Taylor University Policy

Student Policy Prohibiting Race-, National Origin-, and Ethnicity-Based Harassment or Discrimination

Scope

This policy applies to enrolled current students at Taylor University.

Introduction

Taylor University is a community of Christians intentionally joined together for academic progress, personal development, and spiritual growth. The mission of Taylor University is to develop servant-leaders marked with a passion to minister Christ’s redemptive love, grace, and truth to a world in need.

Taylor University believes that every person is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), has immeasurable value, and is worthy of protection. As an intentional community based on the Gospel, which transcends ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, and national divisions, the Taylor community covenants to practice true friendship by loving our neighbors as ourselves, extending hospitality, forgiving one another, defending the persecuted, and living in peace with others.

To maintain this community, Taylor University has established policies to outline behavioral standards and guide institutional response to violations of these standards.

Definitions

The below-listed items are definitions of behaviors prohibited under this policy. An individual found responsible for violating this policy can expect to face disciplinary sanctions.

Protected Status

A category by which a person is qualified for special protection by law, policy, or similar authority. As a religious institution, Taylor University retains the right to make employment, admission, and educational decisions based on an individual’s religious beliefs and conduct consistent with the Life Together Covenant and applicable law. Within the parameters of the University Statement of Faith and Life Together covenant, there shall be no discrimination due to race, color, national origin, citizenship status, sex, age, disability, or other defining characteristics.

Discrimination

Unequal, adverse treatment of an individual because of his or her protected status.

Harassment

Unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s protected status that denies or limits the ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or activities.

Inappropriate Conduct

Verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct that degrades a person or group based upon race, national origin, or ethnicity. This includes but is not limited to: unwelcome and offensive jokes, mocking, epithets, practical jokes, gestures, threats, physical attacks, vandalism, and graffiti.

Retaliation

Action taken toward a participant in the complaint process that (i) adversely affects the individual’s opportunity to benefit from the University’s programs or activities, and (ii) is motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s participation in the complaint process.

Complainant

The individual (s) who initiates a formal complaint.

Respondent

The individual(s) against whom the formal complaint is made.

Parties

Collective term to indicate both complainant(s) and respondent(s).

Policy

Taylor University does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or bias on the basis of race, national origin, or ethnicity; similarly, the University prohibits inappropriate conduct on the basis of race, national origin, and ethnicity-based. Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion.

Reported violations will be investigated in a thorough and timely manner according to established procedures. The University is committed to investigating all alleged and suspected policy violations to the fullest extent possible and taking action to end inappropriate conduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

Reporting

Should an individual believe a crime has been committed, they should immediately call 911 or contact the Taylor University Police department at (765) 998-5555.

Students are to report any allegation of a policy violation as promptly as possible. Reports may be made through the following means: (i) online at my.taylor.edu/makeareport; (ii) in person; or (iii) by email to any of the individuals listed below:

Retaliation

Taylor University prohibits retaliation against anyone who: 

  • Opposes any act of race, national origin, and ethnicity-based discrimination, harassment, and bias.
  • Reports in good faith any suspected or alleged policy violations; or
  • Participates in the investigation or resolution of policy violations. 


Retaliation is grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal for students and termination of student employment. Anyone who believes they have been the victim of retaliation or retaliatory harassment should report the conduct in accordance with the provisions of this policy.

Complaint Procedure

Foundational principles

The University’s ability to investigate a particular situation or the extent of the investigation in any given situation may be affected by any number of factors, including whether the complainant is willing to file a complaint or consent to an investigation, the location where the alleged conduct occurred, and the University’s access to information relevant to the alleged or suspected violation of this policy.

The University reserves the right to investigate any alleged or suspected violation of this policy, even if the complainant requests the University not to do so. The rationale for continued investigation includes but is not limited to repeated complaints about the same respondent, multiple respondents; threats of retaliation; or reasonable belief in the respondent causing future harm.

Report Receipt

Complaints or allegations, once received, will be shared with the Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations, Human Resources Manager, and Campus Police to determine the next steps. 

The Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations or their designee will coordinate the preliminary meeting with the complainant and facilitate the investigation and resolution process, including the assignment of investigators and adjudicators.

Time Period for Reporting

The University encourages prompt reports of violations of this policy. Delayed reporting may affect the ability of the University to thoroughly investigate or take action against the respondent (i.e., if they are no longer a student or employee).

Informal Resolution

The informal resolution provides an alternate process to address situations quickly. If a complainant feels that his/her grievance is most effectively addressed outside of the formal process, this is to be requested when reporting the alleged incident. 

Informal resolution can include mediated conversations, written communications shared through a campus mediator, or other interactions intended to ensure that the alleged behavior would not be repeated. In cases of informal resolution, the complainant will not be required to resolve the problem directly with the respondent. 

