Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Archived: Active
Effective Date: May 31, 2015
Steward: Title IX Coordinator
Approval Authority: President and Vice Presidents
Approval Date: January 25, 2015

I. Purpose

The Evergreen State College (Evergreen, College) is committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational and employment environment founded on civility and mutual respect without regard to a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.  Sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, are antithetical to the standards and ideals that the College works to foster among students, faculty, staff and visitors.  To that end, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and retaliation as expressly defined herein, are prohibited and will not be tolerated by the College.  As required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, The Evergreen State College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities, admissions or employment.

While the College’s ultimate goal is to prevent sexual harassment and sexual misconduct through education and the development of a sense of community, it will respond promptly and equitably to reports of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or retaliation using the means described in this policy to stop behavior that violates this policy, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Anyone who believes that they have experienced, witnessed, or have knowledge about an instance of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or retaliation is encouraged to come forward without delay to request assistance and report the conduct as provided for in this policy. See Section VIII.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the College’s Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Policy.

II. Legal Basis

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and by the Washington State Law Against Discrimination, RCW 49.60. EEOC Guidelines require employers to affirmatively address the issue of sexual harassment and to adopt procedures for the prompt resolution of employee complaints.

Similarly, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, as defined in this Policy and the Student Conduct Code, are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, 20 U.S.C. 1681et seq.  Federal regulations implementing Title IX require educational institutions that receive federal funds to provide a prompt and equitable procedure for resolving complaints of sex discrimination.  Federal regulations implementing Title IX also require educational institutions to take prompt and effective steps that are reasonably calculated to address the effects of sex discrimination when it limits an individual’s ability to participate in, or benefit from College programs or activities.

III. Application of Policy

This policy applies to all Evergreen employees (faculty, staff, and student employees), students, volunteers, and other persons who are contractually obligated to comply with the College’s policies, including: contractors, vendors, and those engaged to further the interests of the College. This policy applies to all areas of the College’s programs and activities, both on and off premises. Sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation are also prohibited under this policy for off-the-job conduct by an employee when the behavior has a reasonable connection to the person’s job performance or the work environment; by students as governed by the Student Conduct Code (SCC); and by all other persons noted above when the behavior affects the workplace, the safety of the College community, or denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or to receive the educational benefits, services or opportunities of the College.

IV. Definitions [1]

A. Consent

Consent means that at the time of the activity there are actual words or conduct indicating a voluntary and mutually understandable agreement between the parties to engage in the action(s) or behavior(s). Consent may not be given or granted when one's capacity for effective decision making has been diminished by the use of alcohol or drugs, or a person is unconscious, or is experiencing some other cognitive impairment. Consent is not considered voluntary when obtained through threats, intimidation, or coercion.

B. Dating Violence

Dating Violence includes, but is not limited to, physical or sexual abuse or the threat of such abuse, emotional abuse, or psychological abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.  The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of: a) the length of the relationship; b) the type of relationship; and c) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

C. Domestic Violence

Domestic violence means: (a) physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; (b) sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or (c) stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member. The terms “family” and “household member” shall have the same meaning as set forth in RCW26.50.010(2).

D. Retaliation

Retaliatory conduct in violation of this policy can include, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats, coercion, or conduct directed against the person making the complaint or reporting an incident, others supporting or participating in the complaint or investigation process associated with this policy, and bystanders who intervene to stop or attempt to stop sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. 

E. Sex Discrimination

For purposes of this policy, sex discrimination includes all forms of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, as defined herein.

F. Sexual Harassment

“Sexual harassment” is a form of discrimination based on the recipient’s sex. It can involve persons of the same or differing sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions. It is characterized by unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual assault.  Such conduct violates this policy when:

a.     Submission to such conduct, generally by agents or employees with some authority from the College, is made either an implicit or explicit condition of the individual’s employment, academic status, or ability to participate in or to receive the educational benefits, services or opportunities of the College; or

b.    Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct (generally conduct of agents or employees with some authority from the College) is used as a factor in decisions that affect tangible aspects of the individual’s employment, academic status, or ability to participate in or to receive the educational benefits, services or opportunities of the College; or

c.     Conduct (by anyone involved in a College program or activity, e.g., administrators, faculty members, students, contractors, vendor, volunteers and campus visitors) is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, persistent, or pervasive) and objectively offensive so as to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, (i.e., to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s employment, academic status, or deny or limit the individual’s ability to participate in or to receive the educational benefits, services or opportunities of the College).

G. Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault; inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes; sexual exploitation; domestic violence; dating violence; stalking, where the conduct is based on the sex/gender of the victim; and any other sexual offense as set forth in RCW 9A.44.

