Graduate Catalog 2018-2019

The City University of New York Workplace Violence Policy and Procedures

The City University of New York has a long-standing commitment to promoting a safe and secure academic and work environment that promotes the achievement of its mission of teaching, research, scholarship and service. All members of the University community–students, faculty and staff–are expected to maintain a working and learning environment free from violence, threats of harassment, violence, intimidation or coercion. While these behaviors are not prevalent at the University, no organization is immune.

The purpose of this policy is to address the issue of potential workplace violence in our community, prevent workplace violence from occurring to the fullest extent possible, and set forth procedures to be followed when such violence has occurred.


The City University of New York prohibits workplace violence. Violence, threats of violence, intimidation, harassment, coercion, or other threatening behavior towards people or property will not be tolerated. Complaints involving workplace violence will not be ignored and will be given the serious attention they deserve. Individuals who violate this policy may be removed from University property and are subject to disciplinary and/or personnel action up to and including termination, consistent with University policies, rules and collective bargaining agreements, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution. Complaints of sexual harassment are covered under the University’s Policy Against Sexual Harassment.

The University, at the request of an employee or student, or at its own discretion, may prohibit members of the public, including family members, from seeing an employee or student on University property unless necessary to transact University-related business. This policy particularly applies in cases where the employee or student suspects that an act of violence will result from an encounter with said individual(s).


All faculty, staff, students, vendors, contractors, consultants, and others who do business with the University, whether in a University facility or off-campus location where University business is conducted, are covered by this policy. This policy also applies to other persons not affiliated with the University, such as former employees, former students, and visitors. When students have complaints about other students, they should contact the Office of Student Affairs at their campus.


  1. Workplace violence is any behavior that is violent, threatens violence, coerces, harasses or intimidates others, interferes with an individual’s legal rights of movement or expression, or disrupts the workplace, the academic environment, or the University’s ability to provide services to the public. Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to:
  2. Disruptive behavior intended to disturb, interfere with or prevent normal work activities (such as yelling, using profanity, verbally abusing others, or waving arms and fists).
  3. Intentional physical contact for the purpose of causing harm (such as slapping, stabbing, punching, striking, shoving, or other physical attack).
  4. Menacing or threatening behavior (such as throwing objects, pounding on a desk or door, damaging property, stalking, or otherwise acting aggressively; or making oral or written statements specifically intended to frighten, coerce, or threaten) where a reasonable person would interrupt such behavior as constituting evidence of intent to cause harm to individuals or property.
  5. Possessing firearms, imitation firearms, knives or other dangerous weapons, instruments or materials. No one within the University community, shall have in their possession a firearm or other dangerous weapon, instrument or material that can be used to inflict bodily harm on an individual or damage to University property without specific written authorization from the Chancellor or the college President regardless of whether the individual possesses a valid permit to carry the firearm or weapon.

Reporting of Incidents

1. General Reporting Responsibilities

Incidents of workplace violence, threats of workplace violence, or observations of workplace violence are not be ignored by any member of the University community. Workplace violence should promptly be reported to the appropriate University official (see below). Additionally, faculty, staff and students are encouraged to report behavior that they reasonably believe poses a potential for workplace violence as defined above. It is important that all members of the University community take this responsibility seriously to effectively maintain a safe working and learning environment.

2. Imminent or Actual Violence

Any person experiencing or witnessing imminent danger or actual violence involving weapons or personal injury should call the Campus Public Safety Office immediately, or call 911.

3. Acts of Violence Not Involving Weapons or Injuries to Persons

Any person who is the subject of a suspected violation of this policy involving violence without weapons or personal injury, or is a witness to such suspected violation, should report the incident to his or her supervisor, or in lieu thereof, to their respective Campus Public Safety Office. Students should report such incidents to the Office of Student Affairs at their campus or in lieu thereof, their campus Public Safety Office. The Campus Public Safety Office will work with the Office of Human Resources and the supervisor or the Office of Student Affairs on an appropriate response.

4. Commission of a Crime

All individuals who believe a crime has been committed against them have the right, and are encouraged, to report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

5. False Reports

Members of the University community who make false and malicious complaints of workplace violence, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, will be subject to disciplinary action and/or referral to civil authorities as appropriate.

6. Incident Reports

The University will report incidents of workplace violence consistent with the College Policies for Incident Reporting Under the Campus Security Policy and Statistical Act (Cleary Act).


1. Presidents

The President of each constituent college of The City University of New York, the Chief Operating Officer at the Central Office, and the Deans of the Law School and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education shall be responsible for the implementation of this policy on his or her respective campus. The responsibility includes dissemination of this policy to all members of the college community, ensuring appropriate investigation and follow-up of all alleged incidents of workplace violence, constituting a Workplace Violence Advisory Team (See #7. below), and ensuring that all administrators, managers, and supervisors are aware of their responsibilities under this policy through internal communications and training.

2. Campus Public Safety Office

The Campus Public Safety Office is responsible for responding to, intervening, and documenting all incidents of violence in the workplace. The Campus Public Safety Office will immediately log all incidents of workplace violence and will notify the respective supervisor of an incident with his/her employee, or notify the appropriate campus official of an incident with a student. All officers should be knowledgeable of when law enforcement action may be appropriate. Public Safety will maintain an internal tracking system of all threats and incidents of violence. Annual reports will be submitted to the President (at the same time as the report noted below) detailing the number and description of workplace violence incidents, the disposition of the incidents, and recommend policy, training issues, or security procedures that were or should be implemented to maintain a safe working and learning environment. These incidents will be reported in the Annual Report of the College Advisory Committee on Campus Security consistent with the reporting requirements of Article 129A Subsection 6450 of the NYS Education Law (Regulation by Colleges of Conduct on Campuses and Other College Property for Educational Purposes).

