Policy on Sexual Harassment; Supersedes EM 89-035/Superseded by EM 92-012

Executive Memorandum 91-012

July 02,1991

From: Robin S. Wilson, President

Subject: Regions to EM 89-035, Policy on Sexual Harassment

Upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate and concurrence of Provost Stephens, I approve this Policy on Sexual Harassment, EM 91-012, for immediate implementation. This document supersedes EM 89-035.

POLICY ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT
(Reference: Chancellor's Executive Order No. 345,
as well as by the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
its applicable amendments, and by Federal/State Guidelines)

POLICY

California State University, Chico will not tolerate sexual harassment. The University will design and implement guidelines and procedures that seek to eliminate sexual harassment from the learning and working environment. Sexual harassment is prohibited in The California State University by Executive Order No. 345. Violations of this policy by administrators, faculty, staff, and students will be regarded as unprofessional and uncivil conduct, and violators may be subject to appropriate disciplinary action ranging from written or verbal reprimand to dismissal or expulsion. All current and new students, staff, faculty, and administrators will be informed and educated of the university's policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment.

Nothing in this policy is meant to preempt or foreclose the pursuit of remedies available to alleged victims of sexual harassment under applicable state or federal statutes and regulations (see Attachment 1 for a list of selected government agencies).

GOAL OF POLICY

The goal of this policy is to create and preserve a learning and working environment conducive to growth in mind, spirit, and human community. Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University by interfering with academic careers or work performance; by creating an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility; and by undermining respect for the University, the individuals that constitute its community, and its degrees and scholarship.

OBJECTIVES OF POLICY

This policy and the procedures it establishes aim to

  • Eliminate sexual harassment in the University
  • Disseminate information concerning the university's sexual harassment policies to the campus community
  • Provide the means by which students and employees may explore both informal and formal avenues of inquiry about the nature and definition of sexual harassment and the mechanisms available for adjudicating complaints
  • Enable investigations of alleged sexual harassment
  • Provide for appropriate action before, during, and as a result of such investigations
  • Provide appropriate individuals with the results of such investigations.

DEFINITION

For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as including but not limited to unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, repeated derogatory sexist remarks, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward an employee, student, or applicant under any of the following conditions when

  • Submission to or toleration of sexual harassment is an explicit or implicit term or condition of appointment, employment, admission, evaluation, or participation in any university-sanctioned activity
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for a personnel decision or an academic evaluation affecting an individual
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning environment
  • Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the University.

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to,

  • Making unsolicited written (e.g. , suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations), verbal (e.g. , sexually demeaning comments; sexually explicit statements, questions, slurs, jokes, anecdotes, or epithets), physical (e.g. , sexual assault, touching, impeding or blocking movement), or visual (e.g. , leering, gestures, display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters) communication with sexual overtones
  • Continuing to express sexual interest after being informed that the interest is unwelcome
  • Making reprisals, threats of reprisal, or implied threats of reprisal following a negative response to sexual advances or following a sexual harassment complaint.

A single incident of sufficient severity may constitute sexual harassment. In determining whether a specific act or pattern of behavior violates this policy, the circumstances surrounding the conduct should be considered together with the above definition of sexual harassment. Such determination will be made from the perspective of a reasonable person toward whom such conduct might be directed.

PROCEDURES

In addition to its general duty to create and maintain an environment free of sexual harassment, the University also recognizes

  • Its presumptive moral and legal obligations to advance the interest of those individuals involved in a particular case of sexual harassment
  • Its obligation to respect individuals' rights to privacy, confidentiality, and, where desired, autonomy
  • Its obligations to provide a procedurally just framework for encouraging the resolution of such complaints. Informal mediation and conciliation are the preferred means for resolving such disputes because this process is generally believed to most successfully accomplish the desired ends. A formal and more adversarial mechanism is provided for use in situations where such informal processes fail, are inappropriate, or are not desired.

Individuals who believe they are (or may have been) the victim of sexual harassment may initiate either an informal or a formal inquiry (see below); moreover, these individuals may at any time move from the informal to the formal stage of inquiry (see Attachment 2).

