The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA), requires schools to disclose and report information to certain parties including students, prospective students, and employees. AJR is committed to disclosing the relevant information that will allow people to make informed decisions about their postsecondary education.

In addition to the information found on this page, AJR’s Academic Catalog contains important information about AJR policies, practices, and preventative programs.

For additional information beyond what is included on this page, or for a paper copy of any materials, please contact the AJR office at [email protected].

Academic Information

AJR’s Mission Statement can be found here.

Information about AJR’s academic programs can be found here and in the Academic Catalog.

Information about AJR’s administration, staff, and faculty can be found here.

AJR’s programs are authorized and registered by the New York State Department of Education (New York State Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234; 518-474-3852; http://www.nysed.gov/).

Originally founded as The Academy for Liberal Judaism in 1956 (later renamed The Academy for Higher Jewish Learning and then the Academy for Jewish Religion), AJR was granted an absolute charter by the Regents of the University of the State of New York on 10/24/1975 (amended 6/16/1989). This charter was amended on 11/19/2013 to authorize AJR to offer an academic program in Jewish Studies and to award the degree of Master of Arts. On 12/21/2018, the Distance Education format was approved by New York State for the M.A. Program.

AJR is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS). Accreditation is a process that evaluates a school’s quality and provides a road map for institutional improvements. It assures students that their academic programs meet nationally recognized standards and is required for the Seminary to receive federal funds for student financial aid. It assures financial supporters that AJR is engaged in appropriate educational efforts and that those efforts conform to normative expectations of quality. AJR is proud to be the first and only Jewish organization accredited by ATS, opening the doors to important and valuable interfaith work and inter-seminary dialogue. ATS schools include Harvard Divinity School, Yale Divinity School, and Princeton Theological Seminary. For information regarding AJR’s accredited status, or to receive a copy of AJR’s accreditation, please contact AJR’s ATS liaison, Dr. Barbara Mutch.

None of AJR’s programs lead to professional licenses.

AJR is applying for NC-SARA for offering interstate postsecondary distance education courses and programs.

AJR complaint procedures for distance education courses can be found in the “AJR Complaint Procedures” section below.

AJR’s Statement of Educational Effectiveness, containing data regarding AJR student enrollment, demographics and student diversity, acceptance rates, placement rates, retention rates, and other information, can be found here.

The Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA) mandates access to educational records for both former and current students, provides rules for protecting the privacy of their records, and allows them to request that certain information remain confidential.

The AJR administration maintains three tiers with respect to administrative access of student educational information without express student consent:

  1. Tier 1: All AJR administrators, with the exception of the Librarian, have access to student transcript and coursework related-information in AJR’s student learning management system, Populi.
  2. Tier 2: Select AJR administrators, including the Academic Dean, the Dean of Student Life, the Assistant Academic Dean, the Dean of Admissions, the Director of Spiritual Education, the Senior Director of Administration, the Bursar/Registrar, and the Administrative Assistant, have access to current student physical files and digital files.
  3. Tier 3: Only the Academic Dean, the Senior Director of Administration, the Bursar/Registrar, and the Dean of Student Life have access to sensitive student files including psychosocial evaluations and related materials.

AJR maintains a record in each student’s file of the individuals to whom personally identifiable information about the student was disclosed with indication of the legitimate need that the party had for obtaining the information about the student. This record does not include administrators as reflected in the above three tiers. Please note that in addition to the above mentioned administrators, the following parties may have access to a student’s personally identifiable information without student consent:

  • U.S. Comptroller General, U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Department of Education
  • State and local officials
  • Authorized organizations conducting educational research
  • Accrediting agencies
  • Alleged victim of a crime
  • Parent of a Dependent Student as defined by the IRS
  • Parent of a student under 21 regarding the violation of a law regarding alcohol or drug abuse

In the event of a court order or lawfully issued subpoena, AJR will release a student’s information after making a reasonable effort to notify the student in advance to allow the student to seek protective action if they so desire. Additionally, in the event of an immediate threat to the health or safety of a student or other individuals, a student’s personally identifiable information may be released to appropriate parties in connection with the emergency if the information is deemed necessary to protect the health and/or safety of the student or other individuals.

Students retain the right to provide consent for the disclosure of their educational information. In order to request the release of student information, the student must provide a signed and dated written consent specifying the records that may be disclosed, the purpose of the disclosure, and the party or class of parities to whom the disclosure may be made. The consent may be signed in electronic format provided the format can be used to clearly identify and authenticate that he student is the source of the electronic consent and that the student approves of the information contained in the electronic consent. Except for documents that students have already officially relinquished their right to access (such as psychosocial evaluations), students may request copies of records that are disclosed.

Please note that student names, email addresses, phone numbers, and addresses are designated as directory information and students grant permission for this information to be shared within the AJR student community in a form completed during registration.

