Title IX Policy


Unified Harassment and Discrimination Policy
Harassment and Discrimination

Harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and discrimination, are illegal under federal and state statutes, including but not limited to, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, and is prohibited at Texas Wesleyan University (the "University").

The University is committed to providing an environment of academic study and employment free from harassment or discrimination to all segments of its community; that is, its faculty, staff, students, guests and vendors. 78 It is the responsibility of members of the University community to conduct themselves so that their words or actions cannot be reasonably perceived as harassing, discriminatory, sexually coercive, abusive or exploitive, or as interfering with any other individual's ability to study or work productively at the University. 79

Furthermore, the University strictly forbids retaliation by any member of the University community against anyone who brings a charge of discrimination, sexual harassment or any other form of harassment.

Once the University has knowledge of conduct or behavior that could be reasonably construed as harassment or discrimination, action under this policy must be initiated and followed to its conclusion.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

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

  1. Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions or is made a term or condition of employment or academic success; or
  2. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with one's work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.
Other Forms of Harassment

Any verbal, physical or visual act or conduct which denigrates, threatens or shows hostility toward any individual or group because of a protected status, and which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with one's work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.

Any threat or act of violence.

Such harassment may be based on, but is not limited to, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or other legally protected status.

 

Definition of Discrimination

Any act or conduct that is prejudicial toward another person's race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or other legally-protected status.

Sanctions

Any violation of any aspect of this policy toward any faculty member, staff member, student, guest or vendor will subject the violating faculty member, staff member, student, guest or vendor to appropriate disciplinary action or sanction, which may include: dismissal from employment for faculty and staff; cancellation of student status for students; and loss of business or other campus privileges for vendors and guests.

Timing of Complaint

Any complaint, either oral or written, must be communicated to the appropriate University representative immediately as indicated by this policy, but no later than 180 calendar days from the most recent occurrence of the alleged behavior.

Confidentiality of Proceedings and Records

All persons involved in the investigation, adjudication or resolution of complaints shall preserve the confidentiality of information relating to such investigation, adjudication or resolution, to the extent possible. Such confidential information shall only be disclosed on a need-to-know basis to those in the University or their designees and legal representatives (including outside counsel) authorized to participate in the investigation, adjudication or resolution, or to those outside the University, as required by court order or otherwise required by law.

Proceedings

Once the complaint has been received, the appropriate authority, as defined by this policy, shall promptly initiate the specific complaint and investigation procedure applicable for the accused individual, according to the appropriate policy. The unified policy and procedures are cross-referenced to appropriate University policy manuals.

Complaint Procedures in General

The University recognizes the need for each of the three segments of the University community (faculty, staff and students), with their unique missions and roles, to have their own respective complaint procedures. 80 Although this is a unified policy for the University community, specific complaint procedures are listed for each segment, depending upon which member of the University community is being charged with harassment or discrimination. Complaints against vendors and guests should follow the complaint procedures for charges against staff employees.

Complaints should be delivered in writing to the appropriate person as specified in this policy. However, verbal complaints may be accepted. Complaints must provide the name of the person alleged to have harassed or discriminated against the complainant, specific details of the alleged conduct or act, a list of witnesses (if any), a desired remedy, and any other pertinent details.

Who May Use the Procedure

The complaint procedure described herein shall be available to any faculty member, staff member, student, vendor or guest who believes that he or she has been harassed or discriminated against by a faculty member, staff member, student, vendor or guest in the context of the accused individual's performance of University-related functions.

Lodging of Complaint Against a Faculty Member

Any complaint of harassment or discrimination against a faculty member shall be reported immediately to the Provost. The Provost shall promptly assign the complaint to two (2) appropriate administrators of at least the senior staff level or someone who directly reports to the senior staff. These administrators shall investigate the complaint, interview the parties and others in possession of pertinent information, review relevant documentation and evidence, reach an initial determination of whether harassment or discrimination has occurred and, depending upon its severity, seek to resolve the matter informally. 81 If the administrators believe that immediate harm to either party or the integrity of the investigation is threatened by the continued performance of the accused faculty member's customary duties or responsibilities, the administrators may recommend to the Provost that the accused faculty member be suspended with pay, or reassigned pending the completion of the investigation.

