In this section

BIAS, DISCRIMINATION, & HARASSMENT

About This Policy

Responsible Officer
University President

Policy Owner
Director of Human Resources

Policy Contact
Kate Ketterling

Issued
2020-02-18

Policy Statement


North Central University is committed to maintaining a Christ-centered community in which all members of the North Central University community are treated with respect and dignity, free from bias, discrimination, and harassment.

As a faith-based institution, the university is exempt from certain laws and regulations concerning discrimination and maintains the right, with regard to admissions, enrollment, employment, and other matters, to uphold and apply its religious beliefs related to, among other issues, marriage, sex/gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and sexual activity.

Among other forms of discrimination, the university prohibits sex discrimination in accordance with Title IX, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination and includes a variety of unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature, including gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual assault.  The university does not, in accordance with Title IX, discriminate on the basis of sex in its employment, education, educational, extracurricular, athletic, or other programs.  The university will promptly and equitably respond to all reports of sexual misconduct in order to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects on any individual or the community.

Reporting
Report of an incident of bias, discrimination, or harassment is made to the university through an employee or through the electronic Bias Incident Form.

While the university encourages all campus community members to report incidents, university employees must report actual or suspected incidents of bias, discrimination, or harassment. When a report comes directly to an employee, the individual reporting is asked to fill out the incident report form.

Those with reporting responsibilities under this section must not undertake to investigate potential policy violations on their own and, instead, must report the potential policy violation as soon as possible in accordance with this policy, providing all known relevant details as part of the report.

Good Faith
Reports of alleged prohibited conduct must be made in good faith.  Reports that are not made in good faith may be a form of retaliation under this policy and/or may violate other university policies.  All parties and witnesses have an obligation to be truthful in the process.

University’s Response
The Bias Incident Response Team receives all reports. The director of human resources or their designee will take the lead on contacting the individual who made the report, performing the initial intake, and coordinating the process. The director of human resources will explain the process, answer questions, and assist the individual in making contact with campus safety and security and other appropriate resources.

The Bias Incident Response Team, a group of university of trained university employees, will consider how to proceed with regard to the report. If this initial evaluation determines that the university should move forward with conduct procedures, the process will be initiated. In cases where it is determined that there is no policy violation, this group will discuss any other procedures, including a conversation with involved parties.

Investigations
Investigations will provide a fair and reliable gathering of the facts. Investigations will be thorough, impartial, fair, and will be adjudicated according to a standard of the preponderance of evidence to determine whether it is more likely than not a violation occurred.

Appeals
Either the complainant or respondent may appeal the results of the formal resolution process for one or more of the following reasons:

  • A procedural error occurred that substantially affected the outcome of the process.
  • There has been the discovery of significant new factual material that was not previously available to submit to the investigator that could have affected the original outcome.
    • Intentional omission of factual information by the appealing party is not a ground for an appeal.
  • The sanction or other response by the university under the formal resolution process was excessively severe or grossly inadequate.

Either party may request an appeal by submitting a written appeal statement, not to exceed 2,000 words, which must explain which of the bases above the party is citing for the appeal. A written appeal must be submitted to the Senior Leadership Team within seven (7) calendar days following the notification of findings. Failure to file a timely appeal constitutes a waiver of any right to an appeal.

In an appeal, the burden of proof is on the appealing party to show that it is more likely than not (i.e. preponderance of evidence) that one or more of the above grounds for appeal are satisfied.

Appeals are not allowed in cases where the parties have agreed to a voluntary alternative resolution of the matter.

Sanctions
In imposing any sanctions and remedies for a policy violation, the university reserves the right to take measures deemed necessary to protect the rights and personal safety of the complainant and the university community.

Retaliation
The university prohibits any form of retaliation against any individual because of the individual’s good faith participation in reporting or otherwise expressing opposition to, suspected or alleged misconduct, or participating in any process designed to review or investigate suspected or alleged misconduct or noncompliance with applicable policies, rules, and laws. No employee will be adversely affected because they refused to carry out a directive which constitutes fraud or is a violation of local, state, federal or other applicable laws and regulations.

Individuals who believe that retaliation is occurring or has occurred, as a result of their good faith participation, must report those acts to the Office of Human Resources or to the appropriate university administrator to which the complainant feels most comfortable reporting.

 

Reason For Policy


This policy provides information regarding the university’s prevention efforts related to bias, discrimination, and harassment. The policy also explains how the university will proceed once it is made aware of the allegations of prohibited conduct in keeping with the university’s values and in order to meet the legal obligations of Title VI, Title VII, and Title IX, and other applicable laws.

 

Policy Scope


This policy applies to all North Central University community members, including on campus and online students, employees, faculty, administrators, staff, applicants for admission, and to other individuals or entities, such as visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, or other individuals or entities that interact with any member of the university’s community, have any official capacity with the university, or are present on university property.

This policy applies to all forms of bias, discrimination, and harassment, except for sexual misconduct which encompasses sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating/intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation.  Concerns about sexual misconduct should be reported in accordance with the university’s Title IX Policy, which establishes separate procedures for reporting and resolving allegations of sexual misconduct. Allegations of sex discrimination that do not involve sexual misconduct will be processed under this policy.

 

Appendices


  • There are no appendices associated with this policy.

 

Additional Contacts


SubjectContactPhoneEmail
Primary ContactKate Ketterling612.343.4442kaketter@northcentral.edu
Title IX CoordinatorKate Ketterling612.343.4442titleix@northcentral.edu
Student ConductJeremy Williamson612.343.4450jdwillia@northcentral.edu
Emergencies911
NCU Security612.343.4445security@northcentral.edu
NCU Security - Emergencies612.343.4444

Definitions


Accused
An individual who has been accused of prohibited conduct under this policy.

