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Sexual Harassment

On April 16, 2019, Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney established a task force to study UMass Lowell's current policies and practices regarding sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is conduct that is severe or pervasive, which explicitly or implicitly interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working/academic environment.

No employee, student or visitor may sexually harass any member of the university community. Additionally, the university complies with Title IX. Therefore, no employee or student may face barriers to participation in UMass Lowell’s programs and services because of gender. These prohibited barriers include sexual harassment and sexual violence.

For information about sexual or dating relationships between faculty and their students, or between employees and their supervisor, please see Consensual Relationships (pdf).

Also, it is unlawful to retaliate against any person who brings a complaint or is a witness in a complaint of sexual harassment. For example, even if, after an investigation, it is found that a person's claim of sexual harassment is not substantiated, it is improper and unlawful to take any action to "get even" with the complaining party, whether through his or her employment or academic status, or by any threats, or by any other means.

Responsible Reporting Employee

If a Responsible Reporting Employee knew or reasonably should know that sexual harassment was taking place, he or she is required to respond by taking action to stop the behavior, and reporting it to Equal Opportunity and Outreach.

Additionally, responsible reporting employees must take reasonable proactive steps to become aware of potential incidents, which must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator.

Whether or not a university employee or student is a responsible reporting employee, all members of the university community are encouraged to practice bystander awareness and to report possible Title IX violations.

Workplace and Educational Environment

UMass Lowell is required to take every measure to prevent sexual harassment and retaliatory harassment. The practical responsibility for preventing discrimination lies with each member of the community, including you.

Sexual harassment is unacceptable in any workplace or educational environment. UMass Lowell has policies and support structures to enable everyone on campus to work and learn in an environment free of harassment.

Please refer to the Definitions section. 

For more information please refer the following:

For information specifically for students, please see the Student Conduct Code and Conduct Process website.

For UMass Lowell’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response information, please see Section 5 of the Annual Security Report.

University of Massachusetts Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines

Policy Statement

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell or University), as a public institution of higher education of the Commonwealth, recognizes its responsibility to promote the interests and welfare of the public it serves. In so doing, the University reaffirms its commitment to employment practices and a learning environment free of discrimination and harassment. At UMass Lowell, equal opportunity and safe working and learning environments are not only just, but also the foundation for a diverse, inclusive and highly effective community in which all members may thrive.

It is the policy of UMass Lowell that all members of the University community, its applicants, visitors and vendors, may not be subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment in employment, admissions, participation in its programs, services and activities, and selection of vendors who provide services or products to UMass Lowell. UMass Lowell also prohibits practices that adversely impact protected classes. Classes protected under the law and these Guidelines include: religion or religious belief, color, race, veteran or military status, age, sex (including sexual harassment; sexual misconduct; and marital, paternal, or family status), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, disability, genetic information, and pregnancy or related conditions.

UMass Lowell complies with all federal and state anti-discrimination laws and regulations, including those covering affirmative action: Massachusetts General Law Chapter 151B, Executive Order 11246, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Civil Rights Act of 1991, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as Amended 2008, Age Discrimination Act of 1967, Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), Veterans Assistance Act of 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq., and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 106, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, Pub. Law 113-4 (VAWA), as well as other applicable state and federal laws.

The University of Massachusetts Lowell does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities, and it is required by Title IX not to discriminate in such a manner. Unlawful discrimination or harassment based on sex includes sexual harassment and all forms of sexual misconduct. Please see the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Concerns / Complaint Procedure (pdf).

UMass Lowell employees and employment applicants to UMass Lowell have the right to be free from discrimination due to pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy. This includes, but is not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child. Also, employees may request a reasonable accommodation based on pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, without being subject to adverse action. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment that allows the employee or job applicant to perform the essential functions of the job while pregnant or experiencing a pregnancy-related condition, without undue hardship to the employer. Requests for accommodation may be made to Equal Opportunity and Outreach (EOO), 978-934-3565, Wannalancit Business Center, 3rd Floor, 600 Suffolk Street, Lowell, MA 01854. If you have questions or need information about lactation rooms, please contact EOO.

Responsible employees are required to report a possible violation of these Guidelines, as described below.

If the provisions of these Guidelines are violated, the University will take appropriate steps to halt the inappropriate behavior and address its effects. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has been committed by one of our employees, regardless of whether conduct constitutes a violation of these Guidelines, University administration or supervisors will take such action as is appropriate under the circumstances. Such action may range from counseling to termination from employment. Equal Opportunity and Outreach may provide recommendations for the consideration of administrators regarding appropriate administrative actions.

Required Training: Faculty, new employees and new students are required to complete an in-person or web-based training on the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The employee harassment prevention training is available in the Equal Opportunity and Outreach website. New employees and new supervisors must participate in the training within three months of beginning the new position or the new supervisory role and they are strongly encouraged to do so within the first month of employment or the new supervisory role. Coaches, staff, and student-athletes in the Division of Athletics must complete training on sexual violence prevention, intervention and response annually. Additional in-person training on a variety of topics for employees is offered through Workplace Learning and Development.

These Guidelines not only reflect the requirements of law, but also serve as a basis for the best possible education and the most effective workplace. They are in accord with the University of Massachusetts Non Discrimination and Harassment Policy, T16-040.

