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UPPS 01.04.07 - Civility Policy and Procedures

Civility Policy and Procedures

UPPS No. 01.04.07
Issue No. 2
Effective Date: 8/26/2022
Next Review Date: 7/01/2024 (E2Y)
Sr. Reviewer: Vice President for Institutional Inclusive Excellence


Texas State University is committed to fostering a culture that demonstrates the principles of civility, diversity, equity, and inclusion.


    1. The purpose of this policy is to support a commitment to a collective understanding of civility for the Texas State University community, through current policies and procedures related to conduct and engagement.

    2. This policy introduces the use of Texas State’s core values as a framework for a protocol of engagement that reflects civil behavior.

    3. This policy provides resources and information to faculty, staff, and students, who have experienced or witnessed behaviors counter to Texas State’s core values, that could be perceived as uncivil.


    1. As a public institution, civility framed in free expression is encouraged and may include hate speech that may not be considered socially acceptable but legally protected. Texas State supports freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of dissent, as addressed in the Texas State University System (TSUS) Rules and Regulations, Chapter VII, paragraph 3.3, and is committed to freedom of inquiry and discussion as basic and essential to intellectual development provided such freedoms are exercised in a manner that does not unlawfully derogate the rights of others or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of Texas State (see UPPS No. 07.04.04, External Speakers Using University Facilities for more information).

    2. Texas State is committed to an inclusive education and work environment that provides equal opportunity and access to all qualified persons and to the extent not in conflict with federal or state law, prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, veterans’ status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression (see UPPS No. 04.04.46, Prohibition of Discrimination for more information).

    3. Texas State is committed to being a diverse, equitable, inclusive, safe, and healthy working, learning, and social environment where all individuals are treated with civility and respect inclusive of their own personal identities.

    4. In addition to supporting free speech and prohibiting discrimination, Texas State embraces civility as the willingness to offer and engage in cooperation, embrace diversity, practice inclusion, consider acceptance, demonstrate kindness and courtesy, and practice patience in a tone and manner that embraces all differences.

    5. Texas State embraces communication as a primary catalyst for establishing a climate conducive to an intellectual learning environment that provides for disagreement, mutual respect for differing points of view, and a climate of civility that allows for disagreement free of fear, reprisal, or revenge. To protect these rights, all members of the Texas State community should act toward each other with civility, mutual respect, integrity, and reason.

    6. This policy is not intended to replace policies that involve discrimination or sexual misconduct.


    1. Civility – the demonstration of respect and dignity for oneself and others and involves acting and communicating with regard to others (i.e., treating others as we desire to be treated). Civility is a “good faith effort” to respond in a positive manner with even the most critical feedback. Civil responses should be free of malintent and delivered with intentions to sow good will.

      Examples of civility may include but are not limited to:

      1. treating others with dignity, courtesy, respect, politeness, and consideration;

      2. willingness to offer and engage in cooperation, embrace diversity, practice inclusion, consider acceptance;

      3. demonstrating kindness, courtesy, and patience;

      4. speaking in a tone of voice that is appropriate for the circumstance;

      5. being respectful of other’s right to express their views, even if there is disagreement; and

      6. establishing a community interaction embracing rules of engagement in managing conflict with others in a productive manner.

    2. Incivility – a broad set of subtle or overt singular or continuous behaviors and communication that are intentional or unintentional, directed at an individual or group of individuals that results in creating an unwelcome environment, are oppressive in nature, and unprofessional. It may be a single event or may involve a continuing series of incidents and may involve the abuse of authority or position.

      NOTE: In some instances, cultural differences in communication style may present situations in which social role, gender, social class, religion, and cultural identity may all affect the perception of a given behavior. For example, a behavior that is considered perfectly acceptable and considered civil by some cultural communities may be considered uncivil, inappropriate, and rude by other communities. In these situations, it is imperative to establish a community agreement prior to engagement in order to communicate intent.

      Examples of incivility include but are not limited to:

      1. bullying;

      2. intimidation;

      3. gestures, actions, or comments that cause offense or humiliation;

      4. threatening comments or behavior;

      5. comments or conduct that a reasonable person would consider unwelcome, offensive, embarrassing, rude, hurtful, or demeaning;

      6. profanity or abusive, aggressive, or violent language directed at an individual or individuals;

      7. humiliating, degrading, demeaning, belittling, insulting, frightening, or intimidating another person; and

      8. telling inappropriate jokes.

