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Sexual Harassment Policy

Augustana College, in order to maintain a positive, discrimination-free educational and work environment, declares that sexual harassment in the work place or the educational environment is unacceptable and therefore prohibited. To assure such an environment, Augustana College shall provide education regarding sexual harassment to all members of the campus community.

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 standing or
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such an individual, or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic, work or student life environment.

Sexual harassment also includes sexual assault.

This policy applies to all regents, faculty, administrators, support staff and students of Augustana College and also to persons from the larger community when they are on the Augustana campus.

In addition to the forms of sexual harassment described above, certain types of related behaviors are more ambiguous. The present policy statement takes the following positions on three such issues.

  • Consensual relationships of a romantic or sexual nature, between an Augustana College employee and a current Augustana student, or between supervisors and those they supervise, may be construed as or may in fact be sexual harassment and are to be avoided. Because a unique position of power or control exists in such relationships, the term "consent" is made ambiguous. Consequently, to
    claim a consensual relationship is not an acceptable defense against charges of sexual harassment.
  • The above does not apply to relationships between spouses.
  • Another exception to the above is that a consensual relationship of a romantic or sexual nature, between a student employee of Augustana College and another Augustana student, is not prohibited. Non-consensual relations of this type,
    however, may constitute sexual harassment as defined above.

The President shall designate individuals to be responsible for compliance with Title VII and IX legal requirements, and to carry out related responsibilities, including education of the campus community regarding policies and investigation of any complaints. The grievance procedure provides for prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee complaints regarding any action which is prohibited by the Title VII and IX Education Amendments or by the present policy statement.


SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

  • All members of the campus community shall use the same procedure and every member who joins the Augustana community shall be given an orientation to the policy.
  • To protect both complainant and accused, the resolution of complaints will normally be a confidential process.
  • Both parties involved in a sexual harassment case will have available to them a minimum of ten sexual harassment advisors. Each party may choose one. The advisors will be appointed by the president from the faculty, support staff, administrative personnel and students. There shall be approximately equal representation from the four groups and approximately equal gender representation.
  • The sexual harassment advisors shall constitute the membership of a Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee which shall have responsibility for educating the campus community and hearing formal complaints as a Sexual Harassment Hearing Panel.
  • The President shall appoint the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Committee with the advice and consent of the sexual harassment counselors. The Chairperson may delegate responsibilities to the Vice-President of Human Resources and/or other members of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee.
  • The sexual harassment advisors will receive formal training in sexual harassment counseling and be kept current regarding legal definitions of sexual harassment.
  • The Vice-President of Human Resources has been assigned campus responsibility for compliance with federal discrimination and sexual harassment legislation and will receive formal training in sexual harassment counseling and investigation and keep current regarding legal definitions of sexual harassment. The Vice-President of Human Resources shall be the staff person for the Sexual Harassment Committee.
  • Except in cases of sexual assault, use of the campus resolution process is encouraged before either party in a complaint resorts to civil or criminal legal action. Either or both parties in a complaint may wish to consult and retain legal counsel. During the process either party may consult with legal counsel, but counsel can neither cross-examine nor address the entire group.
  • Any member of the campus community specifically affected is encouraged to report a complaint in a timely manner, and in the case of student complaints against a faculty or staff member, complaints can be filed anytime before one semester after graduation.
  • Members of the hearing panel shall maintain a position of neutrality during the hearing process.
  • The recommendation of the hearing panel shall be forwarded to the President for action.
  • The President has the ultimate responsibility for the college complying with federal law relating to sexual harassment. Records regarding sexual harassment complaints shall be kept in the President's office.

 

THE COUNSELING PROCESS

  • The complainant may communicate with the accused directly in an attempt to resolve the complaint.
  • If direct resolution between the complainant and the accused is not successful or the complainant feels unable to undertake it, the complainant should share the complaint with any member of the campus community with whom the complainant feels comfortable. If the person confided in is not a designated and trained sexual harassment advisor, that person should assist the complainant in making an appointment with such an advisor.
  • The sexual harassment advisor will hear the complainant and advise that complainant regarding the apparent validity of the complaint and the options and procedure for resolving the complaint. The advisor will ask whether or not the complainant wishes to pursue the complaint. If not, the complaint is ended at this point and the advisor makes a memorandum for the advisor's own file with a copy placed in the sexual harassment file in the President's office.
  • If the complainant wishes to pursue the issue further, the advisor will ask the complainant to put the complaint in written form and the advisor will bring it to the campus Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee requesting an informal investigation of the complaint.

