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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
- 422. Cell Phone Policy
- 423. Identity Theft Policy
- 424. Records Management 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.
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 Legal Services.
- 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.
Policy No. 412
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Title IX Coordinator (Director of Human Resources)
Effective Date: June 1, 2012
Date of Scheduled Review: June 1, 2016
ANTI-HARASSMENT POLICY (INCLUDING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND MISCONDUCT)
To comply with all applicable legal requirements prohibiting harassment against any member of the Abilene Christian University community. Moreover, as a Christian community, ACU has committed itself, unequivocally, to ensuring a working and learning environment in which the dignity of every individual is respected. Therefore, it is the purpose of this policy to maintain a work and academic environment that is free of unlawful harassment, which includes sexual assault or misconduct.
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. However, 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.
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.). Such harassment allegations must be made in good faith. The University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and the Employee Standards of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
C. Interim Measures. The University reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of harassment in order to protect the related individuals’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, interim suspension or leave from campus pending an investigation; modification of class, work schedules, or living arrangement; and no contact orders.
D. No Retaliation. No member of the ACU community may be subject to restraint, interference, 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. Moreover, because a claim is not proof of prohibited conduct, a claim 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. For more information regarding protections against retaliation, see Policy No. 421, Whistleblower Policy.
E. Notification and Training. In an attempt to prevent harassment, ACU will provide all employees and students with annual notification regarding this policy and offer periodic training for faculty, staff members, and students, who will be required to participate in such training.
IV. DEFINITIONS AND EXAMPLES
A. “Harassment"- includes both Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment as defined below.
B. “Discriminatory Harassment”- verbal or physical conduct or other detrimental action based on sex, religion, race, age, color, national origin, veteran's status, disability, or 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 or learning 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 discrimination as set out in its Nondiscrimination Policy. Moreover, this definition (and policy) does not intend to give individuals any protection greater than that afforded by applicable law.
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.
- Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the ACU community; or the safety of any of the immediate family members of the ACU community.
C. “Sexual Harassment”- unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including Sexual Misconduct or Exploitation when:
- submission 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;
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decision affecting the individual; or
- 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.
Sexual harassment can occur regardless of the relationship, position and respective sex of the parties. Same-gender harassment violates this policy as does harassment by a subordinate employee of his/her supervisor.
Examples of Sexual Harassment may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Unwelcomed sexual propositions, 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.
- Unwelcome 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 generated from Internet or email sources.
- 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, or on, 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).
- Sexual Exploitation - when an individual takes non-consensual, unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own pleasure, advantage or benefit, or to pleasure, benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to: exposure of genitals or inducing another to expose their genitals; invasions of sexual privacy including non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity or voyeurism; intentional transmission of HIV or another STD; or aiding in the commission of sexual misconduct as an accomplice
- “Consent” - clear, knowing, and voluntary words or actions given by a person indicating a willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is active, and not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Mutually understandable Consent must be obtained 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. Previous sexual relationships and/or a current relationship may not be taken to imply Consent. In addition, 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 revoked at any time, as long as the revocation is communicated clearly, at which point sexual activity must cease immediately. Consent cannot be given by minors, mentally disabled individuals or Incapacitated persons. 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 act or encounter. Consent cannot be obtained through the use of fraud or Force (actual or implied).
F. "Incapacitated”- any state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, or how of their sexual interaction. This includes but is not limited to persons incapacitated based on their voluntary or involuntary use of drugs or alcohol, unconsciousness, blackout or sleep. Evidence of incapacity can also be detected by a reasonable person from one or an accumulation of context clues, which can include but are not limited to the following: knowledge regarding how much alcohol another person has consumed or whether some other drug has been ingested; slurred speech; bloodshot eyes; shaky equilibrium or inability to walk; vomiting; outrageous or unusual behavior; or unawareness of surroundings.
