EWU 901-04: Bullying Prevention and Response

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Standards of Conduct

EWU Policy 901-04 Authority: EWU Board of Trustees
Effective: October 5, 2018 Proponent: Division of Human Resources, Rights and Risk

Purpose:  This policy describes university standards for managing incidents of bullying.  It also establishes procedures for handling related complaints or incidents of policy violations.

History:  This policy revises and supersedes the previous version dated November 16, 2010 and was approved by the Board of Trustees on October 5, 2018

Applicability:  This policy applies to all university personnel, students, vendors, contractors, volunteers, and guests. It applies on University property and at off-campus locations where University business is conducted.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

1-1.  General

Eastern Washington University is committed to providing a community where students, faculty, staff, volunteers and guests are safe from bullying behaviors. This policy establishes university standards for prevention of workplace bullying and prescribes standard measures and procedures for responding to behaviors or complaints of bullying. Through a combination of emphasis, accountability, training, and systematic response, EWU intends to deter bullying acts and behavior and to provide timely response when incidents of bullying occur.

1-2.  Policy

Eastern Washington University will not tolerate bullying behavior, as defined below, directed toward any member of the university community or to any person on university property.

1-3.  Scope

This policy applies to all conduct engaged in on university property or as part of a university program or activity. All employees, students, vendors, contractors and guests are required to comply with this policy. EWU employees and students conducting university business at a location off-campus, i.e. business trips, internships, etc, are also subject to the provisions of this policy.

1-4.  Reprisal or Retaliation

It is a violation of this policy for any person to engage in reprisal or retaliation against an individual because that individual has, in good faith, filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any process under this policy, or has attempted to do so.

1-5.  Confidentiality

To protect the privacy of those involved, all information will be maintained in a confidential manner to the fullest extent permitted by law and university policy. During any process under this policy, complaint information will be disseminated on a need-to-know basis. Files subject to public disclosure will be released to the extent required by law.

1-6.  References

  • University Guideline 401-01, Investigations
  • WAC 172-121, Student Conduct Code
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements with employee groups of EWU

Chapter 2 – Bullying

2-1.  Bullying Definition

Bullying:  Bullying is behavior that is:

  • Intentional;
  • targeted at an individual or group; and,
  • creates an intimidating and/or threatening environment that is so severe or pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it substantially interferes with another’s ability to work, study, participate in, or benefit from the university’s programs and activities.

The following examples of bullying behaviors are prohibited and punishable only when the conduct meets the definition of bullying above.

Bullying behavior may take many forms, including, but not limited to, physical, verbal, or written acts or behaviors. It may also manifest as excluding behavior such as ignoring or dismissing individuals or groups.

In determining whether conduct is severe or pervasive, the University will consider all relevant circumstances from both an objective and subjective perspective including the type of bullying (verbal or physical); the frequency and severity of the conduct; the age, sex, and relationship of the individual involved; the degree to which the conduct affected the victim; the setting and context in which the conduct occurred; whether other incidents have occurred at the University; and other relevant factors.

Offensive behaviors may include, but are not limited to,
inappropriate behaviors such as abusive language,
derogatory remarks, insults, or epithets. Other offensive
behaviors may include the use of condescending,
humiliating, or vulgar language, swearing, shouting or use
of unsuitable language, use of obscene gestures, or

2-2.  Sanctions or Disciplinary Action

If an investigation determines that an act of bullying, as
defined in this policy, did occur, the supervisor or other
appropriate official will take action to prevent future
violations and to administer appropriate sanctions. This
may include discipline up to and including termination.

Chapter 3 – Responsibilities

3-1.  Employees, Students, Vendors, Contractor, Volunteers, and Guests

University employees, students, vendors, contractors,
volunteers, and guests have a responsibility to behave in
a respectful manner and not engage in conduct that
constitutes bullying. Victims or witnesses of bullying are
encouraged to report their concerns.

3-2.  University President

The University President is responsible for overall
compliance with pertinent federal and state laws. The
president will ensure development and implementation of
university policies and programs designed to prevent and
respond to bullying behavior. The President will promote
those programs and policies and monitor university

3-3.  University Officials and Employees with Supervisory Responsibilities

University employees with supervisory responsibilities
must take reasonable steps to ensure that the work or
learning environment for which they are responsible is free
from bullying behaviors.
a.  Supervisors and other university officials shall:

  1. Attend training on this policy and related
  2. Treat all complaints and incidents of bullying
  3. Manage all complaints of bullying in a timely and
    confidential manner
  4. Handle reports of bullying in accordance with the
    procedures described in this policy

b.  During any of the procedures under this policy,
university officials involved shall:

  1. Listen impartially to the concerns and perceptions
    of each party involved
  2. Ensure that all parties involved are treated fairly
    and that assistance is available to all parties
  3. Ensure that all reported incidents of bullying are
    responded to promptly
  4. Ensure that the environment is safe for all parties

3-4.  Human Resources

Human Resources will offer training to supervisors,
faculty, and staff regarding bullying.

3-5.  Vice President for Student Affairs

Provides students annual training on this policy.

Chapter 4 – Complaint Process

4-1.  Where to Report Bullying

Any person who wishes to report an incident of bullying
should contact an appropriate university official as shown
in Table 4-1 below. If a complainant has concerns about
discussing the issue with the Preferred Official, they should
contact an Alternate Official.

Table 4-1.  Officials for Complaints of Possible Bullying
  Preferred Official Alternate Officials
Employees Immediate Supervisor

Employees are encouraged to seek resolution for bullying complaints by going to their immediate supervisor first

Human Resources; other official

If an employee has concerns about going to the supervisor, they may contact Human Resources or another university official for assistance.

Students Dean of Students Other University Official

(i.e. Department Chair, Office of Student Affairs,  Academic Advisor)

Others Human Resources President’s Office

4-2.  Informal Complaint Process

The goal of the informal process is to resolve bullying
complaints at the lowest level and as quickly as possible.
a. Methods: The following methods of informal resolution
are available:

  1. Ask your supervisor or a co-worker to intervene
    on your behalf.
  2. Engage in an informal meeting with the alleged
    offender and his/her supervisor or manager.
  3. Request Mediation with the alleged offender.
    Mediation will be performed through the use of a
    neutral third party. Human Resources may be contacted for assistance in identifying a mediator.

b.  Mediation: To conduct a mediation, the designated mediator           will:

  1. Notify all parties named that there has been a request for mediation.
  2. Conduct, if appropriate, a meeting with all parties. While this stage is not required, in many cases a meeting with the independent mediator can assist the parties in understanding their differing points of view and can lead to constructive resolution of the issues.
  3. Convene a mediation conference.
    (a) The calling of a mediation conference does not imply there is a case to answer or that any conduct complained of has occurred. It is not the mediator’s role to make a formal finding but to assist the parties to reach a mutually agreed resolution to the problem.
    (b) Each party is encouraged to have a support person of their choosing present during the mediation process.  This precludes legally trained representative at this stage.
  4. Document the outcome of the process.

Use of the informal process does not restrict the complainant from the formal complaint process. If the informal process is unsuccessful or no longer an option, the formal process is available to resolve the complaint.

4-3. Formal Complaint Process

Any party directly involved may file a formal complaint with Human Resources. The complaint will be handled in accordance with EWU Guidelines 401-01, Investigations.

Human Resources
314 Showalter Hall
(509) 359-2381