Equity and Title IX Policies and Processes Overview

The following overview is designed to provide community members with a summary of Berklee’s Title IX and Equity policies. The full policies provide detailed information on the institution’s process in adjudicating such complaints and can be found here. In addition, this Title IX Process Chart (PDF) provides an overview of the circumstances under which the Title IX Policy or the Equity Policy may apply.

Acts That May Violate These Policies

Berklee’s Title IX and Equity policies address discriminatory behavior at Berklee, including discrimination and harassment based on race, gender, or gender identity; sexual misconduct; dating or domestic violence; stalking; hate crimes; and hostile environments. The policies also prohibit adverse actions taken against an individual for making a report of conduct prohibited under these policies or for participating in an investigation of an alleged violation of these policies. The policies apply to all students, faculty, staff, and others who participate in Berklee’s programs and activities. 


Individuals who may have been subjected to a violation of these policies or who have witnessed such a violation are encouraged to talk to somebody about what happened so they can get the support they need and so Berklee can respond appropriately. Reports can be made to the chief equity officer and Title IX coordinator, Kelly Downes, at 617-747-3156 or equity@berklee.edu. Reports may also be submitted online, including anonymous reports. Additional information about reporting can be found here.

Support Services

Counseling, health, safety, academic, and other support services are available from Berklee and within the local community.

Investigation/Resolution Process

Generally, when a report is made about behavior that may violate the Title IX or Equity policies, a member of the equity team will meet with the reporting party and gather initial information to allow the institution to make a determination of whether, if all facts as reported are true, the conduct may violate the Title IX or Equity policies. As appropriate, the parties may be provided with supportive measures.

When reported allegations may support a Title IX or equity charge, the party or parties affected by the alleged conduct may choose to begin the Equity or Title IX processes, as applicable, or the Title IX coordinator may decide to move forward. The Title IX coordinator will then initiate a grievance process that includes an investigation and, if under the Title IX process, a hearing. The responding party is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination is made. Berklee will not disclose the identity of the parties, except as necessary to carry out the Equity or Title IX processes, or as permitted under state or federal law. 

Before an investigation begins, both parties will receive a written statement of the allegations. The statement will include the date, time, and location, if known, of the alleged incident, and a specific statement of the policies allegedly violated by which actions. The parties may be accompanied by an advisor or support person of their choice, and may consult with their advisor during proceedings. Advisors are not permitted to interfere with or obstruct the investigation, or to testify in place of a party during any investigative interview or related proceeding. 

The investigation and any applicable hearing proceedings that follow will be impartial and conducted by an individual who receives not less than annual training on issues relating to sexual misconduct, investigatory procedures, and hearing procedures. The purpose of the investigation is to collect relevant evidence with the equitable participation of both parties. The parties will receive copies of the policies regarding the submission and consideration of evidence that may be used during an investigation or hearing, as applicable, and will have equal opportunities to present evidence and witnesses on their behalf. After the investigation is complete, a final investigation report is sent to both parties. Both parties have the opportunity to respond in writing to relevant evidence collected by the investigator(s) and then again to the final investigation report. There may be restrictions on evidence considered by the investigator or the decision-maker in a Title IX hearing, including evidence regarding prior sexual history or character evidence.

In Title IX cases only, a hearing will then be conducted where both parties and relevant witnesses will be given the opportunity to provide testimony and respond to the evidence at the hearing with a decision maker. The parties will not directly question each other.

The parties will receive written notice of the results of a hearing or investigation not later than seven business days after a final determination of a complaint, unless good cause for additional time is shown. Either party may appeal the decision. 

The Title IX coordinator will work with both parties throughout this process, providing supportive measures and, if a party is found responsible, remedies to the reporting party to help restore access to Berklee’s educational programs and activities.