Harassment Policy

I. Sexual Harassment

In our academic community, we seek to foster the fullest development of students' talents and aspirations, by promoting intellectual vigor, aesthetic appreciation, religious sensibility and social responsibility. The mission of Saint Mary’s College can be realized only in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Actions which diminish such an atmosphere shall not be condoned or tolerated. 

Saint Mary’s will not tolerate sexual harassment of its students or employees, nor will the College tolerate unprofessional conduct which leads to sexual harassment.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that "it is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include 'sexual harassment' or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general."

The EEOC also states that both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of that person's race, skin color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability, and that:

  • has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
  • has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual's work performance.
  • otherwise adversely affects the individual's employment opportunities.

In determining what conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the question will be determined using the "reasonable person standard." If a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances would find the conduct intimidating, hostile or abusive, then it's probably harassment. 

All faculty, staff and administrators (other than Confidential Campus Resources) who learn of possible violations of this policy are required to report that information to Saint Mary's Title IX Coordinator. Saint Mary's Title IX resources and information may be found at saintmarys.edu/Title-IX-Resources

II. How to Handle Offensive Comments or Conduct

Saint Mary’s community members, be they students, faculty, staff or administration, faced with comments or conduct of a gender-based or sexual nature which are offensive or threating, are encouraged to handle the situation in a direct manner by immediately telling the other individual calmly, politely and clearly that the conduct is offensive and that she or he wants it to stop. If that person is reluctant to confront the individual directly, she or he may seek assistance by complaining to a higher authority and asking for assistance. 

All faculty, staff and administrators (other than Confidential Campus Resources) who learn of possible violations of this policy are required to report that information to the Title IX Coordinator.

III. Notification and Investigation   

All faculty, staff and administrators (other than Confidential Campus Resources) are responsible to immediately bring forth any complaint of harassment made by a student or employee, as well as any situation which they observe and believe may violate this policy. 

Violations may also be reported using the College’s Incident Reporting Form or by contacting Saint Mary's Title IX Coordinator at 574-284-4777 or titleIX@saintmarys.edu.

Complaints will be immediately and fully investigated once reported. To the extent feasible, the investigation will protect the privacy interests of all affected parties.

No faculty member, employee or student who makes a complaint in good faith or participates in an investigation in good faith shall suffer retaliation for being involved. Saint Mary’s will take the necessary action to assure that retaliation does not occur.

IV. Discipline

Any person who is found to have violated this policy shall be subject to prompt and appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination, as determined by Saint Mary’s College.

V. Bad Faith Complaints

This policy shall not be used to bring a complaint in bad faith. Disciplinary action shall be taken against any individual found to have brought a sexual harassment complaint in bad faith for an improper purpose.

VI. Related Unprofessional Conduct

Relationships between a student and an individual with professional responsibility for that student deserve particular attention. A College employee with professional responsibility for a student has real or potential power and authority over that student in a variety of roles including but not limited to instructor, adviser, work-study supervisor, counselor and committee member.

To ensure that employees shall not abuse that power, no employee shall engage in or solicit an amorous or sexual relationship — consensual or otherwise — with a student:

  • who is enrolled in class being taught by the employee.
  • whose academic work is being supervised by the employee.
  • who is a member of a College group which is supervised or advised by the employee. 
  • who needs to rely, or does rely, on that individual for guidance, direction, advice, or assistance in her academic pursuits.

Amorous and/or sexual relationships between a student and an individual with professional responsibility for that student are presumed to constitute unprofessional conduct. The consensual nature of such a relationship does not necessarily constitute a defense to a complaint of sexual harassment or related unprofessional conduct.

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