Equal Opportunity at the University is the effort to ensure that all employment and academic decisions, programs and policies are formulated and conducted in a manner to ensure equal access for all people and to prevent discrimination.
As part of this effort, the University will ensure that employment and academic decisions, programs and policies will be based solely on the individual eligibility, merit or fitness of applicants, employees and students without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital or parental status, or veteran status.
The following sections describe the policies and procedures used in order to ensure compliance with the Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan and other efforts by the University to ensure equal access to our community.
Affirmative Action is a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and administrative practices intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination. In accordance with the law, the University has established guidelines with respect to recruitment, promotion, and appointment to vacant positions. For additional information, please contact Tracy Daborowski, 413-572-8809.
Bias Incident Response
A bias incident is described as any behavior or act—verbal, written or physical—which is personally directed against or targeted toward an individual or group based on perceived or actual characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national or ethnic origin, disability or veteran status. Behavior reflecting bias may or may not constitute a violation of Westfield State University policy or constitute a crime (i.e. hate crime). Events that may constitute a bias incident include, but are not limited to, threatening telephone calls or messages (including e-mail and social media), graffiti, physical assault, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, vandalism, destruction of personal property, harassment, or coercion.
For more information on the University’s Bias Response Team and to Report an Incident, visit the Bias Response Team's Website
Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment & Retaliation
The EO Plan prohibits all conditions and all actions or omissions, including all acts of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation, which deny or have the effect of denying to any person their rights to equity and security on the basis of their membership in or association with a member(s) of any protected class. This Policy reaffirms the values of civility, pluralism and pre-eminence of individual human dignity as preconditions to the achievement of an academic community, which recognizes and utilizes the resources of all people.
The prohibited conduct contained in this Policy shall apply to and be enforced against all members of the University community, including, but not limited to, faculty, librarians, administrators, staff, students, vendors, contractors and all others having dealings with the institution.
Title IX & Sexual Violence
Westfield State University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy learning, living and working environment that is free from all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. Consistent with this commitment, the University complies with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, as well as retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in admission to or employment in its education programs and activities.
The Sexual Violence Policy prohibits all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. These behaviors are antithetical to the University’s educational mission and are prohibited forms of harassment under Title IX. The University provides educational and prevention programs, services for individuals who have been impacted by discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, and accessible, timely and equitable methods of investigation and resolution of complaints.
This Policy and the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures are intended to comply with Title IX, the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act, including the Campus SaVE Act, the Clery Act, and the guidance documents on Title IX issued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
Reporting, Complaint & Investigation Procedures
It is the policy of the University to provide each student, employee, and other person having dealings with the institutions an environment free from all forms of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence, sexual and gender-based harassment, domestic and dating violence, stalking and retaliation as defined in the Universities’ Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan (“EO Plan”) and/or each University’s Student Code of Conduct.
These Procedures are intended to provide a mechanism to investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. These Procedures are available and applicable to all students, faculty, librarians, staff, visitors, contractors, applicants for employment or admission, and others having dealings with the Universities.
No community member may retaliate, harass, intimidate, threaten, coerce or otherwise discriminate against any individual for filing a complaint under these Procedures or for otherwise exercising their rights or responsibilities under the EO Plan or the Student Code of Conduct.
The University’s detailed investigation procedures can be found in the EO Plan, Appendix 4