Board of Trustees

8080 - Board of Trustee Policy - Sexual Misconduct

Objective

To provide a clear and forceful statement regarding the College's prohibition against sexual misconduct and to authorize awareness and implementation of this policy.  A goal of this policy is to end sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy any of the effects of sexual misconduct.

The significant outcomes of this policy will be:

  • A clear prohibition against sexual misconduct;
  • Compliance with the requirements of the law prohibiting sexual misconduct;
  • Identifying situations of sexual misconduct;
  • Designation and authorization of the Office of Human Resources and designated Student Services administrators to implement the policy;
  • Clear and practicable guidelines to report sexual misconduct complaints.

Policy Statement

Washtenaw Community College is committed to maintaining an environment for learning, teaching, and working that is free of sexual misconduct. Members of the College community; including students, employees, guests, and visitors - have the right to be free from sexual misconduct and gender-based discrimination. All members of the College community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The College’s sexual misconduct policy has been developed to reaffirm this expectation and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. The College prohibits sexual misconduct regardless of the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of the individual. Sexual misconduct is antithetical both to the academic values of the College and the need for a work and learning environment that is free from sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or sexual coercion. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, same sex violence, stalking, sexual harassment, or any similar gender or gender expression based misconduct.  Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated at Washtenaw Community College. Violation of this policy may result in discipline ranging from warnings, counseling, suspension, and up to and including dismissal, expulsion, or termination.

The Office of Human Resources Management and designated Student Services administrators shall jointly implement this policy through posting, education, awareness of guidelines and reporting procedures, and any other appropriate measures in order to inform both employees and students of this policy. 

Prevention and Awareness

The College will offer information on ways you can reduce your risk of sexual misconduct and ways you can stop or limit situations of sexual misconduct if you are a bystander and observe incidences of it.  The College will also provide information on resources for victims of sexual misconduct.

Definitions

Sexual Assault or Sex Offense: 
Sexual assault (or sex offense) is an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting system or any act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

Sexual Harassment:
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:

  • 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;
  • 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;
  • such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's employment or educational performance; or
  • 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.

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.

Intention:
These guidelines address intentional conduct and they also address conduct which results in negative effects even though such negative effects were unintended. Sexually related conduct constitutes sexual harassment regardless of intent 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.



Consent:

Sexual activity between individuals requires consent.  Consent is a free and willing agreement to engage in a sexual act between individuals who are of sufficient age and are legally capable of providing consent.

Many members of the campus community are not legally able to give consent or may be in a condition that impacts their ability to give consent.  Examples include:

  • Underage individuals.
  • Individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Adults without the physical, mental, or legal capacity to give consent.

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.

Reporting and Procedure Guidelines

Any person who feels that s/he has been subjected to sexual misconduct or who is aware of conduct prohibited under this policy should immediately report the matter to:

  • Title IX Coordinator

or

  • If the alleged is a student, to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator

or

  • If the alleged is an employee, to Human Resource Management

Complainants should recognize that investigation becomes more difficult as time passes. Complainants are therefore encouraged to file complaints promptly, as promptness may be essential to a proper and fair resolution. The College will promptly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment. To protect the interests of all persons involved, confidentiality of reports filed with the individuals above will be maintained to the extent practicable and appropriate under the circumstances.  Information from a report of sexual misconduct will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report.  A victim may prefer to discuss the matter with a licensed professional counselor or other legally recognized individual with privileged communication; under those circumstances, the victim must understand that the College will be unable to take any action under this scenario.

Hierarchy of Procedures:
The Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct Code (SRRCC) Board of Trustee Policy 4095 will govern the following situations:

  • If the complainant and respondent are both students.
  • If the respondent is a student.

Employee disciplinary procedures will govern the following situations:

  • If the complainant and respondent are both employees.
  • If the respondent is an employee.

Violations of the College Sexual Misconduct Policy:
Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and such violations are subject to any combination of conduct sanctions:

  • Students: Sanctions as described in the Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct Code (SRRCC) Board of Trustee Policy 4095 and its related procedures.
  • Employees:  Sanctions as described within employee bargaining unit contracts or other conditions or rules of employment, other Board of Trustee policies, and applicable law.
  • Guests:  Guests and visitors face legal or restrictive actions. 

Amnesty

Amnesty may be available for reporters of sexual misconduct.
For Victims:
The College may provide amnesty to victims who may be hesitant to report to College officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. At the discretion of the President or his/her designee, amnesty may be extended on a case-by-case basis. When amnesty is provided, educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

For Those Who Offer Assistance:
To encourage individuals to offer help and assistance to others, the College may provide amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the President or his/her designee, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. When amnesty is provided, educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

For Those Who Report Serious Violation:
Individuals who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of the College may be offered amnesty (at the discretion of the President or his/her designee) for their minor violations. When amnesty is provided, educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.

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