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University of Illinois Springfield

Access and Equal Opportunity University of Illinois Springfield

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Sexual Harassment Policy

 

 


Section 1. Statement of Purpose

The University of Illinois at Springfield will not tolerate sexual harassment and is committed to providing and preserving an atmosphere free from harassment in any form. All employees and students have the right to work and study in an environment free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a violation of professional ethics and impedes the primary function of a university.

The purpose of the University of Illinois at Springfield’s Sexual Harassment Policy is threefold:

  1. to foster an environment free from sexual harassment;
  2. to encourage victims to come forward; and
  3. to provide for corrective action to be taken when necessary.

To help prevent harassment, the policy is to be clearly and regularly communicated to the entire campus community and an educational program is to be implemented. When corrective action is necessary, the policy creates a mechanism for the documentation of complaints of sexual harassment and it outlines the grievance resolution mechanisms available, both informal and formal.

The victim is encouraged to come forward to report incidents of harassment, and confidentiality is fostered to the fullest extent possible. All grievances are to be investigated promptly. When sexual harassment has occurred, appropriate remedial action is to be taken.

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Section 2. Definitions

Sexual harassment:

  1. must be of a sexual nature;
  2. must be perceived as unwelcome or unwanted;
  3. must be persistent or pervasive, though unwelcome
  4. can be quid pro quo, something in exchange for something
  5. may be an element of discrimination based on sex; demeaning or diminishing bsaed on sex or gender

It may consist of conduct which is verbal and/or physical. Examples of verbal harassment include sexual innuendoes, sexual remarks about one’s clothing or body, suggestive or insulting sounds, whistling in a suggestive manner, and implied or overt sexual propositions, invitations, or pressure for sex.

Examples of physical harassment may include leering or ogling, obscene gestures, patting, pinching or other inappropriate touching or feeling, brushing against another’s body, attempted or actual kissing or fondling, and coerced sexual intercourse. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated upon members of one’s own or opposite gender. It is forbidden under this policy in the following contexts:

A. Harassment of Employees

  1. “‘Sexual harassment’ means any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment,
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.” [775 ILCS 5/2-101 (E)]Sexual harassment includes “the acts of non-employees, with respect to sexual harassment of employees to [in] the workplace, where the employer (or its agents or supervisory employees) knows or should have known of the conduct and fails to take immediate and appropriate corrective action.” (EEOC Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex, Section 1604.11 Sexual harassment, 45 Federal Register 74677 (November 10, 1980) [29C.F.R. Sec. 1604.11(e)].

B. Harassment of Students

“‘Sexual harassment in higher education’ means any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors made by a higher education representative to a student, or any conduct of a sexual nature exhibited by a higher education representative toward a student, when such conduct has the purpose of substantially interfering with the student’s educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment; or when the higher education representative either explicitly or implicitly makes the student’s submission to such conduct a term or condition of, or uses the student’s submission to or rejection of such conduct as a basis for determining:

  1. Whether the student will be admitted to an institution of higher education;
  2. The educational performance required or expected of the student;
  3. The attendance or assignment requirements applicable to the student;
  4. To what course, fields of study or programs, including honors and graduate programs, the student will be admitted;
  5. What placement or course proficiency requirements are applicable to the student;
  6. The quality of instruction the student will receive;
  7. What tuition or fee requirements are applicable to the student;
  8. What scholarship opportunities are available to the student;
  9. What extracurricular teams the student will be a member of or in what extracurricular competitions the student will participate;
  10. Any grade the student will receive in any examination or in any course or program of instruction in which the student is enrolled;
  11. The progress of the student toward successful completion of or graduation from any course or program of instruction in which the student is enrolled; or
  12. What degree, if any, the student will receive.” [775 ILCS 5/5A-101 (E)]

C. Harassment by Students

Under this policy, sexual harassment also includes “unsolicited, deliberate, or repeated sexually explicit derogatory statements, gestures or physical contacts which are objectionable to the recipient and which cause discomfort or humiliation,1″ when such conduct is perpetrated by students upon other students, faculty, and/or staff.

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Section 3. Sexual Harassment Awareness and Counseling

A. Dissemination of the Sexual Harassment Policy

The University of Illinois at Springfield will post on its Access & Equal Opportunity Website the Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures for all UIS students, faculty, and staff personnel and make brochures containing UIS policy on sexual harassment readily available on request and at the beginning of each academic year.

