Anti-Discrimination, Harassment, Violence, and Retaliation Policy and Procedure
Administrative Procedure 3.403
Elgin Community College (“the College”) does not discriminate, or tolerate discrimination, against any member of its community on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex/gender/gender identity, age, religion, disability, pregnancy, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by applicable federal, state or local law in matters of admissions, employment, or in any aspect of the educational programs or activities it offers.
Examples of prohibited discrimination include (but are not limited to):
- refusing to offer employment or educational opportunities to someone because of the person's protected status;
- considering a person’s protected status in deciding an employee’s salary or a student’s grade;
- making any other employment or academic decision based on a person’s protected status.
Additional information regarding the College’s prohibition against disability discrimination, as well as information regarding accommodations for individuals with disabilities, is set forth in Administrative Procedure 3.501 (Individuals with Disabilities).
Anti-Harassment or Violence
Harassment, whether verbal, physical or visual, that is based on any protected characteristic, is a form of discrimination if it affects tangible work or educational benefits, interferes unreasonably with an individual's job performance or academic performance, or creates what a reasonable person would perceive is an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or learning environment. Examples of conduct that may, depending on its severity, constitute prohibited harassment include (but are not limited to):
- refusing to offer employment or educational opportunities to someone because of the person's protected status;
- making an employment or academic decision because of the person's protected status;
- jokes or epithets about another person's protected status;
- teasing or practical jokes directed at a person based on his or her protected status;
- the display or circulation of written materials or pictures that degrade a person or group based upon a protected characteristic; and
- verbal abuse or insults about, directed at, or made in the presence of an individual or group of individuals in a protected group.
While the College is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression, harassment identified in this policy is neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom, and will not be tolerated.
Prohibited harassment also includes unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and any form of violence perpetrated against a member of the College community, including, but not limited to, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as discussed more fully below. The College does not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
The College expects anyone witnessing or experiencing conduct which may violate this policy to report the conduct using the procedures set forth in Section II below. The College prohibits retaliation in any form against members of the College community who report such conduct or who participate in an investigation or hearing related to allegations that this policy was violated.
Examples of prohibited retaliation include (but are not limited to):
- refusing to offer employment or educational opportunities to someone because of the person's protected activity;
- considering a person’s protected activity in deciding an employee’s salary or a student’s grade;
- making any other employment or academic decision based on a person’s protected activity;
- ostracizing a person because of the person’s protected activity.
Policy Against Sex Discrimination: Including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Violence
Applicable Federal Law
This policy supplements the general policy statement set forth above and addresses the requirements of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act) and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”). The Campus SaVE Act is a federal law that addresses domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in higher education. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX states as follows:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Discrimination on the basis of sex (i.e., sex discrimination) includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. Domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are also prohibited by this policy.
As noted above, it is the policy of the College to provide a work and educational environment free of all forms of sex discrimination, including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. This prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex applies to all students, faculty, and staff, to other members of the College community, and to contractors, consultants, and vendors doing business or providing services to the College.
Responsible College Personnel
The College’s President has the ultimate responsibility for implementing this policy and for deciding the appropriate corrective action that should be taken to address violations of this policy. The President has appointed a Task Force on Discrimination and Harassment, to which the President has delegated day-to-day responsibility for this policy. The Task Force consists of the following College personnel: the College Paralegal EEO/AA Officer, who is the Title IX Coordinator for the College; the Associate Dean of Student Success; and the Executive Director of Human Resources. The President may modify the composition of the Task Force at his or her discretion.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX Compliance on behalf of the College. This includes coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of the complaint and grievance procedures for the handling of suspected or alleged violations of this policy.
Any inquiries regarding Title IX, the Campus SaVE Act, or the College’s Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator or to one of the Task Force members identified below. These individuals will be available to meet with or talk to students, staff, and faculty regarding issues relating to Title IX and this policy.
