Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Mississippi State is committed to equal opportunity in employment, admissions, recruitment, financial aid, student services, student discipline, housing, athletics, and all other facets of the university.   The links below can help you learn more about MSU non-discrimination policies, as well as reporting potential violations.

General Information

What is the university’s policy on discrimination, harassment, and retaliation?

Mississippi State is committed to equal opportunity in all facets of the university. To that end, MSU policies prohibit unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.  These are called “protected characteristics."  Likewise, the university prohibits retaliation against any person who makes a good faith report of potential discrimination or harassment.

How are discrimination, harassment, and retaliation defined?

Discrimination is intentional differential or negative treatment of an individual on the basis of any protected characteristic, where such treatment would deny or limit a reasonable person’s ability to participate in or benefit from university programs, services, opportunities or activities. 

Harassment is conduct that is unwelcome, based on a protected characteristic, and directed at a specific individual or individuals.  Harassment can include but is not limited to verbal or non-verbal communication, written or graphic communication, electronic communication and/or physical contact. 

Harassment violates university policy when it is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it would deny or limit a reasonable person’s ability to participate in or benefit from university programs or activities.  Whether harassment is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to violate policy is a question university officials must answer after an investigation.  Thus, reporting of any unwelcome conduct based on a protected characteristic is encouraged.

Examples of prohibited harassment may include, but are not limited to (a) sexual harassment, such as repeated and unwanted sexual or romantic solicitations, displaying sexual images in the workplace, or conditioning favorable treatment in connection with a university program upon sexual favors; (b) physical harassment, such as touching, pinching, grabbing, or brushing against another person without their consent; and (c) severe, pervasive, or persistent insults, jokes or derisive comments about a person’s sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristic.

Retaliation is any adverse action that would deter a reasonable person from reporting, testifying, or otherwise cooperating with an investigation or proceeding.  Depending on the circumstances, retaliation might include formal employment action, adverse academic decisions, or other conduct in response to a person reporting discrimination or harassment.

Reporting a Violation

If you experience discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in connection with any university program, service, opportunity or activity, you should contact the Director of Title IX/EEO Programs in the Office of Compliance and Integrity.  If you experience workplace discrimination or harassment, you may contact either the Director or the Department of Human Resources Management.

Non-Discrimination Statements

The university and its departments and divisions must include appropriate non-discrimination statements on all publications.

Very Short StatementEO/AA

For small print ads, web ads, or fliers.  Should be used only where no longer statement is feasible.  For web-based ads that link to a larger page, the larger page normally should include the full statement below.

Short StatementMississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution.

For short brochures, mailers, e-newsletters, and advertisements that are not targeted toward recruiting potential students or employees.  For materials targeted at recruitment, the full statement is mandatory.

Full StatementMississippi State University is an equal opportunity institution.  Discrimination in university employment, programs, or activities based on race, color, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, or any other status protected by applicable law is prohibited.  Questions about equal opportunity programs or compliance should be directed to the Office of Compliance and Integrity, 56 Morgan Avenue, P.O. Box 6044, Mississippi State, MS, (662) 325-5839.

For most university publications, including magazines, multi-page brochures, and newsletters.  Mandatory for publications, bulletins, announcement, catalogs, application forms, or other materials targeted at recruiting potential students or employees.

Disability Accommodation StatementMississippi State University is an equal opportunity institutionFor disability accommodation, please contact [name of contact person] at [phone number and/or email address].

For use on materials that invite participation or attendance at a specific university event or activity.  Organizers of events should designate a person within their organization as a point of contact.

Policies