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Section 400: Standards of Conduct and Corrective Action
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 410. Standards of Conduct
- 410.5 Code of Ethics
- 411. Conflict of Interest
- 412. Anti-Harassment
- 413. Attendance Control
- 414. Solicitation and Distribution
- 415. Substance Abuse
- 416. Dress and Personal Appearance
- 417. The Use of Tobacco in the Workplace
- 418. Telephone Use
- 419. Office Equipment
- 420. Responsible Use of Information and Technology
- 421. Whistleblower Policy
- 423. Identity Theft Policy
- 424. Records Management Policy
- 425. Employee Receivables Policy
- 430. Performance Improvement
- 440. Political Campaign Activity
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: October 1, 1995
Amended: July 2004
Review/Updated Date: September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review: September 2015
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
To assure safe, efficient and harmonious operations and to fully inform all employees of their responsibilities in this regard.
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.
The university's standards of conduct are established for the guidance of all employees. Interactions will lead to corrective action up to and including discharge (See Policy 430 Performance Improvement).
BREACHES OF STANDARDS OF CONDUCT (Partial List)
- Falsifying employment application, time sheet, personnel record or other university documents.
- Sexual misconduct including conduct such as "sexual harassment," sexual assault or abuse, dating or carrying on a relationship while either the employee or the other party is married to yet a third person, sexual conduct outside of marriage, and homosexual behavior or activity.
- Illegal gambling, carrying weapons or explosives, or violating criminal laws on university premises.
- Fighting, horseplay, practical jokes or disorderly conduct which may endanger the well-being of others or university operations.
- Engaging in acts of dishonesty, fraud, theft or sabotage.
- Threatening, intimidating, coercing, using abusive or vulgar language or interfering with the performance of others.
- Insubordination or refusal to comply with instructions or failure to perform reasonable duties which are assigned.
- Unauthorized use of university material, time, equipment or property.
- Damaging or destroying university property through careless or willful acts.
- Conduct which the university determines reflects adversely on the employee or university.
- The use of tobacco or alcoholic beverages with or in the presence of students is always considered to be inappropriate, regardless of the location.
- Dating between an employee and a student is, under most circumstances, inappropriate and is strongly discouraged by the university. Prior to any such conduct, the employee must notify his or her supervisor. The supervisor will consult with appropriate university officials, including the vice president of the employee's division, to determine if the proposed conduct is acceptable to the university. Appropriate levels of confidentiality will be maintained. If the university determines that the proposed conduct is inappropriate, that decision will be communicated to the employee. Any failure by the employee to comply with this advance notice requirement or the decision of the university will be subject to strict disciplinary action, including suspension or termination.
This list is intended to be representative of the types of activities which may result in corrective action. It is not intended to be comprehensive and does not alter the employment-at-will relationship between staff employees and the university.
CODE OF ETHICS
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: September 2011
Reviewed/Updated: January 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: January 2020
The purpose of the Code of Ethics (the "Code") is to set forth the ethical expectations of members of the Abilene Christian University community. Other University policies provide specific rules and regulations that govern the conduct of University community members and the Code does not modify the application or enforcement of those policies in any way. This document also provides guidelines for reporting suspected or observed violations of the Abilene Christian University Code of Ethics.
This policy applies to all members of the ACU community - faculty, staff, administrators, students, members of the Board of Trustees, and volunteers acting on behalf of the University.
III. OVERVIEW AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Abilene Christian University is a Christian University committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values. All members of the Abilene Christian University community are responsible for maintaining the standards of the institution. We value integrity, honesty, and fairness and strive to integrate these values into our daily practices.
Our ethical expectations are found in Holy Scripture and the University Mission Statement. Holy Scripture provides the ultimate source for our ethical standards, including the two great commands taught by Jesus: the duty to love God and love one's neighbor as one's self (Matthew 22: 37-40).
In this spirit, we commit ourselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct. We act with integrity; we treat others with respect and dignity; we carefully steward the University's resources; we avoid conflicts of interest or commitment; we maintain confidentiality; and we comply with legal and professional obligations. We are individually accountable for our own actions, and we are collectively accountable for upholding these standards of behavior and complying with all applicable laws, policies, standards, and regulations. While human and therefore fallible, we constantly strive to meet our ethical expectations. Moreover, because the Abilene Christian community is composed of many distinct constituencies, we understand that, beyond the general ethical principles outlined in this document, we may be subject to additional rules of conduct specific to our respective roles within the community.
- We Act with Integrity: We seek to be people who are honorable, forthright, and upright at all times. Our commitment to integrity demands more than mere satisfaction of legal and ethical obligations, although we comply with the law and conform to the highest standards of ethical conduct. Our commitment to integrity means that we actively discern what is right from what is wrong; that our behavior is congruent with the life and values of Christ; that we seek consistency between our inner self and our outward conduct. We value people; we speak the truth; we have the courage of our convictions; and we keep our commitments. We do not condone any form of dishonesty-such as fraud, theft, cheating, or plagiarism-as described more specifically in student, faculty, and staff handbooks and policies. For further information see the Academic Integrity and Honesty Policy and the Standards of Conduct from the Employee Handbook.
- We Treat Others with Respect and Dignity: As members of the ACU community, we are committed to principles of equality and fairness. We follow the profound truth found in the Golden Rule, "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12).
We do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. For further information on the University’s hiring practices see Chapter Two of the Faculty Handbook and the Nondiscrimination Policy of the Employee Handbook.
We respect the inherent worth of each member of the community. We do not engage in or overlook any form of harassment of others. Those in positions of authority, including administrators, supervisors, faculty members, and student leaders exercise their authority prudently, fairly and appropriately.
- We are Good Stewards of the University's Resources. We use University resources for business purposes on behalf of the University. We exercise reasonable judgment in the use of University resources, acting with care and prudence. We do not use University resources for personal gain.
We competently prepare clear financial records. To the best of our ability, we will record all entries into the University’s financial records accounts accurately. In reporting on the University's resources, we do not hide, conceal, or purposely mislead, and we promptly and appropriately report such misconduct when it is discovered.
We abide by the Information Technology Policies, which contain information about the appropriate use of technology resources.
- We Avoid Conflicts of Interest and Commitment: We do not have direct or indirect interests or commitments, financial or otherwise, which conflict with the proper discharge of our duties to the University. The primary professional allegiance of all full-time employees lies with Abilene Christian University and the advancement of its mission. We disclose potential conflicts of interest to the appropriate supervisor or officer as soon as possible after we realize that a conflict may have arisen. Additional information regarding this commitment is located in the University Conflicts of Interest policy.
- We Comply with Legal and Professional Obligations: We comply with applicable state and federal laws and conform to the highest standards of professional conduct. We transact University business in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and University policies and procedures. We do not misrepresent our status or authority in our dealings with others. To the extent that we belong to professions that are governed by standards specific to the profession (such as attorneys, psychologists, or certified public accountants), we adhere to such professional standards. We conduct ourselves in accordance with professional principles for scholarly work, including upholding academic codes of conduct and professional standards for research.
IV. COMMITMENT TO REPORT OBSERVED OR SUSPECTED VIOLATIONS
In order to maintain the integrity of the community, we report observed or suspected violations of this code of ethics with a spirit of fairness, honesty, and respect for the rights of others. Those who report alleged misconduct and those against whom allegations are reported are afforded all rights provided by University policies, as well as all applicable state and federal laws. Those who are found to have violated this code will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, termination of employment, or termination of relationship.
We are governed by an ethos of care and respect, virtues that transcend the provisions of this code. We are called to something greater and nobler than mere compliance with the law or a written code of ethics. We are called “to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world” (University Mission Statement). We are called "to live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received . . . , bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:1-2). We are called to “follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1).
V. PROCESS FOR REPORTING A VIOLATION OF THE CODE OF ETHICS
We report observed or suspected violations of the Code in a spirit of fairness, honesty, and respect for the rights of others. The University encourages the use of informal processes when appropriate to resolve questions or concerns about violations of the Code.
