Discrimination & Harassment Policy And Complaint Procedure


1. Purpose
To provide a definition of harassment and to ensure that discrimination
complaints, including unlawful harassment, are handled promptly and effectively in a manner procedurally fair to the parties.

2. Scope
The Discrimination and Harassment Policy applies to all administrators,
employees, admissions or employment applicants, students, members of the Board of Trustees, agents of the College, and volunteers involved in College-related activities. The policy also applies for and to those who do business with the College in their interactions with members of the College community.

3. Definitions
3.1. Harassment constitutes a form of discrimination and is defined as verbal or physical conduct directed at an individual’s race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, marital or civil union status, veteran status or qualified disability, or on the basis of any other status protected by law, which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s employment or educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Examples of Harassment: Examples of kinds of conduct that may be harassment are unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct, including but not limited to:

Pervasive harassment: threats of intimidation or contact which is not freely agreed upon by both parties; unwelcome touching, patting, pinching, or leering; sexually graphic comments about a person’s body; sexual advances, stalking; persistent, offensive verbal abuses including propositions, insulting or degrading comments or behavior, jokes, slurs, mimicking, gestures, innuendoes, vulgar language; obscene posters, notes or graffiti, telephone or e-mail messages; or harassment in work assignments;Threats that a person’s employment status, conditions of employment, and promotional opportunities will be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances; Teaching practices or communications that are demeaning, hostile, or alienating. (while the College has a policy supporting academic freedom, behavior that focuses attention on discriminatory characteristics
in a context that is irrelevant to the course constitutes a serious violation of the College’s Harassment Policy); Inappropriate personal attention by an instructor or college official who is in a position to determine a student’s grade or otherwise affect
the student’s academic performance or professional future.
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3.2. Other Specific Types of Harassment
In addition to forms of harassment listed above, other examples of specific types of harassment might include, but are not limited to:

Disability Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct directed at the characteristics of an individual’s disabling condition such as manner of speaking, manner of movement, or necessary equipment.

National Origin Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct directed at an individual’s national origin such as negative comments regarding
surnames, manner of speaking, and customs.

Racial Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct directed at an individual’s race such as words emphasizing stereotypes, comments on manner of speaking, and negative references to racial customs.

Religious Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct directed at an individual’s religion such as derogatory comments regarding surnames,
religious tradition, and religious clothing.

Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:
a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;
b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affectingsuch individual; or
c. The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

Sexual Orientation Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct directed
at an individual’s sexual orientation, such as negative name-calling and imitating mannerisms.
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4. Policy
It is imperative that Champlain College provides a safe environment conducive to learning. Harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated for any reason. In accordance with federal and state laws, the College affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunity in education and employment and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender, marital or civil union status, veteran status, or qualified disability in administration of its educational and admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, employment practices, or athletic and other college-administered programs.

It is, therefore, the intent of the College to comply with the spirit and the letter of the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act of 1963, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1970, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and such other federal, state and local nondiscrimination laws as they apply.

Compliance with this policy is a term and condition of student enrollment and employment at the College. An individual who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action. Depending on the seriousness, sanctions for involvement in harassment or discriminatory activities could include verbal or written reprimand; required participation in community projects; loss of privileges; suspension
(with or without pay); probation; requirement to participate in counseling; or dismissal from housing, school, or employment.

The right to make a complaint is not limited to someone who is the direct target of the harassment. Anyone who has observed discrimination or harassment should report the alleged incident(s) to the Director of Human Resources or to the Vice President for Student Services (student-to-student harassment).

In fact, all College officials, such as vice presidents, directors, department chairs, and individuals in management/supervisory positions are obligated by law to report conduct that may be in violation of the College’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Personal counselors in the Student Resource Center are the only individuals available to provide support and assistance on a confidential basis and will not release any information without the individual’s permission except in circumstances where they believe that the safety and welfare of the individuals or others may be at risk or as otherwise required by law. The College cannot, however, guarantee the confidentiality of information shared with anyone other than the College Counselors because of laws requiring that action be taken.

A copy of the Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedure is provided to every employee and student through the full- and part-time Employee Handbook(s) and The Rudder and is available at accessible locations. The College also provides appropriate educational training.

