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Office of Human Capital Development announces new policies on discrimination and harassment
Syracuse University today announced a revised and comprehensive policy regarding sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse. The new policy sets clear parameters and provides specific direction to University employees and the wider SU community with respect to appropriate conduct and the reporting of actual or suspected misconduct.
The University’s omnibus Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault Prevention Policy will work in concert with existing University policies on discrimination and sexual harassment affecting employment and educational opportunities. It defines sexual harassment, discrimination and misconduct; offers guidance on prevention; and outlines procedures for filing complaints, conducting investigations, taking action and reporting to law enforcement agencies. This policy replaces the prior Sexual Harassment Prevention Procedures in order to more thoroughly cover issues of conduct, procedure and reporting.
The policy designates Cynthia Maxwell Curtin as the University’s Title IX Compliance/Sexual Harassment Officer. In August, the University appointed Curtin Executive Director of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services, a new unit in Human Capital Development. Curtin has a background in the training, educational and legal aspects of discrimination. She will be providing experienced leadership in efforts to reduce workplace conflict and maintain a safe and productive campus for working and learning.
Title IX is the section of federal education law that forbids sex discrimination in all areas of educational programs, from admissions to science and technology programs, and from career programs to athletics, including the prevention of sexually abusive conduct. Curtin will work to ensure compliance with Title IX and toward supporting a University and educational culture that is equitable for all.
In addition to the omnibus policy outlined above, the University has updated its Exempt and Non-Exempt Staff Sexual Harassment Prevention Procedures to be followed by those who wish to file a sexual harassment complaint against a non-faculty SU staff member.
The University also has revised both its policy on inappropriate conduct by faculty members and the complaint procedure for allegations of inappropriate conduct by faculty. Both were approved by the University Senate in April and are now posted in the Faculty Manual. Also posted on the University policies web site is a revised statement on non-consensual sexual activity regarding faculty, staff and students that is consonant with the policies discussed above.
All of these measures embody the themes of the recently published “Creating a Safe Environment: University Statement of Principles” and are consistent with the University’s ongoing effort to provide an open, safe environment for all SU community members and visitors, including minors.
The Joint Board of Trustees/SU Working Group on Policies Related to Sexual Conduct, Campus Culture and Safety, which helped develop the Statement of Principles, also helped formulate the recently revised policies and procedures. At the end of August, that group released the University Statement of Principles, as well as a set of directions for staff and faculty to follow regarding actual or suspected abuse or violence against minors.