Harassment of students or employees at Ball State University on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, creed, gender*, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender expression, age or physical or mental disability is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Such conduct is inconsistent with the University’s commitments to excellence and to respect for all individuals. This Policy is intended to complement the University’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Policy.

The University is also committed to protecting the academic freedom and freedom of expression of all members of the University community. This Policy will be construed and applied in a manner that protects the academic freedom and freedom of expression of all parties to a complaint. Academic freedom and freedom of expression include but are not limited to the expression of ideas, philosophies, or religious beliefs, however controversial, in classroom or other academic settings.

The term “harassment,” as used in Paragraph 1 of this Policy, refers to verbal, physical, graphic or written conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile or intimidating environment; i.e., conduct which is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes significantly with an individual’s employment, education, or living conditions. The conduct alleged to constitute harassment under this Policy will be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the complainant and considering all of the facts and circumstances. Harassment must be distinguished from behavior which, even though unpleasant or disconcerting, is appropriate to the carrying out of instructional, advisory, or supervisory responsibilities. Instructional responsibilities, in particular, require appropriate latitude for pedagogical decisions concerning the topics discussed and methods used to draw students into discussion and full participation.

Members of the University community and others who believe they have been harassed in violation of this Policy by University employees or students, or by contractors or vendors serving the University, may contact Employee Relations & Affirmative Action. Formal complaints must be filed in Employee Relations & Affirmative Action within 300 calendar days following the occurrence of the act, incident, conduct, or pattern of conduct constituting the alleged violation. Such complaints will be processed under the “Ball State University Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Complaint Investigation Procedure and Appeal Process.” A copy of this document may be obtained by contacting the Employee Relations & Affirmative Action. Complaints involving students may instead be filed in the Division of Student Affairs, for handling under the procedures set forth in the Student Code.

Any University employee who becomes aware of conduct by another University employee, student, vendor or contractor which the employee reasonably believes constitutes harassment under this Policy shall report the conduct immediately to Employee Relations & Affirmative Action; or, if the harassment involves students, the conduct may instead be reported to the Division of Student Affairs. To knowingly file a false or malicious complaint or report of harassment is a violation of this policy.

*This Policy covers gender-based harassment that is non-sexual in nature. Sexual harassment is covered by a separate “Statement on Sexual Harassment.”

Approved by the Board of Trustees on December 18, 1998; July 19, 2013; and July 2015.
Revised January 2023.