Update to the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy Provision on Sanctions

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Gender-Based Misconduct Policy has been updated to clarify the scope of sanctions involving “removal from leadership/supervisory positions within the University community.” This update makes clear that, if appropriate in a particular case, this sanction can be applied to restrict a student from serving as a teaching assistant, course assistant, and/or grader either for a limited period of time or throughout the student’s affiliation with the University.

Background: 
The Gender-Based Misconduct Policy (“Policy”) provides general guidelines for sanctions on a student determined to have violated the Policy (Policy p. 29):
In determining a sanction, the Sanctioning Officer of the Respondent’s school, after consultation with the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office, will impose sanctions that are:

  • Fair and appropriate, given the facts of the particular case
  • Consistent with the University’s handling of similar cases
  • Adequate to protect the safety of the campus community
  • Reflective of the seriousness of gender-based misconduct

When a student is found responsible for a policy violation, relevant factors will be considered when imposing a sanction, including, if applicable: (1) the specific gender-based misconduct at issue (such as penetration, touching under clothing, touching over clothing, sexual exploitation, etc.); (2) the circumstances accompanying the lack of consent (such as force, threat, coercion, intentional incapacitation, etc.); (3) the Respondent’s state of mind (intentional, knowing, bias-motivated, reckless, negligent, etc.); (4) the impact of the offense on the Complainant; (5) the Respondent’s prior disciplinary history; and (6) the safety of the University community.
 
Update regarding sanctions related to leadership and supervisory positions:
The Policy sets out a list of sanctions (p. 30) that can be imposed on a student found responsible for a violation.  Among these sanctions is “Removal from leadership/supervisory positions within the University community.”
 
Within the student experience at Columbia, there is a range of academic leadership positions to which this sanction can apply, including the roles of teaching assistant, course assistant and grader.  Each of these carries significant responsibility for the academic experience of other students.
 
Therefore, when a student is found responsible for violating one or more provisions of the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, the Sanctioning Officer of the Respondent’s school, consistent with the Policy provisions on sanctioning excerpted above, will consider whether the sanction should include a bar on the student serving as a teaching assistant, course assistant and/or grader, either for a limited time period or throughout the student’s affiliation with the University.  
 
In making this determination, the Sanctioning Officer should take into account the factors identified in the policy. 
 
If the Sanctioning Officer determines that the sanction includes a bar on the respondent’s service as a teaching assistant, course assistant, the Sanctioning Officer will include that in his or her determination.  Thereafter, it is the respondent’s responsibility not to apply for or accept any position covered by the sanction.  A student who is removed from teaching responsibilities should expect to lose future earnings awarded by the position and the University reserves the right to recover any earnings overpaid in connection with the position as a condition of further enrollment.      
 
The determination can be appealed in the same way as any other sanction, as set out in the Policy.
 
The text of the Policy update within the List of Sanctions (p. 30) is italicized here: 
Removal from leadership/supervisory positions within the University community (including academic leadership positions, such as the roles of teaching assistant, course assistant, and grader).