If the advisor perceives the complaint to be of a sufficiently serious nature, the advisor, with the consent of the complainant, may request the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Committee to move directly to a formal resolution process.

 

THE INFORMAL PROCESS

  • Normally, the first step in the informal process will be the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Committee informing the accused of the complaint. Since this is an informal investigation, the complaint may initially be conveyed orally to the accused, but a written notification must also be given to the accused.

    If the complaint is of a minor nature and the accused wishes to resolve the complaint informally, the chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution committee will require the accused to compose an appropriate written response, addressed to the complainant. This response may include such things as an explanation of behavior that resulted in a misperception of intent, an apology and a pledge to discontinue the behavior. A copy of this response shall be placed in the individual's personnel file and the sexual harassment file in the President's office.

If the complainant finds the response from the accused satisfactory, the complainant shall provide the accused and the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee a written statement to that effect. At that point the complaint may be regarded as resolved unless the behavior persists. The President's office shall retain copies of all written documents related to the complaint and may add a memorandum that records aspects of the process not covered by existing documents.

  • If the complainant does not find the accused's response satisfactory, the complainant may request a formal investigation and resolution of the complaint.
  • If the accused does not find the acceptance of the response satisfactory, the accused may also request a formal investigation and resolution of the complaint.
    If either party is dissatisfied with informal process and requests a formal resolution, the chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee shall inform the President that a formal sexual harassment complaint investigation is beginning, though the names of the two parties shall not be disclosed.
  • At this point, the original Sexual Harassment Advisor will normally continue to assist and advise the complainant. The accused may at this point also request the assistance and counsel of a different Sexual Harassment Advisor.
  • If the complaint is of a serious nature and informal investigation verifies the probable validity of the complaint, the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee may move directly to a formal process of resolution. At this point, the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee shall inform the President that a formal sexual harassment complaint investigation is beginning, though the names of the two parties shall not be disclosed.

