Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance
OFFICE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION AND WORKPLACE COMPLIANCE
Monday – Thursday 8:00a.m. – 5:15p.m
Office: Birch Mansion, Room 215
Kersaint Saint Fleur
Phone: (201) 684-7540
The Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance investigates discrimination complaints, sexual harassment, workplace harassment, and violations of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA); helps to ensure awareness of the College’s position on diversity, equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and discrimination by coordinating diversity awareness and sexual harassment workshops to staff and faculty; monitors the recruitment and search process for faculty and professional staff positions.
INQUIRES May be directed to the FOLLOWING:
Title IX/Sex Discrimination
Kat McGee J.D., Title IX Coordinator
Phone: (201) 684-7136
Equal Employment Opportunity
Aaron Sanders, M.A., M.P.A., Lead EEO Investigator
Office: Birch Mansion, Room 208
Phone: (201) 684-7540
Americans with Disabilities Act
Jill Brown, M.A., ADA Compliance Officer
Phone: (201) 684-7502
Who is the College’s Title IX Coordinator?
Assistant Director of the Center for Student Involvement and Coordinator of the Women’s Center
What is Title IX? Title IX is a portion of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106). Title IX is a federal law which provides that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Ramapo College of New Jersey does not deny or restrict a student or employee from participating in a program on the basis of sex or gender.
Title IX applies to students, staff, faculty, visitors (including children) and business vendors at the College, and to sex discrimination or sexual violence which occurs on campus, at College-sponsored events and programs held off-campus; or that may adversely affect the educational environment for members of the College. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
“Title IX also prohibits gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. (2011, Department of Education, Dear Colleague Letter, page 3).”
What does the Title IX Coordinator do? The Coordinator ensures the College’s compliance with Title IX, oversees grievance procedures, investigates complaints, and issues a disposition (and makes sure that investigatory outcomes are released to all parties). The Coordinator helps to ensure that the students, staff, administrators, and faculty are trained and educated about Title IX (sexual harassment/sexual violence). The Coordinator is a neutral-party fact finder and ensures a fair process for all parties. The Coordinator reports to the President. By March 1st, of each calendar year, the Coordinator prepares an annual report (sans information that identifies individuals) to the President and the Board of Trustees concerning reported incidents of sexual harassment.
Does Title IX only apply to women? No, Title IX protects both men and women, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification.
Examples of sex-based discrimination (applies to those who have experienced or have witnessed discrimination/harassment):
- Sexual harassment (including stalking and cyber-harassment);
- Sexual violence (such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, domestic violence, dating violence and sexual coercion) including occurring in connection with any academic, athletic, extracurricular, co-curricular, or any other college program (irrespective of the program’s location);
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
- Decisions made by a member of the faculty or staff (such as grading) that are based on the student’s sex or gender;
- Failure to provide equal opportunity for participation in athletics, sports, and recreation.
What role does the College have in addressing sexual harassment and sexual violence? The College must respond promptly and effectively to all allegations. If the College knows, or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence, the College is required to take prompt action in order to stop the actions and prevent a recurrence. Simply stated, if the College is aware of an allegation, the College must take immediate actions – even if the individual reporting the matter has requested that the College not take any action.
Who is required to report sex discrimination or sexual violence to the Title IX Coordinator? As clarified by the Montana Resolution Agreement between the Office of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice (May, 2013), responsible employees (except for health-care professionals and any other individuals who are statutorily prohibited from reporting) are required to report incidents of sex-based harassment or sexual violence that they are aware of that they are aware of, regardless of whether the victim or informant has requested confidentiality. It is mandatory that every College employee inform the Title IX Coordinator within 24 hours of witnessing or receiving information about an incident where Title IX may apply.
So, I filed a complaint, now what? The Title IX Coordinator will launch a fair, prompt, and impartial investigation. The investigation will determine whether a violation of Title IX or another College nondiscrimination policy did (or did not) take place.
If I am the victim of sexual harassment or sexual violence, can my identity be kept confidential while my complaint is investigated? Yes. The College is obliged to investigate every complaint. If a witness asks that his or her name or other identifiable information not be revealed to the Accused, the College will evaluate that request in the context of the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, and will endeavor to maintain confidentiality in that context. However, where the Complainant insists upon confidentiality, the College may be unable to take disciplinary action against the Accused based upon the investigation. Any accused student or employee has legal rights during a College disciplinary procedure, including the right to know the identity of the witnesses and the right to be present at the hearing. A victim of sexual violence, who testifies at a College disciplinary hearing, may be afforded protection during testimony, such as testifying via conference via call or Skype from a separate location. Whether or not the College institutes disciplinary action, Title IX requires that the College take reasonable steps to protect the Complainant from the Accused, and take effective action to limit the effects of the alleged sex discrimination or sexual violence and prevent its recurrence in the educational environment.
