Section: Personnel
Policy Number: 4-29
Policy Name: University Policy Against Sexual and Other Unlawful Harassment
Date: August 25, 1998
Revisions: October 31, 2005; May 5, 2006; October 9, 2009; July 1, 2010; April 30, 2012

  1. PURPOSE

    1. The purpose of the policy set forth below is to promote an academic and work environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination whether that discrimination or harassment is because of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. It is designed to ensure a safe and nondiscriminatory environment that protects both the constitutional and civil rights of students, faculty and staff. Acts of discrimination and harassment undermine the University's mission by threatening the careers, educational experiences, and well-being of those associated with the University. This policy expresses the University’s opposition to discrimination and harassment and assists the University to comply with federal, state, and local legal mandates in relation to such misconduct.

    2. This policy is intended to ensure that the University community remains free from harassment and discrimination against all members of the University community.  As such, students, faculty, staff and third-party vendors are permitted to file a complaint under this policy.  Relatedly, students, faculty and staff are permitted to file a complaint against a third-party vendor working for the University.  Following an investigation, if the third-party vendor is determined to have engaged in harassment or discrimination in violation of this policy remedial actions will be taken up to and including restricting the individual from being on the University campus and/or providing services to the University.

  2. NOTICE AND POLICY OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

    1. Prohibition Against Discrimination.

      The University of Delaware does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies.

    2. Coordination

      1. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and related statutes and regulations: Tom Webb, Director, Office of Disabilities Support Services, 240 Academy Street, Alison Hall Suite 119, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-4643.

      2. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and to serve as the overall campus coordinator for purposes of Title IX compliance: Bindu Kolli, Chief Policy Advisor, Office of Equity and Inclusion, 305 Hullihen Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-8063.

      3. The following individuals have been designated as deputy Title IX coordinators: for Athletics, Samantha Huge, Deputy Director, Athletics & Recreational Services, 127 Bob Carpenter Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-3103; and for Student Life, Dawn Thompson, Dean of Students/AVP for Student Life, 101 Hullihen Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, 302-831-8939. Inquiries concerning the application of anti-discrimination laws may be referred to the Title IX coordinators or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.

      4. Inquiries concerning compliance with the Age Discrimination Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act should be referred to the Office of Labor Relations.


      5. The name of the official heading each of the responsible offices listed above and the address and telephone number for each office can be obtained by referring to the contact information listed on the website.


      6. For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, visit U.S. Department of Education - Office for Civil Rights for the address and phone number that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.

    3. Complaints Against Students.

      Discrimination and harassment complaints filed against students are subject to a separate procedure set forth at the Office of Student Conduct.

    4. First Amendment Protections.

      Nothing in this policy is meant to infringe upon First Amendment or academic freedom protections set forth in the Faculty Handbook and in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University of Delaware and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).

  3. PROHIBITED CONDUCT

    1. Sexual Harassment.

      1. Sexual harassment is unlawful and is prohibited at the University of Delaware.

      2. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic advancement, (b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual, or (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or unreasonably creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.


      3. The alleged conduct must be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victim's position taking into account all of the circumstances involved in a particular matter.

      4. The following is a non-exhaustive list of actions that may constitute sexual harassment, whether the harasser is a co-worker, supervisor, student, faculty member or vendor:

        1. A demand for sexual favors accompanied by implied threats about the person's employment or academic status, or implied promises of preferential treatment;
        2. Persistent, unwelcome flirtation, requests for dates, advances or propositions of a sexual nature;
        3. Unwanted touching such as patting, pinching, hugging or repeated brushing against an individual's body;
        4. Repeated degrading or insulting comments that demean an individual's sexuality or sex;
        5. Unwarranted displays of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; or
        6. Sexual assault.

      5. Behavior of a sexual nature that is not sexual harassment may nonetheless be unprofessional in the workplace, disruptive in the classroom, or violate other University policies and could warrant remedial actions and/or discipline.

    2. Other Discriminatory Harassment.

      1. Harassment of an individual or group of individuals based on race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law is unlawful and is prohibited at the University of Delaware.
      2. Other discriminatory harassment includes any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct toward another that is based on the other's race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, veteran status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law, and that (a) unreasonably creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning and/or working environment or (b) unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or academic performance.
      3. Discriminatory harassment goes beyond the mere expression of views or thoughts (spoken or written) that an individual may find offensive. The conduct must be sufficiently serious that it unreasonably limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the activities of the University.
      4. The alleged conduct must be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victim's position, taking into account all of the circumstances involved in a particular matter.
      5. Certain behavior alleged to be discriminatory may not rise to the level of discriminatory harassment but may nonetheless be unprofessional in the workplace, disruptive in the classroom, or violate other University policies and could warrant remedial actions and/or discipline.

