Rules & Policies Section Seven

Policy 7-1. Duke University Non-Discrimination Policy

Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and work community that is free from prohibited discrimination and harassment. The university prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, genetic information, or age in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid, employment, or any other university program or activity. The university also makes good faith efforts to recruit, employ and promote qualified minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans. It admits qualified students to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students.

The university also does not tolerate harassment of any kind. Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are forms of sex discrimination and prohibited by the university. Duke University has designated Dr. Benjamin D. Reese, Vice-President of the Office for Institutional Equity, as the individual responsible for the coordination and administration of its nondiscrimination and harassment policies. The Office for Institutional Equity is located in Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Bay 8, Durham, North Carolina 27708. Dr. Reese's office telephone number is (919) 684-8222 and his email address is

Questions or comments about harassment or discrimination can be directed to the Office for Institutional Equity, (919) 684-8222. Additional information, including the complete text of the harassment policy and appropriate complaint procedures, may be found by contacting the Office for Institutional Equity or visiting its website at:

For further information on notice of nondiscrimination, you can contact the appropriate federal office by visiting the website: for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1 (800) 421-3481.

Policy 7-2. Harassment

I. Duke University Policy
The Duke University Harassment Policy applies to faculty, staff, and students at Duke Law School. The full text of that policy can be found on the website of the Office of Institutional Equity, available at:

II. Additional Policies and Procedures for Harassment or Sexual Misconduct Where Respondent is a Law Student

A. Non-Supersession
Nothing in this policy supersedes or overrules policies, complaint procedures, services, or proscriptions set forth in the Duke University Harassment Policy.

B.   Scope
These additional policies and procedures, set forth in Parts C through H, below, apply in the specific case of harassment or sexual misconduct, which involves a law student as respondent, and which occurs: (1) on Law School premises, (2) during a Law School-sponsored or Law School-related activity, or (3) off Law School premises in a non-school related activity, and under circumstances in which the conduct is likely to create a hostile environment on Law School premises.

C.  Definitions
Harassment Defined. Harassment may take two forms:

The first form of harassment is verbal or physical conduct-which may or may not be sexual in nature-that, because of its severity and/or persistence, interferes significantly with an individual's work or education, or adversely affects an individual's living conditions.

The second form of harassment occurs if a person uses a position of authority to engage in unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual's employment or education; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for decisions affecting an individual's education or employment.

The conduct alleged to constitute harassment under this policy shall be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the complainant and in consideration of the context of the behavior. Harassment must be distinguished from behavior that, even though unpleasant or disconcerting, is appropriate to the carrying out of certain instructional, advisory, or supervisory responsibilities.

Sexual Misconduct Defined. Sexual misconduct is a specific form of sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct is defined as any physical act of a sexual nature perpetrated against an individual without consent or when an individual is unable to freely give consent. Acts of a sexual nature include, but are not limited to, touching or attempted touching of an unwilling person's breasts, buttocks, inner thighs, groin, or genitalia, either directly or indirectly; and/or rape, forcible sodomy, or sexual penetration (however slight) of another person's oral, anal or genital opening with any object. Sexual misconduct also includes sexual exploitation, defined as taking non-consensual, unjust sexual advantage of another for one's benefit or the benefit of another party. These acts may, but will not necessarily, be accompanied by the use of coercion, intimidation, or through advantage gained by the use of alcohol or other drugs.

Complainant refers to the person making an allegation or complaint of harassment or sexual misconduct.

Respondent refers to the person against whom the allegation or complaint of harassment or sexual misconduct is made.

An allegation is a statement by a complainant that he or she believes an act of harassment or sexual misconduct has occurred.

A complaint is a formal notification, either orally or in writing, of the belief that harassment or sexual misconduct has occurred.

D.  Statute of Limitations
An allegation or complaint of harassment should be submitted to the appropriate individual or office as soon after the offending conduct as possible, but in no event more than one year after the most recent conduct alleged to constitute harassment. While the Office of Student Affairs may grant a reasonable extension of any other deadline established in the following procedures, the one-year limit in which complainants may submit an allegation or complaint shall not be extended. This statute of limitations is intended to encourage complainants to come forward as soon as possible after the offending conduct and to protect respondents against complaints that are too old to be investigated effectively. If the nature of the allegation or complaint is particularly egregious, as determined by the Office of Student Affairs, the Office of Student Affairs has the authority to act as complainant beyond the one-year statute of limitations, provided that this office initiates the complaint within a year of learning about the alleged incident(s) and the evidence is available to support an effective investigation.

