Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Equal Opportunity & Access
Discrimination & Harassment Based on Sexual Orientation (WIU's Position Statement)
What Is It?
Discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation may take many forms. It ranges from evaluation of educational or work performance to physical assault based on presumed or actual sexual orientation. A person's educational, employment, or personal security may be threatened or impeded because of actions against them based on sexual orientation. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is a violation of WIU policy.
Anything that hurts one member of the Western Illinois University community hurts us all. Discrimination of any kind is wrong because it undermines the spirit of trust and integrity upon which our learning depends. We must all accept the responsibility of fostering the quality of environment where students, faculty, staff, and administrators respect one another and work together for the benefit of all. Discrimination based on sexual orientation violates that trust, and will not be tolerated.
Who Are the Victims?
Anyone can be the victim of sexual orientation discrimination. It can be used against anyone for the denial of human rights and civil liberties. It is directed against people who are perceived to be or who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
Individuals are the targets of discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation if:
Maria is a senior working diligently to complete a major semester-length project. On the eve of her presentation, her professor deletes from the project a component perceived by the professor to be "a homosexual inference". If Maria refuses to change her project, she will not pass the course.
Marcus is in a class in which the professor consistently belittles and demeans historical figures or current celebrities with comments about their sexual orientation. When Marcus speaks to the professor about these classroom remarks, Marcus is insulted with the same abusive terminology. From that time on, Marcus is singled out in class with embarrassing comments.
Susan is a second year member of the faculty. She attends a public lecture on lesbians in American religion. Later that week, a senior colleague on her department's tenure committee suggests that the department does not want to get the image that its members are gay or lesbian.
Robert is a second semester freshman living in a residence hall. One of his floormates returns after getting drunk. He loudly accuses Robert of being a "faggot". From that day on, everyone shuns Robert. He finds abusive and threatening graffiti on his door, and one day his room is vandalized.
Donna is a secretary for a university office. She has an opportunity to transfer and upgrade her job classification. She learns from a friend that even though she had the highest exam score, the supervisor conducting the interview learned that she had a female roommate. Donna was not offered the promotion.
Earl is a concerned student who seeks change in society. He reads about Denim Day in the school newspaper. He decides to support the gay and lesbian students on campus by wearing denim jeans. When leaving an afternoon lab, he is physically assaulted by students shouting "queer lover".
What Can You Do About Discrimination?
All members of the university community have a personal interest in eliminating all forms of discrimination and harassment from their environment. They may result in psychological injury to the victim, and may have physical, professional, and economic consequences. Discrimination of any kind undermines the integrity of the bond that holds our community together.
In its efforts to resolve complaints which are filed by employees or students, the University will adhere to relevant legal definitions as they develop as well as to those applicable ethical standards of professional behavior which have been arrived at the rough consensus by the academic community.
All University administrators and supervisors are charged with the responsibility that the University's non-discrimination policy is carried out. The President and Vice-President have ultimate responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy.
The University offers the following avenues of resolution for persons wishing to voice or file complaints:
Resolution of violations of this policy can be sought by contacting the Affirmative Action Officer, Department Chairpersons, Deans, Directors, Civil Service Supervisors, the University Personnel Director, Student Advocate, staff of the University Counseling Center, Student Personnel Services, or Student Residential Programs. These contacts provide an opportunity for persons with a complaint to discuss their complaints confidentially and consider alternatives, and for University officials to provide information and make appropriate referrals to other departments and offices.
Resolution of violations of this policy can also be sought through established complaint procedures. Complaints involving students or staff will be received by the Affirmative Action Office according to the guidelines outlined in the University's Discrimination Complaint Procedure. This procedure is published in the Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, and the Civil Service Handbook. Complaints will also be received by the student Judicial Affairs Office according to the guidelines in the Student Conduct Code published in the Student Handbook. Complaints involving civil service employees may also be received by the University Personnel Office according to the guidelines published in the Civil Service Handbook.
Administrative action against faculty or staff who violate this policy will be carried out in accordance with established collective bargaining and other applicable employee procedures. Appropriate sanctions will be applied as provided under those procedures.
Sanctions for students will be in accordance with the provisions of the Student Conduct Code.
If You Are A Victim
- Do not ignore the behavior hoping that it will cease. This is not an effective way to deal with discrimination or harassment.
- Do not blame yourself. People do not bring discrimination upon themselves nor do they deserve to be harassed.
- Do not keep it to yourself. You will help yourself and others by speaking up.
- File a report with the Affirmative Action Office within thirty days. You will be protected from retaliation for reporting.
If You Are A Witness
- Do what you can to stop the offensive behavior immediately.
- Offer whatever support the victim needs.
- Inform the victim of his or her rights.
- Report the incident to the Affirmative Action Office.
If You Are A University Administrator
Act promptly to investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination and harassment brought to your attention. As a supervisor, your failure to act would be a violation of University policy.
Contact the Affirmative Action Officer for advice if you are aware of conduct that may be discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation.
Western Illinois University Non-Discrimination Statement
Western Illinois University is an equal opportunity educational institution and does not discriminate in any aspect of its educational programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, religion, age, marital status, national origin, disability, or veteran status.
Our Job is Education
The President's Task Force to End Homophobia conducts educational seminars, in-service training, and workshops for classes, student or employee organizations, or any interested groups. Contact the Affirmative Action Office at 298-1977 for information about scheduling a program or presentation.