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Harassment Policy

Glossary

 

Cooperation:
Should any individual refuse or fail to cooperate fully with an investigation, he or she may be subject to disciplinary action, which may include suspension of enrollment.

 

Cyber-Harassment:
When digital media, including instant messaging, blogs, websites, e-mails, chat rooms, and cell phones are used to threaten, humiliate, and/or destroy the victims, by causing emotional distress, demanding submission, spreading lies, and/or compromising the economic and social wellbeing.

 

Discretion:
The investigation may include interviewing individuals other than the complainant and the respondent. Discretion in how information is handled is paramount throughout the process. Every reasonable effort will be made to protect the privacy of all parties. However, strict confidentiality cannot be guaranteed due to the necessity for investigation and fact-finding. Beyond that, any individual who wrongfully discusses or discloses confidential information will be subject to disciplinary action.

 

Disciplinary Action:
Appropriate outcomes determined by investigating body/officer to create an appropriate resolution to matter at hand.

 

Educational Activities:
In order to cultivate a creative learning environment, Messiah College encourages free inquiry and expression within the bounds of our Christian commitments. Members of the community have the right to hold and defend a variety of viewpoints within an educational setting. For educational purposes required readings(s), educational activities (videos, projects, discussions, etc.), music, drama or art may include historical information that portrays groups or individuals in a pejorative fashion. Educators carry responsibility for directing these activities with care and sensitivity.

 

Egregious:
Flagrant harassment of an extraordinary nature.

 

Failure to Achieve a Final Decision:
Any final written decision will reflect either a determination that the allegations were unwarranted or the terms of the prescribed resolution including any disciplinary action deemed appropriate. The appropriate action will depend on the following factors: (i) The severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct; (ii) Prior complaints made by the complainant; (iii) Prior complaints made against the respondent; (iv) The quality of the evidence (firsthand knowledge, credible corroboration etc.). If the investigation is inconclusive or it is determined that there has been no harassment or discrimination in violation of this Policy, but some potentially problematic conduct is revealed, preventative action may be taken.

 

Investigations:
Individuals who conduct the investigations should be without a conflict of interest and anyone with a conflict of interest will be removed from the investigation.

 

An investigation consists of: (responsibility of Assoc DOS or Director of HR)

  • Establishing an appropriate timeline for processing the grievance
  • Reviewing the anticipated schedule and interview agenda with the resource representative(s)
  • Organizing and implementing an appropriate investigation
  • Meeting with both parties, including providing the respondent (the person(s) charged) with a copy of the complaint
  • Interviewing persons believed to have relevant information
  • Reviewing findings with individuals as listed on step two
  • Rendering a written decision and resolution recommendation
  • Closing and retaining the investigation file

 

Power:
Harassment most often occurs between people of unequal power: when such a power differential exists (e.g., such as a physically larger person over a smaller one, a supervisor over a subordinate employee, a faculty member over a student), the victim is not in a position to freely object, resist, or give fully free consent. However, harassment can also occur where no formal power differential exists, if the behavior is unwanted by, or offensive to, the victim.

 

Same-Sex Harassment:
Both males and females are protected by law from sexual harassment. Moreover, the law prohibits sexual harassment regardless of the sex of the harasser; i.e., even if the harasser and the person being harassed are members of the same sex.

 

Student Rights:
Both the complainant and the respondent may request to have a support person present. No party or participant in the grievance process shall be accompanied by legal counsel at any meeting held for the purpose of resolving the grievance.