SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY

INITIATED:

APPROVED: December 17, 1999


PURPOSE


Northern Michigan University is committed to its faculty, staff and students.  Sexual harassment of any member of the University community is inconsistent with the University's desire to create the best possible living, learning, and work environment, and is therefore absolutely prohibited.

Harassment on the basis of sex is discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and the Michigan Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act.  Federal and state laws prohibit sex discrimination in employment and in the utilization of educational facilities and services. Sexual harassment is considered to be sex discrimination and is therefore illegal.


Retaliation
:  It is a violation of University policy to intimidate, discipline, discharge, or harass any individual because she or he has filed a complaint, instituted proceedings, assisted an investigation, or formally or informally objected to sexual harassment and/or discriminatory practices. If retaliation occurs, the incident should be reported either to the Equal Opportunity Office or Human Resources (faculty and staff) or to the Dean of Students Office (students).


Confidentiality:  The right to confidentiality, both of the complainant and of the respondent, will be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University's legal obligation or ability to investigate allegations of misconduct when brought to its attention, and to take corrective action when it is found that misconduct has occurred.


Cooperation:  All members of the University community are expected to provide full and truthful cooperation to university officials during and investigation.

DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or visual communication or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to such conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting such individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.
  3. Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing; or creating an intimidating or hostile environment in employment, public accommodations, public services, education, or housing.


There are two main types of sexual harassment:  quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment.

Quid pro quo harassment – Quid pro quo means "this for that."  This occurs when a promotion or job benefit is directly tied to an unwelcome sexual advance.

Hostile environment – This type of sexual harassment in the workplace creates an intimidating, hostile or demeaning environment or situation that is unfavorable to a person's job performance.

EXAMPLES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
All members of the University community are expected to be familiar with the following list. Examples of behaviors which may constitute sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct include but are not limited to:

  • Deliberate touching which does not contribute to or advance the work, service, or education activity being conducted.
  • Repeated brushing against or touching of another's body, which does not contribute to or advance the work, service, or education activity being conducted. 
  • Pressure or demands for a date or for sexual activity with a subordinate by a person in authority.  
  • Repeated requests for a date or for sexual activity which are declined.
  • Pictorial or actual displays of obscenity which do not contribute to or advance the work, service, or education activity being conducted.  
  • Written/electronic, verbal, pictorial (screen saver/wallpaper), or nonverbal communications of a sexual nature which do not contribute to or advance the work, service, or education activity being conducted.


UNWELCOME BEHAVIORS
The above behaviors shall be presumed unwelcome without the complainant communicating that the behavior is unwelcome.

When a complainant has communicated, verbally or in writing, that a behavior of a sexual nature is unwelcome, any repetition of that behavior or similar behavior will be considered unwelcome and is considered sexual harassment.  No additional communication should be necessary for one to understand that his/her behavior is unwelcome. 

If you are not comfortable directly communicating with the individual whose behavior is unwelcome, guidance or consultation is available through the Dean Students or Equal Opportunity Office.

APPLICABILITY


All students, faculty, and staff

POLICY

UNIVERSITY ACTION
The University will promptly investigate a complaint and, where appropriate, take prompt corrective action up to and including discharge from University employment and/or expulsion. Complaints should be reported immediately but in all cases must be reported within ninety (90) calendar days of the alleged occurrence.


INFORMAL COMPLAINTS
A member of the University community who wishes to complain about sexual harassment by an employee or student of the University can take one of the following actions:

  • If the alleged harasser is a faculty or staff member, the complaint should be made, orally or in writing, to the alleged harasser's unit administrator (e.g. supervisor, director, department head), or to the Equal Opportunity Office  or to the Human Resources Department; or, 
  • If the alleged harasser is the unit administrator, the complaint should be made, orally or in writing, to the unit administrator's superior (e.g. dean, vice president, president), or to the Equal Opportunity Office or to the Human Resources Department.
  • If the alleged harasser is the supervisor of the complainant and the complainant is subject to a collective bargaining agreement, procedures and outcomes may not conflict with the complainant's respective bargaining agreement.
  • If the alleged harasser is a student supervisor or in an authority role (e.g. resident advisor), the complaint should be made to the Dean of Students or to the Equal Opportunity Office.
  • If the alleged harasser is a student not in an authority role and the complainant is a student, the complaint should be made to the dean of students and shall be pursued according to the procedures outlined in the Student Code.
  • Student complaints of sexual harassment that also concern grades shall be pursued according to the procedures outlined in the Student Code as well as the Sexual Harassment Policy.


Each complaint alleging sexual harassment will be evaluated with reference to the pertinent circumstances. A complaint may be resolved informally after speaking with the complaining party and the alleged harasser. Other complaints may result in formal investigations, including interviews and the review of any evidence. Members of the University community are expected to cooperate fully in investigations of alleged sexual harassment by University officials.


STEP I:  Informal Complaint

  1. Individuals who believe they have been sexually harassed may contact any of the individuals or university departments as noted above to discuss their complaint and are encouraged to do so as soon as possible but in any event no later than within ninety (90) days of its occurrence.

