Is it Equity? Flow Chart

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Written narrative for those who are visually impaired or others who prefer this format:

In determining whether or not a particular incident is equity related, an initial question is, “Does the incident involve discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, including sexual assault/harassment, relationship abuse, or stalking?” If not, then the incident is probably not equity. The incident may violate laws or other Berklee regulations, however. In these cases, we refer the matter to Student Affairs or Human Resources for the most appropriate follow-up.

If the incident, as reported, does involve discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, then it’s important to ask, “Did the behavior occur or appear to occur because of a characteristic protected under Berklee’s equity policy?” If not, then the incident probably doesn’t fall under the equity policy. Again, we would refer the matter to another venue for the most appropriate follow-up.

If the incident, as reported, may have occurred because of a protected characteristic, then we consider, “Did the incident involve a Berklee student, faculty, staff member, program, or event, either as the affected party or as the accused?” If not, it’s probably not an equity case. Again, we would still review it and make a referral for the most appropriate follow-up.

If the answer to all three of these questions is yes, then the incident likely should be addressed through the equity policy. Community members should report this incident to the chief equity officer. The report should be taken seriously, and resources (including those listed here) should be offered to all those involved. The information should be reported to:

Kelly Downes
Chief Equity Officer and Title IX Coordinator

Community members should remember the following points:

  • Don’t ask questions of the person who disclosed; just help them and report what you know.
  • Berklee’s policy does not limit when someone can file a report on an incident.
  • Berklee’s policy addresses incidents that occur off-campus and online.

Berklee’s equity policy lists the following protected characteristics: age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, mental illness, military/veteran status, national origin/ethnicity, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, and any other characteristic protected by law, whether that characteristic is actual or perceived.

Support and Reporting Options

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Written narrative for those who are visually impaired or others who prefer this format:

For those who experience equity incident, a variety of support mechanisms exist, depending upon the needs of the individual. Some people find that engaging multiple avenues of support is important for their well-being. Asking a few key questions may help identify priorities for support and reporting options.

First, for medical or safety emergencies, calling Berklee Public Safety at 617-747-8888 or 911 anywhere in the United States is an important first step. If you are seeking medical attention, injury documentation, a sexual assault nurse exam, or evidence collection, you may contact Boston Medical Center (nearest Berklee’s campus) at 617-414-4075 or Massachusetts General Hospital (nearest the Allston area) at 617-724-4100.

Assuming no medical or safety emergency is pressing and regardless of whether or not the incident is currently occurring or occurred previously, consider whether or not you would like to talk to someone about this incident.

If you don’t want to talk to someone about the incident right now, you can choose to access support resources or reporting options at any time in the future, and Berklee’s ability to effectively provide those is typically highest the sooner the incident is reported. Also, you can report anonymously at You can access reporting options and support measures at any time in the future.

If you want to talk to someone for support, you may prefer to speak to someone inside Berklee or someone outside of Berklee.

If you’d rather speak to someone within Berklee, students should call 617-747-2310 to reach the Counseling Services. The licensed mental health clinicians in the Counseling Center are confidential. Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., you can reach a counselor on call in the Counseling Center. After hours and weekend counselors can be accessed by calling Public Safety at 617-747-8888.

If you want to speak with someone outside of Berklee, licensed therapists and leaders in most faith traditions are confidential resources who can help you consider options and manage your well-being. A variety of other confidential off-campus services exist. Boston Rape Crisis Center (800-841-8371) offers comprehensive resources for victim/survivors of sexual misconduct. Fenway Health’s Violence Recovery Program (617-927-6202) offers comprehensive resources for victims/survivors of discrimination and harassment in the LGBTQ+ community. Information on other resources can be found at

Another question you should consider is whether or not you want to report the incident to Berklee, law enforcement, both (simultaneously or separately), or neither. You can choose any of those options at any time, and Berklee and law enforcement’s ability to respond to these reports is most effective the sooner we receive a report. If you don’t want to report right now, the support resources described above can be very helpful.

If you do want to report to Berklee, you should contact the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at or 617-747-3156. Reporting to CDEI will also allow you access support mechanisms like housing relocation, adjustments to work/living/academic arrangements, and no-contact orders.

If you want to report to law enforcement, Berklee Public Safety (617-747-8888) can assist with that process. You can also access local law enforcement in the US by calling 911.

To report an equity violation and request support, contact:

Kelly Downes
Chief Equity Officer and Title IX Coordinator

Berklee Equity Support and Reporting Proces

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Written narrative for those who are visually impaired or others who prefer this format:

Berklee encourages community members who experience discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct to access resources and reporting options through the equity process. For more information, visit or contact the Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at or 617-747-3156.

The text below summarizes Berklee’s typical steps in the equity reporting and support process. That process begins when a Berklee official receives notice of an incident of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. EAP and counselors in the Counseling Center can keep that information confidential. All other Berklee employees must treat this information with great sensitivity and provide the report to the chief equity officer.

