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University Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment


4.1.8.1 General Statement

It is the policy of the University to maintain an educational and work environment free from all forms of prohibited discrimination—an open environment that values and protects individual dignity and the integrity of human relationships.  Accordingly, the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race/color/religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other status protected by law (collectively “Protected Class”) in matters of admissions, housing, services, and in the other educational programs and activities it operates (collectively “Programs and Activities”).  As noted in the University’s Equal Employment Opportunity policy, this prohibition on discrimination also extends to all aspects of the employment relationship.

Harassment (as further defined below) that is based on a Protected Class constitutes a form of prohibited discrimination when it denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s Programs and Activities or any aspect of the employment relationship.

The University’s prohibition on discrimination applies to administrators, faculty, staff, students, applicants for employment, customers, third-party vendors and suppliers, visitors on campus, and any other person that participates in the University’s Programs and Activities (the “University Community”).

It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against any member of the University Community who reports or assists in making a complaint of discrimination or harassment or who participates in the investigation of a complaint in any way.

The University will thoroughly and promptly investigate all complaints of discrimination in accordance with Part 4.1.8.3 below or, in the case of sexual harassment, the Sexual Harassment Policy available at http://www.maryville.edu/policies/.  In the event the University determines that prohibited discrimination occurred, the University will take appropriate disciplinary and remedial action.  Members of the University Community found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to the full range of discipline up to and including written reprimand, suspension, demotion, termination, or expulsion.  Third-party vendors, suppliers, and visitors may be removed from University programs and/or prevented from returning to campus.  Remedial steps may include counseling for the complainant, academic, work, or living accommodations for the complainant, separation of the parties, changes of grade or academic record, and training for the respondent (the alleged perpetrator of the discrimination) and other persons.

The educational process at the University is based on mutual trust, freedom of inquiry, freedom of expression, and the absence of intimidation and exploitation. Such an atmosphere of respect and regard for individual dignity among members of the academic community is essential if the University is to function as a center of academic freedom and intellectual advancement. In addition, the University has a compelling interest in assuring the provision of an environment in which learning and work may thrive. Such an environment requires free and unfettered discussion of the widest possible nature and expression of all points of view.  As such, discussion pertaining to Protected Classes that is directly related to the exchange of ideas, ideologies, or philosophies is permitted.  However, discussion or conduct that crosses the line into discrimination is prohibited and will not be tolerated.

This notice is issued in compliance with federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination, including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the Missouri Human Rights act, as well as applicable case law.

The University has designated its Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer to coordinate inquiries regarding its efforts to carry out this policy, to comply with federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination, and to receive complaints of discrimination.  The Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer may be contacted as follows:

Jackie Plunkett
Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer
Room 137 Gander
Tel:  (314) 529-9399
Email:  jplunkett@maryville.edu

Individuals with inquiries concerning discrimination prohibited by federal law may also contact:  The Office for Civil Rights, Chicago office, U.S. Department of Education, 500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475, Chicago, IL 6066, Tel: (312) 730-1560; Fax: (312) 730-1576; Web: www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html.

*Title IX Policy Statement:  It is the policy of the University to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination based on sex in the University’s educational programs and activities.  Title IX and its implementing regulations also prohibit retaliation for asserting claims of sex discrimination.  The University has designed its Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer to coordinate its compliance with Title IX and to receive inquiries regarding Title IX, including complaints of sex discrimination.

4.1.8.2 Definitions of Harassment and Sexual Harassment

4.1.8.2.1 Harassment

Harassment is any unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward a person on the basis of a Protected Class.  Harassment constitutes a form of prohibited discrimination when it denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s Programs and Activities or any aspect of the employment relationship.  Harassment denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in the University’s Programs and Activities or any aspect of the employment relationship if:

  1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of any aspect of the University’s Programs and Activities or employment;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as a basis for any decision adversely affecting such person with respect to the University’s Programs and Activities or employment;
  3. Such conduct is severe or pervasive such that considering all relevant circumstances the conduct denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in the University’s Programs and Activities or any aspect of the employment relationship.

4.1.8.2.2 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a particular type of harassment that consists of any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment is a form of prohibited discrimination when it denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s Programs and Activities or any aspect of the employment relationship.  Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment.  Sexual violence includes physical acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent because of his or her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity or because of his or her youth.

