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College Policies l Discrimination and Harassment Policies

Policy Statement on Discrimination

Washington College does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other legally protected classification in the administration of any of its educational programs and activities or with respect to admission and employment.

The designated coordinator to ensure compliance with Title IX of the Educational Act Amendments of 1972 is Darnell Parker, Assistant Dean for Multicultural  Affairs, Casey Academic Center, Washington College, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, Maryland, 21620, phone number (410) 810-7457.

The designated coordinator to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is Andrea Vassar, Director   of  Academic   Skills,   Clifton   Miller Library, Washington College, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, Maryland, 21620, phone number (410) 778-7883.

For additional information and/or to file a complaint contact the Director of Civil Rights, US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, The Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

Policy Statement on Harassment

Harassment in any form, whether based on race, sex, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, or any other legally protected classification, is unacceptable on the Washington College campus.

For purposes of this policy harassment means unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct based on a protected classification (race, color, sex, disability, etc.) that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or education (including living conditions, extracurricular activities, and social life), creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, or constituting a threat to an individual’s personal safety. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence/assault.

Sexual Harassment

Washington College will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence/assault. The goal of this policy is to create a community free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment committed in connection with any College program, whether on or off campus, is prohibited. This applies to academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, residential, and other College programs. Sexual harassment  may be a violation  of state and federal laws as well as a violation  of this policy. Individuals who feel they have been sexually harassed may have the right to bring legal action, in addition to making a complaint to the College. Legal action and an internal complaint can be pursued at the same time. Retaliation against an individual who brings a complaint, participates in an investigation of sexual harassment, or pursues legal action is prohibited.

The essential importance of academic freedom is recognized and a standard of reasonableness will guide the College. Only when academic freedom is used to disguise, or as the vehicle for, prohibited conduct will it be questioned. Washington College believes that ideas, creativity, and free expression thrive and, indeed, can only exist for students, faculty, and staff in an atmosphere  free of sexual harassment  and assault.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Federal Law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of l964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) provides that sexual harassment shall be considered a form of gender discrimination. Maryland Law also prohibits gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of interfering with one’s academic or  work performance  or social world  by  creating  an  intimidating, hostile,  offensive, or violent environment. Sexual violence/assault is also considered sexual harassment.

Examples:

• Action of an individual in a position of institutional power or authority who misuses that position to subject an individual to unwanted sexual attention of either a verbal or physical nature when that conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment or academic status.

• Demanding sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats or promises concerning grades, recommendations, or evaluations.

• Inappropriate sexual conduct that interferes with an individual’s work performance or educational experience   by   creating   an   uncomfortable   environment.   This   prohibition   applies   to   all relationships at the institution between members of the College community.

• Inappropriate conduct against an individual that interferes with an individual’s work performance or educational experience by creating an uncomfortable environment that would not occur but for the sex of the individual.

Consensual Relationships

Washington College policies prohibit unreciprocated and unwelcome relationships. However, persons in positions of power, authority, and control over others should be aware of and sensitive to problems that may arise from mutual relationships that are inherently unequal. Individuals in these situations are urged to examine such relationships before engaging  in them, especially in terms of emotional health, self- esteem, and respect for the freedom of others.

Apparently consensual sexual relationships, particularly those between individuals of unequal status, may be or become a violation of this policy. Anyone who engages in a sexual relationship with a person over whom he or she has any degree of power or authority must understand that the validity of the consent involved can and may be questioned. The College particularly abhors the abuse potentially inherent in sexual relationships between faculty members and students and between staff supervisors and their student employees.

College Policy requires that employees who are involved in a consensual relationship with an employee with less authority or power or a student must disclose the relationship to a supervisor. 

Discrimination or Harassment Based on Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, amended in 2008, prohibits discrimination based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Examples:

• Lack of access to educational programs and facilities

• Denial of academic adjustments or accommodations.

