Policy Against Harassment, Discrimination And Retaliation And Complaint Resolution Procedures
I. Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Non-Harassment and Non-Retaliation and Reporting
Maryville is committed to providing equal opportunities for all persons and does not discriminate or retaliate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, creed, religion, sex, pregnancy status, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, disability, citizenship or intended citizenship status, veteran status, or any other status protected by law (“protected status”). Persons who engage in such conduct are subject to discipline, up to and including termination or dismissal. See also the Maryville Notice of Non-discrimination and Equal Opportunity.
Preventing prohibited discrimination, harassment and retaliation is the responsibility of all members of the University Community. All University employees, supervisors, and administrators who have not been designated as confidential employees because of professional or pastoral confidentiality, are considered responsible employees under the policy and must immediately report any complaints, reports, observations, or other information of alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, to the designated University employee, even if that University employee is investigating the alleged discrimination as part of the University’s student or employee disciplinary process. Students, faculty, staff, and third parties should report a potential violation of this policy as soon as possible to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) using the OIEC reporting form or directly to:
Claudia Lyerly Ed.D.
Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance/Title IX Coordinator
650 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
Employees should provide complainants, whether students or subordinate employees, with information for filing a complaint of discrimination.
The University will respond to reports of potential prohibited conduct in an adequate, reliable, and impartial manner, as set forth below. If the University determines that discrimination has occurred, appropriate corrective and remedial actions will be taken.
This policy applies to reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of protected status, other than Sexual Harassment, as outlined by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which are governed exclusively by the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy. Sexual misconduct that falls outside the scope or jurisdiction of Title IX will be reviewed under this policy.
Note that conduct falls outside the scope or jurisdiction of the Sexual Harassment Policy if the alleged conduct being perpetrated on the basis of sex:
- Is not so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education programs or activities;
- Does not occur in the University education programs and activities; or
- Does not occur within the geographical boundaries of the United States
This policy governs reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation that occur within all the University’s programs and activities and applies to all members of the University Community. It applies to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation that occurs on campus, during or at an official University program or activity (regardless of location), and to off campus conduct when the conduct could deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs and activities.
III. Prohibited Conduct
Discrimination is adverse treatment of an individual based on protected status. It is a violation of this policy to discriminate on the basis of a protected status in any of the University’s programs and activities or in a way that could deny or limit a person’s ability to participate or benefit from the University’s programs and activities.
- Discriminatory Harassment
Discriminatory Harassment consists of unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an employee, student, or other members of the University Community, including third parties, because of protected status.
Harassment constitutes a form of prohibited discrimination when:
- Submission or rejection of such conduct is made, implicitly or explicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s education, employment or participation in other University programs and/or activities, or is used as the basis for University decisions affecting the individual (often known as “quid pro quo” harassment); or
- The conduct creates a hostile environment. A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is so sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs and activities.
Examples of harassment prohibited by this policy may include, but are not limited to, inappropriate gestures, inappropriate written or electronic material, threats or intimidating or hostile conduct, physical acts of aggression, assault, or violence, criminal offenses, jokes or pranks, name-calling, offensive objects or pictures that are hostile or demeaning with regard to a person’s protected status or have the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, abusive or offensive working or academic environment.
The University prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting discrimination or harassment, assisting in making a report, cooperating in an investigation or proceeding or otherwise exercising their rights or responsibilities under this policy and applicable federal, state, and local laws. Retaliation prohibited by this policy consists of materially adverse action, such as disparaging comments, uncivil behavior, or other negative treatment of an employee, student, or other member of the University Community because a report has been made pursuant to this policy or because an individual otherwise cooperated with the University’s investigation.
- Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking, as these terms are defined in the Sexual Harassment Policy.
The University’s Sexual Harassment Policy governs the reporting, investigation, and determination of reports of Sexual Harassment as defined by the policy.
- Sexual Misconduct
An umbrella term that is used to describe a wide range of prohibited sexual conduct as described above, including sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct can occur regardless of the relationship, position or respective sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the parties. Same-sex harassment violates this Policy, as does harassment by a student of an employee or a subordinate employee of their supervisor.
An alleged incident of sexual misconduct that does not fall within the scope of the Sexual Harassment Policy will be governed by this policy.
Such reports should be directed to the University’s Title IX Coordinator as outlined in Section I above.
