University Statement of Values to Address Bullying Incidents
Bullying is unacceptable within our University community.
Bullying can be defined as any written, verbal, or physical act, or any electronic communication, directed toward a person that is intended to cause or that a reasonable person would know is likely to cause, and that actually causes, physical harm or substantial emotional distress and thereby adversely affects the ability of another person to participate in or benefit from the University's activities and educational programs. Bullying does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that reasonably serves a legitimate purpose. Bullying is often repeated or persistent, but may occur as a single, severe incident.
Bullying is distinct from discrimination and harassment addressed under University Policy 5.0 and sexual assault protected under University Policy 01-5. This definition is not intended to create legal claims, whether contractual or otherwise, that do not exist under law.
What constitutes bullying?
The following behaviors may, in certain circumstances, constitute bullying within the context of the university:
- Mocking, berating, ridiculing, intimidating, or demeaning others;
- Name-calling and attacks on one's character, using a person as an object of ridicule, or using nicknames after being warned that the nickname is considered offensive;
- Making offensive remarks regarding a person's physical attributes;
- Persistently interrupting a person or otherwise preventing a person's legitimate attempts to speak;
- Undermining or sabotaging the work or university performance of others;
- Spreading false or inappropriately sharing sensitive information about another;
- Deliberately excluding, isolating, or marginalizing a person from workplace or university activities that affect their ability to do their job;
- Using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, mobile phones, e-mail, social media, or other electronic sources to spread false rumors, threaten, make offensive remarks, inappropriately share sensitive information, insult, or ridicule others;
- Tampering with a person's personal effects or work equipment; damaging or destroying a person's work product, work area, or personal property, including electronic devices;
- Punishing or imposing negative consequences that foreseeably and unnecessarily lead to shame, exclusion, or negative attention from others;
- Making threats, either explicit or implicit, to the security of a person's job or position, other than as part of a legitimate process;
Bullying behavior may also include making threats or physical contact (such as pushing, shoving, kicking, poking, tripping, physical assault), and may violate criminal law and is addressed in WSU's Workplace Violence Administrative Policy 99-3.
Who to contact if you're being bullied or witness bullying
Students are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office (DOSO) to report bullying or seek guidance with bullying prevention.
University employees are encouraged to contact their supervisor, the Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer, their College/School Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Associate Vice President of Academic Personnel, or Human Resources to report bullying or seek guidance with bullying prevention.
Visitors or other members of the University community are encouraged to contact Human Resources to report bullying behavior.
Complaints of bullying may also be made to various web systems available on the University's website. Monitors of these web systems' complaint/comment platforms will contact the individual submitting the complaint and offer guidance about procedures available to remedy the issue. These web complaint/comment systems include the following:
- Office of Internal Audit, Tips Form link
- Dean of Students Office (DOSO) Student support and intervention webpage and CARE Report
- DOSO, Welcome webpage, Ask A Question
- DOSO Student Complaints
- WSU Student Complaint Form
Policies Prohibiting Certain Conduct
The University has established several official policies that address prohibited conduct. Bullying may overlap with much of this conduct; however, some bullying behaviors may not be specifically prohibited by University policy. Below is a list of University policies addressing prohibited conduct.
Discrimination and Harassment
As stated in WSU's Equal Opportunity Policies, WSU is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. For further information on discrimination and harassment, see the policies below.
As stated in WSU's Information Technology Policies, WSU prohibits the misuse of information technology resources. For further information on use of information technology and misconduct, see the policies below.
Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources
Responsibility for WSU's Network Infrastructure
WSU AccessIDs, Electronic Mail and Directory Services Policy
Student Code of Conduct
Personnel Manuals and Collective Bargaining Agreements
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault
The University seeks to eliminate and prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. For further information on mandatory reporting of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment, see the policies below.
Violence in the Workplace
WSU prohibits certain forms of threats or acts of violence by anyone on University property or at University-sponsored activities. For further information on reporting of violence, see the policies below.
Other Criminal Behavior
Any case of bullying suspected to be of a criminal nature, which may include incidents covered in the aforementioned harassment, sexual assault, and violence policies, should be referred to WSU Public Safety but may also be referred to other law enforcement authorities.