The investigation shall be completed within thirty (30) calendar days of the receipt of the complaint by the Provost, unless notice of delay is given. Within this time frame, the administrators shall prepare a written report of the investigation, which shall include their initial determination.

1. Informal Resolution
Upon completion of the investigation and depending upon its severity, the administrators are authorized to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the University, the complaining party and the accused faculty member. 82 If a resolution satisfactory to the University and both parties is reached through the efforts of the administrators, a written statement, a copy of which shall be attached to the administrators' report, shall indicate the agreement reached by the parties and shall be signed and dated by each party and by the administrators. 83 At that time, all action contemplated under the agreement shall be taken and the investigation shall be closed.

2. Determination of Merits of Complaint
In arriving at a determination of the existence of harassment or discrimination, the administrators shall consider the evidence as a whole, the totality of the circumstances, and the context in which the alleged events occurred. The determination of the existence of harassment or discrimination shall be made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.

Determination of No Harassment or Discrimination

If the administrators determine that no harassment or discrimination has occurred, they shall dismiss the complaint, giving prompt written notice of said dismissal to each party involved. The complaining party or the University has the right to appeal said dismissal in writing, within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date of the notice of dismissal, to the Provost. If no appeal is filed within the fifteen (15) calendar day period, the matter is automatically closed. If a determination of no sexual harassment is appealed, the Provost shall make a written recommendation to the President within seven (7) calendar days. The President shall notify all parties of his or her decision in writing within seven (7) calendar days after receipt of the Provost's recommendation. The President's decision is final.

Determination of Harassment or Discrimination

If the administrators determine that harassment or discrimination has occurred and that a particular sanction is appropriate, they shall promptly notify the parties without providing details of the sanctions to the complainant. The accused faculty member, the complaining party or the University may appeal said determination, in writing, to the Provost within fifteen (15) calendar days of the date of notice of determination. If no appeal is filed within the fifteen (15) calendar day period, the matter is automatically closed. If a determination of sexual harassment is appealed, the Provost shall make a written recommendation to the President within seven (7) calendar days. The President shall notify all parties of his or her decision in writing within seven (7) calendar days after receipt of the Provost's recommendation. The President's decision is final.

Revocation of Tenure and Termination as Possible Sanction for Harassment or Discrimination
If the administrators determine at any stage in the investigation that the evidence of harassment or discrimination is sufficiently clear and severe, and the Provost concurs in writing, so as to warrant the immediate commencement of proceedings to revoke tenure and/or terminate the faculty member, the case shall be removed from the complaint procedures contained herein and resolved in accordance with the revocation of tenure and termination policies and procedures for faculty members. The faculty member shall be suspended, with pay, pending formal resolution of the matter.

Lodging of Complaint Against a Staff Employee, Guests or Vendor

Persons who have complaints alleging harassment or discrimination against a staff employee, guest or vendor are encouraged to raise them either orally or in writing to the Associate Vice President for Administration and Human Resources, a supervisor, the department head, Dean, Divisional Vice President or the Provost. It is recommended, although not required, that the complainant follow the “chain of command.” 84 For example, staff employees are encouraged to lodge complaints within their respective work area. The person receiving the complaint shall communicate it promptly to the Associate Vice President for Administration and Human Resources or the Director of Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources shall be responsible for investigating complaints. In the event of a conflict of interest involving the Office of Human Resources, the complaint shall be assigned by the Associate Vice President for Administration and Human Resources to a Divisional Vice President for investigation. Nothing in this policy shall require a complainant to file a complaint with the individual who is accused of harassment or discrimination.

Investigation

Upon receipt of a complaint of harassment or discrimination against a staff employee, guest or vendor, the Office of Human Resources shall investigate the complaint itself or assign it to two (2) administrators, each of whom must be either a Vice President, Associate Vice President or someone who directly reports to a Vice President, Associate Vice President and who is employed at least at the director level.