IV. Investigation and Resolution Procedures
- Initial Evaluation of Reports
When a report of alleged discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or retaliation is received, the report will be referred to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance for an initial evaluation, and, if necessary, investigation and resolution. During the initial evaluation of the alleged conduct the University will assess whether an informal resolution, formal investigation, or dismissal would be appropriate. In making this determination, the Institution will assess whether the alleged conduct, if true, would rise to the level of prohibited conduct, whether an investigation is appropriate in light of the circumstances, whether the parties prefer an informal resolution, and whether any safety concerns exist for the campus community. The need to issue a broader warning to the community in compliance with the Clery Act shall be assessed in compliance with federal law.
- Standard of Review
Investigative findings under this Policy will be made using the preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., “more likely than not”). This standard requires that the information supporting an alleged violation be more convincing than the information in opposition to it.
- Interim Protective Measures
During the initial evaluation or at any point prior to a final resolution, the University may impose interim protective measure(s) if failure to take such a measure could constitute a threat to the safety and well-being of involved parties or members of the Maryville community, or to ensure equal access to the University’s education programs and activities. The University has discretion to implement these interim protective measures irrespective to whether the complaining witness chooses to report the incident to Public Safety or local law enforcement, or chooses not to assist in the University’s investigation. Interim measures during the pendency of the investigation may be implemented to protect and separate the parties. Examples of possible protective interim measures during the pendency of an investigation may include, but are not limited to, changes in University housing assignments, issuance of a mutual “no contact directive”, any necessary counseling, academic support or transcript modification for students, and schedule adjustments of academic, extracurricular, employment, or other activities. The need for interim measures will be discussed with the parties to the investigation and any necessary University administrators. The implementation of any such measures will be kept confidential, to the extent that doing so does not impair the University’s ability to provide them. Any adjustments will be designed to minimize the burden on access to the University’s educational, employment or other programs and activities.
- Initiating an Investigation
Under this procedure, the Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance, or a designee will, appoint an investigator to investigate the complaint or may serve as the investigator. In connection with the investigation and resolution of complaints under this policy, all parties shall receive written notice of the allegations and shall be provided three (3) days to submit a written response. During the investigation, all parties shall have the opportunity to identify witnesses and evidence and to provide information they would like considered. Investigations will be handled discreetly, with information shared only with those persons who need to know the information in order for there to be a full and fair investigation.
- Informal Resolution
The informal resolution process can be initiated at the suggestion of the Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance or at the request of the complainant or respondent. If both parties voluntarily agree to attempt informal resolution, the process will be facilitated by the Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance, or a designee. At any point during the informal process, either party may initiate the formal complaint procedure and abandon informal resolution. However, an informal resolution process will not delay the University’s duty to conduct a prompt investigation of a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. At the conclusion of an informal resolution of a complaint the matter shall be considered final and closed. However, a violation of the informal resolution agreement may result in a new investigation or additional sanctions.
- Formal Resolution
At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a preliminary report detailing the allegations, evidence gathered, timeline of events, evidence favorable or unfavorable to the merits of each allegation, recommended sanctions for potential violations of allegation under review, and next steps. The recommended sanctions will be those the investigator believes that the University Official with disciplinary authority over the respondent may find to be an appropriate sanction for a policy violation.
The preliminary report will be presented to the Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance for review, and then finalized by the investigator for dissemination to the parties. Parties will be allowed three (3) days from the delivery of the investigative report to provide their feedback or edits to the investigator. The investigator will consider the suggested edits and modify the investigative report where deemed necessary.
The final investigative report will be formally shared with the University Official with disciplinary authority over the respondent. For students, the Vice President for Student Life, or a designee, is determined to be the university official with disciplinary authority over a student respondent. For employees, the Director of Human Resource, working in conjunction with the appropriate Maryville supervisor or third-party vendor, is determined to be the University Official(s) with disciplinary authority over a Maryville employee respondent or other Maryville community respondents.
The Vice President for Student Life or the Director of Human Resources will review the investigative report and make a formal determination as to whether or not, in totality, the complaint is substantiated by applying a preponderance of the evidence standard. Put another way, the decision maker will determine whether it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment or retaliation occurred.
If the complaint is substantiated, the Vice President for Student Life or the Director of Human Resources, in consultation with other appropriate University Officials, will determine what measures will be taken to address, stop, and prevent recurrences of the misconduct, including discipline for the respondent or initiation of disciplinary proceedings pursuant to other applicable University policies. The recommendations of the investigator may be considered during this stage.
