Education Code 66281.5(b) requires the adoption of a policy statement setting forth the District’s commitment to provide an educational and work environment free from unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment.
It is the intent of the Board of Trustees to deem as unacceptable any form of sexual harassment. Such conduct undermines the integrity of the classroom and/or the employment relationship or work/academic environment. Conduct constituting sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the District. It is understood that this policy is not intended to infringe upon Academic Freedom except to the extent provided by law.
The policy applies to all aspects of employment and the academic environment, including but not limited to classroom conditions, grades, academic standing, employment opportunities, scholarships, recommendations, disciplinary actions, and participation in any community college activity.
All District employees who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with applicable college procedures, Education Code sections, and/or collective bargaining agreements. Students who violate this policy may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including expulsion in accordance with District policies and college procedures. Non-employees, such as sales representatives or service vendors are also covered by this policy and may be subject to corrective measures.
The District is concerned about the rights of the accused as well as the accuser and shall afford due process rights accordingly.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, made by someone from or in the work or educational setting under any of the following conditions:
- Submission to the conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic status, or progress;
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as a basis of employment or academic decisions affecting the individual;
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of having a negative impact on the individual’s work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment; or
- Submission to, or rejection of, the conduct by the individual is used as the basis for any decision affecting the individual regarding benefits and services, honors, programs, or activities available at or through the educational institution.
This definition encompasses two kinds of sexual harassment:
- "Quid pro quo” sexual harassment occurs when a person in a position of authority makes educational or employment benefits conditional upon an individual’s willingness to engage in or tolerate unwanted sexual conduct.
- “Hostile environment” sexual harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct based on sex is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to alter the conditions of an individual’s learning or work environment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive learning or work environment. The victim must subjectively perceive the environment as hostile, and the harassment must be such that a reasonable person of the same gender would perceive the environment as hostile.
Sexual harassment can consist of virtually any form or combination of verbal, physical, visual or environmental conduct. It need not be explicit, or even specifically directed at the victim. Sexually harassing conduct can occur between people of the same or different genders. The standard for determining whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment is whether a reasonable person of the same gender as the victim would perceive the conduct as harassment based on sex. The determination of whether an environment is hostile is based on the totality of the circumstances, including such factors as the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, whether the conduct is humiliating or physically threatening, and whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s learning or work.
Environmental sexual harassment is an academic or work environment that is permeated with sexually-oriented talk, innuendo, insults, or abuse not relevant to the subject matter of the class. A hostile environment can arise from an unwarranted focus on sexual topics or sexually suggestive statements in the classroom. An environment may be hostile if unwelcome sexual behavior is directed specifically at an individual or if the individual merely witnesses unlawful harassment in his or her immediate surroundings.
This policy assigns ultimate responsibility for implementing the sexual harassment policy to the District Equal Employment Opportunity Officer. He/she shall also be responsible for insuring that other policies and procedures developed related to sexual harassment support this policy.
It is unlawful to retaliate against an employee or student who makes a complaint of sexual harassment, who communicates with or contacts District compliance officer(s) or regulatory agencies, or who is a potential witness or participates in any manner in a sexual harassment investigation, hearing, or proceeding.