St. Olaf College is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the St. Olaf community — students, faculty, and staff — are treated with respect and dignity, free from bias and harassment. Faculty, staff, and students are together responsible for maintaining an educational and working environment that is consistent with institutional values.
Incidents of bias, harassment, and hate crimes all include some form of unwelcome conduct that is based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or any other protected class status.
General Policy on Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment
a. Notice of Non-Discrimination
St. Olaf College is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors to our community. The College prohibits all forms of discrimination, and harassment based upon an individual’s legally protected status including race, color, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, or status with regard to public assistance. Failure to respond appropriately to a request for reasonable accommodations from a qualified person with a disability or when based upon an individual’s bona fide religious beliefs is another form of prohibited discrimination. Harassment based upon an individual’s legally protected status is a form of prohibited discrimination. Retaliation against an individual who opposes practices prohibited by this policy, or against an individual who assists the College or other authorities in investigating an alleged violation of this policy is also strictly prohibited.
b. What is “Prohibited Discrimination”?
Prohibited discrimination means treating individuals differently based on the individual’s legally protected status in a manner that significantly interferes with or limits the individual’s ability to participate in St. Olaf programs or activities. For an employee or applicant for employment, prohibited discrimination would be any action that interferes with an individual’s hiring, promotion, job duties, or other terms and conditions of employment. For a student, prohibited discrimination would be any action that interferes with the student’s access to or benefits from educational programs or activities such as admission into programs or activities, grades, assignments and coursework, housing, participation on a team, program or activity, or other adverse actions. Discrimination against volunteers, guests, visitors and any other participants in College programs or activities is also prohibited when based upon an individual’s protected class status.
c. What is “Harassment”?
Harassing behavior based upon an individual’s legally protected status is another form of prohibited discrimination. Harassment includes verbal, physical, electronic, or other conduct directed at an individual that substantially interferes with the individual’s participation in a College program or activity, including a student’s educational environment and a staff or faculty member’s work environment.
When submission to or rejection of harassing behavior is used, explicitly or implicitly, as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s participation in a College program or activity (including a student’s educational opportunities or a staff or faculty member’s work), this is one form of prohibited harassment. This type of harassment is commonly referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment.
Another form or prohibited harassment is often referred to as “hostile environment” harassment. This type of harassment involves unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s legally protected status, when such conduct is severe or pervasive enough to substantially interfere 2 with the individual’s participation in a College program or activity. For students, a hostile environment would interfere with their ability to learn or other aspects of their educational environment. For faculty or staff members, a hostile environment would interfere with their work environment.
St. Olaf strives to provide a welcoming, respectful and healthy workplace and educational environment for all students, faculty, staff and visitors to the College. The College is committed to promptly, impartially, and equitably addressing and resolving all reports of prohibited discrimination and harassment. When the College is notified of behavior in violation of this Policy, it is committed to taking prompt action to stop it, prevent it from recurring, and correct its effects.
d. What are the different groups that are legally protected from discrimination and harassment?
Consistent with the Minnesota Human Rights Act and federal laws including Title VII, Title IX, the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, St. Olaf College prohibits discrimination and harassment based upon race, color, creed, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, marital status, veteran status, or status with regard to public assistance.
The following is additional information on the legal protections provided to each of these groups of individuals:
- Race: An individual’s actual or perceived racial or ethnic ancestry or physical characteristics associated with a person’s race, such as a person’s color and physical features.
- Color: An individual’s skin complexion, shade or tone.
- Creed: An idea or set of beliefs (or non-beliefs) that guides the actions of an individual or group. National Origin: An individual’s actual or perceived country or ethnicity of origin.
- Gender: The range of characteristics pertaining to and differentiating between masculinity or femininity, typically related to one’s assigned sex at birth.
- Gender Identity: The gender with which an individual identifies psychologically regardless of what gender was assigned at birth.
- Gender Expression: How someone expresses gender through appearance, behavior or mannerisms. A person’s gender expression may or may not be identical to the individual’s gender identity or assigned gender sex at birth.
- Sexual Orientation: The inclination to develop intimate/sexual relationships with people of the same or different gender or irrespective of gender.
- Age: The number of years a person has lived. Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employees who are 40 years old and older are legally protected from prohibited discrimination and harassment. Minnesota law protects employees 18 years old and older from prohibited discrimination and harassment. There 3 is no age threshold for students or other participants in the College’s educational programs or activities.
- Religion: All aspects of an individual’s bona fide religious observances or practices. In addition to prohibiting different treatment based upon an individual’s religious beliefs, the College will provide reasonable accommodations of religious beliefs and practices.
- Disability: A person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or who has a record of such impairment; or who is regarded as having such impairment is protected from discrimination and harassment under state and federal laws. With regard to employees, the College will provide reasonable accommodations to aid employees with a disability in performing the functions of their jobs. With regard to academic accommodations for students with disabilities, the College will provide auxillary aids and services to assist a student in participation in the College’s programs and activities. Reasonable accommodations and auxilliary aids and services are not required if they would cause an undue burden on the College or if they would fundamentally alter the nature of the College’s program or activity.
- Marital Status: Marital status refers to whether a person is single, married, remarried, divorced, separated or a surviving spouse. With regard to staff and faculty, this includes protection against discrimination on the basis of the identity, situation, actions, or beliefs of an employee’s spouse or former spouse.
- Veteran Status: Certain individuals who have served in the United State military are protected from prohibited discrimination and harassment. Covered veterans include disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, and other veterans under state and federal laws.
- Status with Regard to Public Assistance: This means the condition of being a recipient of federal, state or local assistance, or of being a tenant receiving federal, state or local subsidies including rental assistance or supplements.
From the St. Olaf Code of Student Conduct
Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to disciplinary sanctions:
Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including, but not limited to, the following forms:
- Direct oral expression or physical gesture or action
- Notes, letters, U.S. mail, campus mail, or other forms of written communication
- Phone calls or phone messages
- E-mail or other electronic methods of communication