Original Date: 9/20/2011 * Last Revision Effective: 9/28/2021 (temporary approval granted by President’s Cabinet – expires 03/28/22)
Policy Contact: Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The following procedures are established to implement Policy 1440 Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation.
Bellevue College recognizes its responsibility to investigate, resolve, and implement corrective measures, and to monitor the educational environment and workplace to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or use of a trained guide dog or service animal, as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendment Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act and Washington State’s Law Against Discrimination, Chapter 49.60 RCW and their implementing regulations. Bellevue College has enacted policies prohibiting discrimination against and harassment of members of these protected classes. Any individual found to be in violation of these policies will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the college or from employment.
These procedures address occurrences of discrimination and harassment based on membership or perceived membership in a protected class and sex/gender-based discrimination that falls outside the jurisdiction of Title IX. Occurrences of sexual harassment within the jurisdiction of Title IX as defined in 34 C.F.R. §106.30 are addressed under 1445, 1445P, and 1445P2.
Civil Rights Compliance Officer (CRCO)
Civil rights compliance officers (CRCO) are designated personnel responsible for processing discrimination and harassment complaints and conducting and/or overseeing formal investigations and informal resolution processes under these procedures. The CRCOs are designated and approved by the vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Among other things, a CRCO is responsible for:
- Accepting and processing all discrimination or harassment reports and formal claims, with the exception of Title IX complaints. Title IX personnel are considered CRCOs.
- Handling requests for confidentiality.
- Conducting investigations or assigning and overseeing investigations.
- Engaging in an interactive process with both parties to identify and provide supportive measures that ensure during the investigation and disciplinary processes that the parties have equitable access to education programs and activities and are protected from further discrimination or retaliation.
- Upon completion of an investigation, issuing or overseeing the issuance of a final investigation report to the parties and the appropriate disciplinary authority in compliance with this procedure.
- Recommending non-disciplinary corrective measures to stop, remediate, and/or prevent recurrence of discriminatory conduct to disciplinary authorities and other college administrators.
Civil Rights Compliance Officers – Free from Bias – Training Requirements
- CRCOs and designees shall perform their duties free from bias or conflicts.
- CRCOs shall undergo assigned training.
Filing a Claim
Who may file a claim?
Any employee, student, applicant, or visitor who believes that they have or may have:
- been discriminated against or harassed based on their membership in a protected class (complainant) by a member of the college community (respondent) in violation of policy 1440;
- discriminated against or harassed another based on their membership in a protected class;
- been retaliated against for reporting prohibited conduct or participating in an investigation or disciplinary proceeding related to a violation of policy 1440; or
- witnessed or have knowledge of a violation of policy 1440.
Where to report a claim:
Employees who have information regarding an incident or situation involving discrimination and/or harassment are required to promptly report the information to Bellevue College’s CRCOs identified below. Claims are submitted via an online platform (www.bellevuecollege.edu/reportconcerns), via email to a CRCO, or in-person with a CRCO. If the claim is against the CRCO, the complainant should report the matter to the president’s office for referral to an alternate designee.
Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
3000 Landerholm Circle, Office B202, Bellevue, WA 98007
Vice President, Human Resources
3000 Landerholm Circle, Bellevue, WA 98007
Title IX Office, C227
Rachel Wellman, Title IX Officer
Jill Powell-Szep, Title IX Coordinator
A list of designated CRCOs can be found on the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website.
Bellevue College will seek to protect the privacy of the complainant to the fullest extent possible, consistent with the legal obligation to investigate, take appropriate remedial and/or disciplinary action, and comply with the federal and state law, as well as Bellevue College policies and procedures. Although Bellevue College will attempt to honor complainant’s requests for confidentiality, it cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Determinations regarding how to handle requests for confidentiality will be made by the CRCO.
If Bellevue College is unable to honor a complainant’s request for confidentiality, the CRCO will notify the complainant of the decision and ensure that complainant’s identity is disclosed only to the extent reasonably necessary to effectively conduct and complete the investigation in compliance with these procedures.
Claim resolution processes are initiated when:
- A CRCO receives a claim reporting that a respondent(s) discriminated against a complainant.
- The college becomes aware of behavior that may be a violation of policy.
Claims may be resolved through either an alternate or formal resolution processes.
Under appropriate circumstances, the complainant and responding parties may voluntarily pursue alternate resolution during the review of the reported concern. If an alternate resolution is appropriate, the complainant and the respondent may explore remedies or resolution through:
- Guided conversations or communications conducted by the CRCO, human resources, and/or a mutually agreed upon third party;
- Negotiated resolution wherein the parties agree to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
If the parties agree to an alternate resolution process, Bellevue College will commence the process after both parties agree. The alternate process is voluntary. Either the complainant or respondent may withdraw from the alternate resolution process at any time.
