General standards of conduct

General Standards of Conduct

Gettysburg College is committed to operating with integrity and in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies. Additionally, all employees are expected to conduct themselves honestly and with a high degree of personal integrity. The mutual respect and collegiality that is gained as a result of adherence to these standards encourages a positive and productive work environment. This not only involves sincere respect for the rights of others, but also requires that employees refrain from behavior in both their professional and personal lives that might be harmful to themselves, their coworkers and/or the College. To maintain the integrity of Gettysburg College and to protect the rights of its employees, its students, and the College itself, employees are expected to conduct themselves honestly, professionally, and ethically at all times.

Additionally, to make the College a safe and positive place to work, every employee is expected to observe certain standards of conduct. Certain conduct is of such serious nature that immediate dismissal may be warranted without prior warning or discipline. Examples of such conduct are as follows: gross insubordination; dishonesty; stealing property or merchandise belonging to the College, its suppliers, students, or other employees; private financial relations with customers or suppliers; deliberate damage to College property; fighting; falsifying or causing to be falsified information on an employment application, time card, or other College documents; unlawful possession, use or distribution of alcohol; intoxication; the illegal use, sale, manufacture, possession or distribution of drugs or narcotics; sexual misconduct, other inappropriate sexual conduct, discriminatory harassment and/or discrimination; the possession or use of firearms or other weapons on College premises including in an employee’s own vehicle; or, the use or threat of violence.

The specific conduct described in this section does not include all of the possible grounds for discipline or discharge. These descriptions are intended as illustrations of the types of conduct that must be avoided for the good of our employees, students, visitors, and the College itself.

Because these rules are essential to our most important function - high quality service to our students - as well as to the efficient operation of our institution, the provisions of this section will be fairly enforced. We appreciate the cooperation of every employee in the careful observance of these standards of conduct.

Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination-Free Workplace

Introduction

Gettysburg College is committed to maintaining an environment conducive to learning for all students and a professional workplace free from discriminatory harassment and discrimination for its employees. Discriminatory harassment and discrimination in all forms, including sexual harassment and sexual assault, and all other forms of sexual violence, are antithetical to the values of Gettysburg College, violations of College policy, and, in some instances, violations of state and federal law. Gettysburg College will not tolerate discriminatory harassment or other discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, marital/familial status, possession of a General Education Development Certificate (GED) as compared to a high school diploma, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sex, age, genetic information or any trait or characteristic protected by any applicable federal, state, or local law or ordinance. Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972, Gettysburg College prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all of its educational programs and activities. Discriminatory harassment or other discrimination on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristic may affect the terms and conditions of employment or interfere with a student’s work or academic performance and create an intimidating or hostile environment for that employee or student. As such, discriminatory harassment or other discrimination on the basis of any protected trait or characteristic is contrary to the values of Gettysburg College, is a violation of College policy applicable to faculty, administration, and staff and is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

Section I: Sexual Harassment

The College’s Title IX Policy and Procedures address harassment based upon sex that falls within that policy’s definition of “Title IX Sexual Harassment” and all Title IX Sexual Harassment will be subject to that policy, rather than these General Standards of Conduct. Conduct that does not meet the definition of “Title IX Sexual Harassment” may still constitute sexual harassment that is prohibited by the College and will be addressed through these General Standard of Conduct or other applicable policies. When reports of sexual harassment are submitted, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the Title IX Policy, the Standards of Conduct, or another policy applies and will direct the matter to the appropriate process.

All members of Gettysburg College have the right to work and study in an environment free of discrimination, including freedom from sexual harassment. The intent of this policy is to foster responsible behavior in a working and academic environment free from discrimination and discriminatory harassment. Thus, Gettysburg College strongly disapproves of and forbids the sexual harassment of employees or students.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, demands for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment;
  • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment can include, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances or propositions, preferential or derogatory treatment based on gender, unnecessary touching, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, the display of sexually suggestive materials or pictures, explicit or offensive comments or jokes with a sexual content or based upon sex or gender, requests for sexual favors used as a condition of employment or affecting any personnel decisions such as hiring, promotion, or compensation, and unwanted physical contact such as pinching, grabbing, rubbing, stalking, etc.

