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Policy on Harassment and Nondiscrimination

Statement on Nondiscrimination

Randolph-Macon College values the complexity and diversity of the world in which we live and seeks to be a community that recognizes the dignity and inherent worth of every person. The College is committed to the principles of fairness and respect for all and believes that a policy embodying these principles fosters a community that favors the free and open exchange of ideas and provides its students, faculty and staff with the best environment for study, work and fellowship. Accordingly, no member of the College community shall willfully harass, discriminate against, or interfere with the activities or legitimate rights of any person in a way that deprives that person of due consideration as an individual.

For the purposes of this document, the "College community" includes: students, faculty and staff; prospective students and employment applicants; visitors to and guests of the College. Any person engaged in Randolph-Macon College activities is subject to and protected by the provisions of this policy.

In compliance with Title IX of the Education Act Amendment of 1972, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendment (2008) and other federal, state and local equal opportunity laws, and in accordance with our values, Randolph-Macon College will not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, disability, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender expression in any phase of its admissions, financial aid, educational, athletic or other programs or activities, or in any phase of its employment practices.

The Provost of the College is the College’s Title IX and Nondiscrimination Coordinator responsible for coordinating and ensuring compliance with Title IX and the Nondiscrimination policy and compliance with equal opportunity regulations and laws. Questions or concerns regarding compliance issues and equal opportunity matters should be directed to the Office of the Provost, Randolph-Macon College, P.O. Box 5005, Ashland, VA 23005, 804.752.7268. The Federal Government resource on such issues is the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202.

A. Definitions

1. Discrimination is an act or communication that interferes with an individual’s or a group’s ability to participate fully in the Randolph-Macon College community on the basis of race, gender, disability, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or gender expression.

2. Harassment is conduct and/or verbal action which, because of its severity and/or persistence, interferes significantly with an individual’s or a group’s work or education, or adversely affects living conditions.

Discriminatory harassment of this sort includes but is not limited to incitement to or threat of violence; epithets referring to race, gender, disability, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or gender expression; and/or physical conduct that is unwelcome, hostile or intimidating.

College policy also recognizes as discriminatory harassment other forms of conduct and/or verbal communication that are derogatory, hostile, intimidating, threatening, “bullying,” humiliating or violent, although not necessarily illegal and that do not necessarily refer to a legally protected status or environment.

3. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination which includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and/or other verbal or physical acts of a sexual nature which, because of their severity and/or persistence, interfere significantly with an individual’s or a group’s work or education, or adversely affect an individual’s or a group’s living conditions.

Sexual harassment may include but is not limited to quid pro quo (something for something, such as a demand or offer of sexual activity to retain or obtain academic or employment benefits), and/or an abusive or hostile environment which interferes with the ability to function as a full participant in the Randolph-Macon College community.

4. Sexual Misconduct is also a form of discrimination and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault (non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual intimate touching) and sexual exploitation. All such acts of sexual misconduct are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.

For further examples of discrimination and harassment, see Appendix 1.

B. Resources

Victims may initiate the complaint procedures by bringing complaints of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct directly to the Coordinator for Nondiscrimination (hereinafter referred to as “the Coordinator,” or to any of the parties listed below (who will report the complaint to the Coordinator). At the complainant’s request, the College will make an effort to maintain the complainant’s confidentiality unless otherwise required by law (e.g., an investigation is required in sexual misconduct cases) or if doing so would unreasonably endanger the safety of the community; however, note that requests for confidentiality may impede the College’s ability to respond or investigate.

Student victims may report incidents of sexual harassment or misconduct to the Office of Student Counseling, Student Health Services, and the Office of the Chaplain confidentially, and no action will be taken without the victim’s consent unless required by law.

The Coordinator for Nondiscrimination/ Title IX Coordinator/ Provost of the College 752.7268

The Associate Dean of the College 752.7268

The Dean of Students 752.7266

Campus Safety 752.4710

Director of Human Resources 752.3747

A College Ombuds

The Director of Athletics 752.3609

Faculty and staff members serving on the Nondiscrimination Committee

Tools for reporting harassment and sexual assault are available online at the Counseling Services website.

At any time, persons who believe they have been victims of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct may file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202.

In addition to the procedures below, victims of sexual misconduct have the right to pursue criminal prosecution and/or civil litigation. Campus Safety is available to provide assistance and information on criminal prosecution. The College is committed to providing full and prompt cooperation and assistance in notifying the proper law enforcement personnel if the victim so chooses. The victim has the right to pursue all legal and disciplinary remedies and counseling services without academic penalty.

C. Procedures

The following are internal options for addressing discrimination and/or harassment.

1. Informal Process: Mediation

The Office of the Ombuds is a safe, informal venue in which to explore questions of discrimination and harassment (for an expanded description of the Ombuds, see Appendix 2). Persons who believe or suspect they have experienced discrimination, harassment, or any other behavior that prevents them from participating fully as a member of the College community should contact an Ombuds to consider the options for response.