Students have a right to review their own educational records and most such information is immediately available to students through their Populi login. If a student identifies information in their educational record that they believe to be incorrect, they have the right to request that the data be emended by contacting the Senior Director of Administration ([email protected]). The request will be reviewed by one or more senior administrators, including the Academic Dean, the Dean of Student Life, and the Assistant Academic Dean. If the information in the student’s file is deemed to be incorrect, it will be corrected in their student record. If the request is denied, the student retains the right to a hearing with the Academic Dean in order to challenge the contents of their educational record.

If a student has a concern with respect to AJR’s handling of their educational information, they have a right to file a complaint with the Department of Education.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), as amended by the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, AJR is committed to providing access and accommodation for any disabled member of its community. Any student who wishes to request an accommodation for equal access to learning must provide AJR with current and appropriate medical or diagnostic documentation regarding their disability. The student must then meet with the Academic Dean to discuss what reasonable and appropriate accommodations can be made.

AJR strives to provide for students with learning disabilities those accommodations that will help them succeed in our programs. These include (but are not limited to) extended times for examinations and openness to extensions on deadlines for assigned work. It should be stressed that all students are held to the same academic standards including Hebrew language skills.

Questions about AJR’s facilities and services for students with disabilities should be directed to AJR’s Academic Dean, Dr. Ora Horn Prouser.

In accordance with Title 38 US Code 3679 subsection (e), this school adopts the following provisions for any students using U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Post 9/11 G.I. Bill® (Ch. 33) or Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch. 31) benefits, while payment to the institution is pending from the VA.  This school will not:

  • Prevent nor delay the student’s enrollment;
  • Assess a late penalty fee to the student;
  • Require the student to secure alternative or additional funding;
  • Deny the student access to any resources available to other students who have satisfied their tuition and fee bills to the institution, including but not limited to access to classes, libraries, or other institutional facilities.

However, to qualify for this provision, such students may be required to:

  • Produce the Certificate of Eligibility by the first day of class;
  • Provide written request to be certified;
  • Provide additional information needed to properly certify the enrollment as described in other institutional policies.

For information about our latest tuition and fees, please visit our tuition and fees page.

AJR Financial Aid

Matriculated students taking a minimum of 8 credits per trimester may apply for AJR Financial Aid up to 25% of tuition, rounded to the nearest $5. This formula is based upon need—as determined by the student and confirmed with the Financial Aid Committee. AJR Financial aid is not available for fees, cantorial coaching, or tuition for Independent Study courses. The Financial Aid committee will consider awarding aid to a student enrolled for fewer than 8 credits under exigent circumstances if there are sufficient funds available.

Matriculated AJR students are now able to apply for Federal Student Aid in the form of Direct Unsubsidized Loans. AJR’s Director of Financial Aid and Operations, Rabbi David Cavill, will provide all matriculated AJR students with information on how to apply for these loans. Students interested in applying for Federal Student Aid should first apply for AJR Financial Aid.

The HEGIS Code (Higher Education General Information Survey) for the Academy for Jewish Religion is 2299.00. Enrollment in other than registered or otherwise approved programs may jeopardize a student’s eligibility for certain student aid awards.

To apply, click here for the Financial Aid application.  You will be directed to Populi login to access the financial aid application.

Transfer Credits

AJR does not maintain an articulation agreement with any outside organization.

In order to be granted credit for outside work, the Academic Dean must pre-approve the coursework. No credit will be earned at AJR until the student presents a transcript or other acceptable documentation showing successful completion of the course with a minimum grade of B. It is strongly suggested that students transfer credits in to AJR as they take the course in order to maintain the accuracy of their transcripts. In addition, students may not take more advanced classes until prerequisite courses have been formally transferred in.

There is a transfer credit fee charged for each outside course added to the student’s transcript, including those accepted toward the student’s program from before their entrance to AJR. The transfer of credit of eight or more credits from one institution at one time will be charged a bulk transfer credit fee.  All fees are listed in the Tuition and Fees section of this Catalog.

Please note that credits are not officially considered transferred until they have been approved by the Academic Dean, added to a student’s transcript, and the requisite transfer credit fee has been processed.

Advanced Standing

Many students come to AJR having studied previously at graduate institutions and are eligible to receive advanced standing credit for that work. Prior to or during the first trimester of study, students in this situation should meet with the Academic Dean to determine:

  1. Which of the student’s prior credits are eligible for transfer
  2. If there are equivalent AJR required courses in the student’s program that the student’s prior credits may count towards fulfilling.

Students who come to AJR with a strong background in particular areas of Jewish studies and/or who have had a strong involvement in the Jewish community may be able to fulfill course credit based upon their prior background. The following experiences are the primary means by which students are able to be exempt from specific required courses:

  1. Relevant high-level coursework or study at another institution (this includes academic courses as well as yeshiva and kollel study [Jewish institutions of learning])
  2. Significant field experience and practice serving a leadership role within a Jewish community (please note that students are generally not exempt from FWSS requirements regardless of prior experience).
  3. Exemption Examination (There are currently written Exemption Exams available for the following courses: Rabbinical Program: Intro to Midrash; Mysticism; Medieval Philosophy; Modern Philosophy; Cantorial Program: Festival Liturgy; Musical Skills I, II, and III; Cantillation; Both Programs: Counseling I and II; Education I; Ideas and Debates I and II; Life Cycle I and II; Shabbat Liturgy; High Holiday Liturgy; Intro Liturgy; students may test out of courses for which there are currently no written Exemption Exams orally.)

