Davidson College fosters a positive community environment in which all employees and students enjoy a work and academic environment free from illegal discrimination or harassment. The intent of this policy is to prevent the occurrence of any form of discrimination or harassment by expressing the college's strong disapproval of such action, providing a means for community members to report incidents of discrimination or harassment, setting forth procedures for handling allegations, sanctioning appropriate punishment of those who violate this policy, and informing community members of their right to raise issues of discrimination or harassment and the procedures to be followed in doing so. This policy seeks to protect the rights of the complainant and the accused.
Davidson College expressly prohibits any form of intimidation or harassment based on race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law. Other types of harassment are addressed in our Disciplinary Action Policy in the Employee Guide.
The college prohibits such harassment by all employees, students, and other individuals associated with Davidson College, and the college does not condone such conduct by business partners, vendors, guests, or other third parties with whom the college has business or educational dealings.
Harassment is conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an employee's or student's work or educational opportunity; creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment; or otherwise negatively affects an employee's or student's work or educational opportunities.
Harassment denies an individual dignity and respect and may take on different forms. It includes, but is not limited to:
- Unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of that individual's race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability (or that of an individual's relatives, friends, or associates):
- Unwelcome threats, derogatory comments, jokes, innuendoes, insults, slurs, epithets, negative stereotyping, and other similar conduct that relate to race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability; or
- The placement, dissemination or circulation in the workplace or on campus of any unwelcome written or graphic material (in hard copy or electronic form) that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
Harassment may further include unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature where:
- Submission to or tolerance of such conduct is made either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment or student admissions, enrollment, participation, and programming;
- Submission to or tolerance or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or for academic, athletic, or other educational decisions affecting an individual;
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work or academic, athletic, or other educational performance; or
- The conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
If an individual has welcomed sexual advances or other harassing conduct (whether sexual or otherwise) by active participation in or encouragement of such activity, he or she should specifically inform the alleged harasser if such conduct is no longer welcome in order for any subsequent conduct to be deemed unwelcome. However, failure to give such notice in no way prevents the college from taking appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action against the alleged harasser for his or her behavior.
Although illustrative, the above summary of prohibited behavior is not meant to be all inclusive. Rather, any form of inappropriate discriminatory, intimidating, or harassing behavior by employees, students, or other individuals associated with Davidson College may subject an individual to corrective, disciplinary, and/or other appropriate action, up to and including dismissal, as applicable.
In addition, for further information on the college's expectations regarding students, see the Davidson College Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Davidson College Code of Responsibility and Code of Disciplinary Procedures.
Commitment to Academic Freedom
Teaching, performing research, and learning are subject to the protections of "academic freedom" as described in the college's policy on academic freedom. Actions or words used in the context of the academic curriculum and teaching environments that serve legitimate and reasonable educational purposes will not be evaluated as harassment or other unlawful discrimination because of the principles underlying academic freedom. However, academic freedom is not a legitimate defense in the case of bona fide discrimination or harassment.
Workplace Dating and Relationships
Davidson College prohibits supervisors and managers from dating or having any amorous or sexual relationship (consensual or otherwise) with a subordinate, including student employees and interns. The college also prohibits any employee from dating or having any amorous or sexual relationship (consensual or otherwise) with any college employee or intern of lesser authority if the employee with greater authority has responsibility of any kind in reviewing, evaluating, supervising, or determining the performance, compensation, job assignments, or general work of the other individual.
Such relationships can be disruptive to the work environment, create a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, and lead to charges of favoritism, discrimination, and claims of indirect sexual harassment.
Davidson College reserves the right to take whatever action is appropriate, in its discretion, to protect the college's interests in the event of supervisory / subordinate relationships or violation of this policy generally. This may include, among other things, reassignment or dismissal of one or more of the employees or interns involved.
Employee / Student Dating and Relationships
In addition to the above restrictions on workplace dating and relationships, faculty members and staff are prohibited from dating students, asking students for dates, engaging in amorous or sexual activities with students, asking students to engage in amorous or sexual activities, or engaging in any activities designed to encourage or which does encourage an amorous or sexual relationship with a student when:
- The student is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member; or
- The student's academic work, admissions, enrollment, athletic, or other educational participation or programming is being supervised or subject to review in any way by the faculty member or staff.
Any other amorous or sexual relationship between an employee and student not otherwise prohibited by this policy is nonetheless strongly discouraged. In principle, such relationships call into question the professional integrity of the faculty member and staff, create an appearance of impropriety, and raise potential conflicts of interest. In addition, such relationships jeopardize the academic freedom of the college community insofar as academic freedom demands an environment in which no person is intimidated, exploited, or coerced. The claim of mutual consent to such relationship will not prevent the faculty or staff member from being subject to administrative sanctions.
Davidson College reserves the right to take whatever action is appropriate, in its discretion, to protect the college's interests in the event of employee/student relationships or violation of this policy generally. This may include sanctions up to and including dismissal of the employee involved.
What To Do If You Believe You Are Being Discriminated Against / Harassed
Although not required, a good first step in any situation in which one feels discriminated against or harassed is to speak up and tell the other person that his or her behavior is uncomfortable and unwelcome.
1) Employee Reports
Any employee who believes he or she has been subjected to inappropriate behavior that violates this policy should promptly report the matter to Human Resources and/or his or her division head.
