Administrative Policies

AD29 Statement on Intolerance

Policy Status: 


Subject Matter Expert: 

Marcus Whitehurst, 814-865-5906,

Policy Steward: 

Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff


  • Purpose
  • Definition
  • Policy
  • Expression of Opinion
  • Cross Reference

    The University is committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others. As an educational institution, the University has a mandate to address problems of a society deeply ingrained with bias and prejudice. Toward that end, the University provides educational programs and activities to create an environment in which diversity and understanding of other cultures are valued.

    Acts of intolerance violate the principles upon which American society is built and serve to destroy the fabric of the society we share. Such actions not only do untold and unjust harm to the dignity, safety and well-being of those who experience this pernicious kind of discrimination but also threaten the reputation of the University and impede the realization of the University's educational mission.


    An act of intolerance refers to conduct that is in violation of a University policy, rule or regulation and is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation gender identity or veteran status.


    The Pennsylvania State University is committed to preventing and eliminating acts of intolerance by faculty, staff and students, and encourages anyone in the University community to report concerns and complaints about acts of intolerance to the Affirmative Action Office or the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, and in cases involving students, reports also may be made to the Office of Judicial Affairs.

    >If any violation of University policy, rule or regulation is motivated by discriminatory bias against or hatred toward an individual or group based on characteristics such as age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, genetic information, national origin, political belief, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status, the sanction will be increased in severity and may include termination or expulsion from the University.

    Retaliation constitutes a separate violation and may result in a sanction independent of the outcome of a complaint.


    The expression of diverse views and opinions is encouraged in the University community. Further, the First Amendment of the United States' Constitution assures the right of free expression. In a community which recognizes the rights of its members to hold divergent views and to express those views, sometimes ideas are expressed which are contrary to University values and objectives. Nevertheless, the University cannot impose disciplinary sanctions upon such expression when it is otherwise in compliance with University regulations.


    HR01 - Fair Employment Practices,

    HR11 - Affirmative Action in Employment at The Pennsylvania State University,

    AC76 - Faculty Rights and Responsibilities,

    HR79 - Staff Grievance Procedure,

    AD85 - Sexual And/or Gender-Based Harassment and Misconduct (Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Related Inappropriate Conduct) (Formerly Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct)

    Most recent changes:

    • July 12, 2011  - Revised the DEFINITION and POLICY sections to bring the University into compliance with GINA (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act).

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    • January 1, 2007  - Clarification of existing policy and practice in POLICY section, as approved by the President's Council.
    • May 19, 2006 - Changes to the DEFINITION and POLICY sections.
    • August 30, 2001 - Significant changes to the PURPOSE, DEFINITION, and POLICY sections.
    • July 8, 1994 - Eliminated underline and footnote from POLICY section.
    • November 9, 1992 - Added underline to the sentence involving penalty under the POLICY section and added footnote suspending enforcement of the underlined sentence.
    • February 26, 1990 - Added definition of  'intolerance.'
    • May 16, 1988 - New policy.


    Date Approved: 

    July 11, 2011

    Date Published: 

    July 12, 2011

    Effective Date: 

    July 12, 2011