Students must complete a Transcript Update Form and there is an Advanced Standing fee of $325 that must be paid before Advanced Standing will be recorded on student transcripts.

Allowances for Fulfilling Course Credit through Transfer Credits, Independent Study, and Exemption Exams

Prior to Matriculation and During the First Trimester of Matriculation

  1. Prior to enrolling as a matriculated student in a program at AJR, and during the first trimester a student is enrolled as a matriculated student in a program at AJR, a student may transfer course credit from a non-AJR institution and fulfill AJR course credit through significant prior background (i.e. Advanced Standing). Within this window, a student is eligible to transfer and fulfill credits according to the following criteria:
    1. Rabbinical & Cantorial Programs – up to 93 Credits
    2. Cantors to Rabbis Track – No Credits (However, see below for students in the Cantors to Rabbis Track who are required to take more than the 60 minimum credits for the track).
    3. M.A. Program – up to 6 Credits
    4. Kol-Bo Program – up to 108 Credits

Matriculated Students without Advanced Standing (after the First Trimester)

  1. Matriculated students without Advanced Standing who are currently enrolled in the Rabbinical or Cantorial Program at AJR, after the first trimester they are enrolled as matriculated students, may fulfill no more than 16 credits of AJR course credit through transfer credits, independent study, exemption examination, or any combination of these methods.
  2. Regarding students in the Cantors to Rabbis Track, see below.
  3. Matriculated students without Advanced Standing who are currently enrolled in the Kol-Bo Program at AJR, after the first trimester they are enrolled as matriculated students, may fulfill no more than 20 credits of AJR course credit through transfer credits, independent study, exemption examination, or any combination of these methods.
  4. Matriculated students without Advanced Standing who are currently enrolled in the Master’s Degree Program at AJR, after the first trimester they are enrolled as matriculated students, may fulfill no more than 6 credits of AJR course credit through transfer credits, independent study, exemption examination, or any combination of these methods. This does not include students enrolled in the Cantors to Rabbis Track who are also pursuing the Master’s Degree.
  5. The number of credits that can be fulfilled through transfer credits, independent study, exemption examination, or any combination of these methods is not cumulatively increased if a student transfers from one program to another. Thus, if a student transfers from the Rabbinical or Cantorial Program after having fulfilled 10 credits through one of these alternative means, they are only eligible for 10 more credits to be fulfilled through these means (for a total of 20 credits). Similarly, if a student transfers from the M.A. Program having fulfilled 6 credits through one of these alternative means, they are only eligible for 10 more credits to be fulfilled through these means (for a total of 16 credits). If a student transfers from one of the ordination programs to the M.A. Program after having fulfilled more than 6 credits through one of these alternative means, only 6 of these alternatively fulfilled credits may be transferred to the M.A. Program.

Matriculated Students with Advanced Standing

  1. Matriculated students with Advanced Standing who are currently enrolled in one of AJR’s programs, after the first trimester they are enrolled as matriculated students, may be eligible to transfer additional credits according to the following criteria (except in extenuating circumstances):
  1. Rabbinical & Cantorial Programs

If a student has 40 credits or more of Advanced Standing they are not eligible to fulfill course credit through transfer credits, independent study, or exemption examination.

If a student has fewer than 40 credits of Advanced Standing, then the number of credits that they may fulfill through transfer credits, independent study, exemption examination, or any combination thereof, may be no more than 16 credits, and the total number of credits that they possess through Advanced Standing together with credits earned through one of these alternatives, may be no more than 40. Thus, a student with 36 credits of Advanced Standing is eligible to fulfill 4 credits through one of these alternative means but a student with 12 credits of Advanced Standing is only eligible to fulfill 16 credits through one of these alternative means.

  1. Cantors to Rabbis Track

Students who are only required to take the minimum 60 credits to complete the Cantors to Rabbis Track are not eligible to fulfill AJR course credit through transfer credits, independent study, or exemption examination, except for 8 credits of Hebrew, which may be fulfilled through exemption examination (i.e., the Hebrew Placement Test). Students who are required to complete more than 60 credits for the Cantors to Rabbis Track may apply these other means to fulfill at least 2 credits. Beyond these 2 credits, students may apply these other means to fulfill no more than 10% of the number of credits beyond the 60 credit minimum (if they are required to take the 8 credits of Hebrew). Thus, if a student in this track is required to take 70 credits total, they may fulfill 2 credits through these others means (even though 10% of the 10 additional credits beyond the 60 credit minimum is only 1). If a student is required to take 100 credits total, then they may fulfill 4 credits through these others means (i.e., 10% of the 40 credits beyond the 60 credit minimum).

