APU Student Handbook
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Last Revision: January 30, 2024

Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Policy

American Public University System (the University) is committed to providing an environment that is free of all forms of unlawful harassment and discrimination. In keeping with this commitment, we maintain a strict policy prohibiting all forms of unlawful harassment and discrimination in interactions that take place in the University environment, whether physical or virtual. This Policy against Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation relates to instances of non-sexual harassment or discrimination only. Instances of sex discrimination, which may include but is not limited to sexual harassment, that denies or limits on the basis of sex an employee’s, student’s, or third party’s ability to participate in or benefit from APUS’s education programs and activities will be addressed in accordance with the University's Title IX Compliance Policy.

Harassment is unwelcome and disrespectful conduct and communication. Discrimination is any treatment - including harassment -on the basis of a protected characteristic. The University does not engage in and will not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, veteran status, handicap, disability, or any other characteristics protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

If you experience, observe, or become aware of behavior that you believe to be harassing or discriminatory in nature, or that is inappropriate or offensive, you are strongly encouraged to report the behavior immediately to the appropriate authority.

To report harassment or discrimination of a non-sexual nature, contact Jennifer McGuigan, APUS Student Conduct Officer and point of contact for formal complaints at [email protected]. You should provide a description of the issue (including factual details about the people involved, names of any witnesses, and dates of incidents of objectionable behavior) and any steps that have been taken to resolve the issue informally.  Reports of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at [email protected]. For more information on Title IX, please refer to the APUS Title IX Compliance Policy.

Persons reporting incidents of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation may be concerned about the confidentiality of information they are sharing. The right to confidentiality, both of the complainant and the accused, will be respected to the extent possible insofar as it does not interfere with the University's legal obligations or ability to investigate or to take corrective action when it is found that misconduct has occurred.

It is our policy to promptly and equitably investigate any report of harassment, discrimination or retaliation. Appropriate action will be taken against any individual who violates this policy, which may include disciplinary action up to and including expulsion (for students) and separation (for faculty and staff). In addition, any individual who engages in conduct prohibited by this policy may be personally liable in legal action brought against them.

You will be protected from retaliation for making a report or participating in an investigation under this policy. All complaints of retaliation should be reported in accordance with the procedure outlined above. Any person who retaliates against any individual filing a claim of harassment or discrimination will be considered to have violated this policy; retaliation will result in corrective action up to and including separation or expulsion.

Cyber-Harassment Policy

The University is committed to providing a safe, positive learning environment for students, faculty and administrators. The University believes that preventing cyberstalking and cyber-harassment is critical to creating and maintaining a safe and secure culture, which supports academic achievement. Cyber-harassment can create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, which may lead to more serious violence. Cyberstalking and cyber-harassment are prohibited at the University.

Cyberstalking is threatening behavior or unwanted advances directed at another using the Internet and other forms of online and computer communications.

Cyber harassment is the willful and repeated use of cell phones, computers, and other electronic communication devices to harass and threaten one or more students, faculty or staff members, which occurs in the school setting or with the use of technology with an effect of doing any of the following

  • Substantial interference with a student’s education;
  • Creation of a threatening environment; and
  • Substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the university.

Examples of cyber-harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Using the Internet, cell phone, email or any other form of electronic communication to intimidate someone;
  • Online personal verbal or written attacks;
  • Offensive harassing messages;
  • Publicly disclosing someone’s personal information;
  • Breaking into an account and sending damaging messages;
  • Creating a fictitious online account using legitimate personal information and then placing damaging or harassing information in the account.

Cyberstalking and cyber-harassment are prohibited, whether in the classroom, online, through the use of social networking sites, email or any other form of electronic communication. The use of the University email server to send harassing messages to individuals outside of the University is also prohibited.

Cyberstalking and cyber-harassment are criminal offenses. Cyberstalking and cyber-harassment based on protected characteristics may also implicate federal, state, and local non-discrimination laws. The University reserves the right to report an incident to the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and it will participate in any investigation by law enforcement of an alleged cyberstalking or cyber-harassment offense.

TITLE IX Compliance Policy

It is the University's policy to take prompt and appropriate steps when it is made aware of possible sex-based harassment or discrimination that would constitute a Title IX offense.  Inappropriate conduct that may constitute or otherwise be construed as a Title IX offense committed against any member of the University community is prohibited. All Title IX complaints shall be processed in accordance with the Title IX Compliance Policy.

The University's goal is to resolve Title IX complaints promptly and equitably and provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and employees, free from discrimination and harassment of a sexual nature. For more information see the University's Title IX Compliance Policy.

Notice of Nondiscrimination – Discrimination on the Basis of Sex

The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities, and it is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX") not to discriminate in such a manner, including with respect to admission and employment. Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the APUS Title IX Coordinator, or the Office for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education.

Contact information for the University's Title IX Coordinator follows:

For more information please see the University's Title IX Compliance Policy.