Please also see the Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.
Statement of Purpose
The University of Puget Sound is a community that encourages a rich knowledge of self and others, an appreciation of commonality and difference, the full, open, and civil discussion of ideas, thoughtful moral discourse, and the integration of learning. The university values and celebrates a diverse educational community based on mutual respect, trust, and responsibility; wherein its students, faculty members and staff members can learn, teach, work, serve and lead in an environment free from prohibited discrimination and harassment.
The purpose of this policy is to protect University Community Members from prohibited discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, nation of origin, religion, creed, age, disability, marital or familial status, veteran or military status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and applicable federal, state or local laws.1
This policy is not intended to regulate the content of speech nor proscribe particular words or viewpoints. Academic freedom and freedom of expression are vital to our shared goals and are broadly protected. (See the university’s Statement on Academic Freedom and the Exercise of Free Speech, Faculty Code, Chapter I, Part E, and Student Integrity Principle.) Students engaged in the process of liberal arts education, and faculty and staff members who work in an educational environment, will likely confront uncomfortable moments and ideas that are disquieting, or even offensive to them; however, discrimination and harassment compromises the integrity of the university. Accordingly, the university is
committed to taking action to prevent, correct, and where appropriate, discipline occurrences of prohibited discrimination and harassment.
I. Policy Statement
The Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment provides a means for investigation of and response to concerns about discrimination and harassment, resolution of issues, and corrective action when necessary for issues not covered by the Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct or disability accommodation appeals. The university encourages any persons who believe they have been subject to prohibited discrimination or harassment to seek prompt assistance under this policy.
This policy is intended to meet, and may exceed, the requirements of applicable federal, state, and local law. However, this policy does not provide a substitute procedure for redressing any person’s legal rights, or create legal rights separate from applicable laws. Additionally, the university is not prevented by this policy from acting to remedy a problem that could also be remedied by resort to legal action. The university may take appropriate protective and administrative action even in situations where the complainant is absent.
This policy applies when any alleged conduct prohibited by this policy occurs between any University Community Member and any other University Community Member. This policy also applies when the prohibited conduct occurs between a University Community Member and a nonmember, such as a Campus Visitor.
The university may impose sanctions if the prohibited conduct occurs on the University campus or in connection with a person’s participation in a university-sponsored organization, program, or activity, or if the conduct poses a risk of harm to any University Community Member, including but not limited to any of the harmful effects encompassed by the definition of discrimination or harassment.
This policy emphasizes the importance of information and education in preventing all forms of discrimination and harassment. This policy will be made available to all University Community Members. In addition, all University Community Members should be regularly encouraged to participate in educational programs concerning the prevention and reporting of discrimination or harassment. Participation in such programs will be expected of all faculty, staff, and student employees with supervisory responsibilities. This policy authorizes the President to appoint such advisory groups as may be needed to assist in developing appropriate educational programs and informational materials.
In response to any complaint or report submitted under this policy, the university will follow its
associated procedure found at www.pugetsound.edu/title-ix-equal-opportunity.
Campus Visitor(s): All persons temporarily on campus who are not enrolled students or employed by or affiliated with the university. As examples, contractors, vendors, service providers, prospective students and their families, conference, camp, program or activity attendees, and Tacoma community members are all considered visitors.
Confidential Resource: Someone identified by this policy who is not required to report identifying information to the Equal Opportunity Officer about prohibited conduct under this policy but who must report non-identifying information to the Clery Coordinator for federal Clery Act (campus crime) reporting purposes. See Section VII for additional information.
Discrimination: Disparate treatment of an individual based on a protected basis/characteristic, rather than individual merit. Discrimination also includes using an academic or employment policy or practice that has a disparate impact on people with a particular protected basis/characteristic and that is not related to the job and necessary to the operation of the business. Examples of conduct that can constitute discrimination if based on an individual’s protected basis/characteristic include but are not limited to:
- Singling out or targeting an individual for different or less favorable treatment (e.g., more severe discipline, lower salary increase) because of their protected basis/characteristic;
- Failing or refusing to hire or admit an individual because of their protected basis/characteristic;
- Terminating an individual from employment or an educational program based on their protected basis/characteristic;
- Having a height or lifting requirement in a job posting that is not related to the position’s duties; required.
