I. Scope

This policy prohibits discrimination and harassment by all members of the Earlham community. Earlham community members include students, trustees, alumni, faculty, administration, staff, visitors, volunteers, independent contractors, and any individuals regularly or temporarily employed, studying, living, visiting, conducting business, or having any official capacity at Earlham College and the Earlham School of Religion.

II. Introduction

The testimonies of the Religious Society of Friends regarding peace, community, and equity affirm the centrality of mutual respect in inquiry and social discourse at Earlham College. Members of the Earlham community are expected to “act with regard for the intellectual, physical and emotional well-being of everyone” (see Principles and Practices), and the institution is committed to providing an educational and employment environment free from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other protected category under applicable law. Accordingly, discrimination and/or harassment, including bullying, on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other Protected Category is prohibited at Earlham. Further, bullying, whether based on someone’s membership in a legally Protected Category or not, is a violation of this policy.

This policy applies to conduct occurring on Earlham property or within Earlham-sanctioned events or programs taking place off-campus, including study or research abroad, community-based learning, and internships. The policy also applies to off-campus conduct, including the use of technology, that violates this policy if such conduct may have substantial adverse effect on any member of the Earlham community.

III. Definitions

  1. Chief Diversity Officer: The Cabinet-level Earlham administrator with responsibility for development and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within the organization. The Chief Diversity Officer is appointed by the president.
  2. Grievance: A formal complaint alleging a violation of this policy.
  3. Prohibited Conduct: Prohibited Conduct includes discrimination, harassment or bullying on the basis of a protected characteristic. Engaging in Prohibited Conduct constitutes a policy violation that may result in sanctions.
  4. Protected Category: A group protected from discrimination by federal or state law, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972; Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994; Indiana Code § 22-5-4-1; and Indiana Code § 35-38-9-10.
  5. Respondent: An individual who is alleged to have committed Prohibited Conduct.
  6. Sanction: A formal college response or punishment should a student or employee be found Responsible for violation of this policy. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, termination of employment and expulsion.

IV Prohibited Conduct

The following are prohibited conduct under this policy:

