St. Olaf College is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the St. Olaf community — students, faculty, and staff are treated with respect and dignity, free from harassment. Faculty, staff, and students are together responsible for maintaining an educational and working environment that is harmonious with the College’s mission.
Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or any other protected class status when submission to such conduct:
Harassment of any member of the St. Olaf community by another community member is prohibited.
The College prohibits sexual harassment by any individual, including faculty, staff, students, and third parties such as consultants, contractors or vendors, in any form, including verbal, physical, and visual harassment. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any person found to have violated this policy.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct that emphasizes the sexuality or sexual identity of a person, such as: sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is distinguished from a voluntary sexual relationship by the introduction of the element of coercion, threat, hostility, or unwanted attention of a sexual nature.
Actions that can constitute sexual harassment include:
Although the facts of sexual harassment as listed above may seem self-evident, recognizing such behavior when it is happening to you or others around you may be difficult. Consider whether the behavior:
If at any time you are able to answer yes to any of the above questions, you should immediately contact the Director of Human Resources or another Investigating Officer.
Faculty and employees are reminded to review the College’s Consensual Relations policy for other guidance relating to romantic relationships.
Harassment Complaint Process
Concerns of harassment should be directed to an Investigating Officer. These are: the Director of Human Resources, Associate Director of Human Resources, Assistant Provost, or a professional member of the Dean of Students staff. Arrangements will be made to have the allegations investigated and complaints resolved appropriately.
The College will determine what type of investigation is appropriate given the circumstances. If it is determined that the matter can be resolved informally through discussion and education, the College may opt to respond through less formal means. If the investigator deems the offending conduct to be severe or pervasive, a more formal investigation may be deemed appropriate.
A formal complaint process will include the questioning of witnesses. The Investigator will ask to hear the particulars of the complaint. Complaints will be handled in as discrete and confidential a manner as possible. However, in order to aid in conducting a thorough investigation, the College cannot promise complete confidentiality.
The Investigator will investigate the facts of the complaint. The Investigator will seek facts to ascertain the circumstances of the complaint and generally will request that witnesses keep the discussion about the complaint confidential. All documentation regarding the investigation will be kept in a confidential file within the Human Resources Office. It will not be part of an individual’s personnel file.
If a violation of the harassment or sexual harassment policy has occurred, the College will take prompt and responsive action including (but not limited to) counseling or education on appropriate behavior, a requirement of behavioral changes, a written warning and/or other disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of employment or enrollment. Any written disciplinary action will be included in the individual’s personnel file.
Individuals involved in a harassment complaint must take care to neither say nor do anything that could be perceived as retaliation toward the complainant or any witnesses. Retaliation against any faculty, staff or student for making a complaint under this policy, or for participating in an investigation under this policy, is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action. If an individual believes he or she has been the subject of such retaliation, he or she should notify one of the Investigators as listed above.
Both the complainant and the accused are encouraged to seek counsel through the College’s Employee Assistance Program or other support mechanisms available on or off campus. Assistance in locating appropriate support may be requested from the Human Resources Office.
Rationale and Definition
A Consensual Relationship as that term is used in this policy is one in which two members of the St. Olaf College community are engaged by mutual consent in a romantic or sexual relationship. When such a relationship involves people who differ in power within the College community, it is of special concern because of the potential for conflict of interest and/or abuse of power. Decisions that must be made free from bias or favor may come under question when made by a person who may benefit from or be harmed by the decisions. The mere appearance of bias resulting from a Consensual Relationship may seriously disrupt the academic or work environment. Equally important, such relationships have the potential to undermine our sense of community, mutual trust, and support.
The seeds of harassment and sexual harassment can exist in Consensual Relationships of any kind that involve differences of status or power. For these reasons, St. Olaf College has adopted the following policy with respect to Consensual Relationships and places all employees on notice that the College views Consensual Relationships between College community members, especially when a power relationship exists, as unwise and of a high risk, particularly when students are involved. Furthermore, should any legal claims arise out of a consensual relationship between communities members, the defense of such claims will generally be the responsibility of the parties involved.
Consensual Relations Policy
A. St. Olaf College strongly discourages Consensual Relationships between staff and faculty members where a power or reporting relationship exists.
B. St. Olaf College prohibits Consensual Relationships between a faculty or staff member and any student enrolled at the College.
In situations involving the discouraged behavior in part A, the College reserves the right to transfer employees, rearrange reporting arrangements, or take other action, including disciplinary action, to remedy any situation deemed inappropriate. A member of the College community who violates part B will be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.
Reporting Apparent Violations and Procedures for Action
Any member of the College community who has reason to believe that a violation of the Consensual Relations Policy has occurred should contact one of the Investigators listed under the Sexual Harassment Policy. The Investigator contacted is responsible to see that the matter is investigated and/or acted upon appropriately. Any concern about violations at the Dean/Vice President/Provost level may be taken to any of the Investigators, or to the President, who shall take, or cause to be taken, appropriate action. If a student believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, he or she also may file a grievance under the student grievance policy published in “The Book.”