Violations of the Code should be reported in accordance with the process provided under the applicable University policy. Reports of violations may be made anonymously online or by calling 325-674-2594
For violations or concerns that do not fall under an existing University policy or that do not have an established reporting process, the following guidelines should be followed:
- Faculty Members: Faculty members should report violations or concerns to their department chair or to their dean. If violations or concerns involve their department chair or dean, and the faculty member fears reprisal or suppression of the concern, that member should bring the violation or concern to the attention of the Provost.
- Staff Members: Staff members should report violations or concerns to their immediate supervisor. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to one's immediate supervisor for any reason, the staff member should report the violation to the supervisor's superior or the Human Resources office.
- Students: Students should report violations or concerns to the office of the Vice President of Student Life. Student employees should report violations or concerns related to their employment to their immediate supervisor. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to one's supervisor for any reason, the student employee should report the violation to the supervisor's superior or the Human Resources office.
- Members of the Board of Trustees: Members of the Board should report violations to the Chair of the Board or the Office of General Counsel.
- Volunteers: University volunteers should report violations or concerns to the University employee who coordinates their volunteer activity with the University. If it is not appropriate to report the violation to the coordinating employee for any reason, the volunteer should report the violation to the coordinating employee's supervisor, the Center for Christian Service and Leadership, or other University employee with whom the volunteer interacts in the capacity as volunteer.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
To protect the integrity of Abilene Christian University's information, products, services and employee efforts.
This policy applies to all full-time and reduced full-time faculty and staff (hereinafter referred to as "employees").
- "Outside work" includes non-university employment, consulting or research projects or any other personal business opportunities.
- A "conflict of interest" or "actual conflict of interest" exists when university employees have personal, professional or economic interests that interfere with their responsibilities or obligations to the university or oppose the best interests of the university. An "apparent conflict of interest" exists when an independent observer reasonably questions whether a conflict of interest exists.
By way of example, the following are circumstances and conditions where actual or apparent conflicts of interests may arise:
- Engaging in outside work that interferes with the time commitment of employees to ACU or makes inappropriate use of university resources;
- Engaging in business transactions with the university of a private nature and unrelated to employment, such as purchasing or influencing the purchase of equipment or materials from companies in which employees or members of their immediate family have a material personal interest;
- Unauthorized and unreimbursed use of university property or resources for the benefit of outside work of employees or companies in which employees or members of their immediate family have a material personal interest;
- When engaging in outside work, allowing client(s) to believe that work is being done by or on behalf of the university or implying that certain personal ideas represent the university's position;
- Use of confidential or privileged information acquired as a result of employment with the university;
- Conducting research projects in coordination with or sponsored by governmental agencies or private business;
- Involving ACU students or other university employees in outside work if such involvement is coerced or if it conflicts with their commitments or obligations to the university; and
- Engaging in a business similar in nature to the university or service provided by the university or when spouses or other immediate family members of employees are engaged in such a business or service.
- Employees are expected to devote their best efforts to the interests of the university and the conduct of its affairs. Employees are also expected to avoid using their connection with the university for personal advantage.
- The university recognizes the right of employees to engage in activities outside of their employment at ACU of a private nature and unrelated to the university's business. However, prior to accepting any outside work, employees must first consider their primary obligations and responsibilities to the university and whether an actual or apparent conflict of interest could arise. Employees should not accept outside work that would create a conflict of interest. Additionally, because the appearance of a conflict of interest can be as detrimental as an actual conflict of interest, any apparent conflict of interest should also be avoided.
- Employees who have, directly or through family or business connections, an interest in suppliers of goods or services or in contractors with the university, should not act for the university or influence actions of the university in any transaction involving that interest.
- Employees should avoid accepting gifts of more than nominal value from any party that does or seeks to do business with the university. An employee should consult with his/her supervisor if unsure about whether to accept a gift.
- A policy of full disclosure will be followed to assess and prevent conflicts of interest from arising. In this regard, upon hire and once each year (on a date that will be determined and publicized by Human Resources), all employees will submit a completed Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement to their immediate supervisor. Additionally, if at any time employees determine that an actual or apparent conflict of interest may be presented under any circumstances described in this policy, they should submit a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement to their immediate supervisor. Upon receipt of a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement, the supervisor, in consultation with the responsible Dean or Vice President (as applicable), will determine whether a conflict of interest exists and what conditions or restrictions, if any, should be imposed to reduce or eliminate such conflict.
- Failure to disclose conflicts of interest may lead to corrective action up to and including discharge. The university reserves the right to inquire and receive complete disclosure regarding actual or apparent conflicts of interest as it may deem appropriate.
Responsible Department: Human Resources & Student Life
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer & Vice President for Student Life
Effective Date: May 1, 2012
Revised: August 15, 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: August 15, 2018
In order to comply with all applicable legal requirements prohibiting harassment against any member of the Abilene Christian University community. The purpose of this policy is to maintain a work and academic environment that is free of unlawful harassment. Finally, if such behavior occurs, this policy establishes a prompt and equitable procedure to resolve such complaints. See Sections VII-XI or Standard Timeframes and Summary of Harassment Process for more information.
This policy applies to all members of the ACU community, including trustees, faculty, staff, students, volunteers, vendors, and visitors and serves to protect those community members from unlawful harassment regardless of where the alleged misconduct occurred. Although there is no geographical limitation, misconduct that is alleged to have occurred at a significant distance from the University or that is committed by a person outside the ACU community may be more difficult to investigate and remedy. Still, where the University’s response is so limited, it will advise the reporting party regarding their right to file a complaint with the alleged perpetrator’s school or local law enforcement within the jurisdiction where the harassment occurred.
A. Prohibition Against Harassment - Harassment, as defined in Section IV, will not be tolerated at Abilene Christian University. Harassment is unchristian and uncivil behavior. It is a breach of community, which expresses disrespect, exploits and undermines relationships based on trust, and interferes with learning and productive work.
B. Responding and Reporting - Any person who experiences Harassment or who otherwise becomes aware of such an incident may object to this behavior by telling the perpetrator to stop and should promptly report the incident pursuant to this policy (see Section V). ACU encourages all reports to be made in good faith. If an investigation results in a finding that an accusation of discrimination, harassment or retaliation was made in bad faith or maliciously, the accuser may be disciplined appropriately. However, filing a complaint or providing information which a party or witness genuinely believes is accurate, but which is ultimately dismissed due to insufficient evidence or found to be untrue, does not constitute intentional false reporting.
C. No Retaliation - No member of the ACU community may be subject to further harassment, bullying, or retaliation by any employee or student for actions taken in good faith to file or encourage one to file a complaint, participate in an investigation, or oppose unlawful harassment. Retaliation includes things like intimidation, threats, or hostile actions based on someone’s complaint or participation in this process. A party may also be responsible for retaliation by someone affiliated with them (i.e., friend or family member). Any such behavior should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or designee immediately. For more information regarding protections against retaliation, see Policy No. 421, Whistleblower Policy.
D. Impact of Complaint - Because a claim is not proof of prohibited conduct, a claim against an employee shall not be taken into account during performance review, promotion, reappointment, or other evaluation unless a final determination has been made that this policy has been violated. If necessary and appropriate, such decisions shall be deferred until the claim is resolved.
E. Notification and Training - In an attempt to prevent unlawful harassment, ACU will provide all employees and students with annual notification regarding this policy, where to file a complaint, and offer periodic training for faculty, staff members, and students, who will be required to participate in such training.
A. “Harassment” - includes Discriminatory Harassment or Sexual Harassment, as defined below.
B. “Discriminatory Harassment” - any detrimental action based on an individual’s sex, religion, race, age, color, national origin, veteran's status, disability, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law when such conduct:
- is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits the individual’s work or educational performance or one’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program or activity; or
- creates a working, learning, or living environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
It should be noted that the University is exempted from certain legal prohibitions against religious and sex discrimination as set out in its Nondiscrimination Policy.
