Cleveland Institute of Music Drops Title IX Inquiry Into Principal Conductor

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After months of investigation, Carlos Kalmar has been cleared of accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination


In May 2023, the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) initiated a Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) inquiry into Carlos Kalmar after allegations of his “inappropriate behavior.”

Coordinated at the time by Vivian Scott at CIM, Title IX is a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal funding. Students were asked to come forward willingly if they had witnessed or experienced sexual harassment by Kalmar.

Around 30 students, faculty, and staff were interviewed as part of the investigation, which was led by former U.S. Attorney Carole Rendon.

Appointed CIM’s principal conductor and director of orchestral studies in 2021, Kalmar is the principal conductor for the Grant Park Music Festival and was music director of the Oregon Symphony for 18 years. 

Kalmar denied the allegations against him. As reported by, his attorney, James Wooley, stated that Kalmar “has never been accused of wrongdoing in his impeccable 40-plus-year career,” and that “Title IX matters are confidential under federal law…He has done nothing wrong. We have nothing more to say about the matter.”

While acknowledging the seriousness of the complaints, CIM dean, vice president of academic and student affairs, and acting Title IX director Dean Southern explained in a recent letter released by CIM, that “the specific allegations against Carlos Kalmar did not violate the Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Sex Non-Discrimination Policy Under Title IX.”

“The conduct was not on the basis of sex, nor was it so severe or pervasive as to create an objectively offensive environment such that it denies anyone equal access to educational opportunities at CIM based on gender,” Southern continued. “Therefore, the Institute was obligated to dismiss the Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment in this matter.

The parties involved have five business days to appeal the decision to drop the accusations against Kalmar.

Additional details from Southern’s letter to the CIM community states:

“The Title IX investigation is now complete and earlier this afternoon I communicated my findings to the parties. While the findings of a Title IX investigation are not normally communicated beyond the parties, in light of the public attention surrounding this case, I have decided to share this update with you.

“As CIM’s Acting Title IX Officer, I thoroughly reviewed the investigative report which included written reports, voluntary written statements, videos, interviews with more than thirty CIM students, faculty, and staff, and additional evidence provided by both parties. 

“The investigation found that the alleged conduct could not constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment as prohibited by Title IX because the conduct did not have ‘the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a person’s participation in educational programs or activities…’

“President Hogle, Provost Harrison, and I, as well as the entire CIM administration, have always approached Title IX concerns with a high level of seriousness. As in this case, our goal is to conduct a thorough and fact-based examination leading to a determination consistent with CIM’s Title IX policy. That examination is only possible because of the courage and candor of all of the members of our community who were involved in this process.

“Details regarding placement hearings, required of new students and optional for returning students, have already been distributed to orchestral students; scheduling, repertoire, and other class information will soon follow.

“CIM will make sure that our students are fully supported to continue CIM’s tradition of empowering the world’s most talented classical musicians.”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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todayAugust 9, 2023

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