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SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as other State and Federal statutes, sexual harassment is an illegal act. The purpose of this policy is to codify and clarify the procedures in place at Concord University concerning sexual harassment. This policy is meant to be comprehensive for all constituent groups at the university - faculty, staff, administrative and student, as well as visitors to our campus. For purposes of this policy, the term sexual harassment includes both quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment is defined as the exchange of special treatment for sexual favors and can occur only among employees or students with disparate power or status. Harassment of a student by a faculty member or of an employee by a superior that involves an exchange of special treatment for sexual favors is automatically considered quid pro quo harassment due to the disparity of power in the instructor/ student/supervisor-employee relationship. Hostile environment harassment can occur on the campus or at university-related activities. It can occur among any students and/or employees. Comments, jokes, pictures, or non-academic discussion of a prevalently sexual nature can constitute harassment, even if they are unintentional and not specifically directed at an individual, if they occur in places where the complainant needs to be to perform his or her duties or studies, and are so pervasive that the complainant is unable to perform his or her duties or studies. On the other hand, academic discussions of matter of a sexual nature will be encountered in various recognized academic settings offered at Concord University. For example, exhibitions of works of theatrical or visual arts may have sexual content; these are a necessary part of academic freedom within institutions of higher education, at Concord and elsewhere. However, physical contact, comments, jokes, or pictures of a prevalently sexual nature directed at a particular individual can constitute harassment wherever they occur, including the classroom. It should be noted that the factor of intent is of no relevance in determining whether or not sexual harassment has occurred. Sexual harassment may also occur between persons of the same University status, and between persons of the same sex.

LEGAL DEFINITION

Sexual harassment consists of verbal, non-verbal, or physical behaviors related to a person's gender which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic advancement or submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual. Hostile environment harassment consists of sexually oriented verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that interferes with an individual's work, professional or academic performance, productivity, physical security, participation in living arrangements, extracurricular activities, academic career opportunities, services or benefits of other institutional programs. It is the policy at Concord University that sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated. The University herein affirms that employees have a right to work and students have a right to study in a positive atmosphere free from sexual harassment and abuse. To that end, the University hereby adopts the following procedures to achieve this goal campus-wide.
PROCEDURES

Employees: Employees of Concord University should first attempt to resolve a harassment situation themselves by clearly stating to the harassing party that the behavior at issue is unwelcome and should stop immediately. However, if the behavior is physical in nature, or if the harassing party is the employee's immediate supervisor, the employee should not directly confront the harasser. In these cases the employee should notify either the Human Resources Director or the President of the University or his designee in his absence. For instances of sexual assault or when physical harm is threatened, the Office of Public Safety should be immediately notified. If the employee has attempted resolution of the harassment situation with no results, the employee should report the behavior in writing to the Human Resources Director or the President of the University or his designee. The written complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged offense. The employee is not to report the situation to his or her immediate supervisor. After receiving a complaint, the Human Resource Director or the President will conduct an investigation into the matter, including but not limited to, discussing the case with the complainant, the accused, and any witnesses to the alleged behavior. Awritten report will be completed by the investigating party, and the complainant will be informed of the outcome of the situation. Students of Concord University should first attempt to resolve a harassment situation themselves by clearly stating to the harassing party that the behavior at issue is unwelcome and should stop immediately. However, if the behavior is physical in nature, or if the harassing party is one of the student's instructors, his/her academic adviser, or his/her resident assistant, the student should not directly confront the harasser. In these cases, or if the student has attempted resolution of the harassment situation with no results or is afraid to attempt a resolution, the student should report the harassment to either the Director of Student Affairs or the President or his designee. The Director of Student Affairs or the President will then conduct an investigation similar to the procedure outlined above in the Employee section. In instances of sexual assault or when physical harm is threatened, the Office of Public Safety should be immediately notified. In both the employee and student harassment complaint, the University does not guarantee that the identity of the complainant will be kept confidential. The University will make every attempt to ensure confidentiality, but it may become necessary to reveal the name of the complainant to the accused in order to allow the accused the opportunity to address the allegation. Only those with a need to know, however, will be privy to information arising out of this policy.

RIGHTS OF COMPLAINANT AND THE ACCUSED:

Complainant's Rights:

Complainants have the following rights:

  • to have their sexual harassment complaints handled in a forthright and timely fashion with as great a degree of confidentiality as possible.
  • to have unrelated behavior excluded from the investigation process.
  • to be accompanied at the initial interview (and subsequently as appropriate) by a friend, family member, professional counsel, or other individual who can provide emotional support, professional advice, and/or clarification of facts related to the complaint.

