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It is the goal of Concordia College to maintain an environment free of discrimination based on gender. This statement concerns one form of sex discrimination - sexual harassment.
We expect all in this community to foster positive attitudes and behaviors toward members of each gender. We wish to make explicit our abhorrence toward language, behavior and attitudes which intimidate, offend and debilitate members of this community. Furthermore, we encourage those who experience or observe forms of harassment to bring such incidents to the attention of those who carry special responsibility for nurture in this community.
This policy shall apply to the behavior of all students, faculty and staff while in the "college environment." The "college environment" shall include actions occurring on all property owned by the college and actions occurring during activities specifically controlled and directed by the college whether on Concordia property or not.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical 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 or academic advancement, or
- Submission to such conduct is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions, or
- The behavior has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, or
- The conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects a student's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program, interferes with academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive college environment.
Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to behaviors such as:
- Sexually oriented verbal "kidding" or abuse, sexual innuendo or suggestive comments;
- Nonverbal behaviors such as whistling or obscene gestures;
- Subtle pressure for sexual activity;
- Physical contact such as inappropriate touch, pinching or deliberate repeated brushing against another's body; and
- Demands for sexual favors, accompanied by implied or overt promises of preferential treatment or threats.
Sexual harassment can occur anywhere, anytime between and among students, faculty, staff and coworkers, in consensual and nonconsensual relationships; it occurs in situations where one person abuses the power he or she has over another person, violating the boundaries and trust implicit in that relationship. It can occur between peers where no power differential exists. It can occur between members of the opposite or same sex.
In a work setting, harassment can also occur between equals.
Whenever possible sexual harassment should be confronted directly by the affected person(s).
If an informal objection is not appropriate or does not other-wise bring resolution, formal reports may be filed or com-plaints may be pursued under the various grievance pro-ce-duress avail-able to students, faculty and staff as published in the student, faculty, support staff and administrative handbooks.
Formal complaints should be filed with the proper college officials:
- A student grievance involving a faculty member shall be brought to the academic dean.
- A student grievance involving another student or staff member shall be filed with the dean of students.
- Student employees and support staff members shall submit grievances to the director of human resources.
- Administrative staff members shall submit grievances to the director of human resources.
- A faculty grievance shall be filed with the academic dean.
All complaints are subject to review and appeal according to established college policy.
An Explanation of the Policy
Sexual harassment may occur:
- In consensual relationships. Consensual relations between individuals with unequal status in the community does not constitute a defense against charges of sexual harassment. A relationship between a faculty or staff member and a student should be considered that of the professional and client in which sexual relationships are inappropriate. The power differential inherent in such relationships, as well as those between a supervisor and an employee, compromises the ability of the person in the position of less authority to freely decide or act. Such behavior is also unacceptable in terms of the values, standards and expectations of the college.
- In off-campus placements and study programs. The sexual harassment policy covers students assigned to or participating in off-campus placements and study programs under the control of non-Concordia personnel, such as teacher education clinicals and student teaching placements, cooperative education placements, service-learning placements, practicums, and other off-campus study programs. The Concordia representatives supervising such placements need to prepare students for recognizing and dealing with sexual harassment and to assist and support them should it ever occur. Program heads are responsible for informing potential placement sites of the college policy and can decertify and cease utilizing such sites where problems are encountered. Although the college cannot impose sanctions against non-employees, the college supervisor can remove the student from the placement or program without penalty to the student. If a student is removed, the college supervisor should arrange for a new placement for the student as soon as possible.
- In May Seminars and other off-campus study programs sponsored and directed by Concordia. The policy on sexual harassment also covers students, faculty and staff involved in May Seminars and other off-campus study programs sponsored and directed by the college.
- Between students. Students should recognize that sexual harassment can occur whether or not a power differential exists. Sexual harassment can occur, for example, in student organizations, student employment, residence halls, laboratories, classrooms, societies and athletic teams.
The policy provides four options in response to sexual harassment.
When appropriate, the college encourages informal resolution of sexual harassment situations by the individuals involved at the level appropriate for the situation.
- Direct response. If appropriate, the offended person should make his/her objections directly known to the person involved. When sexual harassment occurs, the offender should be confronted immediately and informed orally or in writing of the inappropriateness of the behavior.
- Consultation. Any person who experiences or observes forms of sexual harassment is advised of the additional option to discuss that experience with a counselor, pastor or another member of the college's counseling staff. These staff members can listen, provide support, answer questions about sexual harassment policy and discuss optional responses. Concerns regarding possible sexual harassment may be discussed with a staff member without filing a formal complaint. It is also possible for a person who experiences or observes a form of sexual harassment to consult with the supervisor of the person exhibiting the behavior or another person in authority without having to file a formal complaint.
- Informal resolution. The victim/counselor/other staff member may bring the matter to the attention of the perpetrator's supervisor or to the appropriate vice president or his/her associate, who will then attempt to resolve the matter informally by confronting the person exhibiting the behavior. In resolving the matter informally, it will be made clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable and that formal action will be taken should it occur in the future. Attempts at informal resolution should be reported immediately to the academic dean if it involves a faculty member, to the dean of students if it involves a student and to the director of human resources if it involves a member of the staff.
- Formal resolution. If informal options are inappropriate or unsuccessful in changing behavior, the college encourages formal action to be taken. Ordinarily, the formal complaint process will be undertaken only when a formal report or written and signed complaint is filed. However, in cases that appear to be criminal in nature, violate college policy, pose a serious physical or emotional threat, or involve repeated behavior by the same individual, the college may initiate an investigation of the allegations and take appropriate action even in the absence of a formal report or complaint. The decision to initiate the procedures for hearing a formal complaint will be made by the academic dean if a faculty member is involved, the dean of students if a student is involved and the director of human resources if a staff member is involved. In making this decision, the person(s) bringing the complaint will be consulted as to their feelings about formal action being initiated and, if formal action is initiated, the person(s) bringing the complaint will have a college counselor available for advice and support throughout the process.