Policy Statement Overview

Harassment and discrimination are contrary to the College’s mission. The College is committed to responding to all reports of harassment, abuse, or discrimination and will use all reasonable means to prevent, confront, and eliminate such behavior. Harassment and discriminatory acts infringe upon a victim’s dignity and integrity, often denying or limiting a victim’s access to academic life. Harassment and discriminatory acts are among the most egregious in our community and warrant the most serious penalties. Any student who is found to have violated the College’s Harassment Policies through intentional and targeted behavior directed at any individual(s), on or off-campus, should expect that the College will impose sanctions, up to and including expulsion from the College. With the consent of the victim(s), the College will report the incident to the police when the alleged action constitutes a hate crime. Further, the College reserves the right to restrict any student who is accused of violating the College’s Harassment Policies from all college property and/or events pending the resolution of the complaint.

Maintaining our commitment to a campus climate where harassment and discrimination are not tolerated must be a shared goal. By joining the Trinity College community, students accept that they too have an individual responsibility to help create an environment free of harassment. We encourage students to report promptly any behavior that falls short of our communal values and we expect students to cooperate fully in any college investigation or judicial process regarding harassment allegations.

Students should note that the College does not consider ignorance to be a reasonable defense in complaints of harassment and discrimination. As such, all students should familiarize themselves with the particulars of this policy as outlined below.

Additionally, while some actions, speech, and forms of expression run contrary to individual beliefs and even our community values, we recognize that many of them are protected by law and are permissible under the principles of academic freedom. We fully expect that those who introduce protected but controversial, provocative, or divisive elements, and those who disagree with
them, will make themselves available to civil debate and discussion. The College provides space for provocative and unpopular speech and expression so long as those actions do not violate the law and/or are found to be targeted and intentional actions that violate our harassment policy.

Policy Statement on Discrimination, General Harassment and Abuse

Members of the College community are prohibited from engaging in physical or verbal acts that have the purpose or effect of denying the right to equal access to education or employment on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, color, gender expression, or gender identity.

Discrimination may be found to have occurred when there is evidence of differential treatment, i.e., when an agent or employee of the College, acting in his or her official capacity, treats a student or employee differently based on membership in the aforementioned protected classes without a non-discriminatory reason to do so, with the result that the person is prevented from participating in or gaining the privileges of programs and services of the College. Discrimination may also occur between parties of equal authority, or between students, based on the protected classes.

Discriminatory harassment is harassment based on race, ethnic or national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, color, gender expression, or gender identity. Discriminatory harassment includes conduct specifically directed at an individual or a small group of individuals and expresses hatred or contempt on the basis of stereotyped group characteristics or because of a person’s identification with a particular group.

Discriminatory harassment also includes any action or speech directed toward members of the aforementioned groups that reasonably can be determined to be threatening in content or is spoken in a manner that suggests violence toward such persons is imminent.

Discriminatory harassment may be found to have occurred when harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits a student’s or employee’s ability to participate in or gain the privileges of programs and services of the College.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, physical or non-physical behavior, such as assault, abuse, stalking, hazing, invasion of privacy, and intimidation. The following definitions provide examples of behavior that will not be tolerated:

  • Assault is nonconsensual physical contact that places someone in fear or apprehension of immediate harm. Relationship violence may also be categorized as assault.
  • Stalking refers to a pattern of behavior in which an individual willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another in his/her course of daily activities in such a way that the stalker’s actions can reasonably be found to interfere with another person’s ability to perform his or her regular duties or cause that person to feel frightened, intimidated, harassed, threatened, or molested.
  • Invasion of Privacy is unauthorized taking and use of facts, information, and/or property not in the public domain that a reasonable person would desire to keep from the public eye.
  • Intimidation is spoken, written, or physical conduct directed toward an individual or individuals that unreasonably interferes with their full participation in the Trinity College community or that is intended to create or may be reasonably determined to have created and threatening or hostile environment.

Hazing, in all forms, is expressly prohibited by the College. Trinity College, in compliance with Connecticut State Law (Sec. 53-23a.), defines “hazing” as any action which recklessly or intentionally endangers the health or safety of a person for the purpose of initiation, admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a student organization (including Greek Letter Organizations, athletic teams, club sports, SGA groups, A capella groups, etc.).

The term “hazing” shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Requiring indecent exposure of the body;
  • Requiring any activity that would subject the person to extreme mental stress, such as sleep deprivation or extended isolation from social contact;
  • Confinement of the person to unreasonably small, unventilated, unsanitary or unlighted areas;
  • Any assault upon the person; or
  • Requiring the ingestion of any substance or any other physical activity which could adversely affect the health or safety of the individual. The term shall not include an action sponsored by an institution of higher education which requires any athletic practice, conditioning, or competition or curricular activity.

“Student organization” means a fraternity, sorority or any other organization organized or operating at an institution of higher education.

  • No student organization or member of a student organization shall engage in hazing any member or person pledged to be a member of the organization. The implied or express consent of the victim shall not be a defense in any action brought under this section.
  • A student organization which violates subsection (1) of this section, (a) shall be subject to a fine of not more than one thousand five hundred dollars and (b) shall forfeit for a period of not less than one year all of the rights and privileges of being an organization organized or operating at an institution of higher education.
  • A member of a student organization who violates subsection (1) of this section shall be subject to a fine of not more than one thousand dollars.
  • This section shall not in any manner limit or exclude prosecution or punishment for any crime or any civil remedy.

Trinity College policies also prohibit the following activities and situations including, but not limited to:

  • Participation in or creation of situations that cause physical harm or emotional strain, such as causing a member or non-member to be the object of malicious amusement or ridicule.
  • Forced, required or implicitly coerced participation in physical activities such as calisthenics exercises or games.
  • Participation in activities that involve illegal acts such as kidnapping or stealing, or acts that violate university policy.
  • Creation of excessive fatigue or distress through deprivation of privacy, sufficient sleep, or decent and edible meals.
  • Use of physical brutality or force (including paddling, striking with fists, open hands or objects).
  • Forced, required, condoned or implicitly coerced behavior resulting in lewdness or potential ridicule or bodily harm (such as forced nudity or partial nudity, including coercing an individual to dress in a degrading manner as part of initiation or affiliation).
  • Forced, required or implicitly coerced consumption of any food, liquor, drug or any other substance.
  • Permitted consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol.
  • Any other activities that are not consistent with the regulations and policies of Trinity College.
  • For Greek Letter Organizations, any activity outside of the approved ten-day new member education period.

Any person who believes he or she has been hazed, or any person who has witnessed, or who possess information on activities that may violate the Colleges prohibition on hazing should report the incident(s) to the Dean of Students, Campus Safety, the Silent Whistle website at http://trincoll.silentwhistle.com, or by calling 866-934-4567.