E.  Confidentiality
The Law School recognizes that confidentiality is important. Breaches of confidentiality compromise the ability of the Law School to investigate and resolve claims of harassment. The Law School will attempt to protect the confidentiality of harassment proceedings to the extent reasonably possible. All participants in the process (including the complainant and respondent, witnesses, advisors, mediators, members of hearing panels) are expected to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings and circumstances giving rise to the dispute. Until resolution has been achieved, participants are expected to communicate the matter only with those persons who have a genuine need to know.

Although the Law School is committed to respecting the confidentiality and privacy of all parties involved in the process, it cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Examples of situations in which confidentiality cannot be maintained include:

  • when the Law School is required by law to disclose information (such as in response to legal process)
  • when disclosure of information is determined by the Office of Student Affairs to be necessary for conducting an effective investigation of the claim
  • when confidentiality concerns are outweighed by the Law School's interest in protecting the safety or rights of others.

F.  Retaliation
Against the Complainant. It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against a complainant for making a claim of harassment or sexual misconduct.
Against the Respondent. It is a violation of this policy to take any action against a respondent before any finding of misconduct or harassment, with the exception of any interim measures determined appropriate under Section H (3), below.
Against a Witness or Participant in the Investigation. It is also a violation of this policy to retaliate against individuals providing information related to a complaint.
Claim of Retaliation. A claim of retaliation by a complainant, respondent or witness may be pursued using the steps followed for an allegation or complaint of harassment or sexual misconduct.

G.   False or Malicious Claims
Knowingly filing a false or malicious complaint of harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation is a violation of this policy. Such conduct may be pursued using the steps followed for a complaint of harassment or sexual misconduct.

H.  Grievance Procedures

  1. Complaint Procedures
    Subject to Section D, above, complaints under this policy should be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs, the Dean's Office, or the Duke University Office of Institutional Equity. Complainants should submit a written statement regarding the alleged incident. Complainants may meet with members of the Office of Student Affairs, Office of Institutional Equity, designated Harassment Prevention Advisors, or the Dean's Office before submitting a written statement. Filing a complaint under this policy has no impact on the complainant's right to file a criminal complaint with local law enforcement.
  2. Composition of Disciplinary Board
    The Disciplinary Board shall hear complaints under this process. The Board shall be comprised of three members of the governing faculty, who shall have been appointed by the Dean, and two student representatives, who shall have been elected to one-year terms by the student body and shall not be first-year students. The Chair of the Board shall be appointed by the Dean and shall be a voting member of the Board. These Board members will receive specific training on issues of harassment, sexual misconduct, and confidentiality, in compliance with Title IX and Department of Education requirements.
  3. Investigation
    Investigation of a complaint will be performed by a member of the administration or a designee thereof who has received adequate training on harassment, sexual misconduct, and confidentiality. The investigator may meet with the complainant to hear or clarify his/her account of the incident and review the disciplinary process.

    The investigator will inform and seek consent from the complainant before beginning a formal investigation. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the investigator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation. If a complainant insists that his or her name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the respondent, the investigator will inform the complainant that the school's ability to respond may be limited. If the complainant continues to ask that his or her name or other identifiable information not be revealed, the investigator should evaluate that request in the context of the school's responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. If the investigator cannot ensure confidentiality, he/she will so inform the complainant.

    If a formal investigation is launched, the investigator will hold an initial meeting with the respondent. As part of this meeting, the investigator will provide the respondent an opportunity to also submit a written statement, within five business days, in response to the allegations. After written statements are received, the investigator may ask further clarifying questions of the complainant, respondent, or witnesses. At the outset of the investigation, the investigator will inform the complainant of his or her options to avoid contact with the respondent. During the investigation and until resolution of the matter, interim measures may be issued as deemed appropriate by the investigator, including but not limited to prohibiting the respondent from having any contact with the complainant pending resolution of the complaint, exclusion from areas of campus, or changes in class schedules.

    The investigator, in consultation with the Office of Institutional Equity, shall make a determination whether sufficient information exists to believe that a policy violation may have occurred. If so, a hearing will be held.
  4. Hearing Procedures
    Upon determination that a hearing should be held, the Disciplinary Board's Chair shall present the respondent with the charge as soon as possible. The charge shall include a concise statement of the facts and nature of the allegations. This statement shall also state that the respondent has five business days in which to prepare an answer to the allegations, that he or she may choose to be represented by another person or persons in any proceedings under these rules, that the charges shall be heard by the Disciplinary Board, and that the Board may grant a reasonable extension of time in which to answer the allegations, for good cause shown. Failure to answer within the time provided shall be an admission of allegations. The investigator shall be responsible for preparing the evidence supporting the charge of misconduct and for presenting this evidence at the hearing on the charge. Every effort will be made to convene a hearing before the Disciplinary Board within four weeks of the formal complaint.

