Trinity College prepares students to be bold, independent thinkers who lead transformative lives. Ours is a community that rewards intellectual curiosity, welcomes open debate and dialogue, and strives to expand the boundaries of knowledge and compassion. By eliminating discrimination and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion, we foster an environment of trust and mutual respect where everyone who lives, studies, and works at Trinity can meaningfully engage, connect, and transform themselves and the world around them.
Scope of the Non-Discrimination Policy
Trinity College’s non-discrimination policy applies to all College community members, including all trustees, students, employees, alumni, visitors, and volunteers who participate in the College’s programs and activities, whether the program or activity is on- or off-campus, including any study away programs sponsored by the College. Any such individual may make a report of an alleged act of discrimination under this policy. Anyone who conducts business with the College or on College property, including vendors and independent contractors, also are expected to comply with this policy. Complaints against such individuals will be handled in accordance with existing contracts and agreements.
Maintaining our commitment to a campus climate where discrimination and discriminatory harassment are not tolerated must be a shared goal. By joining the Trinity College community, all Trinity community members accept that they too have an individual responsibility to help create an environment free of discrimination and discriminatory harassment. All members of the Trinity community should familiarize themselves with the College’s non-discrimination policy, as found below; ignorance of the policy is not a reasonable defense in complaints of discrimination.
Reasons for the Policy
Discrimination is contrary to the College’s mission. Discriminatory acts infringe upon a victim’s dignity and integrity, often denying or limiting a victim’s access to academic life. Discriminatory acts are among the most egregious in our community and warrant the most serious penalties. The College is committed to responding to all reports of alleged discrimination and will use all reasonable means to prevent, confront, and eliminate such behavior. Some forms of discriminatory harassment may also violate criminal law (e.g., assault, battery) and complainants may wish to report the alleged conduct to law enforcement as well. Upon request, the College will assist individuals in filing such reports with law enforcement.
Statement of Elaboration of the Policy
Trinity College prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion or religious creed, gender or sex (including pregnancy), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, veteran status or any other category protected by federal or state law.
Behaviors that violate the non-discriminatory policy may also violate other College policies, including Trinity College Policy on Sexual Misconduct.
Although certain actions, speech, and forms of expression may run contrary to individual beliefs, many of them are protected by law and are permissible under the principles of academic freedom. The College provides space for provocative and unpopular speech and expression so long as those actions do not violate the law and/or are not found to be targeted and intentional actions that violate the College’s non-discrimination policy.
This policy is Trinity College’s official policy governing non-discrimination and is intended to comply with all relevant federal and state laws and the College’s statements and policies. It replaces any other College policies prohibiting discrimination. The College will amend the Non-Discrimination Policy from time to time, to ensure compliance with applicable laws. The College will work in collaboration with the Faculty Conference, the Student Government Association, and the Staff Councils, prior to making any changes to this policy.
The College encourages prompt reporting of any discriminatory behavior, and it expects full cooperation in any College investigation or judicial process regarding discrimination or discriminatory harassment allegations.
The College protects the rights and privacy of individuals reporting acts of alleged discrimination, individuals simply accused of discrimination, and individuals who participate in the College’s investigation of, or efforts to address, alleged discrimination. Retaliation against any person who has made a complaint of discrimination, or who has cooperated in the investigation of such a complaint, is illegal and a violation of College policy.
Retaliation is prohibited. Even an individual absolved of alleged discrimination can be guilty of retaliation, if that individual behaves in a manner designed to “punish” or dissuade another individual who has complained of discrimination or participated in the investigation or adjudication of such a complaint.
All personnel who are responsible for hiring and promoting employees and for the development and implementation of College programs or activities are obligated to support this policy and to respond promptly and appropriately to any concerns that are brought to their attention. The College has established procedures for the reporting and prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and adjudication of discrimination and retaliation complaints. See Student Handbook for procedures involving claims against students; Faculty Manual for procedures involving claims against faculty; and Employee Handbook for procedures involving claims against non-faculty employees.
Examples of Conduct that Constitutes Discrimination in Violation of this Policy
In some cases, discrimination is obvious and may involve an overt action, a threat, or reprisal. In other instances, discrimination is subtle and indirect, making it more difficult to ascertain. Some examples include the following:
making decisions about a person’s employment, compensation, or education, solely based upon or motivated by animus towards the person’s membership in a protected class;
verbal or physical abuse, offensive innuendo or derogatory words, taunts in the guise of jokes, negative reference to customs, epithets, or comments concerning, based on, or motivated by a person’s membership in a protected class;
failure to provide religious or disability-related accommodations when required by applicable law; or
displaying objects, pictures, or other media that create a hostile working/learning/living environment based upon or motivated by animus towards a person’s membership in a protected class.
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 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 above. 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.