• Offensive remarks, jokes, epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to a person’s disability;

Discrimination or Harassment Complaints

Washington College encourages anyone who has experienced any form of discrimination or harassment to report the incident promptly, to seek all available assistance, and to pursue remedies available through campus judicial or grievance processes.   Complainants are also encouraged to report incidents to local, state and/or federal authorities or offices charged with handling unlawful discrimination or harassment.

Reporting a Complaint

Students,  employees,  or  third  parties  who  believe  they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment, including sexual violence/assault, by a student or employee of the Washington College community or by another individual for whom the College is or may be responsible (e.g., applicants for admission or employment, alumni, independent contractors, vendors, recruiters) should contact one of the following persons for assistance with resolving a complaint:

  • Title IX Coordinator or Assistant Coordinator(s) – for matters involving discrimination or harassment based on sex or gender
  • 504 Coordinator or Assistant Coordinator(s) – for matters involving discrimination or harassment based on disability
  • Professional Staff in Student Affairs (Including Resident Area Directors)
  • Department of Public Safety
  • Human Resources Department

Complaints alleging sexual discrimination or harassment (including sexual assault/violence) should be submitted  to Darnell  Parker,  Assistant  Dean  for  Multicultural  Affairs and the  College’s  Title  IX Coordinator, first floor Casey Academic Center, 410-810-7457.

Complaints  alleging  disability  discrimination  or harassment should  be  submitted  to  Andrea  Vassar, Director  of Academic  Skills  and the College’s  Section ADA/Section  504 Coordinator,  Clifton  Miller Library, 410-778-7883.

When a Washington College student is the subject of a discrimination or harassment complaint, the matter will be referred to the Honor Board or other appropriate hearing body (see the Washington College Honor Code and Student Judicial System found earlier in this Handbook).

When a Washington  College employee or third party is the subject of a formal written complaint, the matter will be reviewed by the Washington College Discrimination and Dispute  Complaint Review Committee.

Students, employees, or third parties alleging discrimination or harassment may submit a complaint in writing using the Discrimination/Harassment  complaint form. Complaint  forms are available in Public Safety, Student Affairs,Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator’s Office or for download and printing from the College website at [http://www.washcoll.edu/title-ix/].

Interim Measures

The  Title  IX  Coordinator   or  504  ADA  Coordinator   will determine   with  campus  administrators appropriate interim measures to be taken during the investigation.   Interim remedial actions can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • No Contact Orders
  • Interim Suspension
  • Administrative Leave (Employee)
  • Reassignment of Housing
  • Reassignment of Job
  • Class Schedule Change
  • Prohibit or restrict participation in extracurricular activities
  • Prohibit or restrict access to campus for third parties
Investigating a Complaint

All complaints of harassment or discrimination will be investigated in a manner that is adequate, reliable, and impartial. Investigations may be conducted by trained Public Safety staff, the Title IX Coordinator or Assistant Coordinators (for Title IX matters), the Section 504 Coordinator or Assistant Coordinators (for ADA/Section 504 related matters), Human Resource staff, or another trained investigator appropriate to the situation and in accordance with all College policies and legal requirements.

For matters involving discrimination  or harassment  based on sex or gender (covered by Title IX), the Title  IX  Coordinator will  ensure  that  the investigation  complies  with  all  Title  IX requirements. For matters involving discrimination or harassment based on disability (covered by ADA/Section 504), the Section 504 Coordinator will ensure the investigation complies with all Section 504 requirements.

The responsibility to conduct an investigation shall not be altered by the fact that a criminal investigation of the incident is pending or has been concluded, although the investigation may be delayed or suspended at the request of law enforcement while the law enforcement agency is gathering evidence.  In the event the investigation is delayed at request of law enforcement agency, appropriate steps will be taken to provide for the safety of the complainant and the College community and to prevent retaliation by any individual. The steps may include changes to the schedule, housing assignment or work location of the respondent or summary suspension/leave from the College issued to the respondent. The College will promptly resume its Title IX investigation as soon the College receives notification that law enforcement has completed the evidence-gathering process.