In addition, any employee having a complaint of discrimination or harassment is also urged to notify his or her immediate supervisor at once. However, there is no requirement that you speak to your supervisor first. If the complaint is against the immediate supervisor, or if the complainant for any other reason is not comfortable with or is unable to contact his or her supervisor, the employee may bypass his or her supervisor and contact Human Resources or his or her division head directly.
2) Student Reports
Any student who believes he or she has been subjected to inappropriate behavior in violation of this policy should promptly report the matter to the Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students (the "Dean of Students") or a member of his or her staff.
3) Reporting By Other Employees or Students
Any employee or student who believes that another employee or student is being subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment under this policy should promptly report such conduct to Human Resources (in the case of an employee) or the Dean of Students (in the case of a student). In addition, any employee receiving a report regarding potentially unlawful discrimination or harassment should immediately inform Human Resources.
4) Alternative Reporting Options
There is no requirement for any employee or student to follow any formal reporting chain when reporting, discussing, or expressing any issue or concern regarding alleged discrimination or harassment. For example:
- If a student is uncomfortable discussing his or her concerns about an employee with the Dean of Students, the student may bypass college administrators and report the concern directly to Human Resources.
- If an employee has a complaint involving his or her immediate supervisor, or if an employee for any other reason is not comfortable with or is unable to contact his or her supervisor, the employee may bypass the supervisor and report the concern directly to Human Resources.
- If an employee is directly supervised by an individual in Human Resources, such employee may bypass the supervisor and/or others in Human Resources and report the concern directly to the President.
Complaints can be made orally or in writing. The person to whom the complaint is brought should then counsel the complainant on the process available under this policy and/or other applicable Davidson College policies.
All reports received under this policy will be reviewed and/or investigated as deemed appropriate by the college, and appropriate action will be taken to address the matter.
- When an employee is involved in any concern related to any non-student, the Human Resources Director and division head, or other such person whom the Human Resources Director and the President deem appropriate will conduct the investigation.
- When a student is involved in any concern related to staff or a faculty member, the Dean of Students Office will be involved with the investigation along with the Human Resources Director and division head, or other such person whom the Human Resources Director and the President deem appropriate.
- When a student is involved in any concern related to another student, the Dean of Students Office will conduct the investigation in accordance with the Davidson College Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and/or the Davidson College Code of Responsibility and Code of Disciplinary Procedures, as applicable.
As a general rule, raising a concern will in no way obligate an individual to pursue any particular course of action. However, the seriousness of an alleged offense may require the college to act on information it has received even if the person providing the information chooses not to pursue a formal complaint.
All individuals raising a complaint and all persons accused of violating this policy shall fully cooperate with any investigation, including supplying written statements, if requested. All other persons associated with the college shall fully cooperate with any such investigation if and to the extent requested.
Davidson College will make every effort to handle complaints and investigations with sensitivity to both the rights of the person who complains and the rights of the accused, and will endeavor to maintain confidentiality throughout the investigatory process to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances. However, in order to conduct an effective investigation, Davidson College may need to discuss the allegations with the subject of the complaint and other potential witnesses. Records relating to harassment and discrimination complaints and investigations will be maintained only in confidential files, and all individuals receiving information about the allegations will be warned of the consequences of retaliation.
For matters involving employees, after an investigation is complete, Human Resources will review the results of any investigation. Such review often will be in concert with legal counsel and the division heads in which the complainant and accused harasser work. In an employee matter that also involves a student, Human Resources will also coordinate with the Dean of Students.
The complaint will then either be dismissed, or appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action will be taken, in accordance with applicable college policies and procedures. If the subject of a complaint is a faculty member, the relevant provisions of the Davidson College Constitution shall apply. If the subject of a complaint is a student, the relevant provisions of the Davidson College Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and/or the Davidson College Code of Responsibility and Code of Disciplinary Procedures shall apply.
The actions and policies of Davidson College are not intended to pre-empt or replace the definitions or principles outlined in Title VII and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or other applicable federal, state, or local law. Having said this, the expectations and requirements on community members established by this policy are, in some cases, broader than such statutory limits. In addition, the penalties for discrimination and harassment within the college community will depend on the nature of the offense and may include sanctions, up to and including dismissal.
Protection Against Retaliation
Retaliation against any individual who, in good faith, makes a complaint or participates or assists in an investigation under this policy is expressly prohibited. Retaliation is itself a separate, serious violation of this policy and should be reported in the same manner as a complaint of discrimination or harassment.
Any attempt to coerce, intimidate, or retaliate against anyone who in good faith complains of a violation of this policy or who in good faith participates in an investigation under this policy will not be tolerated. If Davidson College determines that retaliation has occurred, the college will take appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
False Accusations and Information
Davidson College recognizes that false accusations under this policy and the providing of false information in an investigation can have a serious effect on innocent persons. Thus, although the college encourages the reporting of unwelcome conduct perceived to be a violation of this policy, if the college determines that a person has provided materially false information in making a complaint or as part of an investigation under this policy, the college will take appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
Harassment Education and Awareness
Davidson College is committed to educating the campus community regarding this policy and its provisions. Training and education programs will be offered, which may include:
- Standards of workplace behavior as part of orientation;
- Education on a discrimination and harassment free workplace; and/or
- Supervisor responsibilities for dealing with employee workplace concerns and issues.
Questions regarding this policy should be directed to Human Resources at 704-894-2213.