Unified Harassment and Discrimination Policy

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 (current or former), guests and vendors.  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.  

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 any unwelcome sexual advance, request 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 

  1. 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. 
  2. Any threat or act of violence. 
  3. Such harassment may be based on, but is not limited to, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation 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, sexual orientation 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. 

The University cannot guarantee confidentiality. 

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 this or other appropriate University policy. 

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.  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.

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. 

Title IX Overview 

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (amending the Higher Education Act of 1965) specifically provides: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” 

Under Title IX, an educational institution’s athletic programs must insure effective accommodation of interests and abilities, equivalence in availability, quality and kinds of other athletic benefits and opportunities, including coaching, equipment, practice and competitive facilities, recruitment, scheduling of games and publicity, and equivalence in financial assistance. Title IX regulations provides that if an institution sponsors an athletic program, it must provide equal athletic opportunities for members of both sexes. 

The United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) is the primary federal agency responsible for enforcing Title IX, and it has developed regulations that require education programs to take steps to prevent and address sex discrimination. 

Title IX Scope 

Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination is broad, protecting students, faculty, and staff in federally funded education programs, and applies to every aspect of the program, including admissions, recruitment, academics, employment, athletics, and student services.  Title IX’s broad prohibition against sex discrimination also includes sexual harassment, and holds schools responsible for addressing and remedying harassment. 

Under Title IX, an educational institution’s athletic programs must insure effective accommodation of interests and abilities, equivalence in availability, quality and kinds of other athletic benefits and opportunities, including coaching, equipment, practice and competitive facilities, recruitment, scheduling of games and publicity, and equivalence in financial assistance.  Title IX regulations provides that if an institution sponsors an athletic program, it must provide equal athletic opportunities for members of both sexes. 

All, faculty, staff or student, complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment or violence, must be reported immediately to the Title IX coordinator at 817-531-4403 or to any assistant coordinator immediately.  The Title IX coordinator will take action within a reasonable period of time to effectively correct the situation, prevent a recurrence and remedy any effects of any unlawful harassment.  Title IX complaints may also be reported to the OCR. 

The Title IX coordinator is responsible for providing a prompt and equitable resolution of all Title IX complaints including conducting a reliable and impartial investigation or coordinating such an investigation through his/her appointment of Title IX assistant coordinators or others at the senior staff level. 

Retaliation against any individual who files a complaint or participates in a harassment inquiry is strictly prohibited.  

Title IX Coordinator

  • Associate Vice President for Human Resources
    • 817-531-4403
    • Human Resources Office, Basement, Oneal-Sells Administration Building 

Title IX Assistant Coordinators

  • Athletic Director
    • 817-531-4874
    • Athletics Office, 2nd Floor, Sid Richardson Building
  • Dean of Students
    • 817-531-4872
    • Student Life Suite, First Floor, Brown-Lupton Campus Center
  • Purchasing Director
    • 817-531-4298
    • Purchasing Office, Basement, Oneal-Sells Administration Building
Lodging of Complaint Involving a Faculty Member

Investigation 

Any complaint of harassment (other than sexual 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. 

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

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. 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. At that time, all action contemplated under the agreement shall be taken, and the investigation shall be closed. 

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 fifteen (15) calendar days period, the matter is automatically closed.  If a determination of no harassment or discrimination 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 days, the matter is automatically closed.  If a determination of harassment or discrimination 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 a tenured 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 Involving 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 of Human Resources, Director of Purchasing, 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.”  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 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 Associate Vice President of Human Resources shall assign the complaint 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. A written report shall be prepared, unless advised otherwise by University legal counsel. 

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, 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 
  1. Determine that the claim of harassment or discrimination was substantiated and issue appropriate disciplinary action against the 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 Involving a 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 Affairs/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 Student Affairs/Dean of Students in his or her absence. 

Investigation 

Upon receipt of a complaint of harassment or discrimination against a student, the Vice President of Student Affairs/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) business 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. 

Determination 

Upon completion of the investigation, the Vice President of Student Affairs/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 nature of such action.  If the disciplinary action against the student is expulsion, the President must first be notified and approve the expulsion. 

Appeals 

Either party may appeal the determination by the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students or the administrators to the President in writing within fifteen (15) business 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.

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