Policy on Valuing Diversity

Simmons University is, first and foremost, an academic community that prepares students to be well-informed, open-minded, and sensitive to the values of others. We strive to foster an atmosphere where students may become actively engaged members of society and lead rich personal lives. We promote these goals through an active and continual exchange of ideas among students, faculty and the general University community. To ensure that these goals are attained, Simmons has committed itself to the following principles.

Simmons University strives to ensure that all decisions concerning hiring and promotion of faculty and staff, and the educational progress of its students, are based on considerations appropriate to an academic institution and not on factors such as race, color, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, age, national origin, handicap, or veteran status.

All students are given equal access to the University's programs and resources. In accordance with applicable law, admission to the University's undergraduate baccalaureate program is reserved to those who self-identify as women. The University is committed to admitting students of any race, color, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, national and ethnic origin, or disability to all programs and activities made generally available to students at the University, including scholarship and loan programs, athletic programs, and other University-administered student services, and social, educational and recreational programs.

Simmons University subscribes to the policies set forth in Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which mandates equal opportunity for qualified handicapped persons in educational programs and activities. Simmons University strives to ensure that all decisions concerning hiring and promotion of faculty and staff, and the educational progress of its students, are based on considerations appropriate to an academic institution.

Furthermore, Simmons University is committed to creating an atmosphere where the diversity of its members' individual roles is met with understanding, respect, and encouragement.  Any discrimination or harassment by any member of the faculty, staff, or student body against any other will be handled appropriately. The University does not tolerate sexual harassment of employees or students.

Complaints of discrimination or harassment should be addressed to the Student Life office or to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Procedure to Respond to Bias-Related Incidents

Bias-related harassment may be defined as conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's or group's performance or environment or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, learning, or living environment. Bias-related harassment is based on an individual's or group's religion, ethnicity, race, color, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age or other social group membership.

Simmons University is committed to maintaining a respectful and welcoming living and learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff. Any individual found engaging in acts of harassment or bias will be held accountable to the fullest extent possible.

Students are encouraged to report a bias-related incident immediately. Students may report such incidents to any representative of the University but are encouraged to report such incidents to the Office of the Dean for Student Life, the Office of Residence Life, or the Office of Public Safety. Any student life staff member who receives a report of an incident of bias must inform her/his supervisor who will inform public safety, the Dean for Student Life, and the Associate Dean for Student Life. Such matters will be investigated thoroughly. This investigation will include, when appropriate, the photographing and removal of any graffiti or physical evidence related to the act. Any student who is found to have committed a bias-related act will be brought before either the Residence Campus Judicial Board or the Honor Board depending on the location and nature of the incident. Please refer to the conduct system section in this handbook for the description of the Residence Campus Judicial Board procedures and Honor Board procedures.

If such act is determined to be a bias/hate crime, the matter will be investigated and appropriate action taken should the perpetrator be identified. See Massachusetts bias/hate laws:

In any bias-related situation, University staff members and public safety officers will take appropriate steps to maintain confidentiality of the student(s) involved; however the law requires any staff member responding to an incident of this nature to file a report describing the basic details of the incident without including the names of students involved.

Any bias-related incident affects both the students who are directly involved and the entire Simmons community. Such matters will be addressed on a community level through various means, including educational programming, to help create and maintain an inclusive and welcoming living and learning environment for all members of the Simmons University community.