The Office of Human Resources or the assigned administrators shall investigate the complaint, interview the parties and witnesses involved and gather all pertinent information. The investigation shall be completed within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the complaint, unless notice of delay is given. 85 A written report shall be prepared, unless advised otherwise by University legal counsel. 86

At any stage in the investigation, an accused employee may be suspended with pay or reassigned. If the complaint is against a guest or vendor, the guest may have his or her privileges as a guest suspended, or the vendor may have its business dealings with the University suspended, or the guest or vendor may be prohibited from having contact with faculty, staff, students, guests or vendors of the University until the complaint is resolved. The Office of Human Resources or the administrators shall promptly inform the accused employee, guest or vendor of the complaint and shall, during the investigation, obtain the employee's, guest's or vendor's version of the facts. The Office of Human Resources or the administrators, in arriving at a determination of whether harassment or discrimination has occurred, shall review the information as a whole in the totality of the circumstances and in the context in which the alleged incident or incidents occurred. The determination shall be made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.

Determination

Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Human Resources or the administrators are authorized to take the following actions:

  1. Determine that the claim of harassment or discrimination was not substantiated and provide written notice of such determination to the employee, guest or vendor, and the complainant; or
  2. Determine that the claim of harassment or discrimination was substantiated and issue appropriate disciplinary action against the
  3. Employee, guest or vendor with notification to the complainant that appropriate action is being taken against the employee, guest or vendor, without providing details of the nature of such action.
Appeals

Either party may appeal the determination by the Office of Human Resources or the administrators to the President in writing within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of notification of the determination. If the President does not act to change the determination within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the appeal, the determination shall become final under the executive authority of the President. The President's decision is final.

Employment-at-Will

The utilization of these procedures shall not affect the employment-at-will nature of the employment relationship.

Lodging of Complaint Against Student

Persons who have complaints alleging harassment or discrimination against students are encouraged to raise them either orally or in writing to the Vice President of Student Services, the Dean of Students, the Provost, a Dean, or the Office of Human Resources. The person receiving the complaint shall communicate it promptly to the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services or the Dean of Students in his or her absence.

1. Investigation
Upon receipt of a complaint of harassment or discrimination against a student, the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services or the Dean of Students, if designated by the Vice President, shall investigate or assign the complaint to two (2) administrators, each of whom must be either a Vice President, Associate Vice President or someone who directly reports to a Vice President or Associate Vice President and who is employed at least at the director level. The Office of Human Resources shall serve in an advisory capacity for complaints involving students.

The above-mentioned staff or the assigned administrators shall investigate the complaint, interview the parties and witnesses involved and gather all pertinent information. The investigation shall be completed within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the complaint, unless notice of delay is given. A written report shall be prepared, unless advised otherwise by University legal counsel.

At any stage in the investigation, the accused student may be suspended until the matter is resolved. In the event a student is suspended and subsequently exonerated, the student shall be allowed to make-up missed assignments or tests, if possible. If that is not possible, the student shall be refunded any tuition or fees lost. The accused student shall be promptly notified of the complaint and shall, during the investigation, provide his or her version of the facts. In arriving at a determination of whether harassment or discrimination has occurred, the information as a whole in the totality of the circumstances and in the context in which the alleged incident or incidents occurred shall be reviewed. The determination will be made from the facts on a case-by-case basis.

2. Determination
Upon completion of the investigation, the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, the Dean of Students or the administrators are authorized to take the following actions:

  1. Determine that the claim of harassment or discrimination was not substantiated and provide prompt written notice of such determination to the student and the complainant; or
  2. Determine that the claim of harassment or discrimination was substantiated and issue appropriate disciplinary action against the student with notification to the complainant that appropriate action is being taken against the student, without providing details of the
  3. Nature of such action. If the disciplinary action against the student is expulsion, the President must first be notified and approve the expulsion.

3. Appeals

Either party may appeal the determination by the Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services, the Dean of Students or the administrators to the President in writing within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of notification of the determination. If the President does not act to change the determination within seven (7) calendar days of receiving the appeal, the determination shall become final under the executive authority of the President. The President's decision is final.