G. “Force”- use of physical violence (such as pushing, hitting, pinning down), threats (direct or indirect expressions of harm to self or others), intimidation (implied or indirect threats), and/or coercion (unreasonable pressure applied after someone make clear they do not want to stop or go past a certain point).
V. REPORTING PROCEDURES AND CONFIDENTIALITY
ACU encourages those who have experienced any form of Harassment to immediately seek available assistance and report the incident promptly to the Title IX Coordinator, who is Wendy Jones, Director of Human Resources. She can be reached at (325) 674-2903 or firstname.lastname@example.org or in Hardin Administration Building Room 213, ACU Box 29106, Abilene, TX 79699-9106. Before you do so, it is important to know that different people on campus have different reporting responsibilities and different abilities to maintain confidentiality, depending on their roles.
A. Reporting to Responsible Employees- The Title IX Coordinator, members of the ACU Police Department, and all employees with supervisory responsibilities of other faculty or staff are designated as Responsible Employees to handle inquiries and reports of Harassment. This means that once these employees receive a report about Harassment, it is considered official notice to the University, which must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. When reporting to these individuals, it can be expected that reports will be taken seriously and that they will be investigated and properly resolved as outlined in Section VI. Unreasonable delay in reporting may impede the University’s ability to conduct an investigation and/or effect appropriate remedial action. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individuals.
While ACUPD is required to forward reports of harassment including sexual assault to the Title IX Coordinator, the University and ACUPD operate independently from one another in regard to investigations. The complainant may pursue any appropriate internal complaints (with the University) and/or external charges (with ACU Police Department) against the offender.
B. Confidential Reporting- Some resources can offer you confidentiality, sharing options and advice without any obligation to indentify you unless you want them to.
- Counselors and Doctors- Texas law provides that communication between a patient and their mental health or medical provider or counselor is confidential. This includes confidential communication with an on and off campus mental health counselors or health service providers or off-campus rape crisis center.
- Clergy- Texas law provides that communications between the clergy and any individual consulting with him or her for the purpose of seeking spiritual advice in the clergy’s professional capacity is considered privileged, and the person making the communication has a privilege to refuse to disclose and prevent the clergy member from disclosing the confidential communication. Under the law, a “clergyman” is a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting him. At ACU, this definition would typically be limited to the Assistant Dean for Spiritual Life and Director of Student Ministries. Any other employee at ACU who may become engaged in a personal or spiritual discussion with a student should not assume that the conversation or information falls within this legal protection.
C. Non-Responsible Employees- Most of the employees on campus are not classified as Responsible Employees, Counselors, Doctors, or Clergy. Neither the university nor the law requires these Non-Responsible Employees to divulge private, personally identifiable information unless the complainant’s safety or the safety of others is at stake. These employees include those employees (faculty and staff) without supervisory responsibilities of other faculty or staff, such as Resident Assistants (RAs), non-supervisory staff or faculty members, academic advisors, and many others. If unsure about someone’s duties and ability to maintain privacy, a complainant should ask them before talking to them. The employee should be able to explain and help make a decision about who can best help. Pursuant to the Clery Act, as explained below, some employees, such as RAs, should be instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, without sharing any personally identifiable information about the report unless they the complainant gives permission or there is cause for fear for the complainant’s safety or the safety of others.
D. Federal Reporting and Timely Warnings- Under the federal Clery Act, certain campus officials have a duty to report Non-Consensual Sexual Contact, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, incest, or statutory rape regardless of whether they are a Responsible or Non-Responsible Employees.
While personally-identifiable information may be kept confidential, statistical information must be passed along to ACU Police Department regarding the date and time of the incident, the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters are any officials of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities. An official is defined as any person who has the authority and the duty to take action or respond to particular issues on behalf of the institution. This includes but is not limited to Deans and Directors in Student Life, Athletic Director and Coaches, and Title IX Coordinators. Anyone else, including Counselor, Doctors, or Clergy, may be but are not obligated to provide such information.