Substantiated incidents of conduct prohibited by this policy can lead to discipline, up to and including, dismissal and termination. The Vice President for Student Life or the Director of Human Resources will issue a written determination containing the final outcome of the investigation as well as any sanctions, as appropriate, to the complainant and respondent.
In addition to referring a matter for disciplinary proceedings, additional measures to eliminate discrimination, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects include, but are not limited to, counseling, training, academic support or transcript modification for students, and schedule adjustments of academic, extracurricular, employment, or other activities.
The complainant or respondent may appeal the determination of a complaint only on the following grounds: (1) there is a substantial likelihood that newly discovered information, not available at the time evidence was presented to the investigator, would result in a different decision; (2) there was a procedural error significant enough to call the outcome of the investigation into question; (3) there was a clear error in factual findings; (4) there was bias or prejudice on the part of the investigator or the Vice President for Student Life or the Director of Human Resources; or (5) the punishment or the corrective action imposed is disproportionate to the offense.
Appeals must be filed with the Vice President for Academic Affairs, or a designee, in cases where the complainant is a student or non-faculty University employee, or with the Vice President for Finance and Facilities, or a designee, in cases where the complainant is a faculty University employee, (“Appellate Officer”), within fourteen (14) days of transmission of the written final decision from the Vice President for Student Life or the Director of Human Resources determining the outcome of the complaint. The appeal must be in writing and contain the following: (1) name of the complainant; (2) name of the respondent; (3) a statement of the determination of the complaint, including corrective action, if any; (4) a detailed statement of the basis for the appeal including the specific facts, circumstances, and argument in support of it; and (5) requested action, if any.
If the Appellate Officer confirms that the appeal contains all of the requisite information, the Appellate Officer will provide written notice to the other party that an appeal has been filed and that the other party may submit a written response to the appeal within seven (7) days.
The appellant may request a meeting with the Appellate Officer, but the decision to grant a meeting is within the Appellate Officer’s discretion. However, if a meeting is granted, then the other party will be granted a similar opportunity.
The Appellate Officer will resolve the appeal within a timely manner of receiving the appeal and may take any and all actions that they determine to be in the interest of a fair and just decision. The decision of the Appellate Officer is final. The Appellate Officer shall issue a written statement of the resolution of the appeal, including any changes made to the previous written decision. The Appellate Officer’s written decision shall be provided to the complainant and respondent within a timely manner of reaching the resolution.
VI. Duties and Responsibilities
The Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the University’s overall compliance with discrimination laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It is their responsibility to: (1) receive complaints under this policy; (2) coordinate dissemination of information and education and training programs; (3) assist members of the University Community in understanding that discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are prohibited by this policy; (4) answer questions about this policy; (5) appoint investigators, or investigate, and ensure that investigators are trained to respond to and investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and retaliation under this policy; (6) ensure that employees and students are aware of the procedures for reporting and addressing complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; (7) oversee the appropriate implementation of the policy; (8) document all reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation under this policy and establish a protocol for recordkeeping.
The University strives to resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment or retaliation in a timely manner. The amount of time needed to conduct an investigation will depend in part on the nature of the allegation(s) and the evidence to be investigated (e.g., the scope of the allegations, the time period and number of events implicated by or relevant to the complaint, the number or availability of witnesses involved and the volume of documents), but the University strives to complete all investigations within sixty (60) days. The University is not expected to delay its investigation, even if an outside entity or law enforcement agency is investigating a complaint involving the same facts and allegations, and the University will not wait for the conclusion or outcome of a criminal investigation or proceeding to begin an investigation required by this policy and procedure. The University will provide reasonable periodic updates to parties on the progress of their administrative investigation.
- Conflict of Interest
If it is determined that a person involved in investigating or resolving reports of discrimination, harassment or retaliation under this section cannot adjudicate the matter fairly because of a conflict of interest, another individual will be designated to fulfill their responsibilities.
Allegations of potential conflicts should be reported immediately to the Vice President for Finance and Facilities, who will investigate the allegations. Upon being notified of potential conflict, the Vice President for Finance and Facilities will immediately notify the conflicted employee, who will cease further involvement with the case, until a final determination is made. The Vice President for Finance and Facilities will make a final determination as to whether or not a conflict exists. If a conflict is determined to exist, the conflicted employee will be prohibited from further involvement with the case, and the Vice President for Finance and Facilities will appoint a designee to fulfill the vacant role.
VII. Exclusive Remedy
This policy and the procedures set forth herein are the exclusive means for addressing complaints of conduct covered by this policy.
Policy Revised November 2021