Notice
This policy does not create contractual rights of any kind for students, faculty, staff, guests or vendors. This policy may be amended, amplified or withdrawn by the University, in its sole discretion, at any time.

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Preamble
Below are the essential provisions of Student Rights and Responsibilities, to which all students are entitled while enrolled in Texas Wesleyan University. It is understood by all persons concerned that the responsibilities and rights herein expressed are to be exercised within the framework of the mission of Texas Wesleyan University. If a need for clarification arises, the University Hearing Board shall be used to interpret the rights and responsibilities in accordance with University standards.

Student Rights
Classroom

  1. A student has a right to have his/her classes taught by qualified faculty, which is defined by standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  2. A student has a right to expect that each class will have a syllabus which outlines the goals of the course, the assignments including examinations and grading, and the basic course calendar. Such syllabi should be available at the beginning of each course, with the expectation that it will be available no later than the second class meeting of the semester. The syllabi will provide for a reasonable distribution of reading and other out-of-class assignments throughout the semester. A student has a right to expect fairness in grading that is in keeping with the course syllabus. Students are responsible for meeting the stated requirements of any class in which they are enrolled.
  3. A student has a right to expect that examinations and/or assignments will be returned in a timely manner unless there are special circumstances. Students have the right at any time to request and receive notice of class standing.
  4. A student has a right to expect that published class times, examination schedules and associated policies will be honored by the faculty. If the times and schedules are changed for justifiable reasons a timely notification will be given to the student(s) involved. It is understood that students are not expected to wait for more than 15 minutes after the official starting time for a class to begin.
  5. A student has the right to be informed of the office hours of the faculty member teaching his/her classes and can expect the faculty member to be present during posted office hours unless unforeseen circumstances arise.
  6. A student has a right to expect the faculty advisor to be cognizant of degree requirements, major program options and will reasonably provide information about and access to other University services. A student has a right to expect that the advisor will have been provided materials necessary for proper advising including degree plans and policy changes appropriate to the student's degree.
  7. Students have the right to offer feedback and/or opinions regarding their educational instruction and experience in the form of evaluation surveys, etc.
  8. Students have a right to expect courteous and timely response to questions from all staff of the University.
  9. Students have a right to expect reasonable availability of services regardless of the time that the class is delivered. The University will provide appropriate facilities for classroom space and access to all facilities including the SUB, bookstore, mailroom, office of financial aid, student records, cashier, switchboard and other appropriate administrative offices.
  10. Students have the right to expect timely notice of major catalog changes, including significant program alteration.
  11. Students have a right to expect the catalog under which they entered the University to be honored, subject only to the limitations outlined in the catalog. Such limitations include such policies as those which limit the validity of certain courses to a specified number of years.
  12. Students may enter a class late or leave early professors may restrict entry or restrict departure if outlined in the syllabus.

Freedom of Association

  1. Students are free to organize and join campus associations to promote their common interests in accordance with the University mission.
  2. Students are free to assemble and support or protest a cause by orderly means on campus.
  3. Students Organizations are required to submit to the University a statement of purpose, and criteria for membership.

Freedom of Inquiry and Expression

  1. As citizen, students shall be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions either orally or written, publicity and privately. They should make every effort to indicate, however, that they are not speaking for the University. The professor shall reserve the right to limit in class discussions due to the limited time allotted for a class session.
  2. Students have a right to freedom of expression during the civil exchange of views. Views which differ from those of the instructor or the University shall not jeopardize the student's academic evaluation.

Student Participation in University Government

  1. Students shall be free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the Student Body.
  2. The Student Body and its duly elected representatives shall have clearly defined means to participate in the formulation an application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs.
  3. The Student Government Association is the principal organ by which the Student Body participates in the decision-making process of the institution.

Student Publications

  1. The student press shall follow established journalistic practices and ethics.
  2. The student press shall be free of censorship and an advance approval of copy and its editors and managers should be free to develop their own editorial policies and news coverage.
  3. Editors and managers of student publications shall be protected from arbitrary suspension or removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content.
  4. All University published and financed student publications shall explicitly state on the editorial page that the opinions there expressed are not necessarily those of the University or Student Body.

