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M. Policy and Procedures on Sexual Harassment

1. General Statement Against and Definition of Sexual Harassment

Illinois Tech is committed to ensuring an environment for all members of its community that is fair, humane, and respectful - an environment which supports and rewards student, faculty and staff performance on the basis of relevant considerations such as ability and effort. Behaviors that inappropriately assert sexuality as relevant to student, faculty or staff performance damage this environment. Therefore, Illinois Tech strives to provide for its students, faculty and staff an educational and employment environment free of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment as defined and otherwise prohibited by local, state and federal law. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or sexually-directed remarks constitute harassment when either:

  1. Submission to such conduct is used or threatened to be used as the basis for academic or employment decisions; or
  2. Such conduct directed against an individual persists despite its rejection.

Sexual harassment by any member of the Illinois Tech community is prohibited. This prohibition includes peer harassment among students, staff or faculty. Sexual harassment by a faculty member or teaching assistant of a student over whom he or she has authority or by a supervisor of a member of the faculty or staff is particularly serious. Such conduct may easily create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Sexualharassment can take many forms. Some of these are overt and unambiguous, while others may be more subtle and indirect. Direct forms of sexual harassment include sexual assault and sexual advances accompanied by an offer or reward or threats of reprisal. Such behavior constitutes serious misconduct, and a single incident establishes grounds for a complaint. Other forms of sexual harassment include sexual advances, physical or verbal, that are repeated and unwanted.

Romantic relationships that might be appropriate in other contexts may, within a university, create the appearance or fact of an abuse of power or of undue advantage. Moreover, even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic involvement, such consent does not preclude a subsequent charge of sexual harassment against the instructor or supervisor.

2. Possible Individual Actions Other than Complaint

With respect to students, in circumstances where it would not jeopardize personal safety, job status or academic status, a student subjected to unwelcome attention should communicate clearly to the offender that the behavior is not welcomed and should cease immediately.

To the extent possible, an effort should be made to determine whether others have been harassed by the same offender. Together, complainants are in a stronger position to cope with the situation and the offender. Advice on how to deal with a situation may be sought from:

  • The Title IX Coordinator, 312.567.5725, foster@iit.edu;
  • The Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 312.567.3134, miranda@iit.edu;
  • The Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, 312.567.3080, kstetz@iit.edu; or
  • The Assistant Dean for Academic Administration and Student Affairs at Chicago-Kent 312.906.5289, ssowle@kentlaw.iit.edu.

3. Making a Complaint; Investigatory Possibilities

If a student who believes that he or she was subject to sexual harassment is reluctant or unwilling to inform the alleged offender that the behavior is unwelcomed or he or she has done so but is not satisfied with the outcome, such student may file a complaint alleging violation(s) of this Policy with the Office of Student Affairs or the Title IX Coordinator (contact information for both is noted above) or online at http://www.iit.edu/incidentreport. The privacy of the student-complainant and those accused of violating this Policy will be protected throughout proceedings to the extent possible, and proceedings, meetings and hearings concerning harassment will, consistent with the relevant policies pursuant to which they are conducted, be closed. All reasonable measures will be taken to assure that no one involved in any complaint, investigation, or remedy shall suffer retaliation as a result of the proceedings, as Illinois Tech policy expressly forbids any such retaliation.  Action will generally not be initiated without the consent of the student-complainant. However, Illinois Tech must retain, and hereby retains, the right to conduct an investigation without the consent of the student-complainant if it determines that such investigation is necessary to protect the interests of the individuals or Illinois Tech. A student-complainant who wishes to proceed with his or her complaint has two options: informal consultation and resolution, or formal action.

Note: Sexual misconduct (as defined in Section N) is a form of sexual harassment, but not all sexual harassment constitutes sexual misconduct. The adjudication of claims of sexual misconduct will always be handled pursuant to and in accordance with the policies and procedures applicable to sexual misconduct, including, the prohibition on the ability to mediate sexual assaults.

a. Informal Consultation and Resolution
The informal complaint resolution process seeks to provide an opportunity for the complaint to be resolved by mutual agreement between the student-complainant and the alleged offender. The implementation of this informal process will be the responsibility of the Dean of Students, the Title IX Coordinator or such other senior official of Illinois Tech (such as the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or Director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action) that the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator may designate. The person assigned to implement this process is referred to as the “responsible party.” To ensure compliance with Illinois Tech’s legal obligations and/or as otherwise determined to be appropriate, the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator may, at any time, require a complaint to be resolved through Formal Action.

Under the informal complaint resolution process, the responsible party is expected to review the complaint and explore avenues for informal resolution with the student-complainant. Illinois Tech recognizes that it must balance the student-complainant’s right of privacy against the need to be fair to the alleged offender. To this end, after consulting with the student-complainant, the responsible party will meet with and provide the written complaint or a summary thereof to the alleged offender. The responsible party has the discretion to determine whether the situation warrants a meeting(s), either jointly with the student-complainant and the alleged offender or separately; provided, however, the student-complainant may not be compelled to meet with the alleged offender. Any person involved in the informal resolution discussion may be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choosing, whose purpose is only to support the individual not to participate in the process. The responsible party has the discretion to determine whether investigation of the complaint requires interviewing other persons who may have witnessed the alleged behavior or might have information that would otherwise be helpful to reaching a resolution.

The responsible party will seek to resolve complaints expeditiously, but in a manner that is consistent with the severity or complexity of the matter. It is generally expected that the informal resolution process will be completed within 30 business days. The responsible party will notify the complainant in writing of the results of the investigation and the action to be taken by Illinois Tech to resolve the complaint. If informal resolution fails to resolve the matter to the student-complainant’s satisfaction, the complainant may initiate Formal Action.

b. Formal Action
At his or her option, a student-complainant may elect to forego or to cease Informational Consultation and Resolution and to proceed with Formal Action. This means that the appropriate, formal Illinois Tech policies and procedures will be utilized to investigate and resolve the complaint. In the case of student-on-student sexual harassment and in cases were the alleged perpetrator is a student, such policies and procedures are those provided for in this Student Handbook. If the alleged sexual harassment was perpetrated by an Illinois Tech faculty member or staff member, such policies and procedures are those provided for in the Faculty Handbook and Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual, respectively.