Click here to return to Messiah College's homepage
Harassment Policy

Relevant Information/ Terminology


Definition of Harassment:

Harassment violates federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits harassment in the workplace, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits harassment of students as a form of discrimination that denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's programs.


Conduct that constitutes harassment according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting an individual.
  • Inappropriate conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or work performance or is so severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.


Messiah College’s Statement onIntent vs. Effect of Harassment.
Harassment is unwelcome behavior that is either intended to harass or has the effect of harassing by abusing the dignity of an individual or creating an intimidating, offensive, or coercive environment.


Behavior that was not intended to be harassing can be perceived as harassing.


College Review Board:
is comprised of:

    • Ranked faculty member in second year of service (Chair)
    •  Ranked faculty member
    •  Two students appointed by the Student Government Association
    •  Two educators appointed by the Community Standards Committee
    •  One representative from the Engle Center for Counseling
    •  The Vice Provost/Dean of Students and Associate Dean of Students who serve in coordinating and advisory capacity with voice but not voting privileges.

For cases involving alleged violations of college harassment standards, up to two additional College officials as deemed appropriate for the situation will be chosen to serve on the College Review Board as voting members.

  1. For complaints related to race and ethnicity, the Director of Multicultural Programs and/or another member of the College Micah Committee.
  2. For complaints related to gender, one or more members from the Gender Concerns Committee would participate.
  3. For complaints related to disability, the Director of Disability Services would participate.
  4. In the event that the grievance is against or in any way connected to a member of the College Review Board an alternate Board member shall stand in replacement of the Board member with a conflict of interest.


Grievance Resolution (employee or staff as alleged harasser)

Informal Resolution Process: Since many complaints and disputes can be settled in conversation between the people involved, employees are encouraged to begin the resolution process by speaking with their immediate supervisors. Supervisors are expected to facilitate an earnest effort to resolve these issues as promptly as possible.


Formal Resolution Process - Second Step for Unresolved Issues or First Step for Egregious Issues: If the problem is not resolved by the process above or if a situation is egregious, an individual who feels harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against may initiate the formal complaint process by filing a complaint with the HR Director and providing sufficient details so as to allow the HR Director to determine if the harassment policies may have been violated.


Grievance Review Board
The Grievance Review Board will be appointed by the President. Typically seven (7) members will serve at a hearing. Membership includes the following:

  1. Two members of the COE (only one required to serve at any given session)
  2. Two members of the staff (only one required to serve at any given session)
  3. One member of the President’s Cabinet
  4. The HR Director as an advisor, but not a voting member
  5. At least one additional College official as deemed appropriate for the situation.


Specifically, the following additions to the committee would be required:

  1. For complaints related to race and ethnicity, the Special Assistant to the President and Provost for Diversity Affairs, and two additional members of Micah as appointed by the chair, would participate.
  2. For complaints related to gender, a member from the Gender Concerns
    Committee would participate.
  3. For complaints related to disability, the Director of Disability Services would
  4. In the event that the grievance is against a member of the Grievance Board or in
    any way connected to a member of the Grievance Board (spousal relationship,
    mentor relationship, etc.), an alternate Board member shall stand in replacement
    of the Board member with a conflict of interest.
  5. In the event a complaint involves a student or a student-employee, a student will
    be named to the Grievance Board.


The Grievance Board, after a full review of the facts (which may include a review of the written summary of the problem, interviews with the people involved, and further investigation if necessary), will inform the individuals involved of its decision and any recommendations. The decision of the Grievance Board will be final.


The final written decision by the Grievance Board 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 (first hand 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.


Messiah College Grievance Resolution: In foundational documents that outline the College’s mission, college-wide educational objectives, foundational values, and strategic plan, the College has affirmed that reconciliation across lines of racial and cultural division as well as behavior respectful of gender is central to our identity as a Christian institution.


We seek to create a welcoming community which is characterized by the Biblical vision for justice, respect, inclusiveness, diversity, and shalom. Therefore, Messiah College deplores all incidents of harassment, intimidation and discrimination. Any act of harassment, intimidation or discrimination, whether it be committed intentionally or unintentionally, by employees of the College or students, is contrary to the ideals of Christian ethics, Christian community, and our educational mission.


This means that the College will respond promptly and firmly to reported incidents in ways that are educational and redemptive and that encourage both personal responsibility and reconciliation within the community. Once made aware of a grievance, Messiah College is committed to commence an appropriate investigation of the allegations.