Isothermal Community College

Learning College Manual

Student Services

Discrimination and Unlawful Harassment - Student

Isothermal Community College (“College”) strives to make its campus and centers safe and welcoming learning and working environments.  Pursuant to the Clery Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Violence Against Women Act, the Campus SaVE Act and other applicable federal and state laws and regulations, the College hereby adopts these procedures when investigating, disciplining and educating the College Community about sexual harassment and sexual-based violence. 

I. DEFINITIONS

The following definitions shall apply to these Procedures and shall be collectively referred to herein as “discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence”.

A.  Confidential Employee – is not a Responsible Employee and is not required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the College’s Title IX Coordinator if confidentiality is requested by the student. Confidential Employees designated by the College are the Director of the Advising and Success Center and the Accessibility Support Counselor. If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before he/she speaks to him/her.     

B.  Consent – explicit approval to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions or words.  This decision must be made freely and actively by all participants. Non-verbal communication, silence, passivity or lack of active resistance does not imply consent.  In addition, previous participation in sexual activity does not indicate current consent to participate and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent has not been obtained in situations where the individual: i) is forced, pressured, manipulated or has reasonable fear that they will be injured if they do not submit to the act; ii) is incapable of giving consent or is prevented form resisting due to physical or mental incapacity (including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol); or iii) has a mental or physical disability which inhibits his/her ability to give consent to sexual activity. 

C.  Dating Violence – violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.  Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.

D.  Discrimination – any act or failure to act that unreasonably and unfavorably differentiates treatment of others based solely on their race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, sex, age, disability, genetic information and veteran status.  Discrimination may be intentional or unintentional. 

E.  Domestic Violence – felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

  • A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • A person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • A person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or
  • 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 jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred. 

F.  Harassment (see specific definition for Sexual Harassment) behavior, including verbal or physical conduct, that is unwelcome; that denigrates or shows hostility toward an individual; and that is sufficiently sever, persistent, and pervasive from both a subjective perspective (i.e., the recipient’s view) and from an objective perspective (i.e., a reasonable person’s view) that it  creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading,, insulting or offensive work or learning environment; interferes unreasonably with an individual’s work or academic performance; or otherwise unreasonably adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

G.  Responsible Employee – a College employee who has the authority to take action to address sexual harassment/misconduct; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual harassment/misconduct or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate designee; or who a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty.  The College’s Responsible Employees include all College administrators (Deans, Directors, Coordinators and Vice Presidents).  If a student is unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain one’s privacy, the student should ask the person before he/she speaks to him/her.    

H.  Sexual Assault – any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

I.  Sexual Harassment –unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic performance (either implicitly or explicitly);
  • when submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting the individual; or
  • such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, and pervasive from both a subjective perspective (i.e., the recipient’s view) and an objective perspective (i.e., a reasonable person’s view) that it interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or to creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.  Occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature do not constitute sexual harassment.

 J.  Stalking – engaging in a course of conduct directed to a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

 

II. REPORTING

All members of the College community are expected to take appropriate action to prevent discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence.  All Responsible Employees are required to report such alleged acts to the Title IX and/or Deputy Coordinator, or appropriate College officials. All Responsible Employees receiving a complaint of discrimination, harassment or sexual based violence shall immediately refer the complaint to the appropriate person.  For acts of sexual based violence, Responsible Employees shall inform the reporting party of the right to contact law enforcement.   

If a student wishes to keep the details of an alleged incident confidential, he/she should speak with a Confidential Employee, health service provider or off-campus counselors in order to maintain confidentiality.  Campus counselors are available to help students free of charge.  For information on the College’s counseling services, contact the Director of the Advising and Success Center at (828) 395-1660.

Reports of sexual harassment and sexual-based violence should be made to the College’s appropriate Coordinator:

Employees and Community Members:
Amy Harper 
Director of Human Resources
Administration Building, Main Campus
aharper@isothermal.edu
(828) 395-1294

Curriculum Students:
Sandra Lackner
Dean of Students
Student Center Building, Main Campus
slackner@isothermal.edu
(828) 395-1429

Continuing Education Students:
Donna Hood
Dean of Continuing Education                
The Foundation Building, Main Campus
dhood@isothermal.edu
(828) 395-1404

REaCH Students:
Jeremiah McCluney
REaCH Principal
Lifelong Learning Center, Main Campus
jsmcclun@rcsnc.org
(828) 395-4164

 

The Coordinator shall receive annual training on issues related discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence and how to conduct a fair and impartial investigation that protects alleged victims and promotes accountability.  See Policy 602-03-00BP for reporting disability discrimination.

    II.        INITIAL INVESTIGATION

Members of the College community are encouraged, but not required, to resolve issues informally and may attempt to do so directly with the other party or with the assistance of a supervisor or other College official.  In circumstances in which informal process fails or is inappropriate, in the cases of sexual harassment and sexual-based violence, or in which the reporting party requests formal procedures, the complaints will be investigated promptly, impartially and thoroughly according to the following procedures:

1. Individuals filing complaints (“reporting party”) are urged to do so in writing as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) days after disclosure or discovery of the facts giving rise to the complaint.  Complaints submitted after the thirty (30) day period will still be investigated; however, the reporting party should recognize that delays in reporting may significantly impair the ability of College officials to investigate and respond to such complaints. The Title IX Coordinator will oversee the investigation process.  Trained Title IX Investigators shall fully investigate any complaints, and if the complaint also involves an employee, they will  collaborate with the College’s Director of Human Resources or designee.  During the course of the investigation, the Coordinator may consult with other relevant College administrators and the College Attorney. 