Additionally, the ACU Police Department must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents of Sexual Misconduct reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. 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. The reporters for timely warning purposes are exactly the same as detailed above.
E. Immunity for Complainant and Other Reporters- The University encourages the reporting of Harassment. Sometimes, victims are hesitant to report to college officials because they fear that they may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. To encourage reporting of Harassment, the University, where possible, pursues a policy of offering victims of Harassment limited immunity from being charged with policy violations related to the particular incident. While violations to policy cannot be completely overlooked, the University may provide education options rather than other consequences, in such cases. This applies equally to other reporters, who witness and/or offer assistance to others in need. Moreover, any other rule violations will be addressed pursuant to the appropriate code of conduct.
A. Intake- A complaint alleging Harassment can be made to a Responsible Employee or directly to the Title IX Coordinator. Upon receipt of such notice, the Title IX Coordinator (or his/her designee) will first schedule an individual intake meeting with the complainant to provide complainant with a general understanding of this policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the complainant (no contact orders, etc.).
During the intake meeting the Title IX Coordinator (or his/her designee) will determine how the complainant wishes to proceed (either with an informal resolution or with a formal investigation). It is important to note that the law may require the University to investigate even when a complainant does not wish to pursue informal resolution or formal investigation. The Coordinator (or his/her designee) will take care in these instances to protect the complainant’s personal information as far as possible, although he/she cannot guarantee confidentiality. Moreover, the ability of the University to investigate the complaint may be limited when the complainant refuses to participate in the investigation or wishes to remain anonymous. As necessary, the University reserves the right to initiate an investigation without a formal complaint by the victim or complainant.
B. Initial Assessment- After receiving a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator (individually or in consultation with his/her designee) will make an initial assessment to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the harassment policy has been violated. If so, the Coordinator (individually or through his/her designee) will initiate a prompt, thorough, and impartial resolution or investigation. There may be no need for an initial assessment when a situation is clearly Harassment.
C. Informal Complaint and Resolution- Before pursuing a formal complaint, a complainant may wish to informally resolve the issue. An informal resolution might take the form of the Title IX Coordinator, appropriate supervisor/administrator, or complainant discussing the issues with the responding party 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 valid 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 parties involved do 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 by the Title IX Coordinator within two weeks of the determined outcomes.
D. Formal Complaint- The person who wishes to file a formal Harassment complaint is encouraged to submit a brief written statement of facts to the Title IX Coordinator or the assigned Deputy Coordinator. If the complainant does not submit a written statement, the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Coordinators will prepare a statement that is approved by the complainant, which may address the following:
- 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;
- The impact of the respondent’s actions on the complainant;
- Any steps complainant has taken to try to stop the harassment;
- Any other information that complainant believes to be relevant including supporting documents or other evidence.
E. Investigation- Upon receipt of the statement, the Title IX Coordinator will open a formal case file and begin the investigation his/herself or assign the investigation to a Deputy Coordinator or an independent outside investigator, who will conduct the investigations under supervision of the Coordinator. The investigator will begin by providing the respondent notice of the complaint.
As permitted, an investigation shall include, but is not limited to, allowing the respondent to respond in writing and/or orally in order to state his/her position, interviewing complainant, respondent, and key witnesses in order to gather relevant information; maintain appropriate documentation; provide status updates; and disclose appropriate information to others only on a need-to-know basis consistent with applicable law. While the amount of time needed to conduct the investigation will vary on the nature of allegations and the evidence to be investigated, the investigation will normally be concluded within 60 days of the receipt of the formal complaint.
F. Cooperation with Law Enforcement- The University will comply with law enforcement request for cooperation and such cooperation may require the University to temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of the investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. The University will promptly resume its investigation two weeks after receiving the request from law enforcement or as soon as notified that law enforcement has completed the evidence gathering process, whichever is earlier.
