The UAS Office of Residence Life’s Philosophy of a Residential Campus seeks to “...promote an environment in which students are encouraged to develop a broader understanding and acceptance of those with divergent attitudes and values... and to promote acceptance and mutual respect among all residents by developing an awareness of one’s individual responsibilities and rights and the rights and responsibilities of others…” To this end, and without compromising either the constitutional protection of free speech or the historic principle of academic freedom, the Office of Residence Life intends to maintain a climate conducive to learning, a positive work setting and an environment free of harassment for its students, faculty, staff and visitors. All members of the university community are responsible for the maintenance of an atmosphere that fosters openness, tolerance and diversity.
Spoken, Written and Symbolic Harassment
Definition: Spoken, written or symbolic harassment occurs when people insult, stigmatize or denigrate individuals or groups on the basis of race, religion, creed, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or physical ability. Examples of harassing behavior are cited below. The listing is not exhaustive, but is intended to inform the campus community about behaviors which cannot be condoned.
- The use of racial slurs or derogatory names directed at individuals which convey hatred to contempt for persons on the basis of the attributes listed above
- The creation of graffiti which conveys hatred or contempt for persons on the basis of the attributes listed above
- The display of symbols which are commonly understood to convey hatred or contempt for persons on the basis of the attributes listed above
- The use of telephone, electronic mail or paper mail (whether signed or anonymous) to convey hatred or contempt for persons on the basis of the attributes listed above.
Procedures for Addressing Spoken, Written and Symbolic Harassment
- It is the primary goal of the university to use its expertise at educating and counseling to correct the unacceptable behavior of those who act in ignorance and prejudice.
- It is understood that the university has limited means for addressing individuals who continue such behavior in those spoken, written or symbolic forms which are protected by the First Amendment. In such cases, the university will persist both in its efforts to educate and counsel people who evidence the behavior and in its support for the victims of the behavior.
- Whenever such expressions exceed the bounds of protected speech — i.e., are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory — the university will pursue the matter to the extent allowed by institutional policies and/or civil law.
Definition: A person is guilty of ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender or national origin, does any of the following.
- Causes physical contact with another person
- Damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property of another person
- Threatens by word or act to do an act described in subdivision (a) or (b), if there is reasonable cause to believe that an act described in subdivision (a) or (b) will occur.
Procedures for the Resolution of Allegations of Harassment
Because harassment is intolerable and illegal, the department will, whenever it is reported and confirmed, take prompt, corrective, disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. To enable the department to act, employees and students should file a formal complaint. Hourly-related student employees are urged to report such conduct directly to the Residence Life Manager; hourly non-student and salaried professional staff should report infractions to the Departmental Director and Vice Chancellor of their administrative area. The Residence Life Manager or the non-student staff member should ensure that all complaints are also referred to the Director of Personnel.
The Residence Life Manager or designated official, in conjunction with the Director of Personnel, shall cooperate fully in implementing this policy by investigating thoroughly and taking appropriate action, consistent with due process, on any complaints of alleged harassment within the Student Housing community or the Residence Life staff.
In the event that the complaint is against an administrative staff or faculty member and the action taken involves dismissal or possible dismissal of the individual, the Chief Judicial Officer, in communication with the Vice Chancellor of Student Services, and the Director of Personnel will conduct the investigation. If the infraction involves an administrative employee at any level, the vice chancellor responsible for that sector will handle the complaint. A complaint involving a vice chancellor may be taken to the chancellor. A complaint involving the chancellor may be taken to the chair of the Board of Regents.
Definition: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or well-being
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting another individual; or
- Such conduct interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, academic, or living environment.
This policy is subject to federal regulations and all pertinent laws and regulations of the State of Alaska.
Procedures for Sexual Harassment Complaints
The primary goals of these procedures are to prevent sexual harassment from occurring at UAS and to end it promptly should it occur. The Office of Residence Life is committed to taking appropriate action toward those who engaged in sexually harassing behaviors. To achieve these goals, it is imperative that people who think they have been sexually harassed be able to come forward and take action to end the harassment without fear of reprisal. Equally important is that those accused of sexual harassment be treated fairly and protected against false accusations.
