Sexual Harassment-Violence Program and Policy
Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct
RGS is committed to providing a campus community in which all members are treated with respect and dignity and which is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive, or disruptive. Sexual harassment within the community is unlawful, as is harassment based upon race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or membership in any other protected group. It is also unlawful to retaliate against a member of the campus community for filing a complaint or for cooperating in an investigation of harassment.
This policy applies to all members of the community, which for the purposes of this policy includes, but is not limited to, employees students, independent contractors, consultants, leased employees, visitors and others working on institutional premises or with institutional employees or students. The scope of this policy includes, but is not limited to, all settings in which members of the campus community may find themselves in connection with their employment, education or other institutionally related activities, such as off-site meetings, conferences, social events, etc., including time spent traveling and socializing on the way to and from, and while at, such events. It also extends to other interactions between or among members of the campus community, to the extent that a community member’s right to a campus community free from harassment or other inappropriate conduct is involved.
The institution will not tolerate harassment of, or retaliation against, its employees, students, or any other member of the campus community by anyone, including other members of the community. Furthermore, the institution will also attempt to protect its community members from harassment by others who may be encountered within the community, such as vendors, customers, and service employees.
The Vice President is responsible for overseeing the implementation of this policy in the case of administrators and support staff. In the case of faculty, the Dean of Academics will provide oversight.
Definition of Harassment and Inappropriate Conduct
Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct, whether verbal, physical, or visual, including stalking or cyber-stalking, based on a person’s protected status, such as race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, age, or on any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law; and which has the effect of interfering unreasonably with another’s work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment.
Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to, slurs; negative stereotyping; ethnic jokes; offensive written or graphic material; display of offensive objects; or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that denigrate or show hostility or aversion toward an individual because of membership in a protected group, or toward a group with protected status.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is prohibited. This includes unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual conduct of a sexual nature when: submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a community member’s employment, education or other participation in the community; submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting employment, education or other participation in the community; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interference with work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.
It is not possible to list all of the circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment. However, the following are examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment, depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its frequency or pervasiveness:
• Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions (whether or not they involve unwelcome physical touching)
• The explicit or implicit conditioning of any terms of employment or education (e.g., continued employment, wages, evaluation, advancement, assigned duties, on-call assignments, grades) on provision of sexual favors
• Inquiries into another’s sexual experience, discussions of one’s sexual activities, comments on an individual’s body or about the individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies or prowess
• Stalking, cyber-stalking or general intimidation of a sexual nature
• Sexual innuendo, sexually suggestive comments, or the use of sexually explicit or vulgar language
• Sexually oriented teasing or practical jokes; “humor” about gender-specific traits
• Suggestive body language or gestures
• Displays or transmission of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, posters, cartoons or other printed or visual material,
• Leering, whistling or physical contact, such as unwelcome touching, patting, pinching or brushing against another’s body
• Continued requests to socialize, on or off duty, on or off campus, when a community member has indicated rejection or lack of interest
• Continued writing of sexually suggestive notes or letters when it is known or should be known that the addressee does not welcome them
• Derogatory or provocative remarks relating to an employee’s sex or sexual orientation
No community member shall be subject to retaliation for making a complaint of harassment or inappropriate conduct, cooperating in the investigation of such a complaint, or otherwise opposing unlawful harassment or other inappropriate conduct.
Complaints of Harassment or Retaliation
Because RGS takes allegations of harassment or retaliation seriously, it will respond promptly to complaints of such behavior. RGS strongly encourages any members of the community who believe they have been the target of harassment or inappropriate conduct to report the incident promptly, in writing. In addition, every member of the community is strongly encouraged to report, in writing, any such conduct observed, no matter whom the target is. A timely written report will enable the institution to respond rapidly in investigating the allegations and, where it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, take the necessary steps to eliminate the objectionable conduct or conditions and impose corrective action, where appropriate.
Should any community members believe that they are being harassed or subjected to inappropriate behavior, they may notify the offender directly and immediately that the behavior is unwelcome and offensive and must stop. However, if for any reason a community member does not wish to discuss the matter directly with the offender, or if the discussion does not successfully end the behavior, it is the community member’s duty to report the conduct immediately. The RGS is committed, and may be required by law, to take action if it learns of potential harassment or inappropriate conduct, even if the aggrieved party does not wish to file a formal complaint.
