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Oregon State University Bullying Policy
Oregon State University adopted an updated bullying policy on December 1, 2015. Oregon State University is committed to maintaining a working, learning, and social environment in which the rights and dignity of all the staff, faculty, and students of the University community are respected. The revised policy now provides the Office of Equity and Inclusion the opportunity to assess the allegations of bullying to determine if it falls within its definition of bullying, and is sufficiently supported by credible and specific facts to warrant the initiation of OEI’s informal or formal complaint resolution procedures. However, it does not alter the Office of Equity and Inclusion's steadfast commitment to preventing and proactively addressing bullying at Oregon State University.
Under this University policy, bullying is prohibited. Bullying is defined as conduct of any sort directed at another that is severe, pervasive, or persistent, and is of a nature that would cause a reasonable person in the victim's position substantial emotional distress and undermine his or her ability to work, study or participate in his or her regular life activities, and actually does cause the victim substantial emotional distress and undermines the victim's ability to work, study, or participate in the victim's regular life activities.
This policy is not intended to and will not be applied in a way that would violate rights to academic freedom and freedom of expression, nor will it be interpreted in a way that undermines a supervisor’s authority to appropriately manage their work unit. This definition reserves to the University, in furtherance of its educational mission, the right to address conduct that would not necessarily be unlawful. It is not intended to create individual or group rights, whether contractual or otherwise, that do not exist under law.
Alleged violations of the bullying policy should be communicated to the University’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. Any allegation of bullying must be made in writing and include specific examples of conduct directed at the victim, specific examples of substantial emotional distress caused by the conduct, and specific examples of how the victim’s work, life, or study was impacted by the conduct. The complaint must be filed within 180 days of the last alleged harmful act.
Upon receiving a written allegation of bullying, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will assess the allegation to determine if the alleged misconduct falls within its definition of bullying, and is sufficiently supported by credible and specific facts to warrant the initiation of OEI’s informal or formal complaint resolution procedures. The policy doesn’t prohibit, for example, conduct that might be rude or inconsiderate but is not severe, pervasive, or persistent. However, such conduct could fall short of reasonable expectations for behavior toward others and be addressed by unit leadership as a matter of appropriate performance.
The Office of Equity and Inclusion reserves exclusive discretion to decide whether, after initial assessment, an allegation of bullying warrants the initiation of OEI’s formal or informal complaint resolution procedures.
Concerns and questions about possible violations can be communicated to the Office of Equity and Inclusion for consultation.
More information about the dynamics and effects of bullying is available through the University Ombuds Office.