Officers will be trained in workplace violence awareness and prevention, non-violent crises intervention, conflict management, and dispute resolution.

Officers will work closely with Human Resources when the possibility of workplace violence is heightened, as well as on the appropriate response to workplace violence incidents consistent with CUNY policies, rules, procedures and applicable labor agreements, including appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination.

When informed, Public Safety will maintain a record of any Orders of Protection for faculty, staff, and students. Public Safety will provide escort service to members of the college community within its geographical confines, when sufficient personnel are available. Such services are to be extended at the discretion of the Campus Public Safety Director or designee. Only the President, or designee, in his/her absence, can authorize escort service outside of the geographical confines of the college.

3. Supervisors

Each dean, director, department chairperson, executive officer, administrator, or other person with supervisory responsibility (hereinafter “supervisor”) is responsible within his/her area of jurisdiction for the implementation of this policy. Supervisors must report to their respective Campus Public Safety Office any complaint of workplace violence made to him/her and any other incidents of workplace violence of which he/she becomes aware or reasonably believes to exist. Supervisors are expected to inform their immediate supervisor promptly about any complaints, acts, or threats of violence even if the situation has been addressed and resolved. After having reported such complaint or incident to the Campus Public Safety Director and immediate supervisor, the supervisor should keep it confidential and not disclose it further, except as necessary during the investigation process and/or subsequent proceedings.

Supervisors are required to contact the Campus Public Safety Office immediately in the event of imminent or actual violence involving weapons or potential physical injuries.

4. Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff must report workplace violence, as defined above, to their supervisor. Faculty and staff who are advised by a student that a workplace violence incident has occurred or has been observed must report this to the Campus Public Safety Director immediately. Recurring or persistent workplace violence that an employee reasonably believes is not being addressed satisfactorily, or violence that is, or has been, engaged in by the employee’s supervisor should be brought to the attention of the Campus Public Safety Director.

Employees who have obtained Orders of Protection are expected to notify their supervisors and the Campus Public Safety Office of any orders that list CUNY locations as protected areas.

Victims of domestic violence who believe the violence may extend into the workplace, or employees who believe that domestic or other personal matters may result in their being subject to violence extending into the workplace, are encouraged to notify their supervisor, or the Campus Public Safety Office. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.

Upon hiring, and annually thereafter, faculty and staff will receive copies of this policy. Additionally, the policy will be posted throughout the campus and be placed on the CUNY website and on the college’s website, as appropriate.

5. Office of Human Resources

The Office of Human Resources at each campus is responsible for assisting the Campus Public Safety Director and supervisors in responding to workplace violence; facilitating appropriate responses to reported incidents of workplace violence; notifying the Campus Public Safety Office of workplace violence incidents reported to that office; and consulting with, as necessary, counseling services to secure professional intervention.

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for providing new employees or employees transferred to the campus with a copy of the Workplace Violence Policy and Procedures and insuring that faculty and staff receive appropriate training. The Office of Human Resources will also be responsible for annually disseminating this policy to all faculty and staff at their campus, as well as posting the policy throughout the campus and on the college’s website, as appropriate.

6. Students

Students who witness violence, learn of threats, or are victims of violence by employees, students or others should report the incident immediately to the Campus Public Safety Office. If there is no imminent danger, students should report threatening incidents by employees, students or others as soon as possible to the Campus Public Safety Office or Office of Student Affairs. Students will be provided with workplace violence awareness information (including information regarding available counseling services) upon registration each year.

7. Workplace Violence Advisory Team

A college President shall establish a Workplace Violence Advisory Team at his/her college. This Team, working with the College Advisory Committee on Campus Security, will assist the President in responding to workplace violence; facilitating appropriate responses to reported incidents of workplace violence; assessing the potential problem of workplace violence at its site; assessing the college’s readiness for dealing with workplace violence; evaluating incidents to prevent future occurrences; and utilizing prevention, intervention, and interviewing techniques in responding to workplace violence. This Team will also develop workplace violence prevention tools (such as pamphlets, guidelines and handbooks) to further assist in recognizing and preventing workplace violence on campus. It is recommended that this Team include representatives from Campus Public Safety, Human Resources, Labor Relations, Counseling Services, Occupational Health and Safety, Legal, and others, including faculty, staff and students, as deemed appropriate by the President.

In lieu of establishing the Workplace Violence Advisory Team, a President may opt to expand the College Advisory Committee on Campus Security with representatives from the areas recommended above to address workplace violence issues at the campus and perform the functions outlined above.

8. University Communications

All communications to the University community and outside entities regarding incidents of workplace violence will be made through the University Office of University Relations after consultation with the respective President or his/her designee.


Colleges are responsible for the dissemination and enforcement of this policy as described herein, as well as for providing opportunities for training in the prevention and awareness of workplace violence. The Office of Faculty and Staff Relations will provide assistance to the campuses in identifying available training opportunities, as well as other resources and tools, (such as reference materials detailing workplace violence warning signs) that can be incorporated into campus prevention materials for dissemination to the college community. Additionally, the Office of Faculty and Staff Relations will offer periodic training opportunities to supplement the college’s training programs.


The University shall maintain the confidentiality of investigations of workplace violence to the extent possible. The University will act on the basis of anonymous complaints where it has a reasonable basis to believe that there has been a violation of this policy and that the safety and well being of members of the University community would be served by such action.


Retaliation against anyone acting in good faith who has made a complaint of workplace violence, who has reported witnessing workplace violence, or who has been involved in reporting, investigating, or responding to workplace violence is a violation of this policy. Those found responsible for retaliatory action will be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

Approved by the Board of Trustees

June 28, 2004

Last Updated: 7/13/04