Human Resources

Appendix U - Racial & Ethnic Harassment Policy

Western Illinois University is committed to maintaining a supportive educational environment for all members of the University community. A key component of this commitment is the elimination of racial and ethnic harassment on campus. The University will take whatever actions are appropriate and effective, within defined legal perimeters, to achieve this goal. Western Illinois University defines racial or ethnic harassment as verbal or physical threats that are racially or ethnically motivated; person-to-person racial or ethnic insults likely to start a fight; damage to a person or property that is racially or ethnically motivated; or acts to create a hostile or intimidating environment for identifiable members of any ethnic or racial group in any educational setting on campus, in or out of the classroom. In some cases, the harassment of students or employees by University employees may be a violation of state and federal law which would call for disciplinary action to be taken by the University against the harasser; in other cases, harassment may be a form of disruptive behavior which calls for educational intervention or mediation.

In all cases, racial or ethnic harassment disrupts learning and working environments and subjects harassed persons to stresses incompatible with the institution's educational mission. Furthermore, it is the position of Western Illinois University that racial or ethnic harassment is inherently wrong, and that the University has the responsibility to undertake appropriate intervention to eliminate the behavior.

The University recognizes that harassment often takes the form of verbal behavior and, therefore, that efforts to eliminate it can raise free speech questions. The University is committed to free speech. However, verbal racial or ethnic harassment that impedes educational objectives in campus settings devoted to instruction, study, research, learning, enjoyment of cultural events, or participation in student activities, or which violates contractual obligations under which students are admitted to residence halls, is beyond protection. In its efforts to resolve complaints which are filed by employees or students, the University will adhere to relevant legal definitions as they develop as well as to those applicable ethical standards of professional behavior which have been arrived at through consensus by the academic community.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to penalize a member of the Western Illinois University community for expressing an opinion, theory, or idea pertaining to any racial or ethnic group, provided the expression contains no face-to-face threat, face-to-face menacing statement, or face-to-face slur.

Guidelines on Resolution

All University administrators and supervisors are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the University's Policy on Racial and Ethnic Harassment is carried out. The President and Vice-Presidents have ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy.

The University offers the following avenues of resolution for persons wishing to voice or file complaints:

Resolution of violations of this policy can be sought by contacting the Affirmative Action Officer, Department Chairpersons, Deans, Directors, Civil Service Supervisors, the University Director of Human Resources, the Student Advocate, or staff of the University Counseling Center, Student Personnel Services, Student Special Services, and Student Residential Programs. These contacts provide an opportunity for persons with a complaint to discuss their complaints confidentially and consider alternatives, and for University officials to provide information and make appropriate referrals to other departments and offices.

Resolution of violations of this policy can also be sought through established complaint procedures. Complaints involving students or staff will be received by the Affirmative Action Office according to the guidelines outlined in the University's Discrimination Complaint Procedures. This procedure is published in the Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, and the Civil Service Handbook. Complaints involving students will also be received by the Student Judicial Affairs Office according to the guidelines in the Student Conduct Code published in the Student Handbook. Complaints involving Civil Service employees will also be received by the University Human Resources Department according to the guidelines published in the Civil Service Handbook.

Guidelines on Sanctions

In those cases where a violation of this policy would be a violation of federal or state law, and where the appropriate response would be the application of disciplinary action against faculty or staff, that action will be carried out in accordance with established collective bargaining and other applicable employee personnel procedures. Appropriate sanctions will be applied as provided under those procedures.

Sanctions for students will be in accordance with the provisions of the Student Conduct Code.

January 1994
Donald S. Spencer, President

Civil Service Handbook


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