Statement to the Community: Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

October 14, 2014

President Drinan

A message from President Helen Drinan

At Simmons, we recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every member of our community and the right to live, learn and work in an environment free from sexual misconduct. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, an ideal time for the community to focus on the Simmons Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.

Our Policy provides a comprehensive statement of our values, as well as revised processes and resources available to every member of the Simmons Community who may be a victim of gender-based misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic or dating assault, stalking or other specified conduct. The Policy serves as the single guide for all community members - students, faculty, staff and visitors to the College - in explaining prohibited conduct, on- and off-campus resources for help and support, the College's response to instances of sexual misconduct, and potential sanctions for violation of the Policy.

Simmons's Gender-Based Misconduct Policy was produced by a Task Force of faculty and administrators from across the College with active oversight by the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Talent & Human Capital Strategy. Our Policy fulfills the requirements of Title IX and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). Our Policy does not replace the Student Handbook, Faculty Policy Manual, or Employee Handbook for specific policies and practices regarding matters other than those of gender-based misconduct.

Simmons Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Our Gender-Based Misconduct Policy designates the Simmons Title IX Coordinator and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator and provides a comprehensive guide to definitions, rights and responsibilities of members of our community in addressing matters of sexual misconduct and the process and procedures the College will follow in investigating complaints under the Policy.

Simmons Title IX Coordinator
Primary contact for faculty and staff complaints:
Gretchen Groggel Ralston, Assistant General Counsel
300 The Fenway, Suite E-208, Boston, MA 02115. 617-521-2768

Simmons Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Primary contact for student complaints:
Nancy Nienhuis, Associate Dean of Student Life
300 The Fenway, Suite C-210, Boston, MA 02115, 617-521-2125

Underscoring our commitment to community education on this important issue, we have established a dedicated role in a Violence Prevention and Educational Outreach Coordinator. Gina Capra has been appointed to this position and has extensive knowledge and background in this work. Gina has already begun her work for the College with preventative training and awareness for students which will continue throughout the academic year. I encourage you to follow the Violence Prevention & Educational Outreach Program Facebook page for upcoming events and initiatives.

In addition to preventative training for students conducted, we will host open meetings and discussions with students to answer any questions regarding the Policy. Faculty and staff are required to receive training on their responsibilities as employees of the College. 

I am grateful to the Task Force members for their hard work in completing this important and comprehensive Policy. The Task Force will continue to meet to strengthen program offerings and responses and ensure an annual review of the Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and procedures.

I urge your active participation in this critical education and prevention work, which so clearly connects with our mission and values.