Section 1: The Augustana Workplace
Welcome to Augustana College!
We have a long tradition of excellence at Augustana College and look forward to a future filled with new success stories. This tradition was built with the painstaking work of faculty, staff and administrators, and we take great pride in both the efforts and achievements of this hard work. You, as an Augustana employee, are an integral part of our success.
This handbook outlines the policies we've created for the employees at Augustana College. It should answer many of your questions and guide you in making good decisions about your employment. This handbook replaces and supersedes all previous handbooks and any other policy documents you might have received. Faculty also should refer to the Augustana College Faculty Handbook, which includes policies and procedures applicable only to faculty of the college. Please take a few minutes to thoroughly review this valuable information. If you have questions, or are unclear about what is contained in the handbook, please don't hesitate to contact your manager, supervisor or any member of our Human Resources team.
I look forward to working with you to create a future that builds on the firm foundation of our past. I'm personally pleased to be working with all of you to create the next chapter in the history of Augustana College.
Steven C. Bahls
Augustana College understands that its employees receive a lot of information about the college and the college's expectations of its employees. This handbook was created to give employees an overview of the organization and to serve as a resource for the expectations and guidelines for employees. This handbook was not designed to create an employment contract and should not be considered a contract.
This handbook replaces and supersedes all previous handbooks as well as all written or verbal policy notifications that may have been received or distributed. Additionally, statements or promises made by a supervisor, manager or Cabinet member may not be interpreted as a change in policy and do not constitute an agreement with an employee.
While the college strives to keep all employees updated of policy changes, it is the responsibility of each employee to obtain the most recent version of this handbook, and to seek out information to clarify policies or situations that are unclear. Such questions should be directed to the employee's manager, supervisor or a member of the Human Resources (HR) team. The college reserves the right to change, alter, suspend or cancel all policies and practices without notice.
Augustana College, rooted in the liberal arts and sciences and a Lutheran expression of the Christian faith, is committed to offering a challenging education that develops qualities of mind, spirit and body necessary for a rewarding life of leadership and service in a diverse and changing world.
The words of Augustana's mission statement reflect both tradition and vision. Founded by Swedish Lutheran settlers in Chicago in 1860, Augustana has grown from a small school educating Swedish immigrants into a highly selective college of the liberal arts and sciences. The college honors its roots and its affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. At the same time, Augustana's rich liberal arts environment is enhanced by diversity.
Augustana continues to do what it has always done — challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, changing world.
To complement its rich history, the college spends significant time making plans for the future, often through the strategic planning process. Our most recent strategic plan, Augustana 2020, involved campus participants from all sectors as well as input from many additional stakeholders. Employees are encouraged to participate in strategic planning efforts as well as the various forums and other communication venues as we implement Augustana 2020 initiatives. A copy of the plan is available at www.augustana.edu/strategicplan.
While the structure of the Augustana organization is always subject to change, the President’s Cabinet is the highest level of decision-making among our on-campus constituencies and reports to President Steve Bahls. The President reports to the Board of Trustees. Each sector of the college reports to one of the seven Cabinet members. For your information, a college organizational chart is included in the appendix of this handbook and outlines the general areas of responsibility for each Cabinet member.
Augustana College is focused on the overall mission of challenging and preparing our students. In order to meet this goal, it's essential that outstanding people are hired and provided the necessary tools and resources, as well as an appropriate employment atmosphere. In general, the employment goals include:
- Providing equal employment opportunities for all employees regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, veteran status, ancestry, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor protected by federal, state or local law
- Promoting equal access to employment and education regardless of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor protected by federal or state law.
- Providing a package of compensation and benefits commiserate with work performed as well as feedback on ways to improve
- Creating a safe, efficient and productive working environment that is in compliance with all safety regulations as well as federal and state laws
- Encouraging and acting on constructive suggestions that will help the college continually improve
- Creating an environment of open communication so that employees can make decisions and take responsibility for their workplace outcomes
In general, it is expected that Augustana College employees will:
- Approach their jobs with a positive attitude and put forth their best efforts
- Treat all students, customers, suppliers and co-workers with respect, courtesy and professionalism
- Act and dress in a safe and professional manner
- Maintain the confidentiality of all sensitive information regarding the college
- Look for opportunities to improve themselves and the organization, and provide suggestions for changes
- Follow the policies contained within this handbook and ask questions when a policy is unknown or unclear
Employees receiving this handbook are "at-will" employees. At-will employees do not have a guarantee of continued employment and also are free to resign their position at any time for any reason with or without notice. Likewise, Augustana College may terminate the employment relationship at any time with or without prior notice for any reason not prohibited by law. Nothing within this handbook or any other college document or verbal communication is intended to create a contract of employment.
