University Policies
Policy Contact
Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting Email 401-863-1800

Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to affirm Brown University’s (“the University”) commitment to creating an environment that is free of Discrimination and Harassment based on a person’s membership in a Protected Class and to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws that prohibit such conduct.

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies broadly to the University community including all faculty, staff, students, and other Covered Persons (as defined in Section 4.0).

This policy also applies to acts committed by or against any of the aforementioned individuals when the conduct occurs under the following conditions:

  • On Brown University premises;
  • In the context of Brown University employment, education, or research program or activity, including but not limited to Brown University-sponsored study abroad, work-related or academic meeting, research, internship, mentorship, summer session, or other affiliated programs or premises; or
  • Outside the context of Brown University employment or a Brown University education, research program or activity, but has an adverse effect on any Brown University employment, education, or research program or activity.

Allegations of gender-based Discrimination or Harassment are governed by the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking Policy and the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.

Requests for reasonable accommodations related to disability are governed by the University’s Employment Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities Policy for employees or the Student Accessibility Services Student Handbook for students.

3.0 Policy Statement

Brown University’s mission is “to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating, and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.” This mission compels the University to create and maintain an environment that is free of any form of Discrimination or Harassment that is based upon a person’s race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin – including actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics or citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity – disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other characteristic protected under applicable law, and caste, which is protected under The Corporation of Brown University’s Policy Statement on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action. The University prohibits Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation against individuals who report Discrimination or Harassment.

3.1 Academic Freedom

This policy is not intended to inhibit or restrict free expression or exchange of ideas. The University’s commitment to academic freedom can be found in full in the Faculty Rules & Regulations, Part 5, Section 12.I.C.

Speech or expression protected by the University’s statement on academic freedom and freedom of expression are not subject to sanction under these procedures, unless they rise to the level of Harassment or Discrimination.

3.2 Education

Educational efforts are essential to the establishment of a campus environment that is free of Discrimination and Harassment. There are at least four goals to be achieved through education:

  1. Educating individuals about the conduct that is prohibited;
  2. Educating faculty, staff, students and other Covered Persons on their rights;
  3. Informing administrators about the appropriate way to address complaints of violations of this policy; and
  4. Helping educate the faculty, staff and students about the issues addressed by this policy.

Educational and Training Modules for faculty, staff, students and other Covered Persons will be available through the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, University Human Resources, and the Division of Campus Life.

4.0 Definitions

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:


An individual who brings forward a complaint of an alleged violation of this policy. In certain instances, the University may bring forward a complaint. 


Confidentiality means that designated campus or community professionals are prohibited from revealing identifiable information shared by an individual to any other person without express permission of the individual, or as otherwise permitted or required by law. Those campus professionals who maintain information confidentially are:

  • Health care providers in Brown University Health Services including EMTs,
  • Clinicians in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS),
  • SHARE (Sexual Harm Acute Response & Empowerment) Advocate(s) in BWell Health Promotion,
  • Ordained clergy who have privileged Confidentiality that is recognized by Rhode Island state law.

In addition, the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program is a confidential resource available to employees.

These individuals are prohibited from breaking Confidentiality unless (i.) given permission to do so by the person who disclosed the information; (ii.) there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others; (iii.) the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18; or (iv.) as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order.

Covered Persons:
  • Applicants: Individuals who have expressed an interest in applying or have submitted an application for employment or enrollment as a student.
  • Employees: Individuals employed by Brown University, including faculty, affiliates, visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and all staff (including all exempt and non-exempt, bargaining unit, and senior administrative positions), as well as those physicians and health scientists who are not employed by Brown University but have Brown University faculty, affiliate, postdoctoral, or house staff appointments for the purpose of teaching and/or research in the Division of Biology and Medicine.
  • Students: Individuals enrolled in the College, the Graduate School, the Warren Alpert Medical School, the School of Public Health, the School of Engineering, and/or the School of Professional Studies.
  • Invitees: Visitors or guests of Brown University.
  • Contractors: Contractors are defined as independent contractors, vendors, or other third parties contractually obligated to perform services for Brown University.

