000.340 SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY
Wenatchee Valley College is committed to the preservation of dignity and integrity for all students and employees; therefore, this policy is issued in recognition of the college's moral and legal obligations to provide protection from and resolution of incidents of sexual harassment.
A. POLICY STATEMENT
It is the policy of Wenatchee Valley College to maintain an academic and work environment free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of faculty, staff or students is against the law and will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment violates the dignity of individuals and impedes the realization of the college’s educational mission. The college is committed to preventing and addressing sexual harassment of faculty, staff and students through education and by encouraging faculty, staff and students to report any concerns or complaints about sexual harassment. Prompt corrective measures will be taken to stop sexual harassment whenever and wherever it occurs.
Discrimination and discriminatory harassment is addressed separately in the college’s discrimination and harassment policy 000.330.
B. DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors or requests for sexual favors in exchange for some benefit, and/or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a male or female. Sexual harassment occurs under any of the following conditions:
- When submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, career advancement and/or academic standing, or
- When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
- When such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.
Sexual harassment is either “quid pro quo” when being asked to subject oneself to something unwelcome in exchange for something else; or “hostile environment” which is when another’s conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive such that it limits one’s ability to work or participate in an educational program, such as unwanted sexually motivated physical, verbal or otherwise communicated conduct.
Whether the alleged conduct constitutes prohibited harassment depends on the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency and duration of the conduct in question, the location and context in which it occurs and the status of the individuals involved.
C. EXAMPLES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Examples of behaviors that may rise to the level of sexual harassment and, therefore, are prohibited by this policy include but are not limited to the following:
- Physical assault.
- Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades or letters of recommendation.
- A pattern of behaviors that is unwelcome and severe or pervasive, resulting in unreasonable
interference with the work or educational environment or creation of a hostile, intimidating
or offensive work or educational environment, and may include but is not limited to
- Comments of a sexual nature.
- Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes.
- Unnecessary or undesirable touching, patting, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual's body.
- Remarks of a sexual nature about an individual's clothing, body, or speculations about previous sexual experiences.
- Persistent, unwanted attempts to change a professional relationship to an amorous relationship.
- Subtle propositions for sexual activity or direct propositions of a sexual nature. Uninvited letters, e-mails, telephone calls, or other correspondence referring to or depicting sexual activities.
A victim of sexual harassment can be a man or a woman or a third party who witnesses inappropriate behavior. The victim can be of the same sex as the harasser. The harasser can be a supervisor, co-worker, other college employee, student, or a non-employee who has a business relationship with the college.
D. CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS
Romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty and students, staff and students or supervisors and subordinate employees are strongly discouraged. Such relationships have the potential for adverse consequences, including the filing of charges of sexual harassment. Given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of the relationship where one party has the power to give grades, evaluations, recommendations, promotions, salary increases or performance evaluations, the apparent consensual nature of the relationship is inherently suspect.
Even when both parties have consented to the relationship, there may be perceptions of conflicts of interest or unfair treatment of others. Such perceptions undermine the atmosphere of trust essential to the educational process or the employment relationship. Under such circumstances, the person in the position of supervision or academic responsibility must report the relationship to his or her immediate supervisor. Once the consensual relationship is reported, the immediate supervisor is responsible for eliminating or mitigating the conflict of interest to the fullest feasible extent and ensuring that fair and objective processes are in place for decisions relative to grading, evaluations, recommendations, promotions, salary increases or performance evaluations. The new supervisory or academic arrangement should be documented.
E. REPORTING AND RESOLUTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS
- Anyone who believes they are a victim of discrimination or harassment should report it, as appropriate, to a WVC counselor, administrator, supervisor, coworker or the executive director of human resources.
- Any WVC employee, faculty, or administrator that receives oral information from an employee or student that raises a concern that sexual harassment may have occurred, will refer the employee or student to the executive director of human resources or designee. The executive director of human resources or designee will speak with the employee or student and provide the complainant with options of pursuing either the informal or formal complaint resolution process.
- A supervisor receiving information, in their capacity as a supervisor, that describe
incidents of sexual harassment defined in this policy will:
- Report the incident to the police if suspicion exists that a crime was committed; and
- Report alleged incidents of sexual harassment to the executive director of human resources.
The human resources office has primary responsibility for resolving sexual harassment complaints in accordance with this policy and the college’s complaint procedure for discrimination and harassment 1000.350.
F. DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
Any individual in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the college or termination of employment.
Persons who threaten or retaliate against an individual who makes a complaint of sexual harassment or cooperates in an investigation of such complaint constitutes a separate violation and may result in a disciplinary action independent of the outcome of a complaint.
The college considers the reporting and adjudication of sexual harassment cases on either campus to be of paramount importance. The college does not condone underage drinking or use of illegal drugs. However, the college will extend amnesty to complainants, third-party reporters, witnesses, and those assisting a potential victim of non-consensual sexual contact or non-consensual sexual penetration from punitive sanctioning for illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol when evidence of such use is discovered in the course of a sexual harassment investigation or while individuals are assisting a potential victim. Similarly, the college, at its discretion, may provide amnesty for other minor conduct code violations that are discovered in the course of sexual harassment report or investigation.
Supersedes 2.P.44; moved from the 1991 manual
Revised and approved by the president’s cabinet: 9/10/10, 6/4/19
Adopted by the board of trustees: 10/20/10, 6/19/19
Last reviewed: 10/1/19
Policy contact: Human Resources
Related policies and procedures
000.300 Freedom of Inquiry and Expression Policy
000.330 Nondiscrimination and Harassment Policy
400.100 Student Rights and Freedoms Policy
500.125 Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy
1000.350 Complaint Procedure for Discrimination & Harassment
1400.100 Student Rights and Freedoms Procedure
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