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Standards of Conduct

NOTE: If any of the following issues occur and are brought to the attention of The Comedy Project management team, they will involve a group of 2-3 TCPTCP managers to ensure accountability.

Civility

By their very nature, improv theater and comedy are artistic pursuits in which the boundaries of what is deemed socially “appropriate” and/or politically correct are often blurred and subject to interpretation. Words and/or conduct that offend one person may have no effect on another. The Comedy Project does not endeavor to shield students from ideas and/or behavior that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable or even offensive; indeed, the free exchange of ideas between students and their instructor(s) – even those that some may find objectionable – is vital to the creative process underlying great improv theater. As such, students should approach their class work with an open mind, and take into the account the diversity of viewpoints, beliefs and backgrounds that make the programs at TCPTCP such a rich learning experience. By the same token, students should exercise good judgment when participating in class activities, and avoid engaging in conduct that rises to the level of abuse, such as targeted attacks directed at a particular individual. As a general rule, TCPTCP will not intervene to enforce social standards of civility. If, however, you feel that certain conduct – whether by an instructor or a student – has overstepped the bounds of what is acceptable even in an improv theater/comedy setting, you may decline to participate and should report the behavior to TCPTCP management. TCPTCP will investigate the matter and address the issue, as needed. There will be no retaliation against any student who in good faith raises a concern, reports an incident and/or participates in an investigation under this policy. Any student who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in any manner should report it immediately to TCPTCP management.

Anti-­Harassment Policy

Harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, is strictly prohibited. TCPTCP will not tolerate harassment by anyone, including instructors, staff, students, visitors, vendors, contractors and third parties.

Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical or visual, that is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s participation in

TCPTCP programs, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment. Examples of prohibited harassment include, but are not limited to epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes directed at an individual based on his or her personal characteristics, which ​do not serve any class­-related function and/or fall outside the bounds of what is acceptable in the classroom​, as set forth in TCPTCP’s Civility policy.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment in particular is strictly prohibited. Sexual harassment encompasses a range of conduct from sexual assault (which is a criminal act) to conduct such as unwanted touching or persistent unwelcome comments, sexual advances, propositions and/or requests for sexual favors, depending on the specific circumstances and context in which the conduct occurs. For example, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or sexually-­directed remarks or behavior constitute sexual harassment when (i) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, explicitly, or implicitly, a basis for an academic decision or professional advancement, or a term or condition of either; or (ii) such conduct is directed against an individual despite its rejection. On the other hand, sexual innuendo or suggestive comments, gestures or jokes made in the course of a class exercise or performance may not be considered impermissible sexual harassment, if they serve an educational and/or artistic purpose. They may, but they may not.

Please note that due to the unique nature of the improv theater/comedy setting, a person’s subjective belief that behavior is offensive, intimidating or hostile does not necessarily render that behavior as harassment under this policy. Rather, the behavior must be objectively unreasonable in light of the surrounding circumstances and context. Such expression will not constitute impermissible harassment unless (in addition to satisfying the above definitions) it is targeted at a specific person or persons, is abusive and/or serves no educational purpose.

Complaint Procedure

Any student who experiences or witnesses harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment, whether from a fellow student or a faculty member, should discuss the problem with TCPTCP management and, if desired, request that TCPTCP management meets informally with the person complained about. No one at TCPTCP – whether a faculty member or a student – may reprimand, retaliate or discriminate against an individual for raising a concern, making a complaint and/or participating in an investigation under this policy. Any individual who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in any manner should report the matter to TCPTCP management.

All concerns and complaints will be treated with confidentiality to the extent practicable without compromising the investigation and/or resolution of the matter, and will be investigated thoroughly and promptly. Where possible, TCPTCP will attempt to resolve the issue informally (for example, by speaking to the alleged harasser and confirming the behavior will stop and/or counseling the parties). However, this does not preclude more formal corrective, disciplinary action.

Consensual Relationships Between Faculty and Students

It is against TCPTCP policy for students and instructors to enter and/or engage in romantic and/or sexual relationships with one another while the instructor is teaching the student in a class and/or supervising the student’s work at TCPTCP. Consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between instructors and TCPTCP students not enrolled in a class the instructor is teaching, while not forbidden, generally are considered unwise and inappropriate. Please note that even where both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic and/or sexual involvement, such consent does not preclude a subsequent charge of sexual harassment against the instructor.

Sexual Assault Policy

Sexual assault is a criminal act that additionally violates the standards of our community and is unacceptable at The Comedy Project. The Comedy Project’s Sexual Assault policy applies to students, instructors, staff, and visitors, as well as vendors, contractors and third parties.

Sexual assault is defined as:

  • Any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by an individual, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitals, breasts, thighs, or buttocks of the victim without the consent of the victim;
  • Touching or fondling of an individual by the victim when the victim is forced to do so against his or her will; or
  • Any nonconsensual acts involving any sexual penetration.

Use of alcohol or drugs may impair an individual’s capacity to consent freely and may render an individual incapable of giving consent.

Reporting Procedure

Any student who believes he or she has been sexually assaulted, whether by a fellow student, faculty member or visitor, should report the incident to ​The Comedy Project management.​ They are also encouraged to report the incident to the police and seek medical care as soon as possible. No one at The Comedy Project – whether a faculty member or a student – may reprimand, retaliate or discriminate against an individual for raising a concern, making a complaint and/or participating in an investigation under this policy. Any individual who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in any manner should report the matter to ​The Comedy Project management.

All concerns and complaints will be treated with confidentiality to the extent practicable without compromising the investigation and/or resolution of the matter, and will be investigated thoroughly and promptly. Depending on the severity of the incident and the individuals involved, The Comedy Project may pursue the matter through internal disciplinary procedures without the cooperation of the victim. Under such circumstances, The Comedy Project will inform the victim of its decision to proceed in this manner.

Violence

The Comedy Project maintains a zero tolerance policy for violence. Acts or threats of physical violence which involve or affect The Comedy Project faculty, students and staff or which occur on The Comedy Project property, will not be tolerated. Examples of prohibited threats or acts of violence include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Hitting or shoving an individual
  • Physically injuring another individual
  • Threatening an individual or his/her family, friends, or property with harm, or otherwise engaging in behavior that creates a reasonable fear of injury in another person
  • Intentional destruction or threatening to destruct The Comedy Project
  • Making/sending harassing or threatening phone calls, text messages, and emails
  • Harassing surveillance or stalking
  • Unauthorized possession or use of firearms or weapons
  • Every student is encouraged to report incidents of threats or acts of physical violence of which he/she is aware. The report should be made to The Comedy Project management. Please note that this policy does not apply to fictitious “threats” or simulated “acts” of violence made in the course of your work at the The Comedy Project.

Weapons

The Comedy Project prohibits all persons who enter The Comedy Project property from carrying a handgun, firearm, knife, explosive, or other prohibited weapon of any kind regardless of whether the person is licensed to carry the weapon or not.

The only exception to this policy will be police officers, security guards or other persons who have been given written consent by The Comedy Project and/or are permitted by law to carry a weapon on the property.

Violation of this policy is grounds for discipline, including immediate dismissal.

Any individual licensed to carry a concealed firearm may store their firearms in a locked vehicle in the parking lot of the property, as long as the weapon is kept in a locked container out of plain view.