Student Handbook

Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity, and Anti-Harassment Policies and Procedures

Policies:Academic Freedom | Equal Employment | Diversity | Accessibility | Anti-Harassment | Consensual Sexual Relationships With Students

Procedures:Educational Environment | Anti-Harassment | Confidentiality | Resolving Complaints Against Faculty/Staff | Resolving Complaints Against Students | Students Reporting Suspected Harassment | Contact Information for Assistance

Introduction 

This document communicates the philosophy and perspective of Skidmore College regarding issues of equal employment opportunity, diversity, and anti-harassment. It also presents the College’s policies, objectives, and plans for maintaining its status as an equal opportunity employer and educator and for supporting its goal of extending the diversity of our community. While some of the policies outlined in this document are required for legal compliance, others are internally motivated and reflect our commitment to an inclusive and hospitable working and learning environment.

Equal Employment Opportunity laws and regulations prohibit discrimination against employees or applicants for employment based on gender, race or ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, military or marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, domestic violence victim status, predisposing genetic characteristics or prior arrest or conviction record or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. The College fully supports these prohibitions and has adopted policies reflecting its commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity in its employment and educational practices.

For more information on Equal Employment Opportunity laws, please visit these sites:  (http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/laws.html) or (http://www.eeoc.gov/)

Skidmore College’s equal opportunity and diversity policies further apply to the recruitment and admission of its students, to the administration of its educational policies and programs, and to the recruitment and retention of its faculty and staff. They apply, in addition, to all individuals and organizations associated with, or doing business with or for, Skidmore College.

This Handbook is subject to periodic review, evaluation, and modification. The policies and philosophy, however, constitute a firm commitment to the principles of equal opportunity for all members of the College.

Academic Freedom

In the context of the policies outlined in Part Six (Faculty Handbook), the College reaffirms its commitment to its long tradition of supporting the academic and personal freedom of all members of the community. In particular, the policy against harassment shall not be applied in a manner that contradicts the principle of academic freedom: Faculty and other members of the community are entitled to freedom in research, and faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom to pursue controversial matters related to their disciplines. However, this right to teach controversial material entails the responsibility that it be carried out in a way that would be judged by peers as not violating the College’s anti-harassment policy. (For the College’s complete statement on “Academic Freedom,” see Part One, Article III of The Faculty Handbook.

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SUMMARY STATEMENT OF POLICY

Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

Skidmore College is committed to being an inclusive campus community and an Equal Opportunity Employer. The College therefore prohibits discrimination against any individual or group of its students, prospective students, employees, or candidates for employment on the basis of gender, race or ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, military or marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, domestic violence victim status, predisposing genetic characteristics or prior arrest or conviction record or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

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Policy on Diversity

Skidmore College’s learning and working communities are strengthened by the diversity of their members. Accordingly, the College is committed to acting affirmatively to enhance the diversity of every population within the campus community: students, faculty, and staff.

To place the commitment to diversity within the context of the College’s strategic goals and objectives, and as a further guide to hiring practices, please see the statement on Diversity in Hiring: Strategic Considerations:http://cms.skidmore.edu/IPPC/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&pageID=114173

As a matter of policy, Skidmore College will work actively to increase the diversity of its community. We will address imbalances in both student and employee populations and meet our diversity-related objectives by recruiting the best candidates from as broad a pool as possible. As always, we will continue to be guided by our fundamental educational values – leading our students to develop robust cognitive abilities, enhanced critical and intercultural skills, and an appreciation of their individual and social responsibilities as citizens of the world. Meeting these objectives is crucial to our achieving new levels of excellence.

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Accessibility and Accommodations Policy

Skidmore College is committed to supporting accessibility, with respect to both physical access and other forms of access, for all programs on campus.

In accordance with applicable federal (see http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/laws.html) and state laws protecting qualified individuals with documented disabilities, Skidmore College will
reasonably accommodate such individuals (except in the rare case when doing so would create an undue hardship for Skidmore College).

