I. Non-Discrimination Policy
Villanova University is an equal opportunity employer and educational institution. There shall be no discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment or any student on any basis prohibited by law, including race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status (disabled or Vietnam era), or disability. This non-discrimination policy applies to all educational polices and programs and to all terms and conditions of employment, which include (but are not limited to): recruitment, hiring, training, compensation, benefits, promotions, disciplinary actions and termination.
II. Non-Harassment Policy
It is the University's policy that all employees and students should be able to enjoy and work in an educational environment free from harassment of any nature. Therefore, harassment based on personal characteristics such as race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or disability violates this policy. Harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual, and that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or educational environment; or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance.
III. Procedure for Reporting and Addressing
Allegations of Discrimination or Harassment
This procedure provides the structure for the filing and resolution of complaints of discrimination or harassment relating to the employment life of employees and the educational experience of students. All allegations of discrimination or harassment, other than sexual harassment, (which is covered by a separate policy) shall be subject to this procedure, except where both the complainant and the respondent are students, neither of whom has any role as academic evaluator of the other. In cases covered by this exception, the procedure set forth in the University's Student Handbook or applicable Code of Student Conduct shall apply.
Confidentiality is essential in any effort to investigate and resolve allegations of discrimination or harassment. The interests of both the complainant and the respondent must be protected as information is gathered and evaluated. Therefore, only persons who have a "need to know" within the investigation and resolution of complaints and appropriate senior administrative officials are entitled to information in the application of this procedure. University employees or students who disclose information which is obtained within the informal or formal steps of this procedure to persons not in the "need to know" chain will be subject to disciplinary action.
- Complaint Officer
Ordinarily, the individual responsible for investigating the complaint, or the Complaint Officer, will be the Associate Vice President of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer, or such other person or persons as are designated by the Vice President overseeing the Human Resources office. In most cases, the Complaint Officer is responsible for determining if discrimination or harassment has occurred. However, as provided in this procedure, the Complaint Officer may decide to convene the Review Board to make this determination, in which case he or she will provide such administrative assistance as the Board may request. It is the expectation that the Officer would not attend the proceedings of the Board.
- Review Board
A Review Board may be established as provided in this paragraph. The Board's function is to review referrals from the Complaint Officer and also any appeals of the decisions of the Complaint Officer as provided for in this procedure. The Review Board is comprised of three members: one is appointed by the complainant, one by the respondent, and the third person to serve as chairperson is appointed by the Complaint Officer. The Board members shall be university employees or students. Anyone who is a family member or in the same office or department of either the complainant or respondent, or otherwise has a conflict of interest in connection with the case, shall not serve on the Review Board. The Board is empowered to convene appropriate hearings and to keep its own records in a format determined for each respective case. The Board's procedures may include by example but are not limited to such approaches as open or closed hearings, individual interviews, and the examination of written documentation. However, the Board is not bound by rules of judicial or administrative hearing procedures or by formal rules of evidence.
- Informal Resolution
The University encourages its members to attempt informal resolution of complaints of discrimination or harassment. The University has many offices and individuals who may be able to provide counseling on a confidential basis for a person who believes that he or she is the victim of discrimination or harassment. The departments of Multicultural Affairs, University Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, Human Resources, Student Life Diversity Initiatives, and the like are staffed with caring and experienced specialists who may be able to help resolve concerns on an ad hoc and confidential basis. The Complaint Officer is also a resource person who may assist in informal resolution of a complaint, including through facilitated communication between the complainant and respondent.
- Formal Procedure
- Any employee or student who believes that he or she has been a victim of discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy who is unable to resolve the matter informally or wishes to make a formal complaint, should bring the problem immediately to the attention of the Associate Vice President of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer. The complainant shall be advised of the designated Complaint Officer for the case.
- A formal, written complaint, utilizing the University's standard form, shall be submitted to the University Complaint Officer. The purpose of the complaint form is to assist the complainant in formulating a concise statement of his/her concern and to assist the Complaint Officer to see the basic facts of the allegation, along with the complainant's requested action. The complaint must be filed no later than six months from the date on which the subject conduct allegedly occurred. In unusual circumstances, the University shall have discretion to extend this deadline.
