Harassment Policy

[Faculty Handbook Category #3]

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 harassment. Faculty, staff, and students are together responsible for maintaining an educational and working environment that is harmonious with the College’s mission.

Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct 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 when submission to such conduct:

  • Is a condition of employment or academic advancement, or
  • Is a basis for an employment or academic decision, or
  • Interferes with an individual’s job or academic performance, or
  • Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

Harassment of any member of the St. Olaf community by another community member is prohibited.

Sexual Harassment Policy

The College prohibits sexual harassment by any individual, including faculty, staff, students, and third parties such as consultants, contractors or vendors, in any form, including verbal, physical, and visual harassment. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any person found to have violated this policy.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct that emphasizes the sexuality or sexual identity of a person, such as: sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is distinguished from a voluntary sexual relationship by the introduction of the element of coercion, threat, hostility, or unwanted attention of a sexual nature.

Actions that can constitute sexual harassment include:

  • The conditioning of employment benefits or participation in a class based on obtaining sexual favors.
  • Engaging in conduct of a sexual nature which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or work environment (e.g., sexually-oriented jokes, offensive physical contact, obscene messages and gestures).
  • Punishing or threatening to take adverse action against a subordinate or student for refusing to comply with sexual demands.

Although the facts of sexual harassment as listed above may seem self-evident, recognizing such behavior when it is happening to you or others around you may be difficult.  Consider whether the behavior

  • Is offensive, unwanted or both.
  • Interferes with your ability to enjoy your employment or academic situation.
  • Interferes with job or academic performance.
  • Causes unnecessary discomfort, humiliation or harm to you or others around you.

If at any time you are able to answer yes to any of the above questions, you should immediately contact the Director of Human Resources or another Investigating Officer.

Faculty and employees are reminded to review the College’s Consensual Relations policy for other guidance relating to romantic relationships.

Harassment Complaint Process

Concerns of harassment should be directed to an Investigating Officer.  These are:  the Director of Human Resources, the Associate Director of Human Resources, the Assistant Provost, and the professional members of the Dean of Students staff. Arrangements will be made to have the allegations investigated and complaints resolved appropriately.

The College will determine what type of investigation is appropriate given the circumstances.  If it is determined that the matter can be resolved informally through discussion and education, the College may opt to respond through less formal means.  If the investigator deems the offending conduct to be severe or pervasive, a more formal investigation may be deemed appropriate.

A formal complaint process will include the questioning of witnesses.  The Investigator will ask to hear the particulars of the complaint. Complaints will be handled in as discrete and confidential a manner as possible. However, in order to aid in conducting a thorough investigation, the College cannot promise complete confidentiality

The Investigator will investigate the facts of the complaint. The Investigator will seek facts to ascertain the circumstances of the complaint and generally will request that witnesses keep the discussion about the complaint confidential. All documentation regarding the investigation will be kept in a confidential file within the Human Resources Office.  It will not be part of an individual’s personnel file.

If a violation of the harassment or sexual harassment policy has occurred, the College will take prompt and responsive action including (but not limited to) counseling or education on appropriate behavior, a requirement of behavioral changes, a written warning and/or other disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of employment or enrollment. Any written disciplinary action will be included in the individual’s personnel file.

Non-Retaliation Policy

Individuals involved in a harassment complaint must take care to neither say nor do anything that could be perceived as retaliation toward the complainant or any witnesses. Retaliation against any faculty, staff or student for making a complaint under this policy, or for participating in an investigation under this policy, is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action. If an individual believes he or she has been the subject of such retaliation, he or she should notify one of the Investigators listed above.

Both the complainant and the accused are encouraged to seek counsel through the College’s Employee Assistance Program or other support mechanisms available on or off campus. Assistance in locating appropriate support may be requested from the Human Resources Office.