Washington State University

Executive Policy #15
Revision Approved January 16, 2014

Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

PDF link



Discrimination in all its forms, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including sexual assault and other sexual violence), destroys mutual respect and a trusting environment, can bring substantial personal harm to individuals, and violates individual rights. Such behaviors are prohibited and are not tolerated at WSU. This policy expresses WSU's commitment to maintain an environment free of all forms of discrimination.

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and others having an association with the University, including but not limited to such personnel at all campuses and WSU employment sites. Definitions of terms follow below. In some cases, certain definitions from the Standards of Conduct for Students are incorporated into this policy and apply to all persons subject to this policy, notwithstanding the applicability of the student conduct procedure.

WSU is also committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression; vigorous discussion and debate are fundamental to the University. This policy is not intended to stifle teaching methods or freedom of expression. Discrimination, as prohibited in this policy, is conduct that is neither legally protected as an expression of free speech, nor the proper exercise of academic freedom. Discrimination compromises the integrity of the University, its tradition of intellectual freedom, the trust and respect expected in the University community, and the rights of individuals.

Discrimination Prohibited

This policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of the following protected classes and/or characteristics:

Discriminatory harassment, a form of discrimination, is also prohibited. (See also"Sexual Harassment Prohibited" below.) Discriminatory harassment is improper conduct toward a particular individual, individuals, or groups on the basis of one or more of the protected statuses indicated above, that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of:

Examples of behaviors that may constitute discrimination include, but are not limited to:

Sexual Harassment Prohibited

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on sex and/or gender and is prohibited by this policy. Sexual harassment encompasses unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault and other sexual violence, is a form of sexual harassment and also is prohibited by this policy (see below). Sexual harassment also encompasses "gender-based harassment," which means harassment of a non-sexual nature that occurs because of a person's sex and/or gender. It includes harassment based on the person's nonconformity with sex and/or gender stereotypes.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when:

Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment when behavior is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with an individual's work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

Examples of behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:

Other offenses that may constitute sexual harassment when based on sex and/or gender include, but are not limited to:

Sexual Misconduct Prohibited

Sexual misconduct is a form of sexual harassment and is prohibited by this policy. The definition of sexual misconduct in WAC 504-26-221 is used for purposes of this policy. Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault and other sexual violence.


WSU strongly encourages reporting of all forms of discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. WSU takes such reports very seriously. Anyone who believes they are a victim of any violation of this policy, or any third party who witnesses or becomes aware of a violation, is to take one or more of the following actions, as appropriate. NOTE: All WSU employees have additional obligations (see "Employee Reporting Responsibilities" below).



After an incident is reported, WSU takes appropriate steps to stop the discriminatory behavior, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. These steps include a prompt, effective, and impartial investigation. (See "Investigation Procedures" below.)

The Office for Equal Opportunity, generally within one working day of its receipt of a complaint, provides written materials to the complainant summarizing relevant policies, procedures, and available resources. Such materials include a contact person for questions or comments regarding this policy and the complaint procedures.

Reporting Criminal Behavior

WSU encourages students and others to report incidents of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or other crimes or potential crimes to police. WSU's process under this policy is separate from the criminal process and can be pursued simultaneously. (See "Investigation Procedures" below.)

Confidential Consulting

Anyone who believes they are a victim of any violation of this policy is encouraged to consult with a licensed health care provider, psychologist, or counselor (see "Resources" below). By law, such professionals are able to assist victims confidentially and are exempt from legal obligations to report incidents for investigation, with some exceptions (for example, child abuse, elder abuse, certain threats of harm).

Employee Reporting Responsibilities

Incidents Involving Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct

All WSU employees who have information regarding an incident or situation involving sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to promptly report the incident to the Office for Equal Opportunity or to one of the designated Title IX Co-Coordinators. The list of area Title IX Co-Coordinators is available from the OEO website at:


The only exceptions to this requirement are those employees who are statutorily barred from reporting (for example, mental health care and health care providers who are acting in their capacities as mental health care or health care providers).

Incidents of Discrimination That Do Not Involve Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct

WSU employees with supervisory responsibility must report all incidents of discrimination and harassment to the Office for Equal Opportunity, including incidents that do not involve sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. All other WSU employees are strongly encouraged to report incidents of discrimination and harassment that do not involve sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

Interim Measures

In some cases, WSU employees with supervisory responsibility must take immediate action to end offending conduct and protect the well-being of the complainant. Supervisors must take such interim measures in consultation with HRS and the WSU Division of the Attorney General's Office. (See also "Investigation Procedures - Interim Measures" below.)