All non-faculty employees are required to sign an Acknowledgement of Receipt of Handbook that clarifies this condition of employment. A copy of this acknowledgement is provided in the appendix.
This policy of at-will employment may not be modified or changed by any Cabinet member, manager or employee of the college.
Augustana College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is Augustana College's intent and policy to provide equal opportunity to all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability and any other category protected by federal, state or local law. This non-discriminatory treatment applies not only to employment but also to:
- Job assignment
- Rates of pay or other compensation
- Selection for training
- Any other employment-related decision
All decisions on job-related issues will be made based on job performance, education, training, experience, skill, attitude and other requirements specific for each situation. Should employees have questions or concerns about this policy or concerns about a specific situation, they should discuss their concerns with the Director of Human Resources, who also serves as the college's Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Augustana College strives to make the hiring and application process, as well as the work environment, accessible to everyone. Any employee who becomes disabled while employed at Augustana should notify the immediate supervisor if it is believed changes are necessary in order to perform the job. The college will review this request to determine if it is a qualified disability and what, if any, accommodations can be made to the essential duties of the job. Similarly, employees may be asked to adapt to changes necessary in work functions or work environment to accommodate such needs or special situations.
Workplace bullying involves repeated unreasonable acts toward an employee, either by a peer or supervisor, intended to humiliate or undermine the employee and thus create a risk to the employee’s health. Augustana College has zero tolerance for this type of behavior.
Violation of the anti-bullying policy can result in discipline up to and including termination for employees. While each circumstance is different, bullying is inappropriate, unwelcome behavior (which can be through verbal or other communication or physical contact) that targets an individual or group because of a characteristic of the individual or group, whether protected by anti-discrimination laws or not. Prohibited bullying may be the result of repeated behavior or, if sufficiently severe, a single incident; can be direct or indirect; and can be caused through verbal, physical, electronic or other means.
Prohibited bullying behavior can take a variety of forms, and may include, but is not limited, to the following examples:
- Verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets; slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his/her family; persistent name calling; using an individual or group as the butt of jokes
- Verbal or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating or humiliating nature
- Inappropriate physical contact, such as pushing; shoving, kicking, poking, tripping, assault or the threat of such conduct, or damage to a person’s work area or property
- Inappropriate electronic communication, such as the use of electronic mail, text messaging, voice mail, websites, online chat rooms in a threatening, intimidating or humiliating manner
Reports of issues related to bullying should be made to the Office of Human Resources.
It is the policy and commitment of Augustana College to provide an environment free from discrimination based upon race, color, religion, national origin, service in the uniformed service (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, or any other classification protected by law in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities operated by the College.
Harassment, whether verbal, physical, or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics is a form of discrimination. This includes harassing conduct that impacts job benefits, or interferes unreasonably with an individual’s academic or work performance, or creates what a reasonable person would perceive to be an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence (see Policy Against Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment & Sexual Misconduct).
Some examples of what may be considered discrimination or harassment, depending on the facts and circumstances, include the following:
- Verbal harassment: derogatory comments regarding a person's race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ancestry, ethnic heritage, mental or physical disability, age, appearance or other classification protected by law; threats of physical harm or distribution of written or graphic material having such effects.
- Physical harassment: physical contact including touching, hitting, pushing or other aggressive contact. Derogatory gestures or the display of signs or pictures that may be offensive to others may also be examples of physical harassment.
- Sexual harassment: unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature such as sexual advances, demands for sexual favors or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
It is expected that each and every member of the Augustana community will assist and support the College in its prohibition of discrimination and harassment. All employees of Augustana College are required to promptly report suspected violations of this policy, even if the individual who was or is the victim has not filed a complaint. The report can be made to a supervisor, the Director of Human Resources, the Dean of Students Office, or in the case of sex discrimination, a Title IX Coordinator.
SCOPE OF POLICY
This policy applies to all employees, including faculty, staff and administrators, of the College, as well as all students, guests and visitors of the Augustana community.