  1. Kol-Bo Program

If a student has 62 credits or more of Advanced Standing they are not eligible to fulfill course credit through transfer credits, independent study, or exemption examination.

If a student has fewer than 62 credits of Advanced Standing, then the number of credits that they may fulfill through transfer credits, independent study, exemption exam, or any combination thereof, may be no more than 20 credits, and the total number of credits that they possess through Advanced Standing together with credits earned through one of these alternatives, may be no more than 62. Thus, a student with 58 credits of Advanced Standing is eligible to fulfill 4 credits through one of these alternative means but a student with 12 credits of Advanced Standing is only eligible to fulfill 20 credits through one of these alternative means.

  1. M.A. Program

If a student has 6 credits of Advanced Standing they are not eligible to fulfill course credit through transfer credits, independent study, or exemption examination. Similarly, students in the Cantors to Rabbis Track who are simultaneously pursuing a Master’s Degree at AJR are not eligible to fulfill course credit through transfer credits, independent study, or exemption examination as 6 credits of their rabbinic program are already considered shared credits with the M.A. Degree.

If a student (who is not in the Cantors to Rabbis Track) has fewer than 6 credits of Advanced Standing, then the number of credits that they may fulfill through transfer credits, independent study, exemption exam, or any combination thereof, may be no more than 6 credits, and the total number of credits that they possess through Advanced Standing together with credits earned through one of these alternatives, may be no more than 6.

As per Title IV requirements, AJR strives to inform students of required textbooks for each course with pricing and ISBN information. Information about textbooks for the upcoming term can be found on the Current Students page of AJR’s website under Registration > Course Descriptions.

Health & Safety

AJR requires matriculating students to provide proof of MMR immunization at 1+ years of age or older, and a 2nd dose vaccine 28 days after 1st dose (or students may get the vaccine at their doctor’s office, providing documentation and proof of their next appointment for the 2nd MMR dose 28 days after the first dose). AJR also requires matriculating students to provide proof of Meningococcal Meningitis immunization or a signed declination form.

AJR reserves the right to request documentation of other vaccinations, including for Covid-19, that it deems relevant to the health and safety of its student body. AJR also reserves the right to institute policies regarding the vaccination status of students coming to campus or attending AJR in-person events.

Students at AJR must ascribe to the highest standards of academic honesty. For more information regarding expectations of student behavior, see the Academic Catalog.

Computer Use 

AJR maintains a computer on campus located beneath the stairs to the second floor. This computer is for AJR course-related use only.

Plagiarism

Any student found to have engaged in plagiarism from a published book, internet source, or from other students may be expelled from the school. Expulsions may be appealed to the Presidential Council. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, taking someone else’s work or ideas – published or unpublished – and passing them off as one’s own without proper footnoting or citation. If you are not clear on what is included as plagiarism, please speak with the Academic Dean, Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, at the beginning of the trimester. For examples of common types of plagiarism, see here.

Students are not permitted to submit the same work to fulfill separate requirements without the express knowledge of each instructor.

Students may not work together on exams (take-home or in-class), projects, or papers, unless permission is specifically granted by the instructor.

If a student realizes that they have submitted work that includes plagiarized material and they come to the instructor within 72 hours of submitting the work, then they will fail the course but the infraction will not result in expulsion. This exception may only be used once within a student’s time at AJR.

Copyright Infringement and File Sharing

Please note that unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject the students to civil and criminal liabilities. AJR students who engage in unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, whether through the use of AJR’s information technology system (Populi), or otherwise using AJR resources (including, but not limited to, AJR computers, email, discussion boards, and listservs), may be subject to suspension and/or expulsion.

Summary of Civil and Criminal Penalties for Violation of Federal Copyright Laws 

Copyright infringement is the act of exercising, without permission or legal authority, one or more of the exclusive rights granted to the copyright owner under section 106 of the Copyright Act (Title 17 of the United States Code). These rights include the right to reproduce or distribute a copyrighted work. In the file-sharing context, downloading or uploading substantial parts of a copyrighted work without authority constitutes an infringement. Penalties for copyright infringement include civil and criminal penalties. In general, anyone found liable for civil copyright infringement may be ordered to pay either actual damages or “statutory” damages affixed at not less than $750 and not more than $30,000 per work infringed. For “willful” infringement, a court may award up to $150,000 per work infringed. A court can, in its discretion, also assess costs and attorneys’ fees. For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense. For more information, please see the website of the U.S. Copyright Office at https://copyright.gov (also see https://www.copyright.gov/title17/).

Students who need access to copyrighted material for school-related purposes should be in touch with AJR’s Librarian ([email protected]) for information regarding legal ways of accessing materials.

Suspension or Expulsion

Suspension or expulsion may result when a student violates Academy policy (see the Academic Catalog).