    Romantic or sexual history of either the respondent or the complainant with others will not be allowed in a hearing, except testimony offered by the respondent or complainant about his/her own sexual history. If such information is offered, the other party has the right to respond to that testimony. Testimony and questions regarding any romantic or sexual history of the respondent and complainant with each other are permitted.

    Participants are reminded that any information shared during a hearing is confidential. Subject to the above restrictions on romantic and sexual history, the Disciplinary Board will decide what testimony, witnesses, or other information is relevant; it may admit any evidence at the hearing that it considers helpful and relevant to its deliberations, and exclude information or a witness that is deemed duplicative or immaterial. However, the Board must ensure that all parties have equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence, and that parties have similar and timely access to any information that will be used at the hearing. The complainant or respondent should inform the investigator prior to the hearing of the names of any witnesses he/she wishes to testify and to what they will attest. Witnesses should avoid hearsay. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The respondent is entitled to a presumption of innocence.

    Upon request by either party, the Board may choose to permit submission of post-hearing briefs if it believes such briefs will substantially aid in its deliberations. Both parties may then submit briefs within five business days of the end of the hearing.

    The hearing shall be recorded, and the recording preserved until all proceedings concerning the charge have been completed, or for so long as the Dean believes proper, whichever is longer. The standard of proof to be used by the Disciplinary Board is a preponderance of the evidence. Based on the record, the Board shall rule on the charge with a majority vote being sufficient to decide. All Disciplinary Board deliberations respecting the charge shall be confidential, and the Board may determine its own internal procedures for reaching a disposition. The Board shall make a disposition of the charge no later than two weeks after the conclusion of the hearing or after the submission of post-hearing briefs, whichever is later.

    The disposition of the charge shall include a determination as to whether a violation of these rules has been found, a statement of reasons and a recitation of the relevant facts, and a sanction for such violation.
  5. Notification of Outcomes, Sanctions and Remedies
    Both the respondent and complainant will receive written notification of the outcome of the hearing. Due to the intersection of Title IX and FERPA requirements (which generally prohibits nonconsensual disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student's "education record"), the complainant will be notified of the outcome of the hearing, i.e. whether harassment was found to have occurred, and of any imposed sanctions for harassment that relate directly to the harassed student as permitted by federal law[1]. A written hearing report outlining the decision and rationale of the Disciplinary Board will be later delivered to the respondent. Sanctions for a finding of harassment include, but are not limited to, expulsion, suspension, disciplinary probation, recommended counseling, and/or other educational sanctions deemed appropriate by the Disciplinary Board.

    If the Board determines that sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment has occurred, the Law School will take immediate action to eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
  6. Resources
    Complainants have the right to (and are strongly encouraged to seek) counseling and support available through resources such as Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention (GVPI) in the Women's Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC). Complainants are encouraged to work with the Office of Student Affairs, the Dean's Office, or the Office of Institutional Equity to identify appropriate interim measures, including but not limited to, changes to academic and living situations. Complainants and respondents also have access to disciplinary advisors, available through the Office of Student Affairs, to guide them through the disciplinary process.

    The Law School will coordinate its handling and reporting of allegations and complaints under this policy with the Office of Institutional Equity, the University's Title IX coordinator.

Revised and Approved by the Governing Faculty, May 2011

[1] Sanctions that directly relate to the harassed student may include, but are not limited to, an order that the harasser stay away from the harassed student, an order that the harasser is prohibited from attending school for a period of time, or an order that the harasser be transferred into another class. (Note that re-disclosure by the complainant of a finding of no harassment to anyone without the prior consent of the respondent is a violation of FERPA.)

Back to top

Policy 7-3. Use of Facilities that Discriminate on the Basis of Race, Sex, National Origin, or Religion

Under Review 2011

The Faculty has adopted the following policy with respect to use by the Law School or affiliated organizations of facilities that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion:

  1. No alumni sponsored event or any other Law School sponsored event may be held at any facility at which any member of the Duke community might be excluded for reasons of race, sex, national origin, or religion.

  2. No event may be held by any alumni organization affiliated with Duke Law School at any facility which, although it is prepared to admit all members of the Duke community to a particular function, nevertheless discriminates in membership policies on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or religion. In this regard, local alumni groups will be urged to amend their charters to reflect this policy.

