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    Andrews University
  Feb 25, 2018

Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment

Return to: Student Handbook  

Andrews University affirms that every human being is valuable in the sight of God. The University expects students, employees and guests to treat each other and the wider community with respect and dignity and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment. Students, both male and female, have the right to supportive academic, work and residential settings that are free from conduct that could create a hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.

Andrews University prohibits unlawful discrimination against any member of its community on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected characteristic in matters of admissions, employment, housing or any aspect of its educational programs and activities.

Discrimination occurs when an individual is subjected to negative or adverse treatment based on one or more protected characteristics (listed above) that denies or limits the individual’s ability to obtain educational benefits or interferes with the work environment.

As a religious institution, the University retains its constitutional and statutory rights to make employment, admission and educational decisions in a manner that is consistent with the University’s Code of Student Conduct (see Code of Student Conduct ) and with the tenets of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Such rights are conferred upon religious institutions by various laws, including but not limited to 42 U.S.C. 2000e-1, 2000e-2; 6-15 of Federal Executive Order 11246; 41 CFR 60-1.5(5); 34 CFR 86.21, 86.31, 86.40, and 86.57, 106.12(a)(b); 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)(3); and Porth v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, 209 Mich. App. 630 (1995). The University further claims the right to disregard the provisions of Title IX set forth in 34 CFR Sections 86.21, 86.31, 86.40, and 86.57(b) insofar as they conflict with the teachings and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Sexual orientation is regarded by the University in a manner consistent with the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which makes a distinction between orientation and behavior. On the basis of sexual orientation, in itself, the University does not discriminate in academic, work, residential or other campus environment matters except as the University may deem it appropriate in response to housing and residential concerns. All students are required to comply with the University’s Code of Student Conduct, which prohibits certain behaviors that are inconsistent with the University’s commitment to moral propriety as understood by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For a detailed statement on the University’s position, policies and protections regarding differences in sexual orientation, please refer to Appendix 1 (see Appendix 1: A Seventh-day Adventist Framework for Relating to Sexual Orientation Differences on the Campus of Andrews University ).

This non-discrimination policy is in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (as amended), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (45 CFR 86 et seq., Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Section 402 of the Veterans Era Veterans Adjustment Act of 1974 and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Andrews University prohibits harassment of any kind whether it takes place on-campus, off-campus or in online communications.

Harassment is often based upon an intentional intolerance or disparagement of perceived or actual personal characteristics such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or any legally protected characteristic.

Harassment occurs when a person or group engages in unwelcome speech or conduct so objectively offensive and sufficiently severe or persistent or pervasive that it,

  1. unreasonably interferes with or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from academics, work or other services and activities


  1. creates an environment (academic, work or residential) that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive or intimidating. (An isolated incident, unless sufficiently severe, may not amount to hostile environment harassment).

When harassment is not directed at a specific individual, harassment may still occur.

Harassing behaviors prohibited by this policy include, but are not limited to, the following: sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive use of derogatory words, jokes, slurs, epithets, statements or gestures; stereotyping activities; use of graffiti or other forms of pictorial or written messages of intimidation; threats about unwelcome physical contact; unwelcome physical contact; stalking; and bullying (repeated and/or aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person).

This definition of harassment should not be construed to infringe on the right of faculty, staff and students to discuss, inquire, express and petition within the limits described (see Right to Discuss, Inquire, Express and Petition ).

What to do about Discrimination or Harassment
Discrimination and harassment can flourish in a culture of silence. Therefore every member of the community is asked to be an active participant in creating a culture of civility and respect for all persons. If you witness or experience behavior which you think is inappropriate, you should do something about it. The following informal or formal steps are suggestions you may want to consider. Every circumstance is different, however, and the important thing is that you do take some steps to correct the behavior.

Informal Steps

  • If you feel comfortable, assertively tell the alleged harasser that such conduct is offensive and unwelcome and should be stopped immediately (studies show that most harassers will stop if they know their behavior is offending someone).
  • Seek an informal consultation to consider what type of response is desired by sharing the concern with one or more of the following: academic advisor, department chair or academic dean; director of Human Resources; Student Life dean or vice president for Campus & Student Life.
  • Consider an informal resolution process that may include providing information or support and other educational, restorative, protective or corrective measures to address the concern.

Formal Steps
Andrews University takes seriously all good faith reports of alleged discriminatory harassment and will seek to provide a prompt and careful investigation and response plan. In cases where a student has a concern regarding alleged discriminatory harassment by another student, the concerned student is encouraged to make a formal report in order to allow the University to address the behavioral concerns in a timely and specific manner. The response plan includes the following:

  • The reporting student will provide a written statement of the incident that includes relevant details, date, time and location, identification of the alleged harasser and witnesses, description of the incident, etc., to the vice president for Campus & Student Life.
  • The vice president for Campus & Student Life will review the report and activate next steps.
  • A Student Life dean will meet with the reporting party to review their formal statement and University policy as well as to identify the need for support systems, interim measures or accommodations.
  • An investigative process will be conducted that includes meeting with all relevant persons and providing each with the opportunity to give their own account of events. The process will follow the trail of evidence for the purpose of fact finding and determining if there is a “preponderance of evidence” that the alleged violation occurred.
  • A summary of the investigative report will be provided to the Student Life Deans Council which will make a determination if the accused is responsible or not responsible for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.
  • The Student Life Deans Council reserves the right to determine and assign what type of educational and/or disciplinary response is appropriate for the level of violation as well as to broaden or lessen the response relative to the severity, persistence or pervasiveness of the behavior.
  • Report to Student Life or to Human Resources (if work- or classroom-related) any alleged retaliation. Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person who makes a good faith report or participates in an investigation of discrimination or harassment. Adverse actions may include name-calling, taunting or other intimidating behavior. Retaliation against an individual for alleging discrimination or harassment, supporting a party bringing a complaint, or assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of discrimination or harassment is a serious violation of University policy and will be treated as another possible instance of discrimination or harassment.

In cases where a student has a concern regarding alleged discriminatory harassment by a faculty or staff member, the concerned student is encouraged to make a formal report to one or more of the following: academic dean, vice president for Campus & Student Life, director of Human Resources or the provost.