This document defines Clemson University's policy regarding harassment and the complaint resolution process.
Clemson University is committed to offering educational and employment opportunities based on ability and performance, in a productive, healthy, safe, and respectful environment, free from harassment. Accordingly, it is the policy of Clemson University that harassment of any kind, as defined below, by employees, students or non-employees will not be tolerated. It is also the policy of Clemson University that retaliation against any person who has filed a complaint of harassment or who has assisted or participated in any manner in the investigation and resolution of a complaint of harassment is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action.
Clemson University will respond promptly to all complaints of harassment and retaliation. Immediate and appropriate corrective action will be taken when it is determined that harassment has occurred.
Violation of this policy can result in personal liability for any perpetrator, as well as any disciplinary action that the University deems appropriate.
Sexual harassment is one of the oldest forms of sex discrimination. It is defined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be committed by both men and women and can occur between members of the opposite sex or between members of the same sex. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
Seeking sexual favors or relationships in return for the promise of a grade or other academic opportunity;
Conditioning an employment-related action (such as hiring, promotion, compensation, or performance appraisal) on a sexual favor or relationship;
Conduct by individuals in positions of authority or by co-workers or peers that is sufficiently serious to create a hostile working or learning environment. In the work environment, the conduct unreasonably interferes with the ability of a person to perform his/her employment responsibilities. In the academic environment, the conduct interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. Such conduct might include but is not limited to the following:
Note: Also see policy statement on Amorous Relationships
C. Sexual Violence
Members of the University’s community - students, employees, guests and visitors – have the right to be free from sexual violence. Sexual violence is a type of sexual harassment prohibited under Title IX and is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent, either because of the use of drugs or alcohol or intellectual or other disability. A number of different actions fall into the category of sexual violence including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.
D. Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Exploiation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
Clemson University will respond to and investigate all claims of harassment and will take steps to ensure that no retaliation will be taken against any person making a complaint in good faith, and that any person against whom an allegation is made is treated fairly. Reports of harassment should be made as soon as possible to enable the University to more effectively investigate the allegations. Complaints investigated under the University’s procedures must be reported no more than 120 days after the alleged conduct occurs.A. Any employee who has experienced harassment may report the incident to the Office of Access and Equity, 110 Holtzendorff Hall; telephone 656-3181 (voice) and 656-3553 (TDD). An employee can also report the incident to his/her immediate supervisor or to the next level supervisor or University official if the immediate supervisor is the alleged harasser, or if he/she feels more comfortable talking to that person (see section IV).
C. Any graduate student who has experienced harassment may report the incident to the Office of Access and Equity, 110 Holtzendorff Hall; telephone 656-3181 (voice) or 656-3553 (TDD). A graduate student can also report an incident of harassment to the Dean of the Graduate School, E-105 Martin Hall, telephone 864-656-4172, Academic Deans, or Department Chairs (see section IV).
D. All others who believe they have experienced harassment may report the incident to the Office of Access and Equity, 110 Holtzendorff Hall; telephone 656-3181 (voice) or 656-3553 (TDD).
E. Anyone who wants to report an incident of harassment at a time when University offices are closed can call 656-3181 and leave a message on the voice mail service in the Office of Access & Equity. Your call will be returned as soon as possible. If anyone feels that the matter is an emergency or their life or someone else's life is in danger at a time when these offices are closed, the University Police Department should be contacted by calling 656-2222.
Every supervisor or other University official who receives a complaint of harassment has a positive responsibility to immediately report the complaint to the Office of Access and Equity, regardless of whether or not the alleged harasser has been identified.
Note: A conflict between an individual's desire for confidentiality and the University's duty to investigate may arise if an individual informs a supervisor about alleged harassment, but asks him/her to keep the matter confidential and take no action. Inaction by the supervisor in such instances could lead to University liability. While it may seem reasonable to let the individual determine whether to pursue a complaint, Clemson University has an obligation to prevent and correct the harassment. Therefore, it is important that all allegations of harassment be reported to the Office of Access and Equity.
