The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell or university) reaffirms its commitment to employment and pedagogical practices and a learning environment free of discrimination and harassment. At UMass Lowell, equal opportunity and safe working and learning environments are the foundation for a diverse, inclusive and highly effective community in which all members may thrive. These Guidelines incorporate standards of behavior that are consistent with the university's values. The university will not be tolerant of conduct which violates rights guaranteed to all members of its community, applicants, visitors, and vendors, including minors, by the law or the university's policies. Accordingly, the university prohibits unlawful discrimination and harassment based upon protected characteristics, and related retaliatory conduct, in accordance with state and federal non-discrimination laws, including, but not limited to, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Title IX regulations by the U.S. Department of Education (including the definition of sexual harassment as defined by the Title IX regulations), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws, and the University of Massachusetts Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy, T16-040.
If the provisions of these Nondiscrimination Guidelines are violated, the university will take appropriate steps to end the inappropriate behavior and address its effects. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been committed by one of our community members, regardless of whether conduct constitutes a violation of these Guidelines, the university’s administration or supervisors will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from counseling to separation from the university.
These Guidelines aim to support education, prevention and accountability and strive to create a workplace climate that is free of harassment.
The purpose of these Guidelines is to:
- Promote UMass Lowell's commitment to integrity in fostering equity, inclusion, and safe learning and working environments; and promote equitable, fair, consistent, and transparent standards to prevent and address unlawful discrimination, harassment including sexual harassment, and retaliation
- Provide an overview of the civil rights regulations to which UMass Lowell is subject
- Define behaviors which are prohibited
- Describe how to report a concern regarding a potential violation of these Guidelines
- Describe responsibilities of supervisory employees (including faculty), to share a concern that these Guidelines may have been violated. For potential concerns involving sexual harassment, as the term is defined by the Title IX Regulations, only Officials with Authority are required to report these concerns directly to the Title IX Coordinator;
- Delineate potential consequences for violations of these Guidelines
These Guidelines apply to all employees, students, vendors, and visitors of UMass Lowell. For further detail regarding how these Guidelines apply to students, please see the Student Conduct Code.
For definitions related to sexual harassment under Title IX, please see the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure.
Advisor is an individual who accompanies the reporting and the responding parties, who may provide support but may not speak on behalf of the person or otherwise participate in or contribute to a meeting, grievance proceeding, or hearing. Advisors have additional responsibilities for sexual harassment matters. Please see the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure, which define the role of Advisors in matters related to a formal Title IX Sexual Harassment complaint.
Confidential Employee is an employee who, because of his/her position, may not reveal an individual's identity or other information without permission, even to the Title IX Coordinator(s). The following categories of employees are confidential employees:
- Licensed sexual assault counselors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, clergy, and attorneys, and those persons working under the supervision of such individuals, when acting in their professional role providing services to a patient or client;
- University employees bound by statutory privilege obligations under Massachusetts law, such as religious practitioners who are not mandatory reporters for child abuse and neglect; and
- University employees providing administrative, operational and/or related support for a confidential employee in the performance of such services such as supporting staff for the roles listed above.
Gender Expression refers to the external characteristics and behaviors that relate to a perception of gender, including but not limited to dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, social interactions, and body characteristics.
Gender Identity refers to an individual's internal sense of gender, which may be male or female, man or woman, or not conforming to those binary genders. A person's gender identity may be different or the same as the person's sex assigned at birth.
Harassment is conduct against a person or persons based upon their legally protected class that adversely has the effect of:
- unreasonably interfering with a person or person's employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, or participation in University programs or activities; or
- unreasonably interfering with a person or person's work or academic performance; or
- creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
Retaliation is the interference through intimidation, threats, coercion, or unlawful discrimination, with an individual's right or privilege secured under the law [Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws, or other laws] to report or make a complaint, testify, assist or participate or refuse to participate in any manner in an investigation or grievance proceeding, or hearing, or to intervene to prevent a violation of the university's policy or this guidelines.
Sexual Harassment under Title IX is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that effectively denies a person equal access to the University's education program or activity; or
- "Sexual assault" as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), "dating violence" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (10), "domestic violence" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 1229(a)(8), or "stalking" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (30), as amended.
