Discrimination and harassment on grounds of race, age, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or disability are all forms of misconduct that undermine the institutional mission of Christian Brothers University and thus will not be tolerated. All members of the University community are responsible for maintaining an environment of mutual respect for all persons.
These procedures may be utilized by any student, employee, or applicant for employment who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment by a CBU student, CBU employee or a third party on the CBU campus or at a CBU-sponsored event. Former employees or students may file complaints concerning conduct which took place during the time of employment or enrollment, provided the complaint is filed in a timely manner. For further information regarding the University officials to whom complaints should be directed, please refer to Complaint Reporting (See later section in this policy).
It is important that Christian Brothers University students, faculty and staff enjoy an environment free from implicit and explicit behavior used to control, influence or affect the well-being of any member of our community. Discrimination or harassment of any individual based on race, age, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or disability is unacceptable and grounds for disciplinary action.
The University deplores such conduct, not only as a violation of the law, but also as an abuse of authority and an infringement upon an individual’s right to a discrimination/harassment free environment. Whenever CBU has knowledge that discrimination or harassment of any form has occurred, prompt and remedial action will be taken (refer to steps for Initiating a Complaint later in this policy). The University assumes full responsibility for investigating and adjudicating any such complaint, including anonymous or third party complaints.
The University will take measures annually to educate and train students, faculty and staff regarding conduct that could constitute a violation of this procedure. All employees, faculty members, and students are expected to participate in such education and training and to be knowledgeable of policies and procedures concerning harassment.
All students, faculty and staff are subject to this policy. Any student, faculty or staff member found to have violated this policy by engaging in behavior constituting discrimination/harassment as stated below will be subject to disciplinary action which may include dismissal, expulsion or termination, or other appropriate sanctions.
Responsibility of Employees
All faculty members and staff, particularly management and supervisory personnel, are responsible for taking reasonable and necessary action to prevent and discourage harassment and discrimination.
Harassment in the Educational/Working Environment
Generally, harassment is defined as unwelcome advances, requests for favors, and other verbal or physical conduct when one of the following criteria is met:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as 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;
- such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent, as to deny or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the educational program, thereby creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or work environment.
Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or group will be considered harassment. Whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment depends upon the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of advances in the context within which the alleged incident occurs. Harassment may not include verbal expressions or written material that is relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum.
Specifically, Sexual Harassment is:
- unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
- sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
- unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is
- based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying. Instances of sexual harassment may be resolved with the full range of indicated sanctions.
Additional Applicable Definitions
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
- Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
- Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).
- Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
- Note: There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non- consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
- In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.
- Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be -- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be -- mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy.
- Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
- This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at http://www.911rape.org
- Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy. For reference to the pertinent state statutes on sex offenses, please see [Tennessee Code 39-3703].
Other Misconduct Offenses that may be considered Discriminatory Misconduct
- Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
- Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
- Hazing (including its tolerance by advisors, coaches or other employees), defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the university community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the University’s Hazing Policy);
- Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment).
- Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other;
- Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.
Intimate relationships between supervisors and their subordinates, between faculty members and students are strongly discouraged due to the inherent inequality of power in such situations. These relationships could lead to undue favoritism or the perception of undue favoritism, abuse of power, compromised judgment or impaired objectivity.
Consensual Relationships – Conflicts of Interest
Engaging in a consensual relationship with a student over whom the faculty member has either grading, supervisory, or other evaluative authority (i.e., member of licensure committee, thesis director, etc.) constitutes a conflict of interest The faculty member must take steps to remove the conflict, such as assigning a different supervisor to the student; resigning from the student’s academic committees; or by terminating the relationship at least while the student is in his/her class.
Likewise, it is a conflict of interest for a supervisor to engage in a consensual relationship with a subordinate over whom he or she has evaluative or supervisory authority. The supervisor must take action to remove the conflict of interest by, for example, assigning another individual to supervise and/or evaluate the subordinate or terminating the relationship.
Prohibited Conduct: Retaliation
Retaliation by anyone is prohibited by the University. Retaliation is defined as any adverse action to a person who has exercised the right to file a complaint or make a report of harassment, or has participated in an investigation into allegations of harassment. Any retaliation is strictly prohibited regardless of the outcome of the investigation and may, in itself, be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
The University seeks to encourage the prompt reporting of all discrimination and harassment and its prompt resolution through University procedures. Where the charge of discrimination or harassment is against a student, the Dean of Students, in collaboration with Campus Police & Safety when appropriate, will conduct the initial investigation, after which the complaint will be referred to the Special Review Board for further investigation, if needed, and adjudication, as outlined in Section 8, in the Student Code of Conduct, in Compass. If the charge of harassment or discrimination is against University personnel or a third party, the Director of Human Resources should be contacted immediately. The Director of Human Resources will investigate all charges and make recommendations regarding their resolution.
Alleged Discrimination Harassment by Administrative Staff
When the allegation of harassment is against Administrative Staff, the next level of leadership will investigate the complaint.
Alleged Discrimination/Harassment by Students
When the accused is a student, the Dean of Students and the Special Review Board will follow the procedures for complaint reporting and investigation as stated in the Student Handbook, Section 8, Code of Conduct: (D) Disciplinary Procedures and (F) Disciplinary Appeals Procedures. This can also be found by visiting https://www.cbu.edu/the-compass.