Adjudicator
Trained, neutral, and impartial decision-maker. 

Adverse Action
|
Any action that might deter a reasonable person from engaging in reporting suspected or alleged misconduct, expressing opposition to alleged misconduct, participating in an investigation related to a misconduct allegation, or accessing the Office for Human Resources services. Examples of adverse action include, but are not limited to: impeding the individual’s academic advancement; departing from any customary academic or employment practice regarding the individual; firing, refusing to hire, or refusing to promote the individual; transferring or assigning the individual to a lesser position in terms of wages, hours, job classification, job security, employment or academic status; and threatening or marginalizing an individual. In some situations, retaliatory conduct may also include inappropriate disclosure of the identity of the individual who has made a complaint protected by this policy. 

Bias
An act directed toward an individual or community based upon actual or perceived background or identity including: age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status 

Bias Incident Response Team
The Bias Incident Response Team is a trained group of university employees that receives incident reports, conducts investigations, and adjudicates incidents.  Team members:

  • Kate Ketterling, Director of Human Resources
  • Jeremy Williamson, Dean of Students
  • Desiree Libengood, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Chair of the Diversity Advisory Committee

Complaint
An alleged policy violation that begins a complaint resolution process under this policy. 

Complainant
The person(s) filing a complaint with the University under this policy.  The term “complainant” may also be used to refer generally to a person alleged to have been subjected to conduct that violates this policy, whether or not he or she has filed a complaint. 

Discrimination
The differential treatment based on a person’s protected characteristic, including sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, marital or familial status, pregnancy, genetic information, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic, that interferes with or limits that person’s ability to participate in or benefit from a program or activity of the University or that adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education. 

Harassment
The unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based upon a person’s protected characteristic, including sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, marital or familial status, pregnancy, genetic information, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic when:

  • Submission to that conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s educational experience or employment, or the individual’s submission or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for an employment, academic, or other educational decision; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially and unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or education, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment (“hostile environment” harassment).

Hostile Environment
Includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent, and clearly/objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of education or employment, from both a subjective (the victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

The circumstances to determine whether an environment is “hostile” could include:

  • The frequency of the conduct.
  • The nature and severity of the conduct.
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening.
  • The effect of the conduct on the victim’s mental or emotional state.
  • Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person.
  • Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct.
  • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the victim’s educational or work performance.
  • Whether the statement is an utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by rudeness.
  • Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom.

Interim Measures
Examples of interim actions include, without limitation:

  • Establishing a “no contact” directive prohibiting the parties involved from communicating with each other during the response and resolution process.
  • Changing an individual’s on-campus residency, dining, or transportation arrangements.
  • Special parking arrangements.
  • Changing an individual’s campus residency, facility access, dining or transportation arrangements.
  • Changing an individual’s student or employee status or job responsibilities.
  • Changing an individual’s work or class schedule or job assignment.
  • Providing academic accommodations or providing assistance with academic issues.
  • Arranging a leave of absence.
  • Providing security escorts.
  • Assisting with the identification of support resources, such as counseling and medical services

Preponderance of Evidence
Preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that a policy violation has occurred. 

Reasonable Person
A reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant. 

Report
An account of the conduct that has allegedly occurred in violation of this policy. 

Respondent
The person(s) named as the accused in a complaint under this policy. 

Retaliation
Adverse action against an individual because she or he has made a protected disclosure or has participated in an investigation, proceeding or hearing involving a protected disclosure. 

Sanctions
Consequences of policy violations.

Sanctions for employees may include, but are not limited to: education, training, counseling, coaching, warnings, reprimands, transfer, demotion, loss of compensation, privilege and/or access restrictions, no contact and/or no trespass directives, restitution, behavioral agreements, termination of employment, and/or ineligibity for rehire.

Sanctions for students may include, but are not limited to: education, training, counseling, coaching, warnings, reprimands, privilege and/or access restrictions, no contact and/or no trespass directives, restitution, behavioral agreements, delay of a diploma or degree, denial of a diploma or degree, revocation of a diploma or degree, probation, suspension, expulsion, and/or ineligibility for re-admission.

Sanctions to university organization may include, but are not limited to, loss of university privileges (including, but not limited to, prohibition on the organization’s participation in certain activities and the use of university facilities), educational requirements for organization members, required additional oversight of organization activities, temporary loss of funding and/or loss of recognition by the university, and permanent loss of organization recognition, in addition to individual members of the organization who are determined responsible for a policy violation being subject to the sanctions listed above. 

University Community Member
On-campus and online students, employees, faculty, administrators, staff, applicants for admission, and to other individuals or entities, such as visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, or other individuals or entities that interact with any member of the university’s community, have any official capacity with the university, or are present on university property.

 

Responsibilities


University Community Members

  • Report instances of discrimination and harassment.
  • Participate in investigations related to discrimination and harassment.

Office of Human Resources

  • Receive complaints related to instances discrimination and harassment.

Director of Human Resources

  • Manage the procedures related to this policy.
  • Coordinate investigations related to instances of discrimination and harassment.

Adjudicators

  • Review evidence related to claims of discrimination.
  • Impose sanctions and/or remedies as necessary to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

University President

  • Receive, as necessary and appropriate, complaints related to instances of discrimination and harassment by the Office of Human Resources.
  • When required, coordinate investigations related to instances of discrimination and harassment.

Chair, Board of Regents

  • Receive, as necessary and appropriate, complaints related to instances of discrimination and harassment.
  • When required, coordinate investigations related to instances of discrimination and harassment.

 

RELATED INFORMATION


Related Policies & Procedures

Related Legislation

  • Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act as amended
  • Minnesota Human Rights Act

 

History


Amended
2020-08-10 Updated members of Bias Incident Response Team.

Issued
2020-02-18