Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment
Approved June 25, 2013
In accordance with University System of New Hampshire policy and applicable state and federal laws, discrimination and discriminatory harassment are expressly prohibited at Keene State College.
All students, staff, and faculty at Keene State College have the right to work and learn in an environment free of discrimination and discriminatory harassment as such conduct interferes with the mission of the College by diminishing access to education and employment; compromising the free and open exchange of ideas; and impeding relationships among students, faculty, and staff.
All persons shall have equal access to the College's programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran's status, or disability. No member of the campus community may engage in behavior within the jurisdiction of the College that unjustly interferes with any individual's required tasks, career opportunities, learning, or participation in campus life. All members of the campus community share responsibility for preventing and reporting discrimination and harassment, cooperating in any investigation which might result, and maintaining confidentiality.
Definition: Discrimination refers to actions which deny a member (or in some cases, a potential member) of the community employment, promotion, transfers, access to academic courses, housing, or other College benefits and entitlements because of a member's protected class status, including race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran's status, or disability. Discrimination may take many forms, and can include:
Discriminatory Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that demeans or shows hostility, or aversion, toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, disability, or because of retaliation for engaging in protected activity and that:
Harassment may take the form of unwelcome sexual advances, graffiti, jokes, pranks, slurs, insults, threats, remarks made in the person's presence, interference with the person's work or academic life, vandalism, assignment of unpleasant duties, or even physical assault directed against any member of a protected class. Further examples include: repeatedly directing racial, homophobic, or sexual epithets at an individual; hanging a noose in an African-American's work place or residence hall; painting a Nazi swastika on the door of a Jewish student, professor, or staff member; repeatedly sending unwelcome, sexually-explicit e-mail messages to another; surrounding with a group and taunting another student about his or her sexual orientation or religion; making unwelcome sexual propositions, especially by a person in a supervisory or instructor relationship; repeatedly telling derogatory gender- or ethnic-based jokes; displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures in the workplace except as those items may be part of legitimate pedagogical pursuits; giving unwelcome hugs or repeatedly brushing or touching another's body; mimicking the manner of speech or movement of an individual with a disability, or interfering with that personâ€™s necessary auxiliary aids or services (e.g., interpreter, assistive service animal).
Contacts for Assistance and Information
Individuals who have a concern about incidents or behaviors which may constitute harassment or discrimination should contact any of the Intake Officers listed below for information about the College's discrimination and harassment policies, available support services, procedures for making a complaint, and/or assistance in resolving the situation informally or formally.
Keene State College will maintain confidentiality where, and to the extent, legally and reasonably appropriate, with the facts made available only to those with a compelling need to know for purposes of investigation or resolution of complaints. Confidentiality cannot be unconditionally guaranteed under any circumstances. The College has a responsibility to act where it knows of a policy violation. All parties including intake officers, responsible administrative officers, investigators, aggrieved parties, accused parties, and witnesses are required to maintain confidentiality.
Process for Handling Reports of Discrimination and Harassment by Keene State College Faculty or Staff Members or Contract Employees
Step One: The Intake Interview
Members of the community who have been impacted by unwanted behaviors are encouraged to seek relief from such behavior. Complainants should contact an Intake Officer as noted below. The Intake Officer will interview the complainant to obtain as much information about the alleged harassment as is possible and will inform the complainant about the policies and procedures for handling discrimination and harassment complaints, including the College's responsibility to take action in situations where it believes discrimination and harassment may have occurred. If an alleged harasser is known and named in the intake interview, the Intake Officer will encourage the complainant to either submit a written statement describing the alleged behavior or identify the desired outcomes if the complainant desires to pursue an informal resolution.
The Intake Officer will protect the confidentiality of the complainant to the extent legally and reasonably appropriate and, assist the complainant in pursuing a complaint, through either this policy if there is a potential violation of this policy or through other avenues if the behaviors are not covered by this policy. The Intake Officer will complete an Intake Form on all intakes; and send to the appropriate Administrative Officer.