An Ombuds’ mediation may include, but is not limited to listening and providing an impartial sounding board, suggesting strategies for the individual or group to adopt, meeting informally with the complainant and the accused (individual or group representative) with the intent of bringing about resolution, meeting privately with the accused and acting as go-between, or advising the alleged victim to file a formal complaint. The Ombuds may arrange a meeting between the parties if all are willing. In cases where groups are involved, the Ombuds may require that one or two members of the group/s be authorized in writing to act on behalf of the group/s in the informal process, and all members of the group/s are bound by the terms of the informal resolution. In no event will a victim be forced or coerced by the College to mediate directly or indirectly with the accused against the victim’s will.

If the complainant so requests, the Ombuds will make every effort to maintain the complainant’s confidentiality unless otherwise required by law or if doing so would unreasonably endanger the safety of the community; however, note that requests for confidentiality may impede the Ombuds’ ability to respond or investigate. Complainants should be advised, moreover, that incidents of sexual misconduct against students must be reported to the Coordinator in compliance with Title IX. Only exchanges with the Offices of Student Counseling, Student Health Services and the Office of the Chaplain are considered privileged by law in such cases. (Please see C3.” Special Procedures for Sexual Misconduct Against Students”)
While any Ombuds makes every effort to protect and assist the complainant, the Ombuds seeks to protect the rights and further the legitimate interests of both the complainant and the accused.

An Ombuds keeps records of all meetings and consults with the other Ombuds when appropriate. All records and communications are confidential except in cases of sexual misconduct against students.

Normally, complaints brought to the Ombuds will be resolved within sixty days. The Ombuds may find that some complaints are not appropriate for informal mediation. In such cases, or at any time during or after informal mediation, the complainant may make a formal complaint to the Coordinator. If an informal complaint is taken to a formal process, the Ombuds who assisted the complainant will not be asked by the Coordinator or any College official to serve as a witness or be required to offer evidence or testimony of any sort.

2. Formal Process

If complainants are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Informal Process, or do not wish to proceed informally, they may initiate the Formal Process. Cases of sexual misconduct against students are automatically subject to the Special Procedures for Sexual Misconduct and may not be addressed informally.

Upon receipt of a written complaint describing details of the alleged discrimination or harassment, the Coordinator or his/her designee will promptly initiate an investigation The Coordinator will report complaints to the Nondiscrimination Committee and consult with the Committee as warranted.

Any party to the complaint is entitled to the following considerations if they are permitted by law and are appropriate under the circumstances: notification of the nature of the accusations and the opportunity to respond to them; access to relevant documents; and the opportunity to address the Committee and the Coordinator.

At the conclusion of the investigation the Coordinator will report findings, and communicate them to all relevant parties in writing. If the results of the investigation indicate that discrimination/harassment has occurred, the Coordinator will take steps, a. to see that the behavior immediately ceases, b. to prevent the behavior from reoccurring (including forestalling retaliation), and, c. direct the appropriate authority to implement any sanctions and/or remedies as applicable (See D “Implementation of Findings”). Normally, the above process will be completed within sixty days of the receipt of the initial written complaint.

In the event that the Coordinator is a party to the complaint, formal complaints may be filed with the President or with the Chair of the Nondiscrimination Committee, in which case that person takes on the role of Coordinator and follows all the directives as outlined in the formal process. If the Committee Chair is the recipient of the complaint s/he will promptly inform the President.

3. Special Procedures in Cases of Sexual Misconduct Against Students

Upon receipt of a report of alleged sexual misconduct, the Coordinator will promptly initiate an investigation. In addition, the Coordinator will take steps to see that the alleged behavior ceases and does not reoccur and to remedy the effects as necessary. The investigation will follow established procedures as outlined in the “Sexual Misconduct Policy” in the Student Handbook(Fishtales). Findings will be reported and acted upon as in C2 and D.

4. Third-party complaints

Third parties (those who are not the subjects of alleged discrimination but who are aware of a possible case) have the following options:

  • Seek counsel from an Ombuds

  • Notify the Coordinator or the Committee of their concerns 

  • Initiate the Formal Process provided that the subject consents to the complaint in writing and authorizes a detailed statement describing the harassing or discriminatory behavior. The subject should be aware that disclosure of his or her identity may be necessary in order to investigate the facts surrounding the allegation

  • All employees of the College, except those exempted by law, must report incidents of sexual misconduct against students to the Coordinator who will initiate an investigation

D. Implementation of Findings

Where there is a finding that harassment, discrimination or sexual misconduct has occurred, the College will follow its established procedures as outlined in the Faculty Handbook, Staff Handbook or Student Handbook (Fishtales). This will include possible corrective action, with appropriate due process protections for any accused, and taking steps to ensure that the harassing or discriminatory practice or misconduct ceases. Violations of the Policy on Nondiscrimination or other College policies may warrant imposition of sanctions. Continued violations of College policy on harassment and discrimination will result in those violations being deemed presumptively willful. Continued, repeated, or multiple violations may result in stronger sanctions. Single acts of sufficiently severe discrimination or harassment, including sexual misconduct, may result in strong sanction including expulsion.

