1440P Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation (Procedures)

Original Date: 9/20/2011 * Last Revision Effective: 6/12/2018
Policy Contact: Vice President, Human Resources

Purpose

The following procedures are established to implement Policy 1440 Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation.

Procedures

It is the policy of Bellevue College to ensure a learning and working environment free from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on an individual’s membership in a protected class, and to investigate and resolve alleged violations of this policy in an equitable and timely fashion. These procedures describe how the college will receive, investigate, and resolve reports by students, employees, and visitors who allege violations of Policy 1440 by college employees or students.

Who may raise a concern

Any individual who believes they have:

  • Been discriminated against or harassed based on their membership in a protected class (impacted party) by a member of the college community (responding party) in violation of Policy 1440;
  • 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 (reporting party).

Where to raise a concern

Reports of gender discrimination, sexual misconduct, or retaliation by a student should be raised with the Title IX office (see 1440P2 for contact information). In cases where the impacted party is a student and the responding party is a college employee, the Title IX coordinator will direct the matter to the human resources office (HRO).

All other reports, including all reports where the impacted party is an employee, should be raised with the HRO

If a report is against personnel in the Title IX office or HRO, it should be submitted to the president’s office for referral to an alternate designee.

How to raise a concern

Reports may be submitted orally, in writing, or electronically. Forms are available in the human resources and Title IX offices; however, a form is not required to make a report. The college encourages timely reporting of concerns related to Policy 1440. Reports should be made in good faith, with a regard for the truth, and should not contain intentionally dishonest information.

Confidentiality

Bellevue College will seek to protect the privacy of both the impacted and responding parties, consistent with its legal obligation to investigate and take appropriate interim measures and disciplinary actions; and comply with federal law, state law, and college policy. Although the college will attempt to honor a party’s requests for confidentiality, it cannot be guaranteed. The Title IX coordinator / HRO representative will determine how to handle requests for confidentiality.

Informal resolution

Under appropriate circumstances and if the impacted and responding parties agree, they may voluntarily pursue informal resolution during the investigation of a concern. Informal resolution is not appropriate when the allegations involve a mandatory reporting situation or a threat to the college community.

If an informal resolution is appropriate, the impacted party and the responding party may explore remedies or resolution through:

  • Guided conversations or communications conducted by the Title IX coordinator / HRO representative or a mutually agreed upon third party;
  • Structured resolution process conducted by a trained mediator; or
  • Voluntarily agreed on alterations to either or both of the parties’ work or class schedules or student housing arrangements.

If the parties agree to an informal resolution process, the college will endeavor to begin the process within ten (10) business days after the parties agree to this option and conclude within thirty (30) business days of beginning that process. The informal process is voluntary. Either the impacted or responding party may withdraw from the informal resolution process at any time, at which point the formal investigation process will resume.

If the impacted and responding party voluntarily resolve a report, the 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.

Investigation process

Upon receiving a report, the college will begin a prompt and equitable investigation. Investigations will be overseen by either the Title IX coordinator or HRO representative, depending on the nature of the report, and will be conducted by trained college employees or qualified outside investigators. The Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will provide the impacted party and responding party with written notification if the investigation will be conducted by a designee or outside investigator, including the designee’s or outside investigator’s contact information.

The college will endeavor to complete the investigation process within ninety (90) days. If the college anticipates that the investigation will exceed this timeframe, it will notify the impacted party and the responding party and provide an explanation for the delay and reasonable estimated date of completion.

Timelines

Unless otherwise indicated, all timeframes in these procedures are intended as guidelines that the college will make a good faith effort to meet whenever reasonably possible. Additional time may be necessary to address, among other things, college breaks and holidays; scheduling conflicts; the need to coordinate with law enforcement, other government agencies and institutions, or an external investigator; or the need to conduct additional investigation or to pursue an informal resolution process.

