Denison University ("Denison" or "the University") is committed to maintaining hospitable educational, residential, and working environments that permit students and employees to pursue their goals without substantial interference from harassment. Additionally, diversity of views, cultures, and experiences is critical to the academic mission of higher education. Such diversity enriches the intellectual lives of all, and it increases the capacity of a university to serve the educational needs of its community.
Denison is also strongly committed to academic freedom and free speech. An educational institution has a duty to provide a forum in which free speech and differences of opinion are actively encouraged and facilitated, and where opinions and deeply held beliefs are challenged and debated. Critical to this mission is providing a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning. Respect for these rights requires that it tolerate expressions of opinion that differ from its own or that it may find abhorrent.
These values of free expression justify protection of speech that is critical of diversity and other principles central to the University's academic mission. However, values of free expression are not supported but are undermined by acts of intolerance that suppress alternative views through intimidation or injury. Yet as members of an institution of higher education, we must stand against any assault upon the dignity and value of any individual through harassment that substantially interferes with his or her educational opportunities, peaceful enjoyment of residence, physical security, or terms or conditions of employment (collectively, "protected interests").
In this spirit, the University adopts an anti-harassment policy that prohibits substantial interference with protected interests, subject to constitutional limitations. In addition, through the work of the Campus Environment Team ("CET", described in section IV below), the University will take steps to foster an environment in which discriminatory harassment is less likely to occur, an environment that is hospitable to all members of the University community regardless of race, sex, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam-era veteran status (collectively, "protected status"). As used in this policy, the term "race" means any race, "sex" means male or female, "color" means any color, "national origin" means any national origin, "religion" means any religion, and "sexual orientation" means any sexual orientation. The terms "age", "disability" and "Vietnam-era veteran status" are used as defined under the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 as amended, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, respectively. At the same time, the CET will work with others in the University to help safeguard freedom of speech and academic freedom.
Through the efforts of the CET and the many other programs now underway, the University truly hopes to achieve these worthy goals. Ultimately, however, these goals will not be fully met unless every member of the University community takes a personal responsibility for fostering an environment in which diversity can be appreciated and in which all students and employees can reach their fullest potential. No committee or other entity can substitute for the good will, freely given, by the individuals who make up this University.
Subject to the limiting provisions of section E. below, it is a violation of University policy for any University employee or student to subject any person to harassment on University property or at a University-sponsored activity.
Harassment occurs if
Subject to the limiting provision provided in section II.B.3 below, an individual engages in conduct (physical, verbal, graphic or written) on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam-era status that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit the ability of another individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the University; or
Submission to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, academic advancement, or ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the University, or submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting such individual.
In academic settings (classroom instruction, research, scholarship, publication), harassment as defined in section II.B.1 occurs only if the conduct is taken with a general intent to engage in the actions and with the knowledge that the actions are likely to substantially interfere with a protected interest identified in Section I above. Such intent and knowledge may be inferred from all the circumstances.
Four broad categories of benefits or protected interests are suggested by the existing discrimination laws and regulations that apply to universities and colleges. These are the classroom, extracurricular activities, housing, and employment. When evaluating the totality of circumstances of allegedly harassing behavior within any of these four areas, certain key factors will be considered that define what is unique about each setting. These key factors are: (1) the central purpose or mission of the activity; (2) the location; and (3) the power relationships among the parties involved in the activity and their reasonable expectations of each other within that context
For example, in the classroom context, the use of different teaching techniques and curricular materials is within the realm of the individual professor's discretion in the classroom, as judged by peer review within the field of expertise for competence and relevance to the subject matter. In extracurricular activities, the policy recognizes the regulatory language and the judicial interpretations of federal statutes (Title VI and Title IX) that focus on the opportunity for all students to participate in extracurricular activities for which a student is qualified and interested or to have access to services such as financial aid or counseling. In the area of housing, the policy recognizes the Fair Housing Act and other similar statutes that maintain that housing be available on a nondiscriminatory basis. Specifically, the effect of an incident in the private and personal environment of an individual's residence hall room will be judged more severely than the effect of the same type of incident in a residence hall lounge. In the employment context, the policy recognizes Title VII and its implementing regulations protecting the terms and conditions of employment -- i.e., wages, hours, and other generally recognized contours governing the contractual relationship between an employer and employee.
Conduct that substantially interferes with an individual's normal and customary participation in or ability to benefit from these four broad areas of protected interests within the university may be deemed as discriminatory harassment contributing to a hostile environment. Similarly, based upon the same kind of totality of circumstances test, obstructive conduct that does not take place specifically within one of these four areas may be determined to constitute harassment as well.