Investigation Process:
  • The  Complainant  will  be  contacted  by  a  College administrator  designated  by  the  Title  IX Coordinator or ADA/Section 504 Coordinator to schedule a meeting.
  • During the meeting, the College administrator will:
  • Inform Complainant of his/her rights under the Honor Code or Employee Code of Conduct.
  • Give the Complainant the opportunity to submit a written statement and evidence.
  • Give  the  Complainant  the  opportunity  to  list  any witnesses  who  may  have  information pertaining to the complaint.
  • Inform  the Complainant to have no contact with the Respondent during the course of  the investigation.
  • Inform the Complainant that there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the case and status.
  • The  Respondent  will  be  contacted  by  a  College administrator  designated  by  the  Title  IX Coordinator or Section 504/ADA Coordinator to schedule a meeting.
  • During the meetings, the College administrator will:
    • Inform  the  Respondent  of  his/her  rights under the  Honor  Code  or  Employee  Code of Conduct.
    • Present the allegations and provided the Respondent the opportunity to respond.
    • Give the Respondent the opportunity to submit a written statement and evidence to contest the allegations.
    • Give  the  Respondent  the  opportunity  to list any  witnesses  who  may  have  information pertaining to the complaint.
    • Inform  the Respondent to have no contact with the Complainant during the course of  the investigation.
    • Inform the Respondent that there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the case and status.
  • Any person identified by the Complainant or Respondent who has information that pertains to the allegation will be contact by the investigator(s).
  • The person designated to conduct the investigation shall prepare a written report within fifteen (15) business days after commencing the investigation, unless additional  time to  complete  the investigation is  required. In  that  case,  the  investigator  shall report on the status of the investigation to the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX or Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) as applicable at the expiration  of the fifteen (15) day period and every fifteen (15) business days thereafter.
  • At the conclusion  of the investigation, a designated College administrator  will meet with  the Complainant and discuss the written report and inform him/her of the next steps in the process
  • The designated college administrator will contact the Respondent and review the written report and explain the next steps in the process.

The Complainant and Respondent may have a support person present during the investigation process. A support person is defined as a member of the College community (faculty, staff, or student). The support person is not permitted to participate in the meetings, but is there in support of the individual.

The written report shall include a summary of the investigation; findings of fact and an explanation of the evidence in support of such findings (including a determination with respect to the factual allegations of the complaint); conclusions as to whether there have been any violations based on the factual findings; and a discussion of the reasons for such conclusions.

The results of the investigation will be forwarded to the Honor Board or the Discrimination and Dispute Review  Committee (DDRC)  for  review  and  any  action  deemed  appropriate in  accordance  with  the procedures of each.

Nothing in these procedures or in the procedures of the Honor Board or DDRC limits the right of any person to pursue other avenues of recourse which may include filing charges or a complaint with local, state and federal authorities responsible for addressing unlawful discrimination and harassment.

More information  about the procedures  of the Honor Board can be found in the chapter “Washington College Honor Code and Student Judicial System” found earlier in this Handbook.

Resolving Complaints

The Title IX Coordinator  or Section  504 Coordinator  or other appropriate  College  administrator  will ensure that steps are taken to address and resolve any instance where an investigation  and subsequent review (by either the Honor Board or the DDRC) concluded discrimination or harassment occurred. Resolution outcomes include actions to remediate the instance of discrimination or harassment and, where needed, actions to prevent future recurrence and to correct discriminatory effects on the Complainant and others.

Remedial actions include, but are not limited to:

  • College Warning (Except in cases of Sexual Assault/Violence)
  • Suspension/Expulsion
  • Probation
  • Termination of Employment
  • Protection from Retaliation
  • Counseling for the Complainant
  • Other  steps  to  address  the  impact  of  harassment or  discrimination  on  the  complainant,  any witnesses and the College community.