Examples of Discriminatory Harassment may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Threats or insinuations that a person's status or other condition of employment or academic status may be adversely affected because of one's legally protected characteristic.
- Unwelcome verbal or written expressions, derogatory comments, epithets, degrading jokes, or innuendos regarding one's legally protected characteristic.
- Posting objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings or literature that may embarrass or offend an individual because of one’s legally protected characteristic. Such material, if used in an educational setting, should be clearly and significantly related to educational purposes.
- Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally because of one's legally protected characteristic.
C. “Sexual Harassment” - unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including Sexual Misconduct, Exploitation, Stalking, or Relationship Violence as defined below, when:
- sufficiently serious, pervasive, or persistent as to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic, residential, or social environment under both an objective (a reasonable person’s view) and subjective (the complainant’s view) standard
- refusing or submitting to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or status in a University course, program or activity.
Sexual harassment can occur regardless of the relationship, position and respective sex of the parties. Same-sex harassment violates this policy, as does harassment by a student of a faculty member or a subordinate employee of his/her supervisor.
Examples of Sexual Harassment may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Unwelcomed sexual invitations, solicitations and flirtations
- Threats or insinuations that a person's status or other condition may be either adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advance or positively affected by submitting to sexual advance
- Unwelcomed verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendos; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene phone calls
- Sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings or literature, placed in the work or study area, which may embarrass or offend individuals. Such material, if used in an educational setting, should be clearly and significantly related to educational purposes
- Suggestive or sexually explicit posters, calendars, photographs, graffiti, or cartoons, including those distributed electronically
- Offensive letters, email, text messages, posts on social networking sites, Internet images or transmissions or voicemail messages
- Questions about one's sex life or experience
D. “Sexual Misconduct” - a broad term encompassing any non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature that varies in severity and consists of a range of behaviors or attempted behaviors. Prohibited Sexual Misconduct includes:
- Non-Consensual Sexual Contact - any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part, by one person upon another, without consent or by force. Sexual touching includes any contact of a sexual nature (as determined using a “reasonable-person” standard) with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or body part of another. Sexual touching also includes an individual making someone else touch him or her with, on, or in, any of these body parts.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse - any sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal), including sexual intercourse with an object or body part, however slight, by one person upon another without consent or by force. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal and/or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).
E. “Sexual Exploitation” - when a person takes non-consensual sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited, and that does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct definitions. Examples include, but are not limited to: exposure of genitals or coercing another to expose their genitals; invasions of privacy including non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity; voyeurism; capturing images for sexual gratification; inducing intoxication/incapacitation for the purposes of sexual activity; or aiding in the commission of sexual misconduct.
F. “Consent” - an informed, knowing, and voluntary decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity. Consent is active, and not passive. Silence, in and of itself, should not be interpreted as consent. Consent must be part of a mutual and ongoing process by both parties throughout the sexual interaction. In other words, Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other form of sexual activity. Consent may be given by words or actions as long as they create mutually understandable permission.
It is important to remember:
- Previous sexual relationships and/or a current relationship may not be taken to imply consent.
- Consent cannot be implied or inferred by attire, time or place (e.g., being invited to a person’s residence at a certain time of night).
- Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn by any person at any time. Once withdrawal of Consent has been expressed, the sexual activity must cease.
- Consent cannot be given by incapacitated persons. However, Respondent must know or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was incapacitated at the time of the sexual activity. Because Consent may never be provided by an incapacitated person, one must assume Consent has been withdrawn should an individual become incapacitated at any point during a sexual activity.
- An individual’s use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish that individual’s responsibility to obtain Consent.
- Consent cannot be created through coercion, which is the use of express or implied threats, intimidation, or physical force which places an individual in fear of immediate harm or physical injury to self or others or causes a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. Coercion also includes administering a drug, intoxicant, or similar substance with the intent to impair that person’s ability to consent prior to engaging in sexual activity
G. “Incapacitated” - any state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand the consequences of their actions. It literally means the inability to fully understand what is happening. First responders will assess someone’s capacity through the use of common questions to determine if a person is oriented to the person, place, time, and event. In other words, someone that does not know the who, what, when, where, or how of their sexual interaction lack capacity. This includes but is not limited to persons incapacitated based on their voluntary or involuntary use of drugs or alcohol, unconsciousness, blackout or sleep.
H. “Force” - use of physical violence (such as pushing, hitting, pinning down)
I. “Stalking” - unwanted and repeated course of conduct or behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his, her, or others’ safety or suffer substantial emotional distress.
J. “Relationship Violence” - includes both Domestic and Dating Violence. Domestic Violence, includes violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim's current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, or person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under domestic or family violence law, or any adult or youth protected under domestic or family violence law. Dating Violence means sexual or physical abuse or threats of such abuse by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
K. “Reporter” or “Complainant” - the person filing a report or complaint that the policy was violated.
I. “Accused” or “Respondent” - the person accused of violating the policy or responding to a complaint related to a violation.
If a person has concerns for their safety, they should contact ACU Police Department (ACUPD) (325-674-2911) or the Abilene Police Department (APD) (911). If on campus, ACUPD can also be contacted by activating one of the blue safety phones located throughout campus. Police can help with transportation to the hospital for sexual assault exams, safe housing on campus, connecting a person to other resources, and help in obtaining a restraining order. For more information,, see Anti-Harassment Resources.
VI. COMPLAINT PROCEDURES (ADMINISTRATIVE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT)
A. Immunity - Sometimes, students are hesitant to report to university officials because they fear that they may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking, curfew violations, or other conduct violations at the time of the incident. To encourage reporting of Harassment, the university pursues a policy of offering complainants of Harassment immunity from being charged with policy violations related to the particular incident. This means that while violations to university policy cannot be completely overlooked, the university may provide education options rather than punishment, in such cases. This applies equally to all reporters and cooperating witnesses..
B.Timing of Complaints - There is no time limit for the submission of a complaint under this policy. While the amount of time needed to respond to the complaint will vary based on the nature of and/or complexity of the allegations and the evidence, any related investigation and outcomes will normally be concluded within 60 days of the receipt of the complaint (not including any appeals). For more detailed information regarding typical timeframes, see the Standard Timeframes and Summary of Harassment Process.
C. Reporting Options – A variety of resources are available at ACU and in the area around campus to assist those who have experienced gender-based or sexual harassment, including
sexual violence, and other violations of this Policy. Individuals considering making a disclosure to ACU resources should make sure they have informed expectations concerning privacy and confidentiality. ACU is committed to providing all possible assistance in understanding these issues and helping individuals to make an informed decision. It is important to understand that, while the University will treat information it has received with appropriate sensitivity, University personnel may nonetheless need to share certain information with those at the University
responsible for stopping or preventing discrimination. For example, ACU employees, other than those who are prohibited from reporting because of a legal confidentiality obligation or prohibition against reporting (as further identified below), must promptly notify the appropriate Co-Coordinator about possible violations of this Policy, regardless of whether a complaint is filed. Such reporting is necessary for various reasons, including to ensure that persons possibly subjected to such conduct receive appropriate services and information; that ACU can track incidents and identify patterns; and that, where appropriate, ACU can take steps to protect the University community.
1. Direct Reporting to Anti-Harassment Co-Coordinators - Reports can be made directly to one of the two Anti-Harassment Co-Coordinators, whose information is listed below, or a Deputy Coordinator. For compliance purposes, these Co-Coordinators are the Title IX Coordinators for staff/faculty and students respectively.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Hardin Administration Building, Rm. 213
Chris Riley, J.D.
