Racial Harassment Policy; Replaces EM 90-020

Executive Memorandum 91-014

August 29, 1991

FROM: Manuel A. Esteban, President

SUBJECT: University Racial Harassment Policy 

DATE: December 1, 1993

Please be advised that upon advice of The California State University Office of General Counsel, I am rescinding the campus Racial Harassment Policy (EM 91-14).  At present, campus policies on racial harassment are being found to be in conflict with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This position, moreover, is more consistent with a statement adopted by the CSU Board of Trustees entitled "Campus Climate:  Toward Appreciating Diversity."  We must rely upon State and Federal law, university policy on unprofessional conduct, education, free speech, peer pressure, and common decency in our efforts to maintain an environment free of racial harassment. Of course, if the evolution of relevant law alters the legal environment relative to racial harassment, we will revisit the possibility of a campus racial harassment policy. I want to reaffirm the University's goal of a harassment free environment and to reemphasize the concepts expressed recently in The Orion  (17 November 1993, commentary by Vice Provost Biechler) and in my letter of 15 November 1993 to the Campus Community. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work toward this goal in these difficult times.

FROM: Robin S. Wilson, President 

SUBJECT: Racial Harassment Policy; Replaces EM 90-020

POLICY

Racial harassment interferes with a student's career or an employee's work performance and creates an atmosphere of intimidation and hostility. California State University will not tolerate racial harassment and will implement guidelines and procedures designed to eliminate it from the learning and working environment.

Violations of this policy will be considered to be unprofessional or uncivil conduct, and the perpetrators may be subject to disciplinary sanctions ranging from verbal reprimand to legal action resulting in dismissal or expulsion. All students, staff, and faculty will be informed of the University's policies and procedures regarding racial harassment.

GOAL OF THE POLICY

The University has a moral responsibility to maintain an environment that is nurturing, encourages intellectual growth, and fosters  mutual respect among cultures and individuals resident on our campus. Racial and ethnic diversity is to be valued and protected. Members of the educational community must stand against assaults upon the dignity and value of any individual. The goal of this policy is to provide an intellectual, cultural, and physical environment in which the contributions of racial diversity are recognized and enhanced.

OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY

This policy and the procedures it establishes aim to

  1. eliminate racial harassment in the University;
  2. make the University's racial harassment policies known to the campus community;
  3. provide the means for persons to inquire into the nature of racial harassment and the administrative mechanisms available for receiving and adjudicating formal complaints;
  4. enable investigations of alleged racial harassment;
  5. provide for appropriate action as a result of such investigations;
  6. inform appropriate parties of the outcomes of investigations.

DEFINITION 

Racial harassment is a pattern of discriminatory oral, written, or physical behavior relating to an individual' s or a group' s race, ethnicity, national origin, or ancestry which has the effect of (1) creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or abusive learning or working environment; (2) unreasonably  interfering with educational or work performance; (3) adversely affecting education or employment opportunities; or (4) adversely affecting participation in university-sanctioned activities. A single incident of sufficient severity also may constitute racial harassment. In determining whether a specific act or pattern of behavior violates the policy, the circumstances surrounding the behavior should be considered together with the definition of racial harassment. Such determinations should be made from the perspective of a reasonable person toward whom such behavior might be directed.

Forms of discriminatory behavior that constitute racial harassment may include written or pictorial communication (e.g., letters, notes, newspaper articles, invitations, posters, cartoons), oral comments (epithets, jokes, or slurs), or physical conduct (provocative gestures, violence, destruction of property) when such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough as to incite an immediate breach of the peace.  Additionally, reprisals or threats of reprisal by either party following a racial harassment complaint also may constitute racial harassment.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

In the implementation of this policy, absolute primacy must be afforded freedom of speech, with the recognition that the value of a society grounded on principles of free express ion is diminished by actions of racial harassment.

 PROCEDURES

The procedures related to this policy involve two levels of action: (1) an informal inquiry and (2) a formal complaint. A formal complaint may be filed without prior participation in the informal process (see Attachment 1).

Informal Inquiry

If members of the university community hear an allegation of racial harassment, they should recommend that the author of the allegation report it to a person designated to receive informal inquiries.

Students or employees who believe they may have been victims of racial harassment may wish initially to discuss the matter with faculty, faculty advisers, department chairs, college deans, staff supervisors, or other appropriate members of the university community.  Additionally, or alternatively, students or employee s with questions may meet with individuals specifically designated by the President to receive informal inquiries (see Attachment 2).

These designees will be charged with supplying information and clarification on the nature and definition of racial harassment and the administrative mechanisms for dealing with complaints.  Their function is informal and advisory, aimed solely at aiding potential complainants to determine if incidents as described constitute grounds for a formal complaint and, if so, how these formal complaints are to be filed.  These designees will neither investigate nor adjudicate complaints of racial harassment.

If they wish, persons participating in an informal inquiry may be accompanied by another person. Otherwise, informal inquiries are confidential. Nothing related to informal inquiries may be introduced into the RTP process, performance evaluation, or academic records of the accused.

Formal Complaint

Formal complaints must be made in writing and must be addressed to the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (if directed against faculty or staff) or to the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (if directed against students).

Complaints Against Faculty or Staff

  1. The Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or an ad hoc administrative or supervisory designee) will meet with the complainant to clarify the nature of the complaint, to ascertain what the complainant desires by way of a remedy, and to advise the complainant of alternative means by which the complaint may be resolved.
  2. Where such an approach is deemed appropriate, the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs will attempt to resolve the matter by means of a confidential conference with the employee whose alleged behavior is the cause for the complaint.
  3. If the complaint cannot be so resolved and the complaint appears to require formal disciplinary action, the Associate Vice President will conduct an investigation and, if deemed necessary, will initiate the process under the applicable disciplinary procedures specified for the appropriate bargaining unit. For employees not covered by existing contracts or when employee agreements do not contain complaint procedures, the grievance procedures in Executive Order 419 will be applicable.

Complaints Against Students

  1. The Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (or an administrative or supervisory designee) will meet informally with the complainant to clarify the nature of the complaint, to ascertain what the complainant desires by way of a remedy, and to advise the complainant of alternative means by which the complaint may be resolved.
  2. Where such an approach is deemed appropriate, the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs will attempt to resolve the matter by means of a confidential conference with the student whose alleged behavior  is the cause for the complaint.
  3. If the complaint cannot be so resolved and the complaint appears to require formal disciplinary action, the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs will conduct an investigation and, if deemed necessary, will initiate formal disciplinary action under the applicable disciplinary procedures as specified in the Code of Students' Rights and Responsibilities.

Implementation

  1. Responsibility for enforcement of this policy lies with the university president.
  2. To ensure awareness of this policy,

orientation programs for administrators, faculty, students, and staff will include an explanation of university policy on racial harassment.

materials for students will include the University Policy on Racial Harassment.

brochures and other materials will be developed and distributed to students and employees. The brochures should contain a statement of university policy, provide examples of situations covered by the policy, and include instructions to follow when an alleged racial harassment incident has occurred.

a central telephone  number will be established to provide information about racial harassment, including the location of appropriate offices to be contracted in case racial harassment has occurred and the names of persons appointed by the university president to handle racial harassment complaints.

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 racial harassment. Supervisory personnel will transmit such information to persons under their direction. These educational programs are to be conducted with the assistance of university employees having expertise in racial affairs.

a library catalog of materials will be established for education on the value of racial diversity.

This policy and its implementation will be reviewed annually by the Student Policies Committee for a period of three years and triennially thereafter.