    3. Respect – a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, or important; a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important or serious and should be treated in an appropriate way.

    4. Disrespect – low regard or esteem for someone or something.

    5. Bullying – an extreme example of incivility and disrespectful behavior and communication; a pattern of repeated behavior that a reasonable person would find hostile and offensive.

    6. Cyberbullying or Cyber Harassment – a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. Cyberbullying and cyber harassment are also known as online bullying.

      Note: Differences of opinion, interpersonal conflicts, and occasional problems in working relations are an inevitable part of work and educational life and do not necessarily constitute bullying.

      Examples of bullying may include but are not limited to:

      1. persistent or egregious use of abusive, insulting, or offensive language directed at an individual or individuals;

      2. spreading misinformation or malicious rumors about an individual or individuals;

      3. behavior or language that belittles or degrades, including criticism or feedback that is delivered with yelling, screaming, threats, or insults;

      4. making repeated inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance, lifestyle, family, or culture, inclusive of race and ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, ability, and sexual orientation;

      5. regularly teasing or making someone the brunt of unwelcome pranks or practical jokes;

      6. interfering with a person’s personal property or work equipment;

      7. circulating inappropriate or embarrassing photos or videos via email, texting, hard copy, or social media;

      8. maliciously publishing someone’s private or identifying information through social media, websites, or email; and

      9. intentionally or repeatedly referring to people using names or pronouns different than they specify despite correction.

    7. Harassment – a form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct:

      1. directed at an individual or group of individuals because of their race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, disability, veterans’ status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; and

      2. that is sufficiently severe or pervasive and interferes with an individual’s employment, education, academic environment, or participation in institutional programs or activities; and creates a working, learning, program, or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, offensive, or hostile (see UPPS No. 04.04.46, Prohibition of Discrimination for more information).

    8. Sexual Harassment – unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct:

      1. in the employment context, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment.

      2. in the education context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities at a postsecondary educational institution (see the TSUS Sexual Misconduct Policy for more information).

    9. Workplace Violence – any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site or through university-related electronic communication.


    1. Texas State’s stated Shared Values are used in this policy as a framework in support of proposed civility principles and are listed in the following sections.

    2. Shared Value: Teaching and learning based on research, student involvement, and the free exchange of ideas in a supportive environment.

      Civility Principle: Value an environment that facilitates collegial relationships, encourages mutual understanding among diverse individuals, and addresses difficult issues and differences in an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility.

    3. Shared Value: Research and creative activities that encompass the full range of academic disciplines – research with relevance, from the sciences to the arts, from the theoretical to the applied.

      Civility Principle: Encourage development of a community that works to embrace knowledge of diverse cultures, that values critical inquiry, debate, discovery, and innovation to better the world through teaching, research, and service.

    4. Shared Value: The cultivation of character, integrity, honesty, civility, compassion, fairness, respect, and ethical behavior in all members of our Texas State community.

      Civility Principle: Explore and consider culturally relevant views and ideas and engage in behavior that supports respect for members of the community.

    5. Shared Value: A diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community as essential conditions for building community.

      Civility Principle: Respect the diverse backgrounds of the Texas State community and welcome the opportunity for interpersonal and intellectual group interactions while practicing kindness in communication with one another.

    6. Shared Value: A commitment to service and leadership for the public good.

      Civility Principle: Engage in diverse leadership and service opportunities, and practice productive responses to disagreements including ways to explore resolutions.

    7. Shared Value: Responsible stewardship of our resources and environment.

      Civility Principle: Strengthen university recruitment and retention of highly qualified and diverse students, faculty, and staff and distribute resources in an equitable and fair manner.

    8. Shared Value: Continued reflection and evaluation to ensure that our strengths as a community always benefit those we serve.

      Civility Principle: Recognize and explore ways to seek understanding and accountability for reactions to various situations, activities, and events while practicing empathy and patience.

    9. These guiding principles are inclusive of Texas State’s commitment to academic freedom and personal expression. Texas State acknowledges the articulation of unpopular and unsettling ideas as an integral part of intellectual inquiry. These civility principles are presented in a good faith effort for all Texas State community members to engage with each other to promote the rights, safety, dignity, and value of every individual in a civil, respectful, and inclusive environment.


