General Harassment Policy
Responsible Oversight Executive: Assistant Vice President, Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity/University Counsel
Date of Current Revision or Creation: March 22, 2011
The purpose of this policy is to prohibit harassment, whether verbal, physical, visual, or electronic in nature, against any member of the Old Dominion University community on any basis, and to prohibit retaliation against any party for participating in a protected activity.
Virginia Code Section 23-9.2:3, as amended, grants authority to the Board of Visitors to establish rules and regulations for the institution. Section 6.01(a)(6) of the Board of Visitors Bylaws grants authority to the President to implement the policies and procedures of the Board relating to University operations.
Bullying - Conduct of a member of the University community and authorized visitors, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the University’s legitimate business interest.
Business Days: Calendar days on which the University’s administrative offices are open.
Harassment - Incidents that are sufficiently pervasive, persistent or severe that a reasonable person, under similar circumstances as the complainant, would be adversely affected to a degree that interferes with his or her ability to participate in or to realize the intended benefits of an institutional activity, employment, or resource. Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to, behavior that is derogatory, hostile, intimidating, threatening, bullying, humiliating or violent, although not necessarily illegal, and that does not necessarily refer to a legally protected status or environment.
Protected Activity - The engaging in, or exercising of, a right that is protected by law.
Retaliation - Includes any adverse treatment that may deter individuals (including third parties) from filing a charge of harassment or participating in a harassment investigation. Retaliation can be verbal, physical, visual, electronic, or through various media.
This policy applies to all employees, students, volunteers, employees of affiliated organizations, vendors and contractors at all levels and areas of Old Dominion University’s operations and programs. Employees include all staff, administrators, faculty, full- or part-time, and classified or non-classified persons who are paid by the University. Students include all persons attending classes whether enrolled or not enrolled. Affiliated organizations are separate entities that exist for the benefit of the University and include the Foundations, the Community Development Corporation, and the Alumni Association.
- POLICY STATEMENT
It is the policy of Old Dominion University to prohibit harassment by any member of its community against any other member of the community or authorized visitors, as identified in Section D., on any basis.
Any person who has been accused of harassment, pursuant to the terms of this policy, and who retaliates against his/her accuser in any manner, shall be charged with a violation of this policy that shall be treated as an independent and separate act of harassment.
Students, administrators, faculty, staff, volunteers, employees of affiliated organizations, vendors, and contractors are expected to cooperate fully in the investigation of a complaint of harassment. Failure to cooperate can lead to disciplinary action.
Old Dominion University is committed to the principles of free expression. This policy does not allow curtailment or censorship of constitutionally protected expression.
Responsibilities of Those Experiencing Harassment: Anyone who believes that he/she has been subject to or has observed instances of harassment should take one or more of the following steps: (a) provide a written statement explaining the offending behavior and any response(s) to the offending behavior; (b) ask the alleged offender to cease the harassing behavior; and/or (c) seek the assistance of a supervisor, faculty member or University administrator. All complaints must be filed officially with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. The complainant is not required to confront or complain to the harassing party.
- Responsibilities of Administrators, Supervisors, and Faculty
University administrators, supervisors, faculty members and others who are performing instructional or academic advising duties have an added responsibility to devise and adopt appropriate practices for maintaining a working and learning environment free of harassment.
University administrators, supervisors, faculty members and others who are performing instructional or academic advising duties have an added responsibility of reporting any claim or concern of harassment to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.
University administrators, supervisors, faculty members and others in supervisory positions have the obligation to be knowledgeable of the policy and respond to incidents and claims of harassment in their areas of supervisory responsibility. Failure to perform a supervisory responsibility may result in disciplinary action.
- Informal Resolution
Once the Old Dominion University Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity receives information suggesting harassment has occurred, a representative of the office will arrange a meeting with the complainant in order to review further the information, applicability of this policy, and available options.
Action taken by the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity under this policy shall not constitute a finding of harassment.