Discrimination and Dispute Complaint Review Committee (DDRC)

The Washington College Discrimination and Dispute Complaint Review Committee (DDRC) is used when the subject of a complaint is an employee or third party. The DDRC will consist of faculty, staff, and students trained to review matters involving discrimination and harassment.  A hearing panel will consist of three members of the DDRC and is facilitated by the Director of Human Resources (or designee).  Hearings where there is a student Complainant will include at least one student on the hearing panel.  Hearings where there is a staff Complainant will include only staff on the hearing panel. Within 15 days after the hearing, the panel will issue a written decision that includes a review of the information relevant to the case and sanctions assigned if it is found to be “more likely than not” that the subject of the Complaint violated College policy. The DDRC will continue to function whenever the College is open even if classes are not in session.

Records

Records of complaint investigation and any corrective action will be entrusted to the Title IX Coordinator or ADA/Section 504 Coordinator and will be maintained in an electronic system accessible throughout the College on a confidential basis consistent with the College’s legal requirements and appropriate legal requests for said documents.

Making an Appeal

The Complainant  or Respondent  may appeal decisions of the DDRC or Honor Board by submitting  a written appeal request within five business days of receiving written notification of the outcome of the hearing. Appeal forms can be downloaded from the following website [http://www.washcoll.edu/title- ix/]Only appeals that are based on one or more of the following grounds will be considered for review:

  • Procedural error(s) that prevented fundamental fairness;
  • New information or evidence that was not available at the hearing;
  • An imposed sanction that is excessively severe;
  • The decision of the DDRC or Honor Board is not supported by the information presented.

Letters of appeal for Honor Board decisions must be sent to the Vice President of Student Affairs (or designee). The Vice President for Student Affairs or designee will determine whether or not the appeal meets the above criteria. If any of the criteria are met, the case will be referred to the appeal board; if the case does not meet at least one of the criteria, there will be no further review. More information on the student appeal process can be found on (p.22) of the Student Handbook (http://www.washcoll.edu/live/files/2801-student-handbook-201314).    

Letters   of  appeal   for   DDRC decisions must be sent to the President of the College (or designee). The President of the College (or designee) will determine whether or not the appeal meets the above criteria. If any of the criteria are met, the case will be reviewed and a decision made within 5 business days; if the case does not meet at least one of the criteria, there will be no further review. The appellant(s) and the other party, shall be notified of the outcome of the appeal. All appeals will be conducted in an impartial manner and by an impartial decision-maker.

Retaliation

All members of the Washington College community are advised that retaliation against anyone for filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment or for participating in an investigation of discrimination or harassment is strictly prohibited by law and by College policy. 

Confidentiality

All parties involved, especially those charged with carrying out the above policies, are enjoined to work in confidence to the extent legally permissible and practically possible.

In  cases  of  discrimination  and  harassment,  Complainants may  also  obtain  information  and/or  file  a complaint by writing the Director of Civil Rights, US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, The Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107. Such complaints generally must be filed within 180 days.

Policy on Sexual Assault

When sexual assault or sexual violence in any form occurs, the standards of the community, and possibly criminal laws, are violated. When reported, the College will deal with these issues in accordance with its policies and procedures and as required by applicable laws. Sexual assault committed in connection with any  College  program,  whether  on  or  off campus,  is  prohibited.  This  includes  all  College programs including, but not limited to, academic, educational, extra-curricular, athletic, and residential programs.

Washington College urges individuals who believe they have been sexually assaulted to pursue criminal charges  against the person  or persons  they  believe  to have committed  the sexual  assault.  A criminal charge and an internal complaint can be pursued at the same time. Retaliation against an individual who brings a complaint, participates in an investigation, or pursues legal action is prohibited and possible violations will be investigated and addressed in accordance with College policy and procedures.