The College prohibits retaliation against an individual for opposing any practices prohibited under this policy, for bringing a complaint of discrimination or harassment, for assisting someone with such a complaint, for attempting to stop such discrimination or harassment, or for participating in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a complaint of discrimination or harassment. It is central to the values of Augustana College that any individual who believes he or she may have been the target of prohibited discrimination or harassment feel free to report his or her concerns without fear of retaliation or retribution. Concerns about potential retaliatory conduct should be reported to the Director of Human Resources Manager or another Title IX Officer (see Title IX below), or the General Counsel of the College.
Sexual or other harassment can occur intentionally or unintentionally. A member of the Augustana community who feels harassed by an employee of the College, a student, or a third-party (such as a supplier or vendor) should make this concern known by:
- If possible, telling the person who is engaging in the conduct or communication that his or her actions are offensive to you and that those actions must stop
- If the offensive behavior does not stop, or if you are not comfortable communicating directly with the person, you should advise your manager or supervisor, or any member of the Office of Human Resources, a Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students Office, or a member of the Residential Life staff. This can be done by meeting in person or in writing.
- Follow up a verbal complaint with a written report of the complaint. It is helpful for allegations of improper behavior to be put in writing to assure a clear understanding of the behaviors and the issues raised. The written report should be factual and contain as much specific information as possible.
- Alleged violations of this Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment are promptly investigated. If you feel that your complaint has not received appropriate attention, you should discuss your concern with the Director of Human Resources, a Title IX Coordinator (see below), the Dean of Students Office, or the General Counsel of the College.
- The College will take any steps necessary to stop behavior that violates this policy.
- You may report violations without fear of retaliation. The College strictly prohibits retaliation of any kind against an employee or any other individual who reports, in good faith, conduct that is believed to violate this policy. Retaliation is also prohibited against any individual who participates in the College’s investigation of such conduct. Any individual who believes he or she has been subjected to or affected by retaliatory conduct for reporting a suspected violation of this policy or participating in an investigation should report the concern immediately.
It may be considered harassment if:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis of an academic or employment decision or is either an explicit or implicit term of employment or admission to any college program or college-related activity; or
- Such conduct is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance.
All complaints of harassment or discrimination will be kept as confidential as possible. A prompt and thorough investigation of all complaints will take place. The investigation and grievance procedures may vary, however, depending on the type of discrimination reported, as well as the classification of the individual accused of a violation (i.e, student, employee or faculty member). Retaliation against individuals who report harassment or discrimination or participate in the investigation of a report is strictly prohibited. Any incident or suspected incident of retaliation should be reported immediately. Reports of retaliation may be made to the Director of Human Resources, the General Counsel, the Dean of Students Office or a Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX & Title IX Coordinators
Augustana College prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in employment as well as in its education programs and activities. This prohibition is in accordance with a federal law known as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX states as follows:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct such as sexual assault, sexual exploitation and dating or domestic violence. Title IX also prohibits retaliation for asserting or otherwise participating in claims of sex discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Rights Act are two other laws that also prohibit sex discrimination.
TITLE IX COORDINATORS
Contact one of the College's four Title IX Coordinators with any questions about Title IX at Augustana College, or to file a complaint of sex discrimination. The College's Chief Title IX Coordinator is Laura Ford (Director of Human Resources), who can be reached at 309-794-7452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. While Ms. Ford is the Chief Title IX Coordinator, all of the following individuals serve as Title IX Coordinators for the College and may be contacted with questions, or receive complaints, as outlined below:
Chief Title IX Coordinator: Laura Ford, Director of Human Resources, 309-794-7452
As Chief Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources Director Laura Ford is responsible for enforcement of Title IX at the College. Laura can receive complaints from any individual regarding Title IX. Laura and her Human Resources staff will handle complaints of staff and administrative employee violations of Title IX, and will be responsible for ensuring all members of the community receive information regarding the College’s prohibition of sex discrimination, the process for addressing concerns of sex discrimination, and education regarding the forms of sex discrimination.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Student Matters: Chris Beyer, Director of Residential Life, 309-794-2686
As a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Chris Beyer is primarily responsible for organizing student training required under Title IX and receiving complaints related to student violations of Title IX. Chris can also receive a complaint of a violation of Title IX from any member of the Augustana community.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Student Investigations: Laura Schnack, Associate Dean of Students, 309-794-7533
As a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Laura Schnack is primarily responsible for investigations when a student is accused of violating Title IX. Dean Schnack can also receive a complaint of a violation of Title IX from any member of the Augustana community.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Faculty Matters: Wendy Hilton-Morrow, Associate Dean of the College, 309-794-7313
As a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Wendy Hilton-Morrow is primarily responsible for organizing faculty training required under Title IX and receiving complaints related to faculty violations of Title IX. Associate Dean Hilton-Morrow can also receive a complaint of a violation of Title IX from any member of the Augustana community.