President’s Task Force
Task Force Chair
EEO/AA Officer and Title IX Coordinator
Dean of Student Success
Executive Director of Human Resource
The Task Force is also responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX Compliance at the College, and for notifying the Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted.
Additionally, the College designates personnel holding the following positions as “Responsible Employees”: Deans; members of administration holding the title Manager or above; Campus Security; Human Resources. As Responsible Employees, these individuals are available to speak with any member of the College community who believes he or she has witnessed a violation of this policy. They will report the incident to a Task Force member who will initiate investigation. If the person reporting the perceived violation does not want the College to take action on the complaint, or does not want his/her identity revealed, the Responsible Employee will notify the Title IX Coordinator who will determine whether the complainant’s wishes can be honored.
Finally, the following personnel are designated as individuals with whom a member of the community may have an entirely confidential discussion about any Title IX concern, in particular, incidents of sexual assault or violence of any type: Wellness Professionals. Unlike the Responsible Employee, these individuals will not reveal the student’s concern to the Title IX Coordinator or Task Force.
Definition and Examples of Conduct Prohibited Under the Policy Against Sex Discrimination
Prohibited conduct includes all forms of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as sexual assault and sexual violence, including domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, which are a form of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment may take many forms. Sexual harassment may consist of repeated actions or may even arise from a single incident if sufficiently extreme. The complainant and the alleged perpetrator may be of either gender and need not be of different genders. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:
- submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, status in a position of employment or an academic course or program, or participation in any College activity;
- submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for a decision affecting an individual’s employment or education, status in a position of employment or an academic course or program, or participation in any College activity; or
- such conduct is intended to cause, or would objectively be regarded by a reasonable person as causing (i) unreasonable interference with an individual’s job performance or academic performance in a course or program, or participation in any College activity, or (ii) an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, learning, or educational environment.
Depending on the circumstances, sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these acts;
- Intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, poking, or brushing against another individual's body;
- Offering or implying a job- or education-related reward (such as a pay increase, a favorable employment evaluation, a job promotion, a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct;
- Threatening or taking a negative employment or educational action (such as a reduction in pay, a negative employment evaluation, or a demotion, giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual's job or academic work more difficult because sexual conduct is rejected;
- The use or display in the workplace or classroom, including electronic, of pornographic or sexually harassing materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti without pedagogical or other justification; and
- Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience.
Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence
Sexual assault/sexual violence is a particular type of sexual harassment that includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to inappropriate touching, sexual intercourse of any kind without consent, rape, and attempted rape.
Domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking:
- “Domestic violence” means violence by the complainant’s current or former spouse, intimate partner, cohabitant, or person similarly situated; person with whom the complainant shares a child in common; or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.
- “Dating violence” means violence by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the complainant.
- “Stalking” means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
In light of the potential for misunderstanding, morale problems, or abuse arising from consensual romantic or sexual relationships within the College community, it is the College’s policy that employees having or concluding within the preceding twelve months a sexual and/or romantic relationship may not have evaluative authority over their partners in the relationship in such matters as employment, compensation, promotion, or termination When a situation occurs that potentially violates this policy, the employee with evaluative authority must report the relationship to his or her supervisor and the Chief Human Resources Officer. If the person to whom the relationship is reported determines that reassignment or other mitigating action is necessary, it is the responsibility of both the employee with the evaluative authority and the individual to whom the relationship is reported to ensure that the evaluative authority is reassigned. If such action is not feasible in a particular instance, the employee with evaluative authority and the individual to whom the relationship is reported must bring the matter to the attention of the Chief Human Resource Officer or other senior College administrator to determine the appropriate course of action. Failure to report a relationship required to be reported under this paragraph is a violation of this policy.
The College strongly discourages sexual and/or romantic relationships between its employees and students in all contexts.
A faculty member may not date, or otherwise be involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with, a student who is currently in his/her class. Even dating students who are not, and will not be, taught or supervised by the faculty member creates the potential for conflict of interest for the faculty member. The faculty member should be careful to refrain from any actions or decisions 7 that may reward or penalize the consenting student. This includes writing any reference letters, performing evaluations, or recommending the student for scholarships, internships, or future employment.
