Procedure 2.07.01 - Anti-Harassment Procedure


Prohibited Conduct Under SCC Policy

  1.  Discrimination
    1.  It is a violation of this policy to discriminate in the provision of educational and/or employment opportunities, benefits or privileges; to create discriminatory conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in employment if the basis of that discriminatory treatment is, in whole or in part, the person’s race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or marital status.
    2.  Discrimination of this kind also may be strictly prohibited by a variety of federal, state and local laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972. This policy is intended to comply with the prohibitions stated in these anti-discrimination laws.
    3.  Discrimination in violation of SCC policy will be subject to severe sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion.
  1. Harassment
    1.  Harassment, including sexual harassment, is prohibited by federal and state laws. SCC policy prohibits harassment of any kind, and the college will take appropriate action swiftly to address any violations of this policy.  The definition of harassment is verbal or physical conduct designed to threaten, intimidate or coerce.  Also, verbal taunting (including racial and ethnic slurs) that impairs an employee’s ability to perform his or her job and a student’s ability to learn in a safe, yet stimulating atmosphere.
      Examples of Harassment are:

      1.  Verbal: Comments that are not flattering or are unwelcome regarding a person’s nationality, origin, race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, body disability or appearance.  Epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping.
      2. Nonverbal: Distribution, display, or discussion of any written or graphic material that ridiculed, denigrates, insults, belittles, or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of national origin, race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, appearance disability, and gender identity, marital or other protected status.
    2.   Bullying is another form of harassment. SCC defines bullying as “repeated inappropriate behavior, either direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, in an educational setting, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment. Such behavior violates SCC policy which clearly states that the college will maintain an environment in which people are treated with dignity, decency and respect. All employees and students will be treated with dignity and respect.
  1. Sexual Harassment
    1. Sexual harassment in any form is prohibited under the SCC policy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Examples of such behavior may include the following:
      1. Verbal: Making sexual comments about a person’s body, telling sexual jokes or stories, spreading rumors about a co-worker’s/student’s sex life, or asking or telling about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history.
      2. Non-verbal: Giving unwanted personal gifts, following a person, staring at a person’s body, or displaying sexually suggestive materials such as pornographic photos.
      3. Physical harassment – Brushing up against or touching another person suggestively or touching oneself in a sexual manner in front of another person.
    2. Such behavior constitutes sexual harassment when:
      1. submission to such conduct is a term or condition of employment or enrollment/academic progress.
      2. submission to such conduct becomes a basis for employment-related or educational-related decisions.
      3. such conduct unreasonably interferes with an employee’s job performance or student’s academic performance and creates a hostile or intimidating environment.
    3. Normal, courteous, mutually respectful, pleasant, non-coercive interactions between employees/students, including men and women, acceptable to and welcomed by both parties, are not considered to be harassment, including sexual harassment.
    4. There are basically two types of sexual harassment:
      1. “Quid pro quo” harassment, where submission to harassment is used as the basis for employment/educational decisions. Employee benefits such as raises, promotions, better working hours or student assignments, grades, etc., are directly linked to compliance with sexual advances.
      2. “Hostile environment,” where the harassment creates an offensive and unpleasant educational/working environment. Hostile environment can be created by anyone in the work/educational environment, whether it be supervisors, other employees, students or visitors.  Hostile environment harassment consists of verbiage of a sexual nature, unwelcome sexual materials or even unwelcome physical contact as a regular part of the work/educational environment.  Examples to include but not limited to: phone calls, texts, emails, cartoons or posters of a sexual nature, vulgar or lewd comments or jokes, or unwanted touching or fondling all fall into this category.

Retaliation

 No hardship, no loss of benefit, and no penalty may be imposed on an employee/student as punishment for:

  1. Filing or responding to a bona fide complaint of discrimination or harassment
  2. Appearing as a witness in the investigation of a complaint
  3. Serving as an investigator

Retaliation or attempted retaliation is a violation of SCC policy and anyone who does so will be subject to severe sanctions up to and including termination or expulsion.

The Complaint Process

Southeastern Community College encourages direct communication between employees and supervisors to attempt to address complaints in the spirit of cooperation and compromise.  Employees should attempt to resolve a complaint first with their immediate supervisor with the assistance of Human Resources (if necessary).  In the event the issue is against the supervisor, the employee can go directly to the supervisor’s supervisor or the Director of Human Resources.

The College also encourages direct communication between students and faculty/staff members to address concerns in the classroom or on campus.  Should a student not feel comfortable in attempting to resolve a complaint with the assistance of a faculty/staff member or if the complaint is directly against the faculty/staff member  he/she can request assistance by contacting the Director of Student Services or the Director of Human Resources.

Any person electing to utilize the complaint resolution process will be treated courteously, the problem handled swiftly and as confidentially as possible in light of the need to take appropriate corrective action.  Registering a complaint will in no way be used against an employee or student nor will it have an adverse impact on the individual’s employment or enrollment status.  While reporting such incidents would be a difficult personal experience, allowing harassment activities to continue will most certainly lead to less than desirable outcomes.  However, filing groundless and malicious complaints is an abuse of SCC policy and is prohibited.