  3. No one traveling on Duke University business shall knowingly use, for the purpose of facilitating the conducting of that business, any place of public accommodation which discriminates on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or religion.

Back to top Revised January 1988

Policy 7-4. Severe Weather

The Law School follows the University's severe weather policy. You can find the policy at
During a severe weather event, you may learn the status of the Severe Weather Policy at the University by calling 684-INFO (4636).
The severe weather work policy of the university will be implemented as follows at the School of Law.


When the severe weather work policy is invoked by the University, building perimeter doors at the Law School will be locked and remain locked but accessible via card readers throughout the severe weather period.


In general, staff at the Law School are considered to be in the "delayed service" category. “Delayed service” staff should not report to work or remain at work when a severe weather event has been declared.

While Law School staff are generally considered “delayed service” staff, departmental managers may request staff to function as "essential service" based on the weather conditions and the needs of the department or organization during a specific event .

“Delayed service” category employees may offset missed time during a severe weather period by one or more of the following means:

  1. Use of accrued vacation or discretionary days.
  2. Use of accrued sick time if the employee reported in sick on the last scheduled work day before the actual severe weather day .    
  3. Make up lost time within 3 months. In making up lost time, biweekly employees will receive overtime pay, if applicable. A department may avoid an overtime situation by scheduling the staff member to “make up the time” during a week or pay period when he/she does not work a full 40 hours/week or 80 hours/pay period It should be understood that make-up work for all Law School employees may not be possible.
  4. Take the day without pay, if a biweekly employee.
  5. Work at home, with supervisor approval.

The University may call a severe weather work day WITH classes cancelled or WITHOUT classes cancelled. Law School employees are categorized as “delayed service” employees in both instances . “Delayed service” employees should not report to work while the severe weather condition exists unless requested by a departmental manager to function as “essential service” based on weather conditions and departmental needs.

If severe weather conditions develop after a normal work day has started and the University implements the severe weather policy, Law School employees will be notified by their supervisors. If the University implements the severe weather policy during a normal work day, employees in the “delayed service” category should not remain at work unless requested by a departmental manager to function as “essential service” based on weather conditions and departmental needs.


The Law School recognizes that some employees live in more remote areas than others, and that road conditions across the area may vary widely in periods of severe weather. Further, the Law School recognizes that some employees will be left without child care due to school closings in response to severe weather. If Law School employees live in areas experiencing severe weather conditions and the University has not implemented the severe weather policy, they are eligible with supervisory approval to use discretionary days (in full days only) or accrued vacation time to cover an absence from work. This applies both to employees who have arrived at work as scheduled and must leave due to severe weather and employees who cannot reach the Law School due to severe weather.


Severe Weather Day With Classes Rescheduled : When the University declares a severe weather day with classes to be rescheduled, it applies University-wide and includes the Law School. The University will announce its decision through local TV and radio stations.

Other sources will be:

Duke Information Line-684-INFO (684-4636)
Duke Cable TV
Duke Daily News Web Site

In addition, the Law School Registrar's Office will have a message on voice mail (613-7027) confirming that classes at the Law School are to be rescheduled. The Dean's Office will also send all students an e-mail message stating: "The University has declared a severe weather day and classes will be rescheduled. This includes Law School classes." Every attempt will be made to reschedule Law School classes in their entirety on a Saturday (i.e., the same class schedule held on a Saturday). If this is not possible, the classes will be rescheduled individually.

Severe Weather Day With Classes Scheduled : When the University declares a severe weather day but classes are scheduled, individual professors will notify the Law School's Registrar Office voice mail (613-7027) if they are unable to reach the Law School to hold class. The Law School's Computing Services Department will post the following message on the Law School's web site and e-mail: The University has declared a severe weather day but classes are in session. Law classes will be held if professors can reach the school. To learn whether or not your class will be held, call the Registrar's Office at 613-7027. If individual professors have to reschedule their classes because of severe weather, the classes will be made up by the professors. A designated backup will be appointed in case the Law School's Registrar cannot perform these functions in a severe weather situation.

Back to top Revised December 2005

Policy 7-5. Faculty-Student Dating

The Law School is dedicated to preparing students through teaching and research for entry into the legal profession and for lives of significant public and private responsibilities. Its success depends in large measure on trust in the integrity of relationships among faculty and students. In an effort to foster that trust, the faculty have developed these guidelines on dating relations between faculty and students:

  1. It is the sense of the faculty that faculty/student dating relationships create the potential for abuses of authority and for both actual and apparent conflicts of interest. No faculty member should participate in such a relationship without carefully considering the potential consequences to the student involved, the faculty member himself or herself, and the institution.