To determine whether a hostile environment exists, it must be determined if the harassment is severe, pervasive or persistent, based on the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of the incidents, as well as the identity, number, and relationships of the persons involved. The harassment must in most cases consist of more than casual or isolated incidents to establish a violation. Generally, the severity of the incidents needed to establish a hostile environment varies inversely with their pervasiveness and persistence.
First of all, when evaluating the severity of harassment, the unique setting and mission of an educational institution must be taken into account. An educational institution has a duty to provide a nondiscriminatory environment that is conducive to learning. In addition to curriculum, students learn about many different aspects of human life and interaction from school. The type of environment that is tolerated or encouraged by or at a school can therefore send a particularly strong signal to, and serve to be an influential lesson for, its students.
As with other forms of harassment, the relevant particularized characteristics and circumstances of the victim -- especially the victim's protected status(es) -- must be taken into account when evaluating the severity of incidents at an educational institution. If it is determined that the harassment was sufficiently severe that it would have adversely affected the ability to participate in or benefit from some aspect of the recipient's educational program by a reasonable person, of the same protected status(es) as the victim, under similar circumstances, a finding that a hostile environment existed is appropriate. The perspective of a person of the same protected status(es) as the victim is necessary because that status is the immutable characteristic upon which the harassment is based. The victim must subjectively feel harassed; however, the decision-making body must also determine that, objectively speaking, a hypothetical reasonable person who shares the same identity that is the basis of the harassment claim would have experienced the conduct in question as severe, pervasive or persistent harassment. The decision-makers would thus be expected to empathize with the reactions of reasonable persons of a background similar to the victim who experienced the conduct in question. This does not mean that the decision-making body must be composed of individuals who share the same race, sex, religion, etc. as the victim.
To determine severity, the nature of the incidents must also be considered. Evidence may reflect whether the conduct was verbal or physical and the extent of hostility characteristic of the incident. In some cases, a hostile environment requiring appropriate responsive action may result from a single incident that is sufficiently severe. Such incidents may include, for example, injury to persons or property or conduct threatening injury to persons or property.
The size of the recipient and the location of the incidents also will be important. The effect of an incident in the private and personal environment of an individual's residence hall room may differ from the effect of the same incident in a student center or residence hall lounge.
The identity, number, and relationships of the individuals involved will also be considered on a case-by-case basis. For example, harassing conduct by a teacher, even an "off-duty" teacher, may have a greater impact on a student than the same conduct by another student. The effect of conduct may be greater if perpetrated by a group of students rather than by an individual student.
In determining whether a hostile environment exists, investigators will also be alert to the possible existence at the University of incidents other than those alleged in the complaint and will obtain evidence about them to determine whether they contributed to a hostile environment or corroborate the allegations.
Finally, harassing acts need not be targeted at the complainant in order to create a hostile environment. The acts may be directed at anyone. The harassment need not be based on the ground of the victim's or complainant's status, so long as it is based on motivations of animus against some person of a protected status (e.g., it might be based on the protected status of a friend or associate of the victim). Additionally, the harassment need not result in any specific type of injury or detriment to the victims of the harassment.
Neither this nor any other university policy is violated by actions that amount to expression protected by the state or federal constitutions or by related principles of academic freedom. This limitation is further described in the University Antiharassment and First Amendment Guidelines, set forth in Section III below.
Whenever appropriate University officials should respond to harassing behavior through mediation, counseling and education. However, when violations occur, University officials may seek immediate discipline.
As a university and employer, Denison has moral, legal, and to a limited extent contractual obligations to maintain reasonable educational, residential, and working environments that permit students and employees to pursue their goals without substantial interference stemming from harassment. Consistent with the obligations, Denison is committed to the goal of achieving diversity within the campus community. Principles of academic freedom and constitutional guarantees of free speech, however, limit the University's ability to use restrictions on speech as a means of promoting diversity and opposing harassment and discrimination. Thus, as it states, the anti-harassment policy does not restrict speech protected by state and federal constitutional law or by principles of academic freedom.
The following notes and illustration provide a general guide to the relevant issues. They are intended to reflect current principles of constitutional law, primarily federal. The University will closely monitor developments in both state and federal constitutional law and legislation and revise these guidelines accordingly. Finally, these guidelines also reflect long established principles of academic freedom, such as those set forth in the 1940 Statement and in subsequent statements of the American Association of University Professors.