A person may also file a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by calling 1-800-421-3481 or visiting www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html.
Policy Against Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct, and Other Interpersonal Misconduct
The purpose of this policy is to provide a work and educational environment free from all forms of sex discrimination. Interpersonal relationships and interactions, especially those of an intimate nature, should be grounded upon mutual respect, open communication and clear consent. In order to foster respect for all members of our community, Augustana will not tolerate acts of sex discrimination.
POLICY AGAINST SEX DISCRIMINATION
It is the policy of the College to provide a work and educational environment free of all forms of sex discrimination, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment, as defined in this policy and as otherwise prohibited by state and federal statutes. Sexual harassment, including acts of sexual misconduct such as sexual assault and sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Augustana College as well as state and federal laws.
This prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex applies to all students, faculty, administration and staff, to other members of the College community, and to contractors, consultants, and vendors doing business or providing services to the College.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. This includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. A person may be sexually harassed by a member of the same sex, or the opposite sex.
Examples of sexual harassment may include:
- Repeated comments about a person's physical appearance or gender
- Sexually suggestive gestures, remarks or insults
- Sexual assault
- Unwelcome sexual advances such as touching, patting, caressing, kissing
- Sexual propositions and sexual advances accompanied by threat of punishment or promise of reward including the withholding or giving of grades and promotions
Situations that may not rise to the level of sexual harassment include actions that do not interfere with a person’s work, education, participation in activities, or overall well-being. This includes minor, isolated incidents, or conversations or actions that are sexual in nature but part of a legitimate academic exchange of ideas or artistic performance.
Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are minor, sexual harassment is illegal and against this policy where: (a) submission to or rejection of sexual conduct is used as the basis of an academic or employment decision or is either an explicit or implicit term of employment or admission to any college program or college-related activity, or (b) sexual conduct is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance.
PROHIBITED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Augustana College affirms its commitment to promote sexual respect and maintain an environment free of sex discrimination. Sex discrimination includes acts of sexual misconduct described below, and these acts of sexual misconduct are prohibited by Augustana College. Any attempt to commit the acts of sexual misconduct listed below, as well as assisting or encouraging such acts, is also considered a violation of this policy.
Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation and domestic or dating violence. These terms are defined below.
Sexual assault means an actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person's consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:
- Involvement in any sexual contact when the victim is unable to consent. Intentional and unwelcome touching of, or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person's intimate parts (defined as genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast).
- Sexual penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This includes acts commonly referred to as “rape.”
Illinois law defines sexual penetration as "any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person by an object, the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or of any object into the sex organ or anus of another person, including but not limited to cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal penetration. Evidence of emission of semen is not required to prove sexual penetration. 720 ILCS 5/Criminal Code of 1961
Consent is informed, freely given, and mutual. If coercion, intimidation, threats, or physical force are used, there is no consent. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or use of duress or deception upon the victim. Silence does not constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. Whether an individual has taken advantage of a position of influence over an alleged victim may be a factor in determining consent.
Illinois law defines consent in criminal sexual assault matters as "a freely given agreement to the act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct in question. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission by the victim resulting from the use of force or threat of force by the accused shall not constitute consent. The manner of dress of the victim at the time of the offense shall not constitute consent." 720 ILCS 5/11-1.70(a). The law further provides that a "person who initially consents to sexual penetration or sexual conduct is not deemed to have consented to any sexual penetration or sexual conduct that occurs after he or she withdraws consent during the course of that sexual penetration or sexual conduct." 720 ILCS 5/11-1.70(c).
Inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes means using drugs, alcohol, or other means with the intent to affect or having an actual effect on the ability of an individual to consent or refuse to consent (as "consent" is defined in this policy) to sexual contact. This also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to touch, fondle, or contact oneself or someone else in a sexual nature.
Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone's advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses.
Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:
- Prostituting another person
- Non-consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio-recording of sexual activity
- Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information
- Exceeding the boundaries of consent
- Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism
- Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV, to another without disclosing your STI status
- Exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose his or her genitals
- Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography
OTHER PROHIBITED INTERPERSONAL MISCONDUCT
Other interpersonal misconduct prohibited by this policy includes domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Dating Violence and Domestic Violence is the intimidation, harassment, physical abuse or interference with personal liberty of any person who is a current or former spouse, intimate partner, domestic partner, dating partner, or member of one’s family or household.
