Definition of Sexual
Scope of Policy
Augusta State University Policy and Procedures on Sexual Harassment
Policy Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended provides that "it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally assisted education programs and activities. Long-standing legal authority establishes that harassment of students can be a form of sex discrimination covered by Title IX.
Harassment of any student or employee on the basis of sex violates federal laws.
Sexual harassment is also prohibited under the Policies of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, which can be found in Section 802.18 in BOR Personnel Policy Manual Section 800: http://www.usg.edu/regents/policymanual/800.phtml
ASU policies and practices prohibit, among other things, sexual harassment of students and employees, including persons of the same sex.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, which creates an unproductive or offensive, hostile, or intimidating working or learning environment and which has a harmful effect on an individual. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature are inappropriate in the university environment and are prohibited by law. Such conduct constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a individual’s employment or academic standing; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting an individual; or
- Such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
Examples of sexual harassment may include but are not limited to:
- inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, including remarks about a person’s clothing, body, sexual activity, experience, or orientation;
- inappropriate letters, notes, or other written materials;
- inappropriate sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;
- suggestive or insulting sounds;
- suggestive or obscene gestures;
- inappropriately displaying sexually oriented materials such as photographs, videos, computer images, graphics, cartoons, or drawings. It should be noted that sexually explicit materials may at times be appropriately used in academic settings.
- inappropriate touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body;
- attempted or actual kissing or fondling;
- inappropriate invitations or propositions for sexual activity.
This pattern of conduct creates a hostile environment when the conduct unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or academic environment.
Scope of Policy
This policy is intended to cover sexual harassment by peers or by persons at different levels of authority in the work or study environment (for example, faculty-faculty, staff-staff, student-student, student-faculty, faculty-student harassment, etc.) This policy applies only to sexual harassment. Those who feel they have been harassed or discriminated against for other reasons, such as gender or race, should avail themselves of other grievance procedures (see appropriate grievance procedures). More severe behaviors, such as stalking or threats to physical safety, should be reported to Public Safety or the police.
Retaliation against an individual for reporting sexual harassment or for participating in an investigation is prohibited. Retaliation is a serious violation which can subject the offender to sanctions independent of the merits of the sexual harassment allegation. Examples of retaliatory actions may include but are not limited to punitive uses of:
- performance evaluations;
- employee action (e.g., termination, transfer, or demotion);
- resource allocation;
- work assignments.
Consensual romantic or sexual relationships between supervisor and employee or between faculty and their students are strongly discouraged. No person involved in a consensual relationship should have direct responsibility for evaluating the employment or academic performance or for making decisions regarding the promotion, tenure, or compensation of the other party to the relationship. In the event of an allegation of sexual harassment, the University will be less sympathetic to a defense based upon consent when the facts establish that a professional power differential existed within the relationship.
It is a violation of this policy for anyone knowingly to make false accusations of sexual harassment. Failure to prove a claim of sexual harassment is not equivalent to a false allegation. Those who are falsely accused may avail themselves of other grievance procedures (see appropriate grievance procedures).
Processing of Complaints
Alleged incidents of sexual harassment should be promptly reported. The complainant may choose to file the initial complaint with any chair, administrator, or member of the Sexual Harassment Committee. All complaints consistent with the definitions of sexual harassment herein should be forwarded to and investigated by the Sexual Harassment Committee. Any person implicated in a complaint may be bypassed in the reporting of the complaint.
The names of the members of the Sexual Harassment Committee are listed on the annual Augusta State University Statement on Sexual Harassment, which is posted on central bulletin boards throughout the campus and on this University web site. Names and copies of the policy are also available through the following departments:
- Human Resources (Katherine and Pickens Street)
- Student Activities (Jaguar Student Activities Center)
- Vice President for Academic Affairs (Bellevue Hall)
- Vice President for Business and Student Services (Fanning Hall)
- Dean of Students (Bellevue Hall)
The complainant will be advised about both the informal and formal steps that can be taken to address the situation. All allegations of sexual harassment will be investigated promptly and thoroughly by the Sexual Harassment Committee. NOTE: This Policy is consistent with Board of Regents Personnel Policy 802.18 and Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. Legal actions for claims of sexual harassment may also be taken under Title IX and Executive Order 11246.
The committee will use its best efforts to keep complaints and reviews of complaints confidential. Only proper authorities will be advised of the complaint. Any complaint, informal or formal, received by a member of the Sexual Harassment Committee will be reviewed by the entire committee.
Informal Grievance Procedure
It is advantageous to all members of the University community for allegations of sexual harassment to be resolved promptly and to the satisfaction of all involved parties. Individuals seeking resolution of a sexual harassment complaint may first seek to pursue informal procedures through the Sexual Harassment Committee. As part of the informal step, the Sexual Harassment Committee will undertake an independent informal investigation of the incident.
Informal procedures may include but are not limited to:
- A discussion between the complainant and one or more authorized officials;
- A discussion with the person against whom the complaint is made;
- A discussion with the supervisor(s) of the person against whom the complaint is made; or
- A discussion between the person against whom the complaint is made and an authorized official.
