Sexual Harassment Policy

UCA's Sexual Harassment Policy (Board Policy 511) is available in full online at www.uca.edu/board/500series; it may also be found in the current UCA Student Handbook at uca.edu/student/student-handbook/.

[1] Introduction and Definitions

Sexual harassment by any faculty member, staff member, or student is a violation of both law and university policy and will not be tolerated at the University of Central Arkansas. Sexual harassment of employees is prohibited under Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and sexual harassment of students may constitute discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

The university considers sexual harassment a very serious issue and shall subject the offender to dismissal or other sanctions following the university's investigation and substantiation of the complaint and compliance with due process requirements.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when

  1. submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a condition of an individual's employment with the university or a factor in the educational program of a student;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an employment or academic decision affecting such individual;
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's right to achieve an educational objective or to work in an environment free of intimidation, hostility or threats stemming from acts or language of a sexual nature.

NOTE: Other forms of harassment based upon race, religion, national origin, sex, or age may have the same impact as sexual harassment. In the absence of other policies addressing these specific issues, the university encourages the use of the steps and procedures in this policy in reporting other types of harassment and will generally conduct investigations of those complaints in the same manner.

Although sexual harassment most frequently occurs when there is an authority differential between the persons involved (e.g. faculty member and student, supervisor and staff member), it may also occur between persons of the same status (e.g. faculty and faculty, student and student, staff and staff). Both men and women may be victims of sexual harassment, and sexual harassment may occur between individuals of the same gender.

Because of the unique situations existing between students, faculty, supervisors, and staff, relationships in the workplace and on campus should at all times remain professional. In particular, due to the professional power differential between faculty and students, faculty are encouraged to remain professional in all relationships with students.

Sexual harassment may create a hostile, abusive, demeaning, offensive or intimidating environment. It may be manifested by verbal and/or physical actions, including gestures and other symbolic conduct. Sexual harassment is not always obvious and overt; it can also be subtle and covert. A person who consents to sexual advances may nevertheless be a victim of sexual harassment if those sexual advances were unwelcome. Previously welcomed advances may become unwelcome. Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • non-sexual slurs about one's gender;
  • contrived work or study assignments and assigning more onerous or unpleasant tasks predominately to employees or students of one gender;
  • repeated unwanted touching, patting, or pinching;
  • repeated inappropriate social invitations or requests for sexual favors;
  • repeated unwanted discussions of sexual matters;
  • use of sexual jokes, stories, analogies, or images that are not related to the subject of the class or work situation;
  • touching, fondling, or deliberate brushing against another person;
  • ogling, leering, or prolonged stares at another's body;
  • display or use of sexual graffiti or sexually explicit pictures or objects;
  • sexually suggestive jokes, comments, e-mails, or other written or oral communications.

Individuals who are aware of or have experienced an incident of sexual harassment should promptly report the matter to one of the university officials designated to receive these complaints. No person shall be subject to restraints, interference or reprisal for action taken in good faith to report or to seek advice in matters of sexual harassment.

In the course of a complaint investigation the university will attempt to maintain confidentiality for all parties involved. However, there can be no guarantee of confidentiality and anonymity based upon the course and scope of the complaint investigation.

A grievant whose complaint is found to be both false and to have been made with malicious intent will be subject to disciplinary action which may include, but is not limited to, demotion, transfer, suspension, expulsion, or termination of employment.

[2] Procedures for Sexual Harassment Claims

Employees or students of the university who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment are encouraged to use the following procedures to resolve their complaint.

The university will make every effort to adhere to the prescribed time frames of the informal and formal resolution processes. However, in the event that individuals involved are unavailable or of other unanticipated occurrences, the Affirmative Action officer, with the concurrence of the president, may adjust the time frames. Any changes will be immediately communicated to the complainant and respondent by the Affirmative Action officer, and, where possible, their needs will be accommodated.

[2.1] Informal Investigation and Resolution

  1. Individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment (complainant) should report the incident promptly to their immediate supervisor or academic dean or to a departmental supervisor higher up in the chain of command or directly to the Affirmative Action officer, legal counsel, or assistant vice president for human resources.

    The person to whom the complaint is made shall immediately contact the Affirmative Action officer, legal counsel, or assistant vice president for human resources. One or more of these administrators will determine the course of the informal investigation and resolution. The department involved and/or the supervisor to whom the complaint was made may be asked to assist in the informal investigation.

  2. If, following investigation, an informal resolution of the matter which is satisfactory to the complainant, the person against whom the complaint is made (respondent) and the university (represented by the Affirmative Action officer, legal counsel, or assistant vice president for human resources) is reached, it shall be considered closed and all parties involved shall be so advised in writing by the Affirmative Action officer, legal counsel, or assistant vice president for human resources. If a satisfactory resolution has not been reached within ten (10) working days from the date of the complaint, the complainant, university, or respondent may initiate formal complaint/investigation procedures.

[2.2] Formal Investigation and Resolution

  1. If the sexual harassment complaint has not been resolved through informal procedures and the complainant, university, or respondent wishes to pursue the matter further, he/she must file a written complaint. The written complaint must be filed with the Affirmative Action officer, legal counsel, or assistant vice president for human resources within twenty (20) working days of the termination of the informal procedures. The complainant and respondent shall be entitled to have, at the individual's own expense, an advisor, who may or may not be an attorney, to assist in preparing the formal complaint.
  2. The Affirmative Action officer will notify the parties involved of the sexual harassment complaint, provide copies of the complaint and advise the parties of the procedures for a formal investigation and hearing within three (3) working days of receipt of the formal written complaint. The respondent will then be given five (5) working days to respond in writing to the complaint.
  3. Within ten (10) working days of receipt of the formal written complaint the Affirmative Action officer shall refer the complaint and the respondent's response, if any, to the Sexual Harassment Complaint Committee.
  4. Within five (5) working days of the committee's receipt of the complaint, the committee will meet separately with the complainant and the respondent. The purpose of these preliminary meetings is to inform the committee about the case, to ensure that the complainant and respondent are fully aware of their procedural rights, and to decide upon the nature of the investigation. Throughout the proceedings the respondent and complainant shall have the right to be accompanied by an advisor, who may or may not be an attorney. Attorneys will not be provided at university expense. The legal counsel may be present but shall act only in an advisory capacity to the committee.
  5. Within five (5) working days of the conclusion of the committee's preliminary meetings with the complainant and respondent the Sexual Harassment Complaint Committee will hold a formal meeting on the matter. Strict judicial rules of evidence shall not be applied. The committee members may receive any evidence they consider to be relevant.
  6. The respondent and complainant, and their advisors, shall have the right to be present at any time testimony is presented and to be provided copies of all evidence considered by the committee. Neither the respondent nor complainant shall have the right to cross-examine witnesses. Advisors shall not have the right to address or question committee members or witnesses.
  7. A written record of the minutes of the proceedings and recommendations of the committee shall be presented to the president within five (5) working days of the committee's final meeting.
  8. A copy of the minutes and recommendations of the committee shall be presented to both the complainant and the respondent at the time they are forwarded to the president.
  9. Within ten (10) working days of receipt of the committee's recommendation, the president shall make a final decision concerning what action, if any, to take including disciplinary action after considering the recommendation of the committee, and will notify the complainant and respondent.