University Policy

Gender-Based Misconduct Policy for Students

About Columbia’s Policy

Columbia University is committed to fostering an environment that is free from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault and all other forms of gender-based misconduct. 
 
The Gender-Based Misconduct Policy for Students is one part of the University’s multifaceted approach to eliminate gender-based misconduct from our community, which also includes educational programs; services and resources for those affected by gender-based misconduct; accessible, prompt, and fair methods of investigation and resolution of reports of misconduct; and protections designed to prevent against recurrence. 

Accommodations for Students

The Gender-Based Misconduct Office will work with all students affected by gender-based misconduct – including students bringing complaints, responding to complaints, or serving as witnesses – to ensure their safety and promote their well-being. Where appropriate, the Office will assist students with obtaining accommodations to provide support and relief. 

What is a Violation of Columbia's Policy?

Fundamentally, the University does not tolerate any form of gender-based misconduct. Important points:

  • Sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, gender-based harassment, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence are all forms of gender-based misconduct.   These behaviors do not have to be sexual in nature to be considered gender-based misconduct.
  • Gender-based misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, or people who know each other well, including between people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship.
  • Gender-based misconduct can be committed by anyone regardless of gender identity, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex or gender. 

What Are My Rights?

Throughout an investigation and the adjudication process at Columbia, both complainants and respondents have a right to respect, dignity, sensitivity and support, along with information and accommodations as appropriate. Columbia University students may choose to have an attorney-advisor; if requested, the University will arrange for an attorney-advisor at no cost to the student. See also: New York State Students Bill of Rights.

Understanding the Process

The Gender-Based Misconduct Office investigates reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct involving students. Every case is different, and the Office tailors each investigation to the specific facts of the case while maintaining a meaningful opportunity for all parties to be heard. The process generally begins with an initial assessment of a complaint, followed by case conferences, investigation and adjudication if necessary.