The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Policy # [####]
Sexual Harassment Policy (GEN 1.2.(6).)

Original Issuance Date: MMMM DD, YYYY
Last Revision Date: MMMM DD, YYYY
Next Review Date: MMMM DD, YYYY







GEN 1.2.(6). Sexual Harassment Policy.

1. Introduction.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is committed to providing and maintaining an environment that respects and protects the rights of all its members. This commitment is reflected in the following Sexual Harassment Policy. In approving this policy statement, the University community expresses its commitment to inform the campus community of this policy, to provide appropriate training and to follow through on all concerns that are presented relating to the environment for learning, working, and studying that is to be established and maintained at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Sexual harassment deprives its victims of rights guaranteed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Sexual harassment has no place in the educational community and will not be tolerated at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

2. Definition.

Sexual harassment is defined by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh as follows: Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It occurs in a variety of situations which share a common element: the inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or comments into the work, learning or living situation. Often, sexual harassment involves relationships of unequal power, and contains elements of coercion–as when compliance with requests for sexual favors becomes criterion for granting work, study, grading or other benefits. However, sexual harassment may also involve relationships among equals, as when repeated sexual advances or demeaning verbal behavior have a harmful effect on a person’s ability to study or work in the academic setting. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical conduct and expressive behavior of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;
b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or demeaning employment or educational environment.

3. Overview.

In keeping with this policy, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will make a concerted effort: (1) to prevent sexual harassment from taking place; (2) to protect employees and students from all forms of sexual harassment as defined; and (3) to rid the University of any such offensive conduct. Toward these ends, any form of sexual harassment (as defined above) provides an immediate basis for the review of those actions and may also provide grounds for the imposition of appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or termination. In addition to this formal policy, it is important to note that there may be other approaches to solving sexual harassment complaints than those listed in this policy.

University policy specifically prohibits any form of retaliation or reprisal against persons who report sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, or stalking and who prevent the recurrence of such crimes. Forms of retaliation that are prohibited include, but are not limited to, the following: threats; bribes; unfair treatment; down-grading evaluations in employment of academic arenas; further harassment such as ridicule, pranks, harassment, taunting, bullying, and organized ostracism.

4. Procedures.

All allegations of sexual harassment will be taken seriously, with careful attention given to the rights and protection of both the accused and the accuser. Any person who believes that sexual harassment has occurred may make an inquiry or complaint by utilizing the procedures described in this document. Individuals presenting an allegation of sexual harassment to the University, whether formal or informal, should realize that they may be called upon to provide additional information at a later date to complete the review.

Inquiries or complaints about sexual harassment and all associated records related to any investigation and resolution of a claim are to be kept confidential throughout the process to the maximum extent allowed under state and federal law. It should be noted that under established Wisconsin law, there is a stated presumption of public access to all public records, including those held by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

This presumption of public access means that any member of the public (including the media) may request copies of documents and records held by the University. Once a request is received, the University has the legal obligation to complete a review of that request and provide a response that can be reviewed in court. In order to deny access to such a request, the custodian of the record must make a determination that there is a legal basis to deny the request, which includes a determination that the public interest in not releasing the record is outweighed by the clear statutory presumption in favor of disclosure and public access.

In some cases, complainants may ask to remain anonymous. In instances where anonymity is requested, it should be understood that doing so may limit the options that are available. Although we will strive to ensure anonymity will be maintained when it is requested, there may be some situations where providing it may not be possible.

An individual wishing to make an inquiry regarding sexual harassment will be informed of options available and the responsibilities associated with the resolution process. Inquiries may be addressed to the following persons: Director of Equity and Affirmative Action, members of the Sexual Harassment Resource Group, the Dean of Students, department chairs, and deans. The Director of Equity and Affirmative Action shall ensure that these individuals receive appropriate training and orientation to this policy and to the requirements for reviewing and processing complaints under this framework.

Further, individuals designated as Resource Persons are also available to assist and serve in an inquiry regarding sexual harassment.

There are two ways in which a complaint of sexual harassment can be handled, an informal procedure and a formal procedure. The essential difference between the two procedures is the nature of the outcome being sought by the complainant.

a. Informal Procedure.

The informal procedure typically seeks acceptable mediation or resolution of the complaint between the parties involved, usually without any kind of sanction or penalty imposed against the accused. In some cases, educational efforts may help an alleged harasser to understand why specific actions or conduct may be wrong or inappropriate. In these instances, an informal mechanism may help to accomplish important behavioral goals. Different approaches to the problem will be discussed and a course of action decided upon.

During the informal discussion and investigation of such a complaint, emphasis is placed on the resolution of the matter as quickly as possible, at the lowest level possible involving the fewest number of people. Resolution sought will be after consultation with the complainant. If there are any records associated with the complaint, these documents will be filed in the office of the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action.

b. Formal Procedure.

The formal procedure engages a more structured process in seeking resolution and requires a written complaint be filed with the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action. Upon receipt of a formal written complaint, the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action shall immediately confer with the Chancellor and the complaint itself shall be referred to the Chancellor for review and processing as required under the applicable complaint procedure. If a sexual harassment complaint is filed directly with the Chancellor, without involvement from the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action, the Chancellor shall confer with the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action before beginning the formal review of that complaint. This procedure may evolve from the informal process described earlier or it may be selected as the initial course of action.

When pursing a formal complaint, the complainant has the implied responsibility to provide factual information and any other evidence that either supports the allegations under review or substantiates the substance of the complaint. This commitment includes a willingness to cooperate with the University and to support the investigative process as the formal review continues. In cases that may involve the formal imposition of disciplinary sanction(s), the complainant may also be called upon to appear as a witness in a formal University hearing on the matter.

As noted in the following sections, the formal procedure utilizes existing administrative or personnel rules in seeking a sanction, penalty or other action against the accused:

1. Academic Staff: Complaint procedure as outlined in The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 16, “Complaints,” and Chapter 15, “Grievances.”
2. Classified Staff: Complaint procedure as established and implemented by the Human Resources Office.
3. Faculty: Complaint procedure as outlined in The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 9, Part B, “Faculty Complaints.”
4. Students: Complaint procedure as outlined in Chapter 17 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code administered by the Dean of Students Office.

Resolution will be sought only after consultation with the complainant. The complainant shall be informed of the actions taken or outcomes reached as a result of the complaint process.

The complainant may, at any time during the formal process, choose to withdraw the complaint, or to pursue resolution of the complaint through the informal process set forth above.

Records of all complaints, investigations and resolutions will be filed in the Office of the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action. Additional records may also be filed according to the administrative or personnel rules utilized in the resolution process.

5. Resource Persons.

In order to provide assistance with the implementation of this policy, the University has established a Council for Equity and Affirmative Action. Appointments will be made by the Senate of Academic Staff (Academic Staff), Human Resources Office (Classified Staff), Faculty Senate (Faculty) and Oshkosh Student Association (Students). The appointment of the person with counseling and/or student personnel experience will be made by the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action.

Resource Persons should be available to assist those with a sexual harassment concern in any of the following manners: (1) As a resource for information and referral. (2) As support in meetings with the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action or other representatives of the University, as requested by the individual. (3) To assist in the resolution process as requested by the individual.

Those individuals who agree to serve as Resource Persons will receive training on the issue of sexual harassment, including appropriate listening, response and resolution strategies. Resource Persons will maintain confidentiality of information in a sexual harassment allegation to the extent permitted by state and federal law.