Purpose

The purpose of these Guidelines is to:

  • Establish standards for behavior and policies whereby all members of the UMass Lowell community may have equitable access to its programs and services
  • 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 or complaint regarding a potential violation of these Guidelines
  • Describe responsibilities of faculty and supervisory employees regarding reporting a concern that these Guidelines may have been violated
  • Delineate potential consequences for violations of this policy

Scope

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.

Definitions

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; and;
  • University employees providing administrative, operational and/or related support for a confidential employee in the performance of such services.

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 by a person or persons against another person or persons based upon their legally protected class that adversely has the effect of:

  1. unreasonably interfering with a person or person’s employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, or participation in University programs or activities; or
  2. unreasonably interfering with a person or person’s work or academic performance; or
  3. unreasonably creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

In addition, retaliation by the University or by any employee against anyone who raises concerns about discrimination is equally prohibited.

Responsible Employee is an employee (a) who, because of his/her position, must report known or possible incidents of sexual violence or any other sexual misconduct by students or employees, including the known details of the incident and the name(s) of alleged victim(s) and respondent(s), to the Title IX Coordinator(s) or other appropriate school designee; or (b) who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment/misconduct; or (c) whom a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty. Campus police officers are Responsible Employees; but, see exception for public safety personnel. UMass Lowell’s Responsible Employees include the following categories of employees:

  • Administrators
  • All faculty
  • Staff who direct the work of others in supervisory roles
  • Campus police officers (but, see exception noted below)
  • Resident assistants
  • Student Affairs staff (including student employees)
  • Coaches in the Division of Athletics
  • Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants
  • Academic Program Coordinators
  • Advisors of student clubs
  • Supervisors of summer programs
  • Study-abroad program chaperones

Exception for public safety personnel: Although campus police officers are designated as Responsible Employees, if a student or employee reporting sexual assault or domestic violence requests confidentiality, the campus police officer must not disclose the name of the reporting party to the Title IX Coordinator(s).

Retaliation is the interference through intimidation, including 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 or interfering with an individual’s right to make a complaint, testify, assist, or participate in any manner in an equal opportunity investigation, proceeding or hearing, or to intervene to prevent a violation of UMass Lowell Guidelines or policy related to equal opportunity.

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. Gender protections also include sexual violence, pregnancy and related conditions. National origin protections include equal access to individuals with limited English proficiency.

Procedures

Individuals who believe they are subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation may file a concern or complaint. Concerned parties are asked to complete the form at the end of the Equal Opportunity Reporting and Claims Procedure before they meet with EOO staff. The EOO staff, located at Wannalancit, 3rd Floor, 600 Suffolk Street, Lowell, MA 01854, telephone 978-934-3565, fax 978-934-3032, will assist in resolving concerns or complaints. These matters will be responded to as expeditiously as possible to facilitate resolution. The concerned person and the respondent who meet with EOO may be accompanied by a support person.

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 (DOE) may submit a complaint in writing to Field Civil Rights Officers located in the DOE’s field offices or to the Director, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20585. 

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 or sexual misconduct files an anonymous complaint using the Bias Incident Report form, or if the individual reveals their identity but requests confidentiality or anonymity, this may limit the university’s ability to respond. Please note that Title IX and this policy prohibit retaliation. The university takes steps to prevent retaliation and will take strong responsive action if it occurs. The 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 students, and the rights of the respondent to receive information about the identity of the concerned person and the concerns, if sanctions may result.

Responsible employees:

  1. are required to report a possible violation of these Guidelines, that is, a possible occurrence of unlawful discriminationharassment, or retaliation to Equal Opportunity and Outreach, within 24 hours.
  2. are expected to exercise vigilance in any instance where they should reasonably know of the existence of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Responsible employees must take reasonable proactive steps to become aware of potential incidents, which must be reported.
  3. are encouraged to foster learning and work environments in which community members feel free to report any concerns without fear of retaliation. A climate in which faculty and supervisors model respect and inclusion is one in which a violation of these Guidelines is less likely to occur.

As a performance factor, UMass Lowell administrators are charged with the responsibility to support this and other equal opportunity policies and the Affirmative Action Plans. They are expected to be actively engaged in developing and achieving designated objectives and goals.

All members of the UMass Lowell community are encouraged to practice bystander awareness, that is, to take action to end and report potential sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, and to report those incidents or concerns to the Title IX coordinator(s). For more information, please see the Be An Active Bystander webpage. Employees are also encouraged to monitor their work environment for the presence of any forms of unlawful discriminationharassment, 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 Equal Opportunity and Outreach website.

Knowingly providing a false equal opportunity concern or complaint is prohibited. This violation will subject the person to discipline who knowingly provides such false information.

Responsibility

Responsible Employees must report potential violations of the guidelines, as indicated above.

In consultation with Equal Opportunity and Outreach, administrators must enact remedial measures as appropriate to stop, remedy, and prevent future occurrence of violations of these Guidelines.

The Director of Equal Opportunity and Outreach, Clara I. Reynolds, is the Title IX Coordinator and the Section 504/ADA Coordinator. She is responsible for implementation of these Guidelines and of the affirmative action programs for women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and protected veterans.

Attachments

UMass Lowell’s Affirmative Action Plan is available for inspection from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays in Equal Opportunity and Outreach at the address listed above.

July 9, 2019