Individuals encompassed in this definition include, but are not limited to: Persons who have or had a dating or engagement relationship; persons who have or have had a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature; current or former spouses, domestic partners, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by current or prior marriage; persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling; persons who have or allegedly have a child in common; persons who share or allegedly share a relationship through a child; and personal assistances and personal caregivers for the elderly or disabled.
Illinois law defines domestic or dating violence as physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation. 750 ILCS 60/101. Under Illinois law, harassment of a person that causes emotional distress can constitute domestic or dating violence. The following types of conduct shall be presumed, under Illinois law, to cause emotional distress: (1) creating a disturbance at the individual's place of work or school, (2) repeatedly telephoning an individual's place of employment, home or residence, (3) repeatedly following an individual about in public places, (4) repeatedly keeping an individual under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her home, school, place of employment, vehicle or other place occupied by the individual or by peering in an individual's windows, (5) improperly concealing a minor child from an individual, repeatedly threatening to improperly remove a minor child of an individual from his or her care, or (6) threatening physical force, confinement, or restraint on one or more occasions.
Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. Conduct which can constitute stalking includes the following:
- Following a person where it is not reasonably accidental
- Watching, remaining near or on, or entering the victim’s property, residence, or place of employment
- Threatening the victim
- Not leaving the victim alone after they have requested to be left alone
- Sending text messages or calling the victim on a continued basis
- Using social media inappropriately to refer to or establish a relationship with the victim
All employees* of Augustana College are required to promptly report suspected violations of this policy, even if the individual who was or is the victim has not filed a complaint. The report can be made to a Title IX Coordinator or to the Chief of the Office of Public Safety and Police. For more detailed information related to reporting, please see the "Reporting Title IX Violations" section below.
*Individuals who have been victims of sex discrimination may require time and support in reaching the decision as to whether to file a report. Counselors and Campus Pastors are not required to disclose information which would identify a potential victim of sex discrimination, as they have professional obligations to maintain the confidentiality of their clients. They can also help individuals understand options for filing a formal report.
Retaliation is strictly prohibited by Augustana College as well as Title IX. Retaliation is action taken by an accused individual or an action taken by a third party against any person because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this policy or because that person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual's complaint or participation. Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy.
Reporting Title IX Violations
All College employees are obligated to share with a Title IX Coordinator (whether the Chief Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators) or to the Office of Public Safety and Police any information they receive regarding an incident of sexual misconduct or other interpersonal misconduct of which they become aware unless they are expressly prohibited by law from disclosing such information. At Augustana, counselors in the Counseling Center and the Campus Pastors are not required to disclose the information as they have professional obligations to maintain the confidentiality of their clients. Anyone who feels that s/he has been the victim of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or other interpersonal misconduct as defined in the Policy is encouraged to bring it to the attention of a Title IX Coordinator or to the Office of Public Safety and Police for assistance.
The Title IX team at Augustana College consists of the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinators, and the Chief of the Office of Public Safety and Police. The Title IX team is responsible for ensuring the prompt and impartial review, investigation and resolution of all reports of alleged violations of the Policy, along with the provision of interim remedies and measures to support all individuals involved and to ensure that they are treated with dignity and care. They are empowered to provide interim remedies and measures to support all individuals involved in these situations and to protect the safety of the campus community through these measures. The scope of the team's responsibilities includes addressing off-campus conduct that affects members of the Augustana community as well as on-campus conduct.
The College encourages all individuals who feel they have been victims of sexual misconduct or other interpersonal misconduct to seek immediate assistance from a medical provider for emergency services, including treatment of any injury, and to collect and preserve physical and other forms of evidence. Seeking medical attention preserves the full range of options, including the options of working through the College's grievance procedures and/or filing criminal complaints. Victims are also reminded of the importance of preserving evidence as may be necessary to the proof of criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or in obtaining an order of protection.
A victim has the option to pursue a criminal complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency, to pursue a complaint with the College or to pursue both processes consecutively or concurrently. Unless deemed necessary by the Title IX team or requested by an alleged victim, the College will not contact law enforcement outside of the College Office of Public Safety and Police. In addition to having the option of pursuing a criminal complaint, victims also have the option of exploring whether they might be entitled to an order of protection, no contact order, restraining order, or other similar orders issued by a criminal or civil court. For more information about such orders see www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/women/victims.html.
