination of the investigator.
If a case involves both DOE-Covered Conduct and other Prohibited Conduct, the CIA will respond under the Title IX DOE Grievance Process.
The regulations are complex and, as a result, the HSMD Policy is also complex. The above overview summarizes the major changes withing the updated policy. To further clarify these changes, the CIA has developed initial FAQs and will be updated as appropriate. See FAQs below.
The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) issued new Title IX regulations mandating how schools across the country respond to complaints of sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence. This FAQ addresses common questions about the DOE Regulations and the impact on the CIA community.
What are the Title IX regulations?
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. The Title IX regulations tell institutions how to implement Title IX, including how to respond to certain sexual harassment complaints.
When did the new Title IX regulations go into effect?
The regulations went into effect on August 14, 2020. While there have been many legal challenges to the regulations, the CIA must implement the regulations to comply with the law.
How has the CIA’s HSMD Policy changed?
Generally, the HSMD Policy has not changed, however a new process that the CIA uses to respond to some reports of sexual harassment has been added to the policy. Additional information on the HSMD Policy changes can be found below.
What will happen to pending HSMD investigations?
The regulations only apply to conduct that occurs on or after August 14, 2020. HSMD investigations pending before that date will proceed under the existing HSMD Policy. In addition, the regulations do not apply to new reports of sexual harassment if the underlying conduct occurred prior to August 14, 2020.
Does this change CIA Responsible Employee duties?
No. All HSMD Policy requirements regarding Responsible Employees remain in effect. All CIA Employees who are not confidential resources and become aware of alleged sexual violence or sexual harassment of students must report the information to the Office of Title IX at TitleIX@culinary.edu or use our online reporting system.
Is harassment based on gender identity and sexual orientation prohibited? Does the HSMD Policy still apply to Discrimination?
Yes. The HSMD Policy explicitly prohibits sex-based harassment, including on the basis of any protected characteristic, including: race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, disability, age, genetic information, familial status, marital status, veteran status, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, and any other protected group or classification under the law. The regulations also prohibit sex-based harassment.
Do the new regulations limit what is considered sexual violence or sexual harassment?
The same conduct that was prohibited by the HSMD Policy prior to August 14 is still prohibited. A subset of Prohibited Conduct is now covered by the Department of Education (DOE) regulations—“Title IX DOE Covered Conduct.”
The HSMD Policy will continue to cover all forms of Prohibited Conduct, including DOE-Covered Conduct.
Do the new regulations change how the CIA responds to reports of Prohibited Conduct?
The scope of the HSMD Policy is unchanged, as is the CIA’s commitment to preventing and responding to reports of sexual harassment from our community members. The HSMD Policy includes procedures that detail how we respond to reports of Prohibited Conduct, which may include providing resources and support services, conducting an investigation or other resolution process, and instituting discipline and other corrective action if a violation of the HSMD Policy has occurred.
The new regulations require institutions to follow particular procedures to respond to reports of DOE-Covered Conduct. These procedures are called the “Title IX DOE Grievance Process.” So, the CIA will essentially have two investigation processes: a Title IX DOE Grievance Process—which applies to formal complaints of DOE-Covered Conduct, and our existing HSMD formal investigation procedures called the “Prohibited Conduct Other Than Title IX DOE Process—which apply to all other reports of Prohibited Conduct.
What is different from existing HSMD procedures?
Some of the steps required in the Title IX DOE Grievance Process are already a part of our existing HSMD procedures, such as providing written notice to the parties, the right to an advisor, and conducting a thorough investigation. Other required steps were not a part of our existing procedures. The CIA has revised our procedures to be fully compliant with the DOE regulations, reflect our values, and continue to protect our community from all Prohibited Conduct.
What are the key elements of the regulations and Title IX DOE Grievance Process?:
Definition of Sexual Harassment
The regulations define sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity.” The DOE definition imposes a higher standard that may be harder to prove and is different than New York, California, and Texas state law and our HSMD Policy, however, sexual harassment that does not meet the DOE definition may still be addressed under the HSMD Policy.
