Affirmative Action

Western Michigan University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination for all persons and, towards that goal, has developed an Affirmative Action Program. The program is designed to ensure that whenever employment decisions and personnel actions are made, Western will make a determined effort to identify and include in all pools of candidates qualified minorities, women, disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans, and handicapped persons.

General Policy

  • It is the policy of the Affirmative Action Program to achieve a representative work force which reflects the diversity of the working population in the University’s labor market.
  • It is the policy of the Affirmative Action Plan to determine proper diversity by analyzing all major job groups for required utilization.
  • It is the policy of Western Michigan University to give special consideration to women, minorities, disabled veterans, Vietnam era veterans, and handicapped persons when underutilization exists.
  • It is the policy of Western Michigan University to designate an affirmative action compliance officer who shall be responsible for maintaining the necessary programs, records, and reports to comply with all government regulations, including the maintenance and monitoring of policy procedures and objectives.
  • It is the policy of Western Michigan University to hold all University personnel with hiring authority accountable to the principles, philosophy, and procedures of affirmative action by incorporating into the annual performance review the specific component of affirmative action.

It is a collective responsibility to achieve the objectives of affirmative action, and every member of the campus community is expected to share in the commitment of achieving the University’s stated goals.

Handicapped Policy

Western Michigan University’s Affirmative Action Policy for individuals having handicaps is designed to provide equal opportunity for such persons as an integral part of the University’s academic and non-academic personnel activities.

Further, the University shall ensure, to the extent that mental and physical job qualifications tend to screen out persons with a handicapping condition, that such qualifications are job related and/or consistent with business necessity and/or the safe performance of the job. Except as noted, the University shall make reasonable accommodations for the mental and physical limitations of qualified applicants and employees with a handicapping condition.

The University recognizes that employment of the handicapped is in the University’s best interests by utilizing the employment skills possessed by such individuals as well as by meeting an important social responsibility. The University will take affirmative action to employ, advance in employment, and otherwise treat qualified handicapped individuals without discrimination. The University will make reasonable accommodations to physical and mental limitations of employees and applicants, consistent with the qualifications required for the work to be performed and with the effective operations of the University, as is done for all employees.

The policy serves two major functions:

  • it enlightens present University employees to the fact that unique barriers exist for the handicapped at Western Michigan University;
  • it facilitates breaking any barriers that may now exist at the University for employment of these individuals.

Bringing about appropriate awareness and sensitivity of any problem is a difficult task. Likewise, creating a University environment attitudinally and physically conducive to equal employment opportunities for the handicapped should be regarded as a positive challenge rather than a burdensome problem.

As a public university, Western Michigan University has social responsibilities, no less to its own students and employees than to the public. By eliminating barriers and creating awareness, it is inevitable that the University will meet the challenge by increasing the representation of the handicapped individuals in all employment categories, as well as to make the university more attractive and accessible to students with handicaps. The University’s overall sensitivity is reflected in its continual commitment to affirmative action.

It shall be the responsibility of the Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity and the Department of Human Resources to coordinate and implement this policy with respect to academic and nonacademic employment.

Disabled Veterans and Veterans of the Vietnam Era

It is the firm policy of the University to offer equal employment opportunity for all and to employ, advance in employment, and otherwise treat qualified disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam Era without discrimination based upon their disability or veteran status in all employment practices including recruitment, hiring, training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, and compensation.

The University shall ensure that required qualifications are job related and/or consistent with business necessity and/or the safe performance of the task. Further, the University shall endeavor to make reasonable accommodations for handicapping conditions of qualified disabled and/or Vietnam era veterans who have mental and physical limitations.

Western Michigan University is guided by an Affirmative Action Program devoted to the elimination of discrimination and the removal of barriers that create and perpetuate inequity. The University will continue to pursue the elimination of inequity wherever it exists. Every member of the campus community is expected to share in this commitment in accomplishing our goal.

Equal Opportunity

Western Michigan University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity practices and education programs. Our firm commitment to the embodied principles means that all employees are afforded the equal opportunity for participation.

It is the policy of Western Michigan University to ensure equal opportunity for all training, promotions, transfers, and compensation. All decisions pertaining thereto will be based solely on merit and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, handicap, height, weight or marital status.

Human Rights

It is a fundamental policy of Western Michigan University not to discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, color, race, age, religion, national origin, height, weight, marital status, or handicap in its educational programs, admissions, employment, promotions, salaries and social activities. Through its example and teaching, Western strives to foster in its students, faculty, and staff respect for basic human rights. In its external relationships, the University is supportive of those activities that seek constructive change in the development of human rights in this country and abroad.

(Approved: Board of Trustees, July 20, 1979; Amended: June 21, 1985)

Sexual Harrassment

Western Michigan University is committed to an environment which encourages fair, humane, and beneficial treatment of all faculty, staff, and students. In accordance with that fundamental objective, the University has a continuing commitment to assure equal opportunity and to oppose discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, handicap, height, weight, or marital status.

Therefore, in that same perspective, sexual harassment will not be tolerated behavior at Western Michigan University. It is expected that each member of the University community will consider himself/herself responsible for the proper observance of this policy.


Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual conduct which is related to any condition of employment or evaluation of student performance. This definition is intended to include more than overt advances toward actual sexual relations. It applies as well to repeated or unwarranted sex-related statements, unwelcome touching, sexually explicit comments, and/or graphics.

All persons should be sensitive to situations that may affect or cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation or may display a condescending sex-based attitude towards a person. Sexual harassment is illegal under both state and federal law. In some cases, it may be subject also to prosecution under the criminal sexual conduct law.