Interim measures

At any point during an investigation, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative, in collaboration with the student conduct office, public safety, and/or a supervisor or appropriate college official, may impose or revise interim measures to protect the impacted party and/or responding party pending resolution of the report. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, imposition of no contact directives, class rescheduling, temporary work reassignments, referrals for counseling or medical assistance, reassignment of housing, and imposition of summary suspension or administrative leave on the responding party consistent with the college’s student conduct code, employment policies, and collective bargaining agreements.

Initial meeting

Within five (5) business days after receiving a report, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will endeavor to contact the impacted party to schedule an initial meeting. At this time, the impacted party will be informed that they are entitled to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice (support person) during the investigation process. The Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will endeavor to hold the initial meeting within ten (10) business days after receipt of the report.

During the initial meeting, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will

  • Interview the impacted party about the incident described in the report;
  • Provide copies of Policy 1440/1440P, as well as written information regarding on-campus and Off-campus support services and resources;
  • Discuss confidentiality;
  • Identify and discuss possible interim measures; and
  • When appropriate, identify and discuss options for resolving the report.

Based on the initial meeting, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will determine

  • Whether the report involves allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation prohibited under Policy 1440 or whether the matter should be referred to the college’s general complaint resolution procedures (1450P), student dispute resolution procedures (1450P2) or the student conduct code (Policy 2050);
  • What, if any, interim measures should be imposed on behalf of the impacted and responding parties pending resolution of the report;
  • Who will conduct the investigation; and
  • Areas in which additional investigation may be necessary.

Responding party interview

The Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will endeavor to provide the responding party written notice of the report within ten (10) business days following the initial meeting and schedule an interview with the investigator to discuss the allegations. The investigator will endeavor to conduct the responding party interview within (10) business days after the college provides the responding party with notice of the report.

The written notice to the responding party will include

  • Identities of the parties involved in the alleged incident;
  • Date and location of the incident causing concern;
  • Description of the alleged conduct and the alleged policy violation;
  • Name and contact information for the individual assigned to conduct the investigation if available;
  • Proposed date, time, and location for conducting an interview; and
  • Notice that the responding party may attend the interview with a support person of their choice, including the responding party’s bargaining unit representative if they are a represented employee.

During the responding party interview, the investigator will

  • Interview the responding party about the allegations in the report;
  • Provide copies of Policy 1440/1440P, as well as written information regarding on-campus and off-campus support services and resources;
  • Identify and discuss possible interim measures; and
  • When appropriate, identify and discuss options for resolving the report.

Additional investigation

At any point during this process, the Title IX Coordinator or HRO Representative, their designees, or an outside investigator may interview relevant witnesses and/or gather and review documentation related to a report.

Findings

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 Title IX coordinator/HRO representative for review.

In all cases, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will provide the impacted and responding parties notice of the investigative findings.

In cases involving allegations of sexual violence, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will provide the impacted party and the responding party with a copy of the investigation report to the extent permissible under FERPA and other state and federal confidentiality laws. In sexual misconduct cases in which the responding party is an employee, either the impacted or responding party may file a written notice of reconsideration of the investigative findings if it is within seven (7) days of receiving notice of the findings.

In sexual misconduct cases in which the responding party is a student, the Title IX coordinator/HRO representative will forward the following to the Student Conduct Officer

  • A copy of the final investigative report; and
  • A confidential memorandum that summarizes the findings and makes recommendations on discipline and/or corrective action, if appropriate.

The impacted party and the responding party may appeal the disciplinary decision of the Student Conduct Officer as described in the student conduct code (Policy 2050).

Disciplinary action

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 officer receiving the findings and/or recommendations.

Withdrawal

At any point during the investigation, an impacted party may seek to withdraw their report. Depending on the circumstances, the college may proceed with an investigation even after the impacted party has withdrawn the report or it will provide written notice to both parties that the report has been withdrawn and that the case is closed.

Administrative closure

If the impacted party does not fully cooperate with the investigator during the investigation, the Title IX coordinator or the HRO representative may provide the impacted party with written notice that the investigation will be closed in seven (7) business days unless the impacted party contacts the investigator within that timeframe and provides sufficient assurance of future cooperation.