Informal Inquiry

The informal inquiry process may be initiated only by persons who believe they are (or may have been) victims of sexual harassment. The intent of this process is to provide such persons with an opportunity to receive information and counsel about the definition of sexual harassment, the legitimacy of their concerns, and the informal or formal administrative mechanisms that exist for resolving complaints. It further seeks to provide the institutional space in which an informal yet fair resolution of the complaint can take place, while guaranteeing, to the greatest degree possible, the confidentiality and privacy of the parties involved in an atmosphere of mediation and conciliation.

The University delegates to the Counseling Center the primary responsibility for receiving inquiries from students, providing information, and encouraging resolution. Students who believe they are victims of sexual harassment are encouraged to meet with designated Counseling Center personnel whose professional license and code of ethics requires them to observe professional-client confidentiality. The University also delegates this responsibility to other individuals specifically designated by the President (see Attachment 3), who will be vested with the obligation to respect confidentiality. In encouraging an informal resolution, and with the consent of the parties involved, Counseling Center personnel or presidential designees may take the initiative in bringing together the parties involved.

The University delegates to the Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program the primary responsibility for receiving inquiries from faculty and staff, providing information, and encouraging resolution. Faculty and staff who believe they are victims of sexual harassment are encouraged to meet with the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program Director to discuss their concerns in a confidential setting. In encouraging an informal resolution, and with the consent of the parties involved, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program Director may take the initiative in bringing together the parties involved.

Nothing pertaining to any inquiries made or resolution procedures followed at this level shall be incorporated into any official record or file of the parties involved (other than the confidential files maintained by the Counseling Center or the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program Director) without the consent of the parties involved. All matters pertaining to inquiries, discussions, and informal resolutions at this level are strictly confidential. At any time during this informal inquiry and resolution process, the person making the inquiry may initiate a formal inquiry or complaint with appropriate administrators of the University (see below).

Formal Inquiry and Complaint Process

The formal inquiry and complaint process is initiated solely by persons who believe they are victims of sexual harassment. Formal inquiries and complaints must be directed to the appropriate administrative officers designated by the President for this purpose (see Attachment 3). Formal inquiries concerning or complaints against faculty or staff must be directed to the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs. Formal inquiries concerning or complaints against students must be directed to the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs. Individuals may initiate either a formal inquiry or a formal complaint or at any time move from the inquiry stage to the complaint stage.

The person making a formal inquiry or complaint should be informed that, while confidentiality may be sought, it cannot be guaranteed. As a means of fulfilling its obligation to create and maintain an environment free from sexual harassment, the University may conduct reasonable and appropriate investigations designed to assess whether sexual harassment has occurred. The person undertaking a formal inquiry should be informed that the University, under the charge of protecting its members from sexual harassment, may proceed in initiating an investigation, a resolution, or disciplinary action even if a formal complaint is not filed, independent of the intent or wishes of the person making the inquiry (see A.2 or B.2 below, as appropriate). This does not mean, however, that the University has a duty to immediately or necessarily conduct an investigation any time a formal inquiry is made; such a decision must be made on a case-by-case basis considering the totality of the circumstances.

At any stage in the formal inquiry and complaint process, individuals initiating an inquiry or complaint have the right to be accompanied by a person of their choice when discussing such alleged incidents, provided that the person is not an attorney.