Sexual Misconduct is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when:
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person or persons is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such person or persons, or participation in University programs or activities; or
- such conduct unreasonably (a) interferes with a person or person's work or academic performance; (b) interferes with or limits a person or person's ability to participate in or benefit from a work or academic program or activity; or (c) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
Unlawful Discrimination is behavior that is directed at a specific person or persons that subjects them to treatment that adversely affects their employment, application for employment, education, admissions, university benefits, programs, or activities, because of their religion or religious belief, color, race, marital status, veteran or military status, age, sex (including sexual harassment), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, disability, genetic information, pregnancy or related condition, or any other legally protected class. National origin protections include nondiscrimination on the basis of language.
Individuals who believe they are subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may file a concern with the Office of Equal Opportunity & Outreach or, if concerns involve students as respondents, with the Office of Student Conduct (“Student Conduct”). Individuals who believe they are subjected to sexual harassment as that term is defined under Title IX may file a formal complaint directly with the university’s Title IX Coordinator. Reporting persons are encouraged to complete the Concerns Reporting Form before they meet with EOO or Student Conduct. EOO staff, located at Wannalancit, 3rd Floor, 600 Suffolk Street, Lowell, MA 01854, telephone 978-934-3565, fax 978-934-3032, will meet with individuals to review concerns involving employees. The staff of the Student Conduct, located at University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket Street, Lowell, MA 01854, telephone 978-934-2100, will meet with students to review matters involving students, as respondents. These matters will be responded to as expeditiously as possible to facilitate resolution. The reporting person and the responding person who meet with EOO or the Student Conduct may be accompanied by an Advisor.
Any individual with a concern of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in connection with any program or activity receiving assistance from the Department of Energy (D.O.E.) may also submit a complaint in writing to Field Civil Rights Officers located in the 'D.O.E.'s field offices or to the Director, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20585.
The university’s Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure and the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure describe the processes followed by the university’s staff to review unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation concerns, and sexual harassment as defined under Title IX complaints.
Confidentiality Requests: Only Confidential Employees can provide confidentiality. All individuals may discuss the matter with a Confidential Employee. Confidentiality cannot be ensured if the matter is also disclosed to another member of the university. If an individual with concerns regarding sexual harassment files an anonymous concern using the Concerns Reporting Form, their concern would not be considered a formal complaint. For sexual harassment (as defined under Title IX), formal complaints must be filed directly with the university’s Title IX Coordinator. If complaints of unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment as defined under Title IX, sexual misconduct, harassment and/or retaliation are file anonymously, the university’s ability to review and address their concern may be limited.
Please note that this policy prohibits retaliation. The university takes steps to prevent retaliation and will take strong responsive action if it occurs. The Associate Vice Chancellor of Equal Opportunity and Outreach and Diversity and Inclusion, and Title IX Coordinator will evaluate a confidentiality request in the context of the university's responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all its students, employees, and visitors, and the rights of the responding person to receive information about the identity of the reporting person and the concerns, if sanctions may result.
UMass Lowell administrators are essential to the successful implementation of these and other Equal Opportunity Guidelines, and the Affirmative Action Plans. By modeling these standards, and by actively designing and achieving programmatic initiatives and goals, they foster the principles of equity and inclusion upon which the Guidelines and Plans are based.
All members of the UMass Lowell community are encouraged to practice bystander awareness, that is, to take action to end and report potential violations of these Guidelines, and to report those incidents or concerns to EOO. Employees are also encouraged to monitor their work environment for the presence of any forms of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. A performance factor for all staff is compliance with these Guidelines and fostering inclusion with colleagues.
Additional information, including contact information to report a complaint of discrimination with an external agency, is available at uml.edu/equal.
Knowingly providing a false equal opportunity concern is prohibited. This violation will subject the person who knowingly provides such false information to discipline.
EOO, under the leadership of Clara I. Reynolds, Associate Vice Chancellor for Equal Opportunity and Outreach, Diversity and Inclusion, is responsible for the administration of these Guidelines. Clara I. Reynolds is also the Title IX Coordinator and the Section 504/ADA Coordinator and is responsible for the administration of the affirmative action programs for women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and protected veterans.
Administrators must enact remedial measures as appropriate to stop, remedy, and prevent future occurrence of violations of these Guidelines.
Attachments UMass Lowell's Affirmative Action Plan is available for inspection from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays in EOO at the address listed above.
August 13, 2020