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(Updated June 22, 2009)
The right of free speech and the open exchange of ideas and views are essential, especially in a learning environment, and Colby College upholds these freedoms vigorously. The College is committed to assuring dignity for all and desires to be welcoming to every member of the campus community. In furtherance of that aim, Colby has developed this policy, which prohibits harassment.
Harassment is defined as unwelcome hostile or intimidating remarks, spoken or written (including, for example, e-mail, text messages, postings on electronic message boards, voicemail messages), or physical gestures directed at a specific person based on that person’s race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, parental status, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity. Sexual harassment includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when this conduct is unwelcome and explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's educational experience or employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's educational or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment. Because harassment results in loss of self-esteem for the victim and in the deterioration of the quality of the classroom, social, or workplace environment, the College prohibits harassment, including sexual harassment.
Harassment by any student or by any employee of the College will not be tolerated. It also is a violation of this policy for any person accused of harassment to retaliate against any person who reports an incident of harassment. Students and employees should feel free to report such incidents without fear of reprisal.
Harassment incidents can range from the subtle to the overt. Regardless of the type of harassment, incidents should be addressed promptly by dealing with the incident and/or individual directly, using one of the procedures outlined in this document, or utilizing resources described in the brochure “Harassment Information for the Colby Community” and online at www.colby.edu/administration_cs/eeo/harassment-brochure.cfm. Prompt notification is important because harassment might be difficult to investigate and substantiate long after the incident has occurred. The purpose of making a complaint is to enable the College to investigate incidents of harassment and to permit the College to act promptly to remedy any violation of this policy.
Persons in Authority
Those in positions of authority in all sectors of the College community must recognize that there can be an element of power in their relationships with persons having less authority. Faculty members must be aware that they are persons in authority over all students, because faculty can, sometimes unexpectedly, find themselves responsible for the instruction or evaluation of any student at the College. Supervisors are persons in authority over subordinate employees in their departments. It is the responsibility of the person in authority not to abuse that power. Relationships between consenting adults that would otherwise be acceptable can pose problems when one of the two has authority over the other. Such relationships should be avoided. Students or employees who become involved in an unwelcome relationship with a person in a position of authority in which harassment as defined in this policy is occurring are encouraged to report the harassment to the College’s Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, a member of the Harassment Advisory Group, the Dean of Students, Dean of Faculty, or Human Resources.
Harassment in the Classroom
Colby believes that academic freedom is the cornerstone of a college education, and faculty members have wide latitude to conduct classroom sessions in creative and intellectually stimulating ways. A true and valued learning experience may cause discomfort, as students are challenged and exposed to new and perhaps disquieting ways of thinking or living. Nonetheless, students have the right to participate in the classroom without being subjected to harassment in violation of this policy. It is incumbent on faculty members to balance the demand of rigorous and thought-provoking teaching with the expectation that students will not be personally harassed or singled out in the learning process on the basis of group membership. Instructors have the special responsibility to explain to their students, when necessary, the educational purpose of any classroom technique or practice.
The equal employment opportunity officer is the primary resource to the Colby community for issues regarding harassment. The officer is available to formally investigate complaints and maintain appropriate records in accordance with the College document retention policy, review and recommend policies and procedures, conduct harassment prevention training, and convene the Harassment Advisory Group. The equal employment opportunity officer also is available informally for impartial advice or assistance regarding conflicts of a harassing nature.
In addition to the equal employment opportunity officer and other usual sources of support (Office of the Dean of Students, residence hall staff, Counseling Services, chaplains, faculty members, the Dean of Faculty Office, supervisors, Human Resources), Colby College has established a Harassment Advisory Group (HAG). The group, all volunteers, is composed of two faculty members, four students, two administrators, two support-staff members, and one person with counseling training experience. The group strives to be broadly representative of the Colby community. Members of HAG will be available to assist a student, faculty member, or staff member who believes that he or she may have been the victim of harassment to serve as a confidential means by which to gather information and identify options for the individual. HAG also participates in the review of policies and procedures.
The names and phone numbers of members of the Harassment Advisory Group are posted on bulletin boards around campus or can be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Students, the Dean of Faculty Office, Human Resources, the President’s Office, Security, or online at www.colby.edu/administration_cs/eeo/harassment-advisory-group.cfm
Harassment Policies and Procedures