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Harassment and Discrimination

From Appalachian State University Policy Manual

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Policy 401.2

1 Introduction

1.1 Appalachian State University is committed to providing an atmosphere in which students are free from all forms of impermissible discrimination.

2 Scope

2.1 This policy applies to all students of Appalachian State University.

3 Definitions

3.1 Complaint

is a complaint or report by a person alleging the occurrence of harassment or retaliation prohibited by this policy. All complaints must be reduced to writing, either initially or as part of an investigation.

3.2 Complainant

is a person who complains of discrimination, harassment or retaliation prohibited by this policy.

3.3 Harassment

is defined as unwelcome and unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, political affiliation, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression that creates a hostile environment or circumstances involving quid pro quo. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, all sex offenses.

3.4 Hostile Environment

is one that both a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the particular person who is the object of the harassment perceives to be hostile or abusive. Hostile environment is determined by looking at all of the circumstances, including the frequency of the allegedly harassing conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, and whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, academic advancement, participation in extracurricular activities or access to University services. In some cases, a single incident may constitute harassment.
Examples of conduct that could create or contribute to hostile environment harassment may include:
  1. Unwelcome jokes about disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
  2. Offensive or degrading physical contact or coercive behavior, including stroking, patting or similar physical contact.
  3. Pictures, posters, graffiti or written materials displayed in a workplace or classroom which are offensive or obscene.
  4. Exclusion of individuals from meetings or University activities due to their religious beliefs or other protected class status.

3.5 Impermissible Discrimination

is defined as adverse treatment of a person based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, political affiliation, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression.

3.6 Quid Pro Quo Harassment

consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, academic advancement, or access to University services, or (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting that individual related to employment, academic advancement, participation in extracurricular activities or access to University services.
Examples of quid pro quo harassment may include:
  1. Promising a promotion or higher grade if an individual acquiesces to sexual advances.
  2. Action to deny membership in an organization to a student who has declined a request for sexual favors from a leader or member of that organization.

3.7 Retaliation

is defined as adverse treatment of a person because that person filed a complaint about or otherwise opposed harassment or other forms of impermissible discrimination, or provided information relative to a complaint, or was involved in the complaint in any way.

4 Policy and Procedure Statements

4.1 Prohibition of Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination, and Retaliation

4.1.1 Harassment based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, political affiliation, veteran status, or disability is a form of discrimination in violation of federal and/or State law and Appalachian State University policy. It is the internal policy of Appalachian State University to prohibit harassment and other forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as gender identity and expression. Neither harassment nor other forms of impermissible discrimination will be tolerated. Retaliation against any person opposing, complaining of, or participating in an investigation of harassment or other forms of impermissible discrimination is a violation of federal and State law and/or Appalachian State University policy, and will not be tolerated. Retaliation against a complainant's spouse, partner, or other close personal relation to the complainant is also impermissible.

4.1.2 Any interference, coercion, restraint or reprisal directed against any person opposing, complaining of, or participating in an investigation of harassment and/or other forms of impermissible discrimination is prohibited.

4.2 Procedures

4.2.1 Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to harassment, discrimination, or retaliation by a student should contact the Office of Student Conduct for information on filing a complaint against a student. The Office of Student Conduct is located in Room 221 of the Plemmons Student Union and can be reached at (828) 262-2704.

4.2.2 Any student who believes that he or she has been subjected to harassment, discrimination, or retaliation by a University employee, visitor or contractor should contact the Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance (EDC) for information on filing a complaint. EDC is located at 123 I.G. Greer Hall and can be reached at (828) 262-2144.

4.2.3 Upon receipt of a complaint, the Office of Student Conduct or EDC, as the case may be, will conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation. All actions taken to investigate and resolve complaints will be conducted with as much discretion and confidentiality as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation. In order to conduct a thorough investigation, the investigator(s) may discuss the complaint with witnesses and those persons involved in or affected by the complaint, as well as University officials who have a need to know.

4.2.4 All students and employees have a duty to cooperate fully in an investigation conducted pursuant to this policy, to provide investigators complete and accurate information requested or otherwise relevant to the inquiry, and to maintain confidentiality of the investigation. Any breach of this policy shall be treated as misconduct subject to disciplinary action.

4.3 Education and Training

4.3.1 EDC provides harassment and discrimination training to students and employees. The training includes in-person educational workshops and on-line training.

4.3.2 EDC disseminates information about this policy to all students in the form of brochures, posters, electronic media and newsletters.

4.3.3 EDC participates in information sessions for new students.

5 Additional References

6 Authority

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (42 U.S.C. 12101, et seq.)
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.)
Title II, Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2000a, et seq.)
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2000d, et seq.)
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.)

7 Contact Information

Office of Equity, Diversity and Compliance: (828) 262-2144
Office of Student Conduct: (828) 262-2704

8 Effective Date

March 17, 2004

9 Revision Dates

March 6, 2012