Access within the resolution process

Individuals requiring accommodations to participate in these processes should contact the HRO (employees) or the Disability Resource Center (students). Individuals requiring interpretation or translation services should contact the HRO.

Using work time to participate in the resolution process

Employees will be given reasonable release time from their regular work schedules to participate in these procedures, following notification to appropriate administrative personnel or supervisors.

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.

Resolution through an external agency

Individuals may submit allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation based on membership in a protected class with the following state or federal agencies within the time periods prescribed by those agencies.

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
    909 First Avenue, Suite 400
    Seattle, WA 98104-1061
    www.eeoc.gov
  • Washington State Human Rights Commission
    1511 Third Avenue, Suite 921
    Seattle, WA 98101
    www.hum.wa.gov
  • Office for Civil Rights
    U.S. Department of Education
    915 Second Avenue
    Seattle, WA 98171-1099
    www.ed.gov

Definitions

Reportable conduct pursuant to this procedure

Discrimination. Conduct that harms or adversely affects any employee, student, visitor, or community member based on their membership in a protected class.

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.

Sexual misconduct. A general term that includes sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual coercion, and sexual exploitation.

  • Sexual harassment. 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.
  • Nonconsensual sexual intercourse. Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual intercourse includes anal or vaginal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.
  • Nonconsensual sexual contact. Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
  • Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment. Occurs when an individual in a position of real or perceived authority, conditions the receipt of a benefit upon granting of sexual favors.
  • Sexual coercion. Unreasonably pressuring another for sexual contact. When an impacted party 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 non-consensual.
  • Sexual exploitation. Taking nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for the responding party’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.
  • Relationship violence. The infliction of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault committed by
    • The impacted party’s current or former spouse;
    • The impacted party’s current or former cohabitant;
    • A person with whom the impacted party shares a child in common; or
    • A person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the impacted party. Whether such a relationship exists will be gauged by the length, type, and frequency of interaction
  • Stalking. Intentional and repeated following of another person, which places that person in reasonable fear that the perpetrator intends to injure, intimidate, or harass that person. Stalking also includes instances where the perpetrator knows or reasonably should know that the person is frightened, intimidated, or harassed, even if the perpetrator lacks such an intent.

Retaliation. Harming, threatening, intimidating, coercing, or taking adverse action against a person because of their participation in any protected activity such as reporting concerns, filing a report, or participating in an investigation or hearing related to potential discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

Other definitions

Impacted party: Any employee, student, or visitor of Bellevue College who is directly affected by an alleged violation of this policy. The impacted party is not necessarily the reporting party; witnesses or other third parties may report concerns. In cases involving an allegation of sexual misconduct, the impacted party has rights under Title IX including, but not limited to: the right to be informed of all orders issued in their specific disciplinary case; the right to appeal a disciplinary decision; and the right to be accompanied by an advisor.

Protected class: Individuals who are protected under local, state or federal civil rights laws, as described in Policy 1440.

Responding party: Person(s) who allegedly discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against another person(s) in violation of Policy 1440.

Resolution: the means by which a report is finally addressed. This may be accomplished through informal or formal processes, including counseling, mediation, or the formal imposition of discipline.

Consent: Knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

  • Effective consent cannot result from force, or threat of force, coercion, fraud or intimidation.
  • Physical force includes but is not limited to: hitting, kicking, and restraining. Physical force means someone is physically exerting control of another person through violence.
  • Threatening someone to obtain consent for a sexual act is a violation of this policy. Threats exist where a reasonable person would have been compelled by the words or actions of another to give permission to sexual activity to which he or she otherwise would not have consented.
  • Each party has the responsibility to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be at the time of the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.
  • A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or are disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has engaged in nonconsensual conduct. Intoxication is not a defense against allegations that an individual has engaged in nonconsensual sexual conduct.

Relevant Laws and Regulations

Revision History

Original 9/20/2011
Revisions 9/11/2012; 3/24/2015; 6/12/2018

Approved By

President’s Cabinet

Last Updated June 14, 2018