Governance





University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Sexual Harassment Policy
Policy #36

[Date of approval August 5, 2008]

NOTE: Discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment concern and complaint procedures are described in section VI . Definition of terms are in section I .

POLICY AND PURPOSE STATEMENT
This policy is promulgated by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in accordance with the 1981 directive of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System in recognition of its commitment to uphold the requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972.

The University administration, faculty, staff, and students are responsible for assuring that the University maintains an environment for work and study free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unlawful and impedes the realization of the University's mission, as well as threatens the careers, education, and well-being of students, staff, and faculty. Sexual harassment violates the dignity of individuals and will not be tolerated.

The University community seeks to eliminate sexual harassment through education and by encouraging faculty, staff, and students to report concerns or complaints. Conduct determined to fall within the definition of sexual harassment detailed below will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with due process requirements including, but not limited to, reprimand, temporary suspension, expulsion, or discharge of the harassing individual.

I. DEFINITIONS

A. Advocate: A person who understands the complaint process and works on
behalf of the complainant or respondent, with their consent, to ensure they are
being treated fairly and that the policy is accurately being followed
[see Section VI].

•  Appeal: The process for complainants and/or respondents to request a reversal of the decision [see Section VI(D)].

•  Complaint: “Complaint” is a common term that is frequently used in other UW-Parkside policies, as well as state and federal laws and regulations. Please note, however, that the meaning of this term within Policies 54 and 36 is defined differently than in other UW-Parkside policies, and state and federal laws and regulations. The definitions of a “formal complaint” in I(D)  and an “informal complaint”  in I(E) should be read and understood before determining which process is most appropriate for a particular complaint. 

•  Informal complaint : An attempt to resolve a potentially discriminatory or harassing situation without a formal investigation [see Section VI(B)].

•  Formal complaint: An allegation of discriminatory or harassing conduct that the complainant believes warrants a formal investigation. Formal complaints must be initiated in a timely manner, and no le ss than 300 calendar days after the alleged discriminatory conduct occurred [see Section VI(C)].

•  Complainant: A person alleging that they have been a victim of discriminatory or harassing behavior [see Section VI].

•  Concern: An attempt to understand whether discrimination or harassment has occurred, and to understand one's rights [see Section VI].

•  Discrimination: (see UWP Policy #54) Federal law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex/gender, or handicap/disability. In addition, Wisconsin prohibits discrimination based on arrest/conviction, marital status, sexual orientation, military reserve membership, and the use of lawful products (such as tobacco and alcohol) outside the work place. The University of Wisconsin System also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression. Discriminatory practices under these laws also include:

•  harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age;

•  retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;

•  employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and

•  denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.

•  Diversity: Encompasses a broad range of differences including race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression socioeconomic class or disability. Some of the many other dimensions of diversity include religion, ethnicity, union/nonunion affiliation, political party affiliation, military status, parental status, pregnancy, family or medical need.

•  Respondent: A person who has been accused of discriminatory or harassing behavior [see Section VI].

•  Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor, reference to gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature when:

1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used either explicitly or implicitly as a basis for any decision affecting terms or condition of an individual's employment, participation in any program or activity, or status in an academic course; or

2. Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or educational experience, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for working, learning, or living on campus, and has no legitimate relationship to the subject matter of a course.

Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals associated with the University, i.e., between an employee and a supervisor; between co-workers; between faculty members; between a faculty, staff or student and a customer, vendor, or contractor; or between a student and a faculty member or another student.

II. EXAMPLES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment encompasses any sexual attention that is unwanted. Verbal or physical conduct prohibited by the University's Sexual Harassment Policy includes but is not limited to:

A. Sexual assault;

B. Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation;

C. Direct proposition of a sexual nature and/or subtle pressure for sexual activities which is unwanted and unreasonably interferes with a person's work or academic environment;

D. A pattern of conduct (not legitimately related to the subject matter of a course) that causes discomfort or embarrassment including: (1) comments of a sexual nature; (2) sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes; (3) touching, patting, hugging, brushing against a person's body, or repeated or unwanted staring; (4) remarks about sexual activity, experience, or orientation or gender identity and expression; and/or (5) display of inappropriate sexually oriented materials in a location where others can see it; when such conduct, comments, actions or materials unreasonably interfere with a person's work or academic environment.