When the chief equity officer receives the report, they review it and assign someone to meet with the reporting party and discuss rights, support resources, and reporting options, including the right to report to law enforcement.

All those options remain available to parties at any part of the process or after the process. Support measures available to both parties include work/academic adjustments, alternative living arrangements, no-contact orders, etc. Additionally, many people find it helpful to access confidential personal counseling.

Following this meeting with the reporting party, Berklee reviews the available information and makes a decision about the best procedure to resolve the case. Factors in this decision include the wishes of the complainant/reporting party, the nature/pattern of the reported conduct, the risk to the community, and the feasibility of collecting information about the reported behavior.

Occasionally, we determine that the incident described is not an equity violation; in that case, appropriate resources are provided.

If the matter is an equity case, the following options exist for addressing it, beyond support measures: Investigation, conflict resolution, and alternative resolution. It’s important to note that conflict resolution and alternative resolution are for cases in which possible sanctions are relatively minor. Neither conflict resolution nor alternative resolution is an available resolution method for cases involving sexual assault or other violent behavior.

If the case proceeds to investigation, the investigator meets with the complainant and respondent separately to review the process. Then the respondent and the complainant each receive a letter detailing the allegations. Following that, the investigator will interview the complainant, respondent, and witnesses. The investigator will also gather any other forms of evidence. Once the information-gathering phase is over, the complainant and the respondent will both receive a summary of the investigation, and they both have five days to respond to that summary with any comments.

Then, the investigator reviews those comments and determines findings of responsibility for each allegation. If the respondent is found not responsible for all allegations, then no sanctions are assigned. If the respondent is found responsible for any of the allegations, then the investigator will also determine sanctions. Following that, both parties have the opportunity to appeal this decision.

Conflict resolution means parties interact with a trained, neutral facilitator. This may be in person or it can proceed without any in-person meeting. This process is not available for sexual assault or other forms of violence. Through this process, parties can develop a mutually agreeable resolution. If they do not, Berklee will still offer all available resources, which can include a formal investigation.

Alternative resolution is available for cases that could result in relatively minor sanctions and do not involve sexual assault or other forms of violence. In this approach, a neutral, trained investigator makes a decision about the case based on the available information. Once that decision has been provided to the parties, both parties may request reconsideration.

To report an equity violation and request support, contact:

Kelly Downes
Chief Equity Officer and Title IX Coordinator

Berklee Equity Support and Reporting Process

Download "Berklee Equity Reporting and Support Process" (944kb PDF)

Written narrative for those who are visually impaired or others who prefer this format:

When an equity report is submitted, every report is evaluated individually. What’s described here is Berklee’s typical method for assessing and responding to reports.

All reports go to the chief equity officer/Title IX coordinator for that person’s initial review to determine, among other matters, whether or not the report is actually equity related. At Berklee, the chief equity officer/Title IX coordinator is Kelly Downes, who can be reached at and 617-747-3156.

Even if the report is not equity related, it still receives an appropriate response and follow-up, which is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

If the initial review indicates the case is probably equity related, then the deputy for intake, support, and advising assigns an intake officer. That intake officer reaches out to the reporting party via email and invites that person to an intake meeting, in which the reporting party can learn more about support resources and options. The accused person (respondent) may also receive an intake invitation, depending upon the nature of the initial report and whether the respondent has already been contacted.

If that email receives no reply, then the intake officer follows up with one additional email. That second email says that the invitation to an intake meeting exists indefinitely. That email also provides some basic information about resources and options, as well as the equity policy. All of this is documented in case the reporting party decides to pursue the case in the future.

If the person does respond to the intake invitation, the intake meeting occurs. During this meeting, the intake officer provides more information about resources and support options, as well as potential responses and follow-up to the case. The reporting party can use this as a chance to provide more information about the incident, but they don’t have to.

Following that intake meeting, appropriate support measures are provided to all parties. Those support measures can include counseling; no-contact orders; adjustments to work, living, or academic arrangements; and so on. The goal of these measures is to help people involved in an equity case focus on their day-to-day routine and goals.

During and after the intake meeting, people can request particular steps from Berklee, including informal resolution, formal resolution (investigation), support measures only, and/or assistance reporting to law enforcement.

Intake information, support measures, and requests for particular steps from Berklee are all documented and submitted to the chief equity officer/Title IX coordinator. That person determines appropriate next steps based on the nature of the report, the reporting party’s wishes, the risk to the community, and other factors.

Once those next steps are determined, the equity team communicates the steps back to the involved parties, who can then choose their level of participation in those next steps.

Finally, the Equity Leadership Team monitors trends in reports (without identifying details) to evaluate the need for systemic prevention and education.

To report an equity violation and request support, contact:

Kelly Downes
Chief Equity Officer and Title IX Coordinator