FDU POLICY AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
Fairleigh Dickinson University is committed to maintaining a discrimination-free academic and work environment and no act of sexual harassment by any student, faculty, administrator or staff will be tolerated. Sexual harassment undermines the integrity of academic and employment relationships, undermines morale, and can be destructive to its victims and their associates. The University views such behavior as unprofessional and unacceptable, and all employees, students or associates of the University are strictly prohibited from engaging in conduct that violates this policy.
This Policy applies to behavior on University campuses and at University controlled events off University property.
This Policy requires coordination with procedures that may be set forth in other University documents, such as the Faculty, Staff and Student Handbooks. See paragraph V, below.
II. WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment is often an exploitation of a power relationship, and not exclusively a sexual issue. Sexual harassment is usually initiated and negotiated by a person in a position of authority and is sustained at the expense of another who cannot counter demands without risk of reprisal. In a power relationship the harasser may misuse his or her authority and power to exploit a vulnerable person, contaminating the relations of teacher and student, counselor and client, administrator and teacher, or supervisor and employee. This is also true of those who abuse their administrative or supervisory power in an employment context.
Sexual harassment may also occur in non-power relationships between student and student, co- workers, or colleagues. While most sexual harassment incidents involve a male harasser and a female victim, there have been cases of female harassers and male victims as well as same-sex harassment. In addition, sexual harassment includes gender harassment, unwanted seductive behavior, sexual bribery, sexual coercion or sexual assault ranging from unwanted physical contact to rape.
Sexual harassment takes various forms but is usually categorized as either quid pro quo behavior or actions that create a hostile environment. Quid pro quo behavior is connected with a relationship of control in the employment or pedagogical context and includes a promise to reward or threat to deprive someone of a benefit or status. Such behavior includes:
- Inappropriate, offensive, or unwelcome sexual advances (verbal and/or physical);
- Solicitation or coercion of sexual activity or other sex-related behavior.
- Any act of sexual violence
In summary, it is impossible to present a definitive list of what actions constitute sexual harassment, but some examples, in addition to those above, are:
- unwelcome and unnecessary physical contact, including pinching, patting, or touching.
- sexually offensive remarks, including inappropriate comments about appearance, sexual preference, obscene or dirty jokes or other inappropriate use of sexually explicit or offensive language; leering or whistling; the display in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.
- comments like: "you look nice today in that tight or short [article of clothing]" may be unwelcome and would, therefore, be sexual harassment; even something like an unexpected touching could be sexual harassment if it turns out to be unwelcome and is serious enough to create a hostile or offensive work environment.
- pressing a co-worker or a student for a date after having been refused.
III. EDUCATION AND TRAINING
As an educational institution, the University places a high value on maintaining an atmosphere conducive to effective learning, which can be best realized only when no one is subjected to discrimination of any kind and when everyone's academic freedom is respected.
The University is committed to undertaking a pro-active approach to the matter of sexual harassment, and endeavoring to provide every member of the FDU community with some form of formal training addressing the issue of sexual harassment. The training, which will eventually include all new students and employees, will be repeated periodically for all faculty, staff and students. The Human Resources Department is charged with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing specific and general programs to make the University community aware of the nature of and potential for sexual harassment in the academic and administrative aspects of campus life. The Human Resources Department will develop resources and training sessions for staff employees and will make them available to the Vice Presidents, Provosts and the senior officer on each campus in Student Affairs who are responsible for promulgating these programs.
In general, these programs will be designed to: a. help educate the University community about sexual harassment; b. provide updated information to the FDU community on a regular basis about the University's sexual harassment policy and procedures; c. be conducted as special programs, and in coordination with various staff training initiatives, faculty development programs, student orientation and information seminars.
IV. REPORTING AND ADJUDICATION PROCEDURES
a. Reporting of Complaint: The primary role of the Intake Officer is to assure that the complaint is brought to the attention of the Investigating Officer. Any FDU student or employee who feels subjected to sexual harassment in any manner should immediately report the matter in any one of the following ways. Students should consult the bulletin board in the Office of the Campus Dean of Students for the information to whom they can make reports. An employee may report it to his/her supervisor or anyone employed in a supervisory capacity. Students or employees can also report it directly to any of the following: to the person assigned to investigate sexual harassment (the "Investigating Officer") and to the Intake Officers. A list of the campus addresses of the foregoing appears on the last page. Any person who relates an incident about sexual harassment to a University employee with supervisory responsibility should realize that such person is required to report the incident to the Investigating Officer.
