• Read CIA's title 9 harassment, sexual misconduct, and discrimination policy statement.
  • Title IX at the CIA

    Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Discrimination Response and Prevention

    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.

    See these changes now >

  • 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. 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 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, 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
    Phone: 845-451-1614
    Email: Joanna.Smith@culinary.edu


    Danielle Glendenning
    Assistant Director—Faculty Relations
    Deputy Title IX and Age Discrimination Act Coordinator
    1946 Campus Drive
    Hyde Park, NY 12538
    Office: Roth Hall, Room S324
    Phone: 845-905-4369
    Email: Danielle.Glendenning@culinary.edu

    The Dean of Academic Engagement and Administration is designated as 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 CIA to ensure that Students are not excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of any program or activity of 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 Tragni, Dean—Academic Engagement and AdministrationCarolyn Tragni
    Dean—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
    Telephone: 845-451-1615
    Email: Carolyn.Tragni@culinary.edu


    U.S. Department of Education
    Office for Civil Rights
    Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-1100
    Telephone: 1-800-421-3481
    FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 1-877-521-2172
    Email: OCR@ed.gov

    The Title IX coordinator is responsible for coordinating compliance with the above applicable laws and regulations and has been charged with managing 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 CIA’s responses promptly and effectively stop problem behavior, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

    The Title IX coordinator’s responsibilities include:

    • Overseeing the college’s response to sexual misconduct to ensure prompt and equitable resolution of all complaints.
    • Providing a central place to report an incident and overseeing the reporting process.
    • Providing information about college policies and procedures.
    • Providing referrals to campus and community resources and victim advocates.
    • Facilitating accommodations to address safety concerns and to support victims and complainants so that academic and professional pursuits may continue unimpeded.
    • Collaborating with community partners to assist with a resolution that balances the needs of the individuals involved with those of the larger community.
    • Keeping records to ensure patterns of behavior are identified.
    • Overseeing investigations of misconduct to ensure fairness, impartiality, and equity.
    • Coordinating and providing training, education, and prevention programs for the entire CIA community.

    Summary of changes. Much of the prior HSMD Policy remains unchanged. The same conduct is now covered by the DOE regulations—conduct that:

    • occurred on or after August 14, 2020; AND
      • occurred in the United States in a CIA “program or activity,” which includes:
      • on campus; or
    • off-campus (1) in the context of CIA operations, at a location, event or circumstance over which CIA exercised substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the conduct occurred, or (2) at the building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by CIA; AND
    • was “sex-based conduct” as defined in the Title IX regulation, which includes harassment based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex- or gender-stereotyping, or sexual orientation, if the conduct is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.

    If the conduct falls within the above-noted criteria, 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), 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, 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, 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, CIA must implement the regulations to comply with the law.

    How has CIA’s HSMD Policy changed?
    Generally, the HSMD Policy has not changed, however a new process that 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.”

    Title IX Updates

    The HSMD Policy will continue to cover all forms of Prohibited Conduct, including DOE-Covered Conduct.

    Do the new regulations change how CIA responds to reports of Prohibited Conduct?
    The scope of the HSMD Policy is unchanged, as is 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:

    • Submit a formal Complaint using any of the reporting channels outlined above including: the Complainant’s name and contact information; a description of the alleged incident(s) or behavior, who specifically was involved, when and where it occurred, and the desired remedy sought. As much detail as possible should be provided regarding the alleged incident (who, what, when, where, why, and how).
    • Provide, if possible, any supporting documentation and evidence of the allegations that are immediately available. These items should be referenced within the body of the formal Complaint.
    • Submit any additional supporting materials as quickly as is possible.

    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.

    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 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 most important things you can do to avoid being a victim of a crime are:

    1. Lock your room door when you are asleep or out of the room, even for a few minutes.
    2. Do not leave personal property unattended anywhere.
    3. Always be aware of your surroundings, whether on or off campus.
    4. Report suspicious persons to Campus Safety. Do not assume they are okay; trust your instinct.
    5. Be clearheaded—no drugs, no alcohol.

    Campus Safety Escort Service

    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 CIA Greystone Safety office call 707-548-2478, or ext. 2317

    General Safety Tips

    • Walk in well-lit, well-traveled areas. Avoid alleyways and deserted parking lots.
    • Always be alert to your surroundings.
    • Avoid intoxicated persons. If you see a bad situation brewing alert Campus Safety.
    • If you suspect that a car is following you when you are on foot do an “about face,” walk in the other direction and go to the nearest public phone and call 911.
    • If you suspect you are being followed by someone on foot, cross the street walking in the opposite direction and go to the nearest public phone to call 911.
    • If while driving you suspect you are being followed by another vehicle, drive directly to the closest police station and honk your horn until an officer comes out to help.
    • Do not stop if a car pulls up beside you. Get away from the car.
    • Monitor your own personal behavior in regards to alcohol.
    • Often it is not the stranger that jumps out of the bushes who violates you. It is someone you know, someone you are alone with when you may be too intoxicated to protect yourself.
    • Report any suspicious persons or activity to Campus Safety.
    • Before entering your vehicle, always check the interior, paying particular attention to the floor and rear seat.

