Tompkins Cortland Community College

Catalog 2017-18

Non-Academic Policies and Regulations

Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment

Unlawful discrimination or harassment based on race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status is strictly prohibited by Tompkins Cortland Community College. The College is committed to maintaining an educational and work environment that is free of any discrimination or harassment and to fostering positive business and personal conduct so that everyone, including students, employees, and invitees, is treated with respect and dignity in a non-discriminatory environment. The educational environment shall be considered to include all academic and nonacademic programs and activities.

The College fully complies with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended, the New York Human Rights Law and all other applicable laws or regulations which prohibit discrimination. Discrimination or harassment of individuals for reasons of race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status is a form of unlawful discrimination.

It also is unlawful to retaliate against a person because he or she has opposed any illegal discriminatory practices or because he or she has complained of, or testified or assisted in the investigation of any complaint of discrimination or a proceeding conducted in connection with any such complaint.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of misconduct which undermines an individual’s integrity and human dignity. It can originate from a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex, and from co-workers, supervisors, instructors, students, or even non-employees of the College (i.e., vendors or invitees). It is offensive treatment or behavior which, to a reasonable person, creates an intimidating, hostile or abusive work or educational environment.

All acts of sexual violence shall be considered to be forms of sexual harassment. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion and physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to intellectual or other disability or to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol.

Generally, this harassment falls into either of two categories: (i) “quid pro quo”, or (ii) causing or allowing a sexually hostile environment to exist within the work place, classroom, or other College-sponsored program, service or activity.

“Quid pro quo” harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
  • Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s educational success (i.e., grades) or employment (i.e., a raise, promotion or assignment); or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for educational or personnel decisions affecting the individual.

Examples of this form of sexual harassment would include but are not limited to:

  • Any uninvited or unwelcome physical contact, including touching, petting, pinching, persistent and purposeful brushing up against another individual’s body, etc.
  • Any suggestion to an individual that sexual favors or relationships will result in a favorable grade, promotion, or other education or employment opportunity.
  • Any suggestion or implication to an individual that his/her refusal to provide sexual favors or relationships will result in a poor grade, demotion, discipline, discharge, or will have an adverse impact on employment or educational results.

A sexually hostile environment exists when an individual’s conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with another individual’s education or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or working environment which interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s programs.

Examples of this type of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual innuendos, sexually suggestive comments, offensive language, sexually oriented kidding or teasing, gestures, practical jokes, etc.
  • Offensive displays of sexually suggestive pictures, magazines, or other objects (e.g., sexually explicit calendars, posters, cartoons, photographs, or graffiti).
  • Touching, pinching, holding, grabbing, hugging, kissing or intentionally and persistently brushing against another person’s body.
  • Inappropriate social conduct such as pressuring a student, employee or colleague to date or socialize and/or take some adverse action against that person for refusing to do so.
  • Any other conduct that ridicules or humiliates an individual because of his/her gender.

Other Unlawful Discrimination/Harassment

These same guidelines also apply to unlawful discrimination or harassment based on race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status.

Examples of such hostile environment discrimination or harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Transfer, demotion or termination of employees on the basis of race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status.
  • Interference in or denial of opportunities for educational success on the basis of race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status.
  • Unwelcome, offensive, or demeaning comments, slurs, language, jokes or gestures related to or referring to an individual’s race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status.
  • The presence of books, magazines, pictures or other objects that may be reasonably construed as offensive or demeaning based on race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status.
  • Creating or contributing to an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment on the basis of race, color, creed or religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability, or any other protected status.

Individuals who believe that they have been harassed or otherwise discriminated against in violation of this policy should follow the College’s Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure which designates staff of the College to whom such occurrences may be reported so that they can be promptly and thoroughly considered, investigated and appropriately resolved.

Retaliation in any manner (i.e., coercion, intimidation, retributive acts) against any individual for making or filing in good faith a discrimination or harassment complaint, or for assisting or participating in the investigation of such a complaint is illegal and will not be tolerated. Such retaliation will be treated like any other form of discrimination and the party found to have retaliated shall be subject to appropriate discipline, including dismissal.

Questions regarding this policy and its enforcement should be directed to Sharon Dovi, Affirmative Action Officer and Senior Title IX Coordinator, Office of Human Resources, Room 219, 607.844.8222, Ext. 4440, dovis@tompkinscortland.edu.

Discrimination and Harassment Procedures

An individual who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination, retaliation or harassment in violation of the College’s Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment may, but is not required to, attempt to informally correct the situation by directly approaching the person responsible in order to resolve the problem. If this approach is not desired or if the individual feels uncomfortable following it, or if it is attempted and does not result in satisfaction, the incident should be reported promptly to one of the following intake specialists:

Sharon Dovi, Director of Human Resources
Room 219, 844-8222, ext. 4440

Carolyn Boone, Coordinator of Access and Equity Services
Room 130, 844-8222, ext. 4283

Darese Doskal, Director of Residence Life and Judicial Affairs
Tioga Hall, 844-8222, ext. 6591

Seth Thompson, Director of Multicultural Services
Room 187, 844-8222, ext. 4358

If the respondent* is a student, the matter will be referred to the Office of Residence Life and Judicial Affairs. The Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Procedure will be kept as confidential as possible. Information about the complaint and the complaint procedure will only be shared with those with a need to know.

*For purposes of this procedure complainant refers to the person making the complaint, the respondent is the person against whom the complaint is made. Days are calendar days.

Informal Complaint Procedure

  • Provides for intake specialists to (1) furnish information, (2) receive complaints, and (3) attempt to resolve
  • complaints in a mutually acceptable manner.
  • Results in a complete report, prepared by the intake specialist, at the completion of this step in the process.
  • Is designed to operate in an expeditious manner.