Inquiries Concerning or Complaints Against Faculty or Staff

Formal Inquiry

  • Students or employees who believe they are victims of sexual harassment involving faculty or staff may initiate a formal inquiry. The purpose of this process is fourfold:
    • To assure that the alleged victims of sexual harassment understand the nature and scope of a formal process
    • To allow these persons to receive information on, exploration of, and counsel about the legitimacy of their concerns
    • To allow alleged victims to receive a description of the formal administrative mechanisms that exist for resolving cases of sexual harassment
    • To provide the alleged victim with an opportunity, if desired, to resolve the situation short of the filing of a formal complaint.
  • The Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or designee) will meet with the alleged victim to acquire information regarding the alleged incident and to ascertain what this person desires by way of a remedy. If appropriate, the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or designee) will attempt to resolve the matter by means of a conference with the individual whose alleged behavior is in question. This stage of the formal inquiry process should emphasize mediation and conciliation; it will also rely on discreet inquiry, persuasion, and trust in attempting to seek a resolution. While strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every attempt will be made to respect the privacy of both the alleged victim and the alleged harasser.
    • Unless a formal complaint is initiated (see A.2. below), no record of such an inquiry may be made part of a faculty member's RTP file, a staff member's employment record, or a student's official file without the consent of the parties involved.
    • In the event this formal inquiry leads to a resolution, both parties are precluded from subsequently filing a formal complaint. Both parties shall keep the results of the resolution confidential. Failure to respect this duty of confidentiality will subject the parties to disciplinary action. In the event that this formal inquiry fails to lead to a resolution of the problem, the alleged victim of sexual harassment may file a formal written complaint with the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs. In situations where a formal complaint is filed, the process outlined in Sections A.2. and, when appropriate, A.3. (below), will proceed. In situations where the formal process is initiated by an inquiry but no formal written complaint is filed, the University possesses the discretion to proceed as if a formal written complaint had been filed.

    Formal Complaint and Resolution

    • Formal complaints against faculty or staff must be made in writing by the alleged victim of sexual harassment, and they must be directed to the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs. Upon receiving a formal written complaint, or upon determining that the University has an obligation to pursue an inquiry into possible incidents of sexual harassment (see A.1. above), the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or designee) will conduct a reasonable and appropriate investigation. The Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs will attempt to resolve the complaint by means of a conference with the employee whose alleged behavior is in question. This stage of the formal complaint process may emphasize mediation and conciliation and will also rely on discreet inquiry, persuasion, and trust in attempting to resolve the complaint. While strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every attempt should be made to respect the privacy of both the complainant (or alleged victim as ascertained by the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs) and the subject of the complaint and investigation.
    • The University recognizes the need to protect the rights of both the victim and the accused. Allegations of sexual harassment are serious and will be treated as such. At the same time, the making of knowingly false accusations of sexual harassment likewise will be treated as unprofessional or uncivil conduct, and persons bringing such accusations will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
    • If the complaint cannot be resolved by a conference with the employee whose behavior has been found to constitute sexual harassment, or the complaint appears to require formal disciplinary action, the Associate Vice President will initiate such action under the applicable disciplinary procedures specified for the employee's appropriate bargaining unit. For employees not covered by existing contracts, or when employee agreements do not contain complaint procedures, the systemwide grievance procedures in Executive Order 419 will be applicable.
    • Whenever there is included in any employee record information concerning any disciplinary action taken by the University in connection with allegations of sexual harassment, the alleged victim of that sexual harassment shall be informed within three days of the results of any disciplinary action by the University and the results of any appeal. The alleged victim shall keep the results of that disciplinary action and appeal confidential. Failure to respect this duty of confidentiality will subject the individual to disciplinary action.

    Inquiries Concerning or Complaints Against Students

    Formal Inquiry

    • Students or employees who believe they are victims of sexual harassment involving students may initiate a formal inquiry. The purpose of this process is fourfold:
      • To assure that the alleged victims of sexual harassment understand the nature and scope of a formal process
      • To allow these persons to receive information on, exploration of, and counsel about the legitimacy of their concerns
      • To allow alleged victims to receive a description of the formal administrative mechanisms that exist for resolving cases of sexual harassment
      • To provide the alleged victim with an opportunity, if desired, to resolve the situation short of the filing of a formal complaint.
    • The Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (or designee) will meet with the alleged victim to acquire information regarding the alleged incident and to ascertain what this person desires by way of a remedy. If appropriate, the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (or designee) will attempt to resolve the matter by means of a conference with the individual whose alleged behavior is in question. This stage of the formal inquiry process should emphasize mediation and conciliation; it will also rely on discreet inquiry, persuasion, and trust in attempting to seek a resolution. While strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every attempt will be made to respect the privacy of both the alleged victim and the alleged harasser.
    • Unless a formal complaint or investigation is initiated (see B.2. below), no record of such an inquiry may be made part of a faculty member's RTP file, a staff member's employment record, or a student's official file without the consent of the parties involved.
    • In the event this formal inquiry leads to a resolution, the victim is precluded from subsequently filing a formal complaint. The victim shall keep the results of the resolution confidential. Failure to respect this duty of confidentiality will subject the individual to disciplinary action. In the event that this formal inquiry fails to lead to a resolution of the problem, the alleged victim of sexual harassment may file a formal written complaint with the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs. In situations where a formal complaint is filed, the process outlined in Sections B.2 and, when appropriate, B.3 (below), will proceed. In situations where the formal process is initiated by an inquiry but no formal written complaint is filed, the University possesses the discretion to proceed as if a formal written complaint had been filed.