In addition to, or in lieu of, the procedures outlined above:
United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
61 Forsyth St. S.W., Suite 19T70, Atlanta, GA 30303-3104
Telephone: 404-562-6350; TDD: 404-331-7236
(Must file within 180 calendar days from date of discrimination.)
2. Employees may file formal complaints with the following agencies:
South Carolina Human Affairs Commission
2611 Forest Drive, Suite 200, Post Office Box 4490
Columbia, SC 29240
Telephone: (803) 737-7800; TDD: (803) 253-4125
(Must file within 180 calendar days from date of discrimination.)
U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
301 North Main Street, Suite 1402, Greenville, SC 29601
Telephone: (864) 241-4400; TDD: (864) 241-4403
(Must file within 180 calendar days from date of discriminatory act, or 30 days after receiving notice that the state or local agency has terminated its processing of the charge, whichever is earlier.)
Retaliation is any conduct causing any interference, coercion, restraint or reprisal against a person complaining of harassment or against a person assisting in any way in the investigation and resolution of the complaint. Retaliation is a violation of this policy and
will not be tolerated. Appropriate sanctions/disciplinary actions shall be taken against any person found to have participated in any acts of retaliation. Persons who feel they have been subjected to retaliation for filing a complaint of harassment or for assisting with the resolution of a complaint should contact the Office of Access and Equity.
The University wishes to create a safe environment in which individuals are unafraid to discuss concerns. Therefore, the University will always maintain confidentiality to the extent possible. However, confidentiality of the harassment allegation and the identity of the complainant cannot be guaranteed because the University must also consider fairness to the individual accused as well as the safety and welfare of all members of the University community. These considerations may require the University to disclose the harassment allegation and the identity of the complainant to the accused and to other University officials.
Persons found to be in violation of the University's Harassment Policy will be subject to immediate and appropriate disciplinary action, proportional to the seriousness of the offense, which may include, but is not limited to: oral or written reprimand, reassignment, demotion, suspension or termination of employment, or expulsion from the University in the case of a student. These sanctions also apply if any employee or student is found to have intentionally brought false charges against another member of the University community.
Individuals subject to disciplinary action may exercise their appeal rights pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Faculty Manual or the Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. The Office of Community and Ethical Standards addresses student appeals.
Office of Access and Equity
Jerry Knighton, Director
Title IX Coordinator 656-3181
Advice and counseling is available regarding any form of
harassment or discrimination.
Office of Human Resources
Erin Norris, Employee Relations Manager 656-3360
Employee counseling services are available through the
Employee Assistance Program.
Office of Community and Ethical Standards
Alesia Smith, Director 656-0510
Student advice and counseling regarding student misconduct
policies and procedures.
Office of Counseling and Psychological Services
Raquel Contreras, Director 656-2451
Free psychological counseling is available at Redfern
Health Center to students who have experienced harassment.
To meet State requirements, the Harassment Policy is distributed annually to each employee of the University. Individuals with teaching or supervisory responsibilities must be knowledgeable of the sexual harassment prevention guidelines. To support this objective, the Office of Access and Equity provides a computer-assisted training program on the subject of sexual harassment at:
In addition, a representative of the Office of Access and Equity informs new employees and graduate students about the policy on harassment at their respective orientation sessions and education and training sessions on harassment are offered in conjunction with the Office of Human Resources. All employees, especially those with supervisory responsibility, are encouraged to participate in these sessions. The Office of Access and Equity also works with the Office of the Dean of Students to provide training sessions to undergraduate students regarding harassment upon request. Information on harassment and procedures for resolving discrimination and harassment complaints can also be found online as follows:
1. The Student Handbook:
2. The Human Resources Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual:
3. The Faculty Manual:
4. The Access and Equity Web Page:
The Director of the Office of Access and Equity will submit an annual summary report to the President and to the Board of Trustees through the Chief Diversity Office describing the number, type and status of formal and informal complaints of harassment that have been received and investigated.
This policy is a revision of, and replacement for, the Sexual Harassment Policy (Adopted: April 1982) and the Racial Harassment Policy (Adopted: March 1988). Reissued September 30, 2011.
Contact: Office of Access and Equity: Jerry Knighton, 656-3181