Revision to EM 91-012, Policy on Sexual Harassment; Superseded by EM 99-020

Executive Memorandum 92-012

May 05, 1992

From: Robin S. Wilson, President

Subject: Revision to EM 91-012, Policy on Sexual Harassment; Superseded by EM 99-020

Upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate and concurrence of Provost Stephens, I approve this Policy on Sexual Harassment, EM 92-012, for immediate implementation. This document supersedes EM 91-012

POLICY ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT

(Reference: Chancellor's Executive Order No. 345,

Title 7, Civil Rights Act of 1964,

its applicable amendments, and Title 9 of the

Agency Education Amendments and appropriate federal regulations)

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 THE 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 THE POLICY

This policy and the procedures it establishes aim to

  • Eliminate and prevent 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 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 unwelcome 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 (or the "reasonable woman" standard) toward whom such conduct might be directed.

PROCEDURES

Purpose

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. Individuals who believe they are or may have been victims of sexual harassment may initiate either an informal inquiry, a formal inquiry, or a formal complaint.

There are no time limits on the initiation of informal or formal inquiries or a formal complaint. Persons who believe they are being or have been subjected to sexual harassment are encouraged to seek resolution as soon as possible after an incident. They should also recognize that delay in taking formal action with respect to an incident for more than 180 days may foreclose access to outside government federal investigative agencies (one year in the case of the Department of California Fair Employment and Housing Commission). Complaints must be filed with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, within 180 days of the alleged harassment or within 60 days after the completion of the University's internal grievance procedure established by this policy. Filing a grievance with the University is not a prerequisite to filing a complaint with a federal or state agency. Complaints made after more than three years may preclude the University from seeking a resolution involving disciplinary action.

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 inquiry 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 designates the Counseling Center to receive informal inquiries from students who believe they are or may have been victims of sexual harassment. The University designates the Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program to receive informal inquiries from faculty and staff members who believe they are or may have been victims of sexual harassment.

The President will designate additional individuals who may receive informal inquiries from students, faculty, and staff.

Members of the Counseling Center hold licenses and subscribe to a code of ethics which requires observance of professional-client confidentiality. The Director of Faculty and Staff Assistance Program holds certification and subscribes to a code of ethics which requires observance of professional-client confidentiality. The additional presidential designees shall be by virtue of their designation vested with the responsibility to maintain the same degree of confidentiality as the Counseling Center members and Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. Confidentiality in informal inquiry will be restricted to the inquirer and the university designee.

In addition to giving information and advice, those designated to receive informal inquiry may seek to achieve informal resolution to problems by bringing together the two parties. This attempt must be preceded by the agreement of the inquirer to enlarge the scope of confidentiality to include the second party.

Nothing pertaining to any inquiries made or resolution procedures followed at this level shall be incorporated into any official record (other than the confidential records maintained by the Counseling Center or the Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program) or the files of the parties involved without the consent of the parties. All matters pertaining to inquiries, discussions, and informal resolutions at this level are 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 or presidential designee(s) (see below).

The Counseling Center and the Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program will maintain confidential records on the volume of informal inquiries, the nature of inquiries, and the demographic nature of those making an informal inquiry. A quarterly summary report of these data will be submitted to the President or designee.

Formal Inquiry and Complaint Process

The formal inquiry and complaint process is initiated only by persons who believe they are or may have been 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 (or presidential designee(s)). 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 move from the inquiry stage to the complaint stage provided there has been no resolution at the formal inquiry level.

The person making a formal inquiry should be informed that the University will endeavor to restrict confidentiality to the person making the inquiry and the university designee receiving it, but this restriction 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 and this activity may require enlarging the scope of confidentiality. Whenever possible, the university representative will seek the agreement of the person making the inquiry to expand the scope of confidentiality, but the person undertaking a formal inquiry shall 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 and 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 entire set of 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. If that person is an attorney, the University will be notified in writing of the name and address of the attorney five instructional days prior to the meeting to determine if a university attorney need be present.

