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University Policies

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Policy Statement:

East Stroudsburg University is committed to maintaining a learning and work environment that is free from sexual harassment.

Acts of sexual harassment seriously undermine the atmosphere of trust and respect that is essential to a university community.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

It is the purpose of this policy to define prohibited conduct and provide guidance on the procedures for addressing complaints.

While the University is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression, sexual harassment identified in this policy is neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.

Sexual harassment is prohibited and is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion from the University.

Any member of the University community who experiences sexual harassment prohibited under this policy should immediately report the incident to the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity.

In cases where an individual reports sexual harassment prohibited under this policy to an administrator, faculty member, or staff member, the person receiving the complaint should contact the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity immediately.

Related Unprofessional Conduct

Since academic and professional relationships are central to the mission and goals of the University, it is essential to establish a standard of expected conduct in these relationships.

Personal relationships should not be allowed to conflict with academic or professional relationships or to interfere with an individual's work or educational experience.

A University employee with an academic or supervisory responsibility for a student or employee has real or potential power and authority over that student or employee in a variety of roles including, but not limited to, instructor, advisor, coach, work-study supervisor, committee member, etc.

Such employee shall not abuse that power.

Amorous and sexual relationships between a student or employee and an individual with academic or supervisory responsibility for that student or employee may be presumed to be exploitative and may constitute unprofessional conduct.

The consensual nature of such a relationship does not necessarily constitute a defense to a charge of sexual harassment or related unprofessional conduct.

Therefore, any employee with academic responsibility for a student who enters into a sexual relationship with that student or any employee with supervisory responsibility who enters into a sexual relationship with an employee he or she supervises enters into that relationship with risk.

These persons will be subject to scrutiny if a complaint of sexual harassment is leveled against the "supervisory person" by the "subordinate person" or if a third party brings a complaint.

Enforcement: The University will take action to prevent sexual harassment, including, if necessary and as appropriate, disciplining any individual whose behavior violates this policy. Disciplinary action for violation of this policy may range from a disciplinary warning to expulsion or termination from the University.

Retaliation: No retaliatory action is to be taken against any person seeking advice, filing a complaint or serving as a witness or otherwise cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment.

Any person found to have engaged in retaliatory action may be subject to discipline by the University.

Retaliation is considered a separate offense from the original complaint, regardless of the outcome of the original complaint.

Anyone who believes they have experienced retaliation should promptly contact the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity.

False Charges: Accusations of sexual harassment are serious matters. False accusations will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action independent of the outcome of a complaint.

The University may also take disciplinary action against someone who knowingly provides false information during the investigation of a complaint of sexual harassment.

Training: In keeping with the PASSHE Board of Governor’s Policy 2009-03: Social Equity, the University recognizes a mandatory obligation to conduct sexual harassment prevention training on a yearly basis for all employees, in addition to providing training for new student and employee orientations.

All faculty, staff, and administrators are required to participate in this training within 60 days of commencing employment and at least yearly thereafter.

Training will be available in both classroom format and online.

Additional Rights: Individuals are encouraged to use procedures for filing a sexual harassment complaint but are not required to do so and may choose to pursue other civil and legal options.

University employees may choose to pursue the complaint through their appropriate collective bargaining agreement grievance procedures.

Students and employees may choose to make use of the procedures of external agencies listed in the Procedures for Sexual Harassment.

Managers are encouraged to pursue matters through the PASSHE Board of Governors Policy 1983-01-A: Merit Principles, before proceeding to an external agency.

The procedures for filing a sexual harassment complaint are not intended to interfere with any legal rights provided under the statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or the United States of America, or interfere with any rights an employee may have under their appropriate collective bargaining agreement.

Appeal Statement:

Not Specified in Current Policy

Definitions:

Under this policy, the definition of sexual harassment is intended at all times to be construed in accordance with applicable laws.

Sexual harassment:a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, whether or not accompanied by promises or threats, and other sexual conduct when:

  1. submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's education or employment or participation in other University activities; or
  2. submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis or substantial factor in assignment, advancement or evaluation, or in making other academic or employment decisions affecting an individual; or
  3. such conduct is so severe or pervasive so as to create a hostile or abusive work or educational environment, which unreasonably interferes with work or educational performance, or negatively effects an individuals’ employment or education opportunities.

Accuser: The individual(s) alleging the occurrence of sexual harassment.

Accused: The individual(s) whose actions are alleged to have violated this policy.

Other Relevant Information:

Discrimination and Harassment and Sexual Harassment Procedures