3.25 Student Protection Against Discrimination and Harassment
East Central College is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from illegal discrimination or harassment in admission or access to its programs, activities and facilities. This includes conduct on property owned or operated by the College, at College-sanctioned functions, and certain off-campus events. Discrimination, harassment or retaliation against students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law is strictly prohibited in accordance with law. The College also prohibits:
1. Retaliatory actions based on making complaints of prohibited discrimination or harassment or based on participation in an investigation, formal proceeding or informal resolution concerning prohibited discrimination or harassment.
2. Aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling or coercing discrimination or harassment.
3. Discrimination or harassment against any person because of such person’s association with a person protected from discrimination or harassment due to one (1) or more of the above-stated characteristics.
Except as otherwise set forth in Policy, all employees, students and visitors must immediately report to the College for investigation any incident or behavior that could constitute illegal discrimination or harassment.
This Policy addresses illegal discrimination or harassment directed at students, which does not rise to the level of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking, as those terms are defined in Policy 3.26 Policy Regarding Student Protections Against Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, and Stalking. Complaints regarding sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking are governed by Policy 3.26.
Policy 3.24 Student ADA Grievance Policy governs grievances by students who believe they have been denied requested accommodations or discriminated against on the basis of a disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Sec 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or other related disability statutes. Students may file such a grievance under this Policy 3.25, Policy 3.26, or Policy 3.24; the College’s Compliance Officer will determine which Policy governs resolution of the specific complaint.
The College also prohibits illegal discrimination and harassment against employees, and specific information about the College’s Policy and response to allegations of illegal discrimination and harassment against employees is found in Policy 5.4.
3.25.1 Definitions – the following definitions apply to this policy:
Discrimination – Conferring, refusing or denying benefits or providing differential treatment to a person or class of persons in violation of law based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harassment – A form of discrimination, as defined above, that occurs when the school or work environment becomes permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough that it unreasonably alters the employment or educational environment. Behaviors that could constitute illegal harassment include, but are not limited to, the following acts if based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law: verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression; stalking; graffiti; display of written material or pictures; name calling; slurs; jokes; gestures; stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; theft; or damage to property.
Sexual Harassment – A form of discrimination, as defined above, on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, includes a variety of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature ranging from unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual exploitation, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault, that is sufficiently severe to the point it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs. Sexual assault is a severe form of sexual harassment and one instance may be sufficient to create a hostile environment.
Complaint– A verbal or written report of discrimination or harassment made to the Compliance Officer.
3.25.2 Compliance Officers
The Board of Trustees designates the following individuals to act as the College’s Compliance Officers:
Title IX Administrator
Section 504 Administrator
Vice President of Student Development
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road
Union, MO 63084
Title IX Deputy Administrator
Director of Human Resources
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road
Union, MO 63084
The Compliance Officer will:
1. Coordinate compliance with this policy and the law.
2. Receive all complaints regarding discrimination and harassment at East Central College.
3. Serve as the College’s contact person for compliance with discrimination laws.
4. Investigate or assign persons to investigate complaints; monitor the status of complaints; and recommend consequences.
5. Seek legal advice when necessary to enforce this Policy.
6. Report to the College President and the Board of Trustees aggregate information regarding the number and frequency of complaints and compliance with this Policy.
7. Make recommendations regarding changing this Policy or the implementation of this Policy.
8. Coordinate and institute training programs for College staff and supervisors as necessary to meet the goals of this Policy, including instruction in recognizing behavior that constitutes discrimination and harassment.
9. Perform other duties as assigned by the College President.
3.25.3 Reporting a Complaint
Students who believe that they have been victims of illegal discrimination or harassment, may file a formal (verbal, written, or online) complaint with the Vice President of Student Development and it will be promptly investigated. There is no time limit on the filing of complaints.
As noted above, all employees, students and visitors must immediately report to the College for investigation any incident or behavior that could constitute illegal discrimination or harassment. Such reports should be made to the Vice President of Student Development or the Director of Human Resources, as the College’s Compliance Officers. All College employees will instruct persons seeking to make a complaint under this Policy to communicate directly with the College Compliance Officers. Even if the potential victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation does not file a complaint, College employees are required to report to the Compliance Officers any observations, rumors or other information regarding actions prohibited by this Policy.
