Policy No. 5:07:00:00


SUBJECT:  Harassment:  Sexual, Racial and Other

  1. Introduction
    Sexual harassment and racial harassment have been held to constitute a form of discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.  Other types of harassment are prohibited by applicable law.  Fair and prompt consideration will be given to all charges of sexual harassment in accordance with the procedures set forth in this policy.  These procedures may be utilized by any employee, applicant for employment, or student who believes he/she has been subject to sexual harassment.
  2. Definitions
    1. Generally, sexual harassment may be defined unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the following criteria is met:
      submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment or of the individual’s status in a program, course or activity;
      submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions, a criterion for evaluation, or a basis for academic or other decisions affecting such individual; or;
      such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational experience or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
      whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment depends upon the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of sexual advances in the context within which the alleged incident occurred.  Examples of such harassment are listed in TBR Guideline P-080.
    2. Generally, racial harassment is defined as any person’s conduct which unreasonably interferes with an employee’s or student’s status or performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive or demeaning treatment of an individual, where such treatment is based typically on prejudiced stereotypes of a group to which that individual may belong.  It includes, but is not limited to, objectionable epithets, threatened or actual physical harm or abuse, or other intimidating or insulting conduct directed against the individual because of his/her race, color, or national origin.  Title VII requires employers to take prompt action to prevent bigots from expressing their opinions in a way which abuses or offends their coworkers.
    3. Generally, harassment on the basis of religion, handicap, or other protected status includes any conduct which has the purpose or has the reasonably foreseeable effect of interfering with an individual’s academic efforts, employment, or participation in institutionally sponsored activities.  Such harassment also includes any activity which creates an intimidation, hostile or demeaning environment, including stalking.
  3. General Statement
    The Affirmative Action Officer (Ms. Joan Bates, Office A107, Phone extension 205) has responsibility for assuring compliance with this policy and applicable TBR guidance.  Pursuant to TBR Guideline P-080, General Counsel will be advised prior to investigation of a charge of harassment.
  4. Procedures
    1. Preliminary Investigation
      1. Any student, applicant for employment, or employee who believes he/she has been subjected to harassment shall present the charge (in writing) to the Affirmative Action Officer.  The charge shall include the circumstances giving rise to allegations and the dates of the alleged occurrence.  The charge shall be signed by the aggrieved individual.  Where the charge of harassment is by one student against another student, the Vice President for Student Services will investigate and resolve the complaint in accordance with student disciplinary procedures.
      2. The Affirmative Action Officer will make every attempt to get the aggrieved party to provide the charge in writing.  The charge shall include the circumstances giving rise to the allegations and the dates of the alleged occurrences.  The charge shall be signed by the aggrieved individual.  However, where the aggrieved individual refuses to sign a written charge, the Affirmative Action Officer will still investigate the allegations, and take appropriate action which may or may not be the steps outlined in the remaining paragraphs of this guideline.
      3. The Affirmative Action Officer will notify in writing the charged party within five (5) working days of receipt of the charge.  The charged party will respond in writing to the charge within five (5) days of notification.
      4. The Affirmative Action Officer will meet with both parties for the purpose of resolving the charge informally.
      5. The Affirmative Action Officer will conduct an investigation of the charge and submit a report to the President, TBR Affirmative Action Officer, and the parties within twenty (20) working days following receipt of the charge.  The report will outline the basis of the charge, including the dates of the alleged occurrences, the response of the charged party, the findings of the Affirmative Action Officer and all attempts to resolve the charge informally and recommendations regarding disposition of the charge.  If following an investigation the Affirmative Action Officer finds there is no substantial evidence to support the charge, the parties will be so advised in writing.
        If the investigator reveals that there is evidence to support the charge, the charged party will be advised of his/her right to a hearing pursuant to the procedures set forth below.  A charged party may request a hearing within ten (10) days following receipt of the report.
      6. If the investigation reveals that there is evidence to support the charge, the President may meet with the charged party and/or the charging party and attempt to resolve the problem by agreement.  In addition, the charged party shall be advised of his/her right to a hearing pursuant to the procedures set forth below.  A charged party may request a hearing within ten (10) days following receipt of the report.
    2. Hearing
      1. If the charged party requests a hearing, he/she will be advised of hearing procedures available under TBR Policy No. 1:06:00:05, Uniform Procedures for Cases Subject to Tennessee Uniform Administrative Procedures Act and of established institutional procedures available for the resolution of the matter in question.  The party requesting a hearing will be given the opportunity to elect the procedures pursuant to which the matter will be heard.
      2. When an individual elects to proceed under the established institution procedures for resolution of the matter, the election should be in writing and signed by the individuals making the election and should expressly waive the procedures available under the TUAPA as to the matter in question.  When a party elects to proceed pursuant to established procedures at the institution, these procedures will include the following minimal requirements:
        1. Notice of the charge to the party or parties.
        2. The right of the party or parties to present his/her case.
        3. The right to be accompanied by an advisor.
        4. The right to call witnesses in his/her behalf.
        5. The right to confront witnesses against him/her.
        In addition, in any case where the President makes a decision which is adverse to the charge or claim of either party, the President will advise the person of any right of appeal provided by Board policy.
      3. Individuals electing to proceed under the TUAPA will be referred to the appropriate institution official responsible for commencement of actions under the TUAPA as provided in TBR Policy No. 1:06:00:05.
      4. When a charge involves a tenured faculty member, the same informal and formal procedures set out above shall be utilized.  Tenured faculty members shall have the same right to elect hearing procedures as set out in section 3.2 above.  Where the selected hearing procedure results in a finding that sexual harassment exists and the President determines that the harassment constitutes adequate cause for termination, then the matter will proceed under either the institution policy for termination of tenure or Board Policy 5:02:03:00.
        Information related to complaints by or against students will be treated as confidential under the Buckley Amendment.

Source:  TBR Guideline No. P-080
Revised:  December 1, 1992; March 11, 1994; January 11, 1995 (Replaces 3:07:00:00)