3.80 – Hazing, Bullying, Harassment and Other Hostile Misconduct

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Details

Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 3 | Ethics, Equity and Equal Opportunity

Responsible Executive: University General Counsel

Responsible Administrator: , , ,

Last Updated: 04/24/2024

Related

Cross-Reference:

A. Administrative Procedures: Complaints and Confidential Reporting; Incidents, Concerns, and Complaints Reporting

B. Applicable Federal law/regulation: Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)Civil Rights Act (1964)  

C. Applicable State law/regulation: NMSA Chapter 30-3A 

D. Related Regents (RPM) and Operational (ARP) Policies: ARP 16.12 - Clery Act 



Revision History:

04/24/2024 Revision approved by President

01/09/2019 Amendment approved by Chancellor
2017 Recompilation
, formerly Rule 3.99
03/14/2011 Amendment approved by Board of Regents
07/29/2009 Policy adoption approved by Board of Regents
10/14/2008 Policy approved by Administrative Council

PART 1: AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE


A. Authority: University administration is granted authority in accordance with policy RPM 3.80, to adopt and amend policies and take other necessary actions to address hazing, bullying, harassment and other hostile misconduct.  Hostile behavior, in any form, conflicts with the University’s commitment to a positive educational environment.

B. Purpose: This policy establishes the framework to address prohibited hostile misconduct, which can impact and result in irrevocable harm to victims, victims’ families, and the university community; and clarifies rights, reporting requirements and reporting options. It reinforces prohibition of retaliation against individuals for reporting an alleged violation of this policy or any related law or for participating in the administrative processes related to enforcement of this policy or the related laws. This policy does not address hostile misconduct which is based upon discrimination or sexual assault, see ARP 3.25.

PART 2: KEY POLICY STATEMENT(S)


New Mexico State University is committed to promoting an educational and work environment that is safe, positive and without intimidation or injury to students, faculty, staff, and guests.

A. Prohibited Behavior: It is New Mexico State University’s policy that hazing, bullying, harassment and other forms of hostile misconduct are strictly prohibited. These types of behavior or actions have no place within a community of scholars and prevention of such behavior is the responsibility of every member of the university community. Prohibited behavior includes any act or omission that is severe, pervasive, or persistent and of a nature that creates an unreasonable risk of emotional harm, physical harm, mental duress, or degradation. This includes behavior which limits a person’s ability to participate in academic opportunities or activities, unreasonably interferes with a person’s academic endeavors or progress, or inhibits productivity in the workplace. The University will not tolerate hazing, bullying, harassment, and other forms of hostile misconduct directed at or by its faculty, staff or students, affiliates, volunteers, or other persons conducting business with or visiting the University.

    1. Hazing: Hazing activities generally occur when an act or omission is committed in connection with initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group, or organization.  The University strictly prohibits participation in hazing activities by a University Organization or any party, regardless of location, on or off-campus, online or remote.
    2. Bullying: The University strictly prohibits bullying conduct in any form directed at another, which may include a verbal or physical act or omission committed with the intention to cause intimidation, emotional distress, or other harm, typically directed toward an individual perceived to be vulnerable or less powerful. This includes incivility that progresses and increases in severity over time.
    3. Harassment: Non-discrimination harassment includes any action, language, or visual representation, which is so severe, pervasive, persistent, or deliberately offensive that it creates a hostile working, educational or living environment.
    4. Other Hostile Misconduct: Students, employees, and guests, participating in unjustified acts or omissions or aggressive acts of behavior with the intent to cause pain or intentional harm including, but not limited to, acts of physical violence, shouting, swearing, harsh language, defaming, or spreading false rumors about a person.

B. Consent: Individual acceptance of, consent to, or acquiescence by the person or persons against whom the hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile activity was committed, is not a defense to prosecution or sanction and does not affect a determination of whether the activity constitutes any form of hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile activity.

C. Violations: The following non-exhaustive list describes conduct that is prohibited and a violation of this policy regardless of location, on or off-campus, online or remote including via media or electronic means.

    1. Abusive or demeaning verbal acts, yelling, screaming, name calling, or graphic statements.
    2. Threats of harm or actual harm.
    3. Physical abuse, such as whipping, beating, branding, pushing, shoving, tackling, or use of physical restraints or objects.
    4. Forced physical activity, such as consumption of food, liquor or drugs, or sleep deprivation.
    5. Theft, vandalism, removal, or destruction of public or private property.
    6. Restricting or substantially altering an individual’s regular routines, including social interaction.
    7. Conduct that a reasonable, similarly situated individual would consider humiliating or degrading.
    8. Forcing, requiring, or endorsing another individual, including but not limited to prospective or new members of an organization, to violate university policies; organizational bylaws; team rules; or any local, state, or federal law.
    9. Any engagement or participation by an individual, an officer or any combination of members, pledges, or alumni of an organization, to solicit, encourage, condone, require, direct, aid, or attempt to aid another in engaging in hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile misconduct.

D. Discriminatory or Sexual Misconduct: Hostile misconduct outside the purview of this policy includes misconduct based on any characteristic protected by law including age, ancestry, color, mental or physical disability, gender, genetics, serious medical condition, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, spousal affiliation, or veteran status and any misconduct included in Title IX such as dating or domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct covered in ARP 3.25.

E. Anti-Retaliation: Retaliation or adverse action taken in retribution against any employee, student, or other member of the University community who, in good faith, reports an alleged violation of this policy or related laws, or participates in the applicable administrative processes of this policy including investigation, proceeding, or hearing, is prohibited, see ARP 3.01.