- The Complaint Officer shall review the charges made in the complaint with the complainant, shall provide guidance and counseling as to the complainant's options and available procedures, and shall make such investigation of the charges as the Officer may deem appropriate. In order to achieve a complete view of the case, the Officer shall notify the respondent of the complaint and confer as necessary with the respondent. With the approval of both the complainant and respondent, the Complaint Officer may attempt private mediation in an effort to resolve the alleged problem without the need for additional proceedings.
- Within 20 business days of receiving a written complaint, the Complaint Officer shall issue a written report on the case to the complainant and respondent:
- If the Complaint Officer finds that the case cannot reasonably be construed to constitute discrimination or harassment, or that there is insufficient information to conclude that discrimination or harassment may have occurred, the Complaint Officer shall file a report closing the case and stating the reasons why the complaint should be dismissed. The Complaint Officer shall also advise the complainant in the written report that the decision may be appealed to the Review Board. The complainant must notify the complaint officer of his/her desire to appeal the decision within five business days of the Officer's decision.
- If the Complaint Officer finds that the case can reasonably be construed to have constituted discrimination or harassment, the Complaint Officer may convene a Review Board to hear the case and shall issue a report supporting his/her finding. Alternatively, the Complaint Officer may, based on his or her own investigation, determine that discrimination or harassment has occurred, in which case, the Complaint Officer's report shall contain findings of fact supporting the conclusion that discrimination or harassment occurred. The Complaint Officer shall notify the respondent of his/her right to appeal the decision to the Review Board. The respondent must notify the Complaint Officer of his/her desire to appeal the decision within five business days of the Officer's decision. If the respondent does not appeal to the Review Board, any disciplinary action shall be taken consistent with the procedure described below following the issuance of a Review Board decision.
- In the case of a referral or appeal to the Review Board, the complainant and the respondent will each designate his/her board member, and the Complaint Officer will designate the chairperson of the Board, all within 5 business days of the referral or notice of appeal. The Complaint Officer shall provide a copy of his or her report to the Review Board. Within 10 business days of the appointment of the Board, the Board shall begin its proceedings. In appearances before the Board, the complainant and the respondent may each be accompanied by an adviser of their own choosing who is a member of the university community (current faculty member, administrator, staff member, student), but any adviser so designated who is an attorney-at-law will not be considered to be appearing as counsel.
The Board will render its conclusions in a written report no later than 20 business days from the date of the Board's initiation of the proceedings. The Board's report shall be limited to findings of fact and the conclusion of whether or not discrimination or harassment occurred. The report shall be delivered to the Complaint Officer and to the Vice President responsible for the area in which the respondent employee is assigned, or to the Judicial Affairs Officer if the respondent is a student and the complainant is not. In the case of the School of Law, the Officer responsible for the area is the Dean.
The Vice President and/or the Judicial Affairs Officer shall communicate the Board's conclusions to the complainant and the respondent. It is the sole responsibility of the Vice President or Judicial Affairs Officer to determine and take any disciplinary action based on the report provided by the Board.
Retaliation in any form against an employee or student who exercises in good faith his or her right to make a complaint under this policy or who cooperates in the investigation of any such complaint is strictly prohibited, and will itself be cause for appropriate disciplinary action.
V. Sexual Harassment
Any employee or student who believes that he or she has been a victim of sexual harassment should bring the problem immediately to the attention of the University's Sexual Harassment Complaint Officer, Kathleen Byrnes, 202 Dougherty Hall, (610) 519-4550. Individuals should refer to the University's Policy on Sexual Harassment for the University's definition of sexual harassment and the procedures to follow. If a case potentially raises issues of sexual harassment and one or more other forms of discrimination or harassment, the University shall determine the appropriate procedure to follow.
VI. Other Related Statements and Policies
- Mission Statement
- Code of Student Conduct
- Non-Stereotypical Communications Policy
- Posting Notice Policy
- Publication Policy
- Title IX Notice
VII. Contact Information
Any questions regarding this policy or requests for a complaint form should be addressed to:
Ellen Ryan Krutz
Associate Vice President, Human Resources
Affirmative Action Officer
Suite 163, St. Mary Hall