Inquiries Concerning or Complaints Against Faculty or Staff

Formal Inquiry

  • Students or employees who believe they are or may have been victims of sexual harassment involving faculty or staff may initiate a formal inquiry. The purpose of this process is fourfold:
    • To assure that these individuals understand the nature and scope of a formal process
    • To allow them to receive information on, exploration of, and counsel about the legitimacy of their concerns
    • To allow these individuals to receive a description of the formal administrative mechanisms that exist for resolving cases of sexual harassment
    • To provide the individuals with an opportunity, if desired, to resolve the situation short of filing a formal complaint 
  • The Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee) will meet with the individual 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 presidential 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 discretion, mediation, and conciliation.
  • In the conference stage the university representative will attempt insofar as possible to restrict the scope of confidentiality to the individual making the inquiry or to that person and the person whose alleged behavior is the subject of the inquiry. The scope of confidentiality will be extended only so far as necessary for compelling cause and when no reasonable alternative exists.
  • If a formal complaint arising from the inquiry is not initiated, no record of such an inquiry shall be made part of a faculty member's personnel action file, a staff member's employment record, or a student's official file without the consent of the parties involved. A confidential record of formal inquiries and conference resolution activities shall be maintained in the Office of the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs. 
  • In the event this formal inquiry leads to a resolution, both parties are precluded from subsequently filing a formal complaint unless it is demonstrated to the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee) that the terms and conditions of the resolution, if any, have been violated. 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 individual making the inquiry may file a formal written complaint with the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee). 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

    • Although the resolution of allegations of sexual harassment through the inquiry and conference processes is preferred, it is the absolute right of persons who believe they are or have been subjected to sexual harassment to proceed directly with a formal complaint.
    • Formal complaints against faculty and staff must be made in writing by the complainant, and they must be directed to the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee).
    • 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 presidential designee) shall promptly begin an appropriate investigation. If the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee) concludes that a resolution may be achieved by a conference with the employee whose alleged behavior is in question, especially if a conference has not been held with respect to the issue in the formal inquiry stage, such a conference resolution should be attempted. This stage of the formal complaint process may emphasize discretion, mediation, and conciliation. The investigation and resolution will normally not exceed ninety days. The Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee) may, under extraordinary circumstances, extend the time limit to insure a full investigation. During the investigation every effort will be made to restrict the scope of confidentiality as narrowly as possible, but it will be expanded as required by the demands of a thorough investigation. Every attempt shall be made to respect the privacy of both the complainant and the subject of the complaint and investigation.
    • The Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs (or presidential designee(s)) will maintain a record of the investigation and, if no voluntary resolution is reached, will prepare a report to the President or designee containing the findings of the inquiry as to whether sexual harassment occurred and the recommended remedial action. The final decision will be made by the President or designee. The Office of Faculty and Staff Affairs shall maintain confidential records of investigations, reports, decisions, and remedial action resulting from formal complaints. No portion of such records shall be placed in any official personnel file, except as is in compliance with the applicable collective bargaining agreement and statute.
    • The University recognizes the need to protect the rights of both the complainant and the subject of the complaint. 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.

    Remedial Action

    • If findings are made that harassment occurred, the President or designee will take the necessary steps to ensure that appropriate remedial action is taken. This may include individual remedies for the victim or a range of formal or informal disciplinary measures or other personnel actions. If it appears that the formal disciplinary action is required, the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs will initiate such action under applicable disciplinary procedures.
    • 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 complainant shall be informed within three days of the results of any disciplinary action by the University and the results of any appeal. Failure to respect confidentiality may result in civil action initiated by the accused.
    • It is the policy of the California State University that evidence, proceedings, findings, and recommendations (but not the final decision of the President) are confidential and shall not be made public by the institution or by any participant in a hearing, including the person charged. In the event these matters should become public, however, the institution may authorize such public statements as are appropriate and which do not violate any legal prohibitions against such statements.
    Inquiries Concerning or Complaints Against Students