For these purposes, an employee with supervisory responsibility includes (but is not limited to) chairpersons or assistant chairpersons of academic departments or directors of academic programs. A staff member co-worker of the employee (who is not a supervisor) or a faculty member without supervisory responsibility is urged, but not required, to report a complaint of which he/she has first-hand knowledge. Anyone with a question whether he or she is required to report a complaint should refer the question generally to the Investigating Officer.
The function carried out by the Investigating Officer is under the responsibility of the Office of the President. The Investigating Officer serves as an impartial fact finder to investigate the complaint and can appoint a "designee" to assist him or her in carrying out any of his or her functions described hereunder.
The University regards charges of sexual harassment as a serious matter; therefore, should the University's investigation determine that the allegations filed were baseless or intentionally dishonest, the complainant is subject to sanctions.
b. Informal Procedure: The Investigating Officer may suggest voluntary mediation of the complaint in the form of discussions with the complainant, respondent and other parties, as necessary, with the aim of reaching an agreement acceptable to all parties. The complainant shall be under no compulsion to participate in an informal resolution, and no complainant will be subject to adverse action for refusing.
A formal complaint can be filed at any time during the informal process, but the complainant should file a formal complaint within 15 working days from the circulation by the Investigating Officer of a proposed informal agreement if the result is unacceptable to the complainant.
c. Formal Procedure:
(1) Initial Investigation. When a formal complaint is filed, the Investigating Officer will interview the complainant to ascertain the details behind the complaint and will then interview the respondent(s). This may include fact finding by the Investigating Officer and discussions with any witnesses who may have knowledge of the allegations in the complaint. As part of this phase of the procedure, the Investigating Officer has the option to convene an Advisory Panel.
(2) The Advisory Panel. The Executive Vice President of the University will establish a panel (with rotating membership of from three to six members) from the University community at large who the Executive Vice President considers meet the criterion of being "reasonable people." The panel will present a "sense of the community" about the degree (if any) of the pervasiveness or seriousness of the incident(s) and whether the incidents would create for a reasonable man or a reasonable woman an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment. The panel will keep confidential the information it receives and the opinion it provides. As an advisory group, its opinions and recommendations will not be binding on any decision-maker.
d. Other Issues: At times, a sexual harassment complaint may also involve academic or work performance issues or issues relating to race and ethnicity. Sometimes these other issues can not be separated from the harassment issue. In these cases, the Human Resources Department may consult with the offices of Academic Deans, Student Deans, OMA/AA, the Vice Presidents and the Provosts and other persons, as appropriate. Reasonable efforts will be made to separate issues related to sexual harassment from other issues in order to preserve the privacy concerns inhering in the former.
e. Determinations and Report to the Vice President or Provost: The Investigating Officer is responsible for reaching a determination in formal complaints based upon the record of the investigation. The Investigating Officer's report will include any opinions and recommendations of the Advisory Panel.
The report to the Vice President or the Provost of the department in which the respondent works (and, if necessary, to the General Counsel) is expected with reasonable promptness after the filing of the formal complaint. The closure of the University during certain periods or the unavailability of witnesses are factors to be taken into account.
f. Action of the Vice President or Provost: In deciding whether sexual harassment occurred, the Vice President shall make his decision based upon the record developed by the Investigating Officer, but the Vice President or Provost, on his own initiative, may consult with the complainant, the respondent and the advisory panel. If the Vice President or Provost concludes disciplinary action is required, he or she will issue it. Thereafter, should the respondent so request, the Vice President or Provost will review his/her decision whether sexual harassment has taken place and, if so, what discipline is appropriate.
Based upon the discussion with the complainant or respondent, the Vice President or Provost may change his or her decision or refer it to the Investigating Officer for further investigation.