In order to protect both the complainant and the respondent, every reasonable effort will be made to handle all complaints in a confidential and discreet manner. Individuals who think that they may have been sexually harassed may pursue either informal resolution or a formal grievance procedure. Informal resolution of sexual harassment charges is usually preferable to formal hearings. Harassment may be unintentional and frank communication, mediated when necessary by a staff member, between the concerned person and the respondent may be all that is needed to stop the inappropriate behavior. Informal resolution may be less traumatic for those involved and makes it easier to preserve confidentiality. However, since informal resolution is not always appropriate, effective, or desired by the concerned person, s/he may initiate formal grievance procedures at any point.
Concern: An informal expression of distress or discomfort about some alleged harassing behavior.
Complaint: A formal written allegation of sexual harassment, filed with the respondent’s sector vice president and copied (by that vice president) to the respondent person(s).
Sexual Harassment Resolution Process
- Personal Resolution
Among the informal steps that a person may take to deal with sexual harassment are:
- Clearly say “no” to the person whose behavior is unwelcome.
- Communicate either orally or in writing with the person whose behavior is unwelcome. The most useful communication will have three parts:
- A factual description of the incident(s) including any date, time, place and specific action
- A description of the writer’s feelings, including any consequences of the incident
- A request that the conduct cease. Frequently, such communications will cause the unwelcome behavior to stop.
- Speak with someone trusted (e.g., supervisor, colleague, peer, Residence Life staff member, etc.) who may speak to the person whose behavior was unwelcome. The name of the concerned person need not be disclosed. The purpose of such conversation is cessation of the unwelcome behavior. If personal resolution of the kind just described is ineffective or not desired, the individual is to pursue one of the following grievance procedures described below.
- Grievance Procedures
A person who has a concern that s/he has been sexually harassed is urged to consult with a Community Advisor, Peer Advocate, or departmental administrator regarding the situation and the options available to a complainant. The staff member or neutral party will herein be referred to as the ombudsperson.
- Informal Resolution. If an individual has a concern that s/he is experiencing sexually harassing behaviors, and if for any reason is unable to resolve the situation personally, s/he should consult an ombudsperson or, if preferred, the Residence Life Manager. The ombudsperson or RLM may further advise the concerned person on how to resolve the problem on his or her own and, if necessary and both parties consent, mediate between the concerned person and the respondent. Ombudspersons shall keep records of all aspects of sexual harassment concerns that are brought to their attention and of attempts at informal resolution. A copy of these confidential records will be kept on file in the Residence Life Office, and if involving a university employee, in the Personnel Office. Then, with the exception of the below mentioned statement of resolution, this documentation shall be destroyed after five years. If the ombudsperson or RLM is able to resolve the problem to everyone’s satisfaction, a written statement of resolution signed by the concerned person and respondent will be kept on file in the Personnel Office as long as both the concerned person and the respondent are still enrolled at or employed by the University of Alaska Southeast.
- Formal Adjudication. If an attempt at informal resolution is unsuccessful, inappropriate or not desired by the concerned person, and s/he wishes to proceed to formal adjudication, s/he must provide the Residence Life Manager (or, if the respondent is a non-student staff member, the Campus Judicial Officer and the Vice Chancellor of Student Services) with a signed written complaint which must contain the following information: identification of the person against whom the complaint is made and all facts (who, where, when, how) alleged to constitute sexual harassment. Cases of adjudication involving non-residential students will be referred directly to the Campus Judicial Officer, as well as any cases referred directly to the campus-wide judicial system by the Residence Life Manager. When a formal complaint of sexual harassment is filed, the Residence Life Manager or Campus Judicial Officer must notify the respondent in writing of the complaint at least 7 days prior to the hearing and shall advise the respondent of his or her rights and responsibilities as set forth in the general grievance procedures outlined in the UAS Student Handbook. The respondent will be given a copy of the written complaint. Should the complainant wish to withdraw the complaint, a request to withdraw must be documented in writing and signed by the complainant and placed in the complainant’s file. However, once a written complaint has been lodged, the executive staff may continue the investigation based on the written complaint, even if the complainant chooses to no longer pursue formal resolution. In such cases, the complainant will not be required to testify. Proceedings heard before the executive staff are to be documented and kept confidential. The deliberations of the executive staff and resolution reached shall only be disclosed as necessary to inform the complainant and the respondent of the outcome, to effect any resolution determined by the executive staff, or as required by law. In its deliberations, the executive staff will be guided by the terms of the University of Alaska Southeast Sexual Harassment Policy and adjudicate accordingly. If the executive staff determines that a violation has occurred, they will provide sanction recommendations to the Campus Judicial Officer and any appropriate chief administrators.
