If you are a student or employee at Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and have been the victim of sexual harassment (including stalking), sexual violence (dating, domestic, or other forms of sexual violence), or other gender-based harassment it is important that you read the following information. Although not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of your options and rights, this information may be useful to you.
Sexual harassment, sexual violence and other gender-based harassment occurring in the college setting implicates a federal law called Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities and which triggers certain responsibilities on the part of the College. If you are a student, WCC has two Title IX officers who can help explain the College’s responsibilities in these cases:
Linda Blakey, EVP of Student & Academic Services & Title IX Coordinator
Room No: SC 247
Email: Linda Blakey
Joy Berry, Director of Student Affairs
Room No: SC 249
Email: Joy Berry
If you are an employee, contact:
Room No: BE 120
Email: Sam Veltri
Room No: BE 120
Email: Michelle Benin
Washtenaw Community College is committed to maintaining a positive learning and working environment. WCC will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct, harassment, sexual violence, or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. When sexual misconduct, harassment, or sexual violence has occurred and is brought to the attention of either individual listed above, they will take steps to end the harassment or violence, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its effects. For more information, see Sexual Misconduct Title IX.
Within the College’s processes, the person making the allegations is referred to as the Complainant. The person who the allegations have been made against is referred to as the Respondent.
Below are the different reporting options a Complainant has:
- A complainant who wishes to report sexual harassment, sexual violence or other gender-based harassment may report directly to the Title IX officers (their contact information is listed above on this page).
- A complainant may also report directly to law enforcement.
- If the incident happened on campus, you may contact Public Safety by dialing x3411 on campus or (734) 973-3411 off campus. Public Safety’s main office is on the second floor of the parking structure. Public Safety can provide assistance if you wish to make a report to local law enforcement.
- If the incident occurred off campus, you may contact the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office or the local law enforcement in your area. You should also contact one of the Title IX officers listed above to ensure that any on-campus effects of the off-campus incident can be addressed.
- If you are an employee, you may report the situation to your immediate supervisor or to the Office of Human Resources.
- All reporting options are listed on the Sexual Misconduct page.
- Anonymous reporting is available via the College’s Report a Concern form.
- Resources for assistance after an incident or overall prevention information are available on the Community Resources page or the Lowering your risks page.
- Confidential reporting information.
A complainant may pursue both the College process through the Title IX officers and the criminal process simultaneously. In addition, students may file a Title IX complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. See Grievance Procedures.
Both Title IX officers have authority to address complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a non-criminal context. The College process is completely separate from the police and courts. Washtenaw Community College provides a student conduct process for investigating those cases whether they occur on or off campus. That process, is listed in the Board of Trustee Policy 4095 Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct Code.
For cases where the respondent is an employee, those cases are handled by the Office of Human Resources under the supervision of the Title IX Coordinator, Linda Blakey. When the respondent is both a student and an employee, the two offices may work together to resolve the case. If you are uncertain about which office to contact you may call either office. When the respondent is neither a student nor employee at WCC, the College can still assist you with counseling and other support services.
The Title IX officers will review the allegations and determine an appropriate course of action. Some cases can be handled informally and outside of the formal investigative process, although the College will not mediate cases of sexual violence even on a voluntary basis. For cases that result in an investigation, those investigations are conducted by individuals who have received specialized training in those types of investigations. All investigations will be conducted in a thorough and neutral manner.
The process for resolving these allegations can be found on our procedure page.
When the College becomes aware of sexual violence, the College may have an obligation to proceed with an investigation, regardless of a complainant’s wishes for confidentiality, in order to ensure campus safety. Confidentiality may be limited in situations where there is a continuing threat to the campus community. You are not required to participate if you choose not to; however, this may limit the College’s ability to respond to the incident. If you request that your name or other identifying information not be used in an investigation, the College will consider your request in light of the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. When confidentiality is not requested; in most cases, information including your name may be shared with the respondent, witnesses, and with College officials who have a legitimate need to know. Beyond that, the College will take steps to protect your identity and the identity of all individuals involved.
A complainant may be accompanied by an advisor during any meeting. The advisor may be any support person including an attorney. In the College’s process, the complainant and respondent will not be permitted to directly question each other and are not required to be present together at any point. Both a complainant and a respondent have the right to identify witnesses and provide other information relevant to the investigation. The College will decide the case based on a preponderance of the information standard (whether or not it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred).
In most cases, the College will not wait until a criminal case is resolved before proceeding with the case. In addition, if a College official has a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, she or he may be obligated to report that to law enforcement if police have not already been notified. In cases where a police investigation has been conducted or is being conducted, law enforcement may be able to provide some information to the Title IX officers with the victim’s consent. The College’s fact-finding investigation may be delayed for a short period of time upon a request from law enforcement, but we will promptly resume the investigation as soon as possible. Most sexual violence or sexual harassment investigations conducted through the Title IX offices are resolved as quickly as possible but may take up to 60 days to be resolved, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of parties involved. The College will keep a complainant advised as to the status of the case as the complainant desires and as is reasonable. The complainant will be informed of the outcome of the case in writing.
Because the school’s primary concern is student safety, minor alcohol and drug violations by a complainant will be handled informally whenever possible. The use of alcohol or other drugs never makes an individual at fault for sexual violence. The College has an amnesty policy in regards to reporting.
The College will take interim steps to protect a complainant while the case is pending. Depending on the case and the complainant’s wishes, these steps may include:
- class schedule adjustments
- ordering a respondent to not have contact with you
- restricting a respondent from parts of campus or certain college activities
- providing you with an escort to accompany you to and from the classroom to your car
- any adjustments made will be designed to minimize the burden on the complainant’s educational program. Some of these actions may also be remedies in those cases resulting in a finding of a policy violation.
Washtenaw Community College has a policy which prohibits retaliation against any employee or student who reports an incident of alleged sexual harassment or sexual violence, or any employee or student who testifies, assists or participates in a proceeding, investigation or hearing relating to these allegations.
Any College employee with supervisory authority on campus must refer reports of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or other gender-based harassment to the Office of Human Resources who will notify the Title IX officers.
Examples which may be policy violations include the following:
- an instructor suggests that a higher grade might be given to a student if the student submits to sexual advances;
- a supervisor implicitly or explicitly threatens termination if a subordinate refuses the supervisor's sexual advances;
- a student repeatedly follows an instructor around campus and sends sexually explicit messages to the instructor's voicemail or email;
- a student or employee touches you in an unwelcome sexual manner without your consent;
- a student or employee repeatedly makes unwelcome comments about your body in person, on the phone, or in any other way;
- a student or employee exposes their sexual organs to you without your consent and in an unwelcome manner.
For a thorough explanation of the College processes, please see our Sexual Misconduct page or contact one of the Title IX officers.