    The complainant shall describe orally or in writing:

    • the alleged harassment
    • the individual(s), program(s), or department(s) involved and, if possible, state the type of relief sought.

  2. The individual investigating the complaint, in consultation with the Equal Opportunity Office, shall: 

    • explain the informal complaint procedure;
    • inform the complainant of other internal resources/departments and/or University policies/procedures under which the complaint may be filed; and 
    • conduct an informal investigation of the complaint to try to resolve it within twenty-one (21)* days of receiving the oral or written informal complaint.

  3. If the proposed resolution is satisfactory to both parties the individual investigating the complaint shall write to the two parties involved a summary of the resolution, and close the matter.  A copy of this will be forwarded to the Equal Opportunity Office for administrative purposes.  The summary of the investigation will not be placed in any personal file.
  4. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the individual investigating the complaint shall provide written notice of this determination to the two parties and the Equal Opportunity Office.  The complainant may then proceed to Step II.


Step II:  Formal Complaint

  1. Within seven (7) days* of the notice of the determination that an informal resolution cannot be reached, the complainant may submit a written complaint to the Equal Opportunity Office. The signed and dated complaint shall include a description of the alleged harassment act(s), the date(s) of the act(s), and the individual(s), program(s), or department(s) involved.
  2. Within seven (7) days* of receiving this written complaint, the Equal Opportunity Office shall:

    • notify the respondent that a formal complaint has been filed, provide a copy of the policy and advise of confidentiality and no retaliation, and
    • assign two investigators to the complaint.

  3. The investigators shall have twenty-one (21) days* from receipt of the written complaint to investigate it, make findings, and suggest a resolution.
  4. If the proposed resolution is satisfactory to the complainant and the respondent, the Equal Opportunity Office shall close the matter and send a written summary of the resolution to the involved parties.  A copy of this summary will be signed and dated by the Equal Opportunity Office, the complainant(s) and the respondent, and will be attached to the written complaint and maintained in the Equal Opportunity Office.
  5. If the proposed resolution is not satisfactory to both parties, any party may proceed to Step III.

STEP III:  Appeal

  1. Any party may initiate the appeal process by writing to the Office of the President within seven (7) days* of being notified of the proposed resolution.  The letter shall clearly state why the resolution is not satisfactory and request an appeal. 
  2. Within seven (7) days* of receipt of this request, the other party shall be notified by the Office of the President that an appeal has been requested. 
  3. After receiving the appeal request, the President or designee will convene an appeal review group of 3 or 5 people.  This group shall be empowered to review the case file, gather additional information and interview witnesses, including the parties, if the group deems necessary, within twenty-one (21) days* from the convening of the appeal review group. The Equal Opportunity office will provide assistance to the President and the appeal review group upon request.
  4. If the appeal review group determines that NMU’s sexual harassment policy was violated, it shall submit a written report supporting these findings, along with recommendations for further action, to the President of the University.  Recommendations may include but are not limited to: 

    • education/awareness,
    • imposition of special duties,
    • an official reprimand,
    • change in University policy or procedure,
    • transfer or change in school or work environment,
    • suspension,
    • discharge or expulsion from the University and,
    • financial restitution.
  5. If the appeal review group finds that NMU’s sexual harassment policy was not violated, it shall recommend to the President that the case be dismissed within twenty-one (21) days* of convening the appeal review group.
  6. The President will review the recommendation of the appeal review group. The decision of the President shall be final, and shall become part of the record.  The closed case file will be kept in the Equal Opportunity Office.


Time Limits:

All of the time limits specified above may be extended for good cause. If the complainant fails to respond within the time limits provided, the complaint shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.  (*All dates noted are considered days when the university is in operation.  Days are weekdays when the university is in operation.)

Further information about sexual harassment is available from the Equal Opportunity Office at (906) 227-2420.


SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY THIRD PARTIES

University students participate in NMU academic programs (examples:  student teaching, internships, clinical lab practicums, conferences, student trips, etc.) with or under the supervision of persons who are not University faculty or staff. If a student believes that she or he has been sexually harassed in a University academic program by an individual who is not a University employee or student, the student should report the alleged sexual harassment to the faculty member, department head or dean responsible for that academic program or to the Equal Opportunity Office.

When performing their jobs, University faculty and staff interact with contractors, suppliers, or customers who are not University faculty, staff or students. If a University employee (including a student employee) believes that he or she has been sexually harassed within the scope of his or her employment activities by an individual who is not a University employee or student, the University employee should report the alleged sexual harassment to his or her supervisor or to the Equal Opportunity Office or to Human Resources.

Individuals who are not students or faculty and staff of the University are not subject to discipline under the University's internal processes. Nonetheless, if the University determines that a third party has sexually harassed a University student in a University academic program or a University employee within the scope of her or his employment, the University will take corrective action to ensure the work or learning environment is free from unlawful sexual harassment.



INITIATING DEPARTMENT/DIVISION

Equal Opportunity / Finance and Administration, ext. 2420


Approved by the Board of Control, December 17, 1999
Updated and approved by the President, 9/8/10
Approved by Board of Trustees, September 24, 2010