Vice President for Student Life
122 McGlothlin Campus Center Room 44B
|Deputy Anti-Harassment Coordinator and Director of Compliance|
122 McGlothlin Campus
Center Room 44E
2. Anonymous Reporting - Anonymous reports can be submitted online or by calling the anonymous hotline: 325-674-2594. This information goes to the ACU Office of General Counsel, who oversees the hotline, and will then be provided to one of the Co-Coordinators.
3. Confidential Reporting - If a person desires to identify themselves but desires that the personally identifiable information not be reported to the university, , they are encouraged to speak with one of the following: Title IX Liaison; on or off-campus mental health professional or health care service provider; off-campus rape crisis resources; or off-campus clergy. See Anti-Harassment Resources for contact information about making a confidential reporting.
4.Reporting to Responsible Employee - The university considers all other university employees (besides the Title IX Liaison and health care professionals mentioned above) and Student Organization Sponsors to be “Responsible Employees.” This means that if they receive reports about Harassment, they must promptly share that information with the appropriate Co-Coordinator, who can consider requests that the school maintain the reporter’s confidentiality.
In other words, notification to the Responsible Employees is official notice to the University but does not necessarily mean information will be shared with the accused individual. This information should include all relevant details needed to determine what occurred and address the situation including: name of the parties or witnesses and any relevant facts including date, time and location. To the extent possible, the Responsible Employee should explain this obligation to the reporter before the report is made, identify reporting options (i.e., confidential, direct, and law enforcement) and clarify that the student has an option to ask that the Title IX Coordinator maintain his or her confidentiality.
5. Reporting to Law Enforcement – Separate and apart from violations of this policy, many sexual misconduct offenses also are crimes in the state or locality in which the incident occurred. For that reason, the University also encourages any related criminal violations to be reported to ACUPD so that they can consider legal options. These options are available to the Complainants, who may change their minds about pursuing them at any time. For example, Complainants may seek a protective order from a court against the alleged perpetrator(s); pursue a civil action against the alleged perpetrator(s); and/or participate in a law enforcement investigation and criminal prosecution of the alleged perpetrator(s). ACUPD can be contracted at:
ACU Police Department
ACU Box 28010
Abilene, Texas 79699
It is important to note that reporting to ACUPD or any other law enforcement does not require filing criminal charges. Regardless of whether an incident of sexual misconduct is reported to the police or the University, ACU strongly encourages individuals who have experienced sexual harassment to preserve evidence to the greatest extent possible, as this will best maintain all legal options for them in the future. Additionally, such evidence may be helpful in pursuing a complaint with ACU. While the university does not conduct forensic tests for parties involved in a complaint of sexual misconduct, the results of such tests that have been conducted by law enforcement agencies (including ACUPD) and medical assistance providers may be considered as evidence in an university investigation or proceeding, provided they are available at the time of the investigation or proceeding. Additionally, ACUPD has officers specifically trained to work with complainants and can explain their rights and options and provide relevant resources.
(a) Timely Public Warning - Under the Clery Act, the ACUPD must issue immediate timely warnings for certain types and circumstances of Sexual Misconduct reported to them if they believe they pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. If that is necessary, the University will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
(b) Cooperation with Law Enforcement Requests - The University will comply with a law enforcement request for cooperation and such cooperation may require the University to temporarily suspend any fact-finding aspect of the investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. The University will promptly resume its resolution/investigation of the complaint after receiving the request from law enforcement or as soon as notified that law enforcement has completed the evidence gathering process, whichever is earlier. This length of time will vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case but in no case will the university suspend any investigation for an ongoing or indefinite period.
VII. INTAKE, INTERIM MEASURES, AND PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT
A. Intake - Upon receiving the report, the Co-Coordinator or designee will provide complainant with a general understanding of this process including confidentiality, prohibitions against retaliation, and determine if interim measures are requested/necessary to protect the complainant’s or university community’s rights or safety.
B. Interim Measures and Other Resources - Interim remedial measures typically help the complainant avoid contact with the Respondent. These can include but are not limited to interim suspension, restrictions regarding movement on campus, removal from university housing, modification of classes or work schedules, and no contact orders. The complainant will also be informed regarding relevant resources, which include the assignment of a Title IX Liaison, academic or counseling services, and the right to report a crime to or seek a protective order from campus or local law enforcement. The Co-Coordinator or designee will also discuss confidentiality requests and determine how the complainant wishes to proceed: no action; proceed with informal resolution (if applicable); or proceed with formal resolution, which are each discussed below.
C. Preliminary Assessment – No later than three days after receiving the complaint, the Co-Coordinator or designee will make an initial assessment to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the policy has been violated. No reasonable cause exists when, even assuming that all the facts reported by the complainant are true, no violation of the policy could exist. If no reasonable cause exists, the case will be closed and that conclusion reported in writing to complainant and respondent, if applicable. If there is reasonable cause, the complaint will proceed.
VIII. REQUESTS FOR CONFIDENTIALTY AND/OR NO ACTION
If the complainant refuses to participate, requests confidentiality and/or asks that the university not take action, the university’s ability to adequately respond to the complaint or report may be limited. Still, the Co-Coordinator or designee will evaluate such requests by balancing the complainant’s desire with the university’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. In other words, while the university wants to respect the complainant’s request, it is important to note the law may require the university to override the request especially in cases of Sexual Misconduct or involving violence. In making this decision, the Co-Coordinator or designee will consider several factors including but not limited to:
- Do circumstances suggest there is an increased risk of the alleged respondent committing additional acts (e.g., other complaints against the respondent or threats of addition action by respondent,)?
- Do circumstances suggest there is an increased risk of someone else committing additional acts under similar circumstances (e.g., pattern of acting or certain location)?
- The seriousness of the allegations (e.g., force or violence was used, weapon involved, multiple respondents)?
- Whether the university possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence to proceed (e.g., security cameras or physical evidence)?
If the university determines that it can honor the complainant’s request, it will ask the complainant to sign a case drop form and the case will be closed with the understanding that the complainant can later change his or her mind. The university will still take all reasonable and necessary steps to respond to the complaint consistent with the complaint’s requests and determine whether interim measures are appropriate or necessary.
If the university determines that it must proceed with a resolution or investigation despite the complainant’s request for confidentiality, the university will take care to protect the complainant’s information as far as possible. In other words, only the people who need to know will be told, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individuals. Moreover, in additional to interim measures, the complainant may request that the university inform the respondent that he or she asked the university not to investigate or seek discipline, and the university will honor that request. In this type of case, the Co- Coordinator will serve as the complainant using the process outlined below.
IX. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
In any cases that do not involve violence or Sexual Misconduct, a complainant may wish to informally resolve the complaint. An informal resolution might take the form of the Co-Coordinator, appropriate supervisor/administrator, or complainant discussing the issues with the respondent in order to establish the kind of behavior that may be deemed objectionable and securing the cessation of such behavior; it might also take the form of informal mediation between the parties.
When complaints are resolved informally, the offending party should be cautioned that repetition of such conduct could lead to formal complaint or investigation. The use of an informal complaint and resolution procedure is optional. Nothing in this informal complaint process is meant to discourage an individual from filing a formal complaint. In instances where complainant does not wish to engage in the informal procedure, where informal resolution is not appropriate (e.g. violence or Sexual Misconduct), or in situations where attempts at the informal procedure are unsuccessful, the formal procedure may be followed. Written notice of the outcomes of any informal procedure will be given to complainant and responded by the Co-Coordinator within one week of the outcomes.
X. FORMAL RESOLUTION
If the complainant wishes to proceed with a formal resolution or the university determines that a formal resolution should proceed, the Co-Coordinator will begin an investigation or assign the investigation to a Deputy Coordinator or an independent outside investigator, who will conduct the investigations under supervision of the Co-Coordinator. The goals of the investigation are to determine (1) if a preponderance of the evidence shows that the alleged violation occurred (i.e., its more likely than not) and (2) if so, what actions should the university take to respond to the violation and prevent reoccurrence. In so doing, the university strives for the investigation to be sufficient, reliable and impartial including the opportunity for both complainant and respondent to provide evidence and witnesses to the investigator, as applicable. For the sake of clarity, the university’s process for investigating complaints is not a court hearing. Rather, the university’s formal resolution process is an internal administrative investigation of an alleged policy violation where both parties are afforded opportunities to both review and appeal the initial investigation finding(s).