- Formal Disciplinary Sanctions and Outcome. The severity of the discipline will depend upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior record of the respondent’s behavior. The discipline may include, but will not be limited to, the following: a written reprimand, a written warning, an educational sanction and a behavioral contract, an eviction, a suspension, or the termination of employment or expulsion. Ignorance of sexual harassment policy will not be considered as a defense to a claim of alleged sexual harassment.
- The Right of Appeal. The respondent shall have the right to appeal any sanctions or disciplinary decisions to the appropriate grievance committee/ administrator. Procedures applicable to the appeal shall follow those outlined in the UAS Student Handbook.
Retaliation and False Accusation
The university considers both retaliation and the malicious filing of false allegations to be serious ethical violations. A person bringing a complaint founded in good faith will suffer no recrimination. It is a violation of the university’s sexual harassment policy to retaliate against a person for complaining of or reporting alleged harassment and for assisting, participating or cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment.
Retaliation is a very serious violation which can subject the offender to sanctions independent of the merits of the sexual harassment allegation. False and malicious accusations, however, are harmful to the personal and professional reputations of the accused person. The Office of Residence Life and UAS regard sexual harassment complaints made falsely and maliciously to be a very serious matter and subject to appropriate sanctions if found to be false and malicious in a hearing separate from the original sexual harassment hearing.
Confidentiality and Responsibility
In order to protect both the complainant and the respondent, a reasonable effort will be made to handle all complaints, consultation, investigations and proceedings in a confidential and discreet manner.
Right to Seek Legal Counsel
Action taken by the institution shall neither replace nor preclude the rights of any party to seek legal counsel at their own expense, or to pursue the matter through state or federal legal systems. Either party may be accompanied by legal counsel or an advocate faculty/staff person when responding to questions during the Residence Life Manager’s or the Campus Judicial Officer’s investigation, and the university itself may be represented by legal counsel at these meetings.
UAS does not condone physical acts of aggression (violent or non-violent in nature) between students, faculty or staff. Anyone engaging in such acts will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary and sanctioning process. For most cases of physical assault, the police may be called and offenders will be suspended, expelled, or evicted from student housing. The possibility to remain in student housing will likely be dependent on recommendations from a mental health clinician after a mandatory assessment has been completed.
- Physical Assault: Individuals found to have physically assaulted others with any portion of their body using force, or with the use of inanimate objects, tools, or weapons, will receive discipline sanctions up to legal prosecution and expulsion from the university.
- Domestic/Dating Violence: Violence between partners in family housing, between singles students in a relationship with one another, or violence between members of the same household will be reported to the police and treated as physical assault.
- Stalking: Stalking is a form of criminal violence and will be treated as such. Stalking consists of any unwanted behavior, communication, advances, or presence that the victim is subjected to. It may take the form of a tormentor persistently sending harassing emails or Myspace/Facebook messages, following a victim or waiting for him/her outside of buildings and classrooms, or constantly being in the presence of the victim, who has expressed a desire not to be in proximity of the tormentor, among other behaviors. Like in cases of harassment, victims should clearly state their discomfort with the tormentor’s presence and their unwillingness to engage in a relationship or interaction with that person. Continued conscious efforts to be a harassing presence should be reported to residence life staff immediately.
Abuse and Neglect
Abuse and neglect of children, elders, incapacitated individuals, or other dependents considered not to be able to physically defend themselves or to adequately care for themselves will not be tolerated. Abuse refers to any form of physical maltreatment, and neglect refers to knowingly or carelessly leaving these individuals unattended. Abuse and neglect of children, elders, or others will be reported to the police and/or social services.
Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct
Sexual assault is defined as sexual contact (touching of a person’s intimate parts or penetration of a person’s intimate parts) if any of the following circumstances exist:
- Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact without the person’s consent.
- The victim is mentally incapacitated by being rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his/her conduct due to the influence of alcohol, other drugs or other substances to that person with or without their consent.
- The victim is physically helpless by being unconscious, asleep or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act.
- The actor knew or should have known that the victim was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.
Sexual misconduct is defined as the intentional touching of a person’s intimate parts or the clothing covering the immediate area of a person’s intimate parts without their consent.
NOTE: The use of alcohol or other drugs will not be considered a defense.
Members of the student housing community are expected to act with respect and consideration for the rights, privileges and sensibilities of others. Actions that in any way threaten or endanger the personal safety or security of others will not be tolerated. The following offenses will be regarded as extremely serious:
- Deliberate participation in a riot or general disturbance which threatens the safety or seriously threatens the property of either campus community members or townspeople.
- Intimidation by violence, a threat of violence, or property damage or that which seeks to interfere with the free expression of ideas or attempts to punish such free expression.
- The possession, storage or use of firearms/weapons or ammunition or any explosive or incendiary device (including firecrackers and other fireworks) on campus.
- The use or threatened use of weapons or objects capable of being used as weapons.
- Any physical assault committed in the course of any university function or activity or on the premises of the university.
- Any other act that seriously endangers human life or threatens serious physical or psychological injury.
Recognizing that the physical and psychological well-being of members of the UAS residential community need to be safeguarded and that interference with any person’s academic pursuits needs to be avoided, UAS prohibits any hazing of an individual in any activities pursued by any university organization, campus group, or individual.
Hazing is defined as any action taken or situation created, whether on or off university premises, which produces mental, emotional or physical discomfort, harassment or ridicule, or which prohibits persons from meeting academic or other personal obligations to the best of their abilities.
The interpretation of this definition is to include, but not be limited to the following: paddling; creation of excessive fatigue; restraining people against their will; physical and psychological shocks; public displays which are unreasonably disruptive to other members of the campus and/or public; wearing publicly costumes which are conspicuous and not normally in good taste; engaging in compulsory public stunts, buffoonery, morally degrading or humiliating games and activities; forced ingestion of any substance (particularly alcohol); and any other activities which are not consistent with the policies or regulations of the University of Alaska Southeast.
Walk-ins, captures and rip-offs shall not be allowed on or off campus. Any violations of this policy will follow standard disciplinary procedures set forth in the Residence Life Handbook. Individual students or groups who violate this prohibition against hazing will have their cases heard by the Residence Life Manager or the Campus Judicial Officer because violations of the Anti-Hazing Policy may result in the suspension of individuals or organizations.
Theft and Vandalism
Members of the UAS Student Housing community are expected to act with consideration for the property of the university and of individual persons. The following offenses are regarded as serious:
- Willful or careless misuse, damage or destruction of the property of others or of the university, including the deliberate defacement of materials, buildings, sidewalks, walls, equipment, decorations, trees and landscaping, or furnishings. The penalty for willful or careless damage will ordinarily include charges for replacement or repair plus disciplinary action.
- The deliberate setting of unapproved fires, including bonfires, on university property, even where human life is not deliberately endangered.
- Theft or unauthorized borrowing or conspiracy to commit theft. While the university does not assume responsibility for losses incurred by students which may result from vandalism or theft, it will support actions taken against those persons responsible for such activities whether such action is commenced through the campus judicial system and/or by the local police.
Personal belongings of students are not covered under the university insurance policy. The institution assumes no responsibility for personal property that is damaged or destroyed by theft, vandalism, fire, smoke, rain, snow, ice, wind, hail or water. Students are encouraged to check with their homeowner’s insurance as to whether their belongings are insured. It is recommended that students provide their own renter’s insurance to protect their belongings in the case of damage or theft.
The University of Alaska Southeast is in full compliance with Section 485f of the Student Right-To-Know and Campus Security Act of the Federal Government and annually makes available statistical information on campus crime.