​​Sexual Harassment and Title IX

YVCC prohibits sexual harassment in any form.  New U.S. Department of Education / Office of Civil Rights (OCR) guidelines regarding acts of sexual harassment and sexual assault are now considered violations of Title IX and the Violence Against Women (VAWA Act). 

These new federal guidelines require the reporting, investigation and mitigation of any suspected sexual harassment and/or sexual assault.  If you believe you are a victim or have information about someone being harassed, it should be immediately reported to Human Resource Services as a Title IX incident.   The office number is 574-4670. ​

4.32 Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Process

Update Approved by the Administrative Council on January 22, 2013

Yakima Valley Community College recognizes its responsibility for investigation, resolution, implementation of corrective measures, and monitoring the educational environment and workplace to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, creed, religion, or status as a veteran of war as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, RCW 49.60.030 and their implementing regulations.

Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment.  Discrimination and harassment violate federal and state law and will not be tolerated by Yakima Valley Community College.  Any individual found to be in violation of this procedure will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the college and/or from employment.

The College will follow the procedures contained in this document for all discrimination and/or sexual harassment complaints brought by employees, students or visitors to the campus.  Any employee, student or visitor who believes that he or she has been the subject of discrimination or sexual harassment should report the incident or incidents to the Title IX officer listed below. If the complaint is against that official, the complainant should report the matter to the President's Office for referral to an alternate designee.  The College encourages the timely reporting of any incidents of discrimination or sexual harassment to:

          Mark Rogstad

          Director of Human Resource Services and Title IX Officer / EO / AA Officer

          Human Resource Services Department

          South 16th Avenue & Nob Hill Blvd

          Yakima, WA  98902

          509-574-4670

The Title IX officer or designee:

  • Shall publish and distribute information regarding sexual harassment and how a complaint alleging sexual harassment can be filed.
  • Will accept all complaints and referrals from College employees, students, and visitors.
  • Will assist in the processing of complaints.
  • Will keep accurate records of all complaints and referrals for the required time period.
  • May conduct investigations.
  • Will make findings of fact on investigations completed.
  • May recommend specific corrective measures to stop, remediate, and prevent the inappropriate action.

A.  DEFINITIONS

1.    Complainant: Employee(s), student(s) or visitors(s) of Yakima Valley Community College who alleges that she or he has been subjected to discriminatory practices or sexual misconduct.

2.    Respondent: Person or persons who are members of the College community who allegedly discriminated against or harassed another person or persons.

3.    Appointing Authority:  A college officer, normally the president for full-time employees and the appropriate vice president for non-permanent employees; who is responsible for the decision to hire, discipline, non-renew and/or terminate.
4.    Complaint: A description of facts that allege violation of the College's policy against discrimination or sexual misconduct (see Board Policy No. 4.37). The complainant may submit a brief written statement of allegations to the Title IX officer. Complaints shall be signed, dated, include names, description and date of the incident, and the remedy sought.  If the complainant does not submit a written statement, the Title IX officer shall prepare a statement of the facts, which will be submitted for approval by the complainant. The College has an official formal complaint form for documenting alleged discrimination or harassment.  This form is available online under policies and procedures on the human resources webpage.  Hard copies of the form are located in the Human Resources Office and/or Security Office.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
 5.    Discrimination:  Conduct of any nature that violates the College's policy on non-discrimination by denying equal privileges or treatment to a particular individual because of the individual's race, creed, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, parental status or families with children, marital status, sex (gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, genetic information, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, or any other prohibited basis.
 6.    Discriminatory Harassment: A form of discrimination consisting of physical or verbal conduct that (1) denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual because of the their race, creed, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, parental status or families with children, marital status, sex (gender), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, genetic information, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability, or any other prohibited basis; and (2) is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with the individual's employment, education or access to college programs, activities and opportunities.

 Examples of behaviors that may rise to the level of discriminatory harassment include but are not limited to the following:

a.  Racial epithets, "jokes," offensive or derogatory comments, or other verbal or physical conduct based on an individual's race/color.

b.  Ethnic slurs, workplace graffiti, or other offensive conduct directed towards an individual's birthplace, ethnicity, culture, or foreign accent.

c.  Verbal or physical abuse, "jokes" or offensive comments based on an individual's age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.

d.  Making, posting, e-mailing, or circulating demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace that relate to race, ethnic origin, gender or one of the other protected categories listed above.

7.    Investigation:  The Title IX officer may appoint a college employee or other competent individual to investigate the complaint.  The Officer shall inform the complainant and respondent of the appointment.  The College representative shall conduct an investigation based upon the submitted complaint from the complainant or prepared by the Officer.

8.    Resolution: A process that attempts a complaint resolution agreeable to a complainant using methods which may include, counseling, supporting, mediation, discipline or otherwise facilitating the resolution of the complaint. 

9.    Appeal: When a decision is rendered each party shall have the right to appeal the decision through the appeal process designated in the collective bargaining agreement, student code of conduct or other applicable process available to the parties.

10. Discrimination: Behavior or action that denies or limits a person's ability to benefit from or fully participate in educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person's race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, creed, religion, status as a veteran or any other protected class as provided by law.  

11. Sexual Misconduct: A range of behaviors including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
12. Sexual Harassment: For the purposes of this policy sexual harassment is any form of unlawful gender-based discrimination.  Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate or benefit from the college's educational program or activities or employment benefits or opportunities. Sexual harassment occurs under any of the following conditions:

a.  When submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, career advancement, academic standing and/or participation in College authorized activities;

b.  When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting any individual; or

c.  When such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with any individual's work or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.