The informal resolution process may be ended by either party at any time if either desires to begin a formal resolution. Informal resolution is not available for complaints involving employees or for complaints that have become escalated.

Formal Resolution

Preliminary Meeting

The Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations or their designee will meet with the complainant to begin the process. During this meeting, the complainant will be provided: 

  • A copy of this policy;
  • Written notice of interim measures available, including availability and how to request interim measures; and
  • Information on the process and what to expect.

Interim Measures

When a complaint is received, the University will provide appropriate interim measures to prevent further inappropriate conduct; to safeguard the wellbeing of the complainant, the respondent, or the broader campus community while the investigation is underway; and ensure equal access to the University’s educational programs and activities.

Interim measures may include but are not limited to counseling, alternative work arrangements, academic support, alternate living arrangements, or other remedies that can achieve the policy goals.

Notice of Investigation

The parties will be notified in writing of the commencement of the investigation. This communication will be issued by the Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations or their designee and will: (i) identify the parties; (ii) specify the date, time, and location(s) of the alleged incident; (iii) identify possible policy violations; (iv) identify the persons investigating and adjudicating the process; and (v.) explain the investigation process.

Investigation and Report

The Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations will assign a designee to investigate the alleged policy violation. Should the respondent be a non-student employee of the University, a representative from Human Resources will be part of the investigating team. 

The investigation will include a review of relevant evidence (e.g., texts, emails, pictures) and interviews of the parties and witnesses. After data gathering, the investigator(s) will prepare a concise report documenting the allegations, the respondent’s response, witness testimony, and relevant evidence. 

This report will be shared with both parties and the adjudicator(s). 

Both parties have the opportunity to respond to the report within three business days of receipt. The response is to be in written format and is requested to be no more than 500 words in length.

Adjudication and Findings

The adjudication panel has three responsibilities: (i) reviewing the investigation report and (if applicable) responses from the parties, evaluating the information in relation to this policy; (ii) determining whether or not a policy violation occurred; and (iii) determining sanctions, corrective actions, and remedies. 

Adjudication panels are comprised of designees of the following roles: Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations, Vice President for Student Development, and the Provost. If the respondent is a non-student employee, every effort will be made to include a representative from Human Resources. 

Adjudicators will determine a policy violation on a preponderance of evidence standard. Whether conduct constitutes a policy violation may depend, in part, on whether the conduct is viewed by the complainant as unwelcome or offensive. This means that any respondent could be subject to discipline even if such behavior may not have been intended to be offensive. 

When it is determined that conduct constitutes a policy violation, adjudicators will propose sanctions or other corrective actions and remedies to the Vice President for intercultural Leadership & Church Relations. 

Parties will be provided written notice of the adjudication outcomes by the Vice President for intercultural Leadership & Church Relations and will have the opportunity to request an appeal following written receipt of the outcomes. If neither party seeks to appeal, the outcome and proposed sanctions will be implemented and considered final.

Sanctions, Corrective Actions, and Remedies

The University will take reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of policy violations and to correct discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, as appropriate, through the implementation of sanctions, corrective actions, and remedies. These actions will be consistent with this policy and Student Development policies.

Examples of potential sanctions or corrective actions include but are not limited to: mandatory training or counseling; written warning; ‘no contact’ order or contact restrictions or boundaries; disciplinary probation; suspension (including, for student employees, with or without pay) or demotion; student employment termination; and expulsion (subject to approval by the Provost).

Appeals

A request for further review of adjudication findings must be submitted in writing to the Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations within five days of receipt of written adjudication outcomes. This request must set forth the reason upon which further review is based. 

Requests for an appeal or further review must be based on one or more of the following reasons that affected or could affect the outcome: 

  • Procedural irregularity.
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the determination, a summary of the new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the request. 
  • A real or apparent conflict of interest or bias by the investigator(s) and/or adjudicator(s) toward either party (collectively or individually).


Upon receipt of the appeal, the other party will be notified of the receipt and will have the opportunity to participate equally in the appeal. 

The appeal will be reviewed by the Vice President for Student Development, who will make a determination on whether the appeal criteria are met. Should the appeal not meet the criteria, the Vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations shall notify the appealing party of this determination. The information included in the appeal that does not fall under the three above reasons will not be considered in the appeal review. 

An assigned appeal officer will review the investigation report, appeal letter, and other pertinent information and will decide within ten business days of receipt of the appeal and related information. If this deadline cannot be met, an extension will be communicated by the vice President for Intercultural Leadership & Church Relations to the parties. 

The decision of the appeals officer will be final and will be provided simultaneously to both parties in writing.