Complaint filing

To file a complaint, complainants will (1) contact an intake specialist as soon as possible following the incident and generally within 60 days following the last occurrence of the behavior that is the subject of the complaint, and (2) sign the completed Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Form.

Any member of the campus community may consult an intake specialist for advice, without obligation to file a written complaint. If the potential complainant declines to participate in the completion of the Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form, the intake specialist may or may not proceed with the complaint process.

Informal Complaint processing

Within five days of the written complaint’s receipt, the intake specialist must report the source and substance of the complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer and the respondent. The report should be placed in the Discrimination and Harassment file in the Office of Human Resources.

The intake specialist will have 14 days from the complaint’s receipt to meet with the complainant, respondent, and other pertinent witnesses, and to conduct any such other or further investigation he/she deems required under certain circumstances. The intake specialist will attempt to achieve a fair and appropriate resolution of the complaint as expeditiously as possible. Under unusual circumstances, the intake specialist may take an extension of up to 14 days. Prior to completing the Informal Complaint Procedure, and upon the complainant’s or respondent’s request, or the intake specialist’s initiative, if any of these parties believes no useful purpose is served by pursuing the Informal Complaint Procedure, the Formal Complaint Procedure may be initiated. In such situations, the intake specialist will complete and submit his or her report as described in the Formal Complaint Process below.

Informal Complaint disposition

Within 14 days of the conclusion of the complaint processing period, the intake specialist must complete and submit a report on the status of the complaint.

If the complaint is resolved to the satisfaction of all pertinent parties, the intake specialist’s report must specify this resolution in appropriate detail. The report also will include a written summary of the resolution, signed by all the pertinent parties (normally the complainant, respondent and Intake Specialist). Reports of resolved complaints will usually be brief. They are to be submitted to the complainant, respondent, and office of Human Resources, and only to such other campus-level office agreed to in the solution.

Complaints not resolved informally

If the complaint remains unresolved, the intake specialist’s report must summarize the complainant’s allegations, the respondent’s replies, witness statements, problem-solving efforts and recommendations of the intake specialist. Such recommendations may include referral to the President for appropriate disciplinary actions or referral to the Formal Complaint Procedure. Reports of unresolved complaints will be submitted to the complainant, the respondent, the office of Human Resources, and the Discrimination and Harassment Policy Complaint Hearing Panel when referred to them.

Formal Complaint Procedure:

  • Includes the filing of a formal complaint
  • Involves the appointment of a hearing panel
  • Calls for a formal investigation of all the elements of a complaint.
  • Is based on findings of fact relevant to each element of a complaint.

Formal Complaint Initiation

If there is no mutually acceptable resolution of a complaint at the Informal Complaint Procedure, or upon the request of the complainant, respondent or intake specialist, the Formal Complaint Procedure will be initiated by filing the written complaint with the Affirmative Action Officer. The Affirmative Action Officer will coordinate the forming of a three-person hearing panel (Panel). The Panel will be composed of three trained members from the Discrimination and Harassment Policy Complaint Hearing Panel Pool (Pool). One member will be chosen by the complainant, one member will be chosen by the respondent and those two members will select a third member jointly. In the event that the selection of the three-person panel is not completed within 7 days after notification, the Affirmative Action Officer will complete the selection process.

Formal Complaint processing

The hearing panel will conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation, and will meet with both the complainant and the respondent, interview pertinent witnesses and review relevant and material evidence as necessary on each element of the complaint. The complaint investigation shall be completed within 30 days of the appointment of all three members of the hearing panel.

Formal Complaint disposition

The hearing panel will prepare a report at the conclusion of the investigation. A draft version of the hearing panel’s findings of the fact portion of the report will be conveyed to the complainant and the respondent for comment before the final version of the report is completed. The hearing panel will seek comments, supported by evidence, to address factual inaccuracies and misunderstandings only. All parties will have 7 days to comment.

The hearing panel’s complete report must contain (1) the complainant’s allegations, (2) the respondent’s replies, (3) information provided by witnesses or documents including comments on the draft report, (4) a description of the investigation process, (5) the hearing panel’s analysis of evidence and findings of fact on each element of the complaint and (6) any recommendation(s) the hearing panel may consider pertinent to the disposition of the complaint. If the Panel members did not reach consensus, differing views will be included in the report.

The hearing panel’s findings of fact shall be based on the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Individuals shall be considered innocent unless a “preponderance of the evidence” supports a finding of the misconduct. This “preponderance of the evidence” standard requires that the evidence supporting each finding is more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition to it.

If a preponderance of the evidence does not support the complaint, and if there is evidence that the complaint was filed without a reasonable basis in fact and honest belief, the hearing panel shall include that evidence in its report. Such conduct could constitute a violation of this nondiscrimination policy and shall be reported to the President for appropriate action, including possible disciplinary action.

The hearing panel’s report will be submitted to the complainant, the respondent, Affirmative Action Officer, and placed in a separate file in the Office of Human Resources. The complainant and the respondent may respond in writing to the report; any such responses must be filed with the Affirmative Action Officer within 7 days of the date of the hearing panel’s report. The Affirmative Action Officer will promptly forward the full report to the President. The President, in consultation with legal counsel and the Affirmative Action Officer, will make his or her decision as to the disposition of the case as soon as possible, but no later than 7 days of the date of the hearing panel’s report. This decision will be in writing and will include an explanation of the decision. Copies of the decision will be sent to the complainant, the respondent, and the Office of the Provost.

Appeals

The College’s Affirmative Action Officer will provide general information on the State and Federal guidelines and laws, as well as the names and addresses of various enforcement agencies.

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