Sexual Harassment

Purpose
A. Henderson State University, as an educational institution and as an employer, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, marital, veteran, or disabled status. This is a commitment made by the University and is in accordance with the federal, state, and local laws and regulations.B. Harassment on the basis of sex is illegal and a violation of Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. The purpose of this policy is to define sexual harassment and to establish a procedure whereby alleged sexually harassed faculty, staff, and students may lodge a complaint immediately and confidentially.

Policy
A. Henderson State University is committed to the maintenance of a working and academic environment free from all forms of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment violates University policy as well as state, federal, and local laws. It is neither permitted nor condoned.
B. It is also a violation of Henderson State University’s policy against sexual harassment for any employee or student at Henderson State University to attempt in any way to retaliate against a person who makes a claim of sexual harassment.
C. Any individual found to have violated the University’s policy against sexual harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action including, but not limited to, reprimand, suspension, termination, or expulsion. Any disciplinary action taken will depend upon the severity of the offense.

Definition
A. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
1. Submission to, or toleration of, such conduct on or off campus is made a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in other University activities.
2. Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or employment performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive university environment.
B. Sexual relationships between consenting adults are difficult to address. While sexual harassment most often takes place where there is a power differential between the persons involved, it also may occur between persons of the same status. However, personal relationships must not be allowed to interfere with the academic or professional integrity of the teacher-student, supervisor-employee or other professional relations within the University.
C. In all cases, the University considers sexual relations between a teacher and his or her student or between a supervisor and his or her employee to be extremely unwise. This includes relations between a graduate student and an undergraduate student when the graduate student has supervisory or academic responsibility for that undergraduate student. Included also are any relations between an administrator, coach, advisor, program director, counselor, or residential staff member and a student or employee in a subordinate relationship. Under these conditions, should complaints of sexual harassment be made, the teacher or supervisor bears full responsibility for proving a defense of mutual consent.

Procedures
A. Students or employees who believe that they have been sexually harassed may first seek an informal resolution of this problem as outlined below. Such individuals may initially pursue formal resolution of their complaint through the procedure indicated under the heading “Formal Complaint Resolution.” All complaints must be made within thirty (30) days of the occurrence of the alleged harassment.
1. Informal Resolution
a. Students who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment should report the problem promptly to the VP for Student and External Affairs or any member of the faculty or administration. The person to whom the complaint is made should immediately contact the university General Counsel and together they shall promptly begin an impartial consideration of the complaint and make a thorough investigation. If a mutually agreeable answer or settlement has not been obtained within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of the complaint, the complainant should initiate the formal complaint procedure.
b. During all informal attempts to resolve a problem, to the extent practicable, efforts will be made to keep the identity of the complainant confidential.
2. Formal Complaint Resolution
a. If a problem cannot be resolved through informal attempts at conciliation and the complainant wishes to pursue the matter further, he or she must file a formal written complaint. Such complaints are to be filed through the Office of the Vice President of Student and External Affairs, 102c Womack Hall, extension 5081or the General Counsel, 308 Womack Hall, extension 5089.
b. All formal complaints will be given a full, impartial, and timely investigation. During such investigations, while every effort will be made to protect the privacy rights of all parties, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
c. When the harassing conduct is or becomes severe enough to be considered criminal in nature (as in threats or assaults) it should be immediately reported to the University Police.
B. Sanctions
1. If investigation of a reported occurrence of sexual harassment reveals that the complaint is without reasonable foundation, both parties will be so informed and will also be informed that no further action is warranted.
2. If, however, an individual is found to have violated the University’s policy against sexual harassment, the investigating body will recommend disciplinary action appropriate to the severity of the offense, including but not limited to reprimand, suspension, expulsion from the dormitories, reassignment of responsibilities, termination of employment, or expulsion from the University.