If I am a victim of sex discrimination under Title IX, can the College require my participation in an informal dispute resolution meeting (such as a mediation) with the Accused? No. Federal guidance under Title IX prohibits the College from asking or requiring any victim of sexual assault to participate in any informal dispute resolution or mediation with the Accused. A student who complains of sexual harassment or sex discrimination (but not alleging sexual assault) may voluntarily agree to participate in mediation with the Accused, but only if the mediation meeting is conducted by a trained counselor, mediator or other representative of the College.
Are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence afforded special protection and support services when filing complaints with the College? Yes. In addition to Title IX, federal and state laws and College policies provide special rights, protections and support to campus victims of sexual assault and/or domestic violence.
Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights (located in the Student Handbook):
Center for Health and Counseling Services:
POLICY PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION BY OR AGAINST STUDENTS
A. Laws Against Discrimination
The College is committed to addressing discrimination/harassment by students or against students because discrimination is unlawful and undermines the integrity of the academic environment.
- The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) and federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination/harassment by or against students based upon the following protected categories: race, creed, religion, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex/gender (including pregnancy), familial status, marital/civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, domestic partnership status, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, disability, (including perceived disability, physical, mental and/or intellectual disabilities), or liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States.
- Title IX is a portion of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (and it’s implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106). Title IX is a federal law which provides that no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Ramapo College of New Jersey does not deny or restrict a student or employee from participating in a program on the basis of sex or gender. Title IX applied to students, staff, faculty, visitors (including children) and business vendors at the College, and to sex discrimination or sexual violence which occurs on campus, at College-sponsored events and programs held off-campus; or that may adversely affect the educational environment for members of the college. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. The College’s Title IX Coordinator is Melissa Van Der Wall, Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, Birch Mansion Room 201, Extension 7540.
This policy applies to protect all students from discrimination/harassment by others at the College, including students, faculty, staff members, vendors, and contractors. This policy applies to both physical and verbal conduct that occurs at the College, (including electronic communications sent or received on campus) and that occurs at any location, which can be reasonably regarded as an extension of the College. (i.e., any field location, on-line course, any off-site college-related social function, or event, or any facility where College-sponsored activities are being conducted or discussed).
- Protection of First Amendment Rights
This policy will not be applied to abridge a student’s exercise of free speech or expression which is protected by the Constitution of the State of New Jersey and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
II. Prohibited Conduct
It is a violation of this policy for a student to engage in discriminatory conduct against another member of the College community based upon any of the protected categories outlined in Section I.A. that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive so as to substantially disrupt college operations or materially limit another student’s ability to participate in or to receive the benefits, services or opportunities of the College. Discrimination/harassment or the creation of a hostile environment can occur even if there was no intent on the part of an individual to harass or demean another.
- Examples of Behaviors By a Student That Violate This Policy Include, But Are Not Limited To:
- Substantially disrupting, limiting or denying another individual’s ability to participate in, or benefit from college activities because of the individual’s race, color, national origin or other protected category, or because an individual has the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a certain racial, religious or other protected category;
- Substantially disrupting, limiting or denying another individual’s ability to participate in, or benefit from college activities because of marriage or partnership status to, or association with, persons of a certain racial, religious, or other protected category; or due to the individual’s membership in, or association with, an organization identified with the interests of a certain racial, religious or other protected category; or because an individual’s name or spouse’s/partner’s name is associated with a certain racial, religious or other protected category;
- Engaging in harassment/intimidation/bullying targeted towards another individual or group at the College because that individual or group member belongs to, or is associated with, any of the protected categories (See Code of Conduct H.2 A & B in the Student Handbook; http://www.ramapo.edu/student-conduct/);
- Engaging in sexual harassment/intimidation/bullying targeted toward another individual or group based on sex or which would not have occurred but for the individual’s gender, or gender identification, which conduct is unwelcome and substantially interferes with work, educational performance or equal access to the College’s resources and opportunities (See Code of Conduct H. 26 in the Student Handbook; http://www.ramapo.edu/student-conduct/).
- Third Party-Harassment
Third-party harassment is severe, pervasive and objectively offensive behavior by a student based upon any of the protected categories outlined in section I.A. that is not directed at the complaining student, but which substantially disrupts college operations or materially limits any student’s ability to engage in the educational benefits and learning functions of the college. Third-party harassment based upon any of the protected categories is prohibited by this Policy.
