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C09: Respectful Campus

Approved by: Faculty Senate
Effective: February 4, 2014
Responsible FS Committee: Policy Committee
Office Responsible for Administration: Office of the Provost and Office of the HSC Chancellor

Revisions to the Policy Rationale, Policy Statement, and Applicability sections of this document must be approved by the full Faculty Senate.

Policy Rationale

The University of New Mexico promotes a working, learning, and social environment where all members of the UNM community, including but not limited to the Board of Regents, administrators, faculty, staff, students, and volunteers work together in a mutually respectful, psychologically-healthy environment. UNM strives to foster an environment that reflects courtesy, civility, and respectful communication because such an environment promotes learning, research, and productivity through relationships. Because a respectful campus environment is a necessary condition for success in teaching and learning, in research and scholarship, in patient care and public service, and in all other aspects of the University's mission and values, the University is committed to providing a respectful campus, free of bullying in all of its forms.

Policy Statement

This Policy describes the values, cornerstones, and behaviors that delineate a respectful campus and applies to all members of the UNM community, including, but not limited to students, faculty, and staff.

1. Values 
A respectful campus exhibits and promotes the following values:

  • displaying personal integrity and professionalism;
  • practicing fairness and understanding;
  • exhibiting respect for individual rights and differences;
  • demonstrating harmony in the working and educational environment;
  • respecting diversity and difference;
  • being accountable for one's actions;
  • emphasizing communication and collaborative resolution of problems and conflicts;
  • developing and maintaining confidentiality and trust; and
  • achieving accountability at all levels.

2. Cornerstones of a Respectful Campus 
The commitment to a respectful campus calls for promotion of an environment where the following are upheld:

  • All individuals have important contributions to make toward the overall success of the university's mission.
  • UNM's mission is best carried out in an atmosphere where individuals at all levels and in all units value each other and treat each other with respect.
  • Individuals in positions of authority serve as role models in the promotion of a respectful campus. Promoting courtesy, civility, and respectful communication is consistent with the responsibility of leadership.
  • Individuals at all levels are allowed to discuss issues of concern in an open and honest manner, without fear of reprisal or retaliation from individuals above or below them in the university's hierarchy. At the same time, the right to address issues of concern does not grant individuals license to make untrue allegations, unduly inflammatory statements or unduly personal attacks, or to harass others, to violate confidentiality requirements, or engage in other conduct that violates the law or University policy.

Bullying is unacceptable in all working, learning, and service interactions.

3. Destructive Actions 
Actions that are destructive to a respectful campus will not be tolerated. These actions include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual harassment--refer to UAP 2730 "Sexual Harassment Policy";
  • Retaliation-- refer to UAP 2200 "Whistleblower Protection and Reporting Suspected Misconduct and Retaliation Policy";
  • Conduct which can affect adversely the University's educational function, disrupt community living on campus, or interfere with the right of others to the pursuit of their education or to conduct their University duties and responsibilities--refer to UNM Faculty HandbookSection C05, "Rights and Responsibilities at the University of New Mexico." "Visitor Code of Conduct," "Student Code of Conduct," and UAP 2220 "Freedom of Expression and Dissent";
  • Unethical conduct--refer to UNM Faculty HandbookSection B, Appendix V, "Harassment and Professional Ethics Policy"; and Bullying behavior which is defined in Section 4. herein.

4. Definition of Bullying 
Bullying can occur when one individual or a group of individuals exhibits bullying behavior toward one or more individuals. Bullying is defined by the University as repeated mistreatment of an individual(s) by verbal abuse, threatening, intimidating, humiliating conduct or sabotage that creates or promotes an adverse and counterproductive environment, so as to interfere with or undermine legitimate University learning, teaching, and/or operations. Bullying is not about occasional differences of opinion, conflicts and problems in workplace relationships as these may be part of working life. Bullying can adversely affect dignity, health, and productivity and may be grounds for corrective disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. The University Counseling, Assistance, and Referral Services (CARS) Department and the University Ombuds/Dispute Resolution Services for Faculty and Staff can provide guidance for determining whether behavior meets the definition of bullying. Examples of behaviors that meet the definition of bullying above include, but are not limited to:

4.1. Physical Bullying 
Physical bullying is pushing, shoving, kicking, poking, and/or tripping; assault or threat of physical assault; damage to a person's work area or property; damage to or destruction of a person's work product.