Further discussion about discipline appears in V., below. The complainant has a right to be informed of the Vice President's or Provost's decision on the allegations made of sexual harassment. The complainant also shall be informed that corrective action has been or will be taken, but the complainant does not have a right to be informed of the details of any discipline.
g. Appeals: Either the complainant or respondent can appeal a Vice President's or Provost's determination, and the respondent can appeal the discipline fixed by the Vice President or Provost. An appeal involves a review of the case by the President of the University, which is final and binding.
h. Confidentiality: The University will take reasonable steps to cooperate with the request of a complainant, a respondent or any other person providing information to treat that information confidentially. The University will try to honor the request to the extent permitted by law and to the extent that continued protection does not impede the University's ability to investigate and to take corrective action. Unfortunately, no one at the University can guarantee that information that should be confidential will remain so. A complainant should realize that a charge of sexual harassment is serious and that a respondent must be adequately informed of the details of the complaint in order that he or she can present an appropriate explanation. All parties should realize the facts involved in a sexual harassment charge are very sensitive, and the University will look severely at any attempt to use the threat of publicity to discourage effectuation of this policy. Likewise, when a situation is revealed that a University official believes poses a likelihood of a continuing violation of this or some other policy, the official may take appropriate steps using that information to try to avoid its repetition. Persons contacted as part of the reporting or investigatory process should keep information confidential. The University will consider a breach of confidentiality a serious matter that will subject anyone committing a breach subject to discipline, including termination or expulsion.
i. Records: A record of all complaints, proceedings, findings and recommendations will be kept in the Office of the Investigating Officer.
j. Filing outside the University: The complainant has the right to file charges outside the University with appropriate governmental agencies or through private attorneys. These cases will be handled by University's General Counsel. The University, however, seeks to resolve any cases of sexual harassment through its internal procedure when possible.
V. CORRECTIVE ACTIONS AND SANCTIONS
The purpose of any recommended corrective actions is to remedy any injury to the complainant and to prevent further harassment. Recommended corrective actions will reflect the level of sexual harassment involved. Based on the findings in the record of the particular case, appropriate corrective actions might include, for example, re-taking of a course or a change of grade or other academic record for a student who has been the victim of harassment.
Appropriate sanctions may include verbal reprimand of the harasser, written reprimand to be placed in personnel file, probation, transfer, suspension or dismissal of the harasser. In addition, the respondent may be required to undergo counseling, therapy or a psychiatric evaluation as a condition of employment or maintaining student status. Disciplinary action may be imposed immediately or held in abeyance of the evaluation or therapy.
In all cases, the report will not mandate or preclude any actions taken in response to other, non- sexual harassment aspects of the complaint. Disciplinary personnel actions, including the suspension or dismissal of any employee of the University, are variously governed by the University Faculty Handbook, personnel policies, and, in some instances, by collective bargaining agreements. The procedures for discipline and dismissal in the Faculty Handbook may be carried out simultaneously or sequentially by the University. Disciplinary actions against students are governed by the policies and procedures established in the FDU Student Handbook.
VI. WRITTEN NOTICE
Written notice of the existence of this policy will be posted in visible locations on all campuses, and all members of the FDU community will be informed periodically through inter-campus mail of the sexual harassment policy.
VII. SUPPORT SERVICES
Support services are offered to all students through the Counseling Centers. Additionally, members of the University community may be referred to outside support services through the Human Resources Department or the Counseling Centers.
VIII. PROHIBITION AGAINST RETALIATION AND COERCION
Attempts to coerce, intimidate, threaten or interfere with anyone who exercises, has exercised or has helped another person exercise his or her rights regarding freedom from sexual harassment are grounds for amending the original complaint or filing a new complaint as well as further disciplinary action, including termination or expulsion.
Investigating Officer and Assistant Director of Human Resources
Dickinson Hall, Room 3311
Mail Stop: H-DH3-05
Mail Code: H-DH3-17
Mail Code: H-AT1-01
Edward Williams Hall
Mail Code: H-EWC-01
Ferguson Recreation Center
Mail Code: M-RC2-01
College at Florham
Campus Provost Office
Mail Code: M-MS1-01
College at Florham
Dean of Students Office
Mail Code: M-LA0-01
College at Florham
Regional Center for Students with Learning Disabilities
Mail Code: M-MS0-07
College at Florham
See Section IV.a.(above) for other offices to which reports of sexual harassment can be made.