All employees, supervisors, and managers are prohibited from engaging in any conduct that might be considered sexual harassment. In addition, no supervisor or other employee shall threaten or insinuate, either explicitly or implicitly, that another employee's, or applicant's, refusal to submit to sexual advances or sexual harassment will adversely affect the terms and conditions of that individual's employment. Similarly, no supervisor, manager, or employee shall promise, imply, or grant any preferential treatment to another employee in exchange for sexual favors or conduct. Any employee, supervisor, or manager who commits or condones sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Sexual harassment as defined in this policy is prohibited when it involves any member of the campus community:

  • towards a faculty member or employee by a faculty member or employee
  • towards a student by a faculty member or employee
  • towards a faculty member or employee by a student
  • towards a student by a student
  • towards a faculty member or employee or student by a visitor or guest of the College.

All members of the faculty, as well as administration and support staff who are designated as a Campus Security Authority, who have information regarding, are witness to, or become aware of, by any means, any sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and/or any other criminal activity, are required by law to report the incident. Any College official who has authority to institute corrective measures and who has any information regarding conduct that may constitute sexual harassment and/or a violation of the College’s Title IX Policy is required by law to report the information to the Title IX Coordinator. The College strongly encourages all employees to report any incident or allegation of sexual harassment. Information on how to make a report can be found below in Section IV, Reporting of Prohibited Conduct, Harassment and Discrimination Violations.

Section II: Other Forms of Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination

Employees are expected to maintain the highest degree of professional behavior. All discriminatory harassment or discrimination by employees is strictly prohibited. Further, harassing or otherwise discriminatory behavior of non-employees directed at College employees or students also is prohibited and will be promptly addressed.

Discrimination occurs when race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, religion, veteran status, age or any protected status is used as criteria for action. Discrimination is particularly condemned when it exploits and jeopardizes the trust that should exist among members of an educational institution. To preserve a work and study atmosphere that fosters such trust, the College affirms the principle that students, faculty, and staff must be treated equitably and evaluated on the basis of merit rather than irrelevant criteria. When a person intentionally or inadvertently abuses the power and authority inherent in their position, there can be negative consequences both to the individuals involved as well as to the educational and working environment of the College.

Discrimination also includes harassment based on a protected trait. Discriminatory harassment may be based on a person’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, religion, veteran status, age or any protected status. It includes a wide range of abusive and humiliating verbal or physical behaviors that are directed against or particularly offensive to a particular person or persons because of a protected trait. In some cases, the conduct may be such that it is clear that it is directed against or particularly offensive to a particular person or persons, even though the person(s) may not be explicitly identified.

Certain conduct which may constitute discriminatory harassment including, but is not limited to, preferential or derogatory treatment based upon protected characteristics, using insulting or degrading language that would reasonably offend members of a given race, religion, age, national origin, or disability or members of any other protected group, distributing or displaying any written or graphic materials that would be offensive to members of any protected group, and using racial, religious, or ethnic epithets.

All members of the faculty, as well as administration and support staff who are designated as a Campus Security Authority, who have information regarding, are witness to, or become aware of conduct that may constitute criminal activity, are required to report the incident. The College strongly encourages all employees to report any incident or allegation of discriminatory harassment. Information on how to make a report can be found below in Section IV, Reporting of Prohibited Conduct, Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination.

All members of the faculty, administration and support staff who have information regarding, are witness to, or become aware of, by any means, any form of discriminatory harassment or other discrimination should report the incident. Information on how to make a report can be found below in Section IV, Reporting of Prohibited Conduct, Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination.

Section III: Policy Definitions

Complainant: an individual who has reported or otherwise is alleged to have experienced or witnessed conduct that may violate this Policy.

Discrimination: Discrimination refers to the treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person based on the protected group, class, or category to which that person belongs. Discriminatory harassment is a form of discrimination and constitutes a violation of this Policy.

Investigator: Any College administrative official or person or persons appointed by the College who will be responsible for coordinating any investigations into an alleged violation of this policy.

Report: A report is defined as notification of an incident of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment or any other form of discrimination or discriminatory harassment to the Executive Director of Human Resources, Vice Provost or the Title IX Coordinator.

Respondent: An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or discrimination, or otherwise could violate this policy.