These guidelines certainly do not answer every question that may arise under the anti-harassment policy, but they should remind the University community to be sensitive to the need to avoid a "chilling effect" on academic inquiry and the expression of ideas. The purpose of the guidelines is to provide ample breathing room for protected speech. Accordingly, in any case that presents a serious question regarding freedom of expression, anyone seeking to administer the anti-harassment policy should consult the University attorney before taking any action that might interfere with protected speech. In appropriate cases, the University attorney may seek an adjudication by a civil court before authorizing other action.
Because the first amendment protects even highly offensive speech in some contexts, readers may find some of the examples in these guidelines to be offensive. By using such examples for illustration, the University does not encourage offensive or insensitive speech; it simply acknowledges the constitutional limitations on its ability to regulate such speech. Indeed, the University is free to express its own views opposing or commenting on offensive speech, even though it cannot restrict the speech.
As further illustrated in the following subsections, the anti-harassment policy applies to conduct or expression if it substantially interferes with another's educational opportunities, peaceful enjoyment of residence, physical security, or terms or conditions of employment, if it is not protected by constitutional guarantees of free speech or principles of academic freedom.
Some injurious or intimidating conduct, such as assault or battery, normally has no significant speech content and can be regulated to protect other important interests without infringing upon the right to free speech or academic freedom. For example, unless clearly trivial in scope, and absent some mitigating circumstances such as inadvertence, self-defense, or consent, the anti-harassment policy or other University policies normally would apply to such conduct as:
touching a person in a manner that a reasonable person would view as hostile, offensive, or intimidating;
taking some action that causes a person to reasonably fear imminent hostile, offensive, or intimidating physical contact;
damaging, defacing, or destroying University property or the property of another;
engaging in extreme and outrageous conduct for the purpose of inflicting severe emotional distress upon another person.
Even speech, or conduct combined with speech, can be regulated if it is merely a tool to advance some activity that is unlawful under valid laws independent of this anti-harassment policy. In many cases, the anti-harassment policy has only incidental or secondary effects on the communication of ideas, because it is aimed at noncommunicative acts and effects touching upon matters in which the University has a great interest. For example, the anti-harassment policy or other University policies normally would apply to the acts of:
communicating a threat of physical harm that causes a person to reasonably fear imminent hostile, offensive, or intimidating physical contact;
communicating in a manner that damages, defaces, or destroys University property or the property of another; or
inciting violence or other acts that would be unlawful independent of this policy, if the actor or speaker encourages immediate action and if the conduct or speech is reasonably certain to result in imminent violence or other unlawful action. Such conduct or speech could include:
directing another person to engage in a battery as defined in subsection 1a. above, or
closely confronting a person or persons with threatening or intimidating remarks if in light of all the circumstances the remarks would be reasonably certain to provide a violent breach of the peace.
As a further example, the anti-harassment policy also applies to speech or conduct by a University official or that is merely a vehicle for substantially interfering with a protected interest, such as:
a professor's stated requirement in a class that all female students sit in the back of the class on the stereotyped assumption that each of them has a low aptitude for learning that particular subject; or
the psychological equivalent of requiring the female students to sit in the back of a class, such as repeated statements by the professor that the female students in the class should not hope or try to match the performance of the male students.
Other expression or conduct may be protected speech, depending upon the context of the expression.
a. The expression even of ideas that are extreme or offensive to many listeners is protected and does not amount to unlawful harassment if offered in suitable time, place, and manners, such as the expression of ideas for public debate
in a classroom discussion or a related discussion outside the classroom, if the expression is reasonably germane to the academic subject matter of the course or classroom discussion;
in academic scholarship or other publication or in a related discussion; or
in a campus forum, such as an auditorium, a public gathering place outdoors, or a public bulletin board.
Even when expression and related conduct is protected by the first amendment, the University can impose reasonable regulations on the time, place, and manner of the presentation of the expression. For example, the University could compel students to move or postpone an unscheduled rally that disrupts a meeting or rally held by another group of students who properly reserved the time and location for its own function.
Similarly, even though similar speech might be protected if presented in another forum, threatening or intimidating speech or related conduct may be subject to regulation if it is forced upon specific individuals in a non-public forum who are unwilling targets of the conduct or speech and who cannot reasonably avoid it, such as:
the unwelcome posting of threatening neo-Nazi symbols on the residence hall door of a Jewish student for the purpose of intimidating the Jewish student;
the act of knocking the books out of the hands of a student each time the student tries to enter a classroom; or
the verbal psychological equivalent of knocking the books out of the student's hands, such as repeated statements at the doorway to a classroom that the student should not enter the classroom.