Faculty members may not have evaluative or supervisory authority over a student with whom the faculty member previously had a romantic or sexual relationship. Other College employees may not have evaluative or supervisory authority over a student with whom the employee is having or has had a romantic or sexual relationship. If such a relationship exists or has existed, the faculty member or employee must report the relationship to his or her supervisor or the Vice President of Teaching, Learning, & Student Development. If the person to whom the relationship is reported determines that reassignment or other mitigating action is necessary, it is the responsibility of both the faculty member/employee and the individual to whom the relationship is reported to ensure that the evaluative or supervisory authority is reassigned or other appropriate mitigating action is taken. If such action is not feasible in a particular instance, the faculty member/employee and the individual to whom the relationship is reported must bring the matter to the attention of the Vice President of Teaching, Learning, & Student Development to determine the appropriate course of action. Failure to report a relationship required to be reported under this paragraph is a violation of this policy.
Investigation & Grievance Procedures
Elgin Community College is committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of all alleged or suspected violations of its Anti-Discrimination, Harassment, Violence, and Retaliation Policy about which the College knows or reasonably should know, regardless of whether a complaint alleging a violation of this policy has been filed and regardless of where the conduct at issue occurred, provided that, in the case of off-campus conduct that does not occur in connection with a College sponsored event or program, there is an impact on the alleged victim’s educational or employment experience and opportunities at the College. The College’s ability to investigate in a particular situation, or the extent of the investigation in any given situation, may be affected by any number of factors, including whether the complainant is willing to file a complaint or to consent to an investigation and the College’s access to information relevant to the alleged or suspected violation of this policy. The College is nonetheless committed to investigating all alleged and suspected violations of this policy to the fullest extent possible under the circumstances.
These Investigation & Grievance Procedures apply to all suspected or alleged violations of this policy. These procedures will be implemented and applied in a manner that is consistent with all applicable collective bargaining agreements. If a grievance includes allegations or an individual files multiple grievances that could invoke more than one Administrative Procedure or other College policy or procedure, the College shall determine in its discretion what process it will use to resolve the grievance or grievances, and shall notify all parties of its determination. In addition, the College may, upon finding good cause, modify these Investigation & Grievance Procedures in the interests of promoting full and fair resolution of suspected or alleged violations of this policy in accordance with applicable law. Employees are also encouraged to consult any applicable collective bargaining agreement for additional procedures that may apply.
Reporting Alleged Violations of this Policy; Investigation
An individual who has a complaint against a student, faculty, staff member, or other individual involving an alleged violation of this policy should contact the Title IX Coordinator or any Task Force member, either by telephone or in writing. If the alleged violation involves the Policy Against Sex Discrimination, the complainant may also report the matter to the Responsible Employee, who will notify the Title IX Coordinator or member of the Task Force. The College will promptly and equitably investigate and resolve all suspected or alleged violations of this policy. Although there is no specific time limit for reporting a suspected violation of this policy, an individual who believes that he or she has been subjected to conduct that violates this policy is encouraged to contact the appropriate official as soon as possible after the alleged act of discrimination, harassment, violence or retaliation to discuss the available options for proceeding.
In addition to contacting the Title IX Coordinator or a member of the Task Force, a student or other individual who has experienced a sexual assault, other act of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking is encouraged to contact proper law enforcement authorities (e.g., by calling 911), including local police and any law enforcement officials at the College, about possibly filing a criminal complaint. The Title IX Coordinator and other Task Force members are available to assist students and others in making contact with appropriate law enforcement authorities upon request. Any pending criminal investigation or criminal proceeding may have some impact on the timing of the College’s investigation, but the College will commence its own investigation as soon as is practicable under the circumstances. The College reserves the right to commence and/or complete its own investigation prior to the completion of any criminal investigation or criminal proceeding. The College will investigate alleged or suspected violations even if a criminal complaint is not pursued by the complainant.