If the complainant and respondent voluntarily resolve a reported claim, Bellevue College will record the terms of the resolution in a written agreement signed by both parties and provide written notice to both parties that the report has been closed. Alternate resolutions are not subject to appeal.
Alternate resolution may not be appropriate when the report involves a mandatory reporting situation (pursuant to BC policy 1470 and RCWs 74.34, 26.44, 28B.10.846) or the health, safety, or welfare of a member of the Bellevue College community.
Formal resolution means that the report of discrimination and/or harassment will be subjected to a formal investigation and will follow the investigative procedures described in this procedure.
Respondents may be removed from the campus on an emergency basis if they an immediate threat to the health and safety of the Bellevue College community or an immediate threat of significant disruption to Bellevue College operations. If the respondent is an employee, Bellevue College’s vice president of human resources may place the employee on administrative leave pending final resolution of the claim. If the respondent is a student, the student conduct manager may remove the student pending final resolution of the claim pursuant to the summary suspension process set forth in WAC 132H-126-170.
Good Faith Reporting
The expectation is that reported claims are made in good faith and should not contain intentionally false information. Making false statements or knowingly submitting false information under these procedures is a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate and as reasonably available, without fee or charge to a respondent/complainant or other involved party(s). Supportive measures may be offered by a CRCO before and/or after a formal complaint is filed, or where no formal complaint is filed.
Supportive measures include measures designed to protect the safety of all parties and/or the Bellevue College educational environment and/or to deter discrimination and/or harassment or retaliation. Determinations about whether to impose supportive measures are made on a case-by-case basis. If requested supportive measures are not provided, the CRCO will document why this was unreasonable under the circumstances.
Dismissal of a claim does not preclude Bellevue College from investigating and pursuing discipline based on a reported claim that a respondent violated other federal or state laws and regulations, Bellevue College policies, and/or other codes and contractual provisions governing employee or student conduct.
Bellevue College may dismiss a claim in whole or in part, if:
- The complainant notifies the CRCO in writing that they would like to withdraw the formal claim in whole or in part; or
- Respondent is no longer enrolled at Bellevue College; or
- Specific circumstances prevent Bellevue College from gathering evidence sufficient to complete the investigation of the report in whole or in part; or
- Other appropriate circumstances as determined by the college
Dismissal of a claim does not prevent the college from pursuing action at a future date.
Access within the Claim Process
Individuals requiring accommodations to participate in these processes should contact the human resources office (employees) or the disability resource center (students). Individuals requiring interpretation or translation services should contact the human resources office.
The college will endeavor to complete the investigation process in a prompt manner with allowances for temporary delays and extensions for good cause shown. Grounds for temporary delays include, but are not limited to, academic breaks, holidays, protected leave, and other unforeseen or unusual situations.
If a formal resolution process is initiated, Bellevue College will provide the parties with Notices of Investigation and related policies.
Investigation Process – Consolidation of Formal Claims
When multiple reported claims by or against different parties arise out of the same facts or circumstances, Bellevue College may consolidate the investigation of formal claims, provided consolidation can be accomplished in compliance with confidentiality protections. This includes instances in which complainant and respondent have lodged formal claims against one another or when reports of harassment are lodged by a single complainant against multiple respondents, or when multiple complainants lodge harassment claims against single or multiple respondents.
The college is obligated to ensure that this procedure is not abused for retaliatory purposes. Counterclaims determined to have been made in good faith will be processed but may take place after resolution of the initial reported claim. Counterclaims may also be resolved through the same investigation as the initial report, at the discretion of the CRCO. When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered retaliatory and may constitute a violation of policy 1440 and this procedure.
The investigation will culminate in a written report that contains the investigator’s findings of fact, including a summary of relevant inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. When the investigation is performed by a designee or an outside investigator, these findings will be forwarded to the CRCO for review.
In all cases, the CRCO representative will forward the finalized investigation report to the appropriate disciplinary authority and provide the impacted and responding parties simultaneous notice of the investigative findings.
Disciplinary action will be in accordance with college policy and collective bargaining agreements. Reasonable efforts will be made to initiate disciplinary action within fifteen (15) business days of the supervisor, appropriate college official, or student conduct manager receiving the findings and/or recommendations.
Disposition of Records
Records and other evidence related to a report will be retained and maintained in compliance with the public records act, public records retention requirements, as well as any other applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
For purposes of this procedure, the following terms are defined as follows:
Complainant: Any employee, student, or visitor of Bellevue College who is directly affected by a reported violation of this policy. The complainant is not necessarily the respondent; witnesses or other third parties may report concerns.
Education Program or Activity: Includes locations, events, or circumstances over which Bellevue College exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the reported discrimination and/or harassment occurred. It also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization officially recognized by the Bellevue College.
Discrimination: Conduct that harms or adversely affects any employee, student, visitor, or community member based on their membership in a protected class.
