This BSU Student Handbook is a guide to student's rights, responsibilities and resources.
Procedures for filing sexual harassment charges
Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome verbal, nonverbal and/or physical behavior of a sexual nature that has the effect of interfering with student or employment status. It creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment. Sexual harassment incidents can involve a male harasser and a female victim, a female harasser and a male victim and also same sex harassment.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Examples of sexual harassment may include but are not limited to: verbal conduct of a sexual nature; subtle pressure for sexual activity; sexual remarks about an individual's or group's body or sexual activities; unnecessary touching, patting or pinching; demands for sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats or offers concerning one's job, grades, letter of recommendation, etc.; physical sexual assault.
The complete text of the sexual harassment policy and procedures is available in the Office of Affirmative Action and the Office of Student Affairs.
Consensual relationships: There are no laws forbidding romantic or sexual relations between any members of the BSU community, whether the relationship is between a student and professor, supervisor or employee or others.
However, if one person in the relationship has "authority" in any form over the other, be it the ability to give grades, make promotions or other actions, both parties should take care. Even when both parties have consented to the relationship, there may be serious concerns about conflicts of interest, unfair treatment or untrue charges of harassment. Under such circumstances, the person in the position of power should relinquish decisions related to grading, evaluations, promotions, etc. to avoid any misunderstandings.
Filing sexual harassment charges: It is the responsibility of BSU to provide an atmosphere free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation and reprisal. The Office of Affirmative Action and the Office of Student Affairs are responsible for providing advice and assistance to individuals who believe they have been sexually harassed. Charges may be filed with either office in the following ways:
These agencies include:
U.S. Office of Education/Office for Civil Rights
Rm. 222, McCormack Post Office and Courthouse Building
Boston, Massachusetts 02109
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
Boston, Massachusetts 02203
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
The informal complaint procedures may be used by any person who believes that she or he has been sexually harassed by an employee or vendor of the university or by a student of the university. The complaint procedures may also be used by a person who believes she or he has been the victim of retaliation for filing a complaint of sexual harassment.
To request an informal investigation, a complainant should schedule a meeting with the Office of Affirmative Action or the Office of Student Affairs, preferably within 30 days of the incident. After meeting, an investigation will be conducted by a staff member and efforts will be made to mediate and resolve the situation. If the complainant does not want his or her identity known, the mediator will keep the discussion sufficiently broad to protect the complainant's identity, even though pursuing allegations and securing individual remedy may be difficult under these circumstances.
Prior to filing a complaint a person may want to seek advice and support from a member of the university community who knows how to help:
If the informal investigation and mediation process does not yield an acceptable resolution, the complainant may:
The formal complaint procedure may be used by any person who believes that she/he has been sexually harassed by an employee or vendor of the university or by a student of the university.The formal complaint procedures may also be used by a person who believes he or she has been the victim of retaliation for filing a complaint of sexual harassment. A person may use the formal complaint procedures without first using the informal complaint process.
To make a formal charge, a complainant should schedule a meeting with the Affirmative Action Office or the Office of Student Affairs, preferably within 30 days of the incident. At that time, the complainant will sign and file a Discrimination Complaint Form, accompanied by any pertinent supporting documentation. In the formal complaint process, the name of the complainant will be known to the accused.
After the form has been filed, the Office of Affirmative Action or the Office of Student Affairs will begin an investigation of the incident. An attempt will be made to solve the problem to the mutual agreement of all. At any time during the investigation, the complainant may withdraw the charges or the complaint may be resolved through the written agreement of the parties and the Office of Affirmative Action. If no agreement is reached, the Office of Affirmative Action will make a recommendation to the parties and to the president, based on the findings of the investigation. If either party contests the findings of the investigation, a formal hearing will be conducted to hear testimony from all concerned parties.
Last Modified: May 8, 2013