Violation of copyright infringement laws, including the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material, whether through the use of AJR’s information technology system or otherwise. If AJR becomes aware of suspected copyright infringement or related activities, the school will attempt to identify the perpetrator and notify them of the violation. The notification for first time offenders will include a five-day grace period during which the perpetrator may remove all digital and hard copies of the material that was illegally downloaded, shared, or otherwise obtained (if the identification of a suspected perpetrator and offense occurs during a Jewish or secular holiday season, the timeline will be adjusted accordingly). If the material is not removed, or if it is a second offense, AJR may suspend or expel the student, or may take other sanctioning actions.

AJR’s most recent Clery Security Report can be found here.

AJR’s sexual harassment policy can be found here.

AJR’s complaint form can be found here.

AJR’s sexual harassment assessment survey can be found here.

Pursuant to NYS Law Chapter 16, Title 7, Article 129-B, § 6446, AJR provides the following information for all people reporting a crime of a sexual nature that occurred on the AJR campus or during an AJR-sponsored event.

AJR strictly prohibits the crimes of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.

Privileged and Confidential Resources

Resources to contact regarding domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault:

In an emergency within the United States call 911. If you are located outside of the US, call the relevant emergency number.

1-800-942-6906: New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline for confidential assistance.

1-844-845-7269: Report sexual assault on a New York college campus to the New York State Police.

New York City: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673) or 311

For those located outside of New York State: National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (or online at online.rainn.org)

Non-Professional Counselors and Advocates

Non-professional counselors and advocates can assist you without sharing information that could identify you. They will report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident to AJR’s Title IX Coordinator(s), but will consult with you to ensure no personally identifying details are shared without your consent. Please note that these individuals are not considered confidential resources.

Counselors and advocates you may contact regarding domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault:

Rabbi Dr. Jill Hammer – Director of Spiritual Education ([email protected]; ext. 6)

Dr. Ora Horn Prouser – CEO and Academic Dean ([email protected]; ext. 4)

Confidentiality

Even AJR offices and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain your privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information you provide to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and/or seek a resolution.

Requests for Confidentiality

If an individual discloses an incident to an Academy’s Title IX Coordinator, or their deputy, who is responsible for responding to or reporting domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, but wishes to maintain confidentiality, or does not consent to the Academy’s request to initiate an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will weigh the request against the Academy’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of its community.

Academy officers and employees who cannot guarantee confidentiality will maintain privacy to the greatest extent possible. The information provided to a non-confidential resource will be relayed only as necessary for the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and/or seek a resolution.

When you disclose an incident to someone who is responsible for responding to or reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment, but wish to maintain confidentiality, AJR will consider many factors to determine whether to proceed despite that request. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Whether the accused has a history of violent behavior or is a repeat offender;
  • Whether the incident represents escalation, such as a situation that previously involved sustained stalking, the increased risk that the accused will commit additional acts of violence;
  • Whether the accused used a weapon or force;
  • Whether the reporting individual is a minor; and
  • Whether we possess other means to obtain evidence such as security footage, and whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group.

If AJR determines that it must move forward with an investigation, the reporting individual or victim/survivor will be notified and AJR will take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist them.

When the Academy determines that an investigation is required, it will notify those individuals and take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist them. The Academy will attempt to seek consent from those individuals prior to conducting an investigation. Declining to consent to an investigation shall be honored unless the Academy determines in good faith that failure to investigate does not adequately mitigate a potential risk of harm to the reporting individual or other members of its community. Honoring such a request may limit the Academy’s ability to meaningfully investigate and pursue a conduct action against an accused individual.

We will assist you with academic, transportation, employment, and other reasonable and available accommodations regardless of your reporting choices.

Public Awareness/Advocacy Events

If you disclose a situation through a public awareness event AJR is not obligated to begin an investigation. AJR may use the information you provide to inform the need for additional education and prevention efforts.

Anonymous Disclosure

To anonymously disclose information regarding sexual violence you may use the New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline for confidential assistance (1-800-942-6906), or if you are not located within New York State, you may contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (or online at online.rainn.org).

Institutional Crime Reporting

Reports of certain crimes occurring in specific geographic locations within AJR’s Clergy geography shall be included in the AJR’s annual security report pursuant to the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. 1092(f). This information will be provided in an anonymized manner that identifies neither the specifics of the crime nor the identity of the reporting individual.

AJR may anonymously disclose information on relevant confidential hotlines provided by New York state agencies and not-for-profit entities. AJR is also obligated to issue timely warnings of crimes enumerated in the Clery Act, that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees, when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual, and other reports mandated by law.

AJR is obligated to issue timely warnings of crimes enumerated in the Clery Act occurring within relevant geography that represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees, except in those circumstances where issuing such a warning may compromise current law enforcement efforts or when the warning itself could potentially identify the reporting individual. Please note that a reporting individual shall not be identified in a timely warning.