G. Findings and Decision- Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will make written findings regarding whether a violation occurred, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not). The investigator and/or Title IX Coordinator will present those findings to the accused and complainant. If both parties accept the findings, the appropriate administrator will impose sanctions for the violation, after consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. For accused students, the Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students will impose the sanctions; for accused staff, the Senior Advisor to the President will impose sanctions; and for accused faculty, the Provost will impose sanctions. If either party rejects the findings, the appropriate administrators identified above will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policy. If it is, he/she will impose sanctions for the violations, after consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. The findings of the investigation will be considered and given great deference by the administrator, but are not binding on the administrator’s decision.
H. 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 or termination; or other action ACU deems appropriate under the circumstance.
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 Title IX.
H. Notifications- When a determination is reached regarding findings and sanctions, the appropriate administrator identified above will provide both complainant and respondent with written notice of the same within five (5) business days. The notice will also include information regarding the parties’ right to appeal.
Either party may appeal the findings or sanctions imposed by filing a written appeal to the Office of Legal Services (Hardin Administration Building, Rm 111) within three (3) working days of the above notification. (However, the parties cannot appeal finding that he/she previously 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 affected the outcome of the investigation (e.g. established bias or material deviation from established procedure);
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;
C. The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters of guidelines set by the institution.
After receiving an appeal, Legal Services will share the appeal with the Title IX Coordinator, who will determine if there are sufficient grounds for appeal. If there are, the opposing party will be notified of the appeal and have an opportunity to file a response. They will have three (3) business days to do so. Additionally, the deciding administrator will also be notified of the appeal.
The original findings, appeal, and any responses will be considered jointly by the two administrators mentioned above that did not render the initial decision. If they cannot agree on a decision or need to recuse themselves for any reasons, the University's Executive Vice President will also consider the appeal unless he/she conducted the underlying investigation. For example, if a student appeals a decision of the Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students, the Senior Advisor to the President and the Provost, will consider the appeal (along with the EVP if necessary). Their finding, which will be in writing and provided to both parties, will be final and cannot be appealed.
The procedure governing the consideration of appeals include the following:
- If the committee 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 are not intended to be full reinvestigation of the complaint. Instead, in most cases, they are confined to a review of the written documents.
- 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;
- Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the original administrator stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of appeal.
Policy No. 413
Responsible Department: Human Resources
Responsible Administrator: Director of Human Resources
Effective Date: January 1994
Reviewed Date: September 2011
Date of Scheduled Review: September 2015
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.
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.
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.
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 IN THE WORKPLACE
To provide a safe and healthy workplace.
This policy applies to employees and visitors at ACU.
The use of tobacco is strictly prohibited on campus.
The use of tobacco means inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted smoking equipment for tobacco, as well as the use of any smokeless tobacco.
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.
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 employee's supervisor. Misuse of university property may lead to corrective action.
During the course of employment, each employee will be working with students, student lists, business systems, future plans, R&D data and other information that the university considers confidential. Employees must protect this information by safeguarding it when in use, filing it properly when not in use nuse, and discussing it only 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.
The Cell Phone Policy can be accessed at: Cell Phone Policy.
The Identity Theft Policy can be accessed at: Identity Theft Policy.
The Records Management Policy can be accessed at: Policy on Records Management.
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, management 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 is 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 should occur if the behavior is not corrected following the verbal discussion(s). The counseling 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.
- Probation. Should further instances of unacceptable behavior occur, or should the employee fail to improve, the next step should be probation. An employee should be placed on probation for a period of at least 30 days. Probation is defined as a period of time during which further unacceptable behavior or further instances of misconduct by the employee will result in termination of employment. Upon successful completion of the probationary period, a follow-up written conference should be held documenting that the probationary period is over. However, if the behavior occurs again, discipline may proceed with the next step, suspension or discharge.
- Suspension. The nature of certain types of misconduct warrant 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 continued failure to respond appropriately to prior corrective action, discharge is appropriate. The approval of the employee's vice president 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.
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