A. Initial Meetings, Parties Statements, and Pre-Finding Resolution
1) Initial Interview with Complainant and Complainant Form – To begin the investigation, the Co-Coordinator or designee will interview the Complainant regarding the facts surrounding the complaint. Relevant information included but is not limited to: identification of the respondent and relationship to the university; description of the incident(s), including dates, locations, and the presence (and identity) of any witnesses or other who might have been subject to the same or similar harassment; a list of any other information that complainant believes to be relevant including supporting documents or other evidence including text messages or voicemails; and description of the impact of respondent’s actions on complainant. The Co-Coordinator or designee will also ask Complainant to complete a general Complaint Form containing basic information about the complaint made against the Respondent, such as time, date, location, and a brief description of the allegations underlying the alleged violation.
2)Notice and Initial Meeting – The Co-Coordinator or designee will provide the Complainant Form to respondent via email or in person as written notice of the compliant and investigation and schedule an appointment to discuss the complaint. The Co-Coordinator or designee will also provide Respondent with a general understanding of the policy including confidentiality, the prohibition against retaliation and explain any interim measures in place and consider respondent’s request for additional interim measures. The respondent will also be informed regarding relevant resources, which include the assignment of a Title Liaison and counseling services.
3) Pre-Findings Resolution of Complaint - After reviewing the complaint form and the meeting, the respondent has the right to end the investigation by accepting responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form. In order to inform his/her decision in this regard, the Respondent can ask the Decision Maker to outline potential sanctions. If the Respondent accepts responsibility, the complaint would be officially referred to the appropriate Decision Maker to decide the sanctions against Respondent (See Sections IX. C and D).
4) Initial Respondent Interview - If the Respondent contests the complaint, the Co-Coordinator or designee will interview the Respondent regarding the facts surrounding the complaint. Relevant information included but is not limited to: identification of respondent’s relationship with complainant; response to the complaint including description of the incident(s), including dates, locations, and the presence (and identity) of any witnesses; and a list of any other information that respondent believes to be relevant including supporting documents or other evidence including text messages or voicemails.
5) Respondent’s Refusal or Failure to Participate - Refusal or failure by the Respondent to meet, cooperate regarding the complaint and notices provided, or participate in an interview may result in the adjudication of the complaint without input from the Respondent.
B. Fact-Finding Investigation - It is the responsibility of the trained and neutral investigator, not the parties, to gather the evidence relevant to the complaint to the extent reasonably possible. During the course of the investigation, the investigator may utilize some or all of the following methods, in whatever order the investigator deems most appropriate: interviewing the parties and key witnesses in order to gather relevant information; document or evidence gathering or review; consulting expert witnesses including local law enforcement or forensic experts (as necessary). Throughout the process, the investigator will maintain appropriate documentation; provide status updates to the parties; and disclose appropriate information to others only on a need-to-know basis consistent with applicable law.
- Influencing Witnesses - In their statements, the parties have the right to identify any relevant witnesses and the investigator will attempt to contact and interview any witnesses that he or she deems relevant to the resolution of the complaint. Witnesses should only be encouraged to cooperate and to speak the truth. If either party, individually or through others, attempts to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise improperly influence a witness, such action will result in a separate disciplinary action by the university.
- Advisor of Choice – The parties have the right to have one Advisor of his/her choice present during any interview with the party they are advising. The Advisor may not have personal involvement regarding any facts or circumstances of the alleged misconduct. The Advisor's only function shall be to assist and/or consult with the party they are advising. The Advisor may not act as a spokesperson or in any way interfere with the meeting or investigation. The Advisor may be an attorney but participation shall be limited, as stated above.
- Disclosure of Evidence - The investigator will determine if the evidence presented, which may include written statements, electronic messages or social media posts, physical evidence, etc., are relevant and probative to whether the alleged conduct occurred. If so, in the interest of fairness and equity, such evidence maybe disclosed to both parties if relevant to further investigation or the outcome of the case.
- Conflicts of Interest – If either of the parties contends that the Co-Coordinators, investigator or Decision Makers, has a conflict of interest in fulfilling their responsibilities under this policy, the university encourages the party to raise those issues with the Co-Coordinator so that it can be considered and addressed by the University’s General Counsel
C. Findings and Report - Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will make a written findings report outlining whether a violation occurred, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not). The findings will include a summary of the investigation and analysis of the relevant evidence supporting the findings.
D. Presentation of Finding and Decision - After the findings report is reviewed by the Co-Coordinator, Co-Coordinator will present the findings to the parties separately either in person or via email. If both parties accept the findings, the appropriate Decision Maker, as set out below, will impose sanctions for the violation, after consultation with the Co- Coordinator. The appropriate Decision Maker depends on the primary status of the respondent: for accused students, it is the Senior Advisor to the President; for accused staff, it is the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and for accused faculty, it is the Provost.
If either party rejects the findings, the appropriate Decision Maker identified above will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policy. In making this decision, the findings of the investigation will be considered and given great deference by the Decision Maker, but are not binding on his/her decision. The Decision Maker may ask the investigator to conduct additional investigation before making his or her decision or meet with both parties and the Co-Coordinator.
If the Decision Maker concludes that it is more likely than not that the policy was violated, they will also consider sanctions for the violations, after consultation with the Co-Coordinator. If the Decision Maker concludes that the preponderance of the evidence does not support a violation, the parties will be notified as set out below.
E. Remedies - Anyone who violates this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Disciplinary measures available to remedy Harassment or retaliation include, but are not limited to, the following: verbal warning/reprimand; written warning/reprimand in employee or student files; requirement of verbal and/or written apology to victim; mandatory education and training on harassment by means of reading assignments, videos, classes or other presentations; referral for psychological assessment or treatment; alternate placement, suspension, probation, termination, or expulsion; or other action university deems appropriate under the circumstance. Additionally, interim remedial measures may become permanent.
In determining what disciplinary or corrective action is appropriate, the university shall consider the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to: number of victims and harassers involved; employment/student positions or status of the victims and harassers; relevant portions of prior disciplinary record of the harasser; threatened or actual harm caused by the harassment; frequency and/or severity of the harassment.
If a student or student groups are found to be in violation of this policy, any of the sanctions set forth in the ACU Student Code of Conduct may also be involved.
If a faculty member is found to have violated this policy and if the discipline is determined to include termination, this process will substitute for any other including Special Termination in the Faculty Handbook, as is required under the equity requirement under the law.
F. Notifications - When a determination is reached regarding findings and/or sanctions, the appropriate Decision Maker will provide both complainant and respondent with concurrent written notice of the same within seven (7) days of the decision through email.
The notice will inform both parties regarding the outcomes (where or not the university found the alleged violation occurred), any sanctions that impact both parties (e.g., no contact orders, suspension), and that a redacted version of the findings report is available for inspection by both parties upon request. The complainant should also be informed of any other remedies offered to him or her individually or actions taken by the university to prevent recurrence. Finally, the notice will also include information regarding the parties’ right to appeal. Sanctions, especially those requiring separation from campus, are implemented immediately. The Decision Maker has discretion to allow a student respondent to complete any pending coursework remotely, if deemed appropriate by the relevant faculty member.
Either party may appeal the findings or sanctions imposed by filing a written appeal to the Office of General Counsel (via email email@example.com) within five (5) business days of the above notification. (However, the respondent cannot appeal admissions of pre-finding responsibility or findings that he or she accepted). The ONLY grounds for appeals are as follows:
A. The investigatory process, as outlined in the policy was not followed, and the failure to do so significantly and adversely impacted the outcome of the investigation;
B. To consider new evidence unavailable during investigation that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of the new evidence must be included along with a valid reason it was not available earlier and how it would have impacted the outcome.
