A new policy and a new revised interim regulation have been approved to take effect beginning in 2016 at East Carolina University. The policy reflects revisions to the university’s Notice of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action policy, while the other regulation addresses practices and procedures for the university’s response to any sexual and gender-based harassment and violence.
“Both policies reaffirm our commitment to equal opportunity, inclusion and our prohibition of discrimination, harassment and related retaliation,” said LaKesha Alston Forbes, associate provost for equity and diversity.
“Preventing discrimination and harassment—including sexual violence, developing equitable policies, responding to the needs of individuals affected, and raising awareness about these issues—are top priorities at East Carolina University,” she said.
The new policy and interim regulation are separate, Forbes noted. Since both are effective Jan. 1 and are commitments by the university to provide a safe, secure learning and work environment, the campus community was notified about the updates by email, website updates and social media before the holiday break. More communications about the changes are planned for the beginning of the spring semester.
On Nov. 20, 2015, the ECU Board of Trustees approved the revised Notice of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policy that will become effective Jan. 1, 2016. The policy supersedes all nondiscrimination provisions pertaining to university programs and activities. It applies to students, applicants, employees, visitors, volunteers and other third parties under circumstances within the university’s control.
Revisions to the policy:
clarify that sex discrimination explicitly includes discrimination based on pregnancy and pregnancy related conditions;
prohibit gender identity discrimination;
prohibit discrimination due to certain inquiries, discussions, or disclosures related to pay or the pay of another employee or applicant;
describe the University’s affirmative action obligations;
define unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation;
outline the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations (disability and religious);
communicate ECU’s responsibility regarding the prohibition of sex discrimination required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; and
explain ECU’s obligations to review or investigate prohibited conduct.
On January 1, 2016, the University’s new interim Regulation on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence, along with seven accompanying appendices will take effect. The new interim regulation was approved by Chancellor Steve Ballard Dec. 16 and incorporates into the university’s safety rules nationally recognized best practices. As an interim regulation, it will undergo a campus vetting process during the spring semester and be revised as necessary.
The interim regulation directs the grievance procedures of what will now be deemed “Prohibited Conduct.” Prohibited Conduct includes: sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, dating and domestic violence, stalking, sexual and gender-based harassment, complicity, and related incidents of retaliation.
Changes include, but are not limited to, the following:
new definitions include: sexual battery, sexual exploitation, gender-based harassment, and complicity;
consolidated process for handling complaints of both sexual violence (sexual assault and sexual battery) and interpersonal violence (dating and domestic violence and stalking);
associated regulations that enumerate the procedures for addressing complaints from both students and employees;
new resource guides for both student and employee complainants and respondents;
appendix that serves as a comprehensive compilation of the University’s prevention and education efforts regarding these issues; and
updated requirements for responsible employee training.
Employees who have not yet completed the online training “Preventing Discrimination and Sexual Violence” will be required to do so by April 15, 2016. New employees have 90 days from their date of hire to complete the training. To review the policy, visit http://ecu.edu/prr/06/40/03. Faculty, staff and students are strongly encouraged to review the new policies, as well as the related resource and reporting guides.