Please note that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, allows institutions to share information with parents when:

  1. there is a health or safety emergency, or
  2. when the student is a dependent on either parent’s prior year federal income tax return;

Generally, AJR shall not share information about a report of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault with parents without the permission of the reporting individual.

AJR Complaint Procedures

Academic Complaints

Students may file complaints through formal and informal procedures.  No action will be taken against any student filing complaints.  A student has the right to formally appeal major decisions, that is, suspension or expulsion, to the Presidential Council. The decision of the Presidential Council shall be binding and final in all matters. The Presidential Council is an ad hoc committee convened by the CEO and shall include at least one member of the Board and one member of the full-time faculty.

  1. A student shall advise the Senior Administration in writing of intent to make an appeal to the Presidential Council. It shall be the responsibility of the Administration to schedule a meeting of the Presidential Council.
  2. The student shall submit in writing an account of the circumstances and the grounds upon which an action by the Presidential Council is requested. The CEO shall submit in writing a statement of the position of the Administration. One written addition may be presented by each party. Copies of all written submissions shall be sent to the other party.
  3. There shall be no discussion of the issues with any member of the Presidential Council, other than by means of these written submissions and at the meeting of the Council. The student’s file shall be available to the Presidential Council.
  4. Three members of the Presidential Council shall be a quorum for the purpose of hearing an appeal. The Presidential Council shall meet at the premises of AJR unless exceptional circumstances dictate some other venue.
  5. The student may be accompanied by a friend or family member; either party may be represented by an advocate.
  6. The case of the student shall be presented first, followed by the Administration’s case.  Both may present testimony.
  7. All matter concerning the conduct of the Appeal, the admissibility of any testimony, the length of submissions, and the personal conduct of all parties shall be at the sole discretion of the presiding member of the Presidential Council.
  8. The decision of the Presidential Council shall be communicated within twenty-one days of the Appeal. There shall be no obligation upon the Presidential Council to give reasons or explanation of their decision, although they may do so.
  9. All matters before the Presidential Council shall be regarded as confidential and shall not be publicly discussed.

Sexual Harassment Complaints

AJR’s harassment complaint form can be found here.

Preventing sexual misconduct is everyone’s responsibility. The Academy cannot prevent or remedy sexual misconduct unless it knows about it. Any employee, student, paid or unpaid intern or applicant for employment or admission who has been subjected to behavior that may constitute sexual harassment is encouraged to report such behavior to a Title IX Coordinator. If it is the Title IX Coordinator or one of those listed herein who is alleged to be engaged in harassing behavior, any member of the Administration may be contacted and a complaint may be filed with them.

Complaints of sexual misconduct may be made verbally or in writing. All employees and students are encouraged to use the complaint form supplied by the Academy’s Academic Dean or other Administrator. Employees who are reporting sexual harassment on behalf of another should use the complaint form and note that it is on another employee’s or student’s behalf.

Employees, paid or unpaid interns or applicants for employment or admission who believe they have been a target of sexual harassment may also seek assistance in other available forums.

All supervisors and managers or Academy Administrators who receive a complaint or information about suspected sexual harassment, observe what may be sexually harassing behavior or for any reason suspect that sexual harassment is occurring, are required to report such suspected sexual harassment to the Academy’s Title IX Coordinators.

In addition to being subject to discipline if they engaged in sexually harassing conduct themselves, supervisors and managers and Administrators will be subject to discipline for failing to report suspected sexual harassment or otherwise knowingly allowing sexual harassment to continue. Supervisors and managers and Administrators will also be subject to discipline for engaging in any retaliation.

Title IX Coordinators

The individuals identified below have been designated as the Academy’s Title IX coordinators. Title IX Coordinators are specially trained to work with individuals who report or are accused of sexual misconduct and have knowledge of resources, services, and options available in such circumstances. Complaints of sexual misconduct may be reported to the Academy’s Title IX coordinators at any time in-person, by mail, email or telephone.

Contact: Dr. Matthew Goldstone
Location: 28 Wells Ave, Yonkers NY 10701
Phone: (914) 709-4035
Email: [email protected]

Contact: Cantor Michael Kasper
Location: 28 Wells Ave, Yonkers NY 10701
Phone: (914) 709-4029
Email: [email protected]

Contact: Rabbi Beth Kramer-Mazer
Location: 28 Wells Ave, Yonkers NY 10701
Phone: (914) 709-4029
Email: [email protected]

The Title IX Coordinator will offer supportive measures, as appropriate, to the person who allegedly suffered misconduct and the person alleged to have committed the misconduct. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive services offered by the Academy, without fee or charge. These measures are available before or after the filing of a formal complaint and even where no formal complaint is filed. Supportive measures serve to protect the safety of all parties, protect the safety of the Academy’s educational environment, or deter sexual misconduct all the while ensuring equal access to education programs and activities, without unreasonably burdening any of the parties.

Complaint and Investigation of Sexual Harassment

The individual who is the alleged victim of sexual misconduct is referred to as the “complainant.” The individual alleged to have committed the act complained of in violation of policy is referred to as the “respondent.”

