Discrimination and Harassment Policy


Discrimination – The act of denying opportunities, resources or access to an individual or group based on race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, disability, religion, national and ethnic origin, age, veteran status or political affiliation.

– Is a form of discrimination consisting of verbal or physical conduct based on race, color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation,  genetic information, disability, religion, national and ethnic origin, age, veteran status or political affiliation which is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent, as to deny or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the education program, thereby creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or work environment.  Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or group will be considered harassment.  Whether the alleged conduct constitutes harassment depends upon the record as a whole and the totality of the circumstances, such as the nature of the incident in the context within which the alleged incident occurs.  Harassment may not include verbal expressions or written material that is relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum.

Professional relationships among faculty, staff, and students are central to the educational mission of the Law School.  These relationships must be protected against impropriety, as well as the appearance of impropriety.  Those who work within this community are entrusted with unique responsibilities, including, but not limited to, guiding the educational and professional development of students, evaluating student performance and assigning grades, providing job recommendations, mentoring, and counseling. As a reflection of institutional values, the policy upholds traditions of academic freedom and uncensored debate on matters of public concern.  The policy impacts no compromise of freedom of thought, inquiry, or debate.  Rather, the policy seeks to ensure an environment in which education, work, research, and discussion are not corrupted by harassment.

This policy establishes institutionally enforceable prohibitions, not aspirational standards. The policy does not preclude other, non-disciplinary efforts to resolve interpersonal grievances or to create a hospitable work and educational environment for all members of the Law School community.  The policy does not attempt to address behaviors that do not constitute discrimination or harassment. Offensive workplace and/or school behavior that do not violate this policy should be addressed by the appropriate supervisor, the Dean or Title IX Coordinator.

In determining whether behavior constitutes discriminatory harassment in violation of this policy, the totality of the circumstances and the context in which the behavior occurs will be considered.  This is intended to ensure the protection of individual rights, freedom of speech, and academic freedom.

Nothing stated above circumscribes the authority of the Law School to establish policy that is not otherwise contrary to law.

Consensual Relationships:

Sexual relationships between an employee and a student who are not married to each other or who do not have a preexisting analogous relationship are inappropriate whenever the employee has a professional responsibility for the student in such matters as teaching a course or in otherwise evaluating, supervising, or advising a student as part of a school program.  Even when an employee has no professional responsibility for a student, the employee should be sensitive to the perceptions of other students that a student who has a sexual relationship with an employee may receive preferential treatment from the employee or the employee’s colleagues.  An employee who is closely related to a student by blood or marriage, or who has a preexisting analogous relationship with a student, normally should eschew roles involving a professional responsibility for the student.

Scope of Coverage: 

Complaints of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, that do not involve sexual misconduct, are governed by this policy. Complaints of Sexual Misconduct are governed by ASL’s Sexual Misconduct policy (Title IX/Clery).
This policy covers all Law School sponsored programs and activities either on or off campus.  Additionally, it covers all actions at these programs or activities by a student or an employee which may limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the Law School program.

Responding/Reporting of Discrimination and Harassment:  

All acts of discrimination or harassment are covered in the Grievance Policy located in the Office of the Dean and in the Student Catalog.  If you believe you are experiencing treatment that violates this policy, if you are comfortable, tell the person to stop.  If the discrimination or harassment persists you may take the following steps:

Contact the Grievance Coordinator:
Ms. Becky England
Room 109, Classroom and Office Building

The Grievance Coordinator coordinates all grievances except those involving issues governed by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX issues are coordinated by Jina Sauls, the Title IX Coordinator; Room 133 in the Classroom and Office Building, 276-244-1228.

Submit a grievance:

ASL’s full Grievance Policy can be found here.
Grievances about students, employees, volunteers, or other visitors or participants in Law School sponsored programs or activities should be submitted to the Grievance Coordinator.  Grievances about the Grievance Coordinator can be submitted to the Associate Dean.  The grievance policy is located in the Office of the Dean and in the Student Catalog.

Grievances must be filed within 90 calendar days of the alleged discrimination or harassment.  If a person cannot bring a grievance within the 90 calendar days because of medical incapacitation or the person adversely affected lacked knowledge of the discrimination or harassment, the 90 calendar days may be waived at the discretion of the Grievance Coordinator if filed within 45 calendar days of the end of incapacitation or becoming aware of the discrimination.  Grievances are preferably submitted in writing.  Grievances that are non-written, anonymous, or filed by third parties will be investigated to the fullest extent possible.

Regardless of whether you have done any of the above, you may contact the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education  regarding complaints based on age, race, national origin, color, disability, or gender at:

District of Columbia Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
1100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Rm. 316
P.O. Box 14620
Washington, D.C. 20044-4620

Telephone: 202-208-2545
FAX: 202-208-7797; TDD: 877-521-2172
Email:  OCR.DC@ed.gov

Additionally, other legal remedies such as a civil law suit may be available.


If it is determined that discriminatory harassment is occurring or has occurred, the Law School may take any or all of the following actions: making sure that the discriminatory conduct stops; imposing disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from the Law School; reporting the conduct to appropriate governmental or bar authorities; other corrective action such as counseling or training; and steps such as reinstatement, hiring, reassignment, promotion, training, back pay or reinstatement of other benefits as are necessary.