The University has promulgated a Sexual Harassment Policy that provides specific examples of sexual harassment (including sexual violence), describes the process for filing a complaint of sexual harassment, and sets forth procedures for resolving such complaints.  The Sexual Harassment Policy is available at http://www.maryville.edu/policies/.  All members of the University Community are required to review and familiarize themselves with the Sexual Harassment Policy.  The Sexual Harassment Policy is the exclusive means of resolving complaints of sexual harassment.  To the extent there are any inconsistencies between the Sexual Harassment Policy, this policy, and/or other University policies and procedures governing discrimination generally, the Sexual Harassment Policy will control the resolution of complaints alleging sexual harassment.

4.1.8.3 Redress of Complaints

Any member of the University Community who feels that he or she has been discriminated against in violation of this policy should make a complaint of discrimination to the appropriate University official set forth below.  Any member of the University who feels he or she has been subject to sexual harassment should make a complaint to the appropriate University official set forth below or to another appropriate individual specified in the Sexual Harassment Policy.

Appropriate University Officials for the Receipt of Discrimination Complaints:

For discrimination committed against students:

Jackie Plunkett
Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer
Room 137 Gander
Tel:  (314) 529-9399
Email:  jplunkett@maryville.edu

or

Nina Caldwell
Vice-President for Student Life; Dean of Students
Room 102 Donius University Center
Tel:  (314) 529-9485
Email:  ncaldwell@maryvill.edu

For discrimination committed against a non-student member of the University Community:

Jackie Plunkett
Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer
Room 137 Gander
Tel:  (314) 529-9399
Email:  jplunkett@maryville.edu

or

Larry Hays
Vice-President for Administration and Finance
Room 136 Gander
Tel:  (314) 529-9391
Email:  lhays@maryvill.edu

NOTE:  Any person who feels that he or she has been subjected to discrimination prohibited by federal law may also contact the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, at the address specified above in Part 4.1.8.1.

If the appropriate administrator is the alleged perpetrator of the discrimination, then the complaint may be directed to any of the other appropriate administrators.

Any person who wishes to make a complaint of discrimination that also constitutes a crime is encouraged to file a complaint with local law enforcement.  Such persons may also contact University Public Safety Department at (314) 529-9500, which will assist the person in notifying the appropriate law enforcement authorities.

To ensure that the University can promptly investigate and redress discrimination, persons who feel they have been discriminated against should make a complaint within 30 days of the alleged discriminatory conduct.  University administrators, faculty members, staff members, and volunteers have a duty to report, within 7 days, discrimination that they observe against another member of the University Community.

To ensure that the University has sufficient information to investigate the matter, a complaint of discrimination should generally include the following information: name, address, telephone number, and email address of the complainant; the nature of the complaint; the name of the respondent (the alleged perpetrator of the discrimination); date(s) and location(s) of the alleged occurrences(s); and the redress sought by the complainant.

All complaints of discrimination will be immediately and thoroughly investigated by the appropriate administrator or his/her designee (the “Investigator” for purposes of this Part IV).  The Investigator shall be familiar with this policy and the appropriate sanctions that might be imposed against the respondent in the event that prohibited discrimination is found to have occurred.   The Investigator shall discharge his or her obligations fairly and impartially.  In the event the Investigator develops a conflict of interest with respect to the persons involved in a complaint, a new Investigator will be appointed.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Investigator shall promptly provide the respondent with a copy of the complaint and shall notify the appropriate officer/supervisor of the University having jurisdiction over the respondent of the nature of the complaint and of the identity of the parties.  The Investigator will commence an investigation as soon as practicable, but not later than 7 days after the complaint is made.  The Investigator shall endeavor to complete the investigation within 25 days of receiving it.  Pending the final outcome of an investigation, the University will take steps to protect the complainant from further discrimination and retaliation.

During the investigation, the complainant will have the opportunity to describe his or her allegations and identify supporting witnesses or other evidence.  The respondent will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations and identify supporting witnesses or other evidence.  The Investigator will review statements and, depending on the circumstances, may interview others with relevant knowledge, review documentary materials, and take any other appropriate action to gather and consider information relevant to the complaint.  All parties and witnesses involved in the investigation are expected to cooperate and provide complete and truthful information.

During the investigation process, the parties may seek advice and guidance from the University Civil Rights Ombuds as provided below in Part 4.1.8.6.

During the investigation, the Investigator shall maintain communication with both the complainant and respondent and advise them of the status of the investigation.

