Sexual Harassment Policy
It is the policy of Villanova University, and the Law School as a part of that University, to maintain an employment and educational atmosphere free of any pressures on employees and students relating to sexual harassment. Consistent with applicable federal and state laws, the University endorses the objective that employees and students be free of situations where sexual considerations form the basis for business or educational decisions.
Sexual harassment may be described as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical, visual, or verbal behavior of a sexual nature where:
1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual; or,
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment or educational environment.
A single isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need to show a repetitive series of incidents to provide a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.
Examples of potentially sexually harassing behaviors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Unwelcome sexual advances, sexual innuendo, or requests for sexual favors in person, by phone, by electronic message or photo, written words or images such as graffiti, and social media postings;
- Unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature by a faculty member, coach, or other staff member directed towards a student, a colleague, or other community member;
- A person in a position of authority (such as a faculty member, coach, supervisor) suggesting that an educational or employment benefit will result from submission to some unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature or will be denied for refusal to engage in sexual activity;
- Repeated sexual remarks, offensive stories, remarks about sexual activity or experiences, sexual innuendoes or other suggestive comments that are unwanted and unwelcome by another;
- Displaying or showing pictures, cartoons, or other printed materials of a sexual nature in the workplace or in an educational setting where there is insufficient academic relevance;
- Exposing the private parts of one's body to another person, or in public forums.
Sexual harassment will not be tolerated at the Law School, and employees or students who engage in such conduct are subject to the full range of the disciplinary policies. Retaliation against someone for bringing a concern forward, or for cooperating in the investigation of a complaint, is a violation of the Policy. The full Policy and Complaint Procedure can be found at www.hr.villanova.edu.
Informal Procedure for Resolution of Complaints: Except for instances of Sexual Assault, Law School community members may choose to attempt informal resolution of complaints of sexual harassment, but are not required to do so. The Law School and the University have many offices and individuals who may be able to provide counseling, support or advice for a person who believes that he or she is the victim of sexual harassment. The Law School Academic Dean and the Law School Director of Student Affairs are excellent resource people with whom to discuss these matters.
Formal Procedure for Resolution of Complaints: Where a person wishes to make a formal complaint, the following procedure may be invoked for the formal examination of the allegation.
A formal, written complaint, using the University’s standard form, shall be submitted to the University Sexual Harassment 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 Sexual Harassment Complaint Officer to see the basic facts of the allegation, along with the complainant’s requested action.
The complete Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures can be found on the University website.
In cases involving alleged harassment by a student, the Sexual Harassment Complaint Officer will refer the matter for disposition under the Non-Academic Student Misconduct Hearing Procedure.
Confidentiality: Confidentiality is essential in any effort to investigate and resolve allegations of sexual 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 to persons not in the “need to know” chain of information which is obtained within the informal or formal steps of this procedure may be subject to disciplinary action.
Filing Complaints: Complaints of sexual assault, sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct, as well as inquiries concerning the application of Title IX, may be filed as set forth in the Title IX Notice in the student handbook.