9.0 Professional Issues

  1. Professional Issues

    1. Prohibition of Discrimination and Harassment Policy

      The University recognizes the human dignity of each member of the Missouri State University community and believes that each member has a responsibility to promote respect and dignity for others so that all employees and students are free to pursue their goals in an open environment, able to participate in the free exchange of ideas and able to share equally in the benefits of the University's employment and educational opportunities. To achieve this end, the University believes it should foster a learning, working and living environment free from discrimination and harassment on any basis not related to the applicable educational requirements for students or the applicable job requirements for employees.

      It is policy of Missouri State University to maintain the campus as a place of work and study for faculty, staff and students flee from discrimination and harassment in violation of the University's policies and in accordance with federal and state law and the Missouri State University Nondiscrimination Policy Statement. Discrimination or harassment against any member of the University community will not be tolerated at Missouri State University.

      The University will respond to instances of discrimination or harassment, and members of the University community who engage in such acts or behavior are subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal from the University (with respect to students) or termination of employment (with respect to faculty and/or staff).

    2. Sexual Harassment

      Consistent with the G1.05 Non-Discrimination Policy Statement, the University prohibits all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual assault.

      Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is prohibited by both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX). Although sexual harassment is defined in slightly different ways under Title VII and Title IX, it generally refers to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature toward another person or an identifiable group of people. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decision affecting such individual or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. Sexual harassment may occur where such circumstances occur between supervisor and subordinate, employees, students and employees and non-University persons and employees. It may occur between members of the opposite sex or of the same sex.

      The academic setting is distinct from the workplace in that wide latitude is required for professional judgment in determining the appropriate content and presentation of academic material. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other speech or conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: (1) such advances or requests are made under circumstances implying that one's response might affect academic or personnel decisions that are subject to the influence of the person making the proposal or (2) such speech or conduct is directed against another and is either abusive or severely humiliating or persists despite the objection of the person targeted by the speech or (3) such speech or conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and substantially impairs the academic or work opportunity of students, colleagues or co-workers. If sexual harassment takes place in the teaching context, it must also be persistent, pervasive and not germane to the subject matter.

      Sexual harassment in any situation is reprehensible; it is particularly damaging when it exploits the educational dependence and trust between students and faculty. When the authority and power inherent in faculty relationships to students, whether overtly, implicitly or through misinterpretation, is abused in this way, there is potentially great damage to individual students, to persons subject to complaint and to the educational climate of the institution. While a particular interaction must be offensive and un-consented to be defined as harassment, authority should be sensitive to the questions about mutuality of consent that may be raised and to the conflicts of interest that are inherent in personal relationships where professional and educational relationships are also involved. (Refer also to Section 9.4.)

      The university has established a Title IX Office that is responsible for processing all complaints of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, including complaints arising from Title IX, as well as complaints arising under Title VII. Allegations of sexual harassment against faculty members that meet the definition and jurisdictional requirements of Title IX and its implementing regulations are required by federal law to be addressed as set forth in Op1.02-11 Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure Policy, rather than through the disciplinary procedure outlined in Section 14.0 of this Handbook.

      All other allegations of discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment as defined by Title VII) will be addressed in a manner consistent with Op1.02-2 Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures. Results of investigations conducted and/or evaluated pursuant to Op1.02-2 Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures, may be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs and other appropriate administrators, who may take such actions as are consonant with the disciplinary procedures prescribed in Chapter 13.

      Consistent with G1.31 Reporting Allegations of Discrimination on the Basis of a Protected Class, all employees – including faculty members – are required to report any concerns or allegations of sexual harassment involving members of the university community (i.e., faculty, staff, and/or students) of which they become aware. Such reports should be made as soon as possible, but in no event later than three (3) calendar days after learning of such concern or allegation. Reports must be made to the Title IX Office or the West Plains Equal Opportunity/Title IX Liaison. Reporting a concern or allegation of discrimination or harassment to a supervisor, without also reporting to the Title IX Office or the West Plains Equal Opportunity/Title IX Liaison, does not satisfy a faculty member’s reporting obligation. Faculty members who refuse or otherwise fail to report a sexual harassment allegation or concern are subject to disciplinary sanction, as set forth in Section 14.0 of this Handbook.

