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Portland State University Office of Equity & Compliance

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Presentation on theme: "Portland State University Office of Equity & Compliance"— Presentation transcript:

1 Portland State University Office of Equity & Compliance
Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment Overview A&A Deans & Chairs Meeting Presented by: Crystal Roberts, J.D. Equity & Compliance Consultant April 18, 2013

2 Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment


4 Office of Equity & Compliance
OEC’s investigations protect PSU by: Stopping discrimination or harassment. Providing helpful insight to prevent future problems. Helping to determine collective and individual remedies. Demonstrating for outside regulators and the public that PSU takes discrimination and harassment seriously.

5 Protected Classifications:
age disability marital status, national origin, race or color religion or creed, sex or gender, gender identity / gender expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, “any other basis in law.” Chas

6 Gender Discrimination and Sex Harassment:
Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment violates Title VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as a form of “sex discrimination.”

7 Title IX: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” The Office of Equity & Compliance is responsible for monitoring Portland State University’s Title IX compliance.

8 Consensual Relationship Policy
The University recognizes that two consenting adults should be free to conduct a personal relationship if they so wish; however, if a consensual relationship should develop between an instructor or supervisor and a student or supervisee, the instructor or supervisor should report the matter, as soon as possible, to his or her immediate supervisor. A consensual relationship is one that is amorous, romantic or sexual in nature.

9 Supervisor includes: Department Chair, Professor in charge of the course, the unit supervisor. This immediate supervisor, in consultation with the Director of Equity & Compliance, will immediately make arrangements so that the official determination(s) affecting the terms and conditions of employment, study, or progress in a program of the person(s) involved in the consensual relationship can be carried out under the direction of a competent objective third party(s). This should be carried out in a manner that maintains the highest degree of confidentiality possible.

10 Anti-Retaliation: No person shall retaliate against an individual for reporting discrimination or harassment, filing a complaint, participating in an investigation, participating in resolution of a complaint or any other activity protected under this policy, regardless of the outcome of the concern or complaint. Chas

11 Confidentiality vs. Privacy
There are some people on campus who can keep what you are informed a secret.  This is called confidentiality.  These people are: Doctors and counselors at the Center for Student Health and Counseling, Attorneys at Student Legal Services, Clergy at the Spiritual Life Center.

12 Confidentiality Continued
If a student, faculty or staff member reports a situation covered by PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment Policy, you are not allowed to keep it secret. Language that you can use: “The information provided to me and/or any faculty member will not be kept confidential and must be reported to the Office of Equity & Compliance or the Dean of Student Life. However, they will work to maintain your privacy, meaning they will only tell people at PSU who need to know.”

13 Resulting Obligations . . .
PSU must act to investigate (prompt, thorough and neutral) reports of discrimination; and harassment; and Take action to end it; and Remedy the damage caused to individuals. Chas

14 Required Reporting “Any supervisor, manager, faculty member, or other University Official (which includes, but is not limited to, all individuals with oversight responsibility for students or employees and all other employees with the title of Director or higher) who becomes aware of an incident that may constitute discrimination or discriminatory harassment is required to promptly notify the Office of Equity & Compliance or the Office of the Dean of Student Life. Any person unsure whether he or she is required to report is encouraged to contact Portland State University’s Office of General Counsel.” Chas

15 Report Concerns To:  A supervisor or department head most directly concerned, excluding the person accused of the prohibited discrimination or discriminatory harassment;  Any academic or administrative official of Portland State University including but not limited to, the President, Vice President, University Counsel, the Provost, Vice Provost, Dean, Chair or a Director;  The Office of Equity & Compliance;  The Office of the Dean of Student Life;  PSU’s Title IX Coordinator (Chas Lopez); or  Campus Public Safety. Chas

16 Where to Report Complaint of discrimination, harassment or sexual assault Against faculty or staff Against a student Office of Equity & Compliance Office of the Dean of Student-Life

17 To File a Complaint Online Against an Employee

18 To File a Complaint Online Against an Student


20 Harassment Scenario: Sam is a student in Professor Doe's class.  Sam is struggling with the content and received a “D” on the last test.  Sam goes to Prof. Doe's office hours to get help on the material.  During the meeting, Prof. Doe says, “It's really hard to meet people in Portland. Do you want to hang out sometime?” Sam feels very uncomfortable and makes an excuse to leave.  Since their meeting, Sam sits in the back of the class and does not go to office hours anymore.

21 Has Prof. Doe violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment Policy by sexually harassing Sam? Probably, because Prof. Doe made Sam feel intimidated and uncomfortable. Probably, because Professors and students cannot have a relationship outside of academics. Probably not, because Prof. Doe's comment was not sexual. Probably not, because the conduct was not persistent or severe.

22 Note: If Sam in any way feels uncomfortable then Sam should inform another faculty member, the Chair of the department or the Office of Equity & Compliance in order for his concern to be addressed and to come up with a plan to make him feel safe. ***Even if the student does not want to file a complaint, the faculty member who learns of Sam’s concerns should report the matter to the Office of Equity & Compliance to assist with assuring the professor is made aware of Sam’s discomfort so the situation does not reoccur.

23 Retaliation Scenario:
Sally is a graduate assistant for Prof. Doe. She filed a complaint against Prof. Doe, alleging Prof. Doe harassed her based on her sexual orientation.  The Office of Equity & Compliance finds there was not sufficient evidence that Prof. Doe violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment policy regarding Sally’s harassment complaint.  Following the investigation, Prof. Doe decides he does not need a graduate assistant and terminates her employment.

24 Has Prof. Doe violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment Policy by retaliating against Sally? Probably, because Prof. Doe terminated her. Probably not, because Prof. Doe did not violate PSU’s policy when Sally filed the complaint of harassment. Probably not, because Prof. Doe ran out of funding for a graduate assistant. Depends on why Prof. Doe terminated her.

25 Despite a “no finding” in the original complaint, a respondent may violate PSU’s policy by retaliating against a complainant. Retaliation complaints are treated as separate matters. Any knowledge of concerns of retaliation or adverse action being taken against an individual who as complained of violations of PSU’s policy, should be reported immediately to the Office of Equity & Compliance, to assure the adverse action stops and a prompt investigation occurs.

26 Note: The Office of Equity & Compliance will review the evidence to determine if Prof. Doe has legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons to terminate Sally, such as stealing PSU property or consistent  poor work performance or lack of funding. The timing of investigation and her termination will be taken into consideration when determining if Prof. Doe violated PSU’s Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment Policy by retaliating against her.

27 Questions?

28 CONTACT INFORMATION Office of Global Diversity & Inclusion Office of Equity & Compliance

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