1)     Sexual assault means actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent.  It includes, but is not limited to:

a.     Non-consensual sexual intercourse;

b.    Intentional and unwelcome touching of, or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person’s intimate parts (including, but not limited to: the breasts, buttock, mouth, groin or genital area); and

c.     Involvement in any sexual contact when a person is unable to consent.

 

2)     Inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes includes using drugs, alcohol, or other means with the intent to affect or having an actual effect on the ability of an individual to consent or refuse to consent (as “consent” is defined in this policy) to sexual contact.

 

3)     Sexual exploitation occurs when one takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct prohibitions.  Examples of behaviors that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

a.     Non-consensual viewing, photographing another person in a place where he or she would have a reasonable expectation of privacy;

b.    Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness;

c.     Exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose his or her genitals in non-consensual circumstances;

d.    Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as HIV, to another without disclosing your STI status.

e.     Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography;

f.     Going beyond the bounds of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex).

H. Stalking

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct, directed at another individual that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or to feel intimidated or harassed.

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other means, device, method or action, follows, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

V. Prevention and Training

The College will regularly provide education and training aimed to: 1) promote student and employee awareness about and prevent sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and 2) to equip those responsible to respond, report, and address sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

VI. Privileged and Confidential Communications

Students may receive confidential support services on campus from the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, the Counseling Center, or Health Center. In all but exceptional cases, reports of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct made to staff of these offices can remain confidential.[2]

In the interest of enhancing campus and community safety, providers in these offices will use their professional judgment to seek permission from the student to provide the Title IX Coordinator with a limited report.  This limited report should include the nature, date, time and general location of an incident and should not include information that directly or indirectly identifies the victim.

Students, staff and faculty may receive confidential support and assistance off campus through St. Peter’s Hospital Emergency Room, the Washington State Employee Assistance Program (employees only), or by contacting the County Sexual Assault Program in the county in which they reside.

Contact information for these resources is provided in Section XIII.

VII. Responsible Employees: College Personnel with a Mandatory Duty to Report Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, or Retaliation

Under this policy, the College designates all staff (with the exception of temporary hourly employees and those confidential resources identified in Section VI), all faculty, and student resident assistants as “responsible employees.”

All responsible employees have a mandatory duty to immediately report, as indicated in paragraph 4 below, all details known to them regarding behaviors that might constitute sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or related retaliation (including, but not limited to, the identities of both the affected party and the alleged perpetrator). Information of this kind when possessed by any responsible employee constitutes notice to the College and will lead to an institutional response. Failure to immediately report shall be deemed a violation of this policy.

How to Respond When Approached by an Affected Party

A responsible employee is often the first person to be approached by someone who has experienced sexual harassment or misconduct.  By actively listening and offering support and information, responsible employees help prevent and stop behaviors that can negatively affect students and co-workers. 

1.     Because some who experience sexual harassment or misconduct may not be seeking to file a complaint, it is important to try to inform the person of the reporting obligations of a responsible employee before they share information that they might prefer remain confidential.

 

2.     Inform the person of the option to seek confidential support services on or off campus and of their reporting options.

 

3.     Do not pressure an affected party either to request anonymity or to make a full report, but honor and support their choice. Inform the person that the College will consider requests to: a) not reveal their identity to the alleged perpetrator(s), and/or b) not investigate or take disciplinary action.  Do not guarantee that the College will be able to honor such a request.  Forward any such request received, including the requestor’s name, when reporting to the appropriate College official.

 

4.     Immediately report all relevant details observed or received, including but not limited to the names of the alleged perpetrator(s), the person(s) who experienced the alleged sexual harassment or misconduct, others involved including witnesses, the date, time, and location of the incident to the College Senior Conduct Administrator, Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, Title IX Coordinator, or their designee.  This can be accomplished by telephone, email, or by completing the online reporting form.  In some instances, the College official may instruct the responsible employee to complete the online reporting form.  It is not the responsible employee’s role to interview an affected party or conduct an investigation. If the responsible employee has not been provided all the information listed here, they are to simply report the information available to them.

 

5.     A responsible employee should only report possible violations of this policy to law enforcement with the affected party’s consent, except when:

a.     the affected party has also reported the incident to law enforcement;

b.    mandated by state or federal law or court order;

c.     there is an immediate threat of harm to a student or any other person.