    1. All Texas State students, faculty, and staff deserve to work, grow, and learn in an environment where they are treated with dignity and respect and free from incivility, harassment, or bullying with specific consideration to impact and intent.

    2. Texas State is responsible for creating and providing guidance and communication regarding the cultural climate and expectations of engagement for all its community members.

    3. Texas State strives to cultivate a climate of mutual respect with consideration to an individual’s right to expression, including guaranteeing the right to free speech, as well as ethical conduct and values that represent institutional standards.

    4. Historically, the term civility has been used to represent a calm and controlled demeanor in which restraint, moderation, respect, and reason are exhibited. However, the use of the term civility within this policy adds to the above definition the full extent of First Amendment practices that embrace the intensity and richness of feelings that are attached to a cause and may be reflected in behavior that is dynamic in nature.


    1. It is a reasonable expectation for Texas State community members to be able to work, grow, and learn in a civil and respectful workplace, and engage in a learning environment that is free of bullying, promotes greater job satisfaction, engages in practices of fairness, encourages a positive attitude, strives to consistently improve morale, values teamwork, is interested in personal development, engages in problem solving, and values building relationships. Organizations characterized by civility and respect create a positive atmosphere marked by high morale and work satisfaction.

    2. Reports of and complaints of incivility should be addressed using programs and policies listed in Section 07.02.

    3. All managers, supervisors, faculty, and staff are encouraged to act in “good faith” and be active participants in contributing to the creation and enhancement of a community culture of respect, inclusion, civility, dignity, and understanding for the people with whom they work. All parties, at a minimum, are encouraged to be open about concerns and listen to each other’s point of view. Incidents of incivility and bullying should not be ignored but rather addressed by supervisors in a timely manner.

    4. The intent of this policy is not to impinge upon the academic freedom provisions specified in Texas State agreements, Texas State policies, or the TSUS Rules and Regulations. However, faculty, instructors, and others, who have academic freedom rights, have a responsibility to exercise these rights in a civil and respectful manner.

    5. Supervisors are expected to identify and address issues of reported workplace incivility and bullying in a timely and fair manner. Such intervention may involve coaching and counseling their employees and, if deemed necessary, the submission of a formal report to the appropriate university office listed below.


    1. All Texas State community members are encouraged to treat each other in a civil and respectful manner. Anyone who has experienced or witnessed incivility, bullying, discrimination, sexual misconduct, or behavior that appears to be criminal in nature, should report these incidents to the appropriate support program or consult the policies listed below. Each respective program and policy includes instructions for a reporting protocol.

    2. Support Programs

      1. Report It – This website directs readers to the various reporting tools and instructions available at the university:

        1. Clery Act Incident;

        2. University Police Department’s Complaint Form;

        3. Student Behavior Assessment Team;

        4. Code of Student Conduct;

        5. Honor Code;

        6. Here to Help (formerly Paws Alert);

        7. Conflict of Interest Reporting;

        8. Copyright Infringement;

        9. Crisis Information;

        10. Ethics Reporting;

        11. Faculty Ombudsperson;

        12. Staff Ombudsperson;

        13. Information Security; and

        14. Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.

    3. Policies

      1. All sexual misconduct reports must be submitted as specified in the TSUS Sexual Misconduct Policy.

      2. UPPS No. 01.04.02, Ethics Policy

      3. UPPS No. 04.04.41, Staff Employee Mediation and Grievance Policy

      4. UPPS No. 04.01.07, Appropriate Use of Information Resources

      5. UPPS No. 04.04.04, Affirmative Action Program

      6. UPPS No. 04.04.46, Prohibition of Discrimination

      7. UPPS No. 07.04.07, Demonstrations on University Property

      8. AA/PPS No. 04.02.32, Faculty Grievance Policy


    1. Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:
    Position Date
    Vice President for Institutional Inclusive Excellence July 1 E2Y
    Title IX Coordinator July 1 E2Y
    Chief Compliance Officer July 1 E2Y
    Director, University Police Department July 1 E2Y
    Assistant Vice President for Human Resources July 1 E2Y
    Chair, LGBTQIA Advisory Board and Resource Network July 1 E2Y

    This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Vice President for Institutional Inclusive Excellence