Harassment policy altered

Steven Bushong

The recently updated University Policy Regarding Unlawful Discrimination and Harassment is more inclusive than the old version, taking into consideration all foreseeable harassment issues, said Steve Michael, vice provost for diversity and student affairs.

The updated policy, which defines different types of harassment and the actions the university should take in response to them, is 500 words longer than its predecessor.

In it, the issues “sexual orientation” and “religion” – just passing thoughts in the old policy – have been expanded into entire sections. They now coincide with sexual harassment and ethnic discrimination.

“We had to make sure we got it right,” Michael said. “Everybody has a voice.”

With the Kent State Board of Trustees’ approval, the updated policy took effect Jan. 9. Its updating was a year-long process, led by Michael, with input from faculty, administrators and union members.

The policy had been updated in 2005, but faculty members said it lacked sufficient policy for sexual orientation harassment and requested further alterations.

Though policy development is an incremental process, Michael said the current policy should withstand issues that could arise in the near future.

“There won’t be another group that says, ‘this policy does not address my need,'” he said.

Contact minority affairs reporter Steve Bushong at [email protected].