Sexual Harassment Policy
1. STATEMENT OF POLICY
1.1 Introduction. Sexual harassment in any situation is reprehensible. However, it is particularly damaging when it exploits the educational dependence and trust between students and administration, faculty or other college employees, and it is especially inappropriate and hurtful in a Christian academic community. When the authority and power inherent in any official college relationship, whether overtly, implicitly, or through misinterpretation, is abused in this way, there is potentially great damage to the aggrieved individuals, to the person or persons complained of, and to the educational climate of the institution
1.2 Houghton College affirms that its students, faculty, administration, staff, and visitors have a right to freedom from sex discrimination in the form of sexual harassment by any member of the academic community. In providing an educational and work climate which is positive and discrimination-free, administrators, faculty, staff, and students should be aware that sexual harassment in the workplace or educational environment is unacceptable conduct and will result in disciplinary action.
1.3 Houghton College considers a position against sexual harassment to be thoroughly consistent with the overall mission of the college and its longstanding commitment to traditional Christian values as presented in the Holy Scriptures. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination that is abhorrent to the college. Consequently, it is the obligation of each member of the Houghton College community - administrators, faculty, staff, and students - to adhere to this anti-harassment policy.
1.4 The ultimate goal of a sexual harassment policy is prevention. Students, faculty, administrators, and staff on all levels must know and understand the college's position on sexual harassment. The President, student officers, departments, and offices are specifically responsible within their organizations for publicizing, and enforcing this policy
2. DEFINITION: SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Within the context of current college policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when
(1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or participation in a college-sponsored educational program or activity;
(2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
(3) such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.
3. CAMPUS AWARENESS, EDUCATION, AND PREVENTION
Campus awareness, education, and prevention regarding sexual harassment are covered under Section III of the Policy on Sexual Assault. Please refer to the policy for further information.
4. SCOPE OF POLICY
Houghton's harassment policy applies to, and will be enforced against, perpetrators who are current students and/or college employees for any incident during an enrollment or employment period.
5. REPORTING PROCESS
5.1 General. Complaints about sexual harassment will be responded to promptly and equitably. The confidentiality of all members of the college community will be respected insofar as possible. If an individual views oneself as a victim of sexual harassment, contact the Sexual Harassment Officer (SHO). The SHO can be located through contacting the Human Resources Office on the first floor of Luckey building.
5.1.1 The SHO will listen to complaints and outline options for processing a complaint.
5.1.2 There are several options available: some form of personal confrontation, the “informal” process, or the “formal” process. The SHO will assist in whichever option is chosen.
5.2 Informal Process. There are generally two options for handling complaints informally. The first is to express concern to the person whose actions are offensive. The SHO can assist with expressing the concern, either verbally or in written form. The second option is to use a mediator. If this is the approach chosen, the mediator will be mutually agreed upon by the two parties and the SHO. The mediator will meet with both parties (separately and together) for mediation/ reconciliation within 10 working days of the complaint.
5.3 Formal Process. An individual who wishes to file a formal complaint of sexual harassment can do so by contacting the SHO. The complaint must be received within 1 year of the date of the latest incident.
5.3.1 Action begins by the complainant signing a complaint report documenting the alleged incident of harassment. The SHO will then appoint a three-person, investigative team comprised of the peers of the accused (faculty, staff, student, or administrator); two members of which must be the same gender as the complainant. The SHO will also select a senior administrator* to oversee the investigation. This individual will initiate the proceedings, monitor the investigation, and take appropriate action as outlined in the investigative team report.
* A senior administrator is one who directly reports to the President.
5.3.2 Note: Should the accused be a senior administrator, the SHO will contact the Chair of the Board of Trustees, or the Chair’s designee, to act as the overseeing officer. The Chair, or designee, will select (following policy guidelines regarding gender composition) an investigative team from the membership of the Board and oversee the investigation. The Chair will act on the team’s findings and recommendations for final disposition. Any appeals will be made directly to the Executive Committee of the Board. The decision of the Executive Committee will be final.
5.3.3 The investigative team will meet within 10 days (excluding college breaks) of the complaint and must report its findings and recommendations as soon as possible and in no case more than 30 days following the written complaint.
5.3.4 The Senior Administrator in charge or, if applicable, the Board Chair will prepare and file the Official Summary Report. This and all other documentation (Investigative Team’s report, letters, etc.) will be filed with the SHO within 7 working days of the completion of the Official Summary Report, and housed in the Human Resources Office. All documentation should be housed in a separate, locked file (non-employee/student file) and the complainant and accused made aware that this is not a personnel file.
5.3.5 In cases where the recommended action includes changes in employment or enrollment status, the senior administrator in charge or, if applicable, Board Chair will notify the college president and the senior administrator where the accused works or is a student to communicate the decision and to take appropriate action.
5.3.6 The final decision made by the senior administrator may be appealed by the investigative team, the accused, or the complainant to the President of the College.
5.3.7 When sexual harassment is substantiated, the accused may be subject to such actions as:
(1) initial and sustained counseling by a professional counselor.
(2) letter of reprimand (a copy of which must become part of the personnel/student record);
(3) change in employment status, grade, or rank (for administrator/faculty/staff) or suspension (for students) for repeated but less serious harassments;
(4) non-issuance of contract, abrogation, or termination of contract, or revocation of tenure (for administrator/faculty/staff) or expulsion (for students) for flagrant and/or repeated offense;
(5) civil action for any offense which violates law.
5.3.8. Failure to comply with any of the required sanctions will subject the accused to further action.
6. PROBLEM RESOLUTION
6.1 Any student who feels that a sexual harassment report (involving either a faculty member or an employment supervisor) did not receive prompt and equitable response following a formal complaint should contact the Vice President for Student Life
6.2 Any college employee with a similar concern should contact the senior administrator (Dean or Vice President) under whom the harassed individual works.
7. REPRISALS AND FALSE COMPLAINTS
Any student or employee making reprisals against a student or employee for reporting or bringing a complaint of sexual harassment will be in violation of this policy and subject to discipline. In addition, it is a violation of this policy to make a false report or charge against a student or employee. Such false reports will be subject to disciplinary action
8. LEGAL ACTION
In the event that the complainant seeks outside legal action, the College reserves the right to suspend the formal complaint process.
Policy on Sexual Harassment:
In Accordance with Title IX;
Educational Amendments of 1972