Institutional Equity

Harassment and Discrimination

Harassment

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on a protected class, which includes race, religion, color, nation origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, height, weight, genetic information, marital status, disabled veteran status, veteran status, or disability.

Harassment becomes against University policy where:

  1. Enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or
  2. The conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, and subjectively and objectively offensive as to substantially or effectively disrupt or undermine a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, including, but not limited to, employment.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the unequal or unfair treatment of a person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, color, nation origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, height, weight, genetic information, marital status, disabled veteran status, veteran status, or disability. Discrimination can occur when persons are excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, any University program or activity because of their protected status.

Gender Discrimination is discrimination and harassment on the basis of a persons sex or gender. Gender discrimination can occur when persons are excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, any university program or activity because of their sex or gender. The University's policy prohibiting gender discrimination also prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

Examples of Prohibited Practices

  • Retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices
  • Denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability.
  • Giving a higher grade to a student who submits to sexual advances.

Hostile Environment

A hostile environment is defined as an environment on campus that, through harassing conduct (e.g. physical, verbal, graphic, or written) based on a person’s protected status (e.g. sexual orientation, age, etc.), becomes sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, and subjectively and objectively offensive so as to interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity.

The University prohibits harassment, as defined above, on its campus and by any person while engaged in University business, whether on or off campus. When the University determines that a hostile environment exists, it takes action reasonably calculated to remedy the harassment and ensure it does not reoccur.

While a person engaging in prohibited harassing behavior often has some form of power or authority over the person being harassed, that is not always the case. The harasser can be a peer or a person who has power over them. The harasser can even be a person who is not a member of the University community, such as a person delivering supplies to a laboratory or refilling vending machines. Regardless of the source, the University does not tolerate prohibited harassment.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct is prohibited under university policy. The specific prohibited conduct includes Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking. Alleged conduct will be evaluated by the Title IX Coordinator to determine whether it will be investigated under the Title IX Sexual Harassment University Policy or Board of Trustees Policy 5.3 Discrimination Based on Sex. For Policy 5.3 to apply, the Title IX Coordinator will determine prior to a Formal Title IX Complaint or after the dismissal of a Formal Title IX Complaint, that the Respondent is an employee of Michigan Technological University and the alleged conduct meets one or more of the following: 

  1. The alleged conduct does not fall within the definition of sexual harassment, as defined in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy. 
  2. The alleged conduct, if proved, would constitute a violation of sexual harassment as defined in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and did not occur in an education program or activity of Michigan Technological University, but would have a substantial impact on Michigan Technological University.
  3. The alleged conduct, if proved, would violate the definition of sexual harassment as defined in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and did not occur in the U.S.

Prohibited Conduct

  1. Sexual Harassment: (1) Unwelcome conduct based on sex where enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment; (2) Unwelcome conduct based on sex where the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive, and subjectively and objectively offensive as to substantially or effectively disrupt or undermine a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from a University program or activity, including, but not limited to, employment.

  2. Sexual Assault: is classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including Rape, Fondling, Incest, and Statutory Rape as defined in this Policy.

  3. Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (a) the length of the relationship, (b) the type of relationship, and (c) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.

  4. Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by: (1) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, (2) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, (3) a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, (4) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Michigan, or (5) any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Michigan.
  5. Stalking means engaging in a Course of Conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a Reasonable Person to— (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer Substantial Emotional Distress.

Relevant Definitions

See Facts about Sexual Harassment from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and view the University Policy 1.14 - Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy

Retaliation

Retaliation is engaging in adverse action against a reporting party/complainant, responding party/respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the complaint, investigation, and/or resolution of an allegation of a violation, which affects their employment, academic/student, or business status that is motivated in whole or in part by their participation in the process.

In addition, the University will not tolerate retaliation against persons due to their assertion of their protected civil rights, including filing complaints with federal or state civil rights enforcement agencies, bringing the University’s attention to prohibited activity, or participation in an investigation of such a complaint.

Retaliation is expressly prohibited by University policy and could lead to discipline including possible termination or dismissal.

Retaliation can take many forms, including but not limited to threats, intimidation, pressuring, demotion, and/or continued harassment.  Persons who feel that they have been subject to retaliation may file a complaint based on the alleged retaliation in the same manner as for the initial complaint. Conduct that constitutes retaliation may be found regardless of whether or not the underlying complaint is found to have merit.