    Formal Complaint and Resolution

    • Formal complaints against students must be made in writing by the alleged victim of sexual harassment, and they must be directed to the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs. Upon receiving a formal written complaint, or upon determining that the University has an obligation to pursue an inquiry into possible incidents of sexual harassment (see B.1 above), the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (or designee) will conduct a reasonable and appropriate investigation. The Coordinator will attempt to resolve the complaint by means of a conference with the student whose alleged behavior is in question. This stage of the formal complaint process may emphasize mediation and conciliation and will also rely on discreet inquiry, persuasion, and trust in attempting to resolve the complaint. While strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, every attempt should be made to respect the privacy of both the complainant (or alleged victim as ascertained by the Coordinator) and the subject of the complaint and investigation.
    • If the complaint cannot be resolved by a conference with the student whose behavior has been found to constitute sexual harassment, or the complaint appears to require formal disciplinary action, the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs will initiate appropriate disciplinary procedures as specified in the Code of Students' Rights and Responsibilities.
    • Whenever there is included in any student record information concerning any disciplinary action taken by the University in connection with allegations of sexual harassment, the alleged victim of that sexual harassment shall be informed within three days of the results of any disciplinary action and appeal confidential. Failure to respect this duty of confidentiality will subject the individual to disciplinary action.

    IMPLEMENTATION

    • Responsibility for full implementation and enforcement of this policy lies with the university President or designee.
    • To ensure awareness of this policy:
      • Orientation materials and programs for administrators, faculty, and staff will include an explanation of and education on the university's Policy on Sexual Harassment.
      • Materials designed for and distributed to students will describe and discuss the university's Policy on Sexual Harassment. Brochures and other materials to be developed and distributed should be relatively brief, visually appealing, contain a simplified statement of the university policy, provide examples of situations covered by this policy, and include information on how to proceed when an alleged sexual harassment incident has occurred.
      • Telephone numbers will be established to provide information about sexual harassment, including the location of appropriate offices to be contacted when one believes sexual harassment has occurred and the names of persons appointed by the university President to receive inquiries and complaints. These phone numbers should be widely distributed.
      • Workshops, forums, seminars, and other education programs will be developed for all university community members (faculty, staff, and students) in order to sensitize the university community to issues of sexual harassment. Supervisory personnel will transmit such information to persons under their direction. All materials used at these workshops will be made available by the University to departments or units where desired.
      • Resource materials will be established in a permanent reserve collection in Meriam Library for education on identifying and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and in the learning environment.
    • This policy and its implementation will be reviewed by the Student Policies Committee at three-year intervals or more frequently if deemed appropriate by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

    ATTACHMENT 1

    AGENCIES OUTSIDE THE UNIVERSITY WHICH DEAL WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION<

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    901 Market Street, #390
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 744-6510

    Department of Fair Employment and Housing
    2000 "O" Street #120
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    (916)445-9918

    United States Department of Education
    50 United National Plaza, Room 239
    San Francisco, CA 94102

    ATTACHMENT 2

    (THIS ATTACHMENT IS A CHART WHICH IS ON FILE IN THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE)

    ATTACHMENT 3

    Persons Designated to Receive Informal Inquiries

    University Counseling Center x6345

    Director, Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
    Beverly Verlinde
    101 Salem Street, Suite #3 x4645/4596

    Persons Designed to Receive Formal Inquiries/Complaints

    Inquiries Concerning or Complaints Against Faculty and Staff Affairs

    Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs
    Charles Adams, Associate Vice President
    Kendall Hall 224 x5029

    Inquiries Concern or Complaints Against Students

    Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs
    Lisi Porter, Coordinator
    Kendall Hall 110 x6897