Frequently Asked Questions

 
Questions asked by students, faculty, and staff about harassment and discrimination. Click on the following links to jump to a section:

What is the mission of the Office of Discrimination and Harassment?
What are protected classes?
What is protected class discrimination?
What are examples of discrimination?
What should I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed discrimination?
What is protected class harassment?
What is sexual harassment?
What if I am a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or gender-based harassment?
What constitutes harassment?
What are examples of harassment?
What if I feel harassed or discriminated against but I do not believe that it is because of my status in a protected class?
What should I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed harassment or discrimination?
What are examples of retaliation?
What should I do if I think I have experienced retaliation?
Can I file a complaint outside of the University?



What is the mission of the Office of Discrimination and Harassment?

In accordance with our policies, the Office of Discrimination and Harassment is charged with investigating allegations of violations of the UCCS Policy on Discrimination and Harassment, the University Policy on Sexual Harassment and the University Policy on Conflict of Interest in Cases of Amorous Relationships. Additionally we provide information about discrimination and harassment and information about the above-mentioned policies and procedures, and we also provide educational workshops for the campus community.

The Office of Discrimination and Harassment is available to assist anyone in the campus community who believes s/he has been discriminated against or harassed by an employee of the University, based upon race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status.



What are protected classes?

The protected classes include race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, religion, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, and political philosophy.  It is a violation of the Discrimination and Harassment Policy to discriminate or harass another person on the basis of one or more of these protected classes.  Additionally, federal and state laws, as well as Regent Law, prohibit discrimination or harassment on the basis of one or more protected classes.



What is protected class discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when an individual suffers an adverse consequence, such as failure to be hired or promoted, denial of admission to an academic program, etc., on the basis of her/his protected class.



What are examples of discrimination?

Examples of discrimination include:

  • During a tenure review committee meeting, Pat, a tenured faculty member, says, “I do not think Susie should be given tenure because she has three children and is obviously not devoted to her research.” Susie was denied tenure because of Pat’s statement. 
  • Tony was not interviewed for a position because he wears a crucifix.
  • Mark was not considered for promotion because he is hearing impaired. Mark has the same qualifications and experience as other candidates, and he can perform the essential duties of the position.




What should I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed discrimination?


Contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment at (719) 255-4324.



What is protected class harassment?

Protected class harassment is verbal or physical conduct directed at an individual because or his/her protected class, that unreasonably interferes with that individual’s work or academic performance and creates an intimidating or hostile work, educational, or living environment.



What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance and creates an intimidating or hostile work, educational, or living environment.



What if I am a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or gender-based harassment?

The information found in this document provides a useful summary of the rights and options of victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or gender-based harassment.  The document describes the processes that will be utilized by both the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (ODH) and the Office of Dean of Students.



What constitutes harassment?


Harassment may involve:

  • physically assaulting or repeatedly intimidating, teasing, mocking, or joking based upon an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, religion, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or veteran status
  • repeatedly directing racial or ethnic slurs at an individual
  • repeatedly telling an individual they are too old to understand new technology
  • repeatedly pressuring an individual for dates or sexual favors
  • repeatedly displaying sexually explicit visual material (calendars, posters, cards, software, and websites)
  • repeatedly giving or sending inappropriate gifts, calls, letters, or e-mails
  • promises or rewards (a better grade, or a promotion) in return for sexual favors
  • unwelcome physical contact (repeatedly brushing against someone)
  • sexual assault*

*While all sexual harassment is against the law, sexual assault is a criminal act and should be reported to the campus or city police.




What are examples of harassment?

Examples of harassment:

  • Julie, a supervisor, repeatedly makes ethnically disparaging comments to Juan, such as, “If you don’t do your job correctly, I’m going to send you back south of the border.”
  • Thomas acts and behaves in a more feminine manner and as a result, his classmates frequently tease him and call him a “queer” and a “girlie man.”
  • Professor Jones is in her office when her student Steve comes in, closes the door and suggestively says, “I’d do anything for an A in your class.”




What if I feel harassed or discriminated against but I do not believe that it is because of my status in a protected class?

If you are reporting the conduct of an employee, you may speak to your supervisor or contact the Human Resources Office. If you are reporting the conduct of a student, you may contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 719-255-3091.



What should I do if I think I have experienced or witnessed harassment or discrimination?

  1. Tell the harasser or discriminator to stop
  2. If you feel comfortable doing so, directly and succinctly tell the individual to stop the offensive behavior. The individual may be unaware that you find the behavior to be offensive or unwelcome.
  3. State your feelings on the behavior in writing, whether it is a letter, email or text. In many cases, a writing to the individual may clear up any misunderstandings and cause the behavior to stop. The writing should include a statement such as: “When you (stare at me, put your hand on my shoulder, make sexual, racial, or religious comments/jokes), I feel uncomfortable. I want you to stop that behavior immediately.”
  4. Tell someone. Discussing the situation with someone will help you sort out your feelings and decide what to do. You may want to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, or a confidential resource on campus. (See the Resources tab.)
  5. Keep a record. What happened? When? Where? Who were the other people present? How did you feel? Save written notes/correspondence, voice mail, e-mail messages, texts and social media interaction.
  6. Report the incident promptly to ODH.

Incidents of discrimination and harassment should be reported to the Office of Discrimination and Harassment as soon as possible (719-255-4324, ODH@uccs.edu).

Professional staff will work with you to determine the most appropriate means of addressing your concerns. Additionally, all supervisors are required to report possible discrimination or harassment to the ODH whenever they experience, witness or are told about it. However, anyone who is aware of discrimination, harassment or related retaliation should promptly report such behavior to ODH.



What are examples of retaliation?

  • John’s supervisor gives him an unsatisfactory performance review because John participated in a sexual harassment investigation.
  • Sylvia received a D as her final grade after complaining that her professor used racially inappropriate comments in class, even though she received high grades on her assignments and exams.


What should I do if I think I have experienced retaliation?

Contact the Office of Discrimination and Harassment at 719-255-4324

Can I file a complaint outside of the University?

If a person chooses not to pursue a complaint through the ODH, complaints can also be filed with the the Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Colorado Civil Rights Division.  Each of these offices have their own requirements for filing a complaint, so you should consult the websites for these offices and contact the offices directly if you have any questions.  Further information about these office can be found on the ODH Resources page.



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Julia Paris, J.D.
Discrimination and Harassment Officer
Title IX Coordinator
jparis5@uccs.edu
Kelly Mattingly
Discrimination and Harassment Consultant
kmatting@uccs.edu
Office of Discrimination & Harrassment
odh@uccs.edu
3107 Keystone Hall, UCCS
(719) 255-4324, on campus: x4324