Responsible Reporters: Responsible Reporters are persons who, as a result of their profession or employment position with the College, may be aware of cases of abuse or violence. At Gettysburg College, all faculty as well as administrators, staff, and student staff identified as Campus Security Authorities (with the exception of psychological counselors and pastoral counselors while performing that role as their primary employment with the College) are designated as responsible reporters with regard to cases of suspected sexual assault/violence, sexual misconduct, and relationship violence. It is every person’s responsibility to keep our community safe and free from discrimination and violence. Suspected incidents need to be immediately reported to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). In Pennsylvania, College employees are mandated to report suspected abuse of anyone under the age of 18. The report must be made immediately to ChildLine (800-932-0313) and to the employee’s supervisor.

Retaliation: Acts or attempted acts to retaliate or seek retribution against anyone who has reported any conduct that the person reasonably believes may violate this Policy or who has participated (or is expected to participate) in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this Policy. Prohibited retaliatory acts include, but are not limited to, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination. Retaliation constitutes a violation of this Policy.

Witness: Any individual who has seen, heard, or otherwise knows or has relevant information about a violation or attempted violation of this Policy. Witnesses are protected from retaliation.

Section IV: Reporting of Prohibited Conduct, Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination

An individual who reports conduct that may violate this Policy can be assured that all reports will be taken seriously, and that each individual will be treated with dignity, respect and in a non-judgmental manner from the initial report to the final result.

Any employee or faculty member who believes he or she has been the subject of any form of conduct prohibited by this Policy should bring the matter to either the Executive Director in the Human Resources Office if an administrator or support staff employee or the Vice Provost if a faculty member. Alternatively, the individual may complete the on-line Community Concern Webform.

If you, or another individual, are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 717-337-6911 or the Gettysburg Police Department by calling 911. You should call DPS in the following circumstances:

  • The health, safety or well-being of any individual is in jeopardy
  • An individual is in need of immediate medical assistance
  • Criminal or questionable activity is in progress

For non-emergency reporting, all members of the community may also submit a concern using the Community Care Webform (select the appropriate form based on the kind of report). Information provided on this form will be sent to the appropriate College official for review and follow-up.

Child abuse - In the State of Pennsylvania, employees of institutions of higher learning who suspect incidents of child abuse (including incidents of suspected child sex abuse) must immediately report such incidents first to the Department of Public Welfare’s Child Line (800-932-0313), then to the police having jurisdiction, and then to their supervisor.

We encourage that all complaints be in writing. When making a report of discriminatory harassment, it is important that you provide as much information as possible, including the details of the alleged harassing conduct, any physical evidence of the harassment that may exist, the names of all employees involved in the harassment, any other employees who may have experienced similar harassment, and any individuals who observed or witnessed the harassment.

Section V: Investigation of Reports

The College will conduct an investigation into any complaint or report of discriminatory harassment. Prompt action may be taken pending an investigation if appropriate to ensure that any discriminatory harassment that might exist does not continue. If the investigation indicates that discriminatory harassment may have occurred, the College will take prompt and appropriate remedial measures to bring the harassment to an end.

The College will not permit any retaliation against an employee who has made a complaint or report of discriminatory harassment. No employee will suffer any adverse job-related consequences as a result of having assisted the College by bringing discriminatory harassment to our attention. Any employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of this policy should report the situation to an appropriate management representative immediately.

During the course of any investigation, the individual conducting the investigation may consult with or notify the College President; the Provost; the Vice President of College Life/Dean of the College; the Executive Director of Human Resources; the Executive Director of Public Safety; and/or another administrator or outside legal counsel as appropriate.

Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation to the extent practical and consistent with the College’s need to undertake a full and impartial investigation.

Employees questioned by the College during the course of an investigation are required to provide their full cooperation. In turn, it is the expectation of the College that all those involved in an investigation, including the Complainant, the Respondent, and all Witnesses, will be treated with dignity and respect during the course of the investigation.

If criminal conduct has been alleged, the Complainant may elect to file a complaint with the appropriate authorities. The College will conduct its own investigation even if a criminal investigation occurs.

