Racial Harassment

Introduction

Northeastern State University believes in empowering students, faculty, staff, and the community to reach their full intellectual and human potential by creating and expanding a culture of learning, discovery, diversity, and inclusion. As such, NSU is committed to providing a college environment that is free from racial harassment and discrimination and does not tolerate harassment or discrimination on the basis of race. NSU values diversity and promotes the rights of individuals by providing equal access to educational and enrichment experiences, respecting cultural differences, and ensuring equal opportunity.

NSU will actively pursue reasonably calculated efforts to prevent racial harassment and/or discrimination and correct its discriminatory effects. NSU reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of misconduct in order to protect the personal safety and rights of others.

Racial Harassment Defined

Racial harassment is unwelcome conduct based on race, ethnicity, color, or national origin. Racial harassment may be physical, verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or written in nature and includes harassment on the basis of actual or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics. Racial harassment includes, but is not limited to, disparate treatment of other(s) based on race, ethnicity, color, or national origin.

Examples include but are not limited to: assigning grades differently based on race and/or denying access to an extracurricular activity based on race. Other examples include, racial epithets, jokes, slurs, stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating, demeaning, or hostile acts based on race, color, or national origin.

NSU’s prohibition regarding racial harassment applies to conduct by employees, students, and third parties such as vendors, contractors, invited speakers/performers, and individuals visiting NSU to participate in camps and other events.

While NSU may have a limited ability to control or take action against certain types of third parties, the Racial Harassment Grievance Procedure should neither prohibit nor discourage individuals from filing a grievance about conduct by an individual(s) and/or group who is not an NSU student or employee.

Reporting Racial Harassment

If you believe you were subjected to racial harassment, reports may be submitted to the NSU Compliance Coordinator and/or Director of Human Resources.

Compliance Coordinator Contact Information

Email: titleix@nsuok.edu

Phone Number: 918-444-2120

Mailing Address:
Compliance Coordinator
601 North Grand Ave
Administration Building
Tahlequah, OK 74464

Report a concern online

Director of Human Resources Contact Information

Email: humanresources@nsuok.edu

Phone Number: 918-444-2030

Mailing Address:
Director of Human Resources
601 North Grand Ave
Administration Building
Tahlequah, OK 74464

Report a concern through EthicsPoint:

University Response

NSU is committed to providing prompt and equitable investigations into, and resolutions to racial discrimination and/or harassment complaints.

NSU will:

  1. Conduct adequate, reliable, and impartial investigations into all reported complaints and will provide equal opportunity for complainants and respondents to present witnesses and relevant evidence as part of the investigation process
  2. Take action to provide remedies when discrimination is discovered
  3. Impose appropriate sanctions to individual(s), groups, or departments found to be in violation of this policy, including, but not limited to termination or remedial training for individuals, groups, and/or departments
  4. Take necessary action to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and eliminate its discriminatory effect
  5. Eliminate any hostile environment and its effects
    Back to Top
    Case Classification
    NSU reserves the right to classify a case as either formal or informal. As necessary, NSU reserves the right to initiate or continue an investigation, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings with our without a formal complaint or after the withdrawal of a complaint.

Informal Resolution (Complaint)

 

Within 180 days of the alleged violation, a complaint may be brought forward alleging racial harassment and/or discrimination. Following a complaint, parties may attempt to resolve the issue informally. A complaint is an individual’s informal disclosure of the experience they believe to be discriminatory and/or harassing in nature.

Back to Top
Formal Resolution (Formal Grievance)
Within 30 University business days following the outcome of an informal resolution or within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination and/or harassment if an informal resolution was not pursued, a formal grievance may be brought forward, in writing, alleging racial harassment and/or discrimination. If the complainant chooses not to pursue an informal resolution, or if a satisfactory outcome was not achieved through the informal process, a formal grievance may be filed.

The formal grievance must be in writing, signed or sent from the complainant’s NSU email address, and submitted to the Compliance Coordinator and/or Director of Human Resources or submitted through one of the online options provided above.

To ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, the grievance should provide as much of the following information as possible:

The name, department, and/or position of the person or persons being accused of racial discrimination and/or retaliation;
A description of the incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence of any witnesses;
The names of other students or employees who might have been subject to the same or similar racial discrimination or retaliation;
A statement of the desired outcome
Any steps the complainant has taken to try to stop the racial discrimination or retaliation, and any other information the complainant believes to be relevant.
Back to Top
Definitions
Complainant: any party who accuses another of violating this policy.
Respondent: The term “Respondent” includes any party accused of violating the policy. If the respondent is a group, department, or organization, the president or designee(s) of that group shall be the primary point of contact for communication with the Compliance Coordinator throughout and following the conclusion of conduct proceedings.
NSU as Complainant: As necessary, NSU reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate proceedings with or without a formal complaint.
University Business Day: University business days follow the university calendar and are typically Monday through Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Central Time. Closures due to inclement weather or other emergency do not constitute university business days.
Back to Top
Investigations
Within 10 University business days, the complaint/grievance will be reviewed in order to determine whether the reported incident demonstrates a possible violation of this policy. If so, an investigation will be conducted by the Compliance Coordinator, Director of Human Resources, and/or designee who will interview complainant(s), respondent(s), and appropriate witnesses and/or documentation. If allegations are made against the Director of Human Resources and/or Compliance Coordinator, the appropriate Vice President (or designee) will initiate the process of investigating the complaint.

All formal investigations will be conducted by at least two investigators. The investigation shall be concluded within a reasonable amount of time. The investigation will be conducted in a manner that it is adequate, reliable, and impartial.

Informal investigations may be conducted by the Director of Human Resources and/or Compliance Coordinator (and/or designee) but will not require a minimum of two investigators.

The investigation may include, but is not limited to, any of the following: interviews of the parties involved, including witnesses, document review, and the gathering of other relevant information.

Back to Top
Investigation Report
Once a formal investigation is concluded, a written investigative report shall be submitted to the Compliance Coordinator and/or Director of Human Resources (or designee), and appropriate supervisor in the case of an NSU Employee within a reasonable amount of time. The investigation report is a written report describing the factual findings gathered from the investigation with descriptions of all the interviews and any other documents reviewed. The Compliance Coordinator and/or Director of Human Resources (or designee), along with the appropriate supervisor, will determine whether further action is needed pursuant to NSU policy and/or state or federal law, and respond accordingly. If further action is deemed necessary resolution processes or disciplinary procedures will be initiated. If no further action is warranted, the complainant and respondent will be made aware of the closing of the case.

Back to Top
Resolution Processes/Disciplinary Procedures
Employee/Department
If the investigation finds reason to believe an employee(s) or department may have violated the terms of this policy, they shall be referred to a formal hearing panel for further disciplinary procedures in accordance with the Faculty Handbook and/or Employment Handbook.

Student/Organization
If the investigation finds reason to believe a student(s) or organization may have violated the terms of this policy a conduct conference will be held. During a conduct conference 1-2 conduct administrators (for lower-level accusations) or a minimum of 3 panelists (for higher level accusations where suspension from the university may be warranted) will be utilized. These individuals are selected by the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee. The conduct conference will be conducted in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct (Conduct Conference). At this conference, the panelist(s) will determine whether the student or organization violated this policy and assign sanctions accordingly.

Back to Top
Sanctions
Any individual(s) and/or groups found responsible for violating the Racial Discrimination policy will receive one or more sanctions. Depending on the severity of the incident, sanctions may include a range of discipline leading up to, and including, expulsion, and/or termination. Examples of other possible sanctions include: required training, conduct review, suspension, leave, or educational sanction. Previous disciplinary action may be considered during sanctioning.

Back to Top
Appeals
Employees
Either Party has the right to appeal this determination. The appeal is made by written request to the President of the University and must be made within ten calendar days of the date of the decision. If no written appeal is delivered to the President within the ten calendar day period, the case is considered closed. The decision of the President is considered final and binding (Section 8.5.6. of the Employment Handbook).

Students
To request an appeal, the student must submit the reason for their appeal in writing to the Compliance Coordinator within seven (7) University business days following the date the conduct conference outcome letter was sent. Any email should be sent from the student’s NSU email account. The appeals process will be conducted in accordance with the NSU Student Conduct Code.

Back to Top
Notifications
Both complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be provided with written notification of investigation outcomes. All outcomes shall be presented to the respondent(s) and complainant(s) in writing, simultaneously, by NSU email, postal service, or campus mail.

Back to Top
Records
Records detailing NSU’s investigation of a racial harassment and/or discrimination complaint will be collected and maintained by the Compliance Coordinator. This includes notes of interviews, copies of documents reviewed, and other relevant information. This record will be maintained for a minimum period of 7 years.

Back to Top
Retaliation
Retaliation is a direct or indirect action taken against a person or organization as a response to their involvement or affiliation with this process. NSU will not tolerate retaliation. A student, faculty, or staff member who retaliates in any way is subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Back to Top
Withdrawal of Complaint
The complainant may withdraw the complaint at any point prior to disciplinary proceedings by notifying the Director of Human Resources, Compliance Coordinator, or appropriate Vice President, in writing. Once withdrawn, the same complaint may not be resubmitted under any grievance procedure.