4.2. Verbal Bullying 
Verbal bullying is repeated slandering, ridiculing, or maligning of a person or persons, addressing abusive and offensive remarks to a person or persons in a sustained or repeated manner; or shouting at others in public and/or in private where such conduct is so severe or pervasive as to cause or create a hostile or offensive educational or working environment or unreasonably interfere with the person's work or school performance or participation. 

4.3. Nonverbal Bullying 
Nonverbal bullying can consist of directing threatening gestures toward a person or persons or invading personal space after being asked to move or step away. 

4.4. Anonymous Bullying 
Anonymous bullying can consist of withholding or disguising identity while treating a person in a malicious manner, sending insulting or threatening anonymous messages, placing objectionable objects among a person's belongings, leaving degrading written or pictorial material about a person where others can see. 

4.5. Threatening Behavior Toward a Person's Job or Well-Being 

Making threats, either explicit or implicit to the security of a person's job, position, or personal well-being can be bullying. It is not bullying behavior for a supervisor to note an employee's poor job performance and potential consequences within the framework of University policies and procedures, or for a professor or academic program director to advise a student of unsatisfactory academic work and the potential for course failure or dismissal from the program if uncorrected. 

5. Reporting Destructive Actions 

The destructive actions described in Section 4. herein should be reported in accordance with the applicable policies and procedures listed herein; however, extreme incidents may be reported directly to UNM Police in accordance with UAP 2210 "Campus Violence." Bullying behavior should be reported as follows:

5.1 Students 

An individual who believes a student has engaged in bullying behavior should report the behavior to the Dean of Students Office. Students in the School of Medicine who believe that a faculty member has engaged in bullying behavior towards them should follow the procedures in the UNM School of Medicine "Teacher Conduct and Learner Complaints." All other students who believe that a staff or faculty member has engaged in bullying behavior towards them may follow the procedures listed in Sections 5.2. and 5.3. below. Students may also report bullying behavior by:

  • contacting the Dean of Students Office,
  • calling the UNM Hotline 1-888-899-6092 (call may be anonymous, but doing so may limit the University's ability to conduct a full investigation), or
  • contacting the University Internal Audit Department.

If the bullying of students is based on race, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sex, sexual preference, gender identity, ancestry, medical condition, or spousal affiliation, it should be reported to the University Office of Equal Opportunity. 

5.2 Staff

An individual who believes a staff member has engaged in bullying behavior may report the behavior using any of the options listed in UAP 2000, Section 4 of "Whistleblower Protection and Reporting Suspected Misconduct and Retaliation."  The individual should select the reporting method he or she is most comfortable with and is most appropriate to the situation. Although bullying behavior may not meet the definition of misconduct in Policy 2200, suspected bullying behavior will be reported and investigated in the same manner as misconduct. 

5.3. Faculty

An individual who believes a faculty member has engaged in bullying behavior should follow the procedures listed in the Procedures Section below. These procedures were approved by the Faculty Senate and all subsequent changes must be approved in accordance with processes defined by the Faculty Senate.

6. Monitoring 

An annual survey will be undertaken by the Faculty Senate Policy Committee in collaboration with the Staff Council and the Division of Human Resources to measure the effectiveness of the Respectful Campus Policy. The survey should provide ongoing monitoring of faculty and staff attitudes concerning the campus climate and culture. The survey results will be distributed to the Faculty Senate, Staff Council, President of the University, and executive vice presidents.


All UNM academic faculty and administrators, including the Health Sciences Center and Branch Campuses.

Revisions to the remaining sections of this document may be amended with the approval of the Faculty Senate Policy and Operations Committee in consultation with the responsible Faculty Senate Committee listed in Policy Heading.


Bullying. Refer to Section 4. Above for detailed definition.

Who should read this policy

  • Board of Regents
  • Faculty
  • Academic staff
  • Academic deans and other executives, department chairs, directors, and managers

Related Documents

University Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual: 
Policy 2200 “Whistleblower Protection and Reporting Suspected Misconduct and Retaliation”
Policy 2240 “Respectful Campus”

Faculty Handbook:
Policy C07 "Faculty Disciplinary Policy"
Policy C70 “Confidentiality of Faculty Records”


Direct any questions about this Policy to the Office of the Provost or the Office of the HSC Chancellor.