    Safety in Residences

    • Keep your room locked both when you are home or away.
    • Even when just going down the hall for a few minutes, lock your door. This will keep petty thieves or a possible intruder from gaining access to your room.
    • Never permit strangers into a residence.
    • Do not sign in anyone who is not your guest.
    • Never lend out your room or residence keys to anyone.
    • Inform the residence staff of any lock defects or lost keys.

    Your Property

    • Be sure not to leave valuables unattended in residence hall rooms, cars, offices, physical fitness facilities, classrooms or dining facilities.
    • Keep cash, credit cards, Personal Billing Number and Personal Identification Numbers secure.
    • Keep your car locked and valuables out of sight.
    • Never allow yourself to be lured away from your property by a stranger.

    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.

    Some simple steps to becoming an Active Bystander

    • Notice the situation. Be aware of your surroundings.
    • Interpret it as a problem. Do I recognize that someone needs help?
    • Feel responsible to act. See yourself as being part of the solution to help.
    • Know what to do. Educate yourself on what to do.
    • Intervene safely. Take action but be sure to keep yourself safe.

    How to Intervene Safely

    • Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.
    • Ask a person you are worried about if they are okay. Provide options and a listening ear.
    • Distract or redirect individuals in unsafe situations.
    • Ask the person if they want to leave. Make sure that they get home safely.
    • Call the police (911) or someone else in authority or yell for help.

    What can my friends and I do to be safe?

    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.

    Diffuse situations.
    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.

    1. Listen

    • Confirm the person’s safety. Ask the survivor, “Are you safe right now?” If they say no, help them create a plan to get to a safe place. Call 911 if necessary.
    • Provide nonjudgmental support. Your role is not to determine whether or not something occurred. Your primary responsibility is to remain supportive of the survivor, while referring the person to others who are trained in providing assistance and/or intervening.

    2. Refer

    • Help the person get medical care if needed.
    • Help the person consider whether to make a report with the police or with the University.
    • Direct the person to on-campus and off-campus Resources (PDF) confidential counseling and advocacy resources.
    • Let the person know who at CIA they can contact to request protective measures and accommodations such as no-contact directives, housing relocation, adjustment of schedules, time off, etc.

    3. Report, as required

    All CIA employees, including student employees, are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct, unless they are confidential counselors.

    • If you are required to report the incident, explain your reporting responsibilities to the person who has disclosed the information to you.
    • If the incident involves alleged sexual misconduct by a faculty member, staff member, student, or a third party, contact the Title IX Coordinator, Joanna Smith, at 845-451-1614, or Joanna.Smith@culinary.edu.

    Dos and Don’ts

    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:

    • Give the survivor your complete attention.
    • Validate the survivor’s feelings.
    • Tell the survivor:
      • “I believe you.”
      • “This was not your fault.”
      • “You have options.”
      • “Thank you for coming forward.”
    • Offer the survivor options:
      • To sit or stand.
      • To share more or be silent.
      • To call referral agencies or not, or to have you call.
    • Ask the survivor what they need.
    • Remind the survivor that they are not alone, that other people of all genders have experienced sexual misconduct.
    • Provide the survivor with information about the on-campus and off-campus resources (PDF) resources available to them, including confidential counseling, medical resources and reporting resources.
    • Suggest to the survivor that they preserve evidence (PDF).
    • Follow up with the survivor.
    • Report the incident to Title IX Coordinator if you are a CIA employee. Check out the Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Discrimination (HSMD) Policy for more information on reporting an incident (PDF).
    • Take care of yourself after dealing with the situation. Get support for yourself if you need it. Consider speaking with a confidential counselor.
    • Tell the survivor that you know what they are going through.
    • Label the experience for the survivor or make any legal conclusions.
    • Minimize the survivor’s experience (e.g. that’s just how that person is.)
    • Tell the survivor what they should do or make decisions for them.
    • Ask the survivor questions that suggest they are to blame (e.g. What were you drinking? What were you wearing? Why didn’t you run? What were you doing in that place?)
    • Question whether the survivor is telling the truth or show doubt about their story.
    • Tell the survivor that they need some proof or evidence.
    • Touch the survivor’s leg, shoulder, hand, etc. unless they have explicitly told you that it is okay to do so.
    • Talk about your own issues or history.
    • Guarantee complete confidentiality, particularly if you are a college employee with a reporting obligation.
    • Panic. Take a deep breath and focus on listening to the survivor.

    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).

  • Contact Us

    Joanna Smith, JD
    Title IX, Age Discrimination Act Coordinator, and Legal Advisor
    1946 Campus Drive
    Hyde Park, NY 12538
    Office: Roth Hall, W401F
    Phone: 845-451-1614
    E-mail: Joanna.Smith@culinary.edu

    Danielle Glendenning
    Assistant Director—Faculty Relations
    Deputy Title IX and Age Discrimination Act Coordinator
    1946 Campus Drive
    Hyde Park, NY 12538
    Office: Roth Hall, Room S324
    Phone: 845-905-4369
    E-mail: Danielle.Glendenning@culinary.edu