Cleveland Institute investigates renowned conductorNews
The following emails were sent this week to all students at the Cleveland Institute of Music. We have redacted the name of the alleged offender until a process is formally instigated by CIM. At this stage, we have not approached him/her for comment.
For the benefit of non-US readers, Title IX is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.
It was with great horror that I read one of [name redacted]’s course evaluations. This is not the first time that I have heard his name – detailing inappropriate behavior of varying degrees.
As the Title IX Coordinator, it is my responsibility to address this behavior, but the law only gives me so much room to do so. Without hearing details of behavior that clearly violates Title IX, or without individuals who are willing to attest to that same behavior, I am unable, by law, to do anything about it. I am conducting an investigation into Mr. [redacted]’s behavior, but I need your help. If you are willing, I am asking of you the following:
Will the student who wrote the evaluation that began with, “I know most of the people who will read this are men, but I also invite you to think about what it’s like to be a woman in his orchestra.” please contact me? These details are very important to my investigation
If I have spoken to you at a prior time, and you were hesitant to provide specific details that fall under Title IX, please consider meeting with me again
If you have experienced (or observed) behavior on Mr. [redacted]’s behalf that can be considered sexual harassment, please contact me if you are willing to provide details
Please be aware that retaliation in any form toward a person who provides this information to me in the course of my investigation is PROHIBITED by law and can be punishable to an even greater degree than the offense itself.
Please also know that your professors have your back! Several of them have come in the past two weeks to share similar information with me.
I am filing a formal complaint, so you won’t have to. This is what will result in the investigation that is being conducted. I am able to meet with students by appointment in my office (216), virtually on Zoom, or over at CIA (in room 106), if you would prefer that no one see you come to my office at CIM.
Please know that the information you provide will not be shared with other employees at CIM, other than those responsible for facilitating the Title IX Hearing, and that your cooperation will not result in any negative academic consequences to you.
Please remember that there is strength in numbers, so the more of you that come forward, the stronger this case can be, and we can move back toward making CIM a safe place that offers you the space and supportive environment that fosters your growth as the phenomenal musicians that you are.
Vivian R. Scott
Director, Title IX Compliance/Title IX Coordinator
Cleveland Institute of Music
From: Sol Rizzato <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2023 4:43:40 PM
To: All Students <All-Students@cim.edu>
Subject: [All Students] Student Reports
As the Graduate Student Ambassador, it is part of my duty to serve as a liaison to our school’s administration and to assure each and every one of your voices is heard. To follow up on Vivian Scott’s (our Title IX coordinator) email, I would echo her words exactly, “there is strength in numbers, so the more of you that come forward, the stronger this case can be, and we can move back toward making CIM a safe place that offers you the space and supportive environment that fosters your growth as the phenomenal musicians that you are.”
I understand at the same time that making reports against a faculty/staff member or administrator can be an extremely scary and emotionally taxing process that can be far outside of our comfort zones. However, I assure you (also echoed in Vivian’s email), that there are legal protections against retaliation, and this reporting system exists for a reason. There is no report or case that is “too small,” “not a big deal,” or that “didn’t impact me too much.” If something makes you uncomfortable, report it. If you see inappropriate behavior towards someone else, report it. If you hear about inappropriate behavior, report it.
This is also valid for situations outside of the recent email– if ANY faculty/staff member or administrator makes you uncomfortable, no matter what their title is or place on the institutional hierarchy ladder, there is strength in numbers for outward, spoken and written reports from the student body. Job titles are never an excuse for a person to behave in ways inconsistent with the creation of a safe learning environment and our institutional learning goals.
I am also here to assist you if you need someone to help connect you to the proper administrator for your needs, if you need help drafting up/wording an email, or just someone to talk to. We all deserve a safe learning environment, first and foremost.
Once again, there is strength in numbers, and we as a student body, coming together, can make change.
Sol M. Rizzato, BMus., BMA, CAGO
Master’s Student and Graduate Student Ambassador:
The Cleveland Institute of Music