Below are the procedures for reporting and investigating complaints of faculty bullying

1. Initial Complaint

An initial written complaint pursuant to this Policy should be brought to the attention of the person who has direct supervisory responsibility over the individual(s) whose actions are in question (e.g., chairperson, supervisor, director, dean, Provost, Chancellor for Health Sciences).  An initial complaint may also be made by using the procedures specified in UAP 2200“Whistle Blower Protection and Reporting Suspected Misconduct and Retaliation,” namely:

  • Calling the UNM Hotline 1-888-899-6092.  The call may be anonymous, but doing so may limit an employee's protection from retaliation and the University's ability to conduct a full investigation.
  • Reporting the conduct – orally or in writing – to the Internal Audit Department.

A complainant should report suspected misconduct as soon as reasonably possible, preferably within 60 days from the time the complainant becomes aware of the suspected misconduct.  The complaint should only include those events that occurred no earlier than one year before the date of the complaint.  The complaint should include as much of the following as possible:

  • clear specific allegations against the named person or persons;
  • where possible, dates, times, locations, and witnesses to incidents;
  • factual description of events with direct quotes where possible;
  • indication of how each incident made the complainant feel;
  • documentary evidence; and
  • description of any action the complainant or others have already taken.

Regardless of the mechanism chosen for the initial complaint, a written complaint must be prepared and signed by the complainant or – if the complainant chooses to remain anonymous – by the preparer.  All written complaints must be brought to the attention of the respondent’s direct supervisor.  A copy of the written complaint must be provided to the respondent, from whom a written response will be solicited within a specified time-frame.  The written response from the respondent will be provided to the complainant.

2. Investigation

The responsible supervisor is charged with initiating the investigation within 10 UNM business days of receiving the written complaint.  It is of paramount importance that the investigation should be conducted by an unbiased investigator.  Prior to initiating the investigation, the responsible supervisor must confer with the Office of University Counsel (OUC) for guidance in interpreting this Policy and in formulating the specific steps to be followed in conducting an unbiased investigation and in preparing the final investigatory report.  The OUC will inform the supervisor of the responsible supervisor that it has counseled the responsible supervisor on the specific matter.  Following the advice of OUC, the supervisor who receives the complaint may appoint an independent investigator with no connection to either the complainant or the respondent; the investigator may in turn decide to appoint a three to five person ad hoc investigatory committee of independent, unbiased individuals whose UNM status is similar to that of the complainant and that of the respondent. 

As soon as it has been determined who will conduct the investigation and how the investigation will be conducted, the investigator will notify the complainant, the respondent, and the supervisor of the respondent, that an investigation has been initiated.  If either the complainant or the respondent wishes to request that a different investigator be appointed, a written request, including a detailed justification, must be provided to the supervisor of the respondent within five  UNM business days.  The supervisor will take the request into consideration and will either confirm the appointment of the original investigator or will appoint a different investigator.  The parties will be notified of the supervisor’s decision no later than five UNM business days after receipt of the request.  If the investigator decides to appoint an ad hoc committee to assist with the investigation, the respondent and the complainant will be notified in writing and given 10 UNM business days to submit a written objection to the membership of the ad hoc committee. The investigator will take the objections into consideration before finalizing the appointments.  The membership of the investigatory committee must be finalized no later than 20 UNM business days after the respondent and complainant have been provided with the initial notification referenced above.

The investigation should normally include interviews with all parties to the complaint, as well as any others who the complainant or respondent believes will be able to provide material information relevant to the complaint, recognizing that an investigation will often exclude redundant or immaterial information or information that is not readily available. The investigation should normally be completed no later than 30 UNM business days after the initial complaint has been brought to the supervisor of the respondent, or after the membership of the ad hoc committee has been finalized, whichever is later.  If the investigation cannot be completed within this time frame, a written notification of the delay, and the reasons for delay, should be provided to the complainant, the respondent, and the supervisor of the respondent. When the investigation has been completed, a confidential report of the investigation will be sent for appropriate action to the supervisor of the respondent, with a written copy provided to the respondent and the complainant, unless the complainant is anonymous.  The confidential report will include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • Identity of investigator and others involved in conducting the investigation
  • Allegations
  • Investigative process, including the number of witnesses interviewed, but excluding the identities of the witnesses
  • Summary of facts
  • Final determination of whether this Policy was violated

The investigator may also choose to include recommendations in the report.  Information or recommendations pertaining todisciplinary action will not be included in any documents provided to the complainant.