Discrimination means unequal treatment of someone because of their Protected Class category. Discrimination is a violation of this policy when it results in an adverse action or negatively impacts the terms and conditions of an individual’s employment, education, or denies or limits participation in programs, services, or activities. 

False Complaint:

Knowingly and deliberately filing a False Complaint is a violation of this policy. An individual who is determined to have engaged in such conduct is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from enrollment. Sanctions administered for filing a false charge does not constitute Retaliation under this policy.


Harassment under this policy is considered conduct that is based upon an individual’s Protected Class (as defined below) and the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a working/educational/living environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, abusive or offensive. A determination of whether conduct is considered hostile is based on the totality of the circumstances of the situation. Isolated incidents or comments (unless extremely serious) will generally not rise to the level of Harassment under this policy. Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, physical assault or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, offensive objects or images, or interference with work performance.


Privacy means that information related to a report or complaint alleging Discrimination and/or Harassment will be treated with the utmost discretion and will be shared only with a limited circle of individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the review, investigation, and resolution of the matter, and/or other disclosures necessary to fulfill University operations. 

Protected Class:

Individuals belonging to these classes include those with identities that are protected from Discrimination and/or Harassment under applicable laws and University policy. Such Protected Classes are race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, including actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics or citizenship or residency in a country with a dominant religion or distinct religious identity (including, but not limited to, individuals who are or are perceived to be Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Israeli, Arab, or Palestinian, or who come from or are perceived to come from other regions of the world or are members of another religious group), age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, caste, or any other characteristic protected under applicable law or University policy.

Reporting Party:

A Reporting Party is either the Complainant or a third party who has reported a potential violation of this policy.


An individual alleged to have violated this policy is a Respondent.


Retaliation is any action, statement, or behavior meant as reprisal or retribution against an individual in response to the individual’s good-faith report or participation in a proceeding related to this policy. Any retaliatory action taken directly or indirectly against a person who has made a report, filed a complaint, or participated in an investigation is prohibited.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy and the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Standard Operating Procedures. University managers and supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure compliance with it.

Supervisors are required to report promptly to the contact listed in Section 8.3 all instances or allegations of prohibited conduct that are disclosed to, observed by, or otherwise known to them.

Duty to Cooperate: All individuals to whom this policy applies have a duty to fully cooperate in a process conducted by the Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting. Failure to cooperate for an interview, refusing to provide relevant information and documentation as requested or actively choosing not to participate in any other component of the process as requested is considered a breach of responsibility and may result in formal discipline, up to and including termination of employment, suspension of enrollment, or association with the University. A Respondent’s failure to cooperate, participate, or offer a written or verbal statement in a formal proceeding may result in the investigation proceeding and an outcome being reached based solely on the available information found through the fact-finding process.

Duty to Report: All members of the campus community are encouraged to report instances of Discrimination, Harassment, or Retaliation that they in good faith believe may have occurred to the Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting. All employees designated as managers or supervisors in a management position, Vice Presidents, Deans, and Department Chairs and professional staff working in the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and University Human Resources have a duty to promptly report incidents or knowledge of Discrimination or Harassment to the Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting. Failure to make such a report may result in discipline up to and including termination or removal from the position of authority.

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, expulsion, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.

7.0 Related Information

Brown University is a community in which employees and students are encouraged to share campus concerns with University leadership. Individuals seeking further guidance on filing a Discrimination or Harassment complaint should refer to the Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Resolution Standard Operating Procedures.

Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): N/A

7.5 Other Related Information:

Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services

Policy Approved by: Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services

Contact Information:

Office of Equity Compliance and Reporting Email 401-863-1800

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

Previous policy version(s) superseded by this policy:

  • Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy, Effective Date: November 9, 2021
  • Brown University Discrimination and Harassment Policy (OIED), Date: September 2, 2016
  • Discrimination and Workplace Harassment 20.072 (UHR), Revision Date: March 12, 2019


Webpage Updated January 31, 2024