Human Resources

Appendix W - Policy on Sexual Harassment in the Campus Community

It is the policy of Western Illinois University that sexual harassment of one member of its academic community by another will not be tolerated.

Broad national attention has been given over the last few years to sexual harassment as an abuse of the employer/employee and teacher/student relationship. In response to this attention, a number of legislative and judicial interpretations have emerged which define the problem as a violation of various civil rights laws. (Two controlling current legal definitions are attached.)

While the exact definition of sexual harassment may vary according to the circumstances involved, for the purposes of this policy sexual harassment may be defined as unwelcome behavior by anyone who is in a position to control or affect another person's job or status as a student and who uses the power or authority of that position to cause students or employees to submit to sexual activity, or to fear that he/she would be punished for the refusal to submit. Sexual harassment may include any conduct sexual in nature which unreasonably interferes with another's work performance or with someone's status as a student by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment. Sexual harassment may consist of a variety of behaviors including, but not limited to, subtle pressures for sexual activity, inappropriate touching, inappropriate language, demands for sexual favors, and physical assault. Student to student sexual harassment may constitute behavior which violates the Student Conduct Code, and complaints of such behavior should be addressed under that code.

In its efforts to resolve sexual harassment complaints which are filed by its 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.

Guidelines For Consultation or Complaints

Sexual harassment spans a wide diversity of circumstances and often includes personally sensitive dimensions, not all of which are best resolved through the immediate filing of a written complaint. The University offers the following avenues of consultation and resolution:

  1. University Counseling Center, Student Development and Orientation, Women's Center, Student Support Services
    These offices provide opportunities for students, faculty and staff to discuss the situation confidentially without the necessity of carrying it further. Office staff can also discuss alternatives, provide information and act as referral sources to other departments and offices.
  2. Deans, Department Chairpersons, Directors, and Other Supervisory Personnel
    All University administrators and supervisors are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the University's Policy on Sexual Harassment in the Campus Community is carried out in their areas. Failure to act could itself be a violation of this policy. The Affirmative Action Office should be contacted for advice on issues regarding this policy.
  3. Affirmative Action Office
    In addition to receiving and processing complaints, the Affirmative Action Office also offers students, faculty and staff the opportunity to discuss sexual harassment situations confidentially for the purpose of clarifying their rights and of obtaining additional information which might be useful to them in deciding how to proceed. The Affirmative Action Office will receive complaints according to the guidelines prescribed by the University Discrimination Complaint Procedures. Guidelines are published in the Western Illinois University Faculty Handbook, Civil Service Handbook, and Student Handbook.
  4. Other Complaint Procedures
    The University Professionals of Illinois (UPI), Western Chapter Grievance Committee, will receive complaints from faculty members in the UPI bargaining unit according to the guidelines prescribed by the contractual complaint procedure.

January 1994
Donald S. Spencer, President

Sexual Harassment: Two Examples of Currently Controlling Definitions

Federal Law: Title VII Regulations

"Harassment on the basis of sex is a violation of Sec. 703 of Title VII. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment,
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual, or
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment."
State Law: Illinois Human Rights Act

"Sexual Harassment in Higher Education" means any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors made by a higher education representative to a student, or any conduct of a sexual nature exhibited by a higher education representative toward a student, when such conduct has the purpose of substantially interfering with the student's educational performances or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment; or when the higher education representative either explicitly or implicitly makes the student's submission to or rejection of such conduct a basis of determining:

  1. whether the student will be admitted to an institution of higher education,
  2. the educational performance required or expected of the student,
  3. the attendance or assignment requirements applicable to the student,
  4. to what courses, fields of study or programs, including honors and graduate programs, the student will be admitted,
  5. what placement or course proficiency requirements are applicable to the student,
  6. the quality of instruction the student will receive,
  7. what tuition of fee requirements are applicable to the student,
  8. what scholarship opportunities are available to the student,
  9. what extracurricular teams the student will be a member of or in what extracurricular competitions the student will participate,
  10. any grade the student will receive in any examination of any course or program of instruction in which the student is enrolled,
  11. the progress of the student toward successful completion of or graduation from any course or program of instruction in which the student is enrolled,
  12. what degree, if any, the student will receive.

Civil Service Handbook


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