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Board of Trustees Policy

5080 -- POLICY PROHIBITING SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Objective

To provide a clear and forceful statement regarding the College's prohibition against sexual harassment, and to authorize promulgation and implementation of guidelines and procedures for the enforcement of this policy.

The significant outcomes of this policy will be (1) a clear prohibition against sexual harassment; (2) compliance with the requirements of the law prohibiting sexual harassment; (3) designation and authorization of the Office of Human Resources to implement the policy; (4) clear and practicable guidelines for investigation and resolution of sexual harassment complaints.

Policy Statement

Washtenaw Community College is committed to maintaining an environment for learning, teaching, working, and research that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is antithetical both to the academic values of the College and the need for a work environment that is free from sexual harassment or coercion. Sexual harassment in any form is a violation of College policy and is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and by the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated at Washtenaw Community College. Violation of this policy may result in discipline ranging from counseling up to and including dismissal or termination.

The Office of Human Resources Management shall implement this policy through posting, education, promulgation of guidelines and procedures, and any other appropriate measures.


Adopted: November 25, 1981
Revised: February 25, 1997
Revised: February 22, 2000
Administrative Review: May 2002


WASHTENAW COMMUNITY COLLEGE

HARASSMENT POLICY IMPLEMENTATION:
GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

Board Policy Statement:

Washtenaw Community College is committed to maintaining an environment for learning, teaching, working, and research that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is antithetical both to the academic values of the College and the need for a work environment that is free from sexual harassment or coercion. Sexual harassment in any form is a violation of College policy and is prohibited by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and by the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 1976. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated at Washtenaw Community College. Violation of this policy may result in discipline ranging from counseling up to and including dismissal or termination.

DEFINITION

Sexual harassment is generally defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to such conduct or communication is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, or participation in a College activity;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for or a factor in any decision affecting the individual's employment, education, or participation in a College activity;
  3. such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or educational performance; or
  4. such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment for that individual's employment, education, or participation in a College activity.

Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as repeated or persistent behavior. Although it may sometimes be unclear where sexual slurs, insults, or even unwelcome sexual jokes actually fall within the definition of sexual harassment, it is clear that such conduct may contribute to a hostile working and learning environment and is unacceptable at the College.

These guidelines address intentional conduct. They also address conduct which results in negative effects even though such negative effects were unintended. Sexually related conduct constitutes sexual harassment if a reasonable person, in view of all the surrounding circumstances, would consider it sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an offensive or hostile working or learning environment.

EXAMPLES

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, threatening adverse employment actions if sexual favors are not granted; promising preferential treatment in return for sexual favors; unwanted physical contact; or sexually offensive remarks. Verbal and physical conduct that may constitute sexual harassment also includes the following kinds of prohibited behavior:

Verbal: sexual advances or propositions or threats; continuing to express interest after being informed the interest is unwelcome; sexual innuendoes; suggestive or insulting comments or sounds, including whistling; sexual jokes, stories, or teasing of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual's body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies; and any other comments of a sexual nature.

Visual: display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, computer graphics, programs, or letters; staring, leering; obscene gestures; sexually suggestive or offensive graffiti.

Physical: unwanted physical contact including offensive touching, pinching, brushing the body, impeding or blocking movement, unwanted sexual intercourse or other unwanted sexual acts, sexual assault or battery.

The above list is not meant to be exhaustive, but is included to provide examples of prohibited action.

CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS

In addition to behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment, consensual sexual or romantic relationships between two individuals in a supervisor-supervisee or faculty-student relationship represent inappropriate conduct to the extent that, even though characterized by mutual consent, they could raise serious concerns about the validity of the consent, conflicts of interest, and unfair treatment of others because of their potential for sexual exploitation by one of the parties or because the faculty member's or supervisor's objectivity may be compromised.

For these reasons, individuals may not evaluate the work performance or academic performance of others with whom they have an intimate, familial, or close personal relationship, nor make hiring, salary, advancement, or other decisions concerning such persons, without prior written approval. Such relationships must be disclosed to the appropriate administrative supervisor so that arrangements can be made for objective evaluation and decision-making with regard to the student or employee. When so requested, the supervisor shall keep the disclosure confidential to the extent reasonably possible in complying with these guidelines.

RETALIATION PROHIBITED

It is both unlawful and against College policy to retaliate against any person for having brought a complaint, having opposed sexual harassment, or for having participated in the complaint or investigation process.

The College will investigate all allegations of sexual harassment promptly. To protect the interests of all persons involved, confidentiality will be maintained to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances.