The Title IX team will assist victims with transportation to a hospital if they so request, with making contact with appropriate law enforcement authorities upon request and with accessing all appropriate resources and support, including on- and off-campus confidential victim services and sexual violence crisis support.
Any pending criminal investigation or criminal proceeding may have some impact on the timing of the College's investigation, but the College will commence its own investigation as soon as is practicable under the circumstances. The College reserves the right to commence and/or complete its own investigation prior to the completion of any criminal investigation or criminal proceeding.
Augustana’s authority to sanction members of the College community applies only to the violation of College rules, policies and procedures. Legal action to pursue either civil or criminal proceedings may be initiated by contacting the police or the State's Attorney. Students who believe they are the victims of a crime as defined by federal and state laws are encouraged to report to law enforcement authorities as the legal system of the State of Illinois offers recourse through law enforcement officials and the courts. The College's Title IX Coordinator and the Augustana College Office of Public Safety and Police are available to assist students with any reports they might wish to make to law enforcement authorities.
Individuals who feel they have been victims of sexual misconduct may require time and support in reaching the decision as to whether to make formal complaints. There are confidential resources on campus and in the community available to individuals who do not wish to make a formal report to campus authorities or who wish to speak with a confidential resource in addition to making a formal report. These resources include:
Confidential resources on campus
• Counseling Services 309-794-7357
Counselors at Counseling Services can provide emotional and medical support in a safe and confidential space. They are not required to disclose your identifying information as they have professional obligations to maintain the confidentiality of their clients. They can also help you think through your options for filing a formal report.
• Campus Chaplains, Office of Campus Ministries, 309-794-7213
Confidential resources in the community
• Safe Path Survivor Resources of the Quad Cities – 24 Hour Free Crisis Line 309-797-1777
SafePath Survivor Resources of Family Resources is a community based program that serves the needs of women, men, children and families whose lives have been affected by domestic or sexual violence, human trafficking, or other violent crimes.
• Illinois Domestic Violence Help Line 1-877-863-6338
ADDITIONAL REPORTING INFORMATION
Timing of Report
The College encourages individuals to report as soon as practically possible, but there is no time limit on reporting. The College will undertake an investigation of past events, but it cannot typically impose disciplinary sanctions on an individual who is no longer a member of the Augustana community (e.g., a student who has graduated or an individual who is no longer in the employ of the College).
In order to encourage the reporting of alleged misconduct, the College will not pursue disciplinary action against any student (including a Complainant or third party witness) involved in the investigation of a violation under this Policy who has violated College policy regarding alcohol or other drugs provided that such violations did not/do not place the health or well-being of any other person at risk. While disciplinary action will not typically be pursued, the College may pursue educational interventions for such policy violations.
Campus Conduct Hotline (effective October 2015)
The College has a campus conduct hotline (1-866-943-5787) for individuals to report matters anonymously. Reports received through this hotline relating to alleged violations of the Policy Against Sex Discrimination will be forwarded to a Title IX Coordinator who will attempt to respond to the complaint. The College’s ability to respond effectively to the complaint may be limited if reporters remain anonymous. This reporting mechanism is not a substitute for the obligation of all College employees, except for the confidential resources on campus, to report all alleged violations to a Title IX Coordinator, as described above.
All individuals employed and/or appointed by the college, including but not limited to faculty, staff, student employees and volunteers are considered mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect. This means that all employees have a duty to immediately report or cause a report to be made whenever they have “reasonable cause to believe that a child known to them in their professional or official capacity may be abused or neglected.” Augustana employees have a legal obligation to immediately report or cause a report to be made to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) at (800) 25-ABUSE (800-252-2873).
All Augustana employees must sign and return the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Acknowledgement of Mandated Reporter Status form.
To access additional information or to report abuse, please visit the Department of Children and Family Services website.
- Employees interested in additional information regarding mandated reporter requirements may view the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act PowerPoint presentation or view the online training provided by DCFS.
Information and Reporting Procedures:
- If you know or suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, you must follow the steps outlined at the DCFS website.
- Child abuse or neglect is reported by calling the Child Abuse Hot Line (800-252-2873) and submitting a Written Confirmation of Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect Report to DCFS within 48 hours utilizing the instructions received from the Hot Line.
Augustana College is committed to the safety and welfare of all members and visitors of our campus.
A faithful commitment to the mission of Augustana College requires the ethical conduct and decision-making of the entire community. This Code of Conduct sets out basic principles to guide us in achieving this. This Code is supplemented by the policies and procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook and the Whistleblower Policy, together providing a framework for making decisions we can stand by and a process to report concerns of violations.
