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CSU Policies Against Harassment and Discrimination - Columbus State University

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CSU Policies Against Harassment and Discrimination

CSU takes seriously its commitment to prevent discrimination and harassment against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national original, ancestry, religion, veteran status and other legally protected characteristics.

This commitment extends to all members of the CSU Community engaging in programs, activities, and services offered by the University. Importantly, each of these policies prohibit retaliation against individuals who in good faith reports or takes part in a formal or informal process to investigate claims of discrimination and harassment.

Sex and Gender-Based Complaints Involving Students

Complaints of sex and gender-based discrimination and harassment involving students will be conducted by the Title IX Office pursuant to CSU's Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF), consistent with the USG 6.7 Sexual Misconduct Policy, as well as USG Policy 4.5 Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings.

Although Title IX in practice is aimed at primarily addressing allegations of sex and gender-based harassment and discrimination against students, any CSU student, faculty, staff, or third party may file a formal, written complaint of against a CSU student, staff, and faculty members by completing the online Complaint Form, or by delivering the complaint in person to the Title IX or Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Non-Sex and Gender Based Complaints Involving Students

Complaints of harassment and discrimination involving students that are not premised on sex or gender will primarily be conducted by the Office of Dean of Students pursuant to the non-harassment and discrimination policies and procedures set forth in the CSU Student Handbook. A complaint for non-sex or gender-based harassment or discrimination can be filed by utilizing the online Complaint Form, or by delivering the complaint in person to the Office of the Dean of Students.

Other Forms and Types of Harassment and Discrimination

Complaints of harassment and discrimination governed by Title IX, the CSU Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF) or the policies and procedures set forth in the CSU Student Handbook, will follow those processes and procedures set forth specifically therein.

All other complaints of harassment and discrimination will follow the guidelines below. For example, complaints by employees against other employees for allegedly engaging in harassment and discrimination based on an individual's race, color, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, national original, ancestry, religion, veteran status or other legally protected characteristics should be reported and will be investigated under the guidelines set forth below.

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Prevention

It is the policy of Columbus State University to maintain an academic and work environment for all students, faculty, and staff that is free of discrimination and harassment. Discrimination and harassment are contrary to the standards of the university community. They diminish individual dignity and impede educational opportunities, equal access to freedom of academic inquiry, and equal employment. Discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or veteran‘s status will not be tolerated at Columbus State University.

Discrimination and harassment are very serious matters that can have far-reaching, current and future impact on the lives, educational experience, and careers of individuals. Intentionally false accusations can have a similar impact. Both a person who impermissibly discriminates against another, and a person who knowingly and intentionally files a false complaint under this policy, are subject to university discipline.

Definition of Discrimination and Harassment

For the purposes of determining whether a particular course of conduct constitutes discrimination or harassment under this policy, the university subscribes to the following definition:

Conduct that is based upon an individual's race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or veteran's status that:

  • adversely affects a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, living environment or participation in a University activity;
  • is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual's employment, education, living environment or participation in a university activity; or
  • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual's employment, education, living environment, or participation in a university activity.

Some examples of conduct that may constitute prohibited discrimination may include, but are not limited to:

  • denying a person access to an educational program based on that person's race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or veteran's status;
  • denying raises, benefits, or promotions on the basis of a person's race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or veteran's status;
  • preventing any person from using university facilities or services because of that person's race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or veteran's status;
  • instigating or allowing an environment that is unwelcoming or hostile based on a person's race, color, national origin, age, sex (including pregnancy discrimination), sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, or veteran's status.

Lodging a Complaint

An individual who wishes to complain to the university about alleged discriminatory or harassing behavior or retaliation should report it to one of the individuals below or may utilize the online Complaint Form:

Craig Burgess, J.D.
General Counsel and Equal Opportunity Officer
706-507-8234
burgess_craig@columbusstate.edu

Tamara Wade
Director, Human Resources
706-507-8919
wade_tamara@columbusstate.edu

Although reporting complaints about harassment and discrimination can likely be addressed more efficiently if reported in person through one's supervisory chain of command, individuals wishing to file a complaint of harassment and discrimination may also utilize CSU's EthicsPoint website. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and allows you to voice your concerns, and to remain anonymous if you prefer. This service also allows you to anonymously send additional information or upload attachments if available, and also receive feedback or questions on your report via a report number and PIN.

Evidentiary Standard

Investigations conducted by the University of allegations of discrimination and/or harrassment will utilize the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard requires that evidence indicate that an alleged violation is more likely to have happened than not.

General Steps in Investigation Process

A complaint of discrimination or harassment will be reviewed and a determination made whether to proceed with a formal investigation. A complaint may not result in a formal investigation if it is determined that the alleged conduct does not rise to the level of harassment of discrimination or a violation of policy or present a serious ethical concern.

As part of the initiation of a formal investigation, the parties to the complaint (both complainant and respondent) will be given the opportunity to provide relevant information and documents, be informed of the right or need to be interviewed, be informed of the right to an advisor, to identify witnesses, to review and respond to evidence that has been identified by the other party, and to be kept abreast of the status of the investigation. Employees have a duty to cooperate with duly authorized investigations.

Resolution

Following the conclusion of a formal investigation, the complainant and respondent will be informed of the findings, i.e., whether there was sufficient evidence based on the preponderance of the evidence standard to substantiate the allegations of harassment or discrimination. The decision will be disclosed only to the parties and appropriate University officials to determine and to enforce any remedial actions, discipline, or sanctions imposed, as well as to prepare for any appeals.

Non-Retaliation

The university will take appropriate steps to assure that a person who in good faith reports or participates in an informal resolution or formal investigation of a discrimination or harassment allegation will not be subjected to retaliation. The university also will take appropriate steps to assure that a person against whom such an allegation is made is treated fairly.

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