PROCEDURES

Any person who feels that s/he has been subjected to sexual harassment or who is aware of conduct prohibited under this policy should immediately report the matter to his or her instructor, supervisor, to any Dean or Executive Officer, the Associate Vice President for Student Services, or to Human Resource Management.

Any person receiving such a report should immediately contact General Counsel. General Counsel shall consult with the Associate Vice President of Human Resources Management or the Associate Vice President for Student Services to determine the appropriate person to conduct the investigation. Ordinarily, the Office of Human Resources Management shall be responsible for investigation of allegations of workplace sexual harassment, and the Associate Vice President for Student Services shall be responsible for investigation of allegations involving students. HRM and Student Services shall consult with General Counsel to ensure that a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation is made of every complaint of sexual harassment.

Investigation

Investigation of a report of violation of this policy shall proceed as follows:

  1. The person receiving the report shall immediately contact General Counsel. General Counsel shall consult with the Associate Vice President of Human Resources Management or the Associate Vice President for Student Services to determine the appropriate person to conduct the investigation.
  2. The investigator shall, as soon as possible, interview the complainant, obtain relevant information including the incident and persons involved, and shall inform the complainant of this policy and procedures.
  3. The investigator shall ascertain from the complainant his/her preferred outcome; e.g., informal resolution, dealing directly with the offender, cessation of offending behavior, formal complaint, transfer of employment, reprimand, etc. Every effort will be made, consistent with the need to discharge the College's legal responsibilities, to respect the wishes of the complainant regarding further investigation.
  4. The investigator shall assure the complainant of confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. If the complainant does not wish the accused to be informed of the complainant's identity or action, then informal investigation may be conducted, and an informal resolution sought. Although the complainant may wish to protect his or her own identity from someone they believe has subjected them to sexual harassment, fairness generally requires that formal discipline not be instituted without giving the alleged harasser a fair opportunity to rebut the charges. The complainant may request postponement of identifying him/her for a limited period of time for good reason (e.g. end of evaluation period or academic semester).
  5. The investigation should include interview of the complainant and the accused; interview of all potential witnesses identified by either party; interview of any others that the investigator, in consultation with Legal Services, reasonably believes may have information bearing on the investigation; review of all documentary evidence; reducing all statements to writing (preferably signed by the person giving the statement); informing all parties and witnesses that the College will endeavor to ensure confidentiality and that communications about the complaint will be limited to those with a genuine need to know; prohibiting publication by any person of the complaint, the facts, or the identity of the parties involved or witnesses, unless authorized by law.
  6. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator shall advise the complainant and the accused of the investigator's findings. The investigator shall complete a written report of the investigation and the conclusions, which shall be filed with General Counsel's office. The conclusions shall include a recommended outcome.
  7. Possible outcomes of an investigation may include (1) a finding that the allegations are not warranted, (2) a finding that the allegations could not be substantiated, (3) a negotiated settlement of the complaint, (4) a finding that the allegations are substantiated and a recommended corrective action.
  8. The appropriate corrective action depends upon all the facts and circumstances, and may include discipline at any level up to and including separation from the College.

Complainants should recognize that investigation becomes more difficult as time goes by. Complainants are therefore encouraged to file complaints promptly, as promptness may be essential to a proper and fair resolution. Sexual harassment complaints should be investigated immediately, and resolved as quickly as possible, generally within two weeks of the date the complaint is made.

Review

If the accused is an employee of the College, either the complainant or the accused may appeal the findings of the investigator to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Associate Vice President shall review the investigative report, findings, conclusions, and recommendations, and shall make such further investigation as s/he feels is appropriate. The Associate Vice President shall render a decision regarding the investigation, conclusions, and recommendations, which shall be final. The Associate Vice President shall endeavor to render his or her final decision within 15 working days of the receipt of the appeal. Faculty and staff members against whom corrective action is taken may use the relevant grievance procedure to appeal the appropriateness of the corrective action and the procedures followed.

If the accused is a student, either the complainant or the accused may appeal the findings of the investigator to the Associate Vice President for Student Services. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Associate Vice President shall review the investigative report, findings, conclusions, and recommendations, and shall make such further investigation as s/he feels is appropriate. The Associate Vice President shall render a decision. If the Associate Vice President determines that disciplinary action may be warranted, s/he shall notify the accused in the manner set out under Student Disciplinary Procedures, Basic Procedures in the Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook.

Legal Remedies

All individuals in the College community are encouraged to use these internal complaint and investigation procedures. Individuals have the right to pursue a legal remedy for sexual harassment in addition to or instead of proceeding under these guidelines.

Reporting Requirements

To assure College-wide compliance with this policy and with federal and state law, General Counsel must be advised of all reported incidents of sexual harassment and their resolution. General Counsel will monitor repeated complaints within the same unit or against the same individual, where identified, to assure that such claims are appropriately handled.