III. PREVENTION AND EDUCATION

Educational efforts are essential to the establishment of a campus environment that is free of sexual harassment and that fosters respect for all individuals. The primary goals to be achieved through education include:

*ensuring persons are aware of their rights;
*notifying persons of prohibited conduct;
*informing parties of the proper way to address complaints of violations;
*informing the community about the problems of sexual harassment; and
*addressing multicultural issues.

These educational programs will be coordinated by the Office of Equity & Diversity and the Office of Human Resources.

The Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures will be published and disseminated to the University community on a regular basis, including placement in orientation materials for new students, faculty and staff.

IV. REGULATIONS

A. Consensual Relationships

It is in the interest of the University to provide clear direction and educational opportunities to the University community regarding the professional risks associated with consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships where a definite power differential between the parties exists. These relationships are of concern for two primary reasons:

1. Conflict of Interest. Conflicts of interest may arise in connection with consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty or other instructional staff and students, or between supervisors and subordinates. University policy and more general ethical principles preclude individuals from evaluating the work or academic performance of others with whom they have intimate familial relationships, or from making hiring, salary, or similar financial decisions concerning such persons. The same principles apply to consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships, and require, at a minimum, that appropriate arrangements be made for objective decision-making with regard to the student, subordinate, or prospective employee.

2. Abuse of Power Differential. Although conflict of interest issues can be resolved, in a consensual romantic and/or sexual relationship involving a power differential, the potential for serious consequences remains. Individuals entering into such relationships must recognize that:

a. the reasons for entering such a relationship may be a function of the power differential;

b. even in a seeming consensual relationship, where power differentials exist, there are limited after-the-fact defenses against charges of sexual harassment; and

c. the individual with the power in the relationship will often bear the burden of accountability.

d. Such a relationship, whether in a class or work situation, may affect the educational or employment environment for others by creating an appearance of improper, unprofessional, or possibly discriminatory conduct.

B. Confidentiality and Non-Retaliation

The University will make every effort to conduct all proceedings in a manner which will protect the confidentiality of all parties. All parties to the grievance/complaint should treat the matter under investigation with discretion and respect for the reputation of all parties involved.

Retaliation against an individual for reporting sexual harassment or for participating in an investigation is prohibited by University policy and state and federal law. Retaliation is a serious violation which can subject the offender to sanctions independent of the merits of the sexual harassment allegation.

C. False Allegations

It is a violation of this policy for anyone to knowingly make false accusations of sexual harassment. Failure to prove a claim of sexual harassment is not equivalent to a false allegation. Sanctions may be imposed for making false accusations of sexual harassment.

V. RESPONSIBILITIES

A. The Chancellor's Office through the Office of Equity & Diversity in coordination with the Office of Human Resources is responsible for the administration of this policy and the associated procedures.

B. The provost, and each dean, department chair, administrative official, or supervisor shall be responsible for assuring compliance with this policy. The Office of Human Resources and the Office of Equity and Diversity can provide assistance in this.

VI. CONCERN AND COMPLAINT PROCESS

All members of the university community have the right to the information and assistance afforded by the following processes, without threat of penalty. Reasonable action will be taken to ensure that any complainant, and anyone providing information on behalf of a complainant or otherwise supporting a complainant, will be supported in this effort by university officials.

Support and advocacy is an option available for those involved in the process. Advocates will provide support and aid the parties in resolving the complaint as effectively as possible. Students desiring an advocate should contact the Dean of Student's Office for referrals. Employees desiring an advocate should contact the Office of Human Resources. Employees may also contact their employee governance and/or representative group (e.g. University Committee, Academic Staff Committee, Classified Staff Committee) for referral.. Additionally, the Employee Assistance Program and union representation may offer support and advocacy. Advocates will maintain the confidentiality of those who consult them to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the Wisconsin Public Records Law.

Complainants may discuss concerns regarding discrimination and/or harassment using the process described below. Complainants may file either an informal or formal complaint using one of the two process options, which are described below (definitions are included in Section I).

A. Understanding the Process: Concerns. Sometimes it is difficult to understand whether discrimination and/or harassment has occurred, and to understand one's rights. Reviewing the definitions in Section I(H), (K) and Section II of this document on discrimination and sexual harassment can assist in this understanding. Individuals who need further assistance in understanding their rights, or the rights of others, are encouraged to discuss their concerns with an administrator from the relevant university department. If discussion with an administrator would be difficult or inappropriate then: (a) students may speak with the administrator's supervisor or an advocate from the Dean of Students Office; and (b) employees may contact the Human Resources Department, or their employee governance and/or representative group, which includes but is not limited to the University Committee, Academic Staff Committee, and Classified Staff Committee. The Office of Equity and Diversity and the Employee Assistance Program can also provide assistance.

