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2014–2015 Undergraduate Catalog

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Academic Regulations and Policies

Sexual Harassment Policy

Viterbo University is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment which respects the dignity of all individuals, and is free from sexual harassment. Accordingly, Viterbo University will not tolerate the sexual harassment of one member of the university community by another, or by external parties/individuals providing services to Viterbo University. The university community subject to this prohibition includes faculty, administrators, staff, and students.

 

Definition

Sexual harassment takes two forms under the law: (1) Quid pro quo or (2) hostile atmosphere.

 

Quid pro quo harassment occurs where an individual retaliates against another for submitting to, or refusing to submit to, sexual harassment. This refusal may include refusing sexual advances, rejecting physical contact, or denying requests for sexual favors. The retaliatory action may include the denial of a promotion, the levying of discipline, lowering of a student grade, or termination of employment.

 

Quid pro quo harassment also occurs where submission to sexual harassment is proffered as a condition for favorable treatment. This favorable treatment may include promotion, wage advance, or academic advancement.

 

Hostile atmosphere is the other form of sexual harassment. An individual‘s conduct, whether intentional or unintentional, may create a hostile, intimidating, or offensive learning and working environment for others. This hostile environment may be created by repeated and unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. Also, unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may create a hostile atmosphere. Such conduct includes, for example, unsolicited gestures or comments of a sexual nature, display of offensive, sexually graphic materials, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

 

Sexual harassment may originate from faculty, administrators, staff or students. Also, sexual harassment may originate from external parties/individuals providing services to Viterbo University. Harassment can occur if the offending individual is the same gender as the individual being harassed. If an individual is offended by witnessing the harassment of another individual, a harassment complaint may still be filed even though the harassment is not directly aimed at the individual witnessing the harassment.

 

As defined above, sexual harassment is a specific form of discrimination in which the power differential inherent in the relationship between a student and teacher or supervisor and subordinate is exploited. However, this policy also recognizes that sexual harassment may occur between individuals who have similar status at Viterbo University, such as student-student or faculty-faculty.

 

Consenting sexual relationships between faculty and student or supervisor and subordinate often present the most difficult cases of sexual harassment. The power differential between these two groups can cast serious doubt on whether the relationship is consensual. Also, the relationship can easily turn the learning or working environment into a hostile one for the complainant. Since the purpose behind this policy is to free the working and learning environment from such damaging interference, Viterbo University strongly discourages such relationships. If the University learns of such a relationship between a supervisor and subordinate, steps will be taken to alter the reporting structure. If the relationship occurs between a faculty member and student, the matter will be discussed with the faculty member and student and steps taken to avoid harm.

 

Complaint Resolution

The primary goal of the sexual harassment policy is to prevent objectionable behavior or stop it whenever it occurs. No member of the community will be retaliated against for making a sexual harassment complaint.

 

Any member of the community who believes he or she has been sexually harassed by another should, if possible, tell the individual harassing him/her that the behavior is offensive and must stop, and should also report the harassment to the vice president for academic affairs, human resource director, or the vice president of finance and administration as soon as possible. Any member of the community who becomes aware of a sexual harassment incident should report the incident to the vice president for academic affairs, human resource director, or the vice president of finance and administration as soon as possible. Timely reporting of incidents will ensure efficient resolution.

 

The vice president for academic affairs, human resource director or the vice president of finance and administration will conduct an investigation of the harassment complaint. The complainant will prepare a written complaint describing the incident as completely as possible, and provide the written complaint to the vice president for academic affairs, human resource director, or the vice president of finance and administration. To the extent possible, the investigation will remain confidential, considering the complainant‘s right of privacy, the need to be fair to the respondent by notifying the respondent of the complaint, and the need to gather information regarding the incident. Investigation of the complaint may require the interviewing of members of the university community who may have witnessed the incident, or who may have information regarding the incident, as well as review of relevant data or documents. The investigation will be conducted expeditiously, but in a manner consistent with the complexity and severity of the matter. The vice president for academic affairs, human resource director or the vice president of finance and administration will maintain a written record of the complaint and resolution process.

 

If there is a finding that sexual harassment has occurred, the offending individual will be subject to an appropriate penalty. The penalty will depend on the severity, frequency, or repetition of the harassment. If the matter involves an employee, discipline, ranging from reprimand to discharge, may be given. If the matter involves a student, discipline, ranging from reprimand to administrative withdrawal, may be given. The complainant will be notified of the results of the investigation and the resolution of the complaint.

 

If the investigation of the complaint shows that the complainant made a false complaint, Viterbo University may discipline the complainant for making such a false complaint. If the matter involves an employee, discipline, ranging from reprimand to discharge, may be given. If the matter involves a student, discipline, ranging from reprimand to administrative withdrawal, may be given. A false complaint is one where there is absolutely no basis for the complaint or the complaint was motivated by malice toward the respondent.

 

In addition to the complaint resolution procedures described above, the complainant may also file a charge with an appropriate external agency (e.g. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Wisconsin Equal Rights Division).

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