All complaints or information about sexual harassment will be investigated, however, a complainant’s wishes against the initiation of an investigation will be respected unless it is determined that the need for an investigation outweighs the complainant’s wishes and is reasonable under the known circumstances. Further, depending on the circumstances of the matter, an informal resolution process may be an option.

An investigation of any complaint, information or knowledge of suspected sexual harassment will be prompt and thorough and will commence immediately and be completed as soon as possible. All persons involved, including complainants, witnesses and alleged harassers will be treated equitably and accorded due process, as outlined below, to protect their rights to a fair and impartial investigation. Any employee or student may be required to cooperate as needed in an investigation of suspected sexual harassment.

Until the grievance process is completed and a determination is made, responsibility for the alleged misconduct will not be presumed, and the Academy will not impose disciplinary actions. The Academy will not tolerate retaliation against individual who file complaints, support another’s complaint or participate in an investigation regarding a violation of this policy.

While the grievance process may vary from case to case, when a formal complaint is filed, the process will generally consist of the following actions:*

  • Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Academy will conduct a preliminary review of the allegations, and take any interim actions (e.g., instructing the respondent to refrain from communications with the complainant) within thirty (30) calendar days, as appropriate. If the complaint is verbal, the individual will be encouraged to complete the “Complaint Form” in writing. If he or she refuses, the Academy will prepare a Complaint Form based on the verbal reporting. The Academy will designate neutral decision-maker(s), who are not the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator, to facilitate the grievance process.
  • Prior to the commencement of an investigation, the parties involved will be notified in writing of the following, to the extent such information is known: the identities of the parties involved in the incident, the conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident. Further, the parties may elect to have an advisor of their choice. Liability will not be assigned until the conclusion of the investigation and a determination is formed.
  • If documents, emails or phone records are relevant to the investigation, steps will be taken to obtain and preserve them. Requests for and review of all relevant documents, including all electronic communications will be conducted.
  • Each party will have the right to present their case. This includes equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses and to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation.
  • At the conclusion of the investigation, a report summarizing the investigation (such as a letter, memo or email), which contains the following will be created and distributed to the parties:
  • A list of relevant documents and evidence reviewed, along with a detailed summary thereof;
  • A list of names of those interviewed, along with a detailed summary of their statements;
  • A timeline of events; and
  • A summary of prior relevant incidents, reported or unreported.
  • A live hearing will be held within six (6) weeks of the distribution of the report during which each party may examine the other party and any witnesses and follow-up with a cross-examination before e decision-maker(s). Either party may request that the other party be separated in a different room during the hearing.
  • The decision-maker(s) will conduct an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, a determination as to responsibility will be issued within thirty (30) calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing. The determination will include a summary of the allegations and the procedures undertaken, findings of fact supporting the determination, a statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation. The complainant and respondent will be notified of the final determination.
  • Remedial measures, disciplinary actions, and/or sanctions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The assessment will be based on several factors, including, but not limited to, the severity of the conduct and any prior violations of the policy.
  • The complainant may, at any time during the investigation or hearing, dismiss the complaint or withdraw any allegations therein by notifying the Academy in writing. Moreover, the Academy may, upon a complete review of the facts and evidence presented, dismiss the complaint, or certain allegations, if it determines that the alleged conduct does not constitute sexual harassment. Written notice of the dismissal and reason(s) therefor will be promptly sent to both parties.

* The timeline of the process set forth herein is subject to change. The designated time periods assume that none of the events take place during one of the two major Jewish holiday seasons and that there are no extenuating circumstances affecting the parties, their witnesses, or the responsible Title IX Coordinator(s).

Appeals

Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to appeal the determination.

The appeal must be made within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the written notification of the determination. An appeal must be in writing and specify the basis for the appeal. The grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. Procedural errors within the investigation or hearing may have substantially affected the fairness of the process;
  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the investigation or hearing is discovered and could materially affect the outcome; or
  3. The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

Both parties will be provided with a reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the determination. Upon conclusion of the appeals process, the Academy will issue a decision describing the result of the appeal and both parties will be notified of the decision.

Retaliation

Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual misconduct, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege constitutes retaliation.

Retaliation is unlawful under federal, state, and (where applicable) local law. Unlawful retaliation can be any action that could discourage an individual from coming forward to make or support a sexual harassment claim. An adverse action need not be job-related or study related or occur outside the Academy to constitute unlawful retaliation (e.g., threats of physical violence outside of work or study hours).

The New York State Human Rights Law protects any individual who has engaged in “protected activity.” Protected activity occurs when a person has:

  • made a complaint of sexual harassment, either internally or with any anti-discrimination agency;
  • testified or assisted in a proceeding involving sexual harassment under the Human Rights Law or other anti-discrimination law;
  • opposed sexual harassment by making a verbal or informal complaint to management, or by simply informing a supervisor or manager of harassment or an Academy Administrator;
  • reported that another employee or student has been sexually harassed; or
  • encouraged a fellow employee or student to report harassment.