B. Informal Complaint. Informal complaints must be filed using the following process:

•  Responsible Parties. If a complainant believes s/he has been subject to illegal discrimination and/or harassment, then s/he is encouraged to clearly and directly tell the respondent who is engaged in the conduct to stop. If it would be inappropriate to directly confront the respondent, or if the complainant's efforts to stop the conduct are unsuccessful, then the complainant may discuss the conduct with the respondent's supervisor, or file an informal complaint with a university administrator.

•  How to File an Informal Complaint. An informal complaint may be submitted either verbally or in writing to a university administrator. Typically, an informal complaint will describe an allegation of discriminatory and/or harassing conduct, and it must include details regarding the alleged discrimination and/or harassment as well as the relief sought by the complainant.

•  Filing Deadline. Informal complaints must be initiated in a timely manner, within 300 calendar days after the alleged discriminatory and/or harassing conduct occurred. BE AWARE: Filing deadlines for state and federal courts and agencies are administered by these courts and agencies and are not extended by filing an informal or formal complaint at UW-Parkside.

•  Resolution Deadline. All informal complaints must be resolved within 60 days, except in extraordinary circumstances.

•  Resolution. An informal complaint may be resolved by having a university administrator: (1) discuss together with the complainant and respondent, the alleged discriminatory and/or harassing conduct and relief sought by the complainant; (2) monitor the situation; and/or (3) seek mediation. An informal complaint is considered resolved when the parties involved agree on a course of action that they consider acceptable. If the parties do not come to a mutual agreement, the complainant may file a formal complaint.

•  Responsibilities. A university administrator shall advise the complainant of the alternative processes to resolve the situation and the availability of advocates. Students may seek an advocate from the Dean of Students Office; and employees may contact the Human Resources Department, or their employee governance and/or representative group, which includes but is not limited to the University Committee, Academic Staff Committee, and Classified Staff Committee. In addition, the administrator must seek to understand how the complainant wishes to handle the situation.

•  State and Federal Legal Rights of the Complainant. A person filing an informal complaint does not lose the right to file a formal complaint, either at UW-Parkside or with the appropriate state or federal court or agency. Upon request, either the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Equity and Diversity will provide contact information for the courts and agencies that are not only responsible for enforcing state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and/or harassment, but that also will provide detailed information regarding the complainant's legal rights under state and federal law.

•  Rights provided by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to the Complainant and the Respondent . All members of the university community have the right to be informed of any allegations against them resulting from an informal complaint and to respond fully to such complaints. At the time an informal complaint process is initiated, the rights of the respondent will be protected in accordance with UW-Parkside policies and procedures, as well as state and federal law. It is the policy and practice of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to provide reasonable access to relevant information to those persons, usually management and senior administrators, who are directly involved in the resolution of the complaint. All such persons are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding the details of the complaint.

•  Retaliation Prohibited. State and federal laws prohibit retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint or for providing statements, documents or other information regarding a complaint. All members of the University community have the right to seek the information and assistance afforded by this policy without the threat of penalty. Reasonable measures will be taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant or supporting the complainant in other ways will suffer no retaliation as a result of their activities to enforce this policy.

•  Confidentiality. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the Wisconsin Public Records Law, and discovery procedures in cases brought in court, Equal Rights Division, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

C. Formal Complaint. Formal complaints must be filed using the following process:

•  Responsible Parties. If the respondent is an employee, then formal complaints must be filed by the complainant with the Office of Equity and Diversity. If the respondent is a student, then formal complaints must be filed by the complainant with the Dean of Students Office.

•  How to File a Formal Complaint. A formal complaint must be submitted by the complainant in writing. The complainant must complete, sign, and file his or her written document with the Office of Equity and Diversity or the Dean of Students Office. Within the written document, the complainant shall specify the relief sought, and describe in detail: the pertinent facts and circumstances of the complaint, alleged incidents and the dates of occurrence, persons involved, and persons who have knowledge of the alleged events.

•  Filing Deadline. Formal complaints must be initiated in a timely manner, within 300 calendar days after the alleged discriminatory and/or harassing conduct occurred. BE AWARE: Filing deadlines for state and federal courts and agencies are administered by these courts and agencies and are not extended by filing an informal or formal complaint at UW-Parkside.