Conduct will be defined as sexual harassment when any or all three of the following conditions exist:

  • The sex-related situations are unwelcome by the recipient.†
  • A specific or implied connection with employment or student status is involved.
  • The sexual harassment continues after the recipient has made clear that the conduct is unwelcome.†

Depending upon the seriousness of the misconduct, informal corrective action may be adequate.

Complaint Procedure

Sexual harassment constitutes acts of misconduct. Therefore, whenever such acts are reported and confirmed, prompt disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including discharge. However, to enable the University to act through these formal procedures, employees and students are encouraged to report such incidents. Employees and students should report such conduct to the Office of Institutional Equity.

The Office of Institutional Equity shall investigate thoroughly any complaints of alleged sexual harassment, and then report the results of such investigations to the President of the University.

† In cases of overt physical sexual contact, a blatant threat if sexual favors are not given, or promised reward in exchange for sexual favors, no notice that the conduct is unwelcome shall be necessary and a finding of sexual harassment may be based on a single occurrence.

President’s Statement on racial and ethnic harmony

Western Michigan University is firmly committed to the principles of racial equality and nondiscrimination. On its campus, students, faculty and staff of many races and ethnic backgrounds live and work closely together day by day in offices, classrooms and residence halls. This racial and ethnic mix brings richness and diversity to the cultural, intellectual and personal dimensions of campus life. The University benefits from this diversity and seeks to enhance it.

All members of the University are expected to contribute to an atmosphere of racial and ethnic harmony on campus, displaying tolerance for cultural differences and courtesy and civility in discourse with students, faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds and origins. In this environment there is no room for any derogatory comments of a racial nature, be they in the form of slurs, posters, songs, jokes, graffiti or the like.

Most members of the campus community need not be reminded of the institutional position in this regard. The very few who need the admonition must realize that the University will take the strongest possible action, including dismissal, against those who through racist acts bring discord to this campus.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Western Michigan University will not discriminate or tolerate discrimination against any person based on that person’s HIV status.

The following statements elaborate on this University policy:

  • The human immunodeficiency virus is the reported cause of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is not yet a curable disease but it is generally preventable. Therefore, education programs about HIV and AIDS-related issues will have high priority as the best means to prevent HIV infection as well as to prevent fear of and discrimination against HIV-positive persons. These programs will be developed for students, staff, and faculty under the auspices of the HIV Task Force
  • HIV status shall not prevent any individual from participating in campus life, including classes, housing, and employment, if he/she is otherwise able and eligible to do so. Situations that place members of the University community at risk for their health will be considered individually. Action compatible with University student and personnel policies will be taken to protect the student or the employee.
  • The University will not require HIV antibody testing of individual students, faculty, or staff unless mandated by law.
  • The University will hold in confidence the medical information it obtains about any member of the University community to the extent permitted by law and consistent with obligations of the University and will use medical information only on an as-needed basis.
  • The President or his/her designee will be responsible for decisions related to the participation in campus life of an HIV-positive person. These decisions may be made in consultation with the HIV Task Force, local infectious disease experts, and with the student's or employee’s private physician. All cases will be considered individually.

(Approved by the Board of Trustees, July 31, 1992)


TO: The University Community
FROM: Elson S. Floyd, President
RE: A Drug-Free University

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 compel me to remind you of the University’s policy on illegal drugs and alcohol.

Western Michigan University prohibits the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by faculty, staff, and students on University property or as any part of University activities. The Rules of Conduct for various employee groups and the Student Code contain such prohibitions and provide penalties for violation, up to and including discharge for employees and dismissal for students.

The unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol can result in arrests, misdemeanor or felony convictions, and long prison terms. The use of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol also present major health risks, including addiction, acute and chronic illness, and death.

Alcohol and drug information referral, counseling, treatment, and rehabilitation programs are available to faculty, staff, and students through a variety of on- and off-campus resources. Some of these services and programs are without charge; others are covered by insurance or based on ability to pay. Students may obtain further information about available services by calling University Substance Abuse Services, Sindecuse Health Center (387-3257). Employees may call the Employee Assistance Program (387-3264).

I urge faculty, staff, and students with questions, concerns, or problems related to the use of illicit drugs or the abuse of alcohol to take immediate advantage of the help that is available.

All members of the University community, however, must clearly understand that they jeopardize their education, their jobs, their health, and their future if they unlawfully possess, use, or distribute drugs or alcohol at the University. Sanctions for such misconduct will be consistently enforced.


Consensual Sexual Relations

In their relationships, members of the University community are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias. The relationships may constitute sexual harassment when one of the individuals is in a position to evaluate or otherwise influence the education, employment, housing or participation in a University activity of the other. The subtle yet powerful element of coercion that may exist in such relationships is a legitimate concern of the University. Such relationships give rise to a conflict of interest and are potentially exploitative. Moreover, such relationships may affect the environment for other students, administrators, faculty or staff member, or the manner in which they are treated.

An administrator, faculty or staff member should not make sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other communications of a sexual nature to a person if he or she exercises direct influence over a person’s activities within the University. If a sexual relationship develops, the administrator, faculty or staff member must take steps to eliminate any current or potential conflict of interest and distance himself or herself from decisions involving the other person. Failure to eliminate a conflict will constitute misconduct.

Further, administrators, faculty and staff should be aware that any romantic involvement with students or subordinates may require formal action against them if a complaint is filed. Because of the asymmetrical nature of such relationships, an administrator, faculty or staff member’s assertion that a relationship was consensual in defense of a complaint of sexual harassment is subject to doubt and will be thoroughly investigated.

(Approved: Board of Trustees, March 20, 1998)


Office of Institutional Equity
1220 Adrian Trimpe Building
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5405 USA
(269) 387-6316 | (269) 387-6312 Fax