Date of Senate Approval 05/08/03
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Statement of Faculty Senate Action:
FWDC 19: Proposal to establish the Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee as a Standing Committee
Faculty Handbook Section 10.4.28
The Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee (SHAC), an oversight committee, will:
review the sexual harassment policy currently in place; serve as an educational and support
resource for the campus on these issues; serve in a fact-finding role for harassment cases;
identify and select sexual harassment advisors and ensure their training.
Faculty Conciliator, ex officio
One Senior staff member from Student Affairs, ex officio (appointed by VCSA)
Director of Human Resources, ex officio
One staff member, serving a two-year term (appointed by CSAC)
One student representative, serving a one-year term (appointed by SGA)
Two faculty members, serving staggered 2 year terms (appointed by FWDC)
Reports to: VCAA
Recommendations to: the Chancellor
The Faculty Senate established a Sexual Harassment Policy documented in Senate Document 6096S with the date of approval given June 2, 1996. This document provides the legal basis upon which sexual harassment and discrimination shall be addressed. It further states the applicability of this policy, the definitions of sexual harassment, penalties, assurances against retaliation and malicious complaints, confidentiality, and responsibility for implementation of policy.
A committee was informally created in response to this policy statement. Its purpose was to act as an advisory board to the Chancellor. Its duties would respond to the directives given in the document, i.e., to undertake the investigation of all complaints as defined in Senate document 6096S. The committee was to determine facts judged on the basis of investigations into complaints arising out of Quid Pro Quo situations, normally arising out of an authority relationship (i.e., when the harasser is directly in a superior position, such as in the case of a supervisor and subordinate or teacher and student, or when the harasser has the (indirect) power to direct others who have the authority over the victim); and with respect to environmental harassment (when the harassment has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment which unreasonably interferes with another's work, academic performance, or privacy), on the basis of what is reasonable to persons of ordinary sensitivity; and not on the particular susceptibility of an individual, unless that susceptibility is known to the alleged harasser.
The Sexual Harassment Advisory Committee has acted as an advisory on these matters up to his time without the proper designation as a standing committee. Its status as an ad hoc committee could very well undercut the very purpose of the policy statement, since it might be construed as being activated only in special cases. In addition, it is clear that the University would benefit from educational and outreach efforts to ensure that sexual harassment does not occur in the first place, and that members of the University community have a clear sense of procedures to follow when harassment does occur. A more proactive approach will benefit the campus community by ensuring that UNCA is a safe place to teach, learn, work, and live. Following the recommendations of the Sexual Harassment Task Force, the campus climate will be improved with the addition of sexual harassment advisors who are trained in these matters to serve as front line contacts for members of the campus community who are victims of sexual harassment. Note that while two of the SHAC members should be trained as advisors, there should be non-committee members who serve as advisors as well so that there is a separation between the advisors--who serve as victim advocates--and the people who are serving in an investigative role for the campus.