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Personnel Actions and Procedures

Notice of Appointments

The President makes all appointments of full-time personnel at the University after consultation with appropriate major administrators and reports those actions to the Board of Governors.  Negotiations for an appointment are not binding on the University unless offered in writing by the President.

Every appointment is for one fiscal year or part thereof, in accordance with and in compliance with the annual budget of the Board of Governors, or supplementary actions thereto, as provided by law.

Every appointment will be in writing.   A copy of a notice of appointment will be furnished to the person appointed.  Such notice will contain terms and conditions of the appointment.

Notices of appointment for each fiscal year will be furnished to appointees following receipt of the Board of Governors’ budgetary allocations or approved expenditure schedule.  Provisions for the signature of the President and the employee will be included on the notice of appointment.  The President’s signature will constitute an offer of employment subject to the stipulations in the notice.  The employee’s signature signifies acceptance of the appointment.  The employee should return the signed form to the Office of the Provost/VPAA within fifteen (15) days from the date on the form, which appears below the President’s signature.  Failure to return a signed appointment form within 30 days of receipt shall constitute an abandonment of position unless an advance written notice of a commitment to continue employment has been received from the faculty member.

Personnel Records

Upon employment by the University, all new employees must complete or submit documentation to begin their permanent personnel file.  Faculty personnel files are located in the Office of the Provost/VPAA and the Office of Human Resources.

As a minimum each file will include official verification of the educational qualifications of each professional employee; official certification of any additional credits earned; and a personnel record on forms provided by the University.

The file of all employees hired subsequent to November 6, 1986 must include a completed Employment Eligibility Verification form.  In compliance with the Simpson-Rodino Immigration law, the University requires the supervisor recommending the employee’s appointment to assure completion of the form published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  The supervisor may ask the Office of Human Resources to conduct the employee review and verification.

Copies of the form are available from the Office of Human Resources.

Access to Personnel File

An employee may have access to his or her personnel file when the University is normally open for business.  An employee may examine his or her personnel file and the contents therein with the following exceptions:  materials, which are gathered with the employee’s prior agreement to forfeit his or her right of access such as references.

Routine identification of the employee must be established prior to providing access to the personnel file.  A representative of the Office of the Provost/VPAA shall be present with the employee during the review of the record.  The date, the time, and location of each review shall be recorded in the personnel file.

A copy of any material in the file, except as noted above, shall be provided to the employee upon request.  A small copying fee may be charged.  Documentation may not be removed from a personnel file by the employee.  An employee may petition at any time for either the removal or addition of documents in his or her own personnel file.  The Provost may require employees to schedule an appointment to see the personnel file.

Outside Inquiries Regarding Personnel

All requests for employment verification must be received in writing.  Such inquiries should be directed to the Payroll Accountant.  For the protection of University employees, salary information and employment status will not be released over the telephone.

Notification of Changes in Personnel Information

It is the exclusive responsibility of each employee to report promptly changes in personal data, which impact personnel actions such as insurance coverage, payroll deductions, etc.  Information is to be reported to all appropriate persons, agencies and parties.  Examples of information updates, which should be reported immediately, are changes in address, name, state or number of dependents, marital status, and the individual to be notified in case of emergency.

Notification must be in writing and a copy of such notification will be placed in the employee’s personnel file as a permanent record that notification was made.

It is also the responsibility of the employee to provide official copies of transcripts or records certifying the award of additional educational diplomas or degrees.  These records should be sent to the Office of the Provost for inclusion in the employee’s personnel file.

Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity

Shepherd University is an affirmative action employer and extends equal employment opportunities regardless of color, race, sex, physical disability, age, religion, or national origin. These actions govern the work conditions, hiring, retention, promotion, and the fringe benefits and salaries of employees.

The review of applicants for faculty positions shall be made without regard to race, color, sex, religion, physical disability, age or national origin. The final employment recommendation that is made to the President shall be accompanied by a report on the total field of applicants considered, and in the case of women and minority applicants specifically commenting on why the chosen applicant was the preferred person for the position. The Affirmative Action Officer will also monitor those reports.

The consideration of applicants for non-teaching positions shall also be made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical disability, age, or national origin. The Affirmative Action Officer will also monitor the applications for non-teaching positions, compiling applicant flow data which makes special reference to the disposition of applications received from women and from members of minority groups.