    3. Non-Retaliation. It is a violation of University policy to retaliate in any way against students or employees because they have raised allegations of sexual or other discriminatory harassment. Person(s) against whom the complaint is lodged also bear a responsibility to abstain from retaliatory behavior toward the complainant(s) and/or any individual participating in the investigation.

    4. Because a charge of discriminatory harassment may have serious consequences, complainant(s) must bring the charge in good faith and in accordance with University policy. A complainant whose allegations are found to be brought with malicious intent will be subject to disciplinary action.

    5. Consensual Relationships.

      1. Romantic and/or sexual relationships (hereafter referred to as “consensual relationships”) that occur in educational or supervisory contexts present serious ethical concerns and can compromise the University’s academic and working environment. Relationships between students/employees and their teachers, advisors, teaching/graduate assistants, coaches, and/or supervisors should be conducted in a way that avoid potential conflicts of interest, exploitation, or bias. For example, a conflict of interest arises when an individual evaluates the work or performance of a person with whom he or she is engaged in a consensual relationship because of the inherent power differential.

      2. Prohibited Conduct.

        1. An employee shall not exercise academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative or supervisory) for any student with whom the employee has a consensual relationship.
        2. An employee shall not conduct performance evaluations, or make salary decisions, decisions regarding promotion and tenure, or decisions on continuation of employment for a person with whom he or she has a consensual relationship.
        3. Consensual relationships are prohibited when effective arrangements to remove the conflict and mitigate adverse effects on third parties cannot be made.

      3. Procedural Requirements.

        1. An employee entering or in a consensual relationship as defined in this policy, or a current or prospective employee offered a position who will be in such a relationship should the position be accepted, shall immediately:

          1. Report the relationship to a higher level administrator, to the hiring official, or to an administrator above the hiring official; and
          2. Cooperate in actions taken to eliminate any actual or potential conflicts of interest and to mitigate adverse effects on third parties.

        2. The administrator or official who receives the report shall:

          1. Treat the information as confidentially as possible;

          2. Promptly eliminate conflicts of interest and mitigate adverse effects on third parties by:

            1. Transferring one of the individuals to another position; or
            2. Transferring supervisory, decision-making, evaluative, academic or advisory responsibilities; or
            3. Providing an additional layer of oversight to the supervisory role; and

          3. Document the steps taken.

        3. The administrator or official should consult with the Office of Human Resources for assistance in complying with these steps.

      4. Non-Retaliation. Retaliation against persons who report concerns about consensual relationships is prohibited and constitutes a violation of this policy.

      5. Complaints. Complaints alleging harassment or bias may be filed by either party to the consensual relationship or by an aggrieved party outside the relationship affected by the perceived harassment or bias. Complaints will be investigated by the Vice President for Finance and Administration (or designee) following the procedures described below.

  4. COMPLAINT PROCEDURES

    1. Introduction. An individual who believes that he or she has been discriminated against or harassed, as defined in this policy, by another University employee or vendor may seek resolution through the following complaint procedures. While these procedures contain reporting and response deadlines, please note that the Vice President for Finance and Administration may extend for a reasonable period of time any of the deadlines specified in this section.

    2. Definitions. As used in this policy, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

      1. “Days” means business days when the University is open.
      2. “Vice President for Finance and Administration” means that official or his or her designee.
      3. “OVPFA” means the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
      4. “Investigator” means the person in the OVPFA designated by the Vice President for Finance and Administration to serve in that capacity. The Vice President for Finance and Administration shall not appoint himself or herself to serve as Investigator.
      5. The “Complainant” means the person who initiates the complaint process under this policy.
      6. The “Respondent” means the person against whom a complaint is lodged under this policy.