In cases of sexual assault or other sexual misconduct, College authorities will inform a Complainant of the options of criminal prosecution and medical assistance, as well as the complainant’s rights under the Crime Complainant’s Bill of Rights. This includes the right to assistance from the Maryland State Crime Complainants Reparation Board and the Maryland State Office of the Crime Complainant Ombudsman. A Complainant will also be informed of the right to file a complaint of sexual harassment (which includes sexual assault/violence). Students or employees wishing to file a complaint should follow the procedures outlined in the “Reporting Discrimination and Harassment” section found earlier.

When a Washington College student is the subject of a sexual assault/violence complaint, the individual filing the complaint will be informed about the role of the Honor Board’s Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board in evaluating whether the student who is the subject of the complaint is responsible for violations of College policy (including  policies  addressing discrimination and harassment).  When  a Washington College employee or third party is the subject of a sexual assault/violence complaint, the individual filing the complaint will be informed about the role of the DDRC or appropriate administrator in evaluating whether the individual who is the subject of the complaint is responsible for violations of College policy (including policies addressing discrimination and harassment).

College  authorities,  normally  the Director  of Public Safety, will notify the Chestertown  Police of the sexual assault only at the request of the individual  filing the complaint and will provide assistance in notifying any other law enforcement authorities or in preserving materials that may be relevant to the investigation.  At the direction of the Chestertown Police, College authorities will provide assistance in obtaining, securing, and maintaining evidence for criminal prosecution.

Interim Measures

By decision of the President of the College, the Vice President of Student Affairs, or a designee of either, the person who is the subject of a sexual assault complaint may, without prejudice, be removed from the campus or subjected to other forms of restriction with regard to the complainant, pending formal judicial action or criminal procedures, to avoid additional  conflict within the community  and/or to protect the safety of members of the College community.

Resources for Victims of Sexual Assault

There are many services established to assist individuals who have been sexually assaulted. The Student Affairs  Office, 410-778-7752,  as  well  as  the  resources  listed  below  may be contacted  to  provide assistance or answer any questions.

  • Washington College Health Services, 410-778-7261
  • Washington College Counseling Services, 410-778-7261, 7289, or 7826
  • “For All Seasons, Inc.” Sexual Assault Crisis Center, 1-800-310-7273 (A 24-hour confidential service that provides counseling, advocacy and support to survivors.)
  • Office of Public Safety, 410-778-7810
  • Two  area  hospitals  have  sexual  assault  response programs  in  place.  Forensic  Nurse  Examiners are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide confidential medical examination, STI and pregnancy prophylactics. The programs work in conjunction with For All Seasons, Inc., to provide advocacy support to victims.
  • University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, 410-778-3300 – located adjacent to Washington College at 100 Brown Street, Chestertown, Maryland
  • Memorial Hospital, 410-822-1000 – located at 219 S. Washington Avenue, Easton, Maryland

A member of the Campus Department of Public Safety is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to transport  the complainant  to either hospital if requested. Volunteers  from the For All Seasons  Sexual Assault Crisis Center are also available to provide counseling and assistance throughout this process.

The Director of Student Development, serving as the sexual assault response coordinator, will inform complainants, at a minimum, of internal complaint options, availability of confidential counseling, mechanisms available to address concerns about physical safety, as well as the possibility of alternative housing assignments or classroom arrangements (where appropriate).

Education and Training

The Student Development Office is responsible for developing and coordinating educational and training programs for students about sexual assault and sexual violence. To address issues of sexual assault and sexual violence proactively, the College will distribute these policies to and provide training for students and employees. In addition, these policies will be communicated at appropriate opportunities in classes, meetings, programs, and publications.

People to contact for more information:
  • Dr. Xavier Cole, Vice President of Student Affairs, 410-778-7752
  • Dr. Sarah Feyerherm, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, 410-778-7228
  • Carl Crowe, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, 410-778-7235
  • Lisa Marx, Director of Health Services, 410-778-7261
  • TBA, Director of Counseling Services, 410-778-7289
  • Jerry Roderick, Director of Public Safety, 410-778-7810
  • Darnell Parker, Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs/Title IX Coordinator, 410-810-7457