The Catholic University of America

Archived February 11, 2016

Sexual Harassment Policy 

Approved by:

President

History:

Issued    -- March 31, 1987

 

 

Revised  -- February 18, 2008

 

 

Additional History

Related Policies:

Employment Practices and Procedures

Additional References:

Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures, Title IX Student Handout; Title IX Website

Responsible Official:

Equal Opportunity Officer/Employee Relations Director tel. (202) 319-5598

 _______________________________________________________________________________________

I.     Introduction

The Catholic University of America is committed to maintaining a positive learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff. Sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, detracts from a positive environment and is absolutely prohibited. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment.

This policy also prohibits consensual sexual or dating relationships where there is an institutional power difference between the parties involved, for example, between a supervisor and an employee, or between a faculty and a student, a coach and an athlete, or an academic advisor and an advisee. Relationships with this power disparity may cast doubt on the objectivity of the supervision and evaluation provided, and may result in claims of sexual harassment and questions about the voluntariness of the relationship.

II.     Definitions

A. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and, as such, is prohibited at The Catholic University of America. The university is committed to maintaining a positive learning and working environment for students, faculty and staff, and will not tolerate sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is defined as any unsolicited, offensive behavior that inappropriately asserts sexuality over status as a student or an employee, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

1.  Submission to sexual harassment is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or academic admission or advancement.

2.  Submission to or rejection of sexual harassment is used as the basis (or threatened to be used as the basis) for employment actions or academic decisions or evaluations.

3.  Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment.

B. Employee: Anyone employed by the Catholic University of America as faculty or staff, full or part time.

C. Supervisor: Anyone who oversees, directs or evaluates the work of others, including but not limited to, managers, administrators, coaches, directors, deans, chairs, advisors, teaching assistants, as well as faculty members in their role as instructors, as supervisors of their staff, and as participants in decisions affecting the careers of other faculty members.

D. Faculty: All those charged with academic instruction and advising, including fulltime faculty, adjunct faculty, teaching assistants and academic advisors.

E. Students: All those enrolled full time or part time in any program of CUA.

F. Consensual relationships: Consensual dating and sexual relationships willingly undertaken by the parties.

III.    Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment can occur between/among supervisors/managers and subordinates, faculty and staff or students, peers, vendors/subcontractors/visitors and employees or students, or any combination thereof. Often, but not always, the harasser is in a more powerful position than the person being harassed. In such situations sexual harassment is particularly serious because it may unfairly exploit the power inherent in a supervisor's or faculty member's position. All forms of sexual harassment are violations of the university's policy and will not be tolerated.

Reprisals or retaliation towards any person for alleging sexual harassment or for filing a sexual harassment complaint or other charge under this policy is illegal and a violation of university policy. Any person who retaliates against a complainant will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including, in the case of an employee, termination of employment, and in the case of a student, expulsion.

Knowingly making false allegations of sexual harassment or providing evidence with the knowledge that it is false is also a violation of university policy and will subject a person to disciplinary action up to and including discharge or dismissal.

Those persons responsible for consulting about, investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of both the complainant and the respondent.

Any Supervisor, Department Chair, Dean or Administrator who receives or becomes aware of a complaint of sexual harassment or other violation of this policy should report the complaint to the Director of Equal Opportunity or the Office of the General Counsel as soon as possible and normally within three workdays. All complaints of sexual harassment, investigation documents and documents relative to the resolution of the complaint will be maintained in a confidential file in the Equal Opportunity Office.

In cases where it is determined that sexual harassment occurred, the university will take appropriate disciplinary action with or without concurrence from the complainant.

IV.     Prohibition on Consensual Relations with Students or Subordinates

The Catholic University of America seeks to maintain a professional and ethical educational environment. Actions of faculty members (including adjunct faculty), professional staff members and academic administrators that are unprofessional are inconsistent with the university's educational mission. It is essential that those in a position of authority not abuse the power with which they are entrusted. Employees should be aware that consensual dating or sexual relationships may result in claims of sexual harassment because the voluntariness of the consent may be questioned when a power differential exists between the individuals in the relationship.

A consensual dating or sexual relationship between a staff employee, a member of the faculty (including adjunct faculty) and a student or an employee that the staff/faculty directly supervises is prohibited when the staff/faculty has any current or foreseeable professional responsibility for the student or the employee. Voluntary consent by the student/employee in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamental nature of such a relationship. Moreover, others in the work or learning environment may be affected by such behavior. Therefore, it is deemed unprofessional and a violation of university policy for any member of the faculty or staff to engage in a dating or sexual relationship, whether or not consented to, with a student or employee whom he/she instructs, evaluates, supervises, or advises, or over whom he/she is in a position to exercise authority in any way, now or in the foreseeable future. *

A violation of this prohibition may result in disciplinary action including dismissal for unprofessional conduct, following the appropriate employment procedures.