VIII. Reporting a Concern and/or Filing a Complaint

A. Where to Report Possible Violations by Students

Anyone experiencing or witnessing conduct by a student that may violate this policy should file a complaint or a report by contacting any of the following College officials:

·         The College Senior Conduct Administrator

·         The College Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, or

·         The College Title IX Coordinator

If there is an immediate threat of harm to anyone or for immediate referral to resources after hours, on weekends and holidays, contact Police Services or call 911. 

Contact information for these resources is provided in Section XIII.

B. Where to Report Possible Violations by Persons Other than Students

Anyone experiencing or witnessing conduct by someone other than a student that may violate this policy should file a complaint or report by contacting one of the following College officials:

·         The College Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, or

·         The College Title IX Coordinator.

If there is an immediate threat of harm to anyone or for immediate referral to resources after hours, on weekends and holidays, contact Police Services or call 911.

Contact information for these resources is provided in Section XIII.

 

C. Online and Anonymous Reporting

Although the College encourages persons affected by or witnessing sexual harassment or sexual misconduct to talk with someone, the College provides an online incident report form.  The form also allows for anonymous reporting. Note: Responsible employees are required to provide their name and contact information when reporting, whether online or in person.

 

IX. College Response to Reports and Complaints

Once the College has notice of a possible violation of this policy, the College will take immediate and appropriate steps to determine what occurred, and will take prompt action to end harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. The College may impose separation orders, changes to the alleged perpetrator’s living, work, or academic situation, or other interim safety measures while an investigation is pending. The College will enforce protection orders issued by a court. 

Persons subjected to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct or concerned about possible retaliation may request measures to address their safety such as changes to their extracurricular activities, campus housing, academic, work or dining situation, even if they choose not to pursue a complaint with College officials or law enforcement.

The College will provide the affected party with written information about their rights, on and off-campus resources, and the College’s complaint procedures.

The College uses the preponderance-of-evidence (i.e., more likely than not) standard in fact-finding and proceedings related to alleged violations of this policy.

A. The Senior Conduct Administrator (SCA) or Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer

 

The Senior Conduct Administrator, the Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, or their designees, will inform the Title IX Coordinator when a complaint or report is received, consult with the Title IX Coordinator as needed, keep the Coordinator apprised of the progress and status of the complaint or report, and provide a copy of the determination and report for all Title IX cases.  The SCA or Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer will conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial administrative investigation of the alleged sexual harassment or misconduct upon receipt of information or a complaint. Investigations of possible violations by students will be conducted consistent with the procedures proscribed in the Student Conduct Code.  Investigations of possible violations by employees, volunteers, and those contractually obligated to comply with College policies will be conducted as proscribed in the College Non-Discrimination policy.  Consideration will be given to any complaint/affected party request for confidentiality, consistent with Section C below.

B. Police Services

Police Services will review reports or complaints it receives, determine whether the alleged behaviors constitute criminal activity, and promptly refer the matter to the Senior Conduct Administrator or the Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer. Police Services may consult with the appropriate prosecutorial jurisdiction regarding the filing of criminal charges.

C. Requests for Confidentiality

If a complainant/affected party asks that his or her name not be revealed to the respondent or that the College not investigate the allegation, the Senior Conduct Administrator, Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, Title IX Coordinator or their designee will inform the complainant that maintaining confidentiality may limit the College’s ability to fully respond to the allegation(s) and that retaliation is prohibited.

 

Although rare, there are times when the College may not be able to honor an affected party’s request. Such requests will be evaluated in the context of the College’s obligation to inform law enforcement and its legal authority to retain such information in confidence while ensuring a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all employees and students.  The College Vice President for Student Affairs or the appropriate division vice-president are the final authorities regarding requests that the College not reveal a person’s identity or not investigate a report. 

 

If the College determines that it cannot honor an affected party’s request that the College not reveal their identity or not investigate, the College will inform the affected party of the determination and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the College’s response.  The College will remain ever mindful of the affected party’s well-being and will work with them to create a safety plan and take appropriate steps to protect them from retaliation.  Retaliation against the complainant/affected party will not be tolerated. 

 

If the College decides not to conduct an investigation or take disciplinary action because of a request for confidentiality, the Senior Conduct Administrator, Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, or their designee will evaluate whether other measures are available to limit the effects of the alleged misconduct or harassment and prevent its recurrence and will implement such measures if reasonably feasible.

X. Retaliation

Retaliation is strictly prohibited towards any individual who reports, files a complaint, or attempts to stop or interrupt sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, cooperates in an investigation, testifies, or hears formal or informal complaints of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Senior Conduct Administrator, the Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer, or the Title IX Coordinator.  Any student or employee of the College found to have engaged in retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action.