III. Prohibition on Discrimination Against a Student by a College Employee, Vendor or Contractor
- It is a violation of State policy for college employees, vendors, or contractors to engage in discrimination/harassment of a student based upon any of the protected categories (See paragraph I.A. above). The prohibition on discrimination/harassment includes sexual harassment, hostile environment harassment, quid pro quo harassment or same-sex harassment regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification in the workplace. The “workplace” for College employees, vendors and contractors, includes all aspects of the educational environment for students, including academic, social and recreational programs and electronic communications. The College has a zero tolerance policy with respect to an employee’s discriminatory conduct in the workplace. See the New Jersey State Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace: http://www.ramapo.edu/affirmaction/.
- “Sexual harassment in the workplace” is defined by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Guidelines to include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
- Examples of Behaviors By A College Employee in the Workplace That Violate The College/State Policy Include, But Are Not Limited To:
- An employee makes submission to verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory or sexual nature either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s academic evaluations, receipt of other college services (i.e., advisement), or participation in extracurricular activities;
- An employee uses submission to, or rejection of verbal or physical conduct of a discriminatory or sexual nature by a student as the basis for academic decisions, extracurricular participation, or receipt of college services affecting such individual;
- An employee’s conduct, which is based upon a protected category, has the discriminatory purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic or extracurricular performance or receipt of college services or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic environment. An employee suggests or implies that a student’s failure to accept a request for a date or sex would result in an adverse consequence with respect to any practice such as academic performance evaluations or participation in extracurricular activities;
- An employee engages in unwanted physical contact such as intentional touching, grabbing, pinching, brushing against a student’s s body, or impeding or blocking movement, not for pedagogical or public safety reasons;
- An employee leers at a student’s body, makes gestures, uses college property or equipment to communicate discriminatory or sexually suggestive or obscene comments, jokes or propositions including letters, notes, e-mails, text messages, invitations, gestures or inappropriate comments based upon a protected category, in the workplace, not for pedagogical reasons. The employee displays discriminatory or sexually suggestive material on a bulletin board, on a locker room wall, on a screen saver, or elsewhere in the workplace, not for pedagogical reasons;
- An employee continues to engage in behaviors of a discriminatory or sexual nature in the workplace after an objection has been raised by the target of, or a witness to, such inappropriate workplace behavior.
IV. Preserving Professional Relationships
- The College is committed to a learning and working environment that fosters respect, integrity, professional behaviors, and fair and impartial treatment of students. The College recognizes that personal relationships do exist, and the majority of such relationships do not have an impact on either the learning environment or the workplace. However, certain consensual romantic, sexual, or other close personal relationships between students and College employees may negatively impact the learning environment and workplace.
- Romantic and sexual relationships between College employees and students, even with students who are not subject to direct supervision or evaluation by the faculty or staff member, should be avoided because they may negatively impact the learning environment. Moreover, Ramapo College prohibits all College employees from having romantic, sexual, or other close personal relationships with students over whom they have educational evaluation, advisory or supervisory responsibility, regardless of whether the relationship was entered into with the consent of both parties. Such relationships are inconsistent with the proper role of the instructor, administrator or manager in the College’s educational mission, and are susceptible to perceptions of favoritism, unprofessional behavior, and conflicts of interest. In the event that a faculty member or other employee is placed in a position that would require him or her to assume educational instruction, evaluation or supervisory authority over a student with whom he or she has, or has had, a romantic or sexual relationship, he or she shall immediately disclose the identity of the student to the unit head and shall refrain from exercising such authority over the student. The unit administrator shall notify the Office of Human Resources, and shall immediately arrange for another employee to instruct, evaluate or supervise the student.
- Any student who obtains knowledge of a romantic or sexual relationship between a student and an employee who is in a position that would require him or her to assume educational instruction, evaluation or supervisory authority over the student, may disclose the relationship to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance and request a confidential investigation to determine whether this Policy has been violated.
- The entire Preserving Professional Relationships Policy can be found under the Board of Trustees Policy and Procedure #633.
V. Reporting Discrimination/Harassment
- Student Complaints/ Confidential Investigations
Any student who believes that s/he has been subjected to any form of prohibited discrimination/harassment, including sexual harassment, or who witnesses others being subjected to such discrimination/harassment is encouraged to promptly report the incident(s) to a supervisor, manager, the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, or any other person or department designated to receive discrimination complaints (such as the Department of Public Safety).