It 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.

Examples of behaviors that may rise to the level of sexual harassment and, therefore, are prohibited, include but are not limited to the following:

a.  Physical assault.

b.  Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation.

c.  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 the following:

i.   Comments of a sexual nature.

ii.   Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes.

iii.  Unnecessary or undesirable touching, patting, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual's body.

iv.  Remarks of a sexual nature about an individual's clothing, body, or speculations about previous sexual experiences.

v.  Persistent, unwanted attempts to change a professional relationship to an amorous relationship.

vi.  Subtle propositions for sexual activity or direct propositions of a sexual nature.

vii. Uninvited letters, e-mails, telephone calls, or other correspondence referring to or depicting sexual activities.

B.  WHO MAY FILE A COMPLAINT?

Any employee, student or visitor of the College may file a complaint.  The employee, student or visitor is referred to as a complainant and can file a complaint on his or her behalf.  A complaint cannot be filed on behalf of another person.

C.   CONFIDENTIALITY AND RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Yakima Valley Community College will seek to protect the privacy of all the parties involved to the full 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 Yakima Valley Community College policies and procedures.  Yakima Valley Community College cannot guarantee complete confidentiality.

D.  COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

1.  Any student, employee or visitor who believes that he or she has been the subject of discrimination or sexual harassment, should report the incident or incidents to the director of human resource services, the administrator so designated by the college president, hereafter also referred to as the Title IX officer. If the complaint is against that official, the complainant should report the matter to the president's office for referral to an alternate designee. The college encourages the timely reporting of any incident(s) of discrimination or sexual harassment.  Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment will be provided a copy of this policy and procedure.

2.  All reports of incident(s) will be forwarded to the Title IX officer for coordination and a determination on how to process the complaint.

3.  The complainant alleging discrimination or sexual harassment is encouraged to submit a brief written statement of allegations to the Title IX officer. If the complainant does not submit a written statement, the Title IX officer shall prepare a statement of facts which will be provided to the complainant with a request for comment and/or clarification. That statement, along with any subsequent clarifications by the complainant, will be forwarded to the respondent who may choose to submit a written response.

4.  Based upon the nature of the complaint, the Title IX officer may attempt to mediate a resolution to the complaint.  No mediation may be attempted if the claim includes a physical assault.  If the nature of the complaint does not lend itself to mediation, or mediation fails to gain approval of all parties, the Title IX officer shall appoint a designee(s) to investigate the complaint. The Title IX officer shall inform the complainant and respondent(s) of the appointment.

5.  The investigator shall conduct a thorough investigation. The investigation shall include, but is not limited to, interviewing the complainant, respondent relevant witness(s); and reviewing relevant documents. The investigation shall be concluded within a reasonable time, normally thirty days, barring exigent circumstances.

6.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator shall set forth his or her findings and recommendations in writing. The investigator shall send a copy of the findings and recommendations to the Title IX officer.

7.  The Title IX officer shall consider the findings and recommendations of the investigator. The Title IX officer shall determine whether disciplinary action may be appropriate. If the Title IX officer so recommends, he or she will consult with the respondent's appointing authority regarding possible personnel action. These options may include voluntary training/counseling, development of a remediation plan, or formal discipline. The Title IX officer shall advise the complainant and respondent of the college's decision.

8.  If the Title IX officer and respondent's appointing authority determine that disciplinary actions should be instituted against an employee, the applicable provisions of employee rights and responsibilities shall be followed. These provisions include but are not limited to, state and federal constitutional and statutory provisions, rules of the Washington office of financial management, collective bargaining agreement(s), and college policies.  If the Title IX officer determines that disciplinary action should be instituted against a student, the applicable provisions of the college student code shall be followed.  In cases where the respondent has multiple roles (i.e., is both a student and an employee), action shall be taken with respect to their primary role at the institution.

9.  If the Title IX officer determines that disciplinary action is not appropriate and the complainant disagrees, the complainant may appeal, in writing, to the president.  A copy of any such appeal will be provided to the opposing party, who will be given an opportunity to respond in writing before the president makes a final determination.  Nothing herein shall prevent the president from requesting additional information from any of the parties.

E.   NOTICE OF PROCEDURE

The procedures regarding complaints of discrimination shall be published and distributed as determined by the president or president's designee. Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment will be provided a copy of this policy and procedure.

F.   LIMITS TO AUTHORITY

Nothing in this procedure shall prevent the College President or designee from taking immediate disciplinary action in accordance with Yakima Valley Community College policies and procedures; the provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements; and/or and federal, state, and municipal rules and regulations.

GNON-RETALIATION, INTIMIDATION AND COERCION

Retaliation by, for or against any participant (complainant, respondent, or witness) is expressly prohibited. Retaliatory action of any kind taken against individuals as a result of seeking redress under the applicable procedures or serving as a witness in a subsequent investigation dealing with harassment/discrimination is prohibited.  Any person who thinks he/she has been the victim of retaliation should contact the Title IX Officer / EO / AA Officer immediately.

H.  OTHER COMPLAINT OPTIONS

An employee or student may always file a complaint with:

Washington State Human Rights Commission at (800) 233-3247 or
TDD (800) 300-7525, or
U. S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights at (800) 421-3481 or
TDD (877) 521-2172, or
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at (800) 669-4000 or
TDD (800) 669-6820.