Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying
It is the policy of the college to have a campus environment for every student and employee that is free from hostility, especially when such hostility is based on the person’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, creed, religion, or any other characteristic protected by law.
For the purpose of determining whether particular conduct constitutes a violation of this policy, the following definitions will be used:
Action that is based on a person’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, creed, religion, or any other characteristic protected by law that:
- Adversely affects a term or condition of a person’s employment, education, living environment or participation in a college activity; or
- Is used as a basis for or a motivating factor in decisions affecting the person’s employment, education, living environment or participation in a college activity.
Severe or pervasive communications or conduct that is based on a person’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, creed, religion, or any other characteristic protected by law that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s employment or educational experience or creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive working, educational or living environment.
Examples of harassment and conduct prohibited by this policy and in reference to the protected classes listed include, but are not limited to:
- Preventing a person from using college facilities or services.
- Instigating or perpetuating an environment that is unwelcome or hostile.
- Subjecting a person to offensive and unwelcome conduct such as offensive jokes, offensive pictures and digital images, slurs, epithets, threats, or intimidation.
- Basing decisions about employment or educational opportunities on a person’s acceptance or rejection of sexual advance, sexual imposition or request for sexual favors.
The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to demonstrate a hostile environment. A single severe incident may be sufficient to create a hostile environment.
Communications or conduct which threatens the fundamental principles of the college relating to mutual respect and individual dignity and which is hurtful to someone either as a single incident or over a period of time. It can be either physical, verbal or indirect or a combination of any of these forms. It may include intimidation, exclusion, rumor-spreading, name-calling, anonymous messages, or damage to or theft of personal property. Other particular conduct which also constitutes a violation of this policy:
- Cyberbullying, which includes but is not limited to:
- Texting or emailing unpleasant, frightening or rude phone messages.
- “Sexting”, where sexually inappropriate phone pictures of one person are used by another person to upset, harass, or demean the person in the pictures.
- Posting abusive or demeaning comments on social networking sites.
- Sexual and sexist bullying includes:
a. Making offensive, derogatory or demeaning comments or innuendo to a person linked to their gender, sexuality, or sexual activity.
b. Displaying sexual or pornographic pictures with intent to insult, demean, or harass another person.
- All other communications or conduct which are offensive, derogatory, or demeaning based on a person’s race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, creed, religion, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Any adverse action or conduct taken by any person against a person who has sought relief under this policy is strictly prohibited and will be regarded as a separate and distinct violation of this policy. Examples of retaliatory action include assigning low grades, assigning undesirable work schedules, and/or giving deflated performance reviews. This protection against retaliation extends to any person who opposes acts of harassment or discrimination or bullying or who testifies, assists, or participates in a manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing relative to harassment or discrimination.
Reporting discrimination, harassment, bullying and/or retaliation
Any person who believes he/she has been subjected to discrimination, harassment, bullying or retaliation may report the behavior to the Equity/Title IX coordinator. Reports may be filed by the alleged victim or others on their behalf. Anonymous reports will be accepted, however, options available to college authorities for investigating or resolving anonymous reports may be limited because of the unique challenges presented. For reports of Title IX Sexual Harassment, please also refer to Administrative Procedure A 34, Policy and Procedures for Title IX Sexual Harassment.
All nonconfidential college employees should report information about potential violations of this policy to the Equity/Title IX coordinator within 24 hours. The report should not be made to the person who is engaging in discrimination, harassment, bullying or retaliation.
A report may be filed at any time regardless of the length of time between the alleged occurrence and the decision to report. However, the college strongly encourages persons to report promptly in order to facilitate an effective investigation and access to information. A delay in reporting may compromise the investigation, particularly if neither the reporter (and alleged victim if different from the reporter) nor the accused are employed by the college or enrolled as a student at the time.
