7.500 Sexual Harassment
Subject: Sexual Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct
Date Adopted: January 1, 1991, Revised March 25, 1992, Revised October 25, 1995, Revised September 24, 2014
No person at National Park Community College will, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefit of, or be subjected to sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct under any education program or activity.
Members of the college community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from sexual discrimination, harassment or violence, which means that all members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. National Park Community College believes in a zero tolerance policy for gender-based misconduct. When an allegation of misconduct is brought to a responsible administrator's attention, and a respondent is found to have violated this policy, serious sanctions will be used to reasonably ensure that such actions are never repeated. These procedures have been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. The policy and procedures are intended to define community expectations and establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.
Title IX protects the college community from sexual harassment in a school's education programs and activities. This means that Title IX protects the college community in connection with all academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs of the school, whether those programs take place in a school's facilities, in college transportation, at a class or training program sponsored by the school at another location, or elsewhere.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Complainant: Any party who makes a complaint/grievance against another student, employee, staff member or campus visitor.
Respondent: The person(s) against whom a complaint has been made.
Definition of Status: A full-time employee will be considered as an employee, regardless of student status. A student who is a part-time employee will be considered a student unless the incident under consideration occurred in connection with employment.
Discrimination (general definition): Actions that deprive members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities. Any distinction, preference, advantage for or detriment to an individual compared to others that is based upon an individual's actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion or sexual orientation that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the college's educational programs or activities. There can be no discrimination related to pregnancy, child birth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery.
Discriminatory Harassment: Detrimental action based on an individual's actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation or other protected status that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the college's educational programs or activities.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual Harassment is unwelcome, gender-based spoken, written or symbolic action or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or denying someone the ability to participate in or benefit from the college's educational programs. The unwelcome behavior may be based on power differentials, the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation. Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwanted sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence; stalking; and gender-based bullying.
Not all workplace or educational conduct that may be described as "harassment" affects the terms, conditions or privileges of employment or education. For example, a mere utterance of an ethnic, gender-based or racial epithet which creates offensive feelings in an employee or student would not normally affect the terms and conditions of their employment or education.
Hostile Environment: Any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits, interferes with or denies educational benefits or opportunities, from both a subjective (the alleged victim's) and an objective (reasonable person's) viewpoint.
Quid pro Quo Sexual Harassment: Exists when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature and submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action.
Retaliatory Harassment: Any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person's participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Intentional action taken by an accused individual or allied third party, absent legitimate non-discriminatory purposes, that harms an individual as reprisal for filing or participating in a complaint/grievance procedure.
Sexual Harassment of a Student by Another Student: Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a student toward another student that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the college's educational programs or activities. For example, a student repeatedly asks another student out on dates, even though he/she has turned down the invitation numerous times. It is harassment to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention.
Sexual Harassment of a Faculty/Staff Member by a Student or Another Employee: Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward a faculty/staff member that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with employment or living conditions or deprives the individual of employment access or benefits. For example, a student appears at a faculty member's house uninvited. It is harassment to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention.
Sexual Harassment of a Student by a Faculty/Staff Member/Campus Visitor: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a faculty, staff member or campus visitor toward a student are held to constitute sexual harassment when:
While a particular interaction must be offensive to both a reasonable person and to the victim to be defined as harassment, faculty or staff members and other persons of authority should be sensitive to questions about mutuality of consent that may be raised and to the conflict of interests that are inherent in personal relationships that result from professional and educational interactions.
Harassment is particularly damaging when it exploits the educational dependence and trust between students and faculty/staff. When the authority and power inherent in faculty/staff relationships with students, whether overtly, implicitly, or through misinterpretation, is abused in any way, there is potentially great damage to the individual student, to the accused individual, and to the climate of the institution. For example, a professor attempts to coerce an unwilling student into having sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade or some other benefit. This is harassment regardless of whether the student accedes to the request and regardless of the student's final grade.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force.
Sexual Contact includes:
• Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with
any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these
body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact
with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object by a man or woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force.
Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.
Consent : Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes overt threats, implied threats, intimidation and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent. For example: "Have sex with me or I'll hit you. Okay, don't hit me; I'll do what you want."
• Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resist the sexual advance or request but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent.
POLICY EXPECTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS
There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as teacher and student, or supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of policy.
The college does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when those relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the college. However, for the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student or employee) are prohibited except in extraordinary circumstances.
Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisors. This will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or will shift the student or employee out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom he/she has established a consensual relationship. Failure to self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee.