Other Reporting

In addition, all employees should:

Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Awareness Training

All WSU employees are required to complete sexual harassment and discrimination awareness training. Individual units may require additional training.

Retaliation Prohibited

This policy prohibits retaliation. Retaliation includes any act that would dissuade a reasonable person from making or supporting a complaint, or participating in an investigation, under this policy. It includes any action or threat of action that could negatively affect another's employment, education, reputation, or other interest. Retaliation is a separate and distinct violation of this policy. Retaliatory acts should be reported immediately to the Office for Equal Opportunity and are handled promptly, effectively, and equitably.

Investigation Procedures

The Office for Equal Opportunity conducts prompt, fair, effective, and impartial investigations of incidents of alleged discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. For complete information regarding investigative procedures, consult the Office for Equal Opportunity's Procedural Guidelines for Responding to Allegations of Violation of the WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. To view the guidelines, select the Complaint Procedures link at:


Investigations under this policy are subject to the following:

Enforcement and Disciplinary Sanctions

The University vigorously enforces this policy. Persons determined to have violated this policy are subject to sanctions imposed using the due process protections of applicable University policies and handbooks (e.g., the WSU Faculty Manual, the Administrative Professional Handbook, WAC 357-40 (civil service employees), applicable collective bargaining agreements, or the WSU Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26). The chosen sanction is to be adequately and appropriately severe to prevent future offenses. The sanctions that are imposed, or other actions taken, are reported to the Office for Equal Opportunity by the administrator who imposes the sanctions.

Malicious or Frivolous Allegations Prohibited

The University disciplines members of the University community who knowingly make false or frivolous allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct. No complaint is considered malicious or frivolous solely because it cannot be corroborated.

Office for Equal Opportunity
French Administration, Room 225
Pullman, WA 99164-1022


Other resources may also help in the resolution of reports of discriminatory or sexual harassment behaviors.

WSU Title IX Coordinator, Co-Coordinators, and Liaisons:

WSU Title IX Coordinator:
Kimberly Anderson
Lead Coordinator and
Interim Director of Office for Equal Opportunity
French Ad 225
WSU Title IX Co-Coordinators and Liaisons:
For the list of current Title IX Co-Coordinators and campus Liaisons, see the OEO website:

Internal, Local, State, and Federal Resources:

WSU Pullman--Employee Assistance Program
Washington Building, Room G60
Pullman, WA 99164-2302
Washington Department of Personnel
Employee Assistance Program

(For employees at all WSU locations):
1-877-313-4455 (toll free)
WSU Pullman--Counseling and Testing Services
280 Lighty Student Services
Pullman, WA 99164-1065
WSU Spokane--Counseling Services
Academic Center 145C
Spokane, WA 99210-1495
WSU Tri-Cities--Counseling Services
Tri-Cities West Building 269 E
Richland, WA 99354
WSU Vancouver--Counseling Services
Student Services Center, rooms 111 & 113
Vancouver, WA, USA 98686-9600
WSU Pullman--Health and Wellness Services
Washington Building
Pullman, WA 99164-2302
Health and Wellness Services
(For students at all WSU locations)
24 Hour Consulting Nurse: 509-335-3575
Human Resource Services
French Administration, Room 139
Pullman, WA 99164-1014
Regional Human Resource Services
Spokane: 509-358-7740
Tri-Cities: 509-372-7302
Vancouver: 360-546-9587
WSU Police
Public Safety Building
Pullman, WA 99164-7300
For Emergencies: Dial 911
University Ombudsman
Wilson-Short Hall, Room 2
Pullman, WA 99164-4002
(Serving all campuses)
Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, Inc.
  24 hour crisis line: 1-877-334-2887 or 208-883-HELP or 509-332-HELP. Collect crisis calls accepted.
    Pullman, WA Office
1125 NW Nye, Suite A
PO Box 37
Pullman, WA 99163
509-332-0552; Fax: 509-332-3314
U.S. Dept. of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Federal Office Building
915 Second Ave Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174-1099
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Federal Office Building,
909 First Ave Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104-1061
Washington State Human Rights Commission
Olympia Headquarters Office
711 South Capitol Way, #402
PO Box 42490
Olympia, WA 98504-2490
Seattle District Office
Melbourne Tower #921
1511 Third Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101-1626
Spokane District Office
Rock Point Plaza III
1330 North Washington St, Suite 2460
Spokane WA 99201