Depending on the identities of the complainant and the alleged perpetrator of prohibited conduct, the report should be made to the appropriate individual or office. If for any reason complainants are not comfortable reporting the conduct to the designated individuals, they may contact the Vice President or the President.
A complaint of harassment will be investigated promptly and fairly. To the extent practicable, care will be taken to protect the identity of all parties to the complaint, consistent with a thorough and appropriate investigation.
An institutional investigation will include private interviews with the person reporting the incident, any witnesses, and the person alleged to have engaged in the harassment or inappropriate conduct. It is vital for all parties involved in the investigation to refrain from discussing any and all aspects of it, on or off campus. If the investigation determines that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, the institution will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct and impose corrective action, where appropriate. After the decision, the person who filed the complaint and the person alleged to have committed the offense will be informed of the results of the investigation and any corrective action to be taken. However, the complainant may not be informed of the specifics of any disciplinary action imposed upon the perpetrator, to the extent that revealing this information might constitute an invasion of privacy.
False statements made by any party in connection with a complaint of harassment or inappropriate conduct or during an investigation will constitute an occasion for appropriate corrective action, up to and including termination of the person’s relationship with the institution.
Reporting Incidents of Harassment and Inappropriate Behavior
Students should report incidents of harassment and inappropriate behavior. Reports will be handled according to the procedures laid out in the table on the next page.
This is a general statement of policy and no more. While this policy sets forth institutional goals of promoting a community free of harassment and other inappropriate conduct, it is not intended to limit the institution’s authority to discipline or take remedial action for conduct it deems unacceptable. It does not constitute a term or provision of any contract of employment or implied contract of employment between the RGS and its employees, nor does it create contractual obligations on behalf of the institution to any person. Likewise, it does not constitute a guarantee of continued student status to any person or otherwise create any obligation on the part of the institution.
Employees: If it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, corrective action may range from a verbal warning and counseling to termination of employment, and may include such other forms of corrective action as the institution deems appropriate.
Students: If it is determined that harassment or inappropriate conduct has occurred, corrective action may range from a written warning to expulsion, and may include such other forms of corrective action as the institution deems appropriate. Generally, but not always, the “go-to person” is the Dean of Students or the Vice President.
Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Training (SVPAT)
RGS expects all members of its community to act in respectful and responsible ways toward each other, so that all students at RGS can pursue their academic, social and work activities without fear or intimidation. Therefore, RGS is dedicated to providing optimum information and resources to educate students about sexual violence and its prevention.
RGS’s sexual violence awareness and prevention training program (SVPAT) uses a variety of innovative initiatives and best practices to educate students about complex issues of sexual violence. SVPAT’s goals are:
• To develop education and prevention strategies to guard against rape culture, and to prevent incidents of sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, and other forms of unwanted sexual behavior on campus
• To work to create a safer campus environment through participation in policy development, advocacy and lobbying efforts
• To serve as a referral source for sexual assault survivors or people who might have concerns about being victims
• To encourage active involvement in prevention efforts by students, faculty, staff and community members
The Dean of Students is responsible for maximizing all available resources to create, support, evaluate and coordinate the SVPAT programs. The Dean of Students shall provide connections to medical and mental health treatment, help students report offenses to the police and inform them on how to pursue disciplinary action, assist students with accessing support services, and support students for their emotional needs.
As part of the SVPAT, the Dean of Students shall conduct a sexual assault awareness and prevention program for all incoming students during the first week of classes. In this sexual assault/misconduct education, students shall be informed about the following matters:
• The Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Policy and the RGS’ commitment to enforce it
• Steps to minimize individual risk of sexual assault
• Matters regarding responsibility for reporting sexual assault and sexual misconduct offenses
• The process for reporting sexual assault and sexual misconduct offenses
• Ways to obtain knowledge regarding sexual assault issues and the reporting process
• Resources that are available to students who have been sexually assaulted
• Ways to support peer presence
• Ongoing wellness promotion programs that address topics such as sexual health and wellness, and drug and alcohol abuse
During each academic year, the RGS’s Sexual Harassment Policy shall be published in the catalog, and the Sexual Harassment Policy shall be discussed with all students, faculty and staff members.