    3. Initiating a Complaint.

      1. Individuals who believe that they are being subjected to discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment, shall discuss the matter with their supervisor/advisor, if appropriate, or directly contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), Office of Labor/Employee Relations (OLR), or Office of Human Resources (HR) for information, resources, and possible informal resolution. Supervisors/advisors who have been contacted by a Complainant pursuant to this section shall promptly notify and consult with OEI, OLR or HR. If a supervisor/advisor is contacted by a Complainant regarding allegations of sexual harassment, the supervisor/advisor will promptly notify the Title IX coordinator. Faculty members who believe they are being subjected to sexual or other discriminatory harassment, or are being accused of sexual or other discriminatory harassment, may also contact the AAUP.

      2. If the Complainant wishes to pursue the matter beyond informal resolution, a formal complaint must be filed with the OVPFA. Once a formal complaint is filed, it will be subject to further investigation by the Investigator.

    4. Title IX Obligations. If a supervisor/advisor or other University office (such as OEI, OLR, HR, Office of Student Conduct, etc.) is contacted by a Complainant regarding allegations of sexual harassment, the individual in receipt of such information will promptly notify the Title IX coordinator. In order to meet the University’s legal obligations, the Title IX coordinator may determine that an investigation is warranted without a formal complaint if the University has sufficient notice that sexual harassment may have occurred and/or the allegations of sexual harassment are particularly serious (such as coerced sexual acts). Pursuant to its Title IX obligations, the University may take interim measures it deems necessary during an investigation to ensure the safety and well-being of the Complainant and/or University community.

    5. Formal Complaint Procedures.

      1. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Investigator shall meet with the Respondent, his/her department chairperson or immediate supervisor, and, if the Respondent is a faculty member, the college dean or unit head. A Respondent who is a faculty member may also choose to have the AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer present at the meeting. Such meeting or meetings shall ordinarily be conducted within 10 days of receipt by the Vice President for Finance and Administration of a formal complaint.

      2. The AAUP will be notified if the complaint involves a faculty member(s) in any way. If the Respondent is a faculty member, the AAUP will be notified in time to allow consultation with the Respondent prior to the meeting between the faculty member(s) and the Investigator. The Investigator shall advise a Respondent who is a faculty member that it is in his/her best interest to seek out the appropriate AAUP officer for consultation prior to any meetings.

      3. The Investigator shall interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and other individuals, when needed, to ascertain the validity of the complaint. The investigation shall proceed in a timely manner and every effort will be made to conclude the investigation within 60 days of receipt of the complaint by the VPFA.

      4. All individuals contacted or interviewed during the review of a complaint, including the Complainant and the Respondent, are required to maintain confidentiality to the fullest extent possible within the requirements of conducting a complete investigation.

      5. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator shall prepare a written report consisting of findings. The Vice President for Finance and Administration will review the Investigator’s written report and provide prescriptions for corrective action, if warranted. The following is a non-exhaustive list of corrective actions one or more of which may be levied depending on the severity of the offense:

        1. A verbal warning that a repetition of the reported impropriety will result in additional action.
        2. Placement of a letter in the individual's personnel file indicating the nature of the improper behavior. The letter may include a notation about required remedial efforts and any action that will be taken in the future should there be a repetition of the offensive behavior(s).
        3. Executive mentoring or appropriate counseling.
        4. Immediate removal of the individual from the classroom/worksite and placement on leave of absence so that the individual can perform remedial efforts. Return to teaching and/or professional duties will be guided by the individual's progress.
        5. Initiation of formal action by the dean or appropriate supervisor to dismiss the individual from the University's employ. For faculty, dismissal will follow the procedures set forth by the Faculty Senate Committee on Welfare and Privileges.

      6. The Investigator’s written findings coupled with the Vice President for Finance and Administration’s prescriptions for corrective action shall be the “Final Report.” A copy of the Final Report shall be delivered to the Respondent as quickly as practicable. The Complainant will be notified as quickly as practicable that the investigation has concluded and whether a finding for sexual or other discriminatory harassment was made.

    6. Appellate Rights. A more formal means of redress may also be sought through specific grievance procedures for employees and students.

      1. For faculty, a complaint may be filed with the Faculty Senate Committee on Welfare and Privileges. Upon review of a written appeal, the Committee may elect to pursue the matter and make additional recommendations to the University Provost.

      2. For unionized staff members and police officers, the grievance procedures are found in their collective bargaining agreements.

      3. For professional and salaried staff, the grievance procedures are found in the Personnel Policies & Procedures Manual.

      4. For students, the grievance procedures are found in the Student Guide to University Policies.

         

         

    Submitted by: Vice President for Finance and Administration