  2. No faculty member should engage in any dating relationship with any student currently enrolled in that faculty member's course.

  3. No faculty member should employ as a research or teaching assistant any student with whom that faculty member has or has had a dating relationship.

  4. No faculty member should participate in any decision pertaining to honors, degrees or discipline concerning any student with whom that faculty member has or has had a dating relationship.

  5. Before entering into any dating relationship with a faculty member, a student should be aware that such a relationship will limit that faculty member's ability to direct work or promote that student's career, and may require that the relationship be revealed in any letter of recommendation written by such faculty member.

Back to top Revised August 1997

Policy 7-6. Network Use Policies

Updated by the Library & Technology Committee, April 24, 2013

  1. Network Passwords
    Your individual password provides the first and strongest line of defense against unauthorized access to your own files and shared files to which you have access. Changing individual passwords regularly, constructing passwords that are not easily broken, and not reusing previous passwords are all key elements in promoting network security. The following policies regarding password protection apply to all law school staff members.
    1. Changing Passwords Regularly. Individual passwords for all law school employees other than exempted faculty members should be changed at half-year intervals.

    2. Password Length and Construction. Individual passwords must be at least 8 characters in length and should contain a mixture of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols (this is required for NetID passwords).

    3. No Reuse of Passwords. Passwords should not be reused.

    4. No Sharing of Passwords. Accounts and passwords must not be shared. If work relationships require regular access to another user's directory, e.g., if a secretary needs to work on a faculty member's files, the network supervisor can set up access to the directory through the secretary's own account, without revealing the faculty member's password.

    Unless their administrative or other responsibilities require them to have access to shared files, faculty members are not required, but are strongly encouraged, to adhere to these policies.
  1. Access to Files

    Duke University policy does not allow supervisors to access employee email accounts without their express permission, except under extraordinary circumstances and only in relation to a particular need. The law school uses a parallel policy for access to employees’ personal directories on network storage and to their profiles on their desktop computers. Supervisors are encouraged to arrange for shared email boxes and shared network storage for their departments to assure access to important data after an employee’s departure. Academic Technologies will comply with all requirements of federal or state law, including accessing files or records when required by legal process.

    It is law school policy that no law school employee, including Academic Technologies staff members, may access the files or e-mail of law school employees or students without the prior consent of the individual involved. In the limited circumstances described below, Academic Technologies staff and other staff may have access to files created or used by individuals, including some deleted files which may be recoverable. No student employees may access the files or e-mail of any other individual without that individual's prior consent.

    1. Academic Technologies staff may inventory contents of directories on the network and desktop computers to verify that all software installed on law school computers is properly licensed, or to check for computer viruses.
    2. During the course of a student misconduct investigation conducted pursuant to Rules 5-1 through 5-6, the Student Advocate Panel or the Judicial Board may direct the Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies to seek copies of files available in or recovered from the personal network directory of a student who is the subject of a misconduct investigation, or e-mail messages contained in the Duke e-mail system mailbox of that student. This action shall not be taken by the Student Advocate Panel or the Judicial Board unless and until a written request for permission to access the student's account, network files, or e-mail mailbox has been presented to the student and been denied. The directive to the Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies shall be in writing, attested by the Associate or Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, or by electronic communication sent to the Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies by the Office of Student Affairs acting at the request of the Student Advocate Panel or Judicial Board. The directive shall specify the nature of the files or messages requested, and shall be limited in scope to include only material necessary to the investigation of the pending misconduct investigation. A contemporaneous copy of the request shall be furnished to the student. The Assistant Dean for Academic Technologies shall work with campus security and technology groups to acquire the requested information as soon as reasonably practicable, and may provide a technical interpretation of attributes of the files or messages to the requesting party.
  1. Disposition of Computers

    Academic Technologies will delete all data from the hard drives of computers that it forwards to university surplus or otherwise removes from use in the law school.

The University's Acceptable Use Policy is linked here for reference

Academic Technologies' Network Procedures and Recommendations are available here for review

Back to top

Policy 7-7. Use of Network Email

The Law School generally follows university guidelines about email. A University policy governs messages sent to large groups.

Back to top

Policy 7-8. Release of Student Information

Duke University Policy and Procedures Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

Duke University adheres to a policy of compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The policy (1) permits students to inspect their education records, (2) limits disclosure to others of personally-identifiable information from education records without students' prior written consent, and (3) provides students the opportunity to seek correction of their education records where appropriate. Please see the Duke Registrar site for details.

Back to top