The investigator will make reasonable efforts to maintain confidentiality.  The identities of the respondent and the complainant should be treated with sensitivity.  It is recommended, but not required, that the investigator ask everyone involved in the investigation, including witnesses, to sign confidentiality agreements. 

The investigator is responsible for thoroughly documenting the investigation and creating an investigatory file.  Except as noted in Section 7 below, this file will be maintained in the respondent’s personnel file in the respondent’s college or school.  The file is confidential and shall be secured in accordance with Policy C70 “Confidentiality of Faculty Records.”  The file should include the following:

  • Initial complaint
  • Evidence collected from all sources, including interviews
  • If applicable, documentation associated with the selection of ad hoc committee members, including any objections made by the respondent
  • If applicable, signed confidentiality agreements
  • If applicable, ad hoc committee meeting minutes
  • Copy of investigation report

3.  Alternative Procedures

The procedures set forth in this policy document are not exclusive. Although complainants are encouraged to utilize the procedures set forth above, the complaint may also be taken to the Ombuds Dispute Resolution Services for Faculty and Staff, or to the Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (AF&T), if the complainant is a faculty member and the complaint involves allegations of violations that are within the jurisdiction of the AF&T Committee. If the Ombuds Dispute Resolution office or the AF&T Committee is presented with the complaint, and if they decide that it is within their jurisdiction, they will follow the procedures stated in the Faculty Handbook Policies (Policy C345 and Section B, respectively). If AF&T determines that it has jurisdiction and accepts the complaint, its proceedings would supplant the procedures set forth under this Policy.  

4.  Appeals of Investigatory Findings

If the responsible supervisor does not resolve the issue to the satisfaction of the parties to the complaint or within the required time frame, the parties will have 10 UNM business days from the date on which they received written notification of the results of the investigation to appeal the decision to the next higher level person in the supervisory chain, who will review the record and determine whether the investigation was reasonably conducted and the findings supported by the evidence. The reviewing official will usually obtain the advice of OUC on how to conduct the review.  The reviewing official may uphold, reverse, or modify the findings or may remand the matter for further investigation.  A written copy of the reviewing official’s decision, concerning whether a violation of this policy occurred, will be provided to the supervisor of the respondent and the initial investigator; a summary statement will be provided to the respondent and the complainant.  If the reviewing official’s determination is not satisfactory to the complainant or the respondent, a final appeal can be made to the Provost or Chancellor for Health Sciences, who in his or her discretion may review the record.  Absent discretionary review by the Provost or Chancellor for Health Sciences, the decision of the reviewing official, concerning whether a violation of this policy occurred, shall be final.  If the Provost or Chancellor for Health Sciences reviews the matter, his or her decision shall be final.

5. Actions Following Investigation

If the final determination is that the respondent has violated this Policy, UNM shall take appropriate action, which may include disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal from the University in accordance with Policy C07 “Faculty Disciplinary Policy.”  

Whether or not the respondent is found to have violated this Policy, reasonable efforts will be undertaken to ensure that complainants who make allegations of bullying in good faith and others who cooperate in good faith with inquiries and investigations of such allegations are not retaliated against for initiating or participating in the investigation.

6. False Information

An employee who knowingly gives false information or knowingly makes a false report of alleged violation of this Policy or who knowingly provides false answers or information in response to an ongoing investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, by the University.

7. False or Inaccurate Accusations

It is important to protect individuals from false, unsubstantiated, or inaccurate accusations. Therefore, when an allegation of violation of this Policy is not substantiated, the file containing all documents relating to the report, review, or investigation will be sealed and delivered to University Counsel's office. The file will be stored for six years after the date the file is sealed, after which time it may be destroyed. 


February 4, 2014 – Amended procedures approved by Faculty Senate Operations Committee
January 29, 2014– Amended procedures approved by Faculty Senate Policy Committee 
June 16, 2011—Approved by UNM President 
March 22, 2011—Approved by Faculty Senate 

Office of the University Secretary
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Scholes Hall, 103
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-4664

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