  1.  Bullying: The aggressive and hostile acts of an individual or group of individuals that are intended to humiliate, mentally or physically injure or intimidate, and/or control another individual or group of individuals based on a Protected Category. Under this policy, bullying may take a number of forms: i.e., physical bullying, verbal or written bullying, nonverbal bullying, and/or cyberbullying.
  2. Discrimination: Federal law defines discrimination as differential treatment of an individual or group of people based protected characteristics, including race, color, national origin; religion; sex, including pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions; age; disability; veterans and past or present service members. See Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Age Discrimination Act of 1975; Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. Indiana law also prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of off-duty tobacco use, and sealed or expunged arrest or conviction record. See Indiana Code § 22-5-4-1, Indiana Code § 35-38-9-10.
    1. In determining whether discrimination occurred, Earlham considers whether there was an adverse impact on the individual’s work or education environment and whether individuals outside of the protected class received more favorable treatment.
    2. If there was an adverse impact on the individual’s work or education environment, Earlham considers whether there is a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the action.
  3. Discrimination on the basis of race: Federal regulations specifically prohibit race-based disparate treatment o related to a student’s receipt of services or any other benefit of educational programs, or employment.
    1. In almost all circumstances, separating students based on race violates the law and this policy, even if programming for each group is identical.
    2. Under federal regulations and College policy, prohibited conduct includes discrimination based on a person’s actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, which may include characteristics associated with specific religious groups.
  4. Harassment: Federal law defines harassment as verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of race, color, national origin, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability or any other Protected Category or that of his/her relatives, friends or associates, and that 1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or study environment; 2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or study performance; and 3) otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment or learning opportunities.
    1. Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to, epithets, slurs or negative stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; denigrating jokes and display or circulation on the campus of written or graphic material that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group (including through email and social media).
    2. Harassing conduct not based on membership in a Protected Category that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s access to education or work, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment or academic experience, is also prohibited and will be addressed by the appropriate human resources, academic affairs, or student conduct processes.
  5. Race-based Harassment: Federal law defines race-based harassment is unwelcome race-based conduct that, based on the totality of circumstances, is subjectively and objectively offensive and is so severe or pervasive that it limits or denies a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities.
    1. The conduct may be directed at anyone, and the harassment may also be based on association with others of a different race. Additionally, a hostile environment may take the form of a single victim and multiple offenders.
    2. When investigating an allegation of race-based harassment, Earlham will make its determination based on the totality of circumstances. Relevant factors for consideration may include, but not be limited to, the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of race-based harassment, as well as the identity, number, age, relationships of the persons involved.
  6. Sexual Misconduct: An umbrella category that includes offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, among other prohibited behavior on the basis of sex. Please refer to Earlham’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy Violations Grievance Procedures.
    1. Sexual harassment: The unwelcome imposition of sexual attention often in the context of a relationship of unequal power. Sexual harassment is any conduct, physical or verbal that is sexual in nature and which has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s or a group’s educational or work performance, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive educational or work environment. It can include unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature made by someone from or in the workplace or educational setting. Sex or gender-based harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. There are two types of sexual harassment claims: hostile work environment and quid pro quo.
      1. Hostile environment is created when the occurrence is (1) sufficiently severe; or (2) persistent; or (3) pervasive; or (4) objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational and/or employment, social and/or residential program.
      2. Quid pro quo is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that involves a person having power or authority over another.
    2. Sexual violence: Any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone’s will. Sexual violence encompasses a range of offenses including but not limited to a completed or attempted nonconsensual sex act such as rape, abusive sexual contact such as unwanted touching, and non-contact sexual abuse such as threatened sexual violence, exhibitionism and verbal sexual harassment. All types involve victims who do not consent or who are unable to consent or refuse to allow the act.
    3. Intimate partner violence: Sometimes referred to as domestic battery or dating violence, intimate partner violence describes physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur between individuals in romantic relationships and does not require sexual intimacy. Intimate partner violence can vary in frequency and severity. It occurs on a continuum, ranging from verbal abuse that may or may not impact the victim to chronic, severe battering. There are four main types of intimate partner violence including but not limited to:
      1. Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing death, disability, or injury. Physical violence includes but is not limited to: scratching; pushing; shoving; throwing; grabbing; biting’ choking’ shaking; slapping; punching; burning; use of a weapon; and use of restraints or one’s body, size or strength against another person.
      2. Sexual violence is defined above.
      3. Threats of physical or sexual violence is the use of words, gestures, or weapons to communicate the intent to cause death, disability, or injury.
      4. Psychological/emotional violence involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics. Psychological/emotional abuse can include, but is not limited to: humiliating the victim, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information from the victim, deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed, isolating the victim from friends and family, and denying the victim access to money or other basic resources. It is also considered psychological/emotional violence when there has been prior physical or sexual violence or prior threat of physical or sexual violence.
    4. Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (1) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purpose of determining if stalking has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will use the following definitions:
      1. Course of conduct means two or more acts including but not limited to acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follow, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
      2. Reasonable person means an individual under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
      3. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
    5. Sex- or Gender-based discrimination: Treating someone unfavorably because of that person’s sex. Discrimination against an individual because of gender identity, including transgender status or because of sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex in violation of Title VII. It is unlawful to harass a person because of that person’s sex.
    6. Sexual exploitation: When one person takes a non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
  7. Retaliation: Taking an action that might deter a reasonable person from participating in activity protected by anti-discrimination and/or whistleblower laws. Protected activity includes: complaining about discriminatory or harassing behavior; disclosing/reporting violations of law, rule or procedure or fraud, waste or abuse; and participating in discrimination or whistleblower proceedings in good faith (such as an investigation or lawsuit).
    1. Retaliatory actions are not limited to formal actions such as termination, demotion, non-promotion, or non-selection.
    2. Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, and/or harassment, whether physical or communicated verbally or via written communication (including via email or social media), as well as adverse changes in work or academic environments, or other adverse actions or threats.

V. Academic Freedom

The teaching and learning of the liberal arts at Earlham College rest on the principle of free inquiry and open discourse. This policy is not intended to inhibit or restrict free expression or exchange of ideas. Earlham’s commitment to academic freedom can be found in full in the Earlham College Faculty Handbook (Section M) and the Earlham School of Religion Faculty Handbook (Section L).

Speech or expression with legitimate and appropriate pedagogical purpose are not subject to sanction under this policy, unless they rise to the level discrimination, harassment or other prohibited conduct as described in part IV of this policy.