If the results of the investigation indicate that the College should impose sanctions and/or implement remedies, the matter will be referred to the appropriate authority. In the case of a student, the Dean of Students or the College Judicial Council will implement sanctions. In the case of a faculty member, the Provost of the College or the Committee on the Faculty will implement sanctions. In the case of a staff member, the appropriate Cabinet officer or designee will implement sanctions. In the case of a Cabinet officer, the person or group to whom that officer reports will implement sanctions. In the case of the President or a Board member the matter will be referred to the Chair of the Committee on Trustees who will proceed according to Board guidelines. All such implementations are normally carried out within sixty days of the appropriate authority receiving formal notification of the case, with the exception that the appropriate authority may extend the time for fifteen additional days under extenuating circumstances. If the academic term ends within the sixty-day period or the fifteen-day extension thereby precluding resolution, the time periods may extend into the following term.

Except in circumstances where immediate action is necessary, any penalty or disciplinary action shall not be implemented until an appeal has been made, or until the time limit for making an appeal has passed.

E. Appeals

Both the complainant and anyone accused have the right of appeal for any reason. Third parties (see section C.4 above) do not have any right to appeal. The failure to appeal within the stipulated time period shall constitute a waiver of such appeal. A written statement outlining the grounds for the appeal must be received by the Coordinator for Nondiscrimination within three days of issuance of a finding. Upon notification by the Coordinator for Nondiscrimination that an appeal has been filed, the President will select a panel of three members of the College community to hear the appeal.

The person filing the appeal is entitled to the following considerations if they are permitted by law and are appropriate under the circumstances: notice of the time and place of the proceedings; access to relevant documents, the presence of an advisor drawn from the Randolph-Macon community; opportunity to present new information or new witnesses; receipt of notice of the disposition of the appeal; and freedom from retaliation. The panel will inform the President of its findings and the President shall make the final decision in the case. All decisions of the President are final. Normally, this process will be completed and a response provided in writing within thirty days of the filing of the appeal.

F. Statistical Reporting

The College will provide statistics of reported sexual assaults as required and defined by the Campus Security Act and the Student-Right-to-Know-Act. All personally identifying information will be removed from statistical reports.

Appendix 1: Discrimination and Harassment

The following are examples of activities that could be considered discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct. The lists are not meant to be exhaustive, but only give an idea of what could occur.

Examples of Discrimination:

  • Not hiring an applicant for employment due to that individual’s race or age.

  • Not allowing a student to join a particular club on campus based on that individual’s sexual orientation or national origin.

  • Failing to make reasonable accommodations for a student or employee with a disability

Examples of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct:

  • Requesting sexual favors that may be subtle or overt but particularly when the requests are suspected to be linked to career advancement or academic rewards.

  • Committing physical assault of a sexual nature, for instance, inappropriate touching or rape.

  • Sending unwelcome letters, notes, or materials, by any means, or making phone calls of a sexual nature.

  • Name calling, teasing, or making other derogatory or dehumanizing remarks involving sex, gender or sexual orientation.

  • Activity involving nonconsensual sexual exploitation of one person by another for the purposes of gain or other advantage.

Examples of Harassment:

  • Threatening or intimidating another person because of the person’s race, gender, disability, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, or gender expression.

  • Committing hostile acts that are based upon another’s race or color.

  • Bullying or intimidating anyone, either physically or psychologically.

Appendix 2: The Office of the Ombuds

The Ombuds are advisors, conflict resolution facilitators, and advocates available to all members of the college community on an informal basis. They are appointed by the President to three-year terms, which are renewable. Persons who believe or suspect they are victims of discrimination, harassment, or any other behavior that prevents them from participating as full members of the college community may contact an Ombuds to consider the options for response.

An Ombuds’ duties in such cases may include, but are not limited to listening and providing an impartial sounding board, suggesting strategies for the individual or group to adopt, meeting informally with the complainant and the accused (individual or group representative) with the object of bringing about resolution, meeting privately with the object of complaint and acting as go-between, or advising the alleged victim to file a formal complaint.

An Ombuds keeps records of all meetings and consults with the other Ombuds when appropriate. All records and communications are confidential except in cases of sexual misconduct against students, which College representatives (including the Ombuds) must report to the Coordinator of Nondiscrimination in compliance with Title IX. Only exchanges with the Offices of Student Counseling, Student Health Services and the Office of the Chaplain are considered privileged by law in such cases.

Appendix 3: The Nondiscrimination Committee

The Nondiscrimination Committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Coordinator in matters pertaining to harassment and discrimination. The Nondiscrimination Committee shall consist of the Coordinator, the Dean of Students or his/her designee, the three College Ombuds, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of the Counseling Center, and two faculty members elected by the Faculty for staggered three-year terms. The Chair of the Committee shall be one of the three College Ombuds.