Hiring officers shall recruit, hire, train, and see that persons are promoted in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical disability, age, or national origin. Only valid requirements will be imposed for qualification of employees for promotion opportunities. All personnel actions such as compensation changes, benefit changes, transfers, layoffs, return from layoff, training, education tuition assistance, social and recreation programs, will be administered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical disability, age, or national origin.

Shepherd University is in specific compliance with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational program, employment program, activities, or admissions.

The University Affirmative Action Plan is described in its totality in a document, which is available in the Scarborough Library, the President’s Office and the Office of Human Resources. Appeal and Grievance Procedures for persons with complaints of unlawful discrimination or harassment are set forth in the EEO/AA Plan.

Employment of the Disabled

Shepherd University has executed an Assurance of Compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The University assures nondiscrimination in regard to disabled persons. This policy extends to the areas of employment, program accessibility, admission of students, accessibility of physical facilities, treatment of students, academic adjustments, housing, financial aid and employment assistance to students, and non-academic services. No qualified, disabled person shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or otherwise be subject to discrimination under the program sponsored by Shepherd University.

The Director of Human Resources shall coordinate compliance efforts under this policy. Inquiries concerning the program should be referred to the Director. Specific questions concerning compliance in student programs and services should be directed to the Multicultural and Accessibility Coordinator in Student Affairs. Similarly, inquiries related to the instructional programs should be directed to the Provost/VPAA or the campus ADA Coordinator.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited sex discrimination under Section 703, Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is contrary to the policies of Shepherd University for any employee to sexually harass another employee or student of the University by (a) making unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature a condition of employee’s continued employment or a student’s progress toward completing course requirements, or (b) making submission to or rejection of such conduct a basis for employment decisions or academic progress decisions, or (c) through such conduct creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment for an employee or unreasonable interference in a student’s educational progress.

Shepherd University non-student employees who are victims of sexual harassment while on the job, whether or not the incident is perpetrated by a university employee, should report the incident immediately to their supervisor, or the affirmative action director if the alleged perpetrator is the employee’s supervisor. Shepherd University student employees who are victims of sexual harassment while on the job at Shepherd University, whether or not the instance is allegedly perpetrated by a University employee, should report the instance immediately to their supervisor, or if the alleged perpetrator is their supervisor, the report should be made either to the Provost/VPAA or to the Coordinator of Student Conduct in Student Affairs, as appropriate. Instances of sexual harassment alleged by nonemployee students may be reported to the supervisor of the accused, if the accused is an employee of the University, or to the Student Affairs Office. In order to allow a formal investigation, a complaint must be written and signed, and the complainant must furnish his or her mailing address.

Any University employee who has been found by the University, after appropriate investigation to have sexually harassed another employee or student of the university will be subject to appropriate sanctions depending on the circumstances, from a warning letter in his or her file up to and including termination. Any student who is found guilty of sexual harassment of a university employee while on the job at Shepherd University or another Shepherd University student will be subject to the established student disciplinary process.

The University recognizes that the question of whether a particular action or incident is a purely personal, social relationship without a discriminatory effect requires a factual determination based on a thorough investigation of the alleged action or incident.

The University recognizes the delicate balance situation of faculty whose presentations of subject matter may unavoidably broach topics with implied or explicit sexual overtones. Given the nature of this type of discrimination, the University recognizes also that false accusations of sexual harassment can have serious effects on innocent women and men.

 Shepherd University Procedures in Sexual Harassment Complaints

Response to sexual harassment complaints is to be speedy and confidential. The steps in the procedure of processing sexual harassment complaints are as follows:

Official Process: Informal Resolution of Harassment Complaints 

Informal resolution of complaints, when possible, can be an effective way of correcting misconduct. The process is as follows:

  1. A victim or third party submits a complaint to the campus Ombudsperson. An initial meeting between the Ombudsperson and complainant takes place. All options are explained by the Ombudsperson.
  2. If the Informal Resolution option is chosen, the complainant may engage in the following actions:
  3. Opt for a meeting with the alleged harasser and the Ombudsperson. All parties are permitted to bring support persons (friend, family member, colleague, etc.). The Ombudsperson can limit the number of support persons present to a reasonable number. The Ombudsperson will serve as mediator, listening to all views and establishing a resolution document or mediation agreement as appropriate.
  4. Opt for the Ombudsperson to meet with all parties separately. The Ombudsperson listens to all views, presents views of opposing parties to each other, and establishes a resolution document or mediation agreement as appropriate.
  5. The resolution document or mediation agreement may include a “no-contact arrangement” and/or other provisions. The outcome of the informal resolution should meet the satisfaction of all parties to the fullest extent possible. If the Complainant is not satisfied, the Ombudsperson will review other options available.
  6. Records, including the resolution document, are submitted to the office of Ombudsperson for filing.
  7. The Ombudsperson will follow-up with parties within two weeks of the resolution if one was reached. Additional follow-up contacts will be made as needed.
  8. Proceedings and records will be confidential to the fullest extent possible. If additional complaints arise subsequently as to the same employee, the earlier records may be evidence of a continuing practice of misconduct.
  9. Complainants should act in a timely fashion. The Ombudsperson will, in all cases, attempt to resolve informal complaints within two weeks of notification of the complaint.

Official Process: Formal Resolution of Harassment Complaints

Any student who feels that informal resolution of a complaint will not be or has not been satisfactory should file a formal written complaint with the Ombudsperson.

  1. Since the passage of time makes the resolution of complaints more difficult, it is recommended that the written complaint be filed as soon as possible from the date of the incident(s).
  2. A complaint filed against a professor by a student currently enrolled in the professor’s class should be made as soon as possible. The student may choose to have the complaint held confidentially until the end of the semester, at which time the complaint will be resolved. But some situations may require immediate action on the part of the University.
  3. A complaint against another student will be referred to the Coordinator of Student Conduct in Student Affairs for management as a student disciplinary matter.
  4. The President shall annually designate an eight-member body made up of four faculty and four staff. The Ombudsperson will randomly select two panelists from the same group as the person accused and one panelist from the other group to investigate each formal complaint. Immediate supervisors of the accused or the accuser, or any person with a specific, known bias, will be excluded from serving on the three-member panel. The formation of the panel will be completed within two weeks of the submission of the written complaint, except where extenuating circumstances require additional time.
  5. When a formal written complaint against an employee is received by the Ombudsperson, a three-member panel will be selected (as noted in number 4) and copies of the complaint will be given to panel members. Panel members will conduct such investigation into the facts and circumstances of the complaints as may be deemed appropriate by any of the panel members.
  6. The panel may meet with the accuser, accused, and any witnesses relevant to its investigation, but shall at all times act collectively as a group and not individually. The investigation will be completed within four weeks of the formation of the panel, except where extenuating circumstances require additional time.
  7. The panel shall prepare a written report of its factual findings and conclusions regarding the merits of the complaint. This report may, if applicable, include dissenting conclusions. If the report finds any part of the complaint to be meritorious, then the report will designate appropriate action with respect to the perpetrator. The panel will complete the written report within one week of the close of the investigation, except where extenuating circumstances require additional time.
  8. The panel shall direct its written report to the Ombudsperson and to the executive officer who supervises the accused. The Ombudsperson shall then provide a copy of the report to the accused and the accuser and notice of whether the executive officer implemented some form of adverse action as to the employee-perpetrator.
  9. Appeals on the part of the accuser may be directed to the President. The accused may appeal any adverse action by following the established grievance procedures of the University.

Action To Be Taken Against Perpetrators

Any supervisor, agent, or other employee who is found, after appropriate investigation, to have engaged in the sexual harassment of another employee or student will be subject to appropriate sanctions depending on the circumstances, up to and including termination.

Consensual Amorous Relationships

The appearance of a compromising conflict of interest, or of coercion, favoritism or bias in educational or academic evaluation is prejudicial to the interest of Shepherd University, its members, and the public interest, which it serves.  Amorous relations between faculty members and students with whom they also have an academic evaluation role create such an appearance, even where the relationship is genuinely consensual.  Such relationships are particularly susceptible to exploitation.  The respect and trust accorded a professor by a student, as well as the power exercised by the professor in an academic or evaluative role, make voluntary consent by the student suspect.  Even when both parties initially have consented, the development of such a relationship renders both the faculty member and the institution vulnerable to possible later allegations of sexual harassment in light of the significant power differential that exists between faculty and students.