C. The sanctions imposed are substantially inconsistent with the type of discipline issued to others who were found to be responsible for substantially similar violations.
D. The findings are not supported by the evidence or are otherwise arbitrary.
After receiving an appeal, the Office of General Counsel will share the appeal with the relevant Co- Coordinator and notify the opposing party of the appeal and allow him or her the opportunity to file a response. The opposing party will have five (5) business days to do so.
The appeal will be considered by one of the two administrators mentioned above that did not render the initial decision. For example, if a student appeals a decision of the Senior Advisor to the President, the Vice President and CFO or the Provost, will consider the appeal.
The procedure governing the consideration of appeals include the following:
- If the person hearing the appeal determines that an appeal should be granted, it should make every effort to return the appeal to the original administrator for reconsideration (remand) where appropriate. In such cases, the decision made on remand by the original administrator is not appealable;
- Appeals will be confined to review of the written documents including the original findings reports, the written appeal, and any responses. However, the person hearing the appeal may ask the investigator or parties for clarification regarding something in the written documents; and
- Appeals are not an opportunity for the appeals committee to substitute their judgment for that of the original administrator merely because they disagree with his/her findings and/or sanctions. Instead, they are to be deferential making changes only where there is clear error or compelling justification.
- The appeal finding, which will be in writing and provided to both parties concurrently through email, will be final and cannot be appealed.
Policy No. 413
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed Date: December 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: December 2019
To provide a method to control employee attendance to maintain efficient operations.
This attendance control policy applies to exempt and non-exempt employees. For information about faculty attendance policies, please see the Faculty Handbook.
Every employee has the responsibility to maintain a good attendance record. Supervisors will exercise the primary management-level responsibility to control employee attendance. Excessive employee absence or lateness are undesirable performance factors and will be managed by supervisors according to the procedures below.
- Absence. An absence is defined as any absence from work during scheduled working hours (including overtime), excluding absence for work-incurred injuries, vacation, jury duty, death in the family or leave of absence without pay.
- Lateness. Lateness is defined as arriving to work, returning from break time, or returning from lunch later than normally scheduled.
- Leaving Early. Leaving early is defined as leaving work, leaving for break time, or leaving for lunch earlier than normally scheduled.
Supervisors will administer the attendance standards and procedures outlined below, regardless of employee position, eligibility for sick leave benefits or length of service.
- Advance Notice. Supervisors will require employees to give advance notice, when possible, of lateness or absence.
- Timing of Notice. If possible, notification calls must be made within one hour following the start of the employee's assigned shift.
- Employee to Maintain Contact. Supervisors will require employees to maintain contact for any period of absence beyond one day, unless the employee has provided a doctor's certification covering a specified period.
- Scheduling Absences. Employees who must be absent for personal reasons or medical appointments will be advised to schedule such appointments outside working hours, if possible. When the need for being absent from work is known in advance, the employee will notify the supervisor immediately. (See Policy No. 321, Unpaid Personal Time Off)
- Performance Appraisals. Employee attendance will be evaluated by each supervisor in connection with employee performance appraisals. The records of employees with attendance problems will be reviewed more frequently.
- University Action. Chronic absenteeism, lateness or other unusual infractions of attendance standards will be handled according to Policy No. 430, Corrective Action.
Policy No. 414
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Human Resources Director
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2019
SOLICITATION AND DISTRIBUTION
To ensure a productive work environment where employees and university operations may function without disruption.
This policy applies to employees and non-employees during work time and while on university premises.
ACU strives to establish a work environment that is productive without undue disruptions to the work day. Therefore, soliciting by one employee of another, or collecting from one employee by another, is prohibited while either employee is on work time. Distributing literature and circulating petitions during work time or in work areas at any time is also prohibited. Finally, trespassing, soliciting or distributing literature by anyone outside the university is prohibited on university premises.
"Work time" is all time on the premises other than before and after work and at meal periods.
Policy No. 415
Responsible Department: Office of Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Revised/Updated: December 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: December 2019
The university earnestly solicits the understanding and cooperation of all employees and employee organizations in implementing the policies set forth herein.
- To establish and maintain a safe, healthy working environment for all employees.
- To insure the reputation of the university and its employee as good, responsible citizens worthy of the trust placed in them.
- To reduce the incidence of accidental injury to person or property.
- To reduce absenteeism, tardiness and indifferent job performance.
- To provide assistance toward rehabilitation for any employee who seeks the university's help in overcoming addiction to, dependence upon, or a problem with alcohol or drugs.
- To comply with federal requirements for a drug-free environment.
This policy applies to all employees and applicants for employment
The university has an obligation to its employees, students, and the public at large to reasonably ensure safety in our workplace. Consequently, the following are strictly prohibited and will result in immediate disciplinary action, up to discharge: reporting to work under the influence of intoxicating liquor or illegal drugs; or the use, possession, purchase or transfer by an employee on university premises or property (such as storage in a desk, locker, vehicle or other personal property), or during work time, of an intoxicating liquor, controlled or illegal substance, a drug not medically authorized, or any other substances which impair job performance or pose a hazard to the safety and welfare of the employee, the public, or other employees; or the sale of such item.
- Alcohol or alcoholic beverages means any beverage that may be legally sold and consumed and that has an alcoholic content in excess of .5% by volume.
- Drug means any substance (other than alcohol) capable of altering the mood, perception, pain level, or judgment of the individual consuming it.
- Prescribed drug means any substance prescribed for the individual consuming it by a licensed medical practitioner.
- Illegal drug means any drug or controlled substance, the sale or consumption of which is illegal.
Employee Assistance Program
An employee who feels he or she has developed an addiction to, dependence upon, or problem with alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, is encouraged to seek assistance. Assistance may be sought by writing in confidence to, or asking for a personal appointment with, the Director of Human Resources. Each request for assistance will be treated as confidential by the Director of Human Resources and only those persons "need to know" will be made aware of such requests.
The Director of Human Resources will be responsible for developing contacts with local hospitals and community organization offering alcohol or drug treatment programs, and for referring employees seeking assistance to an appropriate treatment organization.
Rehabilitation itself is the responsibility of the employee. However, any employee eligible for the university's group medical plan seeking medical attention for alcoholism or drug addiction will be entitled to the special limited alcoholism or drug addiction benefit of the university's group medical plan in effect at the time of rehabilitation. During enrollment in a formal treatment program, sick leave and/or vacation pay may be used.
To be eligible for continuation in employment on a rehabilitation pay basis, the employee must have been employed at least one year; must maintain at least weekly contact with the Human Resources Office; and must provide certification that he or she is continuously enrolled in a treatment program and actively participating in that program. Upon successful completion of treatment, the employee will be returned to active status without reduction of pay or seniority.
Rejection of Treatment -- Failure of Rehabilitation
Failure to complete rehabilitation subjects employee to discipline under the policy.
No alcoholic beverages will be brought into or consumed upon university premises. Drinking or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages while on duty is cause for discharge.
No prescription drug shall be brought upon university premises by any person other than the one for whom the drug is prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner, and shall be used only in the manner, combination, and quantity prescribed.
Any employee whose abuse of prescription drugs results in excessive absenteeism or tardiness or is the cause of accidents or poor work will be referred to the Employee Assistance Program for rehabilitation. If the employee refuses of rails rehabilitation, he or she shall be discharged.
The use of an illegal drug or controlled substance or the possession of same on or off duty is cause for discharge.
Employment of Persons Addicted to or Dependent Upon Alcohol or Drugs
A person presently using illegal drugs or having a history or alcohol or drug dependency will not be knowingly employed unless there is sufficient evidence of rehabilitation satisfactory to the university.
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated: May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: May 2020
DRESS AND PERSONAL APPEARANCE
To establish guidelines for appropriate dress and appearance during normal business hours at the university.