Relationships Among Multiple Goals
The anti-harassment Policy, including these interpretive guidelines, reflects an effort to accommodate diverse University goals and obligations. Members of the University community who have a special allegiance to one goal to the exclusion of others may view the policy as an unacceptable compromise of that goal. The University, however, must take a broader view of its multiple obligations.
In many cases, interests in promoting a hospitable campus environment will be perfectly consistent with interests in free expression and academic freedom. For example, suppose a department Chair directs his or her faculty to discourage students from completing projects that might be construed as favoring a particularly controversial point of view. As a result, faculty could suffer a loss of academic freedom, students could suffer loss of freedom of expression, and some students and faculty might suffer serious interference with their educational opportunities or terms or conditions of employment. Administrative measures to eliminate the Chair's policy would tend to restore interests in free expression and academic freedom as well as interests in maintaining a campus environment free of harassment. Similarly, suppose that a campus official responsible for preventing and investigating crimes unreasonably detains and searches a minority student on his way to class, causing the student to miss all or part of his class. Suppose further that the detention and search is unreasonable because the official acts largely on the basis of his stereotyped assumptions about the student's propensity to commit crime because of the student's race and ethnic attire. Such conduct by the official might violate the anti-harassment policy by substantially interfering with the student's educational opportunities. It would also place a burden on the student's constitutional interest in being free of unreasonable searches and seizures, in expressing himself through T-shirt slogans or other clothing, and in being free of racial discrimination. A University policy that sought to prevent such conduct could help vindicate all of these concurrent interests.
Even when these interests do not so clearly coincide, the anti-harassment policy primarily seeks to regulate conduct with no significant speech component, raising no first amendment problems. In come cases, however, efforts by the University to maintain a hospitable campus environment may raise questions about the University's obligations to preserve freedom of speech. These interpretive guidelines are designed to assist an administrator in addressing those questions and in avoiding any violation of state or federal constitutional provisions protecting speech.
The University's constitutional and statutory obligations to provide equal educational and employment opportunities may require it to regulate some conduct and speech. For example, suppose a professor threatens to lower the grades of female students unless they submit to his sexual demands. Although the threats are conveyed through speech in the most general sense, the constitutional protection would not extend to them, because the threats are simply a tool for illegally coercing sexual favors. Moreover, the University may in some circumstance be legally responsible for the professor's harassment, particularly if University officials adopt or implicitly ratify the harassment as University policy by failing to intervene in the harassment after receiving notice of it. Thus, in some circumstances, University regulation of speech and conduct is not only permitted, it is the University's legal obligation, notwithstanding interests in free speech.
This could extend to harassment of students by fellow students: if University officials receive notice that students are harassing another student on the basis of a protected status and fail to take reasonable steps to intervene, they may be guilty of maintaining unequal educational opportunities. On the other hand, if the University restricts protected speech, it will violate the first amendment.
Thus, the enactment of the University anti-harassment policy should not be viewed as a rejection of interests in free speech; nor should the recognition of first amendment limitations be viewed as a diminution of the University's commitment to diversity. The University has a wide range of legal responsibilities that extend to equal opportunity, to freedom of expression, and to maintenance of reasonable educational, working, and residential environments for all members of the campus community. The University will be faithful to all of these obligations if it pursues its goals of diversity, equal opportunity, and non-harassment in a way that fully respects rights to free speech and academic freedom. In some cases, as illustrated by these guidelines, interests in free speech will limit the University's ability to pursue other goals. In those cases, the University is fully committed to honoring those limits.
Defacement or Destruction of Property
Just as a person may burn his own flag but not one stolen from another, a student would be free to display a symbol on his T-shirt but could be disciplined for spray-painting the symbol on a classroom wall or over a poster owned and displayed by another. This presumes that the University would mete out discipline for any defacement or destruction of property, regardless of the presence, absence, or content of any expression associated with it.
Free Speech and Academic Freedom in an Academic Context
Students, faculty, and others are entitled to express any view in an academic context, even if the content of the speech offends or even shocks some of the speaker's listeners. For example,
a student or instructor in a class is free to express the shocking view that Hitler's programs and policies during World War II were morally defensible or that slavery and apartheid are just institutions;
a staff member could express the view in a campus radio talk show that laws mandating wheelchair access in public buildings should be repealed and that persons who use wheelchairs should be banned from campus;
a professor could write an article arguing that women generally have a lower aptitude than men for learning a particular subject;
a student could write a letter to the editor of a campus newspaper arguing that Native Americans did not belong at the University and should stay on their reservations; or
a student could publish his own campus journal in which he argues that certain sexual orientations are immoral and contrary to religious teachings.