All student documentation shall be subject to the provisions and protection of the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Protection of Rights
The following procedures are intended to protect the rights of the aggrieved party (hereinafter, ‘the accuser’) as well as the party against whom the harassment complaint is lodged (hereinafter, ‘the accused’), as required by the state and federal laws. Each complaint must be properly and promptly investigated and, when warranted, appropriate disciplinary action taken against the accused.
In situations that require immediate action because of safety or other concerns, the University may take interim action which is appropriate, e.g., temporary removal from the University in the case of a student, separation of the students, or suspension with pay in the case of an employee.
Initiating a Complaint
Any current or former student, applicant for employment or current or former employee who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination/harassment at the University, or any University-sponsored activity or who believes that he/she has observed discrimination/harassment taking place may present the complaint to the Dean of Students or Director of Human Resources, as appropriate.
Every attempt will be made to obtain a written complaint from the accuser. The complaint shall include the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, the dates of the alleged occurrences, and names of witnesses, if any. The complaint shall be signed by the accuser. However, when the accuser refuses to provide or sign a written complaint, the matter will still be investigated to the extent possible, and appropriate action taken. Complaints made anonymously or by a third party must also be investigated to the extent possible.
Time Period for Filing a Complaint
While there is no formal deadline for filing a complaint, CBU encourages complainants to come forward as soon as they have decided to report an incident. Evidence of many types is best preserved immediately following an allegation.
At the request of the Dean of Students, Director of Human Resources or the Special Review Board, the Office of Campus Police and Safety may participate in the investigation of the complaint. Activities in any investigation will include: interviewing the accuser, the accused and other persons believed to have factual knowledge related to the investigation.
To the extent possible, the investigation will be conducted in such a manner to protect the confidentiality of both parties. However, the accuser should be informed that the University has an obligation to address harassment and that, in order to conduct an effective investigation, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Information may need to be revealed to the accused and to potential witnesses. However, information about the complaint should be shared only with those who have a need to know about it. The accuser may be informed that if he or she wants to speak privately and in confidence about harassment, he or she may wish to consult with a social worker, counselor, therapist or member of the clergy who is permitted, by law, to assure greater confidentiality. Additionally, measures will be taken against the accused, or a third party, should there be retaliation. Retaliation is prohibited and should be reported to the investigator immediately.
Notification of Complaint
The Investigator shall notify the alleged harasser (hereinafter referred to as accused) in writing within five (5) working days of receipt of the complaint. The accused shall respond in writing to the complaint within two (2) working days of notification.
Informal resolutions are voluntary and are not available for in cases involving violence. (Please refer to the section on Grievance Procedures later in this section).
If informal resolution is unsuccessful, the Investigator shall draft a report summarizing the investigation. The report shall be submitted to the Associate Vice President for Student Life, the
accuser and the accused within thirty (30) working days following receipt of the complaint. In rare situations where more than thirty (30) working days are needed to complete the investigation, such as difficulty in locating a necessary witness or complexity of the complaint, additional time may be taken, and the parties will be notified accordingly.
Procedure for a Hearing
Student hearing procedures are outlined in the student handbook, The Compass. (See Section E, for Formal Disciplinary Hearings). In the case of faculty or staff, information concerning procedures can be located on the Human Resources Website.
At the conclusion of all the above steps, if an investigator finds the charges have merit, both the accuser and the accuser will be informed in writing within two (2) working days of the conclusion of the investigation. The accused student will be informed of the appropriate disciplinary action that will be taken, if applicable. Both the accused student and the accuser will be informed of the appeals process. These actions are outlined in The Compass in the case of a student, or the Faculty and Staff Personnel Handbook for faculty or staff. A faculty or staff member found guilty of harassment will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Sexual Assault Response Options
It is the policy of Christian Brothers University to ensure, to the fullest extent possible, that any student, faculty or staff member who is a victim of sexual assault committed on the campus or at a university sponsored event, shall receive treatment, support and information. Victims of sexual assault will be encouraged to make full use of these provisions. Referrals for treatment will be provided, and ongoing support will be offered to victims. To protect the privacy of the victim, confidentiality regarding the name of the victim, except on a need to know basis, will be maintained. (See Anti- Discrimination/Harassment Policy above). Sexual assault may also be viewed as sexual harassment. If a sexual assault is deemed not to have occurred under this policy, the events may be considered under the sexual harassment policy above.
If one desires that details of the incident be kept confidential, s/he should contact off-campus rape crisis resources who can maintain confidentiality or the Counseling Center on campus. In addition, individuals may speak off-campus with members of their clergy and chaplains, who will also keep reports made to them confidential. Contact information for on and off-campus resources include:
Director of Counseling, Thomas Center Lower Level (901) 321-3527
Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at 1750 Madison, #102...................... (901) 222-4350
Crisis Center, 24-hour telephone service...................... (901) 274-7477
Christ Community Health Centers at the following locations:
Broad Avenue Health Center at 2861 Broad...................... (901) 260-8450
Frayser Health Center at 3124 North Thomas Street...................... (901) 260-8400
Third Street Health Center at 3362 South Third Street...................... (901) 271-6300
Orange Mountain Health Center at 6569 Douglas...................... (901) 271-6200
Union Avenue Health Center at 1211 Union...................... (901) 271-0330
Women’s Health Center at 2400 Poplar, Suite 501...................... (901) 271-6041
Policy A.4 in CBU’s Policies and Procedures Manual