VI. Complaints and Resolutions

Any employee, student, or visitor to Earlham who believes they have been the victim of Prohibited Conduct noted in this policy may seek resolution through Earlham’s formal grievance procedures or through an informal resolution process.

  1. Informal resolution includes conversation and mediation. The purpose of this mediation is not to establish guilt or innocence, or to provide for sanctions against anyone involved, but to reach mutual understanding and resolution.
  2. Formal grievance procedure will result, for the Respondent, in findings of “Responsible” or “Not Responsible” regarding the prohibited conduct, and will include appropriate Sanctions when there is a finding of Responsible. Procedures for formal resolution of grievance are outlined in Earlham’s Grievance Procedures.
  3. All reports of sexual misconduct are investigated and resolved according to procedures outlined in Earlham’s Sexual Harassment Policy.
  4. If an incident does not rise to the level of discrimination and harassment as defined in this policy, but is alleged to be contrary to Earlham principles, Earlham will provide appropriate opportunities to mediate and resolve the incident.

VII. Duty to Report

  1. In order to promote an institutional environment free from discrimination and harassment and to promote equal opportunity, Earlham requires all employees who do not have a legal privilege of confidentiality and who become aware of alleged discrimination or harassment to report that alleged discrimination or harassment to the appropriate office.Complaints or notice of alleged policy violations, or inquiries about or concerns regarding this policy and procedures, may be made internally to:
    • Office of the President, Chief Diversity Officer
    • Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
    • Human Resources
    • Disability and Accessibility Services
    • Earlham School of Religion, Dean and Joint Seminaries Registrar
    • Office of Title IX

    Consult with the College Directory at earlham.edu or on the institution’s intranet (The Heart), for current contact information.

  2. The duty to report includes administrators, supervisors, managers, faculty and staff. Graduate assistants, resident assistants, teaching assistants, and student employees with clerical or administrative responsibilities are also required to report.
  3. Employees with a legal privilege of confidentiality under Indiana law (including licensed counselors acting in their capacity as counselors) are not required to report when the information is obtained in the course of a confidential communication.
  4. Failure to report credible and actual allegations of discrimination and harassment is itself considered a violation of this policy, and may be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

E. Filing Federal Complaints:

Members of the Earlham community may also make reports to:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800-421-3481
Fax: 202-453-6012
TDD#: 877-521-2172
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)-Chicago Office
U.S. Department of Education
John C. Kluczynski Building
230 S. Dearborn Street, 37th Floor
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone: 312-730-1560
Fax: 312-730-1576
TDD#: 800-877-8339
Email: [email protected]

For complaints involving employees, please refer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States Government. The EEOC has jurisdiction over Title IX employment claims. Please consult: http://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm to locate the local office’s contact info.

VIII. False Allegations and Evidence

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Additionally, witnesses and parties knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with, or destroying evidence after being directed to preserve such evidence or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation can be subject to discipline under this policy and the appropriate conduct policies and procedures.

IX. Policy Review and Amendment

Earlham’s Chief Diversity Officer is responsible for periodic review and amendment of this policy. Revisions will be reviewed by the Board’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee as well as its Audit, Risk Management, and Compliance Committee prior to full Board approval.

X. Review History

  • Approval by Board of Trustees, October 13, 2023
    • Review and Approval, Board Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, October 2, 2023
    • Review and Approval, Board Committee on Audit, Risk and Compliance, October 5, 2023
  • Community Feedback on Draft Policy, June 12 – September 11, 2023
  • Grievance Council, Consultation and Advice, Apr 7, 2023

Clerical Notes from Legal Review

October 30, 2023:

  • Definitions for Grievance, Prohibited Conduct, and Sanctions have been amended for clarity.
  • Protected Categories has been amended to Protected Category; references to protected class have been revised to read Protected Category.
  • Section VII. Duty to Report, amended to include contact information for the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

Policy specifications

Last revision: 10/13/2023
Responsible office: Office of the President
Responsible party(ies): Chief Diversity Officer
Approved by: Boart of Trustees
Approval date: 10/13/2023
Effective date: 10/13/2023
Related policies: Notice of Nondiscrimination
Associated division(s):
Associated audience(s):
Associated container(s):

Policy home: https://earlham.edu/policy/nondiscrimination-and-anti-harassment-policy