Those who disagree with such speech can, among other things, silently reject the view or respond to it with more speech in such form as class discussion or a letter to the editor of a campus newspaper. However, the University cannot, and should not, seek to regulate the content of intellectual debate.
Similarly, for pedagogical reasons, a classroom instructor can exercise a high degree of control over the process of communication in his or her class. The instructor can demand, for example, that students raise their hands and be recognized before speaking to the topic raised by the instructor, that they address the instructor rather than speak among themselves, and that they adopt a classroom demeanor that does not disrupt the educational activity of the moment. Although deviations from such rules set down by an administrator or instructor would not necessarily violate university policy, the examples serve to help illustrate the scope of interests in free speech and academic freedom.
Time, Place, and Manner Restrictions of Speech
Subject to certain narrow exceptions outlined in section B above, a person enjoys the right to express even offensive ideas in such forums as (1) a written statement posted at appropriate sites after getting approval on a content-neutral basis from the appropriate University office, or (2) a private or public meeting staged at a room or other site properly reserved on campus. Those offended by such expression can, among other things, ignore the speech, avoid it, or respond to it with more speech; however, the University cannot ban the speech simply because it offends others.
On the other hand, the University may adopt content-neutral restrictions on the time, place, and manner of speech to avoid conflicts and disruptions. For example, it could require presentations on the Academic Quad to be sufficiently limited in scope as to avoid obstructing foot traffic on the bordering sidewalks and to be sufficiently limited in volume as to avoid disrupting work or study in the library or in nearby offices or classrooms. Similarly, if a campus organization has reserved a time and location on campus to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the University could prohibit another group that did not reserve the same time and location from disrupting the celebration with a conflicting rally or speech. This interest in freedom from disruption might be strongest when the event is scheduled inside a room, thus generating expectations of separation from those who do not identify with the goals of the event. It may be stronger still when the event is open only to invited participants, thus generating expectations of privacy. Time, place, and manner restrictions must be reasonable. For example, if the University prohibits students from posting any notices or affixing any other materials on the hallway walls and exterior doors of residence hall rooms and in the common bathrooms, it must provide other reasonable areas for the posting of public notices. Similarly, if a group of students has reserved an area for a presentation celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., University officials could not prohibit other students in an adjacent area within eyesight of the area from carrying picket signs or handing out leaflets that disparaged King, so long as they do not disrupt the scheduled celebration. Moreover, sometimes those expressing ideas at a rally invite debate and reactions from listeners; in such cases, the expression of competing views in the same time and place would not be expression in an unsuitable time, place, or manner. Nonetheless, such expression could be subject to University regulation if it amounted to exercise of a "heckler's veto," which drowns out the scheduled presentation or otherwise prevents it from proceeding.
Slurs and Epithets
Derogatory terms may amount to harassment or may be protected speech, depending upon the context. For example, a drama student writing a play about racism in America would be free to use the ugly, disparaging term "nigger" in her script to drive home her points about racism. Indeed, if he or she were willing to lose credibility and to weather the outpouring of criticism and counterspeech, a person would be free to use such a term in a speech disparaging an ethnic group, gender, or sexual orientation.
On the other hand, a student would violate university policy by referring to another student by the term "nigger," "stupid jerk," or other epithets in such a manner or in such a context as to put the listener in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm. For example, suppose that one or more students stopped an African-American student in an isolated area of campus at night and invoked racially disparaging terms in a threatening manner. In light of the long history of racial violence in our society, the racially disparaging terms in this context could very well put the African-American student in reasonable fear of imminent harm. Under that analysis, the speech and conduct could be regulated without infringing upon interests in free speech.
Because of the high incidence of violence against women and against persons of gay/lesbian/transgender/bisexual sexual orientation in our society, this analysis might apply with particular force also to disparaging terms directed to such persons, particularly in a volatile context that presents a risk of physical harm to the target of the speech. Other kinds of confrontations, such as a woman referring to a man as a "male chauvinist pig," or a student calling a professor a "windbag," might not place the listener in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm as frequently, because the incidence of violence historically associated with such disparagement is relatively low. However, the immediate context is more important than the actual language, status of the parties, or historical context. Thus, if the term "male chauvinist pig" or "windbag" were communicated in a threatening manner and in circumstances underscoring the viability and immediacy of the threat, the speech and conduct could be regulated.