Subject to the other provisions of this policy and the requirements of law, every possible effort will be made to ensure that any information received as part of the College's resolution and complaint procedures is treated discreetly. All parties to the complaint will be asked to assist in maintaining the privacy of the parties involved. Because of the college's obligation to investigate allegations of misconduct, it is not possible to guarantee that complaints will be handled confidentially.
Except as compelled by law, in the interest of fairness and problem resolution, disclosure of complaints and their substance and the results of investigations and complaint procedures will be limited to the immediate parties, witnesses and other appropriate administrative officials. Disclosure may also be necessary to conduct a full and impartial investigation.
These procedures are intended to apply to student grievances against employees, employee civil rights grievances against students, and student-on-student civil rights grievances. All other grievances by students against students or employees will be addressed through other student conduct procedures.
The college benefits from formal and informal procedures that encourage prompt resolution of complaints and concerns raised by members of the college community.
INFORMAL COMPLAINT RESOLUTION
Individuals who believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment may express their concerns verbally and/or in writing to the person responsible for the offense or for creating the undesirable environment. However, individuals are not required to confront the person responsible for the offense. If the individuals wish to pursue informal resolution of the situation, a report of the incident(s) and any written documentation of efforts to stop the harassment should be submitted to the Human Resources Coordinator within 10 days of the last offense. In the event the prospective complainant prefers not to work with the Human Resources Coordinator, the prospective complainant will consult with the President who will designate an alternate person.
Upon receipt of an informal written complain of sexual harassment, the Human Resources Coordinator shall advise the President about the complaint as soon as possible. The Human Resource Coordinator is empowered to notify the accused, investigate the charge, interview the parties involved, hear testimony and gather evidence. The Human Resources coordinator may have a witness during the interview process. The investigation shall be completed within 15 working days of receipt of the complaint, and the coordinator shall document all attempts at informal resolution including agreements and decisions between the parties involved. Upon completion of the investigation, the Human Resources Coordinator is authorized to:
1. Resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the College and both the complainant and the party accused of sexual harassment. If an agreement is reached that is satisfactory to both parties and the College, a written statement shall indicate the agreement reached, shall be signed and dated by each party, and shall be attached to the report of the investigation. At that time, the investigation and the record(s) thereof shall be closed.
2. Find that the parties are unable to resolve the matter informally. Written notice of such finding shall be given to each party involved.
3. Find that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate harassment charges and recommend no further actions.
4. Find that the evidence justifies recommending invoking the formal resolution process.
If the results of the findings in the informal process are unacceptable to either party, individuals may request formal resolution within 15 working days of receipt of the report of findings in the informal resolution process.
FORMAL COMPLAINT / GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES
Responsibility to Report
Any student, faculty member, staff member, administrator, or visitor to the campus who has experienced or witnessed sexual harassment is strongly encouraged to report it. The college must know about incidents of sexual harassment in order to stop them, protect victims, and prevent future incidents.
It is the responsibility of college faculty, administrators, and supervisors to report complaints of sexual harassment that they receive and of possible sexual harassment of which they become aware. When there is a relationship that involves legally recognized professional confidentiality between the complainant and the person to whom the harassment is reported, the report may be withheld at the request of the complainant.
Students, faculty members, administrators, staff members, or visitors to the college are strongly encouraged to report allegations of discrimination or harassment to the Title IX Compliance Officer or his/ her Deputy. A report of sex discrimination or harassment should be made as soon as possible after the incident in order to facilitate an effective response. The longer a report is delayed, the more difficult it will be for the college to investigate. A person who raises a complaint may discuss with the Title IX Compliance Officer any situation believed to constitute sexual discrimination or harassment. Reports may be made by the person experiencing the discrimination or harassment or by a third party, such as a witness or someone who is told of the discrimination or harassment.
Upon receipt of the complaint/grievance, the Title IX Compliance Officer or Deputy will open a formal case file and notify the Chair of the Investigation and Hearing Board and at the appropriate time notify the respondent. The Title IX compliance officer and deputies are as follows:7
Title IX Compliance Officer Title IX Deputy (Student Issues) Title IX Deputy (Employee Issues)
John Tucker Holly Garrett Miller Janet Brewer
Director of Student Support Ser. Director of Student Affairs Human Resources Director
Fisher Campus Center 2nd floor Ish Stivers Building Fisher Campus Center 3rd floor
(501) 760-4229 (501) 760-4364 (501) 760-4221
firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Following the investigation, the Deputy will distribute a written Letter of Determination to the
4. If the findings indicate that it is likely that the alleged discrimination or harassment has not occurred, the investigation should be closed. The complainant who filed a complaint may request an extraordinary decision for the Title IX Compliance Officer to refer the complaint to a hearing. A hearing will only be granted by the Compliance Officer in exceptional circumstances.