The investigation of any suspected or alleged violation of this policy will be completed within 60 days of the filing of a complaint or the date on which the College becomes aware of a suspected violation of this policy unless the College determines in its discretion that more time is required to complete the investigation. The nature and extent of the investigation will vary depending upon the circumstances, including whether the parties are amendable to pursuing an informal resolution (and the matter is eligible for informal resolution, as discussed below). As part of the investigation, the investigators will seek to interview the complainant and the accused. To help ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, complainants are asked to provide as much information as possible, such as:
- The name, department, and position of the person or persons allegedly causing the prohibited discrimination, harassment, violence, or retaliation.
- A description of any relevant incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence of any witnesses.
- The alleged effect of the incident(s) on the complainant’s opportunity to benefit from the College’s programs or activities.
- The names of other individuals who might have been subject to the same or similar acts of discrimination, harassment, violence, or retaliation.
- Although it is not required, any steps the complainant has taken to try to stop the discrimination, harassment, violence, or retaliation.
- Any other information the complainant believes to be relevant to the alleged discrimination, harassment, violence, or retaliation.
Any accused parties are expected cooperate in the investigation and to provide as much information as possible in connection with the investigation.
The College reserves the right to suspend any member of the College community suspected or accused of violating this policy or to take any other interim measures the College deems appropriate, pending the outcome of an investigation or grievance. Such interim measures can include, but are not limited to, removing a student or employee from campus, modifying course schedules, and issuing a “no contact” order. In situations involving suspected or alleged violations of the Policy Against Sex Discrimination, the College also reserves the right to take steps to protect the complainant as deemed necessary during the pendency of the investigation and resolution process (e.g., allowing for a change in academic situation, issuing a “no contact” order to the accused, etc.). Any such interim steps will be taken in a manner that minimizes the burden on the complainant to the extent possible.
Informal Resolution Process
Allegations of sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may not be resolved using an informal resolution process (i.e., mediation). However, other alleged violations of this policy, including some allegations of sexual harassment, may be resolved using an informal resolution process overseen by one or more members of the Task Force if (i) the College determines, in its discretion, that such a process would be appropriate; and (ii) all parties agree to participate.
The parties to any such informal process will not be required to deal directly with one another without the College’s involvement. Instead, one or more Task Force members may arrange for or facilitate mediation between the involved parties and coordinate other informal resolution measures. Any party may request that the informal resolution process be terminated at any time, in which case the formal resolution process (described below) would commence. The College may also commence the formal resolution process at any time if it believes it necessary to do so to protect the interests of the College community. In addition, any party can pursue formal resolution if he or she is dissatisfied with a proposed informal resolution.
Formal Resolution Process
The formal resolution process applies (i) when any party so requests in connection with a matter that is eligible for informal resolution; (ii) to all matters that are not eligible for informal resolution (i.e., matters involving alleged or suspected sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking) and (iii) matters in which the College concludes formal resolution is necessary to protect the interests of the College community. As part of the formal resolution process, the College may determine what investigative steps are required to complete the College’s investigation.
- Standard for Determining Responsibility: The standard used for determination is whether it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred. This is often referred to as a “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
- Rights of Complainants and Accused Parties; Timing of Resolution: The College shall provide any individual suspected or accused of violating this policy with a written statement of the suspected or alleged violations of this policy. Complainants and accused parties shall both be provided with the following in connection with the resolution of suspected or alleged violations of this policy.
- The opportunity to speak on their own behalf.
- The opportunity to identify witnesses who can provide information about the alleged conduct at issue.
- The opportunity to submit other evidence on their behalf.
- The opportunity to review any information that will be offered by the other party in support of the other party’s position (to the greatest extent possible and consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or other applicable law).
- If a hearing is held, the right to be present during the hearing
- The right to be assisted by a representative (pursuant to the applicable collective bargaining agreement, or of their choice from within the College community).