Any student with a disability who requires accommodations to function effectively in his/her residential or academic life on campus should contact the Coordinator for Students with Disabilities to disclose his/her condition and to request accommodations.

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Policy on Anti-Harassment

Skidmore College affirms that its community members (faculty, staff, and students) have the right to be free from acts of harassment (based on the protected characteristics of an employee or student) that constitute unlawful, offensive, and hostile behavior. Such acts include (but are not limited to) sexual or racial harassment. In general, such harassment may consist of (but is not limited to) words, signs, jokes, pranks, acts of intimidation, or acts of physical violence that unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or educational pursuits, or that create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work or learning environment. By College policy, all members of the Skidmore community are prohibited from engaging in any such acts of harassment. Applicable federal and state laws also prohibit harassment in the workplace. To learn more about Skidmore’s anti-harassment policies and procedures, please visit the Human Resources Web site at:


http://cms.skidmore.edu/hr/eeo_diverstiy/upload/EEODiversityAntiHarassmentStaff.pdf

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Policy on Consensual Sexual Relationships Involving Students

As an academic community, Skidmore College stands by principles of fairness, equal opportunity, and non-discrimination. These principles take on special meaning in the relationship between students and members of the faculty or others in an advising or evaluative relationship. Specifically, all students have the right to be treated fairly, held to the same requirements and standards, and afforded equal opportunities based on their individual accomplishments. All employees are expected to maintain professional relationships with all College students, to act in accordance with standards of professional conduct, and to avoid conflict of interest, favoritism, bias, or creation of a hostile environment for any student of the College.

Sexual relationships between College employees and students are fraught with the potential for exploitation. The respect and trust accorded a College employee by a student, as well as the actual or apparent authority of the employee, make voluntary consent by the student suspect. Even when both parties have in fact consented, the development of a sexual relationship renders both the employee and the College vulnerable to subsequent allegations of harassment.

1.  Policy on Consensual Sexual Relationships with Current Students

Sexual relationships, whether consensual or not, between College employees and their students (those whom they currently teach, advise, supervise, coach, evaluate, or hold authority over in any way) violate the integrity of the College’s academic community and constitute grounds for disciplinary action up to and including separation from the College.

2.  Policy on Consensual Sexual Relationships with Students When There Is No Formal Authority over the Student

Even if a College employee does not currently hold a position of authority over a student, any sexual relationship between an employee and a student of the College potentially jeopardizes the integrity of the academic or living environment of the Skidmore community. The College, therefore, discourages in the strongest possible terms any sexual relationship between an employee and any student of the College. In the event that any such relationship is found to undermine the trust, respect, and fairness that are essential to the success of Skidmore’s educational mission, the College will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including separation from the College.

 

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Procedures Regarding Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity

This policy establishes procedures for implementing the policies regarding Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity at Skidmore College.

Educational Environment 

In accordance with its policy on equal opportunity, Skidmore College prohibits discrimination against any students on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression*, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

For more information on Equal Employment Opportunity law please visit this site: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/know.html

 

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Anti-Harassment Policy

Harassment is unlawful and therefore prohibited by Skidmore College.

The College is committed to maintaining a positive learning and working environment for all of its students and employees. In accordance with applicable laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and applicable federal, state, or local laws prohibiting sexual assault and abuse, the College prohibits harassment (including sexual harassment) of any individual or group of its students, prospective students, employees, or candidates for employment on the basis of gender, race or ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, military or marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, predisposing genetic characteristics or arrest or criminal conviction record or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. These policies apply to all persons affiliated with the College including administrators, faculty members, staff members, and students.