F. Duty to Report: At the time of occurrence, immediately after, or as soon as practicable, everyone has the duty to report (See Part 3. Reporting) in good faith any hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile behavior in violation of this policy or related laws. Effort should be made to protect the confidentiality and safety of those who report potential policy violations or raise concerns about hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile behavior in good faith. Good faith report means disclosure of University-related misconduct made with a belief in the truth of the report which a reasonable person in the reporter’s position could hold based upon the facts. A report may be initiated in good faith regardless of whether the complaint is ultimately founded or unfounded. A report is not in good faith if made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the report.

G. Standard of Proof: Proceedings under this policy use the preponderance of evidence standard of proof and are separate from civil or criminal proceedings. To determine whether a particular act or course of conduct constitutes hazing, bullying, harassment or other hostile misconduct under this policy, the alleged behavior will be evaluated by considering the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the questioned behavior. Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of harassment, a serious incident, even if isolated, can be sufficient.

H. Sanctions: Hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile misconduct are subject to disciplinary sanctions based on severity of incident and findings. Considerations when determining sanctions include, but are not limited to, eliminating prohibited conduct, preventing its recurrence, and remedying its effects while supporting the University’s educational mission and legal obligations.

    1. Disciplinary sanctions for students or student organizations include, but are not limited to, criminal charges, and probation, suspension, expulsion, de-recognition of student organizations, athletic teams, and University Organization.
    2. Any individual, group of individuals or University Organization may be subject to disciplinary and remedial action, up to and including termination of employment, suspension without pay or expulsion from the University for violation of this policy. Furthermore, an individual person may be held personally liable for any damages, settlement costs or expenses, including attorney fees incurred by the University as a result of the individual’s violation of this policy.
    3. External parties engaging in hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile misconduct may be banned from the campus or subject to other University sanctions.

PART 3: KEY PROCESS ELEMENTS

A. Reporting: The prevention of hazing, bullying, harassment, or other hostile misconduct is the responsibility of every member of the University community. Reports received by a university community member must be promptly forwarded to the offices as indicated below. Each organization, association, athletic team, department, unit, division, as well as each individual student, employee, affiliate, or guest must report incidents believed to be associated with hazing, bullying, or other hostile misconduct and cooperate with any investigation, as requested by the involved NMSU office(s). Complaints must be made as follows:

    1. Criminal Misconduct: Criminal misconduct should always be reported to the NMSU Police Department and other relevant law enforcement agencies, in addition to the appropriate administrative unit. Any violation involving a crime, an emergency, or an imminent threat to the health or safety of any person, should be reported immediately by dialing 9-1-1.
    2. Non-emergency or non-imminent criminal threat: Contact the University Police by dialing 575-646-3311.
    3. Students and Organizations: Student or student organization behavior (includes athletic, non-athletic teams, sororities, fraternities, and other) in violation of this policy must be reported to the Dean of Students by contacting 575 646-1722, by email at dos@nmsu.edu or by completing the Campus Community Incident Report. Reports made to a university employee must be promptly forwarded to the Dean of Students office.
    4. Sexual Harassment or Discrimination: All sexual harassment, assault, stalking, and hostile behavior based on a protected class (discriminatory) must report to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) by dialing 575-646-3635, filing an incident report here, access the website at equity.nmsu.edu or email equity@nmsu.edu. Prompt notification to the Title IX Coordinator is required for reports in this category.
    5. Employee, Affiliate, or Guest Misconduct: Non-discriminatory acts of hazing, bullying, harassment or other hostile misconduct or retaliation by or against employees, affiliates and guests report to Human resource services Office of People Relations by phone at 575-646-2449, email at opr@nmsu.edu.
    6. Anonymous Report: Individuals may report any violation of policy in good faith through the EthicsPoint system.

B. Initial Review: Complaints will be reviewed upon receipt and assessed based upon the risk of alleged harm. Complaints which do not allege facts that would violate this policy will be dismissed. The complainant will be notified regarding whether the complaint was accepted for investigation or dismissed. Administrative procedures for each unit can be located as follows:

    1. Student misconduct procedures are in the NMSU Student Handbook.
    2. Office of institutional equity procedures are located at equity.nmsu.edu under OIE Standard Procedures.
    3. Human Resource Services Office of People Relations are located at opr.nmsu.edu Complaints and Confidential Reporting.

PART 4: DEFINITIONS  


A. Student: means any person who has been accepted for admission, is registered in or in attendance at New Mexico State University or intends to attend during any of its regular sessions after a period of scheduled vacation.

B. Threat: means a serious expression of intent to commit an act of violence to an individual, group of individuals or to cause damage to another person’s property, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health and safety of another person or another person’s property.

C. University Organization: means any association, order, society, corps, cooperative, club, department, unit, division or similar group that is officially or unofficially affiliated with the university and whose membership consists primarily of enrolled students or employees of the university; an intercollegiate or intramural athletic team including any group or team that participates in National Collegiate Athletic Association competition, or a service, social, or similar group, whose members are primarily students; a recognized or chartered student organization; or other including a fraternity, sorority, association, corporation, or student government, a band or musical group or an academic, cheerleading, or dance team.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

(For Administrative Purposes “Non-Exhaustive”)

Contact the Human Resource Services Office of People Relations for additional information not covered in this policy and for corresponding procedures.

Email:              opr@nmsu.edu

Telephone:       575 646-2449