- The right to be informed of the outcome of the investigation (to the greatest extent possible and consistent with FERPA or other applicable law).
- The opportunity to appeal the outcome of the investigation.
- Sanctions; Corrective Actions: The official conducting the investigation will determine whether a violation of this policy has occurred and what, if any, corrective action is appropriate. The College will take reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of any violations of this policy and to correct the discriminatory effects on the complainant (and others, if appropriate). The range of potential sanctions/corrective actions that may be imposed against a student includes but is not limited to the following: written or verbal apology, discrimination or harassment education, verbal or written warning, probation, suspension, and dismissal from the College. Employees who are found to have violated this policy may be terminated or subjected to other disciplinary action. Employees are advised to consult any applicable collective bargaining agreement for additional information regarding disciplinary action. Guests and other third parties who are found to have violated this policy are subject to corrective action deemed appropriate by the College, which may include removal from the College and termination of any applicable contractual or other arrangements. If the College is unable to take disciplinary or other corrective action in response to a violation of this policy, the College will nonetheless pursue other available steps to limit the effects of the conduct at issue and prevent its recurrence.
- Notification of Outcome: The College will provide written notification to the complainant and the accused of the outcome (i.e., whether a violation of this policy has occurred) within fourteen (14) calendar days after the conclusion of its’ investigation unless the College determines that additional time is required. This notice shall be issued contemporaneously 11 to both parties to the extent practicable. The College may also disclose to the complainant information about any sanctions or corrective actions taken that relate directly to the complainant (e.g., a “no contact” order) and, in the case of sexual assault, violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, any sanction imposed on the transgressor. The College will maintain documentation of all hearings or other proceedings, which can take various forms (e.g., notes, written findings of fact, transcripts, or audio recordings, etc.). In no event will the complainant in matters involving an alleged violation of the Policy Against Sex Discrimination be required to abide by a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent disclosure of the outcome.
- Right to Appeal: Once written notification of the resolution has been provided, both the complainant and the accused will have the opportunity to appeal the outcome (including the issue of whether there is a policy violation and any sanction(s) imposed). Absent any applicable collective bargaining agreement provision, any appeal must be submitted in writing to the President or the President’s designee within seven (7) calendar days of being notified of the outcome and must set forth the grounds upon which the appeal is based. Both parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of any appeal within fourteen (14) days of the date by which all requested information is received unless the President (or designee) determines that additional time is required. Any such appeal will be the final level of review unless further review is provided under any applicable collective bargaining agreement or other applicable College policy or procedure. In any event, both complainants and accused persons will be provided the opportunity to appeal the outcome of a complaint brought pursuant to this policy.
If after the appeal, the complainant remains dissatisfied with the actions taken by the College, he/she is invited to contact either the Office of Civil Rights-Department of Education or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education – Chicago Office
500 W Madison St, Suite 1475
Chicago IL 60661-4544
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Chicago District Office
1500 West Madison Street, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60661
Prohibition Against Retaliation
No individual who makes a complaint alleging a violation of this policy or who participates in the investigation or resolution of such a complaint shall be subject to retaliation as a result of such activity or participation. Retaliation exists when action is taken against a complainant or participant in the complaint process that (i) adversely affects the individual’s opportunity to benefit from the College’s programs or activities; and (ii) is motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s participation in the complaint process. Any acts of retaliation, as defined in this policy, shall be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal for students and termination of employment for faculty and staff.
To the extent permitted by law, the confidentiality of all parties involved in the resolution of alleged or suspected violations of this policy will be observed, provided that it does not interfere with the College’s ability to conduct an investigation and take any corrective action deemed appropriate by the College. Consistent with the College’s obligation under the Clery Act and the Campus SaVE Act, identifying information regarding complainants will not be included in any Timely Warnings or other publicly available records.
Any allegations suspected to be fabricated for the purpose of harassing the accused party or disrupting the College’s operations are subject to these investigation and grievance procedures and could result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal for students and termination of employment for faculty and staff.