Harassment Defined

Harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression*,
or any other category protected by federal, state, or local laws occurs when an individual or group of
individuals is targeted with oral, written, visual, or physical insults based on that person’s or group’s protected status; and an individual or group of individuals is targeted with oral, written, visual, or physical insults based on that person’s or group’s protected status; and such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s or student’s work, professional or educational performance, productivity, physical security, living arrangements, extracurricular activities, academic or career opportunities, services or benefits - or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.

When both circumstances identified above are present, examples of conduct constituting harassment could include (but are not limited to) the following:

The fact that someone did not intend to harass another individual may not constitute an adequate defense in response to a complaint of harassment. Regardless of intent, the characteristics, context, and effect of the behavior that determine whether the behavior constitutes harassment. In addition, a faculty member, employee, or student may experience harassment from a salesperson or vendor, the parent of a student, alumna/us, visitor, or any other member of the extended College community who has contact with Skidmore faculty, staff, or student populations. Harassment may take place in person, by phone, or by means of print or electronic media. Skidmore’s policy applies to all employees and students of the College whenever they are interacting with one another. Off-campus violations may occur at campus-sponsored events or programs, such as athletic events, internship arrangements, professional meetings, or at private events (such as parties).

Sexual Harassment Defined

Applicable state and federal law defines sexual harassment as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  In particular, sexual harassment occurs when

This definition includes verbal, non-verbal, and physical harassment.  The following examples of sexual harassment are intended to be instructive, but not inclusive:

Whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment will be determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account relevant factors, such as the nature of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

Sexual harassment may occur on or off campus, including, but not limited to, the classroom (student to student, faculty to student, student to faculty) and the work setting (supervisor to employee, employee to supervisor, employee to employee, student to faculty or employee).  Skidmore's policy applies to all employees and students of the College whenever they are interacting with one another.  Off-campus violations may occur at campus-sponsored events or programs, such as athletic events, internship arrangements, and professional meetings, or at private events such as a party.  In addition, a faculty member, staff member, administrator, or student may experience sexual harassment from a salesperson or vendor, the parent of a student, an alumna/us, visitor, or any other member of the extended College community who has contact with Skidmore faculty, staff, or student populations.  Sexual harassment could take place in person, by phone, or by means of print or electronic media.

The fact that someone did not intend to sexually harass another individual may not constitute an adequate defense in response to a complaint of sexual harassment.  Regardless of intent, the characteristics and effect of the behavior that determine whether the behavior constitutes sexual harassment.

Third-Party Sexual Harassment

It is important to recognize that sexual harassment may be injurious to a third party when that person is negatively affected by unwelcome or welcome sexual conduct between other individuals in that third party's work space or classroom – or any other setting that requires a Skidmore College employee or student to be present for purposes of work or learning.

Reporting Suspected Harassment and Discrimination

Who should report:  Any faculty member, staff member, student, or former student who believes that he/she has been discriminated against or harassed should report such instances to the appropriate official.

When to report:  (For employee complaints against other employees and student complaints against employees.  For student complainants against other students or for employee complaints against students, please see "Students Reporting Suspected Harassment.")  A report must be made to the College within 60 days of the alleged incident.  A formal complaint must be filed in writing within 10 work days after an informal inquiry has been completed or within 10 work days of the conclusion of the mediation process. Federal regulations require that a complaint be filed with the appropriate agencies within 180 days of the initial incident; New York State

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Confidentiality

To the extent possible, those handling complaints will endeavor to maintain the confidentiality of all parties involved in the informal and formal process.  This confidentiality extends to those seeking assistance, to those filing a complaint, to respondents, and to those serving as witnesses; confidentiality also extends to those creating or reviewing any documents related to the complaint.  Information about the complaint is therefore provided only to those individuals within the College who have a need to know that information in order to investigate and/or resolve the complaint.  This requirement of confidentiality does not mean that the details of the complaint will be withheld from the respondent. 