Other kinds of cases illustrate further that the context may be more important than the term used. For example, in a public forum that unwilling listeners are free to avoid, a speaker has a right to make the highly offensive statement that "women are whores." The speaker has no duty to make his or her voluntary listeners comfortable or to treat them equally. In another context, however, even the less offensive term "girl" could contribute to harassment. For example, suppose that a professor addressed his male students with great respect, but that each time a female student raised her hand the professor paused and said condescendingly: "Oh, no; let's see what the girls have to say." Particularly when frequently repeated, such condescending speech might provide unequal educational opportunity for women, thus violating the fourteenth amendment and federal legislation such as Title IX. In these circumstances, the University could constitutionally regulate the speech.
These guidelines supplement the anti-harassment policy and are designed to give the policy definition and to restrict its scope within constitutional limits. If any portion of the policy, including a portion of these guidelines, is adjudicated to violate state or federal laws, the University intends to abandon the illegal portion and to maintain the severable legal portions
The CET will focus on antiharassment education and the promotion of free speech and academic freedom. The primary goal of the CET is to promote a harmonious campus environment in which discriminatory harassment is unlikely to occur and the free exchange of ideas is encouraged.
The Campus Environment Team ("CET"), an advisory group to the President, is composed of members who broadly reflect the campus community. The composition of the committee shall be created in the following way:
Chair of the Faculty will appoint a faculty member.
The BSU, Outlook, DCGA, DISA, La Fuerza Latina, DJF, Panhellenic Council, Interfraternity Council, Women's Emphasis and the Black Greek Council shall each appoint a student. Other groups or individuals may apply to the President for appointment to the CET.
The Senior Staff shall appoint an administrator.
The Director of Multicultural Affairs shall be a member.
The Office of Student Affairs shall appoint one student member of the residential life staff.
The Advisory Committee on Diversity shall appoint a faculty person from its body.
The Rape Survivors Advocates Group shall appoint one of its members.
SOS shall elect a member.
The Campus Climate Advocates shall appoint one of its members.
The DCGA Communications Chair shall be a member.
The Chair of the CET, who normally serves a one-year term, will be chosen for the next year at the CET's final meeting of each academic year. The Director of Women's Programs and Affirmative Action, the Dean of Students (or his or her designee), and the Student Affairs administrator who directs the campus judicial system will be ex-officio members of the CET. CET members will receive in-service training to enhance the effectiveness of their activities.
The Office of the President shall set aside appropriate funding for the CET to carry out its duties and fulfill its objectives.
The mission of the CET is to promote:
civil and just campus environment that values diversity;
respect for all individuals regardless of their status;
free speech and academic freedom and
the pursuit of individual goals without interference from discriminatory harassment.
The CET will NOT process complaints, nor does it have any authority to impose discipline or to compel attendance at its meetings or cooperation with its efforts. Any member of the campus community who believes that he or she has been subjected to discriminatory harassment, as defined by University policy, and who desires assistance in filing a complaint or grievance with the appropriate office or committee, or to secure counseling, mediation, or other relief, can obtain such assistance from the Campus Climate Advocates.
The specific objectives and activities of the CET are:
The CET should support and collaborate with efforts of others to educate the campus community for the purpose of preventing harassment and promoting a campus environment that reflects respect for all individuals regardless of status.
Members of the CET should be "in touch" with the campus environment. CET members may be aware of the potential for discriminatory harassment and may have special knowledge on how to ease tensions when harassment has occurred or is about to occur. The CET should work closely with the University administration to help implement strategies, consistent with free speech and academic freedom, to resolve tensions that may lead to discriminatory harassment and to mitigate such harassment after it has occurred.
The CET should provide data concerning discriminatory harassment at least twice per semester to the University President and the campus community, suggesting specific policies and programs that will help carry out the CET's goals.
Promoting Free Speech and Academic Freedom
The CET should support and collaborate with efforts of others to educate the campus community for the purpose of preventing infringements of free speech and academic freedom and helping the campus community to understand the University's obligations to protect free speech and academic freedom.
The following are examples of possible educational activities of the CET:
a public awareness program to inform the campus community of the existence of the CET, its purpose and the University's policy prohibiting discriminatory harassment and protecting freedom of speech and academic freedom;
a program to train counselors, resident assistants, student affairs administrators, and other employees of the University to deal with harassment and protect freedom of speech and academic freedom;
offer workshops on cultural sensitivity, free speech and academic freedom;
offer student orientation sessions on diversity, harassment, free speech and academic freedom;
a program to design and disseminate brochures, posters, and related materials that address issues of free speech and academic freedom and encourage members of the University community to appreciate diversity and to report harassment;
offer suggestions to the administration, curriculum committees, and faculty to develop and implement programs on diversity, free speech and academic freedom;
a lecture series on cultural diversity, harassment, free speech and academic freedom available to all organizations within and outside the campus community;
distributing a questionnaire on the campus climate, to faculty, staff, and students;
recommending that exit interviews of University employees who leave their jobs include questions about the campus environment;
periodically conducting studies on systems and structures that might undermine a harmonious campus environment or promote segregation of various campus groups;
sponsoring public forums on the campus environment and how it can be improved.