XI. False Claims

A person who knowingly makes false allegations of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, or who knowingly provides false information in a sexual harassment investigation or proceeding, shall be subject to disciplinary action.

XII. Disciplinary Action

Employees found to have violated this policy shall be subject to the imposition of discipline up to and including termination of employment, consistent with the College procedures for imposing such discipline, applicable laws, and/or any contract or applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Students found to have violated this policy shall be subject to the imposition of sanctions consistent with the sanctions and procedures contained in the College’s Student Conduct Code, WAC 174-123.

Student employees found to have violated this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action under The Evergreen State College Student Conduct Code (SCC), WAC 174-123, or under the authority of any applicable policy, or law.

XIII. Resources

The offices and individuals who coordinate the College’s response to these concerns are set forth below in Section A.  A list of other available internal and external resources is provided in Sections B, C and D.

A. To report possible violations of this policy, receive assistance in filing a complaint with the College or law enforcement, and/or for referral to medical and other support services:

Andrea Seabert-Olsen
Senior Conduct Administrator
Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
Library Building, Room 3009
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 867-5113
seaberta@evergreen.edu 

Police Services
Seminar 1 Building, Room 2150
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 867-6832 (24 hours a day / 7 days a week), or
360) 867-6000, ext. 0 
Emergency: 911 (Any time)

Lorie Mastin
Affirmation Action and Equal Opportunity Officer 
Human Resource Services Office
Library Building, Room 3102
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia WA 98505
(360) 867-5371
 mastinl@evergreen.edu

Kelly Schrader
Assistant Director for Title IX and Integrated Prevention Education
Seminar I, Room 4119
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 867-5224
titleixcoordinator@evergreen.edu

 

B. To receive confidential assistance as discussed in Section VI regarding accessing medical and other support services, or for support in filing an institutional or police report or complaint regarding sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, or related retaliation:

Office of Sexual Violence Prevention
Seminar I Building, Room 4121
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 867-5221

C. For information, training requests, to provide suggestions or raise concerns regarding the College systems and services pertaining to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct,  institutional compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, this policy or associated policies and procedures, and College community members’ rights and responsibilities under this policy:

Kelly Schrader
Assistant Director for Title IX and Integrated Prevention Education
Seminar I, Room 4119
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 867-5224
titleixcoordinator@evergreen.edu

Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX can also be directed to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.  Contact information is listed in Section XIV.

D. Other resources for confidential counseling, medical assistance, and support services:

Evergreen Student Counseling Center
Seminar I, Room 4130
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 867-6800

www.evergreen.edu/health

 

St. Peter’s Hospital Emergency Room
413 Lilly Rd NE
Olympia, WA 98505
(360) 493-5154

 

SafePlace

314 Legion Way

Olympia, WA 98501

24 Hour HelpLine: (360) 754-6300

Office: (360) 786-8754
www.safeplaceolympia.org

 

Rebuilding Hope, the Sexual Assault Center for Pierce County
Hotline: (253) 474-7273
Office: (253) 597-6424
www.sexualassaultcenter.com

Evergreen Student Health Center
Seminar I, Room 2110
2700 Evergreen Parkway NW
Olympia, WA 98505

(360) 867-6200

www.evergreen.edu/health

 

Washington State Employee Assistance Program

1222 State Av NE, Ste 201

Olympia, WA 98504

(360) 407-9490

(877) 313-4455

 

Thurston County Crisis Clinic

24 Hour Crisis Line

(360) 586-2800

 

Washington State Domestic Violence

Hotline

(800) 562-6025

 

 

XIV. Filing a Complaint with an External Enforcement Agency

Nothing in this policy prevents, or in any way impairs or limits the right of an employee, volunteer, or student from inquiring or filing a complaint with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington State Human Rights Commission, or any law enforcement agency in regards to any claim of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Federal Office Building
915 Second Ave. Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174
(206) 607-1600

www.ed.gov/ocr

Washington State Human Rights Commission
Olympia Headquarters Office
711 S. Capitol Way #402
Olympia, WA 98504
1-800-233-3247

www.hum.wa.gov           

U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission
Federal Office Building
909 First Ave. Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104
1-800-669-4000

www.eeoc.gov

 

[1] The definitions set forth in this policy shall apply when discipline is imposed under the authority of the Student Conduct Code, a specific rule, or policy, or under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or contract.

 

[2] While these counselors and advocates may maintain a persons’ confidentiality vis-à-vis the College, they may have reporting or other obligations under state law (e.g., mandatory reporting to law enforcement in case of minors; imminent harm to self or others; duty to disclose under a court order or subpoena).