Location of Harassing Conduct
The regulations cover only sexual misconduct that occurs in a school’s program or activity, while the complainant was in the United States. This excludes some off-campus conduct, for example, study abroad programs. The protections in the HSMD Policy are broader, cover on-campus conduct, conduct in a CIA program or activity (wherever located), and off-campus conduct that that creates a hostile environment on campus or in a CIA program or activity.
Additional Investigatory Steps
The regulations require additional steps during the investigation process which involve sharing of evidence with both parties and allowing them to comment.
Live Hearing, Cross Examination and Questioning by Advisors
The regulations require a mandatory live hearing to determine whether a student, staff or faculty respondent engaged in Title IX DOE-Covered Conduct. This was not previously required and has been added to the Title IX DOE Grievance Process. The live audio-recorded hearing also requires questioning by parties’ advisors, who may be an attorney. This means, for example, that if the complainant has questions for the respondent, the complainant's advisor can ask them at the hearing.
Additional Questions? Contact us at TitleIX@culinary.edu.
All Complainants should take the following steps when formally reporting an incident of Prohibited Conduct:
If the Complainant reports the incident orally (by speaking) rather than in writing, the Title IX and Age Discrimination Act Coordinator or the 504 Coordinator, as appropriate, or designee, shall prepare a written statement outlining the alleged incident and the nature of the Prohibited Conduct, which shall form the basis of the Complaint and subsequent investigation. The Complainant will be asked to review and sign the written statement.
The CIA also provides employees, students, or third parties with the opportunity to report incidents or issues of concern through its CIA hotline reporting service. The hotline may be accessed by telephone, at 845-905-4477 or via the web. Both are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Issues received over this hotline system will be investigated and/or relayed to appropriate individuals within the CIA for handling or resolution.
Please note that an emergency situation where a staff and/or faculty member is a risk of harm to self or others must be reported immediately to 911 or directly to CIA Campus Safety. This reporting service is not a substitute for 911 or Campus Safety reporting options.
Campus safety tips are provided as reminders of how to be aware of your surroundings. In no way are campus safety tips provided to imply that a person who is assaulted could have avoided such assault.
The Safety offices on the New York and California campuses provide on-campus escort services available 24 hours a day. Don’t be embarrassed to be security conscious; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
To reach the New York Safety office call ext. 1268
To reach the CIA at Greystone Safety office call 707-548-2478, or ext. 2317
We encourage all members of the CIA community to be Active Bystanders against sexual violence. The following information is based on Bystander Intervention research being done at the University of New Hampshire and the guidelines developed by UNH. Learn to recognize the signs of danger and develop plans to keep each other safe. Commit to being an Active Bystander.
Take care of each other. Remember these tips when you are out...
Have a plan.
Talk with your friends about your plans BEFORE you go out. Do you feel like drinking? Are you interested in hooking up? Where do you want to go? Having a clear plan ahead of time helps friends look after one another.
Go out together.
Go out as a group and come home as a group; never separate and never leave your friend(s) behind.
Watch out for others.
If you are walking at night with friends and notice a woman walking by herself in the same direction, ask her to join you so she doesn’t have to walk alone.
If you see a friend coming on too strong to someone who may be too drunk to make a consensual decision, interrupt, distract, or redirect the situation. If you are too embarrassed or shy to speak out, get someone else to step in.
Trust your instincts.
If a situation or person doesn’t seem “right” to you, trust your gut and remove yourself, if possible, from the situation.
It’s not easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if that person is a friend, family member, or loved one. If someone you know within the CIA community has experienced sexual misconduct, we can help you help them.
Sometimes, the most valuable advice comes from someone the individual already trusts. Whether you’re a roommate, parent, or concerned member of our faculty or staff, we can point you to resources you can share, as well as provide support for you.
All CIA employees, including student employees, are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct, unless they are confidential counselors.
While you are not expected to act as a counselor, when you are with someone who has experienced sexual misconduct, you should be aware that the supportiveness of your response can be critical in the healing process. Though there is no one “right” way to respond, the following may serve as a guide identifying more or less helpful responses:
The CIA is committed to fostering an inclusive environment on our campuses. An important aspect of that is regularly conducting a Campus Climate Survey to assess the climate and culture of all domestic campus locations (NY, CA, and TX).
Joanna Smith, JD
Title IX, Age Discrimination Act Coordinator, and Legal Advisor
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538
Office: Roth Hall, W401F