Nevertheless, the College cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality.  In order to ensure compliance with College policies and federal and state laws, the College may be required to disclose information about a complaint to agencies or to individuals not involved in the complaint.  Moreover, when the complaint involves alleged acts of a criminal nature, the College may be required by law to notify law enforcement authorities.  The College may also publicly divulge details of the outcome if one of the parties discloses selective portions of the proceedings or if the complainant or respondent contests the findings or results of the College's investigation in the course of a lawsuit.

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Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Harassment or Discrimination Against Faculty/Staff Members

Students should report any instances they believe to constitute harassment or discrimination.  Disclosing such incidents provides the parties an opportunity for consultation with appropriate College personnel and the opportunity to resolve complaints promptly and effectively.

Students should report instances of alleged harassment or discrimination by faculty members to one of the following:

All the above officials will convey information received to the ADEWD, who will initiate an informal inquiry.

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Procedures for Resolving Student Complaints Against Students or Employee Complaints Against Students

Students or employees should report any instances they believe to constitute harassment or discrimination.  Disclosing such incidents provides the parties an opportunity for consultation with appropriate College personnel and the opportunity to resolve complaints promptly and effectively.

Students or employees should report instances of alleged harassment or discrimination by students to one of the following:

All the above officials will convey information received to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, who will initiate an inquiry.

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Students Reporting Suspected Harassment

Students should report all suspected harassment in order for everyone to enjoy a work and learning environment free from offensive and hostile behavior. Disclosing the harassment provides the complainant (the person seeking help) an opportunity for consultation regarding the respondent (the person exhibiting harassing behavior) with educated personnel. Students are strongly encouraged to seek information about campus resources available to them in cases of harassment and to disclose cases of unlawful harassment to college authorities.

Using the procedures outlined in the next two sections, any student who believes he or she is the victim of harassment should report it to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs (Office of Residential Life) or the Assistant Director for EEO and Workforce Diversity (ADEWD) or any member of the Student Affairs staff, all of whom are trained to assist students and employees concerned about unlawful harassment. These members of the College staff are available to provide information concerning the College's anti-harassment policy, the process that the College has designed, and appropriate action the complainant may take.

The appropriate procedure for resolving a formal complaint depends on the person accused. When the person accused of harassment is a student, an Administrative Board hears the complaint. The Student Handbook describes these procedures in the section titled, Sexual Misconduct. However, the board will also consider expert testimony by the ADEWD regarding harassment. The Dean of Student Affairs considers any appeal of the Administrative Board decision. In cases including disruption in the classroom, the Dean of Faculty/Vice President for Academic Affairs also considers the appeal.

When the person accused of harassment is a member of the faculty, administration, union of the College or a third party, the ADEWD is responsible for resolving the complaint. Students may obtain a full description of the procedures employed by the ADEWD by contacting the ADEWD directly or visiting the HR web site: http://cms.skidmore.edu/hr/eeo-and-diversity.cfm

STUDENTS SHOULD REPORT ALL SUSPECTED HARASSMENT

1. Tell the person, orally or in writing, that you consider his or her behavior to be harassment.

2. Discuss the problem with any member of the Student Affairs staff, all of who are trained to respond to this type of concern. They will help students work through these concerns and make choices about how to handle the issues involved.

3. Staff in the Dean of Students office will make a report to the Assistant Director for EEO and Workforce Diversity (ADEWD) if the situation meets the formal definition of harassment. The ADEWD maintains an annual record of the number of different types of reported incidents. The College makes every attempt to protect the privacy of the individuals involved in a conversation about harassment. However, disclosure is required by law at the formal fact-finding and hearing stages.

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For Additional Information or Assistance

Inquiries concerning the preceding policies and procedures or requests for assistance should be directed to:

Assistant Director for EEO and Workforce Diversity (ADEWD)
Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632
Tel:  518-580-5800
http://cms.skidmore.edu/hr/index.cfm

--or--

Office of Student Affairs
Skidmore College
815 North Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632
Tel:  518-580-5760
http://cms.skidmore.edu/dean-students/index.cfm

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