THE FORMAL PROCESS

  • The Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee shall request the accused to provide a written response to the complaint and will in turn request the complainant to provide a written response to the accused's response.
  • The Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee shall seek to establish the validity or non-validity of the complaint and shall make written records of findings. Third party interviews may be conducted with those who are in a position to verify or refute the statements of the complainant or the accused's response. These findings shall include a preliminary determination and explanation of guilt or innocence. This finding may be introduced as evidence in any subsequent hearing. If the finding is guilty, a penalty shall be recommended. The findings are to be shared with the complainant and the accused. Either party may waive the right to a formal hearing and accept the findings of the formal investigation. Such a waiver must be in written form. This statement will also become a part of the file in the President's Office.
  • If a hearing has not been waived by both parties, a formal hearing of the Sexual Harassment Hearing Panel shall meet to consider the charges.
    • The Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee shall name one of the sexual harassment advisors, who is not counsel to either party, as chairperson of the Hearing Panel.
      • The Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Hearing Panel shall inform the accused of the complaint and their rights. He/She shall set the time and place of the hearing, and supply the accused, the complainant, and the hearing committee members with written notification of the same at least five (5) class days prior to the hearing. However, the accused shall have the right to waive the written notification of at least five (5) days prior to the hearing in order to accelerate the process.
    • It shall be the responsibility of the accused and the complainant to see to it that their respective witnesses are informed of the hearing. The chairperson may also request witnesses to appear.
    • Pending action on the charges, the status of the accused will not be interrupted unless the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee deems that there is reason to believe that the presence of the accused may constitute a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of other members of the Augustana community. In such cases, temporary suspension may be recommended to the President. The President or his or her designate also shall have the authority to suspend temporarily an accused person if in his or her judgment it is appropriate to the resolution of the complaint and/or for the welfare of the college.
    • The Hearing Panel shall adhere to the following procedures:
      • A quorum of five (5) complaint resolution advisors must be present to conduct a hearing.
      • The accused or the complainant may with statement of cause challenge the seating of any panel member. The chairperson shall rule upon challenges for cause.
      • A member of the Hearing Panel may with statement of cause remove himself/herself from sitting on the hearing for a particular case.
      • Complaint resolution advisors who are providing counsel to either party in the complaint shall not sit on the Hearing Panel.
      • Should the above result in the lack of a quorum, the necessary quorum shall be filled subject to the mutual approval of the accused and the complainant.
    • The hearing will be closed
      • After calling the hearing to order, the chairperson shall explain the procedures and answer any questions concerning notification, rights, and procedures.
      • The Hearing Panel shall read the specific charges on the complaint.
        • The accused then enters a plea.
        • In the absence of the accused, if it is determined that he/she has received proper notification of the charges and the hearing, the hearing will proceed.
    • The complainant will present evidence and/or witnesses to support the case against the accused.
    • The accused may present evidence and/or witnesses to support the defense.
    • Both the complainant and the accused shall be given the opportunity to rebut the evidence and question any individual who presents evidence and/or testimony.
    • Any member of the Hearing Panel may question any individual who presents evidence and/or testimony.
    • When all questions are answered to the satisfaction of all concerned, the hearing shall be terminated. Upon termination of the hearing, the panel shall deliberate in closed session. The panel should determine guilt or innocence according to the following standard: there must exist clear and convincing evidence of defendant's guilt. At least 80% of the panel must find the defendant guilty for a guilty verdict to be rendered.
      • In the case of a "not guilty" decision, the charges against the accused shall be dropped. The record of "not guilty" verdicts shall be kept in the President's Office.
      • In the case of a "guilty" decision, the hearing panel's report shall also include the sanction(s). The panel shall issue a written opinion detailing its rationale regarding both the verdict and the sanction(s). Dissenting panel members can, should they so desire, write opinions detailing their reservations regarding either the panel's decision, or sanction(s) or both. The panel's written report and findings shall comprise the official record of the panel and shall be forwarded to the parties and filed in the President's Office.
        • Sanctions should vary according to the seriousness of the proven charge(s). Lesser penalties could include a reprimand or a requirement that the accused write the complainant an apology and pledge that he or she ceases all harassment; more severe penalties may include suspension or dismissal. All penalties shall be determined by majority vote except for suspension or dismissal, which require a unanimous vote. The record of guilty verdict, signed by all member of the hearing panel, will be placed in the individual's file and a duplicate copy in the Sexual Harassment file in the President's Office.
        • It shall be the responsibility of the hearing panel chairperson to share with both the accused and the complainant the recommendation of the panel and rationale for the same within five (5) class days of the termination of the hearing. The written report will be filed in the President's Office.
    • If neither the accused nor the complainant chooses to contest the decision of the hearing panel, the case will be closed and the sanction(s), if any, placed in effect. Acceptance of the decision must be provided in writing to the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee. The copies of the statements will be placed in the Sexual Harassment file in the President's Office and the complaint is considered closed.

THE APPEAL PROCESS

If either the complainant or the accused finds the Hearing Panel's decision unacceptable, that person must provide to the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee and the President, a written appeal asking the President to review the committee's decision. This appeal must state specific reasons why the appellant believes the panel's decision was in error.

  • The President must respond to an appeal request from either party in a complaint.
  • The Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee shall convey to the President all the written or recorded documents presented to the Hearing Panel and used in arriving at its decisions.
  • The President shall review the above documents and may interview the Chairperson and/or, other members of the Hearing Panel and the person making the appeal. The President may not reopen the investigation, but must decide whether the information available to the Hearing Panel supports the panel's verdict and penalty and whether the proper procedures were followed. The President may seek legal counsel or the advice of the Chair of the College Board of Regents prior to rendering a decision.

The President may decide to uphold the committee's verdict and penalty, to uphold the verdict but modify the penalty, to overturn both verdict and penalty, or to ask the resolution committee to review its decision because of flawed process or newly discovered evidence.

The President shall convey the appeal response in writing to the appellant, the other party to the complaint and the Chairperson of the Sexual Harassment Resolution Committee. The President's appeal response shall include the appeal decision and a specific rationale for the decision.

  • At this point the campus sexual harassment process is complete and the resolution is final.

Sexual Harassment Counselors

Jane Kuper
Human Resources

Tracy Riddle
Student Services
Edith Mortenson Building

Sandra Looney
English
Humanities

Peter Schotten
Government and International Affairs
Madsen Center

Amy Meyers
Employee Health Educator
Solberg Hall

Mary Jane Minnig
Madsen Center

Vern Murra
Buildings and Grounds