 

Accused's Rights:

Accused have the following rights:

  • to be informed of the specific concerns or allegations giving rise to an informal or formal sexual harassment investigation. The accused shall have the right to know the identity of the complainant as soon as a formal investigation begins.
  • to have sexual harassment complaints against them handled in a forthright and timely fashion, with as great a degree of confidentiality as possible.
  • to have the opportunity to respond in writing to any formal complaint against them, and for any such response to become part of the record of the investigation.
  • to be accompanied at the initial interview (and subsequently as appropriate) by a friend, family member, professional counsel, or other individual who can provide emotional support, professional advice, and/or clarification of facts related to the complaint.
  • to be apprised in writing of the outcome of the complaint.

SANCTIONS

Disciplinary actions shall reflect the seriousness of the behavior, number and frequency of encounters, apparent intent of the accused, and other relevant factors in the situation. Disciplinary actions imposed in harassment cases may include, but are not limited to, oral warnings or written warnings placed in the employee/student file, probation, transfer, suspension or termination (expulsion for students). Because sexual harassment of a quid pro quo nature is especially reprehensible, resultant sanctions of suspension or termination (expulsion) can be expected. Anyone who is disciplined under this policy may follow the standard institution procedures for appealing these decisions. In order to determine these procedures, employees should consult the Office of Human Resources and students should contact the Office of Student Affairs. It is important for everyone in the University to be aware of the seriousness of sexual harassment issues. Educational meetings and materials will be made available periodically to all employees and students, and new employees and students will have a copy of this policy available at the time of employment or of initial enrollment. Everyone bears a responsibility to report suspected sexual harassment or abuse of either an employee or a student to the Human Resources Office or the President of the University. Supervisory staff is responsible for creating and maintaining a working environment free of sexual harassment. If administrators or supervisors know that sexual harassment is occurring, receive a complaint of sexual harassment or obtain information indicating possible sexual harassment is occurring, they must take immediate steps to address the matter. If administrators or supervisors learn of a problem outside their area, they must inform the Human Resources Director or the President. This obligation exists even if the victim requests that no action be taken. It is not the responsibility of the person being harassed to correct the situation. Administrators and supervisors must also protect persons accused of harassment from potential damage by false allegations.

FALSE CHARGES

Intentionally dishonest complaints or complaints made maliciously will not be tolerated. The complainant will be subject to university discipline commensurate with the nature of the offense.

RETALIATION/PROHIBITION

Retaliation against anyone reporting or thought to have reported sexual harassment behaviors is prohibited. Such retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of the policy and shall be independent of whether a charge or informal complaint of sexual harassment is substantiated. Encouraging others to retaliate also violates the policy. The following list contains some examples of specific conduct that may be considered retaliation:

  • unfair grading
  • unfair evaluation
  • unfair assignment
  • having information withheld or made difficult to obtain in a timely manner
  • not being informed about important events, such as meetings or changes in policy
  • ridicule (public or private)
  • oral or written threats or bribes
  • intimidation
  • destruction of property
  • stalking
  • further harassment

CONSENSUAL RELATIONS

It is in the interest of Concord University to provide clear direction and educational opportunities to the university community about the professional risks associated with consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between members of the community where a conflict of interest and/or a power differential between the parties exists. Individuals entering such relationships must recognize that:

1. Conflict of interest may arise when such relationships occur between and among faculty, staff, students and prospective employees. Consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships require, at a minimum, that appropriate arrangements be made for objective decision-making. For example, the individuals with the power or status advantage in such a relationship should remove themselves from any activity or evaluation that may reward or penalize the student or employee.

2. Power differentials between the parties in consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships may cause serious consequences even when conflicts of interest are resolved. Individuals entering into such relationships should recognize that:

a. The reason for entering, maintaining or terminating such a relationship may be a function of the power differential;

b. Where power differential exists, even in a seemingly consensual relationship, there are limited after the fact defenses against charges of sexual harassment. Furthermore, under certain circumstances consensual relationships may be outside the scope of employment of university employees and, if so, an individual would not be covered by the state's liability protection in subsequent litigation;

c. It is almost always the case that the individual with the power or status advantage in the relationship will bear the burden of accountability.

3. Where a conflict of interest exists, or may exist, in the context of a consensual romantic and/or sexual relationship, the individual with the power or status advantage shall notify his or her immediate supervisor. The supervisor shall have the responsibility for making arrangements to eliminate or mitigate a conflict whose consequences might prove detrimental to the University or to either party in the relationship.

POLICY REVIEW

These policies shall be reviewed every two years following the effective date of implementation by the Administrative Policies and Procedures Committee. Committee recommendations for changes shall be made to the President within forty-five days of completion of review. These policies are subject to revision as changes in federal or state law mandate. Effective Date: June 15, 1998

Concord University is in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act. A copy of this act may be obtained from the Student Affairs Office, J. Frank Marsh Library, or viewed online at http://campussafety.org

Last updated on Aug 20, 2012. Originally created on Jul 31, 2012. Report incorrect information.