This policy applies to employees at ACU.
Employees are expected to maintain an appropriate appearance that is businesslike, neat and clean as determined by the requirements of the area in which the employee works. Appropriate appearance includes:
- Apparel. Employees should wear appropriate and clean attire. The following is a list of some examples of inappropriate dress, but is not all inclusive:
- Faded and/or tattered jeans, shirts without collars or shirts displaying advertising or writing.
- Overalls, sweatshirts/pants, jogging suits, shorts or tank tops.
- Any clothing with spaghetti straps, any clothing that reveals bare backs, midriffs or shoulders, or any revealing or provocative clothing.
- Hair - Hair should be clean, combed and neatly trimmed or arranged. This pertains to sideburns, moustaches and beards. Shaggy, unkempt hair is not permissible.
- Personal Hygiene - Good personal hygiene habits must be maintained.
The supervisor is responsible to evaluate the dress and appearance of employees under his or her supervision. If an employee is not dressed appropriately, the following steps should be taken by the supervisor:
- On the first occasion, an oral warning should be given to the employee, and the university's dress and appearance standards should be reviewed.
- On the second occasion, the employee should be sent home to change clothes immediately as well as given a written warning. Pay for the day that the employee is sent home begins when the employee returns to work.
- Further violations may result in discharge.
THE USE OF TOBACCO & SMOKING RELATED PRODUCTS IN THE WORKPLACE
To provide a safe and healthy workplace.
This policy applies to employees and visitors at ACU.
The use of tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, and vaporizers is strictly prohibited on campus. This policy establishes the University as a smoke free institution and includes but is not limited to tobacco and other smoking related products and devices. The use of these items is prohibited in all property owned by the University including vehicles, campus grounds, and parking lots.
"Tobacco and Smoking Related Products" means all tobacco-derived or tobacco containing products including, and not limited to, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah smoked products, pipes, and oral tobacco (e.g., spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco (e.g. snus). It also includes any product intended to mimic tobacco products or the smoking of any other substance.
Policy No. 418
Responsible Department: Information Technology
Responsible Administrator: Executive Director, Information Technology
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: October, 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: October, 2019
TELEPHONE USE POLICY
To provide guidelines for using university telephones.
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.
Efficient telephone service is vital to university business. Employees must adhere to the following guidelines:
- Answer all calls promptly and courteously.
- Hold personal calls, both incoming and outgoing, to emergencies or essential personal business and keep them as brief as possible.
- No personal long distance calls will be allowed.
Policy No. 419
Responsible Department: Information Technology
Responsible Administrator: Executive Director, Information Technology
Effective Date: January 1, 1994
Reviewed/Updated Date: October, 2015
Date of Scheduled Review: October, 2019
OFFICE EQUIPMENT POLICY
To provide guidelines for using university office equipment.
This policy applies to all employees at ACU.
Office equipment such as computers, copiers, fax machines, and like items are to be used for university purposes only. Any malfunction of the equipment should be immediately reported to the Help Desk. Misuse of university property may lead to corrective action.
During the course of employment, many employees will be working with confidential data regarding students, employees, and/or finances of the university. Employees must protect this information by safeguarding it when in use, storing it properly when not in use, and being sure that it is password protected. It is also expected that this information will only be discussed with those who have a legitimate need to know.
The responsible Use of Information and Technology Policy can be accessed at: Policy for the Responsible Use of Information and Technology Resources.
Policy No. 423
Responsible Department: Financial Operations
Responsible Administrator: Chief Financial Officer
Effective Date: May 1, 2009
Reviewed/ Updated Date: April 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: April 2017
The Identity Theft Policy can be accessed at: Identity Theft Policy.
Policy No. 424
Responsible Department: Legal Services and Library
Responsible Administrator: General Counsel and Dean of Library and Information Resources
Effective Date: May 1, 2009
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 1, 2013
Date of Scheduled Review: May 1, 2017
Employee Receivables Policy
Abilene Christian University often extends credit to employees for charges related to parking permits, parking fines, campus store charges, and athletic passes charged to employee accounts. Account activity is viewable in the Wildcat Pay Portal accessed through myACU. This policy ensures proper review and approval over decisions to extend credit to employees. Without proper oversight of the extension of credit, employees and the University could be placed at risk.
This policy applies to all faculty and staff who incur charges on their ACU account. The account is charged when employees receive parking fines, make purchases at The Campus Store, purchase athletic passes on their account, or incur other charges or fines/fees with any merchant across campus.
ACU Account – Account each employee has with the university, regardless if the employee chooses to use it, that is linked to the employee’s banner ID and ID Card.
PROCEDURE (OR PROCESS)
For purchases on account of $250 or more, prior approval must be granted by the Billing & Receivables Manager. The Billing & Receivables Manager will verify that the employee’s ACU account is in good standing with the University before approval is granted.
All charges on an account must be paid in full according to the University’s regular billing cycle. Account statements are generated electronically through the Wildcat Pay Portal on a monthly basis. Employees who have an account balance will receive an email notification, to their ACU email address, that their eBill is ready to view in the Wildcat Pay Portal.
All accounts are subject to late fees (interest charges) according to the University’s late fee schedule. More information can be found at www.acu.edu/payingyourbill.
For employees who do not pay their account balance by the due date, the billing and receivables team will begin the collection process on accounts as they become past due:
- If still employed by ACU, payroll deductions of up to $100 per pay cycle for exempt employees and $50 per pay cycle for non-exempt employees will be made until the balance is paid in full.
- If employee has been terminated or terminates before balance is paid in full by step 1, the remaining balance will be deducted from the final pay check unless other satisfactory payment arrangements have been made with the University’s collection coordinator.
- If payment is not made, ACU will attempt to collect by sending a minimum of two (2) letters of contact requesting payment. The letters will be sent in 30-day intervals once it is determined that a payment agreement has been broken or when ACU is not able to collect the balance through payroll deductions. For debts greater than $250, the second letter will indicate that the account will be referred to a collection agency if payment is not received within a specified period of time.
If collection efforts outlined in steps 1 through 3 have been met but failed and the debt is still delinquent, the debt will be sent to a third party collection agency. The employee is responsible for any and all collection fees, legal fees, and attorney fees incurred during this process.
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: April 1, 1997
Reviewed/Updated Date: May 2016
Date of Scheduled Review: March 2020
To set forth general supervisory guidelines for a performance improvement process aimed to document and correct undesirable employee conduct, as well as, develop or improve specific job skills or behaviors.
This policy applies to staff employees at ACU.
The university seeks to establish and maintain standards of employee conduct and supervisory practices which will, in the interest of the university and its employees, support and promote effective business operations. Such supervisory practice include administering the Performance Improvement Plan when employee conduct or performance problems arise. It is also a tool to be used for the development or improvement of pre-determined job skills or behaviors. Major elements of this policy generally include:
- Constructive effort by the supervisor to help employees achieve fully satisfactory standards of conduct and job performance.
- Correcting employee shortcomings or negative behavior to the extent required.
- Notice to employees through communicating this policy that discharge will result from continued or gross violation of employee standards of conduct or unsatisfactory job performance.
- Written documentation of disciplinary warnings given and corrective measures taken.
- Documentation of performance improvement will become part of the employee's personnel record.
OPTIONS FOR PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT
Depending on the facts and circumstances involved in each situation, a supervisor may choose to begin the Performance Improvement Plan at any step up to and including immediate discharge. However, in most cases, the following steps should be followed:
- Oral Warning. The employee's supervisor should have a verbal discussion with the employee in private. During that meeting the supervisor should:
- Discuss with the employee the unacceptable behavior. Included in this discussion should be the who, what, when, where, how and why of the incident.
- Explain why the behavior is unacceptable; violated ACU policy or procedure; negatively impacts work flow; or created a performance issue.
- Suggest ways for the employee to improve their behavior to meet standards.