      Formal Inquiry

      • Students or employees who believe they are or may have been victims of sexual harassment involving students may initiate a formal inquiry. The purpose of this process is fourfold:
        • To assure that these individuals understand the nature and scope of a formal process
        • To allow them to receive information on, exploration of, and counsel about the legitimacy of their concerns
        • To allow these individuals to receive a description of the formal administrative mechanisms that exist for resolving cases of sexual harassment
        • To provide the individual with an opportunity, if desired, to resolve the situation short of filing a formal complaint.
      • The Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (or presidential designee) will meet with the individual 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 presidential 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 discretion, mediation, and conciliation. In the conference stage the university representative will attempt insofar as possible to restrict the scope of confidentiality to the individual making the inquiry or to that person and the person whose alleged behavior is the subject of the inquiry. The scope of confidentiality will be extended only so far as necessary for compelling cause and when no reasonable alternative exists.
      • If a formal complaint arising from the inquiry is not initiated, no record of such an inquiry shall be made part of a faculty member's personnel action file, a staff member's employment record, or a student's official file without the consent of the parties involved. A confidential record of formal inquiries and conference resolution activities shall be maintained in the Office of the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs. 
      • In the event that this formal inquiry leads to a resolution, the individual making the inquiry is precluded from subsequently filing a formal complaint unless it is demonstrated to the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs (or presidential designee) that the terms and conditions of the resolution, if any, have been violated. This individual 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 individual making the inquiry 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

        • Although the resolution of allegations of sexual harassment through the inquiry and conference processes is preferred, it is the absolute right of persons who believe they are or have been subjected to sexual harassment to proceed directly with a formal complaint.
        • Formal complaints against students must be made in writing by the complainant, 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 presidential designee) shall promptly begin an appropriate investigation. If the Coordinator of Student Judicial Affairs (or presidential designee) concludes that a resolution may be achieved by a conference with the student whose alleged behavior is in question, especially if a conference has not been held with respect to the issue in the formal inquiry stage, such a conference resolution should be attempted. This stage of the formal complaint process may emphasize discretion, mediation, and conciliation. The investigation and resolution normally will not exceed ninety days. The Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs may, under extraordinary circumstances, extend the time limit to insure a full investigation. During the investigation every effort will be made to restrict the scope of confidentiality as narrowly as possible, but it will be expanded as required by the demands of a thorough investigation. Every attempt shall be made to respect the privacy of both the complainant and the subject of the complaint and investigation.
        • The Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs will maintain a record of the investigation and, if no voluntary resolution is reached, will prepare a report to the President (or designee) containing the findings of the inquiry as to whether sexual harassment occurred and the recommended remedial action. The final decision will be made by the President (or designee). The Office of the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs shall maintain confidential records of investigations, reports, decisions, and remedial action resulting from formal complaints. No portion of such records shall be placed in any official student file, except as is in compliance with applicable statute.

        Remedial Action

        • If findings are made that harassment occurred, the President or designee will take the necessary steps to ensure that appropriate remedial action is taken. This may include individual remedies for the victim or a range of formal or informal disciplinary measures or other personnel actions. If it appears that the formal disciplinary action is required, 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 complainant 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. Failure to respect confidentiality may result in civil action initiated by the accused.
        • It is the policy of the California State University that evidence, proceedings, findings, and recommendations (but not the final decision of the President) are confidential and shall not be made public by the institution or by any participant in a hearing, including the person charged. In the event these matters should become public, however, the institution may authorize such public statements as are appropriate and which do not violate any legal prohibitions against such statements.IMPLEMENTATION

        Responsibility for full implementation and enforcement of this policy lies with the university President or designee.

        The university President or designee will, in consultation with the Counseling Center, the Director of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Staff Affairs, and the Coordinator for Student Judicial Affairs, select individuals from the university administration, faculty, and staff who may also receive informal inquiries, formal inquiries, or formal complaints from students, faculty, and staff. These individuals, who will be vested by the President with the obligation of confidentiality, will receive training in university policies and procedures pertaining to sexual harassment and training in counseling techniques. In selecting these individuals, the President or designee should strive to enhance the gender and ethnic balance of the reporting and investigatory network established by this policy.

        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.