If discriminatory harassment or another type of policy violation is found to have occurred, immediate and appropriate action will be taken to stop the inappropriate conduct, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Where a Respondent has been found to have violated College policy, the College will take appropriate actions which may include disciplinary and corrective actions designed to prevent future occurrences. Sanctions may be issued individually, or a combination of sanctions may be imposed. The determination of sanctions is based upon a number of factors, including: the nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation; the harm suffered by the Complainant; any ongoing risk to either the Complainant or the community posed by Respondent; the impact of the violation on the community, its members, or its property; any previous disciplinary history; previous complaints or allegations involving similar conduct; and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Disciplinary measures may consist of actions including verbal warning, written warning, last chance agreement, suspension without pay, or termination of employment. Employees found responsible for incidents of sexual violence or assault will receive a more significant sanction, up to and including termination.

If, after the investigation concludes, new information becomes available that was not available at the time of the initial investigation, the grievant may present the new information to the investigator and request that the investigation be re-opened.

Statement on Privacy

The College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to any complaint.

If the Complainant requests anonymity or that the College not pursue an investigation, the College will balance this request in the context of its responsibility to provide a safe environment for all College community members and enforce its policies. In cases where the College cannot grant the request of the Complainant, the College will consult with the Complainant and keep him or her informed about the College’s course of action.

Section VI: Grievance/Appeal Procedure

This College Grievance/Appeal Procedure is available to employees after a determination has been made by the College as discussed above in Section V.

Purpose: The College Grievance/Appeal Procedure exists as a means to contest a determination that has been made regarding an alleged violation of the College’s Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination-Free Workplace Policy. There are two grounds for which either party may grieve under this procedure:

  1. Unreasonable Sanction: The Respondent believes that the discipline/sanction imposed was unreasonable for the violation of policy for which the Respondent was found responsible; or
  2. Procedural Error: A clear procedural error occurred during the investigative stage preventing either the Complainant and/or the Respondent a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present information to the investigator(s) that could have reasonably affected the outcome of the matter.

What Categories of Grievance Are Not Covered by the College Grievance/Appeal Procedure:

This College Grievance/Appeal Procedure does not apply to issues concerning compensation, classification, work standards, Title IX, other College policies, matters that are beyond the control or jurisdiction of the College, or any other disciplinary matter or termination.

Additionally, dismissal of a faculty member for cause, non-reappointment of a non-tenured faculty member, or tenure/promotion issues may not be addressed with the College Grievance Appeal Procedure. These faculty issues, which may be addressed using procedures found in the Faculty Handbook, are under the purview of the Faculty Grievance Committee, a faculty committee that is distinct from the College Grievance Committee created under this policy.

The Grievance/Appeal Procedure is not a legal proceeding but a Gettysburg College community procedure created with the health and welfare of the College’s employees in mind. The College Grievance Appeal Procedure may be used freely without fear of retaliation, and the Executive Director of Human Resources, working with the Vice Provost and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, if appropriate, are available for assistance throughout the process.

Composition of the College Grievance/Appeal Committee:

Under this policy, Gettysburg College maintains a body called the College Grievance Appeal Committee. Members of this committee are appointed by the President of the College for terms of three years. The College Grievance Appeal Committee is composed of three tenured faculty members, three administrators, and three support staff members. The Chair of the College Grievance Appeal Committee (appointed by the President) will be a tenured faculty member and may serve as one of the four voting members of a grievance hearing panel. The College Grievance/Appeal Committee receives harassment and discrimination training and is knowledgeable of the College’s Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination-Free Workplace Policy.