- Faculty/Staff Responsibilities
Faculty/staff should make every effort to maintain an educational environment for students that is free from any form of prohibited discrimination/harassment. Faculty/staff and/or supervisors are required to take seriously all student allegations or complaints of discrimination/harassment, including sexual harassment, and to immediately report these matters to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance for confidential investigation and to consult with the Director on interim corrective measures which may be recommended to prevent continued violations of this policy. All employees are expected to cooperate with the investigation. Failure to cooperate in an investigation may result in disciplinary action.
The College will annually disseminate this Policy through the Student Handbook.
VI. Complaint Process
The College follows the State of New Jersey Model Procedures for Processing Internal Complaints Alleging Discrimination with regard to reporting, investigating, and where appropriate, remediating claims of discrimination/harassment. Each State entity is responsible for designating an individual or individuals to receive complaints of discrimination/harassment (including sexual harassment and sexual violence), investigating such complaints, and recommending appropriate remediation of such complaints. At Ramapo College, that person is Melissa Van Der Wall, Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, located in the Birch Mansion Room-201, extension 7540 (for disability related accommodations, please call extension 7540). Each State entity must designate an alternate person to receive claims of discrimination/harassment. At Ramapo College, that person is Mr. Bill Stovall, the Director of Human Resources, located in D-113, extension 7506.
All investigations of discrimination/harassment claims shall be conducted in a way that respects, to the extent possible, the privacy of all persons involved. The investigations shall be conducted in a prompt, thorough and impartial manner. The results of the investigation of complaints by students shall be forwarded to the Provost to make a final decision as to whether a violation of the Policy has been substantiated. Prompt remedial action will be taken when appropriate. Individuals who have a “professional need to know” the results of a college investigation and/or any remedial actions that must be taken, will be officially notified.
The Director of Affirmative Action and workplace Compliance shall maintain a written record of the discrimination/harassment complaints received. Written records shall be maintained as confidential records to the extent practicable and appropriate (see section X. Confidentiality).
VII. Complaint Procedure
The complaint procedure is applicable for all incidents of discrimination/harassment.
Students are encouraged to promptly report all alleged incidents of discrimination (including sexual harassment, workplace harassment, and incidents that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act) to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (Birch Mansion Room-201, extension 7540.) Complaints can also be sent via certified mail. Upon receipt, the Director shall date the complaint.
When to File a Complaint
It is requested that the complaint be filed within thirty (30) calendar days, or sooner, from when the aggrieved student becomes aware that an incident of discrimination/harassment has occurred, even if the student is unsure whether the incident was “severe, pervasive or objectively offensive.”
Who Can File a Formal Complaint
Under this policy, complainants are students who are aggrieved by conduct which violates this Policy. State employees who wish to file a complaint will be referred to the New Jersey State Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace: http://www.ramapo.edu/affirmaction/
The Complaint must be in writing and include:
1. Complainant’s name and address
2. Accused name and address
3. Counsel’s name and address (if applicable)
4. The nature of the policy violation
5. Preliminary facts alleged; dates and times of specific incidents
6. Names, addresses and phone number(s) of witnesses
7. The date of the complaint
8. Remedy sought
9. The Complainant must sign the complaint
Role of the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance:
1. The Director will notify the Complainant in writing when the investigation has commenced.
2. The Director shall be available to answer the Complainant’s questions regarding options available under this Policy.
3. The Director shall notify the parties that the investigation has concluded, normally within a maximum of 60 business days from the date the investigation commenced.
1. The Director will investigate to determine if sufficient evidence exists that a violation of the Policy has occurred.
2. The investigation will include interviewing the Complainant, the Accused, and others who may have information relevant to the complaint.
3. The investigation will commence no later than ten (10) business days after the initial complaint has been filed.
4. During any discussions relating to the investigation, the Complainant and the Accused may be accompanied by an advisor.
5. After interviewing those involved and reviewing pertinent evidence and documents, the Director will analyze the facts relating to the issues in contention and make a decision based on the facts and evidence.
6. The findings of the Director will be forwarded to the Provost.
Role of the Provost
Following a receipt of the findings and recommendations from the Director, the Provost shall issue a letter which summarizes the findings and conclusions of the Director’s investigation and determines the appropriate disposition. Where any violation of College policy is substantiated, the Provost shall recommend appropriate remedial or disciplinary action (see section XI. Administrative and Disciplinary Action).
In all cases, the Provost may confer with the Director regarding his/her decision.
