Discrimination is defined as an adverse employment or education related action or decision that is based on or motivated by an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or veteran status or any other characteristics protected by law.

Discriminatory harassment is defined as substantially interfering with an individual’s educational experience by subjecting him or her to severe or threatening conduct or to repeated humiliating or abusive conduct, based on his or her membership in a protected class which also includes sexual harassment[1].

Racial Prejudice: A preconceived negative judgment about the characteristics or behavior of a racial group, or about the character of an individual, based on that person’s membership in a racial group. Racial prejudices may be held by anyone.

Racial Discrimination: Any action against a person or group based on racial prejudice. Such actions may include, but are not limited to, failure to admit, hire, or promote on the basis of race; spoken or written insults and racial slurs; and nonverbal gestures that convey or reflect racial prejudice (especially when such behavior has been met with clear rebuke). Racial discrimination may be practiced by anyone.

Systemic Racism: Racial prejudice that has behind it institutional or societal power to carry out acts of racial discrimination. This results in the systemic exclusion of a racial group from power, influence, resources, or the development of their potential.

“A person with a disability” means any person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities; (2) has a record of such impairment; (3) is regarded as having such an impairment; or (4) is otherwise deemed disabled under applicable federal or state law.

Age Discrimination refers to actions prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment of Act of 1967, which protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.

Complainant refers to the student, employee, or third party who suffers discrimination on the basis of age, ethnicity, race, color gender, sexual orientation, disability, military status, national or ethnic origin, or on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression by the conduct of another, and pursues a charge or charges against a Respondent under this Policy.

False Accusations Anyone who knowingly makes a false or bad faith accusation of discrimination, harassment or retaliation will be subject to appropriate sanctions. However, failure to prove a claim of discrimination, harassment or retaliation does not, in and of itself, constitute proof of a knowingly false accusation. Yet, anyone who knowingly incurs an act of false accusation, he/she will be subject to appropriate interim measures or sanctions as determined by the Title VI Coordinator and affirmed by the President of the Seminary.

Gender Identity means “. . . each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with sex assigned at birth, including the person’s sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other experiences of gender, including dress, speech and mannerism”[2]

Gender Expression refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another.

Genetic Information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder, or condition of an individual’s family members (i.e., an individual’s family medical history). Family medical history is included in the definition of genetic information because it is often used to determine whether someone has an increased risk of getting a disease, disorder, or condition in the future.

Harassment is a form of behavior that is characterized by conduct: (1) based on an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy or veteran status or any other characteristics protected by law which is unwelcome; AND (2) if sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.

Civil Status “means being single, married, separated, divorced, widowed, in a civil partnership within the meaning of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 or being a former civil partner in a civil partnership that has ended by death or been dissolved or being or having been a cohabitant or qualified cohabitant within the meaning of Section 172 of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010″.

Other covered veteran means a veteran who served in active duty during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has been authorized; veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a United States military action for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order No. 12985 (61 Fed. Reg. 1209); and recently separated veterans.

Respondent means the alleged offender/accused individual; a person alleged to have engaged in any of the conduct prohibited by this Policy.

Retaliation against any person in the Seminary community either for alleging discrimination prohibited by Title VI or for cooperating in these procedures is strictly prohibited. Any person who is found to have retaliated against another for making a complaint under Title VI or these policies, being a witness for purposes of any such investigation, or being otherwise involved in the complaint and/or investigative process, will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination or expulsion. Retaliation should be reported immediately to the Seminary’s Title VI Coordinator. Any member of the seminary community has the right to raise concerns or make a complaint regarding discrimination or harassment under this policy without fear of retaliation.

Sexual orientation is the preferred term used when referring to an individual’s physical and/or emotional attraction to the same and/or opposite gender. “Gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual” and “straight” are all examples of sexual orientations. A person’s sexual orientation is distinct from a person’s gender identity and expression.

Constituencies – For the purpose of these policies, the four constituencies (“Constituencies”) of the Seminary community are: (1) the ranked faculty and other instructional personnel, (2) the exempt administrative and professional/technical staff, (3) the nonexempt staff, and (4) the students.

Non-Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Panel – The Non-Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Panel (“Panel”), from which hearing committees are drawn to handle complaints filed under the Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policies and which performs related functions described below, is appointed by the President of the Seminary. The Panel consists of eleven persons from the Constituencies of the Seminary community as follows: three members of the ranked faculty, two members of the exempt administrative staff, two members of the nonexempt staff, and four students (two Ph.D. candidates and two candidates from the M.Div. and/or M.A. programs). The President shall appoint the Panel members, and shall select from its members a chair (“Chair”) who may be from any of the Constituencies. Student members shall serve for one year terms and may be reappointed to a second one year term. Panel members who are not students shall be appointed for three (3) year overlapping terms such that two or three new members are appointed each year after the initial appointments. The identity of the Chair will be maintained in the office of each Mediation Advocate. The service address of the Panel and the permanent location of its records shall be the office of the Assistant to the President of the Seminary and the Office of Multicultural Relations.

Mediation – Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that is offered by the Office of Multicultural Relations (OMR) as an alternative to the traditional investigative or litigation process. Mediation is an informal process in which a neutral third party assists the opposing parties to reach a voluntary, negotiated resolution of a charge of discrimination. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the charge, clear up misunderstandings, determine the underlying interests or concerns, find areas of agreement and, ultimately, to incorporate those areas of agreements into solutions. A mediator does not impose a decision on the parties. Instead, the mediator helps the parties to agree on a mutually acceptable resolution.

Mediation Advocates – Mediation Advocates are appointed by the Seminary President are members of the Seminary community specifically trained in handling matters related to discrimination and discriminatory harassment and non-discrimination policies. Mediation Advocates are not authorized to conduct formal investigations. Their role is to provide guidance to the complainant and/or the respondent in navigating the non-discrimination process.

[1] See Princeton Theological Seminary Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy

[2] Current proposed wording for revision to the Employment Equality Act of 1998