- For an individual who does not wish to file a formal complaint, but who nevertheless wishes to put an end to conduct they believe violates this policy, the following options are available:
With the advice and assistance of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity as requested, the complainant may write to or meet with the accused, discuss the situation and make it clear that the behavior is unwelcome; or
A representative of the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity may discuss the alleged conduct with the alleged offender, review this policy with him or her, and seek an explicit commitment to comply with the requirements stated therein. A complainant may request that, if practical, such a conversation be held without revealing his or her identity directly to the alleged offender.
The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity can consult with appropriate University officials to explore options for informal resolution, including training and education.
- Formal Resolution
A formal complaint includes a written description of the facts and circumstances allegedly constituting harassment signed by the complainant and filed with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.
A formal complaint should be made within 90 calendar days of the last date of alleged harassment. Should circumstances arise in which a formal complaint has not been made within 90 calendar days of the alleged harassment, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity will review the situation on a case-by-case basis to determine if a complaint can be filed.
- After a written complaint is filed, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity will provide prompt written notification to the accused of the allegations and the identity of the complainant.
The accused will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations contained therein, within 10 business days of receipt.
The immediate supervisor of the accused will receive a copy of the written notification. After the notification described above, the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity will conduct any additional investigation that may be necessary.
In situations involving students, a copy of the report will be presented to the Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity, who will take such action as deemed necessary.
In a situation involving faculty or staff, the investigation is expected to lead to one of the following possible outcomes: (1) the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity finds insufficient facts to support the charge; (2) the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity finds facts to support the charge, reaches a negotiated resolution satisfactory to the parties, and does not recommend further action; (3) the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity finds facts to support the charge and recommends further action; or (4) dismissal.
Any member of the University community who is found in violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate sanctions, which may include discharge, expulsion or debarment.
An appeal may be made utilizing existing University policies and procedures.
- Committee on General Harassment
The President will appoint a Committee on General Harassment consisting of individuals with professional training and/or experience such as would qualify them to assist with complaints of general harassment and those accused of violating this policy. The chair of the committee shall be the University’s Director of Equity and Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action. The other members shall be as follows: two faculty members and staff members at large, a representative from Counseling Services, a representative from Human Resources, a representative from the Office of General Counsel, and the Director of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. Names of the members of the committee shall be publicized by the University.
Members of the General Harassment Committee shall assist members of the University community who are the object of general harassment or who are accused of violating this policy. Committee members may also assist the Director of Equity and Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action in the informal mediation process by their direct involvement.
All records relating to an investigation of harassment will be retained in the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity for a period consistent with applicable Federal and State law and in accordance with the University’s Records Management Policy, after which the records will be destroyed in the manner prescribed by the records retention schedules.
- RESPONSIBLE OFFICER
Assistant Vice President, Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity
- RELATED INFORMATION
Commonwealth’s Department of Human Resource Management Policy 1.60 - Standards of Conduct
Commonwealth’s Department of Human Resource Management Policy 2.05 – Equal Employment Opportunity
Commonwealth’s Department of Human Resource Management Policy 2.30 - Workplace Harassment
Virginia Department of Employment Dispute Resolution - Grievance Procedure
Old Dominion University Board of Visitors Policy 1001 – The Mission of the University
Old Dominion University Board of Visitors Policy 1002 - Major Goals of the University
Old Dominion University Board of Visitors Policy 1530 - Student Disciplinary Policies and Procedures
University Policy 1002 - Code of Ethics
University Policy 3700 - Records Management Program
University Policy 4500 - Accommodation of Students with Disabilities
University Policy 4600 - Sexual Assault Policy
University Policy 4601 - Stalking Policy
University Policy 5406 - Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
University Policy 6310 - Discrimination Complaint Procedures
University Policy 6320 - Sexual Harassment Policy
University Policy 6600 - Standards of Conduct for Classified Employees
Old Dominion University Faculty Handbook
Old Dominion University Strategic Plan
Old Dominion University Disruptive Behavior Policy for Faculty and Faculty Administrators
Old Dominion University Grievance Policy for Faculty Administrators
Old Dominion University Academic Advising Mission Statement
Old Dominion University Resolution Supporting Intellectual Diversity