VIII. Prohibition Against Retaliation
Retaliation against any person who either alleges that s/he was the victim of discrimination/harassment, provides information in the course of an investigation into claims of discrimination/harassment in the academic environment, or opposes a discriminatory practice is prohibited by the Policy. Any student bringing a complaint, providing information for an investigation, or testifying in any proceeding under the Policy will not be subjected to adverse academic or employment consequences based upon such involvement nor be the subject of retaliation. Students who engage in retaliatory acts will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct where charges will be levied against the student through the College’s disciplinary process.
Examples of Behaviors That May Constitute Retaliation That Is In Violation Of This Policy Include, But Are Not Limited To:
- Removing someone from class or a sanctioned college activity or refusing them a normal college service for filing a complaint of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or objecting to an unlawful activity prohibited by this Policy;
- Failing to give appropriately earned grades or other credit for extracurricular participation to someone because they filed a complaint, objected to an unlawful activity, or participated in an investigation;
- Suddenly altering an academic assignment or the conditions of an extracurricular activity or the provision of a normal college service for reasons other than legitimate pedagogical or business reasons;
- Unwarranted disciplinary action or the threat thereof;
- Defaming an individual for filing a complaint or participating in an investigation.
IX. False Accusations and Information
A student who knowingly makes a false accusation of prohibited discrimination/harassment, or who knowingly provides false information in the course of an investigation of a complaint, may be subjected to administrative and/or disciplinary action. Complaints made in good faith, even if found to be unsubstantiated, will not be considered a false accusation.
All complaints and investigations shall be handled, to the extent possible, in a manner that will protect the privacy interests of those involved. To the extent practical and appropriate, confidentiality shall be maintained throughout the investigatory process. During the course of an investigation, it may be necessary to discuss the claims with the person against whom the complaint was filed and other persons who may have relevant knowledge or those who have a legitimate need to know about the matter. All persons interviewed, including witnesses, shall be directed not to discuss any aspect of the investigation with others in light of the important privacy interests of all concerned. Appropriate administrative authorities may be contacted in the interim (before a final report is submitted to the Provost) if immediate or temporary actions must be taken to ensure the safety or well-being of any party to the complaint or to ensure the integrity of the investigation.
XI. Administrative and/or Disciplinary Action
Any student found to have violated any portion(s) of this policy may be subject to remedial or disciplinary action which may include, but is not limited to: referral to an educational program, referral to counseling, charges filed against the student in the Office of Student Conduct, which (under a finding of responsibility) may result in an Official Warning, Disciplinary Probation, Suspension, Expulsion, or any of the sanctions listed in Section O. of the Code of Conduct. For information regarding appeals, students are directed to the Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, Birch Mansion room 201, extension 7540.
See Board of Trustees Search Policy 215
Hiring the best candidate from a diverse pool of qualified candidates that includes members of underrepresented groups is the goal of institutional searches. The search, which must be fully documented, should fairly screen and evaluate, the applicants , and should result in selection of the best candidate for the job. These procedures are intended to assist in conducting an effective and legally defensible search. Please consult with the Department of Human Resources or the Department or Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance if there are any questions, concerns or difficulties at any stage
Authorization to search for a new position must come from the Vice President/Dean via the Staffing Requisition Form available on the web. The Unit Head/Dean, in conjunction with the Division Head, should develop a budget if it is anticipated expenses will be incurred during a national or international search. The budget should include potential costs for meals, transportation and lodging if necessary. Prior approval for interview expenses during a national or international search is required from the Provost’s Office for faculty searches, and from the Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning for unclassified staff searches. Please refer to the candidate Interview Expenses procedure. Please also refer to the procedure for Hiring of Foreign Nationals.
- Human Resources staff will assist the Unit Head/Dean/Hiring Manager with recruitment beginning with completing the Staffing Requisition Form (PDF), developing a job description and ad copy, and posting the job to ramapojobs.com/hr and other media sources. Please see “Specific Hiring Procedures and Responsibilities” section, item #1 below on the role of Hiring Managers.
- The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance will work with the Unit Head/Dean/Hiring Manager to develop a recruitment strategy to broaden and diversify the pool of candidates as soon as the search is authorized. Please see “Specific Hiring Procedures and Responsibilities” section, item #1 below on the role of Hiring Managers.
- The Hiring Manager selects a Search Committee that is comprised of a diverse representation of units interacting with the position. Where possible and relevant, a student should be selected to serve on the Committee. Students must be juniors or seniors and are non-voting members of the search committee.