- Prohibiting head coverings without exceptions or job-related reason
- Requiring employees to work on a religious holiday without allowing for exceptions
Harassment: As used in this policy, verbal, written or physical conduct, or conduct using technology which limits or denies a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or a faculty, staff or student staff member’s ability to perform or participate in a work environment. This conduct must be so severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or academic or co-curricular participation, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
Prohibited harassment generally involves repeated behavior or a pattern of offensive conduct that interferes with the victim’s access to the educational or employment opportunities of the institution. If sufficiently serious, the university may remedy any improper conduct which may include the dismissal of a faculty or staff member or the expulsion of a student. Conduct of concern under this policy will be evaluated in terms of (1) whether a reasonable person in the Complainant’s position, considering all of the circumstances in which the conduct occurred, would find the environment hostile and (2) whether the Complainant actually perceived the environment to be hostile. Both tests must be met in order for
the Complainant to establish a severe or pervasive hostile environment.
Examples of conduct that can constitute prohibited harassment include but are not limited to:
- Directing racial or ethnic slurs at someone.
- Telling someone repeatedly that they are too old to understand new technology.
- Teasing or mocking a person with a disability.
- Ridiculing a person’s religious beliefs.
- Vandalizing or defacing property.
- Placing written or visual material, such as a swastika or a homophobic epithet, on the door of an individual’s living or work area.
- Chalking anti-Semitic language on a Campus sidewalk or parking lot.
- Stalking or physically assaulting someone.
- Making threatening telephone calls, writing threatening email/text messages, or leaving threatening voicemail messages.
Privileged Resource: Someone who is not required to report any information about any conduct prohibited under this policy to the Clery Coordinator or the Equal Opportunity Officer. See Section VIII for additional information.
Protected basis/characteristics: Personal traits, characteristics and/or beliefs that are defined by applicable law as protected from discrimination and/or harassment. They include race, color, nation of origin, religion, creed, age, disability, marital or familial status, veteran or military status, political affiliation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local laws.
Responsible Employee: Employees who are expected to promptly report to the Equal Opportunity Officer any knowledge they have that a University Community Member is experiencing discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. See Section VIII for additional information.
Retaliation: The university and all University Community Members are prohibited from taking materially adverse action against a person engaged in protected activity under this policy. Prohibited acts of retaliation include intimidating, threatening, coercing, harassing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law or policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in or benefit from an educational program or a faculty, staff or student staff member’s ability to perform or participate in a work environment.
Protected activity under this policy includes reporting an incident that may implicate this policy, participating in the grievance process, supporting a Complainant or Respondent, assisting in providing information relevant to an investigation, and/or acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy.
Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Equal Opportunity Officer and will be promptly investigated. The university will take all appropriate and available steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.
The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.
Charging an individual with making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.
Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment: For additional information and definitions relating to Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct (including pregnancy), please refer to the Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.
University Community Member: For purposes of this policy, these are university students, student organizations, faculty, staff members, interns, volunteers, and any other university affiliates.
IV. Other Behaviors of Concern and Implementation Procedures
All reports under this policy will be reviewed and investigated by the Equal Opportunity Officer. Following investigation, some reports that University Community Members may bring forward may not constitute prohibited discrimination or harassment. The reported behaviors may nonetheless be of concern and may constitute lack of compliance with university expectations outlined in other published university policies and codes. Any such findings will be referred to the appropriate office for resolution under procedures of the Student Integrity Code, the Staff Policies and Procedures, or the Faculty Code.
V. How to Report Prohibited Behavior or Seek Information About the Policy
- Contact the Equal Opportunity Officer or alternate designee listed below.
- Report online, using the reporting form posted at pugetsound.edu/report. Anonymous reports are accepted and might give rise to a need to investigate.
Alternate designees for assistance with intake reports that will be forwarded to the Equal Opportunity Officer:
Director, Office of Intercultural Engagement
1500 N Warner St. #1019
Tacoma, WA 98416-1019
Student Affairs Dean of Students
1500 N. Warner St. #1069
Tacoma, WA 98416-1069
Director of Human Resources
1500 N Warner St. #1064
Once a report is received by the Equal Opportunity Officer, the Complainant will be provided with information about their rights and options including how to file a complaint and how to schedule a meeting with the Equal Opportunity Officer for additional information about the investigation process, possible options for an informal resolution, and/or to receive supportive measures. Parties are entitled to have a support person of their choice attend any meetings with them for emotional support. The university will respects a Complainant’s request to not proceed unless there is a compelling threat to health and/or safety or other substantial university interest involved, so the Complainant is largely in control and should not fear a loss of privacy by making a report that allows the university to discuss investigation and resolution options and/or provide supportive measures. See Section VII for more information.