In the event that a prohibited consensual relationship is in existence at the time of the adoption of this policy, the supervisor must disclose the relationship to the appropriate superior and initiate arrangements to address any conflict of interest issues.

* In accord with the Employment Practices and Procedures Policy, members of the immediate family may not be assigned to a position in which one would have direct or indirect administrative or supervisory responsibility for the other or be in a position to influence the terms or conditions of the other person's employment. "Immediate family" is defined as a spouse, child, including adopted and step child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, or legal guardian.

_________________________________________________

 

Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures

 

Approved by:

Office of Equal Opportunity

History:

Issued    -- December 2003

 

 

Revised  --

 

 

Additional History

Related Policies:

Sexual Harassment Policy

Additional References:

CUA Office of Equal Opportunity Website; Title IX Website

Responsible Official:

Equal Opportunity Officer/Employee Relations Director tel. (202) 319-6594

______________________________________________________________________________

 

I.    Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures 

Any CUA student, faculty or staff member ("affiliated individual") who believes he or she has been sexually harassed by another CUA affiliated individual, should report the incident to the director of equal opportunity ("DEO"). A student may report the incident to the Dean of Students or designee ("Dean"), who will forward the complaint to the DEO. The DEO will notify the Dean of any complaint reported directly by a student. The DEO will conduct an investigation and, at the conclusion of the investigation, will normally take one of the following courses of action:

  1. If an investigation reveals that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment, the complaint will be dismissed.
  2. If the DEO determines that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the allegations of sexual harassment have merit, but the behavior is not serious enough to warrant, in the case of an employee, termination of employment, or in the case of a student, eviction from residence or suspension/expulsion from the University, the DEO shall normally proceed as follows:

a. If the respondent is a student, the DEO will forward an investigation report to the Dean. The Dean and/or DEO will consult with the complainant about informal methods of resolving the complaint, including discussing the allegations with the alleged harasser. If the complainant does not wish to participate in an informal resolution or if an informal resolution is not successful, the case will be resolved under the Code of Student Conduct.

b. If the respondent is a staff member, the DEO will consult with the complainant about informal methods of resolving the complaint, including discussing the allegations with the alleged harasser. If the complainant does not wish to participate in an informal resolution or if an informal resolution is not successful, the DEO may proceed in consultation with the respondent's supervisor to eliminate the sexual harassment and ensure that the behavior does not recur.

c. If the respondent is a faculty member, the DEO, in conjunction with the respondent's academic Dean or the Provost, will consult with the complainant about informal methods of resolving the complaint, including discussing the allegations with the alleged harasser. If the complainant does not wish to participate in an informal resolution or if an informal resolution is not successful, the DEO may proceed in consultation with the respondent's academic dean to eliminate the sexual harassment and ensure that the behavior does not recur.

3. If the preliminary investigation reveals evidence indicating that the allegations have merit and the violations are so serious as to warrant formal disciplinary action, including, in the case of an employee, termination of employment, or in the case of a student, eviction from residence or suspension/expulsion from the University, the DEO shall normally proceed as follows:

a. If the respondent is a student, the DEO forward an investigation report to the Dean. The case will be resolved under the Code of Student Conduct.

b. If the respondent is a staff member, the DEO will inform the respondent's supervisor or director that the investigation resulted in an investigation resulted in a determination that sexual harassment occurred and will recommend appropriate disciplinary action. The case will be resolved under the procedures outlined in the Staff Handbook.

c. If the respondent is a faculty member, the DEO will inform the respondent's academic dean or the Provost that the investigation resulted in a determination that sexual harassment occurred and will recommend appropriate disciplinary action consistent with the Faculty Handbook.