    3. Faculty Absences

      The office of academic affairs should be notified when it is impossible to meet a class because of illness or other extenuating circumstances. The circumstances concerning absences, as well as the arrangements made, should be reported. Insofar as possible, students should be notified in advance when it is necessary to cancel a class. This is vitally important in view of the distance that many of our students commute.

    4. Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships Policy

      The University's mission is promoted by professionalism, which is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. These are diminished when persons in positions of authority abuse their authority, as in the case of consensual sexual or romantic relationships between faculty and students.

      A consensual sexual or romantic relationship between a faculty member and a student is generally wrong when the faculty member has professional responsibility such as grading or advising for the student. Such a situation increases the chances for abuse of power. The University will view it as unethical if faculty members engage in consensual sexual or romantic relationships with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision. The behavior is, in most cases, unethical even when the relationship is consensual (i.e., both parties have consented), because the voluntary consent of the student is in doubt, given the power imbalance in the student-faculty relationship. Even if consent were to be shown, a clear conflict of interest would still exist which might create the appearance of discrimination or favoritism in grading or access to educational opportunities.

      Relationships between a graduate student and an undergraduate student, when the graduate student has some supervisory responsibility for the undergraduate, are covered by this policy. Relationships between a student and an administrator, coach, advisor, program director, counselor or residence life and services staff member who has supervisory responsibility for that student also are covered.

      A request for a specific exception to this policy may be made by an employee to his or her supervisor, who may approve or deny the request. The supervisor should maintain written documentation of the employee request and the decision to approve or deny the request.

      Faculty or employees engaged in unethical conduct of the type described in this policy are subject to the normal disciplinary procedures of the University. Such unethical conduct may or may not constitute sexual harassment as prescribed G1.31 Reporting Allegations of Discrimination on the Basis of a Protected Class, Op1.02-11 Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure Policy, and/or Op1.02-2 Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures.

    5. Drug-Free Workplace

      Faculty members are expected to perform their professional responsibilities in an environment which is conducive to the educational process and which is drug-free, healthful, safe and secure. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession or use of a controlled substance on University premises or while conducting University business off its premises is absolutely prohibited. Violations of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and may have legal consequences. Faculty members must, as a condition of employment, abide by the terms of this policy and report to the University any conviction under a criminal drug statute for violations occurring on or off University premises while conducting University business. A report of conviction must be made within five (5) days after the conviction. This report requirement is mandated by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

    6. Use of Tobacco

      The University recognizes that tobacco smoke is a hazard to the health of the University community. To protect the health of the University community, Missouri State University-West Plains is a tobacco-free campus. To the extent possible, the University will provide access to cessation programs to help those who presently use tobacco products and desire to quit. https://wp.missouristate.edu/physicalplant/tobacco.htm

    7. 9.7 General Policies

      1. Faculty members should be aware of laws and ethical responsibilities that govern the use of copyrighted materials. Legal responsibility for the use of such materials rests with the individual faculty member who, consequently, should remain informed about current copyright law.

        To secure the benefits of ownership to creators of intellectual property, the United States and other nations severely restrict the right to make copies of another person's work. Violation of copyright law carries substantial penalties that may extend to the University and to businesses such as copy shops. However, copyright law compliance is often difficult because of the complexity of the rules governing infringement, "fair use," and permissions.

        In general, copyrightable expression is original authorship, fixed in a tangible medium. Among the types of work protected by copyright are literary productions, musical notation and recorded music, pictures and graphics, motion pictures and video footage, databases, web pages and computer programs. Faculty members should assume that all material is copyrighted unless its source states clearly that it is not.