VI. Amnesty for Parties and Witnesses
To encourage reporting and participation in the process, the university maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations – such as underage consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs – related to the incident. Amnesty does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug distribution. Amnesty may take the form of education on the consequences of the policy violation in lieu of punitive sanctions.
VII. Supportive Measures
The university will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged violations of this policy, regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties. These measures are intended to restore or preserve access to the university’s Education Programs or Activities, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the university’s educational environment, and/or deter harassment and retaliation.
The Equal Opportunity Officer promptly makes supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint.
The university will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair the university’s ability to provide the supportive measures. The university will act to ensure as minimal impact on the parties as possible.
The university will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party.
These actions may include, housing modifications, additional time for classroom assignments, modifications to a work/class schedule, or a university no contact order.
Violations of no contact orders may result in further action as applicable, including possible suspension, expulsion, or termination from the University of Puget Sound for retaliation and/or failure to comply with the reasonable directives of campus officials.
VIII. Responsible Employees – Expected to Report All Relevant Information to Equal Opportunity
The university has classified most employees as Responsible Employees, which means they are expected to promptly report to the Equal Opportunity Officer any knowledge they have that a University Community Member is experiencing discrimination, harassment, or retaliation; however, Responsible Employees are not required to report information disclosed at public awareness events or other public forums in which students or employees may disclose incidents of prohibited conduct.
Responsible Employees include all university faculty and staff, with the exception of those identified as a confidential or privileged resource. Student staff and student leaders are not considered Responsible Employees while performing in these roles unless their job descriptions or student leadership agreements specifically identify this responsibility.
Responsible Employees should make every effort to ensure that the reporting party understands their reporting obligations.
When someone discloses or reports conduct prohibited under this policy to a Responsible Employee, the Responsible Employee is expected to promptly report all known details to the Equal Opportunity Officer. Details include but are not limited to the following: the names of all parties involved; the date(s), time(s) and specific location(s) of the alleged misconduct; and a description of the incident(s). The information reported to a Responsible Employee will be shared only with those responsible for handling the university’s response to the report or those who have a need to know. Complainants or other reporting parties are urged to file a report directly with the Equal Opportunity Officer using one of the options above.
IX. Confidential Resources – Required to Report only Non-identifying Information to Clery Coordinator; No Report to Equal Opportunity Officer
A Confidential Resource is someone identified by this policy who is not required to report identifying information to the Equal Opportunity Officer about prohibited conduct under this policy but who must report non-identifying information to the Clery Coordinator for federal Clery Act (campus crime) reporting purposes. A person disclosing an incident must understand that if disclosures are made to a Confidential Resource, no report to the Equal Opportunity Officer will occur and therefore no investigation, resolution, or sanctions can take place unless it is separately reported to the Equal
Opportunity Officer, an Alternate Designee, or a Responsible Employee. A reporting party who works with a Confidential Resource may also decide to file a report with the university and/or report the incident to local law enforcement and may choose to participate in an investigation.
A list of individuals who have been designated as Confidential Resources and have the obligation to report only non-identifying information about conduct prohibited by this policy to the Equal Opportunity Officer can be found at pugetsound.edu/title-ix-equal-opportunity/resources.
X. Privileged Resources – No Report to Clery Coordinator or Equal Opportunity Officer
A Privileged Resource is someone who is not required to report any information about any conduct prohibited under this policy to the Clery Coordinator or the Equal Opportunity Officer as long as the Privileged Resource received the information while performing in their official capacity (though they may still be required by law to report information to law enforcement in certain circumstances). A list of individuals who have been designated as a Privileged Resource can be found at pugetsound.edu/title-ix-equal-opportunity/resources.
XI. Effective Date
This policy is effective as of May 12, 2023.
XII. Related Statutes, Regulations, and Policies
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
- Age Discrimination in Federally Assisted Programs Act of 1975
- Americans With Disabilities Act
- Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871
- Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Executive Order 11141
- Executive Order 11246, amended by Executive Order 11375
- Faculty Code
- Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
- Office for Civil Rights “Dear Colleague Letter,” July 29, 2003
- Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct
- RCW 49.60 (Discrimination, Human Rights Commission)
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Staff Policies
- Statement on Academic Freedom and the Exercise of Free Speech
- Student Integrity Code
- Tacoma Municipal Code Chapter 1.29
- Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Violence Prevention Policy
- Procedure for Responding to Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment
Policy Owner: Equal Opportunity Officer
Date Adopted: May 12, 2023
1 The university’s Policy Prohibiting Sex-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct covers discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.