University of Kansas Chemistry REU Program Personal Conduct Policy
Part 1. Policy Statement and Definitions
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Chemistry at the University of Kansas is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all participants. The program does not tolerate harassment or any other form of personal misconduct by participants, mentors, or program staff, or retaliation in response to reported incidents of alleged misconduct. The Program and the National Science Foundation (NSF) providing its funding, adhere to the following definitions of harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence and gender-based harassment.
- Harassment: Harassment is words, conduct, or action (usually repeated or persistent) that, being directed at a specific person, annoys, alarms, or causes substantial emotional distress in that person and serves no legitimate purpose.
- Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
- Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence, as the Office of Civil Rights uses the term, refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the victim's age or use of drugs or alcohol or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the victim from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
- Gender-Based Harassment: Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct based on an individual's actual or perceived sex. It includes slurs, taunts, stereotypes, or name-calling as well as gender-motivated physical threats, attacks, or other hateful conduct.
The KU Chemistry REU Program considers unacceptable conduct to also include bullying (unwanted, aggressive behavior involving a real or perceived power differential) and micro-aggressions (recurring verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their group membership).
Students found to be in violation of this policy are subject to dismissal from the KU Chemistry REU Program and revocation of stipend payments. Violations by faculty mentors, graduate student and postdoctoral mentors, or program staff (including the site-directors) will result, at minimum, in removal from current and future roles with the REU program. Violations by faculty mentors, graduate student and postdoctoral mentors, or program staff should be reported as outlined by the Department of Chemistry Grievance Procedure.
Part 2. Preparing participants for recognizing and responding to personal misconduct
All KU faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, postdoctoral associates and staff members who are directly or indirectly associated with the Chemistry REU program are required to complete an annual, in-depth tutorial on sexual harassment administered by the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access (IOA). The IOA also offers assistance and protective measures to students, faculty, and staff who report acts of harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and retaliation.
The KU Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center partners with the KU Chemistry REU Program to provide a mandatory one hour interactive workshop with the theme of recognizing and responding to harassment. The program occurs during orientation on the first day of the program, and all participants, mentors and program staff are required to attend.
Part 3. Additional REU Program requirements for establishing a positive workplace climate
The following requirements of the KU Chemistry REU program facilitate adherence to its goal of establishing a harassment-free environment for all participants, mentors and staff members.
- All students, faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scientists selected for participation must acknowledge awareness of this harassment policy and potential consequences in case of violations.
- All undergraduate students selected for participation must also acknowledge awareness of the KU policy that prohibits alcohol and drug use on campus, including the dormitories, violations of which carry the same potential consequences.
- All chemistry researchers at KU, including REU participants, are assigned desk spaces in large, communal, well-lit and glass-walled office areas in close proximity to their faculty mentor’s office.
- All participants are assigned a designated graduate student or postdoctoral (in-lab) mentor that oversees and monitors their daily research activities.
- All REU participants and their faculty and in-lab mentors complete and sign an individualized “research contract” that includes the following:
- A statement summarizing this personal conduct policy and a link to the policy document
- The expectation that the in-lab mentor or a designated substitute be available at all times that a participant is performing research activities
- The expectation that participants should not be expected to engage in laboratory activities outside of normal working hours (8 AM – 5 PM) or on weekends.
Part 4. Reporting
KU Employee witnesses
All KU employees directly involved with the Chemistry REU program, including faculty mentors and program directors, graduate student mentors, postdoctoral mentors, and Chemistry Department staff, are mandatory reporters of personally witnessed incidents of harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual violence or retaliation, and of such incidents that are conveyed to them by colleagues or students. Any such incidents must be reported promptly to the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access (IOA).
Points of contact for concerned students and in-lab mentors
Elaine Knight, Chemistry Department Administrative Specialist and designated secretary for the REU Program, is tasked with serving as the first point of contact for undergraduate student participants experiencing harassment or other peer-conflict issues and directing them to the appropriate campus resources.
Megan Belaire, Chemistry Department Academic Advisor (Graduate), serves as the first point of contact for graduate student and postdoctoral mentors.
Other Points of Contact in the Chemistry Department Main Office (ISB Room 1140)
Betsy Carlson; Undergraduate Affairs Administrator
Erin Kelley; Academic Advisor (Undergraduate)
Elizabeth Coleman; Executive Program Associate
Other Reporting Options
Care Referral: Any member of the KU Community can submit an online Care Referral (anonymously if preferred) when concerned about a student’s well-being. These receive prompt action by the interdisciplinary Student Care Response Team.
The KU Ombuds Office provides a venue for members of the KU Community to seek informal, independent, confidential and impartial assistance in addressing conflicts, disputes, or complaints on an
informal basis without fear of retaliation or judgment.