If the complaint can be resolved informally in a manner that is agreeable to both the complainant and the respondent, the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee shall summarize the resolution of the complaint in a written report and provide a copy of the summary to the complainant and the respondent.
If it is the finding of the Committee during the informal grievance procedure that the respondent should be exonerated of any complaints, this finding shall be clearly stated in the summary. Within a reasonable time the Chair will send the summary and any written documents submitted or developed during the proceedings to the President’s Office for permanent filing. At the discretion of the Committee, copies of the summary may also be sent to any supervisor or other person who was involved in the informal resolution.
If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee will notify the complainant that he or she may file a formal grievance; the Chair will also inform the respondent that such notification has been given. Within a reasonable time, the Chair shall send a written summary of the committee’s efforts and any written documents submitted or developed during the proceedings to the President’s Office for permanent filing. If it is the finding of the Committee during the informal grievance procedures that even in a case where a complaint cannot be resolved informally the respondent should be exonerated of any complaints, this finding shall be clearly stated in the summary. At the committee’s discretion, copies of the summary may be sent to any person who was involved in efforts to reach an informal resolution.
Formal Grievance Procedure
If a complaint cannot be resolved informally or if the complainant wishes to bypass the informal procedure, the formal grievance procedure may be initiated.
- The complainant will submit a statement of a grievance to the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee which shall include a written statement of the alleged incident and the relief desired.
- The Sexual Harassment Committee will provide a copy of the complaint and the requested relief to the respondent. The respondent shall respond in writing to the Sexual Harassment Committee within ten (10) working days following the receipt of the complaint. The respondent’s reply will be provided to the complainant. If the matter is not resolved through the exchange of correspondence, the complaint may proceed to the next step.
- The Sexual Harassment Committee will ordinarily arrange a meeting between the complainant and the respondent within ten (10) working days after receipt of the respondent’s reply in Step 2 above. This meeting will be chaired by the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee and attended by members of the Sexual Harassment Committee. The purpose of this meeting is to attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of the complaint. Both the complainant and the respondent may be accompanied by a non-participating advisor. If the outcome of this meeting is not satisfactory, the complaint may proceed to the next step.
- The Sexual Harassment Committee will undertake an independent investigation of the incident. The procedures for this investigation will include the following:
- The complainant will be afforded the opportunity to file another statement, setting forth in detail the alleged incidents of sexual harassment, any supporting documentation, and the relief desired;
- The Sexual Harassment Committee will invite statements from witnesses suggested by the complainant;
- The respondent will be afforded the opportunity to file another statement after reviewing the written statement of the complainant; and
The Sexual Harassment Committee or other authorized individual will invite statements from witnesses suggested by the respondent.
- Within ten (10) working days after concluding the proceedings, the chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee shall prepare a written report that summarizes the Committee’s proceedings, findings, and any recommendations for action to be taken by the University. The findings may range from exoneration of the respondent to substantiation of all complaints. Copies of the summary shall be sent to the complainant and the respondent. At the committee’s discretion, copies of the summary may be sent to any person(s) involved in formal grievance proceedings and to any university official(s) in the chain of supervision above the respondent. Within ten (10) working days after the conclusion of the Committee’s work, the summary and any written documents submitted or developed during the proceedings will be sent to the President’s Office for permanent filing.
- If a complaint against an employee is substantiated, the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee will communicate its proposed resolution or recommendations for action to the appropriate university official(s), ordinarily including the respondent’s immediate supervisor or department chair and the chain of supervision above the immediate supervisor. If a complaint against a student is substantiated, the Chair of the Sexual Harassment Committee will communicate its proposed resolution or recommendations for action to the Dean of Students. In cases of a substantiated complaint against the President, the communication, along with the summary of the committee’s work and any written documents submitted or developed during the proceedings, shall be sent to the Chancellor of the University System.
- If the proposed resolution or recommendation is not satisfactory to the complainant or the respondent, either party may, within ten (10) working days of the receipt of communication from the Committee, submit a written request for a review by the President. The request must explain and substantiate the grounds for a review. Denial of due process is an acceptable reason for review. Ordinarily within ten (10) working days after receiving a request for review, the President shall either accept or deny the request. If the request for review is accepted, the President may appoint an ad hoc committee to conduct the review and shall communicate the results of the review ordinarily within twenty (20) working days after granting the request for a review. Under ordinary circumstances, the results of the review shall constitute final institutional action in the case.
Sexual Harassment Committee Members
- Mary-Jane Anderson - Wiley, (Chair) Educational Leadership, Counseling and Special Education, 706-667-4497
- Penny Alderman, Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work, 706-737-1735
- Dalton Brannen, College of Business Administration, 706-737-1560
- Susie Ennis, Business Office, 706-667-4150
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the University System of Georgia
Augusta State University 2500 Walton Way Augusta,
Georgia 30904 - 2200
August 25, 2011
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