Maintaining our reputation for integrity requires that we examine our behaviors and actions from an outside perspective. In other words, we must ask ourselves how certain behavior or conduct might appear to others, including students, parents, and co-workers. It is important that we avoid engaging in conduct or activity that raises questions as to the college's honesty or impartiality or creates even the appearance of unethical conduct.
Employees who violate the standards in this Code will be subject to disciplinary consequences. If you are in a situation that you believe may violate or lead to a violation of this Code, follow the guidelines described in Section 5 of this Code or the accompanying Whistleblower Policy.
This Code should also be provided to and followed by the college's agents and representatives, including consultants.
1. Conflict of Interest: Understanding what it is and what to do about it
A "conflict of interest" exists when your private interest interferes in any way with the interests of the college. A conflict situation can arise when you take actions or have interests that may make it difficult to perform college work objectively and effectively. A conflict situation can also arise when you benefit personally, either directly or indirectly, from activities conducted on behalf of the college as an employee or consultant. The following situations are examples of conflicts of interests that must be avoided:
- Use of or disclosure of confidential information for personal gain
- Use of college time, facilities or equipment for personal purposes
All decisions made by you in the course of your professional responsibilities are to be made only on the basis of your desire to promote the best interests of the college. This is also described in the college's conflict of interest policy for the Board of Trustees.
Working for another institution of higher education or another employer outside your employment with the college may create a conflict of interest. Prior to engaging in any outside employment, you should talk with your supervisor and get his or her approval. Performing consulting services can also present a conflict of interest, and you must inform your supervisor and obtain his or her approval before performing consulting services of any kind.
Acceptance of gifts in a business relationship can also result in a conflict of interest. Accepting small gifts which are commonly given in business relationships such as mugs, pens, and other office gadgets does not present a concern. You should not, however, accept the following gifts: (1) cash gifts, (2) gifts not consistent with customary business practices, (3) gifts that feel excessive in value, (4) gifts that might look like a bribe or payoff, and (5) gifts that violate any other college policies, laws or regulations. Please discuss with your supervisor any gifts or proposed gifts that you are not certain are appropriate. If you receive a gift that is valued in excess of $200, you must disclose your receipt of the gift to the President’s Office.
Conflicts of interest may not always be clear-cut, and any question should be forwarded to your supervisor, the Human Resources Director, or the General Counsel.
When in doubt, the best solution is simply to disclose your potential conflict of interest to your supervisor. Often times, simply disclosing the situation is also the required solution.
2. Relationships Between Employees and Students
In order to foster an environment for learning and to avoid the potential for exploitation, employees shall not have any dating, romantic, or sexual relationship (even if it is deemed to be consensual) with a student.
3. Confidential Information
As employees, it is likely that we will come into contact with information related to the College that is confidential. Regardless of how you come across confidential information, you are expected to maintain the confidentiality of the information and not misuse the confidential information. While it is not possible to list every item that is confidential, a good rule of thumb is to consider information that is not made available to the public as confidential. The information that the college deems appropriate to share with the public is typically available on the college's website. The obligation to preserve confidential information continues even after your employment ends.
4. Outside Activities and Statements to the Public
We know you have interests outside of work, and these include interests in political and governmental activities as well as supporting particular principles, issues, parties or candidates. Regardless of the personal activity, be sure that it is done on an individual basis, and not as a representative of Augustana College. If you believe personal activities or statements you are making could be interpreted as being made on behalf of the college, you should clarify with a statement along the lines of: “These are my personal opinions, and are not intended to represent the views or opinions of my employer, Augustana College.” This is particularly important when you engage in political campaigning, as Augustana College’s status as a tax exempt entity forbids the college or its representatives from campaigning for or against candidates for elected office.
Similarly, no statements may be made to the public on behalf of the college or as a representative of the college without prior notice and permission from Communication and Marketing.
5. Social Media
You should use good judgment and common sense when using social media for both work-related and personal reasons. It is important to remember that everything you post using social media is public or can easily be made public, even if you delete it. Be sure to think twice about how a statement you make on social media will be interpreted by those who see it.
6. Reporting Suspected Violations and Employee Protection
Maintaining an ethical work environment means that you might have to report a concern about potentially unethical or improper activities. It is important to understand your options and obligations in such a situation, and how the college will protect you from retaliation. All employees are expected to report behavior which is believed to be illegal, unethical, or otherwise in violation of college policies. The Augustana College Whistleblower Policy (below) provides details regarding what steps an employee can take to report a concern.