Step Two: Routing of Intake for Complaint Resolution
Depending on the desires of the complainant, the specificity of the report, and the nature of the allegations, a process will be identified for resolving the complaint:
Roles and Responsibilities
Regardless of whether an informal or formal process is accessed for processing a complaint, the responsibilities of the institutional representatives are defined as follows:
The Administrative Officer assigned to a complaint will
An Investigator assigned to assist with a complaint will:
Formal Complaint Process
The formal complaint process is used when either a written complaint is submitted or when an initial review of an informal complaint suggests that the nature of the incidents may be serious, pervasive, or severe and when the accused is an employee of Keene State College.
Informal Complaint Process
The complainant may request that the College seek to address the complaint informally. This process, while not "formal" in terms of this policy, is not casual or taken less seriously. It is often used in those circumstances when a complainant does not wish to submit a signed complaint but wants the behavior to stop, when an analysis reveals that the situation can be resolved through conversation or other informal and direct steps, or when the report of discrimination or harassment is received from a third party and the alleged victim is unwilling to participate in the complaint process.
As in the formal process, the Intake Officer will report the concern to the appropriate Administrative Officer. The Administrative Officer will evaluate the information and determine the appropriate course of action. Keene State College has a responsibility to take action in situations where it believes discrimination and harassment may have occurred, even when no written complaint has been filed. Courses of action may include:
If the information indicates a possible pattern of inappropriate conduct or if the conduct is judged to be serious, the Administrative Officer will:
If the information does not suggest the conduct rises to the level of discrimination or discriminatory harassment but the behavior is otherwise judged to be inappropriate, the Administrative Officer will discuss this complaint with the supervisor or dean, who in turn will address the alleged incident with the accused to ensure that the accused understands expectations for appropriate behavior and to assure appropriate sanctions are imposed.
Prompt reporting of discrimination and harassment is in the best interest of the entire Keene State College community and individuals are encouraged to report incidents of alleged discrimination and harassment in a timely fashion. Faculty and staff are provided with 60 days to file a formal complaint. Students are provided with 12 months to file a formal complaint.
Under special circumstances, the principal administrator may waive the time limits, when doing so serves the purposes of this policy. The principal administrator will document the reasons for such a decision and convey the information, in writing, to the complainant and the accused.
Retaliation against anyone reporting a harassment issue is strictly prohibited. Reprisals or retaliation against any person reporting discrimination and harassment or bringing a complaint of discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated, whether or not the complaint is ultimately judged to be consistent with the criteria determining harassment. Keene State College reserves the right to discipline individuals who engage in any activity determined to be retaliatory.
Intentionally false claims of discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated. No complaint will be considered false solely because it cannot be corroborated.
Keene State College reserves the right to discipline members of the College community who intentionally bring false complaints of discrimination and harassment. If evidence is presented that exonerates an individual who had been found responsible for engaging in harassing behaviors, Keene State College will take action to restore the status of that individual, including removing documentation about the original complaint from his or her personnel file.
Employee Obligation to Report
Any employee of Keene State College who observes discriminatory or harassing behaviors or who receives information that such conduct may have occurred is responsible for discussing this information with an administrative contact. Employees in Health Services and the Counseling Center, as well as the psychiatric nurse practitioner, are exempt from this reporting requirement when the information is provided to them within a privileged medical or counseling relationship.
Keene State College will maintain records of all discrimination and harassment reports to identify campus needs for information and training and possible patterns of discrimination or harassing behavior. Intake forms will remain confidential and will be maintained by the following individuals:
Responsible administrators will provide reports of each incident as described. The Director of Human Resources and the Chief Officer for Diversity and Multiculturalism will prepare an annual summary to be reviewed by the President. It should list all informal and formal discrimination and harassment complaints received, the general nature of the concern, and outcomes or continuing status. It will not include information which identifies the complainant or accused. The purpose of this report is to identify possible patterns of inappropriate behaviors and to identify campus needs for information, education, training, and policy changes.