•  Resolution Deadline. All formal complaints must be resolved within 90 days, except in extraordinary circumstances.

•  Investigation:

•  The Chancellor, in consultation with the Office of Equity and Diversity and/or the Dean of Students Office, will determine whether an investigation is necessary. If appropriate, the Office of Equity and Diversity or the Dean of Students Office will investigate the complaint.

•  If the complaint is against the Office of Equity and Diversity or the Dean of Students, then the Chancellor will appoint another investigator.

•  Within seven days after a Complaint is filed, and when appropriate, an investigation will be initiated by the Assistant to the Chancellor for Equity and Diversity, or the Dean of Students or a designee.

•  Responsibilities of the Investigator. The investigator shall:

•  Discuss the allegations with the complainant,

•  Provide the respondent with a copy of the written complaint and discuss the allegations with the respondent,

•  Provide opportunity for the respondent to respond to the complaint in writing,

•  Examine relevant documents,

•  Interview persons who have knowledge of events described in the complaint, and

•  Properly maintain all paper and electronic records related to the case.

•  Rights Provided by the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to the Complainant and the Respondent . All members of the university community have the right to be informed of any allegations against them resulting from a formal complaint and to respond fully to such complaints. It is the policy and practice of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to provide reasonable access to relevant information to those persons, usually management and senior administrators, who are directly involved in the resolution of the complaint. All such parties are expected to maintain confidentiality regarding the details of the complaint.

•  Communication during the Process. During the investigation, the Office of Equity and Diversity or Dean of Students will keep the complainant and the respondent informed of the progress in seeking a resolution. It is expected that the complainant and respondent, in turn, will keep the Office of Equity and Diversity or Dean of Students informed of his/her satisfaction with the investigation progress and alert the Office of Equity and Diversity or Dean of Students or an administrator if there are any subsequent and/or concurrent complaints filed with outside investigatory agencies.

•  Resolution. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator shall make a recommendation to the Chancellor on whether the complaint has, or has not, been substantiated. If the investigator believes that remedial action is necessary, or that the complaint was substantiated, then the investigator will recommend corrective action, or an appropriate course of disciplinary action, to the Chancellor who will determine the appropriate course of action. As directed by the Chancellor, the investigator shall take further steps as appropriate. Discipline may constitute action up to and including termination.

•  Retaliation Prohibited. State and federal laws prohibit retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint or for providing statements, documents or other information regarding a complaint. All members of the university community have the right to seek the information and assistance afforded by this policy without the threat of penalty. All reasonable action will be taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant or supporting the complainant in other ways will suffer no retaliation as a result of their activities to enforce this policy.

•  State and Federal Legal Rights of the Complainant. A person filing a formal complaint does not lose the right to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal court or agency. Upon request, either the Dean of Students Office or the Office of Equity and Diversity will provide contact information for the courts and agencies that are not only responsible for enforcing state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and/or harassment, but that also will provide detailed information regarding the complainant's legal rights under state and federal law.

•  Confidentiality. Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the Wisconsin Public Records Law, and discovery procedures in cases brought in a court of law, with the Equal Rights Division, or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

D. Decision. If the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the results of the investigation, s/he may file an appeal through the appropriate employee or student constituency group process (see below). The findings of the appropriate constituency group process will forward recommendation to the Chancellor whose decision will be final.

The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of a faculty member will proceed according to the relevant faculty governance procedures. According to the provisions of UWPF Chapter VII-Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, which contains UW-Parkside's procedures pursuant to UWS 4 or S.UWS 6.01 and Wisconsin Administrative Code will be invoked.

The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of academic staff will proceed according to the procedures adopted by UW-Parkside pursuant to UWS 11 or S.UWS 13.01 Wisconsin Administrative Code.

The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of a student will proceed under the procedures set forth by the Dean of Students Office, or as described in UWS 17, Wisconsin Administrative Code.

The appeal of formal complaints concerning the conduct of a member of the classified staff shall proceed under the provisions of the relevant current union contract or appropriate civil service regulations.

E. Related Policies and Procedures:

•  Policy 15: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability
•  Policy 17: Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy
•  Policy 24: Gender/Equity Language Policy
•  Policy 29: Nondiscrimination Policy
•  Policy 41: Student Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures
•  Policy 45: Statement on Consensual Relationships
•  Policy 51: Student Complaint Procedures
•  Policy 54: Policies and Procedures to Promote Respect for Campus Diversity
•  Policy 72: Reasonable Accommodation Policy and Procedures for Employees