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KARIBIAN v. COLUMBIA UNIV.

February 2, 1993

SHARON KARIBIAN, Plaintiff,
v.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, JOHN BORDEN and MARK URBAN, Defendants.


GRIESA


The opinion of the court was delivered by: THOMAS P. GRIESA

This is a sexual harassment case. There is a claim against Columbia University under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. There are also various claims against Columbia under state law theories. Defendants Borden and Urban are sued solely under state law theories.

 Defendants Columbia and Borden move for summary judgment. The motion is granted. For reasons hereafter set forth, the Title VII claim against Columbia must be dismissed because there is no triable issue of fact. As to the state law claims against Columbia and the claims against Borden, there is no jurisdiction after dismissal of the Title VII portion of the action.

 Although Urban has not made a motion, the court dismisses the action against him on its own motion, for lack of jurisdiction.

 FACTS

 In late 1986 while plaintiff was a student at Columbia, she obtained part-time employment with the University. The office she worked at was called "Telefund at Columbia University." Although it was part of the University, its activities were to some extent designed and administered by a separate company called Philanthropy Management, Inc. ("PMI"). The people working at Telefund consisted of both Columbia University employees and PMI employees. Telefund operated under the aegis of an entity at Columbia called University Development and Alumni Relations ("UDAR").

 Defendant Urban was employed by Columbia University commencing in September 1987. He worked in UDAR and his duties included responsibility for Telefund. Borden was Deputy Vice President of UDAR from April 1, 1988 until sometime in 1991. He was Urban's superior.

 Plaintiff alleges that she met Urban in the spring of 1987, before Urban went to work for Columbia. She alleges that Urban pressured her into having sexual relations commencing shortly after they met and continuing through 1989.

 Columbia has an established mechanism for dealing with sexual harassment. Columbia publishes a bulletin entitled "Protection Against Sexual Harassment." The bulletin starts with a Policy Statement, which includes the unequivocal declaration that "the University prohibits sexual harassment of any member of the Columbia community." The bulletin describes remedies provided by the University. A person who believes that he or she is being sexually harassed is invited to confer with a member of the University Panel on Sexual Harassment. There is also provision for the aggrieved party (or the panel member with permission of the aggrieved party) to discuss the problem with the University's Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action ("EOAA"). Finally, the party alleging sexual harassment may file a grievance under the applicable University grievance procedure.

 It is agreed by both sides that the first two steps - i.e., resort to the University Panel on Sexual Harassment or resort to the EOAA - are entirely confidential. This means that there is no effort to investigate the matter or to obtain a remedy against the alleged guilty party. The grievance procedure, on the other hand, is not confidential and sets in motion an investigation and other steps which may lead to remedial action against the party complained of.

 During September 1988 plaintiff consulted with one of the members of the Sexual Harassment Panel and also with an employee at the EOAA. Plaintiff concedes that she knew that these consultations were confidential. The EOAA employee has stated, without contradiction, that plaintiff specifically requested that there be no investigation at that time. The sexual relations between plaintiff and Urban continued.

 Plaintiff claims that in April 1989, after Urban allegedly forced her to perform a sexual act, she related this incident to Loren Spivack, an employee of PMI. Plaintiff asserts that Spivack informed her that he had relayed the information to the president of PMI, Ron Erdos. Plaintiff goes on to assert her belief that the Erdos in turn reported the incident to defendant Borden.

 Plaintiff's statement under Local Civil Rule 3(g) alleges that defendant Borden knew or should have known that plaintiff was subjected to sexual harassment since at least April 1989. Borden's 3(g) statement asserts that he did not learn about plaintiff's complaint until 1990.

 It should be noted that the presentations of all parties on the motion for summary judgment are based mainly on the extensive ...


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