False Statements: Making a materially false statement in bad faith during any proceeding or process under this policy. No complaint is considered false solely because it cannot be corroborated.
Formal Claim: A written statement signed and submitted by a complainant or reporting party claiming discrimination and/or harassment and requesting that Bellevue College conduct an investigation.
Harassment (discriminatory): Unwelcome and offensive conduct, including verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, not otherwise protected by law, that is directed at a person because of the person’s membership in a protected class and that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to deny or limit the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program, alters the conditions of employment, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for other campus community members. This includes sexual harassment not covered by Title IX.
Sexual Misconduct. A general term that includes such things as sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence, and stalking.
- Sexual Harassment occurs when a respondent engages in the following discriminatory conduct on the basis of sex:
- Hostile Environment. Unwelcome sexual or gender-based conduct, not otherwise protected by law, that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to deny or limit, based on sex or gender, the ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program, alters the terms of employment, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for other campus community members.
- Quid Pro Quo. Occurs when an individual in a position of real or perceived authority, conditions the receipt of a benefit upon granting of sexual favors.
- Sexual Assault. Sexual assault includes the following conduct:
- Rape – (Includes attempted rape, excludes statutory rape) The carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sodomy – Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sexual Assault with an Object – To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Incest – Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
- Statutory Rape – Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
- Domestic Violence. Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Washington, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Washington, RCW 26.50.010.
- Dating Violence. Violence committed by a person:
- who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant;
- where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The length of the relationship.
- The type of relationship.
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- fear for their safety or the safety of others; or
- suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Indecent Exposure. The intentional or knowing exposure of a person’s genitals or other private body parts when done in a place or manner in which such exposure is likely to cause affront or alarm. Breastfeeding or expressing breast milk is not indecent exposure.
- Sexual Exploitation. Taking nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for the respondent’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, when the behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses described herein. Examples of sexual exploitation may include, but are not limited to:
- Invading another person’s sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another person;
- Nonconsensual photography and digital or video recording of nudity or sexual activity, or nonconsensual audio recording of sexual activity;
- Unauthorized sharing or distribution of photographs or digital or video recording of nudity or sexual activity, or audio recording of sexual activity, unless otherwise protected by law;
- Engaging in voyeurism. A person commits voyeurism if they knowingly view, photograph, record, or film another person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, while the person being viewed, photographed, recorded, or filmed is in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy;
- Knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted disease or infection; or
- Causing the nonconsensual indecent exposure of another person.
- Sexual Coercion. Unreasonably pressuring another for sexual contact. When a complainant makes it clear through words or actions that they do not want to engage in sexual contact, want to stop, or do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point is presumptively unreasonable and coercive. Other examples of coercion may include using blackmail or extortion, or administering drugs and/or alcohol to overcome resistance or gain consent to sexual activity. Sexual contact that is the result of coercion is nonconsensual.
Interference: Behavior that includes actions that intentionally dissuade or attempt to dissuade reporting parties, responding parties, or witnesses from reporting or participating in an investigation; attempt to influence a complainant, respondent, or witness to make an inaccurate statement in the investigation; delay or disrupt, or attempt to delay or disrupt, any college processes related to this policy; and/or alter or attempt to alter the evidence provided to or received by investigative or disciplinary processes.
Protected class: Individuals who are protected under local, state, or federal civil rights laws, as described in policy 1440.
Respondent: Person(s) who reportedly discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against another person(s) in violation of Policy 1440.
Retaliation: Behavior that includes intimidation, threats, coercion, interference, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privileged secured by this Procedure, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this Procedure. First amendment activities do not constitute retaliation.
Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- fear for their safety or the safety of others; or
- suffer substantial emotional distress.
Relevant Laws and Other Resources
- BC Policy 1440
- BC Policy 1470
- Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Equal Pay Act of 1963
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
- Age Discrimination Act of 1975
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972
- Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) chapter 49.60 RCW
- U.S. Department of Justice Executive Order 13160
- The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization 2013
- RCW 28B.10.842; RCW 4.92.060-075
- RCW 74.34 Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
- RCW 26.44 Abuse of Children
- RCW 28B.10.846 Report of child abuse or neglect – Reporting responsibilities
- Chapter 132H-126 WAC
- Chapter RCW 28B.110, Gender Equality in Higher Education
- Chapter RCW 28B.112, Campus Sexual Violence
- Chapter 132H-125 WAC Student Conduct Code of Bellevue College
- Washington State Human Rights Commission
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
- Bellevue College Association of Higher Education Collective Bargaining Agreement
- Washington Public Employees Association Higher Education Collective Bargaining Agreement
- Washington Federation of State Employees Higher Education Community College Coalition Collective Bargaining Agreement
Revisions 9/11/2012; 3/24/2015;6/12/2018; 09/28/2021 (temporary approval granted by President’s Cabinet – expires 03/28/22)
Last Updated October 19, 2021