Posting Requirements

The College policy against sexual harassment shall be posted in prominent locations throughout the campus and in auxiliary locations.





Board of Trustees Policy Manual
    SERIES 1000, BOARD OF TRUSTEES
    • 1010 - Bylaws
    • 1020 - Citizen Participation During Board of Trustees Meetings
    • 1030 - Policy Development Guidelines
    • 1050 - Mission Statement
    • 1060 - Guidelines for Excellence
    • 1070 - Trustee Emeritus Policy
    • 1080 - Board Travel and Attendance at Conferences
    • 1090 - Compensation and Reimbursement of Trustee Local Expenses

    SERIES 2000, ADMISSIONS, TUITION/FEES ASSESSMENT
    • 2005 - Admissions Policy
    • 2030 - Residency
    • 2040 - Tuition Refund Policy
    • 2080 - Tuition Payment Plan Policy
    • 2095 - WCC Scholarships
    • 2105 - Program Offerings in Livingston County
    • 2120 - Policy on Articulation

    SERIES 3000, INSTRUCTION
    • 3010 - Assurance of Student Success
    • 3020 - Club Sports
    • 3031 - Policy on Credit for Prior Learning
    • 3033 - College Certificate Structure Policy
    • 3043 - Curriculum Purpose and Effectiveness Policy
    • 3045 - General Education Philosophy and Requirements
    • 3046 - Degree Structure Policy

    SERIES 4000, STUDENTS
    • 4052 - Learning Resource Center, Loan Privileges (LRC)
    • 4055 - New Student Assessment and Individualized Program Planning
    • 4060 - Student Orientation
    • 4067 - Student Eligibility for Extra- and Co-Curricular Activities
    • 4070 - Student Information, Release of
    • 4080 - WCC Student Newspaper
    • 4090 - Student Health Insurance
    • 4095 - Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct Code

    SERIES 5000, EMPLOYEES
    • 5005 - Administrative Compensation Policy
    • 5010 - Affirmative Action
    • 5020 - Administrative Group Annual Planning & Performance Review Policy
    • 5030 - Children's Center, Staff Use of
    • 5040 - Conflict of Interest: College Administrators
    • 5042 - Diversity in College Employment
    • 5045 - Emeritus Staff Policy
    • 5050 - Employee Assistance Program
    • 5060 - Employee Recognition
    • 5065 - Organizational Chart
    • 5070 - Part-Time Faculty and Wage Rates
    • 5080 - Sexual Harassment
    • 5081 - Policy Prohibiting Discriminatory Harassment
    • 5085 - Staff Collaboration and Governance Policy
    • 5087 - Staff Success Policy
    • 5090 - Work Practices and Rules of Conduct (Faculty and Staff)
    • 5091 - Drug-Free Workplace

    SERIES 6000, BUSINESS OFFICE
    • 6010 - Accounting of Funds
    • 6020 - Banking
    • 6030 - Budget Adjustment
    • 6035 - External Use of College Facilities
    • 6036 - Conduct and Compliance: Use of Facilities
    • 6037 - Facilities Rental Fee Policy
    • 6040 - Firearms Range, Utilization Priority
    • 6041 - Firearms Range, Safety
    • 6042 - Firearms Range, User Fee
    • 6050 - Purchase of Goods and Services
    • 6060 - Travel
    • 6070 - Policy on the Monitoring of Federal Funds

    SERIES 7000, CONTINUING EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
    • 7010 - Continuing Education Agreements with Public School Districts
    • 7020 - Continuing Education Unit
    • 7030 - Non-Credit Offerings

    SERIES 8000, GENERAL COLLEGE POLICIES
    • 8010 - Alcoholic Beverages on College Property, Use and Possession
    • 8012 - Americans with Disabilities Act, Compliance
    • 8015 - Honorary Associate Degree Policy
    • 8016 - Campus Safety Policy
    • 8018 - Policy on Student Speech and Expressive Conduct
    • 8021 - Internet Accounts Policy
    • 8022 - Computing Resources Usage Policy
    • 8025 - Crime Awareness and Campus Security Policy
    • 8028 - Access, Success, and Equity for Diverse People
    • 8029 - Display of Flags and Banners Policy
    • 8040 - Foundation, WCC
    • 8050 - Institutional Effectiveness
    • 8060 - Long-Range Planning
    • 8063 - Memorial Tributes
    • 8065 - Naming of College Buildings and Spaces
    • 8070 - Right To Know Laws, Compliance
    • 8085 - Smoke-Free Campus Policy








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