Institutional Policies and Responsibilities
Shepherd University, a West Virginia public liberal arts university, is a diverse community of learners and a gateway to the world of opportunities and ideas. We are the regional center for academic, cultural, and economic opportunity. Our mission of service succeeds because we are dedicated to our core values: learning, engagement, integrity, accessibility, and community.
Shepherd: A Premier Public Liberal Arts University
We will be a nationally respected community of learners where passion, purpose, and experience unite to inspire individuals to shape the world.
Shepherd University recognizes both the right and responsibility of the university administration, the faculty, and the student body to participate in the governance of the institution. The governance functions at Shepherd have three distinct areas:
- that area in which the university administration and/or faculty have primary responsibility,
- that area in which there is a shared responsibility among the university administration, faculty, and student body,
- that area in which the students have primary responsibility. The area in which the university administration and/or faculty have primary responsibility is outlined in the constitution of the Shepherd University Assembly and the Shepherd University Administrative Policy Manual.
Through student participation as full-fledged members of those university committees whose decisions affect student life, there is an area of governance in which there is shared responsibility among the university administration, faculty, and student body. Student representation on these committees is established to varying degrees, with the rationale being there are areas in which the university administration and faculty should have a greater voice in rendering decisions, and areas in which students should have a greater voice in rendering decisions. The inclusion of students on these committees serves a twofold purpose:
- to give students an opportunity to present their opinions and recommendations in a manner in which they are assured of being heard and considered,
- to give them a direct voice, through voting on these committees, in matters that affect student life.
In matters that concern the internal functioning of student organizations, students have the right to autonomy as long as they are functioning within the realm of what is considered legal by national regulations. All campus organizations are required to have an advisor. The role of the advisor is to:
- advise in matters of internal function,
- insist that the activities of the organization fall within university rules and regulations.
It is the intent of Shepherd University that the voice of students be heard and considered. But the university insists that complaints are heard and grievances are resolved through an orderly process. The university also recognizes that once recommendations, complaints, and grievances have been expressed, the administration, faculty, and students must make decisions and establish policies.
In order to ensure that students are heard Shepherd takes the position that students are free, both individually and collectively, to express their opinions to the university administration and university committees. At the beginning of each academic year, a complete list of all committees and the responsibilities of each committee is published and distributed throughout the campus so that students know to whom they may express their ideas. Students should also feel free to approach members of the university administration on those matters that are the responsibility of the various administrators. In the event students have questions about the lines of communication, they are encouraged to seek assistance from a member of the Student Affairs staff.
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:
- we are committed to the establishment of an open-minded campus that accepts and honors every one of its members;
- we work to support and enhance an environment that respects and endorses all efforts that celebrate the uniqueness of each individual;
- we continually strive to create a welcoming community in which educational, social, and recreational activities and opportunities are available to all of our members;
- we strive to avoid any actions, attitudes, or behaviors that disrespect, degrade or dehumanize any member or guest of this university; and
- we continually link academic inquiry and knowledge to meaningful values, thereby deepening human understanding and promoting the appreciation of culture, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, gender and gender identity.
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, Dr. Geri Crawley-Woods [304-261-9592], 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, the Student Affairs Office [x5030], 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 [ x5041].
Students who have been discriminated against by another student may address complaints to the Office of Student Conduct, located in the Student Center 216. 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 Office of Student Conduct or the Title IX Officer as applicable. The Coordinator for Student Conduct and 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.