5. Where the findings indicate that it is more likely than not that the alleged discrimination or harassment has occurred, and the respondent(s) accepts the findings that he/she violated college policy, an appropriate sanction will be imposed. If the complaint is against a student, the sanction will be determined by the Vice President of Student Services in consultation with the Dean of Students and the investigative team. If the complaint is against an NPC employee, the Vice President for the appropriate division in consultation with the Director of Human Resources and the Division Chair will determine the sanction. NPC will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the person who filed the complaint and on the NPC community.
a. Appeals Following an Investigation
In cases where the respondent accepts the findings of discrimination or harassment after the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed. Although the findings cannot be appealed, the sanctions that have been imposed post-investigation can be appealed by any party according to the grounds below by contacting the Title IX Compliance Officer within five (5) business days following receipt of the written Letter of Determination as previously defined. Acceptable means of notification include email, facsimile, hand delivered notification, or postal delivery.
b. Appeals Following a Hearing
After the hearing, either the complainant(s) or respondent(s) may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below. All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body will be in effect during the appeal. A request may be made to the Title IX Compliance Officer for special consideration in exigent circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the institution is that the sanctions will stand. In the event that the complainant or respondent rejects the findings in part or in their entirety, he/she may seek an appeal by contacting the Title IX Compliance Officer within five (5) business days following receipt of the written Letter of Determination.
Any party who files an appeal must do so in writing to the Title IX Compliance Officer. Acceptable means of notification include email, facsimile, hand delivered notification, or postal delivery. The Title IX Compliance Officer will share the appeal with the other concerned parties, and then the Title IX Compliance Officer will draft a response memorandum (also shared with all concerned parties). The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final.
Because the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, the party requesting an appeal must show error. The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:
If the Title IX Compliance Officer determines that a material procedural or substantive error occurred, the Officer may return the grievance to the Investigation and Hearing Board with instructions to reconvene to correct the error. In rare cases, where the procedural or substantive error cannot be corrected by the Investigation and Hearing Board (as in cases of bias), the Title IX Compliance Officer may order a new investigation and/or hearing on the complaint with new members from the Investigation and Hearing Board. The results of a reconvened hearing cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on the three applicable grounds for appeals.
If the Title IX Compliance Officer determines that new evidence should be considered, he/she will return the grievance to the Investigation and Hearing Board to reconsider only the new evidence. The reconsideration of the Investigation and Hearing Board is not appealable.
If the Title IX Compliance Officer determines that the sanctions imposed appear to be disproportionate to the severity of the violation, the Title IX Compliance Officer will refer the complaint to a board composed of three (3) cabinet officers, which may then increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions. This decision is final.
The appeal procedure and determination will typically be completed within 20 business days. The procedures governing the hearing of appeals include the following:
COMPLAINT AND GRIEVANCE PROCESS PROVISIONS
All effort will be made to make a determination in no more than 60 calendar days of filing a formal complaint/grievance.
For purposes of calculating all time periods set forth in this Complaint and Grievance Policy, a business day is defined to mean normal operating hours, Monday through Friday, excluding recognized national and state holidays and NPC closings.
Timelines may be modified in cases where information is not clear, judged to be incomplete, relevant parties are not available for interview, and/or other related circumstances as may arise. In the event that this step is necessary, the Title IX Compliance Officer or his or her respective deputies will notify the complainant who filed the grievance in writing within the set timeline.
Retaliation against any person who files a complaint of discrimination, participates in an investigation, or opposes a discriminatory employment or educational practice or policy is prohibited by NPC policy and federal and state law. A person who believes retaliation has occurred should notify the Title IX Compliance Officer as soon as possible.
NPC will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Code of Conduct governing NPC to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
Office of Civil Rights Complaint
Although complainants are encouraged to attempt to resolve complaints pertaining to discrimination by utilizing this Grievance Procedure, they have the right to file a complaint directly with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) (Dallas regional office). Information regarding applicable timelines and procedures is available from OCR.
The policy in force at the time a formal complaint is made is the policy that will be used throughout the investigation, hearing and any appeals that are heard.
NPC reserves the right to make changes and amendments to this policy and procedure as needed, with appropriate notice to the community.
STATEMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF COMPLAINANT/ALLEGED VICTIM
STATEMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF RESPONDENT/ACCUSED PARTY