Office of Strategic Planning & Institutional Diversity

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment/Misconduct

What is discrimination?

In simple terms, discrimination is the mistreatment of an individual because of certain characteristics, factors, or perceived differences due to their group identity or affiliation. In legal terms these groups often are referred to as protected classes, which are:  race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, or military service.  The College does not allow the mistreatment of individuals who are members of these protected classes, although the College does not sanction nor tolerate the mistreatment of any individual (see Non-Discrimination Policy statement).

What is sexual harassment/misconduct?

Sexual harassment, which includes misconduct, is a form of discrimination and is defined as uninvited and unwelcomed verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate, such as an employee or student. Sexual harassment can cover a broad range of behaviors, including but not limited to nonverbal, verbal, and physical (see Sexual Harassment Policy statement).

Seeking support:  What to do if you experience discrimination or harassment

If you feel you have experienced an incident that could be either discrimination or sexual harassment/misconduct, talking about the incident soon thereafter with an official representative may be helpful. The College has designated members of the community who serve in the official capacity of discrimination and sexual harassment advisors. These advisors include health staff and counselors, assistant and associate deans, human resources officers, chaplains, and the V.P. For Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity (also serves as the affirmative action officer). Among them are a number of people who have training in discrimination and sexual harassment counseling (see sexual harassment/discrimination advisors).

Depending on the wishes of the person seeking help, the advisor’s role may include any of the following informational or supportive activities: listening to and discussing the incident with the individual; helping the person decide whether to try to resolve the situation on her or his own; helping the person understand the College’s discrimination and grievance procedures.

While all offices are available for support,  please feel free to contact the office where you are most comfortable.  Any member of the College community, who feels as if he or she has been discriminated against or has been the target of sexual harassment, including misconduct, can seek help from any of the following resources:

Sexual Harassment/Misconduct

Grievances and Discrimination

Filing a Complaint

The College has a detailed online process available to help guide individuals who wish to file a complaint regarding either discrimination or sexual harassment/misconduct.

Any member of the community who feels that he or she is the target of sexual misconduct or discrimination (complainant) should report the incident as soon as possible and preferably within a month of its occurrence, since prolonged delay may complicate the presentation of evidence in the grievance procedures. Complainants have, however, up to two years to report alleged discriminatory behavior, and even this period may be extended with the approval of the appropriate executive officer.

The procedures governing discrimination have four components – advising, informal grievance, formal grievance, and appeal – each of which is described in the following link (see Summary of the Sequence of Events and Options in the Discrimination Grievance Procedures).

Complainants are free to withdraw or proceed at any stage of the process. The College will treat the identity of the parties and the substance of the claims as confidential throughout, except as is reasonably necessary to carrying out the procedures and to ensuring the safety of everyone at the College. College policy explicitly prohibits retaliation, academic or otherwise, against employees or students for bringing complaints of discriminatory behavior (see Discrimination Grievance Procedures).