B. Training Program

To help generate awareness and prevent the occurrence of sexual harassment, an educational program on sexual harassment will be undertaken which makes all members of the campus community aware of the following:

  • the definitions of sexual harassment;
  • their right to be free of harassment;
  • their obligation to report incidents of sexual harassment in certain instances;
  • their remedies should harassment occur;
  • their responsibility to refrain from engaging in harassment; and
  • the sanctions that can be imposed for violation of this Sexual Harassment Policy.
  1. Students, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, Managers, and Supervisors. All members of the UIS employment community, including students, faculty, administrators, managers, and supervisors currently employed by UIS should complete University-wide on-line training on sexual harassment prevention during the first year of the implementation of this policy, and on an annual, ongoing basis thereafter.
  2. Students Employed in Campus Housing and Residential Life. The UIS Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity will provide training on sexual harassment awareness and prevention for all residential assistants and other student leaders on an annual basis, in addition to requiring those individuals to take University-wide on-line training for awareness and prevention.
  3. The Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity will also conduct in-person training for departments, colleges, divisions, student groups, and other entities, on request or as appropriate or advised, to target or tailor information on sexual harassment awareness, prevention, and reporting obligations. Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity. For this Sexual Harassment Policy to be effectively implemented, the Associate Chancellor for Access and Equal Opportunity (hereinafter referred to as AEO) must have, and be perceived as having, the special investigatory and conflict resolution skills needed to process a complaint fairly and justly.UIS shall ensure that its AEO has adequate training in investigating and dispute resolution methods, witness interviewing techniques, and the handling, documentation and preservation of evidence. Because the law is in constant flux, UIS shall also ensure that the AEO regularly receives continuing education in the field.

C. Counseling Services

UIS shall ensure that the staff at UIS’ counseling center are professionally prepared to assist members of the campus community who have been either victims or perpetrators of sexual harassment.

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Section 4. Allegations of Sexual Harassment — Reporting Requirements

Since institutional legal liability for the harassment may begin at the time a higher education representative is advised of an incident of harassment, administrators, supervisors, managers, and faculty must report promptly every allegation of sexual harassment of which they are made aware to the associate chancellor for access and equal opportunity (also known as the Access and Equal Opportunity Officer, or AEO). Staff are encouraged to make their supervisors aware of any complaints of sexual harassment they receive. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to advise the complainant to report the incident(s) to the AEO.

A report of sexual harassment should ordinarily include the name of the complainant and should always include:

  • the name of the alleged harasser,
  • the date(s) of the occurrence(s), and
  • a brief description of the incident(s).

The AEO and knowledgeable administrators, supervisors, managers, and faculty shall keep the identities of the complainant, the alleged harasser, and witnesses confidential, except to the extent that disclosure is made through use of the grievance resolution mechanisms in section 5 below and as required by law. The AEO shall make a permanent record of all reports of sexual harassment.

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Section 5. Grievance Resolution Mechanisms

The success of this policy depends in large part upon its ability to protect the confidentiality of all parties involved. The following procedures are to be implemented with the expectation that members of the campus community will respect the confidentiality of the process.

A. Informal Procedures

To ensure the prompt but fair resolution of allegations of harassment, an informal complaint resolution mechanism may be initiated by either the complainant or by the associate chancellor for access and equal opportunity.

The Complainant. To seek an informal resolution of the issue, the complainant, or someone acting with the complainant’s permission on his or her behalf, should lodge a complaint orally or in writing with the AEO. To encourage victims of harassment to feel free to contact the AEO, the complainant may send direct email to aeo@uis.edu. In addition, in-person contact with the AEO may occur at a location other than the AEO Office as agreed to by the AEO.

Upon receipt of a complaint initiated by someone acting on a complainant’s behalf, the AEO shall first confer with the alleged victim to establish the nature of his/her complaint. The AEO shall provide complainants with a copy of the appropriate campus policy and inform him or her of the avenues of external redress.

The AEO will inform the alleged harasser of the nature of the complaint and of the identity of the complainant and will meet separately and/or together with the complainant, the alleged harasser, and whomever else is necessary to ascertain the factual basis of the complaint and to attempt to resolve the complaint informally. The complainant may choose to file a formal grievance at any time.

B. Informal Inquiry

Upon receipt of multiple reports against a particular alleged harasser or upon the receipt of a grievous allegation of harassment, the AEO may initiate an informal inquiry.