2. During the investigation, the Coordinator and/or Investigator shall speak with the reporting party and the respondent and give each party an equal opportunity to provide evidence, including informing the Coordinator of any potential witnesses.  Both parties will be provided access to any information provided by the other in accordance with any federal or state confidentiality laws.

3. During the investigation process, the Coordinator may implement interim measures in order to facilitate an efficient and thorough investigation process as well as to protect the rights of all parties involved.  The interim actions include, but are not limited to:  reassignment of class schedules; temporary suspension from campus (but be allowed to completed coursework); or directives that include no contact between the involved parties. 

4. A confidential file regarding the complaint shall be maintained by the Coordinator.  To the extent possible, the College will keep all information relating to the complaint and investigations confidential; however, to maintain compliance with the Clery Act, both parties will be informed of the outcome of any institutional proceeding alleging sexual harassment or sexual-based violence.

5. The Coordinator shall make every effort to conclude the investigation as soon as possible but no later than thirty (30) calendar days.  If nature of the investigation requires additional time, the Coordinator shall notify the parties.

6. Upon making the complaint, reporting parties alleging sexual harassment and sexual-based violence will be immediately notified that they have to right to seek additional assistance from law enforcement and have the right to seek, among other things, judicial no-contact, restraining and protective orders.  Reporting parties will also be notified of available counseling services and their options for changing academic situations. 

 

IV.       DETERMINATION AND APPEAL 

            A.        Coordinator’s Report 

The Coordinator shall prepare a report of his/her investigation and review the report with both the reporting party and the respondent and, if appropriate, implement any corrective and/or disciplinary action based on the preponderance of the evidence.   Appropriate disciplinary action shall depend upon the seriousness of the misconduct and may include: a warning, written reprimand, suspension, expulsion from College property or denial of access to College services or programs.

Any disciplinary action will be implemented immediately and shall not be delayed in the event of a pending appeal. 

B.        Appeal to the Vice President

If the reporting party or respondent is dissatisfied with the Coordinator's determination, s/he may appeal to the appropriate Vice President within ten (10) calendar days upon receipt of the Coordinator’s report.  The Vice President will render a decision or convene a review committee.  Disagreement with the responsible college administrator’s findings or determination, by itself, is not grounds for an appeal.  If a review committee is convened, the following will apply:

  1. The committee will be composed of the appropriate vice president or designee, who serves as chair, faculty, staff, and/or administrators.
  2. The appealing party will be invited to the review committee meeting, but the meeting will proceed as planned if the appealing party fails to appear.  The appealing party may have an advisor present during the review committee meeting.  However, the appealing party must inform the vice president in writing at least two days prior to the meeting that an advisor will be present.
  3. The responsibility of the committee will be limited to:
    • A review of the investigation to determine whether or not any procedural or policy error(s) occurred which may change the outcome of the decision;
    • A review of substantive and relevant new information that was not available at the time of complaint investigation that may change the outcome of the decision.

A written response (hard copy or email) from the review committee chair should be sent to the complaint.  A copy of the complaint, minutes from the review committee meeting, information regarding the specific steps undertaken in the review process, and the written response must be maintained by the vice president.  A brief description of the nature of the complaint, the name and contact information of the student filing the complaint, a brief description of the committee review process, and the date of the response will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator who will maintain a record of the complaint including the date of the College’s response.

If the appealing party is not satisfied with the decision of the review committee, the appealing party may appeal within five (5) working days through a signed, written statement to the President of the College.  The decision of the President will be final.  A record of the date of this final response will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator who will maintain a record of the response.

 

V.        PROTECTION AGAINST RETALIATION

The College will not in any way retaliate against an individual who makes a report of discrimination, harassment or sexual-based violence in good faith or who assists in an investigation.  Retaliation includes, but is not limited to: intimidation, disciplinary action, reprisal or harassment.  Retaliation is a serious violation and should be reported immediately.  The College will take disciplinary action against any employee or student found to have retaliated against another in violation of these procedures.

 

VI.       EMPLOYEE AND STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS

For detailed information see Policy 306.02.05BP.

 

VII.      SUSPENSION OF PROCEDURES

In cases of emergency or serious misconduct, the president or the president’s designee reserves the right to suspend this process and may enact appropriate action for the welfare and safety of the College community.

 

VIII.     STUDENT AND EMPLOYEE EDUCATION AND ANNUAL TRAINING

All new students and all employees shall be required to participate in a primary prevention and awareness program that promotes awareness of discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence.  This program will be held annually during each fall semester.  

At this annual training, students and employees must receive training in the following areas:

1. Information about safe and positive options for bystander intervention skills;
2. What “consent” means with reference to sexual activities.
3. Risk reduction programs so students recognize and can avoid abusive behaviors or potential attacks;
4. How and to whom to report an incident regarding discrimination, harassment and sexual-based violence;
5. The importance of preserving physical evidence in a sexual-based violent crime; and
6. Options about the involvement of law enforcement and campus authorities, including the alleged victim’s option to: i) notify law enforcement; ii) being assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement; iii) declining to notify law enforcement; and iv) obtaining “no-contact” or restraining orders.  

Each year, the college will make reasonable efforts to see that all students and employees receive a copy of these procedures.  They will be sent to the respective student and employees email address of record if one exists, and if not, reasonable efforts will be made to disseminate the information in another way. These Procedures will be maintained online in the College’s website and a hard copy will be kept on file (in English and Spanish) in the Coordinator’s office.  Other translations will be made available upon request.

Policy No: 601-02-05BP

Reference:
Cross Reference: 306-02-05BP; 602-03-00BP
Adopted:  May 22, 1991
Reviewed:  June 12, 2018
Amended:  July 20, 2006; January 28, 2009; June 29, 2010; February 21, 2011, June 12, 2018