Any individual found to have engaged in discrimination or harassment as defined above will be in violation of this policy and shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Any individual who believes he/she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment under this policy is entitled to pursue the internal Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure and/or may pursue remedies provided by federal and state law. A person who makes a complaint is called a complainant. There also are instances when the College may choose to follow up on a concern with an informal process or formal complaint without having received a formal or informal complaint from an individual (i.e., when a problem is identified by another member of the College community).
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5. Complaint procedure
The purpose of the Complaint Procedure is to provide a process for handling discrimination and harassment complaints. A lengthy period of time between an alleged occurrence and investigation may make fact-finding more difficult. Therefore, individuals are encouraged to file complaints as soon as possible.

5.1. Mandatory Reporting of Allegations of Discriminatory Behavior College officials who become aware of conduct that they believe may violate the College’s nondiscrimination policy must report that conduct to the Director of Human Resources or, if the alleged conduct was engaged in by a student, to Student Services. Examples of “College officials” include deans, directors, supervisors and Student Services personnel with oversight responsibilities for students or employees.

5.2. Confidentiality of Investigation/Hearing All proceedings against individuals relating to complaints of discrimination will be conducted confidentially by Human Resources/Student Services officials to the extent allowed by law.
So as to complete required investigations, those individuals will share information only with persons who, in the sound discretion of such officials, have a legitimate need to know, or persons from whom information is needed to complete an investigation.

5.3. FiFiling a DiDiscrimination or Harassment Complaint Champlain College student or employee who believes that the Discrimination or Harassment Policy has been violated may file a complaint.

Discrimination or harassment complaints against College faculty and staff should contact his/her direct supervisor or the Director, Human Resources.

Discrimination complaints against College students are handled by the Vice President for Student Services at: Student Life Office, Student Resource Center, P.O. Box 670, Burlington, VT 05402, 802-865-6429.

5.3.1. There is no such thing as an “unofficial” complaint unless the individual only shares the information with one of the Personal Counselors at the College who is bound by the ethics of confidentiality to not release information without permission except in circumstances where the counselor believes that the safety and welfare of the individual or others may be at risk or as otherwise required by law.
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5.4. Investigation Procedures
5.4.1. The Director, Human Resources and Organizational Development and/or the Vice President for Student Services (student-to-student violations) or other appropriate personnel will interview the person making the complaint, known as the “Complainant.” The complainant will then be asked to provide a signed and written statement, known as a Complaint, describing the offending conduct in detail. The Complaint will provide a record of what happened including facts, dates,witnesses, actions and responses and any relevant correspondence.

5.4.2. Human Resources/Student Services next determines whether the situation described in the Complaint arose in the course of a College program or activity. If so, it must also determine whether the Complaint is directed against a College employee, student, department (or similar unit), or a third-party College affiliate. If both of the above situations exist, the College will formally launch an investigation into the matter. If it is determined that the situation did not arise in the course of a College program or activity and is not directed at an individual associated with the College as described above, the complainant may be referred to other agencies where appropriate.

5.4.3. When a complaint is received, the person(s) being charged will be notified promptly that an investigation has begun and will be given ample opportunity to respond to the allegations surfaced during the investigation.

5.4.4. The VP of Finance and Administration, the VP of Student Affairs and the Provost will assign two individuals to investigate a Complaint. If the complaint involves a student, one of the investigators will be assigned from the Office of the VP, Student Services. If the complaint involves a faculty member, one of the investigators will be assigned from the Office of the Provost.

5.4.5. The investigator(s) will meet privately and separately with the complainant, the person(s) being charged with discrimination, and any witnesses to the alleged incident(s) and maintain a written report of the interviews and investigation. Any person being interviewed may elect to have an advisor or counsel present at these meetings.

5.4.6. All complaints will be promptly investigated. Reasonable attempts will be made to complete the complaint investigation procedures in not more than 30 days from the date of the filing of a complaint; however, the College reserves the right to extend the time for completion of its investigation.

5.4.7. Any investigation will be conducted with sensitivity to all parties. Confidentiality will be maintained to the greatest extent possible within the requirements of conducting reasonable investigations. Only those individuals who have a legitimate need to know may be made aware of the identity of the parties. The College strictly forbids retaliation against anyone who has brought a complaint or participated in an investigation.