- The Hiring Manager must also select an employee within the unit to chair the search committee. The Chair must understand the demands of the position as well as the tasks associated with it . In searches for senior administrative positions, the hiring manager may chair the Search committee ex-officio, with approval of the President.
- In the case of recruitment of college officers and senior administrators, a search firm may be used.
- The Search Committee Chair will serve as Affirmative Action Representative. The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance will train the Chair on search guidelines and procedures relative to the College’s affirmative action goals and policies (see Discrimination, Harassment, Hostile Work Environment Policy.)
- The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance will advise the Search Committee Chair of his/her responsibilities, which are as follows: a) monitor the entire process, b) complete the Affirmative Action Search Committee Report, c) have all finalists sign the completed employment application prior to leaving campus, d) ensure this information is included in the hiring packet to the appropriate Vice President/Dean/Unit Head when the selection has been made.
- HR will assist the Search Committee in determining how the applicant pool should be evaluated, develop screening techniques and design questions for the interview process. Should the committee use telephone interviews, two sets of questions should be developed, one for the telephone interviews, and another set for the in-person interview.
- Internal candidates are expected to submit or grant access to all official Ramapo College personnel documents (i.e. student evaluations, observation reports, reappointment letters) that have accumulated during the candidate’s employment at Ramapo College. External candidates will be asked for similar information.
- After the qualified candidates have been interviewed, references of the potential finalists are checked by the Search Committee. Finalists should be told references are being checked, and current employment situations should not be compromised. References should be checked before bringing candidates to campus. No anonymous information may be considered during the reference checking process; materials found in the “public domain” are acceptable.
- Before candidates are brought to campus (but after the telephone interview), the Search Chair forwards to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance the application packets of the potential campus invitees.
- The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance reviews the pool.
- The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance returns the approved pool of candidates to the Search Committee prior to the campus interview.
- All final candidates approved by AA should be brought to campus for a personal interview with the search committee.
- The Search Committee Chair forwards to the Hiring Manager a letter of recommendation along with the following information: 1) description of the interview process, 2) names of the final candidates for the position and their resumes, (see item 15), 3) references and other significant related materials, 4) job description, and 5) signed employment application.
- The Search Committee is required to send three names, unranked, to the Hiring Manager, listing strengths and weakness of each candidate. Fewer or more than three candidates will be considered with approval of the Hiring Manager and the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance.
- After the Hiring Manager completes the final interviews, he/she consults with HR regarding salary, benefits and starting date.
- The Hiring Manager makes a recommendation for hire to the next level supervisor up to the cognizant vice president/provost.
- Completed hire packets for Professional Staff and Managerial appointments in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, as well as those for Faculty appointments, are submitted to the Office of Employee Relations, prior to being forwarded to the Provost.
- A recommendation for hire will be made to the President by the cognizant vice president/provost.
- The search chair or a designee must send letters of rejection to candidates not interviewed, and to candidates interviewed by the Committee but not recommended for further consideration. The hiring manager sends letters to finalists interviewed by him/her and not selected. Letters should go out at the completion of the search process (candidate hired).
- The complete hiring package must be submitted to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance for approval of the process and results. A complete hiring package contains the following:
- Letters of recommendation from the Hiring Manager, Unit Head, Dean and/or Vice President
- Letter of recommendation from Search Committee Chair
- Job description
- Candidate’s resume
- Copy of the advertisement (internal and external)
- Copy of the approved Staffing Requisition Form
- Signed employment application
- AA Search Committee Report Form
- Any other pertinent information about unusual circumstances.
- The Affirmative Action Office submits the complete package to the Department of Human Resources along with a concurrence or rejection letter.
- The Affirmative Action Office conducts degree verification.
- Arrangements for translation of documents or evaluation of foreign credentials are made through the Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance.
- HR prepares the appointment letter and forwards it to the President for review, approval, signature and mailing.
- Deans may discuss final terms with the top candidate in concert with the Provost’s office; Hiring Managers of unclassified staff may discuss final terms with the top candidate in concert with the Department of Human Resources. However, only the President may make a formal offer of employment.
- All search records must be retained for five(5) years by the Search Committee Chair. If the finalist is a foreign national, all search materials must be transferred to the Roukema Center for International Education and retained for six and one-half (6-1/2) years for federal auditing purposes.
Specific Procedures and Responsibilities
A. The Hiring Manager shall
- Complete the Staffing Requisition Form, obtain appropriate signatures, and submit the form with the job description and add copy to the Department of Human Resources (ad copy must be consistent with job description).