The AEO will inform the alleged harasser of the nature of the complaint(s) and of the identity of the complainant(s), if known, and will meet separately and/or together with any known complainant(s), the alleged harasser, and whoever else is necessary to ascertain the factual basis of the complaint(s) and to attempt to resolve the situation informally.

If the situation is not resolved informally within a reasonable period of time, the AEO will report the matter to the appropriate administrator(s) who has direct authority over the alleged harasser. The administrator(s) may institute formal procedures.

C. Formal Procedure

Commencement of the Process. Whether or not the informal grievance resolution procedure is used, a person alleging harassment may initiate the formal grievance resolution process by submitting a formal written grievance of harassment to the AEO within 180 days of the occurrence of the matter being grieved, if the grievant is an employee, or within one year of the matter being grieved, if the grievant is a student. Upon receipt of a grievance, the AEO shall provide the alleged victim with a copy of the appropriate campus policy and inform him or her of avenues for external redress.

Should a campus administrator, supervisor, or manager be made aware of serious allegations of harassment either as a result of being informed of allegations of harassment by the AEO during the informal resolution process or through other means, he or she may request in writing to the AEO that formal grievance resolution procedures be instituted.

Investigation of the Allegations. Upon receipt of a grievance of harassment or a request that formal procedures be instituted, the AEO will transmit copies of the grievance/request to the alleged harasser, the appropriate unit head, and the appropriate vice chancellor. The AEO will then proceed with an investigation of the grievance, which shall include an opportunity for the grievant to be represented throughout the grievance.

In conducting the investigation, the AEO will have unrestricted access to all pertinent material, records, reports, documents and computerized information in the possession of any campus personnel, and the AEO shall be afforded the opportunity to interview all persons possessing relevant information. Both the grievant and the alleged harasser may submit whatever information they deem desirable.

Obstruction of an investigation of an allegation(s) of harassment shall be grounds for disciplinary action or sanctions by the appropriate vice chancellor or University administration designee.

Investigative Report

At the completion of the investigation, the AEO will submit a written report of the investigation to the appropriate vice chancellor or University administration designee, which details the findings and suggests appropriate remedies.

When in-house resolution is not possible complaints of harassment must ordinarily be filed with external human rights agencies within 180 days of the alleged incident(s) in order to preserve the rights of the complaining party to bring such actions, the report of the AEO should usually be made within 60 days of the initiation of the formal grievance resolution mechanisms.

If it is not possible to complete an investigation and report within that time frame, the AEO will notify the grievant and the alleged harasser as to the cause of the delay and the expected time of completion.

Findings in Favor of the Grievant

If the findings are that harassment has occurred, the appropriate administrator, vice chancellor, or next higher level administrator shall have twenty-one (21) days in which to take appropriate corrective action by doing whatever is necessary to end the harassment, make the grievant whole by restoring lost benefits or opportunities, and take reasonable steps to avoid the recurrence of the misconduct. Disciplinary action or sanctions against the harasser, ranging from reprimand to discharge, shall be taken.

The corrective action should reflect the frequency and/or severity of the conduct, and additionally should include counseling. The AEO and the appropriate administrator shall make follow-up inquiries to ensure the harassment has not resumed and the victim and/or anyone cooperating in the investigation has not suffered retaliation. (See Section 7. C. below.)

Findings in Favor of the Alleged Harasser

If the findings are that harassment has not occurred, the AEO shall talk with the grievant or administrator initiating the process and attempt to explain why the grievance was ill-founded. The grievant retains the right to file a complaint with an external government agency or the courts.

Inconclusive Findings

If the findings are inconclusive, the AEO may attempt resolution between the parties. Failing resolution, the grievance will be dismissed. The grievant retains the right to file a complaint with an external government agency or the courts.

D. Documentation

The AEO shall maintain a permanent record of agreements reached under informal resolution procedures, investigative reports, corrective action taken, and follow-up activities. All material and information contained therein is deemed to be confidential and will be made available to parties outside of the process only as required by law.

Should an appeal be taken from the AEO findings and recommendations, these records will be made available to the individual or panel hearing the appeal. All records of the AEO and any appeal shall be maintained to ensure proper monitoring and reporting.

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Section 6. Appeal

Final decisional authority on substantive and procedural issues related to grievances initiated by a campus employee or student shall reside with the chancellor.

A. Students

If a student, either grievant or alleged harasser, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, he/she may file a written request for a review of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost. The request must be filed within two weeks from his/her receipt of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations and must state the basis for the appeal.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost or his/her designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 30 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision.