5.4.8. The investigators will issue a written report of their findings and conclusions to Human Resources. A representative from Human Resources will determine if the investigation is complete and will develop a recommendation for resolution based on the findings and conclusion of the investigators’ report.

5.4.9. The proposed resolution will be forwarded to the Vice President or Provost with responsibility for the department in which the complainant and the respondent(s) work for their review and final approval. The complainant and respondent(s) will be notified in writing of the results of the investigation and the College’sproposed resolution of the complaint. If a complaint is found valid, the offender may be subject to a range of disciplinary sanctions as outlined under the Discrimination and Harassment Policy, up to and including termination of employment. If the charge is not substantiated, the case will be closed. No materials pertaining to the complaint will be placed in the personnel or student file in such an instance.

5.4.10. The complainant and respondent will receive a written summary of the investigation and the conclusions of the investigation.
This summary will not include disciplinary actions taken or details of the investigatory report.

5.4.11. The individual being charged may invoke the appropriate Grievance Procedure in response to the action taken on the findings
of the complaint.
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5.5. Informal Resolution of a Complaint
5.5.1. Human Resources may offer a person with a complaint of alleged discrimination or harassment use of an informal process for resolving their complaint prior to proceeding with the formal process. The informal process is designed to encourage an open atmosphere in which human relationships may be improved; it encourages people to resolve concerns and disputes without fear of reprisal; it enables the parties to settle disputes at the lowest possible level, quickly, fairly and impartially.

5.5.2. No official findings of fact are made about the existence of discriminatory behavior. Rather, emphasis is placed on identifying the source of the problem(s) between the parties and exploring ways the Complaint can be resolved. Human Resources will maintain a confidential record of the outcome of all informal resolution efforts.
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5.6. Retaliation
5.6.1. Human Resources and Student Services will inform all
parties that the College prohibits retaliation against individuals who make Complaints per this procedure, serve as witnesses, or otherwise cooperate with investigations, regardless of whether Human Resources or Student Services ultimately determines that the alleged conduct constituted unlawful discrimination or harassment.

Any Complainant or witness who believes he/she has been subjected to retaliatory behavior should report the conduct to Human Resources immediately. Human Resources will determine whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, it shall initiate an investigation and make findings under this procedure. Persons determined to have engaged in retaliatory conduct are subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, termination.
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5.7. False Reports
5.7.1. If, at any point during the process, the investigator determines
that a Complainant or witness has knowingly lied or deliberately provided false information to the investigator(s), Human Resources or Student Services may recommend that disciplinary action be taken against that person. Action may include dismissal and such persons may also be subject to independent legal action by persons wrongfully accused of misconduct. A Complainant whose allegations are truthful, but not found to constitute unlawful discrimination, has not provided false information within the meaning of this policy and procedure.
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5.8. Protectivive Measures
5.8.1. Sometimes it is necessary to take steps before or during an investigation to protect the rights and interests of the Complainant and/or Respondent. Such measures may be designed to reduce or eliminate contact between the Complainant and/or the Respondent so that both parties may feel safe in their work/educational environment.

Protective measures may also guard against further actual or perceived discrimination or retaliation. Protective measures may include temporary changes in working conditions (such as changes to supervisor or office location), directives to the Complainant and Respondent to avoid personal contact or refrain from such contact without a neutral third person present and, in severe cases, suspension
of an individual.

Official Internal and External Contacts Concerning the Discrimination & Harassment Policy Individuals should contact the Director, Human Resources with any questions, discrimination complaints, inquiries concerning compliance with regulations or if auxiliary aids or services are needed to participate in Champlain College programs, or to apply for admission or employment.

Individuals may also contact the following State and Federal agencies
concerning the application of nondiscrimination policies and enforcement of rights:

Employees may contact:
Vermont Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Unit,
109 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05609-1001

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building
Government Center, Room 475
Boston, MA 02203
(800) 669-4000/VOICE, (800) 669-6820/TDD,

Students may contact:
United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
J.W. McCormack, Post Office Court House Building, Room 701
Boston, MA 02109-4557
(617) 223-9662/VOICE

Vermont Human Rights Commission
135 State Street, 2nd Floor, Drawer 33
Montpelier, VT 05633-6301
(802) 828-2480/VOICE/TDD, (800) 416-2010/VOICE
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