Original Date: 9/20/2011 * Last Revision Effective: 6/12/2018; Temporary Revision Effective: 9/19/23 (temporary approval expires on 03/19/24)
Policy Contact: Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Vice President of Human Resources
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 reports of discrimination and harassment based on membership or perceived membership in a protected class and sex/gender-based discrimination that falls outside the of the procedural requirements as defined in 34 C.F.R. §106.30 are addressed under 1445, 1445P, and 1445P2.
- Office of Compliance and Title IX: BC campus office dedicated to addressing and investigating sexual misconduct.
- Counseling Center (for students): Students can access BC’s Counselors who are trained mental health professionals and assist students with a wide variety of personal life challenges and concerns that may be impacting academic performance; help students use their values and interests to explore college majors and career choices; and support students to maximize their personal, career, and educational potential. *Confidential/Privileged
- Public Safety: BC Public Safety is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can provide an escort to and from locations on campus.
- Human Resources: BC Campus office responsible for employee relations and other employment related matters
- Employee Assistance Program: Employees can access counseling and resources at 877-313-4455.
- LifeWire: Domestic Violence services in Bellevue, including a 24-hour helpline, housing/rent assistance, shelter, community and legal advocacy, therapy, and support groups.
- (425) 746-1940 or (800) 827-8840
- King County Sexual Assault Resource Center: KCSARC has a 24-hour helpline, and they provide crisis response, community and legal advocacy, therapy, and family services in both English and Spanish.
- (425) 226.5062 or (888) 998-6423
- Population specific: King County has a variety of population specific resources, some of which can be found at: www.bellevuecollege.edu/gbvprevention/resources/.
For purposes of this procedure, the following terms are defined as follows:
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.
Discrimination: Unfair or unequal treatment based on their membership or perceived membership in a legally protected class that harms or adversely affects any employee, student, visitor, or community member. Harassment based on membership or perceived membership in a protected class is a form of discrimination.
False Statements: Making a materially false statement intentionally during any proceeding or process under this policy. No complaint is considered false solely because it cannot be corroborated.
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 Responding Party 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 or conditions 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 Impacted Party, by a person with whom the Impacted Party shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the Impacted Party as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Impacted Party under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth Impacted Party 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 Impacted Party;
- 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 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. 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 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 nonconsensual.
Impacted Party: Any employee, student, or visitor of Bellevue College who is directly affected by a reported violation of this policy. The Impacted Party is not necessarily the Reporting Party; witnesses or other third parties may report concerns.
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 Impacted Party, Responding Party, 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.
Privacy: Information related to a report of sexual misconduct is shared on a “need to know” basis, in order to provide support for the individual and ensure safety for individuals and the community.
Protected class: Individuals who are protected under local, state, or federal civil rights laws, as described in policy 1440.
Resolution: the means by which a report is finally addressed. This may be accomplished through informal or formal processes, including but not limited to counseling, mediation, or the formal imposition of discipline.
Responding Party: Person(s) who reportedly discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against another person(s) in violation of Policy 1440.
Retaliation: Behavior or adverse action that includes but is not limited to intimidation, threats, coercion, interference, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of dissuading a person from engaging in a protected activity, exercising any right or privilege secured by this Procedure including making a report or complaint, participating in an investigation in any manner under this Procedure, that negatively affects the individual’s employment, reputation, or other interest. First amendment activities do not constitute retaliation.
Safety Planning: Identifying ways to stay safe and minimize risk of future harm, e.g. identifying potential risk, considering options, and implementing specific measures.
Stalking (not sex- or gender-based): 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.
Supportive Measures: Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate and as reasonably available, without fee or charge to an Impacted Party, Responding Party/Impacted Party, or other involved party(s).
Civil Rights Compliance Officer (CRCO)
Civil Rights Compliance Officers (CRCO) are designated personnel responsible for processing discrimination and harassment complaints and conducting informal resolution processes and formal investigations under these procedures. The CRCOs are designated and approved by the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and the Vice President of Human Resources. Title IX personnel are considered CRCOs. Among other things, a CRCO is responsible for:
- Accepting and processing all discrimination or harassment reports.
- Handling requests for confidentiality.
- Conducting fair, impartial investigations as assigned.
- Engaging in an interactive process with both parties to identify and provide supportive measures that ensure during the investigation and follow up or disciplinary action, that the parties have equitable access to education programs and activities and are protected from any discrimination or retaliation.
- Upon completion of an investigation, issuing or ensuring 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.
Who may raise a concern
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 (Impacted Party) by a member of the college community (Responding Party) 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
Employees who have information regarding an incident or situation involving discrimination and/or harassment are required to promptly report the information Employees who are licensed mental health counselors wherein confidentiality is part of their licensure, while in the role of counselor, are exempt from reporting. Reports can be made:
- to Bellevue College’s CRCOs as identified below,
- online at bellevuecollege.edu/reportconcerns,
- to Human Resources, or
- to a supervisor. Supervisors are required to report directly to a CRCO.