If a student is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost’s Office, he/she may within two weeks of the decision file a written request for review by the Chancellor’s Office. Upon receipt of the appeal, the chancellor or her/his designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final upon all parties to the grievance.

If/when a student is found to have violated a campus harassment policy, the violation is considered a non-academic violation of the Student Code. When the responsible administrator decides that disciplinary action must be taken, he or she must institute disciplinary proceedings as specified by the Student Code.

B. Campus Faculty and Academic Professionals

If a campus faculty or academic professional, either grievant or alleged harasser, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, he/she may file a written request for a review of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations with the Office of the Provost. The request must be filed within two weeks from his/her receipt of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations and must state the basis for the appeal.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost or his/her designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 30 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision.

If a campus faculty or academic professional is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost’s Office, he/she may within two weeks of the decision file a written request for review by the Chancellor’s Office. Upon receipt of the appeal, the chancellor or her/his designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final upon all parties to the grievance.

C. Campus Civil Service Employees

If a civil service employee, either grievant or alleged harasser, is dissatisfied with the Findings and Recommendations of the AEO, he/she may file a written request for a review of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations with the Office of the Provost. The request must be filed within two weeks from his/her receipt of the AEO’s Findings and Recommendations and must state the basis for the appeal.

Upon receipt of the appeal, the provost or his/her designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 30 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision.

If a civil service employee is dissatisfied with the decision of the Provost’s Office, he/she may within two weeks of the decision file a written request for review by the Chancellor’s Office. Upon receipt of the appeal, the chancellor or her/his designee will make a thorough review of the written record of the grievance, request any additional information and within 45 days following receipt of the appeal will issue a written decision that shall be final upon all parties to the grievance.

If/when a civil service employee is found to have violated a campus harassment policy and the responsible administrator recommends that disciplinary action be taken, the employee is covered by “An Act to Create the State University Civil Service System” which specifies that “…no employee shall be demoted, removed or discharged except for cause, upon written charges, and after an opportunity to be heard in his own defense…” before an Advisory Committee of the Merit Board.

D. Campus-based University Administration Employees

University administration employees based on the UIS campus should communicate relevant concerns or initiate complaints and grievances with the University’s Assistant Vice President for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity, whose policies and procedures will apply.

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Section 7. Special Circumstances

A. The Grievance of Harassment is Against the Access and Equal Opportunity Officer

When the alleged harasser is the AEO, another appropriate campus administrator shall be deemed to be the AEO for purposes of implementation of these procedures.

B. The Grievance of Harassment is Against the Chancellor

When the alleged harasser is the chancellor of UIS, the grievant, or someone acting with the grievant’s permission on his or her behalf, shall lodge a grievance in writing with the president of the University of Illinois, 364 Henry Administration Bldg., 506 S. Wright St. Urbana, Illinois 61801 [Phone: (217)333-3071].

C. Acts of Retaliation

It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against a person for complaining of harassment or discrimination, or for assisting, participating, or cooperating in an investigation of same. When retaliation is charged, the complaining party can utilize the grievance resolution mechanisms specified in this policy. Retaliation is a basis for disciplinary action or sanctions by the appropriate administrator.

D. Complaints Filed Externally

Anyone who believes he or she has experienced harassment at the University of Illinois at Springfield may initiate a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights by calling, writing, or visiting the office:

Illinois Department of Human Rights
222 S. College St.
Springfield, IL 62704
(217)785-5100

Complaints should be initiated as soon as possible after the action complained of and must be brought within 180 days of the occurrence.

The filing of a charge of harassment with an external government body/court does not allow UIS to cease action on an internal grievance under this policy nor does the filing of such a complaint affect the obligations of UIS with regard to the awareness and remedy of harassment. UIS must take prompt remedial action upon learning of allegations of harassment as a result of either an internal or external complaint being made.

Students may file external complaints with IDHR or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office For Civil Rights.

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Notes:

  1. Original versions of this policy language were borrowed in part from Executive Order Number 1, issued January 24, 1980, by Governor James R. Thompson, Governor of Illinois.
  2. These procedures are applicable, though not exclusive, for all campus based employees, students, student-athletes, and applicants for employment and student admission at UIS. Employees covered under collective bargaining agreements adhere to the grievance procedures in those agreements, which in some agreements allow the employees to use these discrimination grievance procedures when there is an allegation of discrimination.

Revised 1998; 2011; 2012

 

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