Disciplinary Proceedings

  1. The University has an obligation to specify the standards of conduct which it considers essential to its mission. The University must also specify consequences of actions that violate the written rules of the Student Handbook or federal, state, or local laws.
  2. The University will consistently and uniformly apply its sanctions for violations of policies and procedures as written in both the University catalog and Student Handbook.
  3. Due process shall be observed in all matters of student discipline including timely notification, reasonable standards of conduct, disciplinary terms and actions, and hearing board procedures.
  4. Except under extreme emergency circumstances, premises occupied by students and the personal possessions of students shall not be searched unless appropriate authorization has been obtained by the appropriate party set forth in the Student Handbook.
  5. Students accused of serious violations of institutional regulations, or infractions of ordinary laws, shall be informed of their rights through the office Student Development Offices.
  6. Pending action on charges, the status of student shall not be altered, nor the student's right to be present on the campus and to attend classes suspended, except for reasons relating to the student's physical or emotional safety and well-being or for reasons relating to the safety and well-being of students, faculty, staff, University or private property.

Student Responsibilities

  1. A student must read and understand the University catalog and Student Handbook which include policies and procedures affecting enrollment, withdrawal, probation, suspension, registration, major and minor programs, graduation, and other student issues.
  2. A student has the ultimate responsibility to take those steps necessary to earn a degree in a program of his/her choosing.
  3. A student has the responsibility to seek out his/her advisor and to solicit and follow advice that assists in the completion of the academic goals of the student.
  4. A student is responsible for his/her total well being and thus should take advantage of the full range of both curricular and co-curricular opportunities (cultural events, athletic contests and the work of student government and organizations) available on or through the campus.
  5. A student is responsible for timely application, timely payment of fees and timely processing of forms affecting enrollment.
  6. A student is responsible for practicing good University citizenship. This includes employing/practicing civility at all times, showing respect for student colleagues, professors and the staff and administration of the University. It is understood that free questioning and expression are a necessary part of encouraging independence, though such questioning and expression are to be expressed with appropriate decorum and civility.
  7. A student is expected to honor the requirements of each course for which he or she expects to earn credit. This includes the timely submission of assignments and the completion of all tasks.
  8. Students shall not engage in hazing or any other exploitation of fellow students.
Student Complaint Policiy

Texas Wesleyan University recognizes the value of information provided by students about the performance of the University in providing the services and meeting the goals which our mission describes. It is University policy to invite feedback, and, whenever possible, to use that feedback to continue to improve the services and functions of the University.

Ideally, students will be able to resolve any problems by dealing directly with the individual (such as a faculty or staff member) or office (such as a student service or administrative office) involved. However, if a student is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution and wishes to pursue the matter further, or if a student wishes to register a formal complaint, a written complaint may be addressed to the Office of Provost.

Written complaints should contain the following information:

  1. The complainant's name and contact information
  2. A clear description of the problem or complaint
  3. Appropriate supporting documentation that is directly related to the complaint
  4. A description of any subsequent actions taken by the complainant or the University
  5. A description of the desired outcome

All written complaints received and copies of any responses will be kept on file in the Office of the Provost. Complaints that are unsigned or are not received in written format (e.g., complaints received by phone or electronically) will not be considered.

The Provost will respond to each complaint within 15 business days of receipt. If no other action was requested, the response will acknowledge receipt of the complaint. If further action is requested, the response will describe the actions to be initiated by Office of the Provost and any further information from the complainant that may be required.

Academic Matters
Written complaints about grades will not be addressed by the Office of the Provost unless the student has already discussed the grade with the course instructor, the department or division head (if any), and the appropriate Dean, respectively. Appropriate documentation would include copies of the student's coursework, the course syllabus, and any other materials related to specific assignments (such as handouts or correspondence with the instructor).

Non-Academic Matters
Written complaints about administrative or other student services should be directed initially to the appropriate office but may be submitted to the Provost if satisfactory resolution is not achieved. Appropriate documentation would include copies of any relevant contracts, notices, or other official or informal correspondence with the office or other University personnel.

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