3.3.3. Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

Oglethorpe University values the dignity of the individual, human diversity and an appropriate decorum for members of the campus community. Discriminatory or harassing behavior is indefensible as it makes the work, study or living environment hostile, intimidating, injurious or demeaning.

It is the policy of the University that all members of the Oglethorpe community are able to work, study, participate in activities and live on a campus free of unwarranted harassment in the form of oral, written, graphic or physical conduct which personally frightens, intimidates, injures or demeans another individual. Harassment directed against an individual or group that is based on race; age; color; religion; national origin or ancestry; sex; sexual orientation; gender; gender identity or gender expression; marital status; pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions; disability or handicap; genetic information, including family medical history; citizenship status; veteran; or any other category protected by federal, state or local law is prohibited. The term harassment as used in this policy may include:

  • Offensive remarks, comments, jokes, slurs or verbal conduct pertaining to an individual’s personal characteristics or those of a group.
  • Offensive pictures, drawings, photographs, figurines or other graphic images, conduct or communications including e-mail, text messages, postings, faxes, documents or copies pertaining to an individual’s personal characteristics or those of a group.
  • Offensive sexual remarks, sexual advances or requests for sexual favors.
  • Offensive physical conduct including touching and gestures.

Oglethorpe University has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by this policy and/or conduct in violation of Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Section 504, the Age Discrimination Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.

Sexual harassment under Title IX is addressed in a separate policy; see Sec. 14. Appeals from accommodations under ADA/Section 504 are addressed in Section 3.3.2.

Retaliation, which includes threatening an individual or taking any adverse action against an individual for reporting a possible violation of this policy or participating in an investigation conducted under this policy, is absolutely prohibited.

Members of the faculty are also covered by this policy and are prohibited from engaging in any form of harassing, discriminatory or retaliatory conduct. No member of the faculty has the authority to suggest to any student that the student’s evaluation or grading would be affected by the student entering into (or refusing to enter into) a personal relationship with the faculty member or for tolerating (or refusing to tolerate) conduct or communication that might violate this policy. Such behavior is a direct violation of this policy.

Grievance Procedures for Students

The following University officials have been designated to respond to allegations regarding any such violation: the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, vice president for campus life, the provost, or the director of human resources, or other designee.

Complaints alleging misconduct as defined in this policy should be reported within 90 days of the alleged offense. Complainants may seek informal or formal resolution. The complaint form can be found here: https://conduct.oglethorpe.edu/non-academic-student-complaints-appeals-form/.

Typically, an informal resolution focuses on communication, education, and resolution while formal procedures focus on investigation and discipline. Informal complaints will be resolved within 30 business days. If the situation results in an impasse, the complainant will be given a notice of impasse within 30 business days from the filing of the report. If a notice of impasse is given and the complainant wishes to file a formal written complaint, the complainant must do so within 30 business days of the date of notice of impasse unless a waiver in filing time is requested.

When a formal complaint is filed an investigation will be initiated. The person alleged of misconduct or discrimination will be provided the opportunity to submit a written response to the allegations. A written determination will be issued based on the investigation within 60 business days of the receipt of the formal written complaint. If the procedure requires an extension of time, the complainant will be informed in writing of the reasons, the status of the investigation and the probable date of completion.

If the complainant disputes the findings or is dissatisfied with the recommendations, the complainant may request reconsideration of the case to the university president in writing within 30 business days of receipt of the written determination. Complainants also have the right to file with the appropriate state or federal authorities as set forth in the applicable statutes.

Cases that may require disciplinary action will be handled according to the established discipline procedures of the University. Student organizations in violation of this policy may be subject to the loss of University recognition.

Nothing in this policy statement is intended to infringe on the individual rights, freedom of speech or academic freedom provided to members of the Oglethorpe community. The scholarly, educational or artistic content of any written or oral presentation or inquiry shall not be limited by this policy.