II.    Students

Any CUA student who suspects that she or he has been sexually harassed by another student, a faculty member or a staff member should report the incident to the Dean of Students or to the Equal Opportunity Officer. The Equal Opportunity Officer will consult with the Dean of Students, conduct an investigation and, at the conclusion of the investigation, will take one of the following courses of action:

  1. If a preliminary investigation reveals that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment, the complaint will be dismissed.
  2. If the Equal Opportunity Officer determines that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the allegations of sexual harassment probably have merit, but the behavior is not serious enough to warrant suspension, discharge or dismissal, the Equal Opportunity Officer will consult with the complainant about informal methods of resolving the complaint, including discussing the allegations with the alleged harasser. If the complainant does not wish to participate in an informal resolution or if an attempt at informal resolution is not successful, the Equal Opportunity Officer may proceed without the complainant to attempt a resolution to eliminate the sexual harassment and ensure that the behavior does not recur.
  3. If the alleged harasser and the complainant are both students and the complainant wishes to file a peer harassment complaint as a violation of the Student Code, the complaint will be handled by the Student Judiciary in accordance with the procedures described in the Student Handbook unless the Vice President of Student Life determines that the complaint should be handled administratively. In the case of administrative discipline, the respondent may use the appeal process described in the Student Handbook.
  4. If the respondent is a staff or faculty member, the Equal Opportunity Officer will conduct the investigation. The complaint will be handled in accordance with the procedures described in paragraphs in sections III and IV of this policy.

III.   Staff

If a CUA staff member believes that she or he has been sexually harassed by a CUA staff member, faculty member or student, she or he should report the incident to the Equal Opportunity Officer. If a student is involved, the Equal Opportunity Officer will notify the Dean of Students. The Equal Opportunity Officer will normally take one of the following courses of action:

  1. If a preliminary investigation indicates that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment, the complaint will be dismissed.
  2. If preliminary information indicates that there is sufficient evidence to determine that the allegations of sexual harassment probably have merit, but the behavior is not serious enough to warrant discharge, the Equal Opportunity Officer will consult with the complainant about informal methods of resolving the complaint, including discussing the allegations with the alleged harasser. If the complainant does not wish to participate in an informal resolution or if an informal resolution is not successful, the Equal Opportunity Officer may proceed without the complainant to attempt a resolution to eliminate the sexual harassment and ensure that the behavior does not recur. The respondent may appeal the decision in accordance with the grievance procedures defined in the Staff Handbook (if the respondent is a staff employee) and in the Faculty Handbook (if the respondent is a faculty member).
  3. If the preliminary information reveals evidence which indicates that the allegations of sexual harassment probably have merit and are so serious as to warrant terminating the respondent's employment if the allegations are determined to be accurate, the Equal Opportunity Officer will conduct a complete investigation.

a.  If the respondent is a student, the Dean of Students will determine and administer the appropriate disciplinary action.

b.  If the respondent is a staff member, the Equal Opportunity Officer will recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the department head.

c.  If the respondent is a faculty member, and his or her behavior warrants discipline less severe than discharge, suspension or reassignment in lieu of suspension, the Equal Opportunity Officer will recommend sanctions to the faculty member's dean or to the Provost.

IV.    Faculty

If a faculty member believes that she or he has been sexually harassed by a CUA faculty member, staff member or student, the alleged harassment should be reported to the Equal Opportunity Officer. If a student is involved, the Equal Opportunity Officer will inform the Dean of Students. The Equal Opportunity Officer will normally take one of the following courses of action:

  1. If a preliminary investigation indicates that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment, the complaint will be dismissed.
  2. If the preliminary information indicates that there is sufficient evidence to determine that the allegations of sexual harassment probably have merit, the Equal Opportunity Officer will consult with the complainant about informal methods of resolving the complaint, including the option of discussing the allegations with the alleged harasser. If the complainant does not wish to participate in an informal resolution or if an informal resolution is not successful, the Equal Opportunity Officer may proceed without the complainant to attempt a resolution to eliminate the sexual harassment and ensure that the behavior does not recur.
  3. If the preliminary investigation reveals evidence which indicates that the allegations probably have merit and are so serious as to warrant formal disciplinary action including possible discharge, the Equal Opportunity Officer proceed as follows:

a. If the respondent is a student, the Dean of Students will determine and administer the appropriate disciplinary action.

b. If the respondent is a staff member, the Equal Opportunity Officer will recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the department head.

c. If the respondent is a faculty member, and his or her behavior warrants discipline less severe than discharge, suspension or reassignment in lieu of suspension, the Equal Opportunity Officer will recommend sanctions to the faculty member's dean or to the Provost.

In cases where the faculty member's behavior warrants discharge, suspension, or reassignment in lieu of suspension, the Equal Opportunity Officer may recommend to the President that termination proceedings be initiated. If the President accepts the recommendation, the matter will proceed in accordance with Part II, Article 24 (Dismissal for Cause) of the Faculty Handbook. Faculty members may appeal the disciplinary action to the Faculty Grievance Committee