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Free Speech

Anti-Harassment Policy

I. General Policy Statement

Syracuse University is committed to maintaining an environment that fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding and respect while protecting the free speech rights of the members of its community. The University prohibits Harassment related to any protected category including, without limitation, race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.

This policy governs non-sexual harassment at the University. For issues relating to sexual harassment, please see the Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault Prevention policy, which is available here: Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault Prevention Policy. The University's non-discrimination policies are available here: University Governance, Ethics, Integrity, and Legal Compliance.

II. Reason for Policy/Purpose

This policy is intended to ensure that of all members of the Syracuse University community learn and work in an environment that is free from Harassment. It is meant to promote free speech, and foster a community of engagement and respect.

The University's protection of these statuses is grounded in state and federal law. These requirements include but are not limited to: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, and, by extension, sexual violence; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits institutions that receive federal funds, including the University, from discriminating on the basis of race; Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender, and applies to employment and education programs and activities; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination in employment and education programs and activities based on disability; and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older.

III. Policy

The University does not unlawfully discriminate in offering equal access to its educational programs and activities or with respect to employment terms and conditions on the basis of an individual's race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law (each defined as a "Protected Category"). As part of this commitment, the University prohibits Harassment on such grounds.

The University is also committed to protecting academic freedom and the freedom of speech by members of its community. This policy is not intended, and may not be applied, to abridge the free speech or other civil rights of any individual or group on campus. However, harassing speech or conduct that effectively prevents equal access to University programs or otherwise violates federal or state law, or University policy, is prohibited. The following policy defines prohibited Harassment.

  1. Prohibited Harassment

    Members of the Syracuse University community are prohibited from engaging in Harassment. Harassment is defined at the University as unwelcome conduct or speech directed at an individual or group of individuals, based on a Protected Category, which is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, terms of employment, educational program participation, or it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for study, work, or social living. To qualify as Harassment under this policy, the speech or conduct must be both viewed by the listener(s) as Harassment, and be objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the speech or conduct constitutes Harassment.

    In determining whether reported speech or conduct qualifies as Harassment under this policy, the University will consider all circumstances surrounding the reported incident(s), including, without limitation, the frequency, location, severity, context, and nature of the speech or conduct, including whether the speech or conduct is physically threatening or humiliating, rather than a mere offensive remark. The University will also consider the intent of the speaker(s).

  2. Protection Against Retaliation

    The University will not tolerate retaliation or discrimination against persons who report or charge Harassment or against those who testify, assist or participate in any investigation, proceeding or hearing involving a complaint of Harassment. In this context, retaliation means action that adversely affects another’s terms or conditions of employment or education and is motivated by an intent to harm the targeted person or group because of his or her participation in the filing or investigation of an allegation of Harassment.

  3. Complaints and Sanctions

    Syracuse University encourages the reporting of all perceived incidents of Harassment. Upon a report of Harassment, the University will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations. Upon completing the investigation, the University will take appropriate corrective or disciplinary action consistent with the results of the investigation. Disciplinary action may be taken against community members who violate this policy, up to and including expulsion of students or discharge of employees.

    The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will administer and decide complaints of Harassment against students or registered student organizations pursuant to the Code of Student Conduct and the Student Conduct System Handbook. The Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Resolution Services will administer and decide complaints of Harassment against faculty or staff pursuant to the Faculty Manual or this policy, respectively.

    To report incidents of Harassment, or to discuss the appropriate course of action, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity, Inclusion & Resolution Services at (315) 443-4018 or equalopp@syr.edu.

    Employees who believe that they are being discriminated against and/or harassed should promptly report such harassment to any one of the following:

    • His or her immediate supervisor, the supervisor's supervisor, or a dean;
    • Office of Human Resources; or
    • Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services.

    The University reserves the right to investigate circumstances that may involve Harassment in situations where it has a reasonable basis to believe that Harassment has occurred, even where no complaint, formal or informal, has been filed.

IV. To Whom Does This Policy Apply

Students, Faculty, Staff, Visitors/General Public

V. Appendices (as applicable)

  1. Procedures

    The procedure for making a complaint of non-sexual harassment depends on the status of the parties involved as follows:

  2. Definitions
    • "Harassment" -- Members of the Syracuse University community are prohibited from engaging in Harassment. Harassment is defined at the University as unwelcome conduct or speech directed at an individual or group of individuals, based on a Protected Category, which is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, terms of employment, educational program participation, or it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for study, work, or social living. To qualify as Harassment under this policy, the speech or conduct must be both viewed by the listener(s) as Harassment, and be objectively severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would agree that the speech or conduct constitutes Harassment.
    • "Protected Category" -- Protected Category is defined in this policy as a personal characteristic that is protected by law, including an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable law.
  3. Forms
  4. None

  5. Other Related Policies and Documents
  6. Frequently Asked Questions

    To be developed.

Date: Created: 10/21/16
Updated: 12/13/16


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