The Equity/Title IX coordinator will conduct a preliminary assessment of the report. Every effort will be made to handle such reports fairly, impartially, discreetly and efficiently to every extent possible. If the report is under the scope of Administrative Procedure A 34, Policy and Procedures for Title IX Sexual Harassment, the Title IX coordinator will refer the complaint to that process.
Upon receipt of a report, and upon request of the reporter, the college may provide support services as appropriate, including but not limited to the following:
- A temporary safe space within the residence halls;
- Moving the accused or the alleged victim so they do not share the same residence hall or workspace;
- Changing class or work assignments so that the parties do not share the same classes or workspace;
- Providing the alleged victim with academic support services including tutoring; and/or
- Campus no-contact orders.
The college will preserve confidentiality to the extent possible and allowed by law. The college does not employ counseling employees subject to special confidentiality. An individual may request confidential reporting of an alleged incident violating this policy; however, it is the college’s expectation that nonconfidential college employees shall report the names of individuals involved as well as relevant facts regarding the alleged incident (including date, time, and location) to the Equity/Title IX coordinator. If the individual requests confidentiality, the Equity/Title IX coordinator will make every effort to respect this request and will evaluate the request in the context of the college’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all.
Because information relating to the report will be shared on a need-to-know basis, or as otherwise required by law or required under this policy, it is not possible to guarantee complete confidentiality. The reporting party (or complainant) may request confidentiality and the college will take such requests seriously, however such requests may severely limit the college’s ability to investigate and take reasonable action in response to a report.
Crime Alert/Emergency Notification
If a report reveals there is an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees on campus or that an ongoing serious or continuing threat to the campus community exists, an emergency notification through e2Campus will be issued. The reporting party’s name (or complainant) and other personally identifying information will NOT be included in such an emergency notification. Reports of sex offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are included in Southwestern’s annual security report. This report may be located at http://www.swcciowa.edu/about/annual-security-report.
Complaint Resolution Procedures
Informal dispute resolution efforts
Before pursuing the formal complaint process, every reasonable effort shall be made to constructively resolve issues with students, faculty, and staff. Whenever possible and safe, the problem or complaint should first be discussed with the individual involved in the complaint. If satisfactory resolution is not reached after discussion with the individual, the formal process will be initiated.
Formal dispute resolution and investigation process
Upon determination that a report of discrimination, bullying, and/or retaliation will not be resolved informally, the Equity/Title IX coordinator will initiate a formal process which shall include: assigning appropriate college representatives to direct the investigation, determine interim action(s) and/or accommodations for the alleged victim, or other necessary remedial short-term actions.
- Complete the investigation promptly, and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline; in most cases, the investigation process should be completed within 14 days upon notice of report.
- Document the identity and contact information of the complainant (whether that be the initiator of the report, the complainant or a representative of the complainant);
- Identify the policies allegedly violated;
- Conduct an immediate initial investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to charge the accused individual, herein after referred to as respondent. If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the matter may be closed with no further action;
- Meet with the complainant to finalize the complaint and prepare the notice of charges on the basis of the initial investigation;
- Prepare and execute an investigation plan which includes a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the accused, who shall be given notice prior to the interview.
- Making a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);
- Present the findings to the respondent who may accept the findings, accept the findings in part and reject them in part, or may reject all findings;
- Share the findings and update the complainant on the status of the investigation, including periodic updates throughout, and the outcome.
Following the investigation:
- If the respondent is a student: Upon a finding by the investigator that the respondent violated the policy, the matter will be referred for a potential “sanctions and appeals” hearing under Student Services Procedure SS 15, Student Conduct, Discipline and Appeals.
- If the respondent is an employee: Upon a finding by the investigator that the respondent violated the policy, the matter will be referred to the appropriate administrator/department for disciplinary action or other appropriate action as appropriate under applicable College procedures, handbooks/manuals, or contracts. If a final decision imposes disciplinary action which constitutes termination of college personnel entitled to the hearing/judicial review procedures of Iowa Code chapter 279, such procedures shall be followed as required by law.