Even if the alleged harassment does not turn out to rise to the level of a violation of law, the individual is protected from retaliation if the person had a good faith belief that the practices were unlawful. However, this provision is not intended to protect persons making intentionally false charges of harassment.

Retaliatory conduct is strictly prohibited and should be reported to the Academy. All employees, paid or unpaid interns, or students or non-employees working or studying in the Academy who believe they have been subject to such retaliation should inform their supervisor, manager, or the CEO/Academic Dean or the Dean of Student Life. Individuals who are found to have engaged in retaliation are subject to disciplinary action.

Privacy

The Academy understands that privacy maintains the integrity of the investigation, protects the interests of the parties involved, and precludes retaliatory or defamatory acts. For those reasons, the Academy will protect the identity of persons involved and maintain privacy of all complaints and investigations to the extent reasonably possible, except as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Title IX, or other applicable laws. Any written documentation and associated records in connection with the complaint and grievance process will be kept in a secure and confidential location. Where necessary, information pertaining to the complaint will be disclosed on a need-to-know basis.

Complaints to the Department of Education

All complaints should first be addressed to the AJR administration.

Once AJR is approved to participate in SARA, if the resolution offered by AJR is unsatisfactory (for matters other than those pertaining to grades or student complaints), students may appeal to the SARA portal agency in New York. For more information regarding the SARA complaint process, see here.

Complaints to New York State

A State complaint is a written, signed statement of an allegation that a local or State educational agency (e.g., school district or other public agency) has violated a requirement of federal or New York State (NYS) law or regulation relating to the education of students with disabilities. If a parent, individual, or organization believes that such a violation has occurred, they may submit a written, signed State complaint to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Upon receipt of a State complaint, the NYSED must determine if the alleged violation occurred and issue a written decision of its findings.

Please visit the NYSED website at https://www.nysed.gov/special-education/state-complaint for the procedures and requirements for filing a State complaint. A State complaint must be made in writing and must be signed by the complainant (faxed or e-mail signatures will not be accepted).

NYSED also publishes FAQ’s about State complaints at https://www.nysed.gov/special-education/new-york-state-complaint-procedures

AJR’s Primary Prevention and Awareness Program to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking involves the following elements:

  • Information will be disseminated to all students (including new students) as well as employees regarding AJR’s Primary Prevention and Awareness Program.
  • A statement that AJR prohibits the crimes of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
  • Defining the term “consent” as it applies to sexual activity. The New York State definition can be found here.
  • Information regarding safe and positive options for bystander intervention as well as information regarding risk reduction.
  • Requiring that each member of the Student Association leadership formally acknowledges their familiarity with AJR’s Sexual Harassment Policy.
  • Annually distributing information to the student body and AJR employees related to the prevention of the crimes of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including, but not necessarily limited to, AJR’s Sexual Harassment Policy. This distribution of information may be in the form of digital materials, lunchtime program informational sessions, or other formats. When such a dissemination of information occurs synchronously, AJR encourages, but does not require, all AJR students to attend.

AJR’s policies regarding domestic and sexual violence can be found as an appendix to the Academic Catalog and here.

Additional preventative information and resources can be found in AJR’s Prevention of Sexual Violence Resource Packet.

The results of AJR’s most recent campus climate survey can be found here.

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees on the school’s property or as part of the school’s activities is prohibited and may result in monetary fines and imprisonment. For New York State sanctions regarding the possession or sale of drugs, see here. For federal laws relevant to controlled substances, see here. For AJR sanctions concerning students, faculty, employees, or administrators who violate AJR’s drug and alcohol policy, see the Academic Catalog, Section IX:D. For exceptions to the use and possession of alcohol at AJR, see the Student Handbook, Section VI.

For information regarding the health risks of substance abuse, as well as New York State resources, see here.

AJR has established the Rabbi Gabriel Kirshner z”l Wellness Fund, which is intended to provide limited financial support for students seeking initial counseling consultation. Students in need of drug and or alcohol counseling should contact AJR’s Director of Student Life ([email protected]) regarding their eligibility for support from this fund.

For additional information, see here.

The 1998 Higher Education Act requires all postsecondary institutions to make a good faith effort to distribute voter registration materials to each degree or certificate seeking student.

New York State residents can download a voter registration form or register to vote online here.

Students residing outside of New York who wish to register to vote in their home state may do so by completing the National Voter Registration Form provided by the US Election Assistance Commission.

Each state sets its own registration deadline. Most are around 30 days before the election, although some are closer to Election Day. Please double-check the election laws with your state or local elections office before you start.

Students’ Bill of Rights

All students have the right to:

  1. Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  2. Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
  3. Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by the institution; (in implementing this decision, students may without pressure from the Academy, notify proper law enforcement authorities, including local police; may be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses; or may decline to notify such authorities.)
  4. Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  5. Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  6. Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  7. Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
  8. Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;
  9. Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
  10. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and

11. Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.