Subject to the limiting provisions of the "Denison University Antiharassment and Free Speech Policy" (see the Faculty Handbook or the Student Handbook), it is a violation of University policy for any University employee or student to subject any person to harassment on University property or at a University-sponsored event. It is also a violation of University policy for any University student or employee to retaliate, harass or discriminate against persons who have made an informal or formal complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under the "Denison University Antiharassment and Free Speech Policy. "This policy is not violated by actions that are expressions protected by the state or federal constitutions or by related principles of academic freedom.
Harassment occurs if [subject to the limiting provision in section II.B.3 of the policy] "an individual engages in conduct (physical, verbal, graphic or written) on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnic or national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam-era veteran status that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as unreasonably to interfere with or limit the ability of another individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the University, or has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating or hostile environment." (From the Denison University Antiharassment and Free Speech Policy. See the policy for elaboration of the definition.)
An individual who believes s/he has been harassed should consult with the appropriate administrative official, the affirmative action coordinator, and/or with one of the faculty or staff members of the Campus Climate Advocates. ("Appropriate administrative official" means the Provost when the alleged harasser is a member of the faculty or administrative staff, the VP for Student Affairs when the alleged harasser is a student, and the Director of Human Resources when the alleged harasser is a supportive operating staff member. If the administrative official is the alleged harasser, then the "appropriate administrative official" will be the person to whom s/he reports.)
Anyone wishing to file a complaint should do so promptly, but in no event later than one calendar year from the date of the alleged incident, or from the date of the last in an alleged series of incidents.
The initial goal of this informal consultation is to assist the individual in making a judgment about whether or not harassment has occurred. The second goal is to explore the various alternatives available in response to the situation. The ultimate goal is to provide support and assistance in implementing the approach chosen for reaching a satisfactory solution.
If a grievance is pursued, the complainant may consult with the affirmative action coordinator, who will help identify persons able to assist the complainant in preparing his or her case.
Any information that is part of the proceedings will be held in the strictest confidence.
Informal Grievance Procedure
Complaints of harassment should be made to the appropriate administrative official. That administrative official should contact the affirmative action coordinator for consultation in the resolution of the case. At that point efforts should be made to resolve the issue on an informal level. The primary objective of informal procedures is to resolve the conflict and to end the harassment (if it occurred), short of more formal procedures. If the informal procedure fails to resolve the problem, the complainant may choose to pursue the formal grievance procedure.
Formal Grievance Procedure
Composition of Hearing Committees
When the alleged harasser is a student, procedures for adjudicating the alleged incident(s) and for appeals are outlined in the Student Handbook.
When the complainant is a student, the hearing will be carried out according to the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. (Since six students sit on Judicial Council, there is no need to augment the Council with additional student representation.)
When the complainant is a faculty member, the hearing will be carried out according to the procedures outlined in the Student Handbook. (Since two teaching faculty sit on Judicial Council, there is no need to augment the Council with additional faculty representation.)
When the complainant is a member of the administrative staff, the Judicial Council will be augmented by the elected administrative member of the Personnel Committee and the elected administrative member of the Campus Affairs Council (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the supportive operating staff, the Judicial Council will be augmented by the chair and vice chair of the Human Resources Advisory Group (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the alleged harasser is a member of the teaching faculty, the case will be heard by six former members of the President's Advisory Board who served most recently on that body, and who are not members of the alleged harasser's academic department.
When the complainant is a student, the advisory board hearing panel will be augmented by the President of the DCGA and the student chair of the Judicial Council (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the teaching faculty, the advisory board hearing panel need not be augmented by additional teaching faculty, six of whom are already represented in the composition of the panel.
When the complainant is a member of the administrative staff, the advisory board hearing panel will be augmented by the elected administrative member of the Personnel Committee and the elected administrative member of the Campus Affairs Council (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the supportive operating staff, the advisory board hearing panel will be augmented by the chair and vice chair of the Human Resources Advisory Group (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the alleged harasser is a member of the administrative staff, the case will be heard by a hearing panel made up of the following: the elected administrative member of the Personnel Committee, the elected administrative member of the Campus Affairs Council, the two elected administrative members of the Student Enrollment and Retention Committee, and the two elected administrative members of the Finance Committee.