After receiving a complaint, the Compliance Officer to whom the complaint is made will determine the appropriate College Policy for processing the complaint. Once the determination is reached, the Compliance Officer will notify the student making the complaint of which College Policy will govern the disposition of the student’s complaint.
3.25.4 Interim Measures
When a report is made or the College otherwise learns of potential discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the College will, if appropriate, take immediate action to protect the alleged victim, including implementing interim measures. For example, the College may alter a student’s class schedule, provide additional support for a student (such as counseling or academic support), suspend an employee pending an investigation, or, if applicable, alter transportation or working situations. The College will take immediate steps to prevent retaliation against the alleged victim, any person associated with the alleged victim, or any witnesses or participants in the investigation. These steps may include, but are not limited to, notifying students, employees and others that they are protected from retaliation, ensuring that they know how to report future complaints, and initiating follow up contact with the complainant to determine if any additional acts of discrimination, harassment or retaliation have occurred. The College will provide these types of interim measures if requested by the victim and if such measures are reasonably available and appropriate in the circumstances. Individuals are encouraged to speak with the College’s Compliance Officers about the availability of such measures. In the case of a confidential reporting, the Reporting Party should speak with the College counselor to whom they made the report about any requested interim measures.
3.25.5 Procedure for Investigation and Resolution of Complaints
In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes discrimination or harassment, the College will consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behavior, the relationships between the parties involved, past incidents, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred and all other relevant information. Whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this Policy requires a determination based on all of the facts and surrounding circumstances. If, after investigation, College officials determine that it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment or other prohibited behavior has occurred, the College will take immediate corrective action.
The following procedures will be used as a guideline for investigating complaints:
1. Interview the person making the complaint regarding the nature and specifics of the incident(s);
2. Interview the person accused; and
3. Interview other possible witnesses, if appropriate.
A. Complaints Against Employees of the College
If a complaint under this Policy is against an employee of the College, the complaint will be investigated by the Director of Human Resources or designee, and will be handled according to the procedures found in Policy 5.4. Employees who violate this Policy will be disciplined, up to and including employment termination.
B. Complaints Against College Students
If a complaint under this Policy is against another student, the complaint will be investigated by the Vice President of Student Development or designee.
Both the person making the complaint and the person accused will have equal opportunity to provide relevant information, including the identities of any witnesses they believe should be contacted as part of the investigation.
After reviewing all the relevant information, the Vice President of Student Development or designee will render a determination as to whether the Policy was violated and what additional actions may be necessary, including disciplinary action against the person accused and/or making available to the victim appropriate College resources.
Students who violate this policy will be disciplined, which may include suspension or expulsion. Other possible sanctions are found in the Student Discipline Code.
The Vice President of Student Development will notify both the complainant and the person accused of his or her determination, but, unless otherwise authorized by law, will only notify the complainant of any sanctions imposed against the accused student, to the extent such sanctions impact the complainant, such as a determination that the accused may not come within a certain distance of the complainant.
If either the person making the complaint or the person accused disagrees with the Vice President of Student Development or designee’s determination, either student may request that the complaint be handled according to the procedures found in the Student Discipline Policy, Policy 3.18.
3.25.6 Confidentiality, Records and Counseling
To the extent practicable, the College will endeavor to keep confidential the identity of the person filing a complaint, witnesses or other parties interviewed, and any complaint or other document that is generated or received pertaining to complaints. Information may be disclosed if necessary to further the investigation, or resolution of a complaint, or if necessary to carry out disciplinary measures. The College will disclose information to the College’s attorney, law enforcement, and others when necessary to enforce this Policy or when required by law.
In implementing this Policy, the College will comply with state and federal laws regarding the confidentiality of student and employee records.
Information regarding any resulting employee or student disciplinary action will be maintained and released in the same manner as any other disciplinary record.
Any student who believes he/she has been a victim of illegal discrimination or harassment has the option of speaking confidentially to a College counselor. Counseling services are available at no cost to the student and referrals to community resources are available. College counselors can also help the alleged victim identify other available College resources.
All other employees are mandated to report the information regarding illegal discrimination or harassment to the Compliance Officer.