        Faculty members do not need to get permission for all uses of copyrighted work. The law permits use of a portion of a work without the copyright owner's permission for purposes such as teaching, research, criticism and comment. Four criteria must be considered when determining whether a faculty member is making "fair use" of a copyrighted work: (1) purpose; (2) the nature of the work; (3) the percentage of the work used and (4) the effect of the use on the work's market value. Guidelines and definitions of these applications can be found in the booklet "Questions and Answers on Copyright" available at the Missouri State University-West Plains Garnett Library.

        New technologies, especially those related to computers and computer networks, raise novel copyright issues. Under most circumstances, faculty members cannot transfer works from one medium to another without securing permission from the copyright holder. Because electronic information is volatile and easily reproduced, respect for the work and personal expression of others is especially critical in computer environments. Violations of authorial integrity, including plagiarism, invasion of privacy, unauthorized access and trade secret and copyright violations may be grounds for sanctions against members of the faculty (see Sections

        Faculty members are required to secure permission for use that falls outside of the standards of "fair use" and "educational use exemptions." Such permission must be in writing. Because computer software falls under copyright law, faculty members should be aware of specific licensing agreements that control particular programs. A program user should consult the license agreement to determine whether copying a particular program or data set is permissible.

        Faculty members should not be deterred from using copyrighted work simply because they are uncertain about the law which applies to a particular use of such works. To prevent conflict between legal restrictions and effective teaching, Faculty members seeking general guidance for making decisions in this area may consult the documents Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians, http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ21.pdf; Fair Use Guidelines for Educational Multimedia, http://www.adec.edu/admin/papers/fair10-17.html or Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians (KF2995 .C57 2004) available at the Garnett Library. Missouri State University-West Plains provides a variety of information resources about copyright. Sources for such information include:

        1. Useful information is available in the Garnett Library. Librarians can direct faculty members to resources that might answer particular questions.
        2. The Garnett Library can contact the copyright clearance center to obtain copyright clearances for faculty for print reserves in the library if items are to be used more than one semester or more extensively than "fair use" guidelines dictate. The average processing time needed for the copyright clearance center is forty days.
        3. The Library can contact the copyright clearance center for digital articles and can also provide access to a vendor that can create Internet-accessible reserves of copyright-cleared readings.
        4. The Drago College Store can provide assistance to faculty interested in obtaining copyright clearance for printed readings to be sold to students.
        5. The University maintains a copyright website on its homepage that provides hyperlinks to many information sources about copyright.

        Respect for intellectual labor and creativity is vital to academic discourse and enterprise. This principle applies to works of all authors and publishers in all media. It encompasses respect for the right to acknowledgment, right to privacy and right to determine the form, manner and terms of publication and distribution

      2. Sale of Faculty or Departmental Materials

        Instructional materials prepared by departments or faculty members for student use may be given to students but may not be sold, except through the Drago College Store or a commercial bookstore or print shop. No faculty member or department may profit financially from such sales and the faculty member or members involved must assume any liability resulting from copyright infringement associated with sales through commercial outlets (see Sections 9.7.1 and Appendix A). If members of the faculty prepare materials to be sold in the Drago College Store, they must abide by the following principles:

        1. Because copyrighted materials must not be included in such materials in any form without proper authorization and acknowledgment, the faculty member must certify either that no copyrighted materials have been included in the printed materials or that appropriate arrangements with owner(s) of the copyright(s) have been made and that an appropriate statement of credit has been included in the text for each portion of copyrighted material used therein. Finally, a copy of each arrangement for use of copyrighted material must be attached to the request for printing and selling of said materials.
        2. The faculty member must provide certain information to the Bookstore in advance of the selling of such materials. He or she must specify the course for which the materials are to be used, the number of students anticipated, whether the materials are required or recommended. The dean of academic affairs must approve the request for printing and selling.