Administrative Services

File code: PRES.NONDISCRIM.POL
Approval Date: 11/16/04
Revised: 09/30/2014
Approved By: President

Non-Discrimination Policy [FKA Anti-Harassment Policy]

  1. Policy Statement

    Western Illinois University (University) strives to provide an educational and working environment that is free from discrimination. The University is committed to providing an environment that values diversity and emphasizes the dignity and worth of every individual. Discrimination in any form fundamentally contravenes the core values of Western Illinois University.

    Discrimination based on an individual’s membership in the following classes is strictly prohibited: sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and any other classes protected by state or federal law. Discriminatory and harassing behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Incidents of discrimination will be met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including separation or dismissal from the University. Any action taken as a result of a violation of this policy will be in accordance with the relevant collective bargaining agreements and University policies.

  2. Scope

    This policy applies to University students, faculty, staff, and contractors, as well as University visitors, guests, and clients.

  3. Discriminatory Treatment and Impact

    This policy prohibits conduct which subjects an individual to unfavorable treatment because of their membership in the protected classes listed above. Discriminatory conduct occurs when employment/academic decisions exclude an individual from participation in or deny them the benefits of any aspect of employment or institutional program, without a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason.

    Facially neutral practices which adversely affect a group of individuals based on their membership in the aforementioned protected classes have a discriminatory impact and are also prohibited.

  4. Discriminatory Harassment

    The University defines discriminatory harassment as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual because of his/her sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, genetic information, and veteran status, and that:

    • has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment;
    • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work, study, or participation in University activities; or
    • otherwise adversely affects an individual's opportunities.

    Harassing conduct includes:

    • epithets; slurs; negative stereotyping; or threatening, intimidating, or hostile acts that relate to sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, genetic information, and veteran status;
    • written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, or veteran status and that is displayed on walls, windows, bulletin boards, or other public locations.
  5. Retaliation

    Retaliating against an individual who has reported or filed a complaint alleging discrimination or participated as a witness in such an investigation is strictly prohibited. Retaliation is a separate cause for complaint and individuals are encouraged to report such conduct in a timely manner. Individuals with supervisory duties who disregard, fail to investigate adequately, or delay investigation of discrimination claims also violate this policy.

  6. Discrimination Complaint Guidelines
    1. Reporting Responsibilities
      1. Complaints involving employees
        1. Employees should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity & Access to report discrimination they experience, witness, or which is reported to them.
        2. One should never assume that an official of Western Illinois University knows about a situation or incident. All incidents of discrimination should be reported in a timely manner.
      2. Complaints in which all parties are students
        1. Incidences of discrimination between students, in which no employee/supervisor relationship exists, will be treated as a disciplinary matter and should be reported to Student Judicial Programs.
        2. In cases where an employee/supervisor relationship exists between students, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access will work cooperatively with Student Judicial Programs in investigating the complaint.
    2. Responsible Offices and Administrators
      1. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access
        1. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (EOA) is primarily responsible for providing education and training about the Non-Discrimination Policy to the University community. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access also investigates reports and complaints of discrimination. The Director of EOA is authorized to designate other appropriately-trained Investigating Officers to conduct training, investigate discrimination complaints, and prepare reports as deemed appropriate.
      2. University Vice Presidents
        1. University Vice Presidents are the individuals designated to review investigative reports and to determine the appropriate action for the University to take based upon the findings. The Vice President charged with responsibility will be the Vice President who has supervisory authority over the respondent(s) of the discrimination complaint.
        2. If the respondent is a Civil Service employee, the Director of Human Resources will collaborate with the appropriate Vice President to determine appropriate action.
        3. If the respondent in a discrimination complaint or report is the Equal Opportunity Officer or a Vice President, the responsible administrator will be the President.
        4. If the respondent in a discrimination complaint is the President, the responsible administrator will be the Board of Trustees.
      3. Deans, Directors, Chairs/Supervisory Personnel
        1. All supervisory personnel are responsible for ensuring compliance with the University's Non-Discrimination Policy.
    3. Investigation and Resolution

      All reports of discrimination will be promptly investigated and appropriate action will be taken as expeditiously as possible. Investigations will be conducted in accordance with the University's Discrimination Complaint Procedures. These procedures do not replace the right of complainants to pursue other options or remedies available under the law.

      The University encourages any person who feels he or she has been discriminated against to report the incident to their appropriate supervisor and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Any student, faculty member, or employee who knows of, receives information about, or receives a complaint of discrimination should report the information or complaint to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Please note that administrators and supervisors must report incidents of discrimination that are reported to them to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access in a timely manner.

      Administrative action may be recommended in cases where a finding of policy violation is determined.

    4. Privacy

      The University will respect the privacy of the complainant, the individual(s) against whom the complaint is filed, and the witnesses in a manner consistent with the University's legal obligations to investigate, to take appropriate action, and to comply with any discovery or disclosure obligations required by law.

      During the investigation, all individuals involved in the process will keep the information gathered during the investigation private to the extent permitted by state and federal law. The Equal Opportunity Officer shall exercise due care in sharing identifiable information about students, faculty, and employees.

    5. University Action

      The appropriate Vice President/Human Resource Director and other supervisory personnel will determine the remedial action based on the results of the investigation and will follow up, as appropriate, to ensure that the remedial action is effective. The responsible administrator will notify the complainant and respondent, in writing, of the results of this process. Written notice to parties relating to discipline, resolutions, and/or final dispositions are deemed to be official correspondence from the University.

      This action will be taken in accordance with relevant collective bargaining agreements and University policies and may include disciplinary action up to and including termination.

    6. Right to Appeal

      The complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal the investigative finding to the President or his/her designee pursuant to this policy. Either party must base their appeal on one or more of the following circumstances:

      1. Procedural error; or
      2. New and material evidence exists that was previously unavailable to the party (despite due diligence) at the time of investigation.

      To file an appeal to the President, a written appeal must be made within 10 calendar days after receipt of written notification regarding the decision made about the complaint. The President or his/her designee may receive additional information if he/she believes such information would aid in the consideration of the appeal. A decision will be made within a reasonable time and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, the responsible administrator, the complainant, and the respondent will be notified of the decision.

    7. False Claims

      To make deliberate false accusations of discrimination violates this policy. In such instances, the complainant will be subject to disciplinary action. However, failure to prove a claim of discrimination does not constitute proof of a false and/or malicious accusation.

  7. Training, Dissemination, and Record Retention
    1. Education and Training

      The University will provide education and training programs to promote awareness and the prevention of discrimination. Education and training programs also include informational materials about the University's Non-Discrimination Policy as well as training for responsible personnel in conducting investigations, management, and implementation of the complaint procedure.

    2. Dissemination

      This policy will be disseminated annually to employees and students through orientation programs, electronic outreach, and the Student Handbook. The policy and related procedural information is also available on the University's website.

    3. Record Retention

      During an investigation of a complaint, and upon the completion of an investigation, the custodian of the files shall be the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Files will remain confidential unless compelled by state or federal law.