Augustana College Whistleblower Policy
This policy describes the procedures to be followed when reporting and investigating allegations of suspected unlawful or improper activities. It also outlines the College’s commitment to protect persons who file reports of suspected improper activities, called “whistleblowers, from retaliation.
College internal controls and operating procedures are intended to deter, detect and prevent improper activities. Violations, both intentional and unintentional, of laws, policies and procedures may still occur, and may jeopardize the College’s resources or even the safety of others. We all have a responsibility for good stewardship of college resources. As a steward of college resources, it is important that concerns regarding improper behaviors or conduct are reported. When reported, Augustana College will investigate the allegation and will take action deemed appropriate to address the situation as outlined in this policy. Augustana College will also protect those employees who, in good faith, report concerns.
Augustana College will not retaliate against an employee, student or other person who has, in good faith, reported suspected improper activity. The college has a zero tolerance policy with regards to retaliation. The prohibition against retaliation does not, however, prohibit managers or supervisors from exercising legitimate supervisory responsibilities within the usual scope of their duties, the College’s workplace expectations, or other college policies and valid performance related factors.
Reporting Suspected Improper Activities
For purposes of this policy, “improper activities” are defined as follows:
a. a violation of College policy that could result in significant risk to the health, safety or well-being of members of the Augustana community or others;
b. false or misleading financial reporting;
c. unauthorized destruction, alteration, or manipulation of college records, including electronic records;
d. a violation of local, state or federal laws (individuals wishing to report discrimination or harassment in the workplace should review the college’s Policy Against Discrimination & Harassment);
e. the use of college property, resources, or authority for personal gain or other non-college purposes except as provided under college policy.
1. All employees are expected to report such improper activities. All other individuals, including students, are strongly encouraged to report improper activities. If you are unsure whether a matter is an improper activity as defined above, but the behavior seems unethical or improper, report it by following the steps outlined below.
2.Allegations of suspected improper activities can always be made verbally. It is helpful to also prepare your concerns in writing to assure a clear understanding of the issues raised. The written report should contain as much specific information as possible.
3. When possible, discuss your concern with your supervisor. This is the basic guidance for all situations. In cases where you do not feel comfortable discussing an issue with your supervisor, you may discuss your concern with the Vice President of Business & Finance. If that alternative is also not appropriate, or if you are not an employee of the College, you may address your concerns to the President of the College or the General Counsel, or to any other member of the Cabinet. If a suspected violation involves the President of the College or a Cabinet member, reports can be made to the General Counsel or to the Chair of the Board of Trustees.
4. Concerns regarding possible violations of the Code of Conduct or our employment policies may also be reported through the Campus Conduct Hotline© reporting service at 1-866-943-5787. This reporting option is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It is operated by an independent organization, and calls made through the Hotline can be confidential and anonymous, if you request.
Investigation of Complaints and Protection from Retaliation
When a person reports suspected improper activities or other violations of Augustana policies to an appropriate individual, the report is a Protected Disclosure. College employees, students and others who make a Protected Disclosure are protected from retaliation for having made the report. Employees, students and others are also protected from retaliation from cooperating in the College’s investigation of a Protected Disclosure.
Any employee who believes he/she has been subjected to or affected by retaliatory conduct for making a Protected Disclosure or participating in the investigation of a Protected Disclosure should report this concern to the Director Human Resources. If the Director of Human Resources is the source of or otherwise involved in the retaliatory conduct, then the matter should be reported to the General Counsel of the College or a Cabinet member. If an employee believes that reporting the alleged retaliatory behavior will be ineffectual or of a report has been made and the retaliatory conduct has not ended, the employee should report the matter to another Cabinet member.
All reports of improper activities will be investigated promptly and with discretion, and all information will be handled on a “need to know” basis. At the conclusion of an investigation, remedial and/or disciplinary action (up to and including termination) will be taken as the College deems necessary. Students or employees who make allegations known to be untrue, or with reckless disregard for the truth or in bad faith may be subject to disciplinary action.
Augustana College is committed to complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which maintains and protects the confidentiality of student education records. Additionally, Augustana has a designated FERPA officer available to answer questions and monitor compliance. Employees with access to students and student educational records are required to participate in periodic training concerning FERPA matters and to hold all covered student information in the strictest confidentiality. Additional information about Augustana’s FERPA regulations is available in the Student Handbook.
Updated Feb. 11, 2016