- Inform the employee that the verbal conference is the first step in the disciplinary procedure and further instances of unacceptable behavior will initiate progressively more serious disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
- Document the nature, content and date of the oral warning with a memo to the employee file. Original form should be mailed to the Director of Human Resources in a sealed confidential envelope. The oral warning may be repeated several times as the supervisor deems necessary. Specific time limits should be set on improving the behavior in question.
- Written Warning Notice. A written warning, in the form of a performance improvement plan, should occur if the behavior is not corrected following the verbal discussion(s). The performance improvement plan should contain the following:
- Describe the incident, noting any verbal discussion, which occurred prior to the written counseling. Give specific dates, times and a summary of what was said.
- Inform the employee what must be done to correct or improve the unacceptable behavior. Be specific.
- Discuss with the employee the training or directive necessary to achieve the desired goals.
- Set a specific time limit when correction or acceptable improvement should be noticed. The supervisor should have a follow-up meeting with the employee at the appointed time to discuss the program.
- State what disciplinary action will be taken if such behavior is not corrected or occurs again. Indicate that additional action may include termination.
- Have the employee sign and date the written warning indicating that the conversation did take place. If the employee refuses to sign, indicate the refusal on the employee signature line, initial and date it yourself. Original copy of the written warning should be sent to the Director of Human Resources in a sealed confidential envelope.
- Suspension. The nature of certain types of misconduct warrants placing an employee on suspension (in lieu of probation) and may be followed by a probationary period. A suspension is an imposed temporary absence from duty without pay. The purpose of this step is to make certain that the employee is aware of the seriousness of his or her behavior. Once again, continued errant behavior will result in further disciplinary action up to and including discharge.
- Discharge. For infractions deemed to be sufficiently serious, or where there is continued continued failure to respond appropriately to prior corrective action, discharge is appropriate. The area vice-president should be notified and approval of the employee's division head and the Director of Human Resources must be obtained prior to the discharge of an employee under any circumstances.
POLITICAL CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY
To promote civic involvement while protecting Abilene Christian University's status as a federal income tax exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
This policy applies to all ACU employees. Where applicable, this policy also applies to all students and student organizations.
III. STATEMENT OF LAW
Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, such as ACU, from participating or intervening in political campaigns on behalf or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Accordingly, the university may not endorse a candidate, provide or solicit financial or other forms of support for candidates or political organizations, or establish political action committees. Violations of these prohibitions could result in loss of the university's tax-exempt status, imposition of taxes on the institution and its responsible managers, federal or state government lawsuits, audits, investigations or other penalties.
ACU's policy on employee political campaign activity is established for the guidance of all employees, but it cannot expressly address every potentially prohibited activity under the federal law. The policy addresses all levels of political activity, up to and including filing and running for elected office, and offers a framework from which employees can safely exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and association while also respecting the prohibitions against inappropriate political involvement by non-profit organizations and their employees.
- Pursuit of Elected Office
- If employees plan to undertake public office or seek leave for that purpose, they should first consider primary obligations and responsibilities to the university and also consider potential problems the political activity could create for the university. In short, employees are free to seek elected office provided that it does not interfere with their obligations as employees of the university. In order to determine the feasibility of pursuing elected office consistent with obligations of employees to the university, employees will consult with their supervisor.
- Employee candidates may use their documented, official university title for identification purposes, provided that a reasonable person would not infer that it was an endorsement by the university.
- Individual Involvement in Campaigns - Employees, in their individual capacity, may involve themselves in support or in opposition to political candidates and campaigns pursuant to the following provisions:
- Individual political activity of employees must not interfere with the execution of their duties or responsibilities to ACU.
- Employees must not engage in political advocacy at ACU functions or through official university publications, unless they are a legally qualified candidate for public office and the activity is consistent with other provisions for candidate appearances in this policy.
- If employees are identified by their ACU affiliation in connection with their individual political activity (e.g. an endorsement in a political advertisement), they must ensure that:
- A clear and unambiguous message is also included indicating that they are acting on their own behalf and not at the direction or on behalf of ACU, so that a reasonable person would not believe the communication or activity to be an endorsement by ACU; and
- The affiliation is their documented, official ACU title.
- Use of University Facilities and Resources
- ACU employees may not use or provide university resources including, but not limited to university mailing lists, office space, property, telephones, technology, photocopying, or personnel to support or oppose a political candidate, campaign, party, action committee or group.
- ACU and its employees may not use institutional letterhead or email in support of or in opposition to a candidate, campaign, political party, or political action committee. Unsolicited interoffice communications, including but not limited to email and other digital communications, in support or against a candidate for public office are prohibited. Moreover, ACU or its employees may not place political advertising (e.g. signage) on university property, and no political candidate or non-student political group should be permitted to place political advertising on university property.
- Subject to university policies on permission and scheduling, recognized student organizations may use ACU facilities for partisan political purposes, so long as they pay the usual and normal charge, if any, for such use. However, prolonged partisan use of ACU facilities should be avoided.
- Individual students may not place political advertising (e.g. signage) on university property. However, subject to other relevant university policies, recognized student organizations may temporarily post political advertising (e.g. signage) on university property during their on-campus events.
- Candidate Appearances - ACU and its employees and student groups may invite candidates for political office to appear in their candidate capacity only if the candidate appearance meets and adheres to the following:
- The appearance consists of speeches, question-and-answer sessions, or similar communications in an academic setting;
- No political fundraising occurs;
- It is made clear that ACU takes no position with regard to the candidate; and
- All candidates seeking the same office must be provided an equal opportunity to appear.
- Academic Courses and Schedules - Academic coursework may require that students participate in political campaigns of their choice, but only if the university and the related faculty neither influence the students' choice of candidate nor control their campaign work. Students may be excused from classes for which the assignment was given in order to fulfill these requirements. ACU may (but is not required to) rearrange class or work schedules to permit members of its community to participate in the election process, provided that it is done without reference to particular candidates or political parties.
- Advertising in University Publications - ACU publications may accept paid political advertising as long as it is accepted on the same basis as other nonpolitical advertising and not attributed to the university's own views. The publication should ensure that the advertisement is identified as paid political advertising and must also make advertising space available to all candidates on an equal basis.
- Student Publications - Student publications may run editorials expressing the editors' views on candidates for public office, provided that the publication's editorial policy is free of editorial control by university administrators or faculty advisors with respect to such views. A statement on the editorial page must indicate that the views expressed are those of the student editors and not those of ACU. The university may provide financial and administrative support to such publications.
- Issue Advocacy - ACU and its employees may engage in permissible lobbying and public policy education activities within the constraints ordinarily applicable to such activities conducted by universities, provided that heightened, different, or targeted lobbying and public policy education activities do not coincide with campaign events.
- Political Contributions and Fundraising - Employees may, in their individual capacity and in accordance with all applicable state and federal laws, donate or raise non-university funds in support of candidates for public office, political campaigns, political parties or political action committees. ACU may not reimburse employees for political contributions.
- Political Appointments - Employees may accept political appointments to any level of government service consistent with other provisions in this policy.
V. FORMAL COMPLAINT RESOLUTION
Any complaint regarding a violation of this policy against prohibited political campaign activity must be made in writing, outlining the facts surrounding the violation and the section of the policy allegedly violated. Complaints concerning university employees should be submitted to the Human Resources Office, while complaints concerning students or student organizations should be submitted to the office of the VP for Student Life/Dean of Students.
Any investigation of all formal, written complaints involving employees will be conducted or coordinated by Human Resources. An investigation of all formal, written complaints involving students will be conducted or coordinated by the office of the VP for Student Life/Dean of Students. To the extent reasonably possible, complaints will be handled confidentially by the coordinating office, with the facts made available only to those who have a need to know for purposes of investigation or resolution. The coordinating office will make a determination as to whether there was a violation of the policy, ensure that appropriate university administrator(s) take necessary action, and inform the complainant and the respondent of the final disposition of the complaint.