- Select and charge the Search Chair and Committee
- Review the job description with the Committee
- Develop and submit the job posting to HR utilizing the ramapojobs.com/hr system
- Clarify requirements for the position as well as preferred attributes
- Send letters to finalists not selected (see Sample Letter 1 (DOC) and Sample Letter 2 (DOC)) at the completion of the search process (candidate hired).
- Interview finalists
- Make a recommendation for hire at the completion of the search to the next level supervisor (and submit to ER, as appropriate see item 19)
- Discuss final terms with the finalist in conjunction with the Provost’s office for faculty and the Department of Human Resources for unclassified staff.
B. The Search Committee Chair shall
- Receive training regarding affirmative action objectives from the Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, and training on the on-line application process from the Department of Human Resources.
- Act as the committee’s facilitator, official spokesperson, and liaison to the hiring authority; articulate expectations for committee conduct; and mediate conflict
- For national searches, obtain necessary approvals for interview expenses prior to bringing candidates to campus; work with candidates to minimize reimbursable costs (see Interview Expenses)
- Communicate with potential leads, potential and actual applicants, constituents, and others who may inquire about a search process, Affirmative Action and HR
- Protect the confidentiality of applicants and the integrity of the search process. Written documents may be subject to public records requests; therefore, judicious use of written and e-mail communication is recommended
- Coordinate the checking of references of finalists with the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance (see Reference Check Procedures (DOC)). The candidate’s current employment situation should not be compromised, and the candidate should be told references are being checked. Concerns about information obtained during the reference-checking process should be referred to AA & WC or HR.
- Ensure compliance with state and federal laws and College policy, including the role of Conveners
- Provide pertinent information to the candidates being interviewed, including job description, relevant information about the College, portion of Employment Eligibility Verification (PDF) statement so the candidate understands the type of documentation that will be required at time of hire. Please see the procedures for hiring Foreign Nationals.
- Certify via a form that the finalist candidates have been selected through a search process that has been designed and implemented to promote the College’s principles of diversity, equal opportunity and affirmative action. (see Affirmative Action Search Committee Report (PDF))
- Send letters of rejection to the finalists interviewed on campus and not recommended for further consideration after completion of the search process (i.e. the selected finalist has accepted the position).
- Retain all search records for five (5) years. If the finalist is a foreign national, all search materials must be transferred to the Roukema Center for International Education and retained for six and one-half (6-1/2) years for federal auditing purposes.
C. The Search Committee shall
- Refer questions regarding salary , information on the employment application, or other administrative details to the Department of Human Resources; refer concerns regarding the search process to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance. (Either office may be contacted for guidance about any matter at any time.)
- Protect confidentiality of applicants and the decision-making process
- Participate fully and consistently
- Screen applicants and refer recommendations to the Hiring Manager
- Use latitude and flexibility in the selection process – this must be balanced with consistency and transparency – for guidance, consult with HR or AA & WC
- Determine a decision making process, e.g. will the committee vote, try to reach consensus, use negative voting, or provide majority and minority opinions, what evaluation instrument will be used, how many absences disqualify committee member from participating in the selection process, etc. The decision making plan must be submitted to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance for approval.
- Vote by secret ballot
- Provide fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory interviews to all finalist candidates
- Act promptly to ensure that top candidates are not lost to institutions that move quickly to hire top talent
- Carefully review the job description and understand the requirements of the position
- Review application (see template for Candidate Evaluations Sample Template 1 (XLS) & Sample Template 2 (XLS))
- review applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities
- review applicant’s past positions and their relevance to the position
- review past accomplishments/achievements
- question unexplained gaps in employment history
D. Role of Conveners
1. If a convener is on the search committee for a tenure-track faculty line and the pool of applicants includes a person whom that convener has recommended for hire as an adjunct faculty or temporary faculty member, then that convener will recuse him/herself and absent him/herself from the room during the discussions of the candidate and voting on the names to be selected as finalists.
2. The convener in question will be empowered to read all the applications and to remain present (although not participating) during all interviews (phone or in-person) and attend demonstration classes, etc. given by the candidate(s) in order to possess the necessary background to provide thoughtful input to the Dean regarding finalists.