 

Investigation Procedures 

  1.  Any complaint relating to discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment should be immediately referred to the Director of Human Resources (employee complaint) or the Director of Student Services (student complaint). (Note: If said party is directly involved, the complainant should be referred to the appropriate administrative authority).
  2.  Within 5 working days of receiving the complaint the person charged with the complaint will be notified and an investigation will be initiated to determine whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that a violation of the policy had occurred.
  3.  During the investigation, interviews will be conducted with all parties concerned. Within 15 working days of the complaint being filed, the investigation will be concluded and a report submitted of the findings to college administration.
  4. If it is determined that a violation of this policy has occurred, a recommendation of appropriate disciplinary action will follow. The appropriate action will depend on the following factors: (i) the severity, frequency and pervasiveness of the conduct: (ii) prior complaints made by the complainant; (iii) prior complaints made against the accused; (iv) the quality of the evidence (first-hand knowledge, credible corroboration, etc.)  If it is determined that an individual has been falsely accused appropriate disciplinary action will follow.
  5.  Within 5 working days after the investigation is concluded, the complainant and accused will be notified separately of the findings of the investigation.

 

       Appeal Procedures:

Either the complainant or accused who disagrees with the results and/or sanctions of the investigation may exercise their rights by filing a written appeal to the appropriate Vice President/Executive Dean of Student Services requesting reconsideration of the previous decision.  The appeal/reconsideration of decision request must be presented in writing within 5 working days after receipt of the decision.  The appropriate Vice President, in the case of an employee appeal, or the Title IX Coordinator, in the case of a student appeal, will render a decision on the appeal request within 5 working days following receipt of the request.

If either party is dissatisfied with the decision of the Vice President, a written appeal may be filed within 5 working days to the College President requesting reconsideration of the finding of the Title IX Investigator and the Vice President.  The President will review the investigation, recommendations and decisions and any other evidence.  The President will render a final decision on the matter and notify the complainant or accused within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal.  No additional remedy shall be granted following the decision of the President.

Protection of Complainant and Others: 

  1. All reasonable actions are taken to assure that the complainant and those testifying on behalf of the complainant or supporting the complainant in other ways suffer no retaliation as the result of their involvement in the process.

Protection of the Accused:

  1.  At the time the investigation commences, the accused is informed of the allegations, the identity of the complainant, and the facts surrounding the allegations. In the event the allegations are not substantiated, all reasonable steps are taken to restore the reputation of the accused if it were damaged by the proceedings.

Protection of Both Parties 

  1.  To the extent possible, the proceedings are conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality interests of both parties.
  2.  After the investigation, the parties are informed of the facts developed in the course of the investigation.
  3.  The parties are informed promptly about the outcomes of the proceedings.

 

Sanctions 

Disciplinary measures up to and including termination or expulsion may be taken if necessary.

 

Employee – Specific 

 Consensual Relationships 

The college’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in the following relationships: student-faculty, employee-supervisor, and student- supervisor.  Professionalism is fostered by an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Actions of college employees that harm this atmosphere undermine professionalism and hinder fulfillment of the college’s educational mission. Trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse, or appear to abuse, their power. Those who abuse, or appear to abuse, their power in such a context violate their duty to the college community.

  1. Responsibility
    1. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the institution’s anti- harassment policy is followed and for maintaining an environment free of harassment.
    2. Consensual Relationships – No college employee should have an intimate, amorous relationship (consensual or otherwise) with an employee that he/she supervises directly or who is under the supervisor’s chain of command. Intimate, amorous relationships between employees outside the supervisory relationship may lead to difficulties but are not prohibited.

 

Student – Specific 

  1. Rationale
    Faculty/staff supervisors exercise power over students, whether in giving them praise or criticism, evaluating them, making recommendations for their further studies or their future employment, or conferring any other benefits on them. Intimate, amorous relationships between faculty members or staff supervisors and students are wrong when the faculty member has professional responsibility for the student. Such situations greatly increase the chances that the faculty member will abuse his/her power and sexually exploit the student. Voluntary consent by the student in such a relationship is suspect, given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of the relationship. Moreover, other students and faculty/staff supervisors may be affected by such unprofessional behavior because it places the faculty member/staff supervisor in a position to favor or advance one student’s interest at the expense of others and implicitly makes obtaining benefits contingent on amorous or sexual favors. Therefore, the college views it as unethical if faculty members/staff supervisors engage in intimate, amorous relations with students enrolled in their classes or subject to their supervision, even when both parties appear to have consented to the relationship. The college does not tolerate the involvement of faculty members/staff supervisors in such intimate, amorous relationships.
  2. Consensual Relationships in the Instructional/Supervisory Context
    No faculty member/staff supervisor should have an intimate, amorous relationship (consensual or otherwise) with a student who is enrolled in a course being taught by the faculty member or whose work is being supervised by the faculty member or other staff supervisor.
  3. Consensual Relationships Outside the Instructional/Supervisory Context
    Intimate, amorous relationships between faculty members/staff supervisors and students occurring outside the instructional context may lead to difficulties. Particularly when the faculty member and the student are in the same academic unit or in units that are academically allied, relationships that the parties view as consensual may appear to others to be exploitative. Furthermore, in such situations (and others that cannot be anticipated), the faculty member/staff supervisor may face serious conflicts of interest and should be careful to distance himself/herself from any decisions that may reward or penalize the student with whom the faculty member/staff supervisor currently has or had in the past an amorous relationship. The college strongly discourages these relationships.

Cross References

Policies to reference:

Last Updated on June 23, 2017