If the report involves a CRCO or a related conflict of interest, the Impacted Party should report the matter to the president’s office for referral to an alternate designee.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Consuelo Grier, Vice President
Frances Dujon-Reynolds, Vice President
Rachel Wellman, Title IX Officer
Jill Powell-Szep, Title IX Coordinator
Bellevue College will seek to protect the privacy of the Impacted Party 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 an Impacted Party’s requests for confidentiality, it cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Determinations regarding how to handle requests for confidentiality will be made by the designated CRCO.
If Bellevue College is unable to honor an Impacted Party’s request for confidentiality, the CRCO will notify the Impacted Party of the decision and ensure that Impacted Party’s identity is disclosed only to the extent reasonably necessary to effectively conduct and complete the investigation in compliance with these procedures.
Reported concerns may be resolved through an informal or formal resolution process. The Impacted Party may choose to forgo the resolution processes and request only to receive Supportive Measures. The CRCO will determine if Supportive Measures alone satisfy the college’s obligations.
Supportive measures may be offered by a CRCO, whether or not a resolution option is pursued. An Impacted Party may request supportive measures to be the only action taken by the college.
Supportive measures may include such things as safety planning and other measures designed to protect the safety of all parties and/or the Bellevue College educational environment, to deter discrimination and/or harassment or retaliation, and to restore access to the educational and/or work environment. Determinations about whether to impose supportive measures are made on a case-by-case basis.
Under appropriate circumstances, the Impacted Party and responding parties may voluntarily pursue an alternative resolution during the review of the reported concern. If an alternative resolution is appropriate, the Impacted Party and the Responding Party may explore remedies or resolution through:
- Guided conversations or communications conducted by the CRCO and/or a mutually agreed upon third party;
- Negotiated resolution wherein the parties agree to a mutually satisfactory resolution.
The alternative resolution process is voluntary and requires agreement from involved parties. Any party may withdraw from the alternative resolution process at any time and request a formal resolution.
If the Impacted Party and Responding Party voluntarily resolve a reported claim, Bellevue College will document the terms of the resolution and share with the involved parties. Resolutions between two parties may be written agreements that both parties sign. The terms of an alternative resolution must be approved by the CRCO. Alternative resolutions are not subject to appeal.
Alternative resolutions 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. Bellevue College reserves the right to determine the most appropriate resolution.
Formal resolution means that the report of discrimination and/or harassment will be subjected to an investigation. See section: INVESTIGATION.
A Responding Party may be removed from the campus on an emergency basis if they pose 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 Responding Party is an employee, Bellevue College’s Vice President of Human Resources may place the employee on administrative leave. If the Responding Party is a student, the Student Conduct Manager may remove the student pursuant to the summary suspension process set forth in WAC 132H-126-170.
Good Faith Reporting
The expectation is that reported claims 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.
Individuals requiring accommodations 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 in a prompt manner with allowances for temporary delays and extensions for good cause. Grounds for temporary delays include, but are not limited to, academic breaks, holidays, protected leave, and other unforeseen or unusual situations.
If an investigation is initiated, Bellevue College will provide the parties with a Notice of Investigation that includes a meaningful summary of the reported behaviors with sufficient detail that allows the Responding Party to understand the nature and extent of the reported concern and the related policies in order to prepare appropriately for an initial meeting.
Investigation Process – Consolidation
When multiple reports by or against different parties arise out of the same facts or circumstances, Bellevue College may consolidate the investigation, provided consolidation can be accomplished in compliance with confidentiality protections.
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 report. 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 evidence. When the investigation is performed by a designee or an outside investigator, these findings will be forwarded to the appropriate CRCO(s).
In all cases, the CRCO representative will forward the finalized investigation report to the appropriate disciplinary authority, Human Resources in the case of an employee respondent and Student Conduct in the case of a student respondent. The investigation report including a final summary of substantiated or unsubstantiated findings and rationale will be sent to the Impacted and Responding Parties. Following review of the investigation report, the appropriate disciplinary authority will issue a final determination in writing.
The parties have the right to appeal the final determination. Appeals are limited to the following grounds:
- procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- the discovery of new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- the CRCO or investigator had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Impacted Party(s) or Responding Party(s) and the bias or conflict affected the outcome of the matter.
Represented employees will follow appeals procedures according to their CBA. All other appeals may be submitted directly to the College president who will review or assign it to alternate designee.
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.
Temporary or Long Term Remedies
Following the conclusion of the Resolution Process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the CRCO may implement additional temporary or long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the institutional community that are intended to stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation, remedy the effects, and prevent reoccurrence.
These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:
- Referral to counseling services
- Referral to the Employee Assistance Program
- Permanent alteration of housing assignments
- Temporary or permanent alteration of work arrangements for employees
- Provision of campus safety escorts
- Climate surveys
- Policy modification and/or training
- Implementation of short or long-term contact limitations between the parties
- Implementation of adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.
At the discretion of the CRCO, certain temporary or long-term support or measures may also be provided to the parties even if no policy violation is found. When no policy violation is found, the CRCO will address any remedies appropriate for the Respondent to ensure no effective denial of educational access. The College will maintain the privacy of any long-term remedies/actions/measures, provided it does not impair the College’s ability to provide these services.
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.
Relevant Laws and Regulations
- BC Policy 1440
- 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
- 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
President’s Cabinet temporary approval 9/19/23, approval expires 3/19/24
Last Updated November 28, 2023