When the complainant is a student, the hearing panel will be augmented by the President of the DCGA and the student chair of the Judicial Council (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the teaching faculty, the hearing panel will be augmented by the chair and the vice chair of the Faculty (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the administrative staff, the hearing panel need not be augmented by members of the administrative staff, six of whom are already represented in the composition of the committee.
When the complainant is a member of the supportive operating staff, the hearing panel will be augmented by the chair and vice chair of the Human Resources Advisory Group (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the alleged harasser is a member of the supportive operating staff, the case will be heard by Human Resources Advisory Group (excluding the Director and Associate Director of Human Resources).
When the complainant is a student, the Human Resources Advisory Group will be augmented by the President of the DCGA and the student chair of the Judicial Council (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the teaching faculty, the Human Resources Advisory Group will be augmented by the chair and the vice chair of the Faculty (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the administrative staff, the Human Resources Advisory Group will be augmented by the elected administrative member of the Personnel Committee and the elected administrative member of the Campus Affairs Council (or their designates), who will participate in a non-voting capacity.
When the complainant is a member of the supportive operating staff, the Human Resources Advisory Group does not need to be augmented by representatives of the supportive operating staff, who are already represented in the composition of the committee.
The affirmative action coordinator will serve in an ex officio, non-voting capacity as a resource person for all committees hearing formal harassment grievances.
In no instance will the alleged harasser (or complainant) or members of the department of the alleged harasser (or members of the department of the complainant) be eligible to serve on the respective hearing panel. In cases in which this situation would occur, the remaining members of the hearing panel will designate a temporary replacement from the same category of employment.
Procedure for Formal Hearing
A request for a formal hearing should be made to the appropriate administrative official. The request must be made within one calendar year of the alleged incident, or from the date of the last in an alleged series of incidents. Both the complainant and the respondent will be invited by the administrative official to provide a written account of the incident(s) and to appear before the hearing committee. Both shall have the opportunity to meet with the administrative official at any point in the process to clarify or to seek increased understanding of the case. In cases in which a Denison employee is the alleged harasser, it is the responsibility of the appropriate administrative official to collect the information and to present the facts of the case to the hearing committee. In cases in which a student is the alleged harasser, the procedures for collecting and presenting the facts are outlined in the Student Handbook.
The appropriate administrative official should inform the alleged harrasser of the allegation and the identity of the complainant. A written statement of the complaint should be given to both parties.
The committee may take appropriate additional steps it deems necessary to solicit information, such as inviting other members of the community to provide testimony, either written or oral. All testimony will be held in the strictest of confidence.
Likewise, both the complainant and the alleged harasser have the right to call in witnesses or introduce evidence germane to the charge.
The complainant and the alleged harasser will have the right to review all evidence that is made available to the hearing committee and be given the chance to respond to it, in either oral or written form.
In cases heard by the Judicial Council, the procedures spelled out in the Student Handbook will be followed.
Both the complainant and the alleged harasser may have an adviser from the University community present at the hearing. The adviser may be available for consultation purposes only. Advisers will not be allowed to testify or participate in the proceedings. Advisers may not be legal counsel.
In cases heard by the advisory board hearing panel, the administrative hearing panel, or the Human Resources Advisory Group, the respective hearing committee will determine by majority vote whether or not harassment has occurred. A majority of the voting members of the hearing group must be present to vote. If the hearing committee determines that harassment has occurred, the President will determine the nature of the penalty. The hearing committee may choose to make a recommendation as to the nature of the penalty. A range of penalties is possible, including (but not limited to) verbal or written reprimand, suspension without pay, and termination. In the case of a member of the teaching faculty, if the President believes the faculty member's behavior constitutes grounds for termination, the President will follow the procedure outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
If the hearing committee determines that harassment has not occurred, no action will be taken, and no reflection of the incident will be a part of the record of either party.
In cases decided by the Judicial Council, appeals will follow the procedures spelled out in the Student Handbook.
In cases decided by the advisory board hearing panel, appeals to the President may be made in writing within 10 working days of the notification of the decision. Those cases involving termination of a member of the teaching faculty will follow the procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook
In cases decided by the administrative hearing panel, appeals to the President may be made in writing within 10 working days of notification of the decision.
In cases decided by the Human Resources Advisory Group, appeals will follow the procedures outlined in the *Personnel Policies Handbook for Supportive Operating Staff.
*The Personnel Policies Handbook for Supportive Operating Staff will be changed to reference these new procedures and the role of the Human Resources Advisory Group.