Within 7 days of the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator shall issue a written report.  The written report will summarize the scope of the investigation, identify findings of fact, and state whether any allegations in the complaint were found to be substantiated by a preponderance of the evidence.  The written report will also determine, in light of its findings, whether the conduct constituted prohibited discrimination in violation of this policy.  If it determines that prohibited discrimination occurred, the written report will also provide recommendations as to the appropriate disciplinary and remedial action to be taken.  The written report shall be provided to the parties and the appropriate officer/supervisor of the University having jurisdiction over the respondent who shall be responsible for implementing appropriate remedial measures, in cooperation with the Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer.  If discipline is imposed, this report will become a part of the personnel or student file, as the case may be, of the respondent.  If the complaint involves a student complainant or respondent, portions of the written report concerning discipline and/or remediation may be redacted as required by federal law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  Any discipline will be imposed in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Faculty Policy Manual, the Staff Policy Manual, and/or the University policies, as applicable.

During the investigation, the University will make reasonable and appropriate efforts to preserve an individual’s privacy and protect the confidentiality of information when investigating and resolving a complaint.  However, because of laws relating to reporting and other state and federal laws, the University cannot guarantee confidentiality to those who make complaints.

In the event a complainant requests confidentiality or asks that a complaint not be investigated, the University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation.  If a complainant insists that his or her name not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator, the University’s ability to respond may be limited.  The University reserves the right to initiate an investigation despite a complainant’s request for confidentiality in limited circumstances involving serious or repeated discrimination or where the alleged perpetrator may pose a continuing threat to the University Community.

Informal means of resolution, such as mediation with the Civil Rights Ombuds (as described below in Part 4.1.8.6) may be used in lieu of the formal investigation and determination procedure.  However, informal means may only be used with the complainant and respondent’s voluntary cooperation and with the involvement of the Civil Rights Ombuds or the Investigator.  In no case will the complainant be required to “work out” the problem with the respondent.  Moreover, either the complainant or the respondent may terminate informal means at any time.  As specified in the Sexual Harassment Policy, informal means will never be used, even on a voluntary basis, to resolve a complaint of sexual harassment consisting of sexual violence.

4.1.8.4 Retaliation Policy

The University will not retaliate or permit retaliation against an individual who reports or assists in making a complaint of discrimination or who participates in the investigation of a complaint in any way. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy.  Retaliation not only harms the individuals directly affected by it, but also undermines the confidence of others in a fair complaint resolution process. Any person found to have retaliated against another individual involved in an investigation under this policy shall be subject to the full range of disciplinary action, up to and including written reprimand, suspension, demotion, termination, or expulsion.  Any person who believes they have been retaliated against in violation of this policy should file a complaint in the manner described above in Part 4.1.8.3.

4.1.8.5 Appeals

If either party disputes the findings and recommendations of the Investigator’s written report, that party may appeal such findings and recommendations by filing a written appeal with the President of the University within 5 business days of receipt of the written report. The President of the University will review the record of the matter and will have plenary authority to reach a final determination as to any action to be taken within 10 business days of receipt of the appeal.  During the review of the record, the President may consult with officers/supervisors of the University, the University’s attorneys, and other parties as needed.

Upon resolution of the appeal, the President will provide a written statement of resolution of the appeal to the parties and the appropriate officer/supervisor of the University having jurisdiction over the respondent.  If the appeal involves a student complainant or respondent, portions of the written report concerning discipline and/or remediation may be redacted as required by federal law, including FERPA.

4.1.8.6 Civil Rights Ombuds

The President of the University shall appoint a Civil Rights Ombuds from among members of the University community on an as needed/requested basis. The Ombuds acts as an advisor for any member of the University community who has concerns regarding prohibited discrimination.

The role of the Ombuds is to assist members of the University Community to informally resolve conflicts, complaints and disputes of many kinds. The Ombud’s office does not have disciplinary authority. When an individual has or wishes to file a complaint, the Ombuds is available to provide counsel and assistance to the complainant regarding how to file a complaint.  The Ombuds is also available to assist both the complainant and respondent in understanding and navigating the investigation process. Specifically, the Ombuds can assist the parties to a complaint by:

  1. Explaining the University policies and procedures regarding discrimination and harassment;
  2. Helping individuals evaluate a wide variety of options for informally resolving discrimination complaints;
  3. Serving as a facilitator between the parties in an effort to help them reach an agreement about future interactions, if either party does not wish to meet face-to-face;
  4. Serving as mediator, with the consent of both parties; or
  5. Referring individuals to other campus resources when appropriate, e.g., for counseling.

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