Grievance/Appeal Process

  1. The employee must file a Notice of Grievance Form within seven (7) business days of the determination with (1) the Executive Director of Human Resources in the case where the grievant is an administrator or support staff member, (2) the Vice Provost in the case where the grievant is a faculty member, or (3) the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities in the case where the grievant is a student employee. This form will ask the grievant to identify which of the two grounds (or combination of both), referred to in the Purpose discussion above, he or she seeks to have addressed. The grievant will be asked to make a formal statement outlining the specifics of their grievance.
  2. Upon receiving the Notice of Grievance Form, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Vice Provost, or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will forward the Notice to the Chair of the College Grievance Appeal Committee. From the appointed College Grievance Appeal Committee members, the Chair will select a hearing panel of an additional three members, including one staff member and one administrator. If a student is a party to the grievance, the student may request of the Chair of the College Grievance/Appeal Committee that the hearing panel include one student appointed by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities from the student members of the Student Conduct Review Board. The Chair will endeavor to have an appropriate level of diversity on the hearing panel. When appropriate, the President will assign staff support to assist with the administrative functions of the hearing panel.
  3. The hearing panel will meet to review the formal grievance/appeal within the context of the College Grievance/Appeal Procedure. The hearing panel may decide on the basis of the written grievance that the challenge does not satisfy one of the two grounds for a grievance. The hearing panel may engage in additional fact-finding including pre-hearing interviews and review of other materials reasonably necessary to decide whether one of the two grounds of the grievance have been met. If the hearing panel concludes that the challenge does not satisfy one of the two grounds, the hearing panel will promptly forward its decision (which is final) to the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Vice Provost, and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and/or another administrator as appropriate.
  4. The hearing panel shall determine whether and to what extent the grievant may participate in the hearing and in pre-hearing matters and to the extent to which the grievant has access to documents reviewed by the hearing panel.
  5. If and only if the hearing panel decides that one or more of the two grounds for a grievance are met, the hearing panel will promptly schedule a hearing. The hearing will not revisit the entire matter, but will be limited to addressing the grounds for the grievance. At this hearing, the burden of proof will be on the grievant to establish the foundation for the grievance by a preponderance of the evidence. The hearing will be a closed meeting, including only those persons whom the hearing panel deems necessary to address the grounds for the grievance. Witnesses will be present only when their testimony is being taken.
  6. The grievant and/or the respondent may have an advisor of their choice present during the grievance. The grievant may choose any current faculty member, administrator, support staff member, or student who is not directly involved in the case to serve as his/her advisor. There will not be attorneys present. The role of an advisor is to support the grievant/respondent, but the advisor may not represent the grievant/respondent during the grievance. In all cases, the grievant/respondent may speak quietly with their advisor or request a short break in order to speak.
  7. The hearing panel will make a recommendation concerning the allegations of the grievance based on a majority vote. If there is no clear majority vote, the hearing panel will report the outcome to the appropriate administrator as set forth below. Promptly after the completion of the hearing, the grievant will be advised of the recommendation of the hearing panel. The hearing panel will also advise one or more of the following persons: the Provost, if the Respondent in the underlying matter is a faculty member; the Chief of Staff if the Respondent in the underlying matter is an administrator or support staff member; or the Vice President for College Life, if the Respondent in the underlying matter is a student. If one of these administrators is the Complainant or the Respondent in the original hearing, the hearing panel will advise the President of the College of its recommendation instead of that administrator. The hearing panel has no restrictions upon it as to what it may recommend: from a finding that the grievance is not established, to a reprimand, to further proceedings for dismissal of the employee.
  8. The administrator, who is advised of the outcome of the hearing as set forth in paragraph 7 above, will review promptly the recommendation of the hearing panel. This administrator, who is not bound by the recommendation of the hearing panel, will determine any resolution of the grievance, including a sanction, within the authority of their position. The decision of this administrator is final.

Section VII: On and Off-campus Sexual Misconduct Resources

Gettysburg College is committed to treating all members of the community with dignity, care, and respect. Gettysburg College recognizes that deciding whether to make a report and choosing how to proceed can be difficult decisions. Gettysburg College encourages any individual who has questions or concerns to seek the support of campus and community resources. These professionals can provide information about available resources, and procedural options, and assistance to both parties in the event that a report and/or resolution under this policy are pursued.

The College’s Sexual Misconduct Resource website offers a number of on and off campus resources for employees and students. Individuals are encouraged to use all available resources, regardless of when or where the incident occurred.

The College’s Employee Assistance Program

Gettysburg College provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for use by employees. The EAP is available to provide regular full-time employees assistance with such problems as sexual or physical abuse, depression, marital and relationship conflict, stress, grief, critical incident stress, anxiety, and other personal matters. All full-time employees, regardless of performance, are eligible. The contact number the EAP is listed above. All information relating to an employee’s EAP participation is strictly confidential. Only the EAP provider maintains EAP records. The EAP provider does not release specific information about an employee's use of EAP services, unless the employee gives their advance written consent.