E. Interview Questions
- Emanate from the job description with additional questions based on the applicant’s resume/vita
- Be job related
- Elicit more than a yes or no response and ask what, when, where, who, why, how
- Force the applicant to think
- Not be discriminatory such as questions regarding:
- Race, color, or national origin
- Religious affiliation
- Gender, marital status, number of children, family plans
6. Elicit information about eligibility to work in the U.S.
7. Elicit information about the need for accommodation to do the job
- Telephone Pre-Employment Reference Check (DOC)
- Chart of Legal Questions (PDF)
- Legal Aspects of Interviewing (DOC)
- How to Run a Search Committee Meeting (DOC)
F. Conducting the Interview
- Conduct interview in a pleasant, uninterrupted environment
- Give applicant the committee’s undivided attention
- Put the applicant at ease before beginning questions
- Explain the process
- Explain that there will be time for questions after the formal interview
- Ask each applicant the same basic questions
- Use follow-up questions effectively: what, when, where, who, why, how
- Allow the applicant to do most of the talking, but without digressing
- Allow silence
- Control your body language
- Take note of the applicant’s responses
- Ask the applicant what questions he/she has for the committee members
- Explain the timeline for the search process and when they may expect to hear from the College
- Thank the applicant and direct them to their next destination
G. Possible Exceptions to Institutional Search Policy
Documentation for an internal search or non-competitive hire must explain the circumstances. The president, upon the recommendation by a provost/vice president, and in consultation with the director of affirmative action and workplace compliance, must approve an internal search or waiver of search procedures. The following describes circumstances that may justify an appointment without a search.
- Emergency Hires — In an emergency situation, candidates may be appointed on a temporary basis for a twelve-month period or longer with presidential approval. The person selected to serve in the emergency capacity will be compensated at a commensurate salary for the period in which the position is held. During the employment period, a search for a permanent occupant of the position will be initiated if it has been determined that the position will become permanent. The position will be posted and institutional search procedures followed. The incumbent may apply.
- Acting Hires — For a variety of reasons, the president may choose to fill an unclassified position by a current employee who will serve in an acting capacity. The person selected to serve in the acting capacity will be compensated at a salary commensurate with the position for the period in which the position is held. Acting positions will not last more than twelve months without the initiation of a search for a permanent hire. Appointment beyond twelve months must have presidential approval. The position will be posted and institutional search procedures followed. The incumbent may apply; if not the successful applicant, the presumption is that the individual would return to his or her former position.
- In-Line Promotions – When a vacancy exists within an administrative unit, a current employee from within the unit may be promoted. An in-line promotion must be recommended by the dean and/or hiring manager to the appropriate provost/vice president, and authorized by the director of affirmative action and workplace compliance and the president. The vacated position may be filled through institutional search procedures.
- Temporary Part-Time Professional Staff and Adjunct Professors – Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager. Should the position become full-time and/or permanent, college search procedures will be followed. The incumbent may apply.
- Visiting Scholar/Exchange Scholar – An academic or professional person invited to the college from another institution to teach or conduct research over an extended period such as a semester, summer session, or academic year. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
- Reorganization — For purposes of downsizing, succession planning, professional development, broadening diversity, and/or reorganization, the hiring manager may reclassify or transfer a current employee who requires minimal training and has the requisite qualifications. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
- Organizational Needs/Failed Search — When the search process has failed to yield a qualified applicant and it is a vacancy that requires specific technical skills, expertise in a subject area of high demand/low availability, or is a mission-related priority position identified by the president, the search may be waived. Approval is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
- Grant or Contract Positions — Principal investigators may hire individuals for unclassified positions specifically named in grants or contracts without conducting a search. Justification must include copies of the pages from the grant or contract specifying the person(s) named in the grant or contract. Otherwise, all positions funded by research grants and contracts shall be filled according to college search procedures. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
- Laureate — On occasion, the college may have the opportunity to hire a nationally or internationally renowned individual who expertise matches the mission and goals of the college or the school. While each academic school recognizes extraordinary accomplishments differently, it is expected that the “laureate” designation be used in rare circumstances. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
- Returning Employees — Employees who have terminated their employment with the college may be appointed without a search if they return to the same hiring unit to fill their former position which has not been filled, with a break in service not to exceed twelve (12) months. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
H. Failed Searches
In the event the search does not produce a viable candidate, the following needs to take place:
- Search chair recommends (to the dean/unit head) a failed/vacated search and give reasons why
- The dean/unit head recommends (to the provost) a failed/vacated search and give reasons why
- The provost declares (to the dean/unit head) a failed/vacated search and notifies the president (by cc)
- The dean/unit head notifies the search chair that the search has been declared failed/vacated
- New Staffing Requisition Form processed if appropriate (new search opened)
The College uses an automated applicant tracking system (ramapojobs.com) and all candidates must apply through this process.
Note: These procedures are subject to reasonable flexibility in extraordinary circumstances.
See also Power Point outline for use of the Applicant Tracking System (PPT) Ramapojobs.com