Therefore, faculty members are advised against participating in amorous relationships with students enrolled in their classes or with students whom they otherwise evaluate, grade, or supervise.  Similarly, faculty members should avoid situations requiring them to evaluate, grade, or supervise students with whom they currently have an amorous relationship.  Whenever such a situation arises or is foreseen, the faculty members shall report the situation promptly and seek advice and counsel from an appropriate administrative superior.  That superior shall take effective steps to insure unbiased supervision or evaluation of the student.

For purposes of this policy, “faculty” shall include all full- or part-time university personnel who teach or carry out research, including graduate students and administrators with faculty status.  Evaluative situations may include, but are not limited to the following: supervising instruction; evaluating academic performance; supervising independent study; or serving on committees for awards or prizes.

Drug-Free Workplace Policy

Smoke-Free Environment

Smoking of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, except in designated areas, is prohibited in all buildings and facilities of Shepherd University.  Smoking within 25 feet of building entrances is prohibited, as designated by signage.  The use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes also is prohibited in any motor vehicle owned, leased, or otherwise operated by the University.  Cigarette ashes and cigarette remains should be placed only in designated receptacles.  Tobacco products such as snuff and similar substances are prohibited in all buildings and institutional vehicles.

Non-Discrimination and Civility

Shepherd University is committed to developing and implementing appropriate strategies to achieve greater awareness, appreciation, and human understanding, both in the classroom and throughout the campus. We promote a campus culture that celebrates multiculturalism and diversity. We demonstrate this commitment through our acceptance and appreciation of all groups and individuals. We commend those individuals on our campus who practice civility daily by actively supporting and fostering differences at Shepherd University.

The university’s Mission Statement demonstrates that it is our shared duty to create an inclusive culture where all members of the campus community are accepted. Therefore, as members of the Shepherd University community, we have agreed as a community on a common set of values:

The University provides opportunity to all prospective and current members of the student body, faculty, and staff on the basis of individual qualifications and merit without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national origin, or ability. The University neither affiliates knowingly with nor grants recognition to any individual, group, or organization having policies that discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ability, as defined by applicable laws and regulations and the University does not tolerate any such acts or policies of discrimination and/or harassment by any person or entity. This commitment is expressly confirmed in the Shepherd University Board of Governors Social Justice Policy. Timely and effective resolution of such issues is an important value of the University community.

Any student who feels that they have been discriminated against by the University or by any person has a wide array of options to seek redress, and that is encouraged. The implementation of the formal investigative review processes of the Social Justice Policy is coordinated by the University Ombudsperson, Karen Green [x5458], and the Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action Officer (EO/AA), Marie DeWalt [x5299]. Informal review of concerns of discrimination can also be directed to either of those persons, as well as members of the Civility Response Team, Student Affairs [x5214], or to the Vice President who supervises the office or employee(s) of concern.  Cases of gender discrimination in any form, including interpersonal violence, may be directed to the Title IX Officer, Ms. Anne Lewin [x5067].

Students who have been discriminated against by another student may address complaints to the Student Affairs, located in the Student Center.  In cases of gender discrimination in any form, including interpersonal violence, complaints may be directed to the Title IX Officer.  Such complaints are handled through the Student Conduct policies. Students who have been discriminated against on campus or at a campus event by persons not part of the Shepherd academic community should direct their complaint to the Coordinator of Student Conduct or the Title IX Officer, as applicable. The Vice President for Student Affairs will take such action as is appropriate and possible, to prevent ongoing discrimination in any form which affects students.

Employees who feel they have been discriminated against can seek informal or formal review of the issue by their supervisor, their area vice president, the Ombudsperson, or the EO-AA Officer, and in cases of gender discrimination the Title IX Officer.

The University is committed to prompt resolution of complaints of discrimination. Persons responsible for discriminatory conduct will be sanctioned. Depending upon the circumstances, remedial measures may include mandatory training or, in some cases, expulsion of students or dismissal of employees.

External agencies can be a resource for any individual who feels their complaint of discrimination has not been fairly addressed by the University. The West Virginia Human Rights Commission and the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education each would have jurisdiction over such issues. Employees also have an option of utilizing the processes of the State Employees Grievance Act.

As our society struggles with the challenges of pluralism and civility, please know that everything you do to advance this effort is an important contribution to our university community and to our greater society.