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/RADs).
- Department of Public Safety.
- Human Resources Department
Complaints alleging sexual discrimination or harassment (including sexual assault/violence) should be submitted to Candace Wannamaker, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Casey Academic Center, Washington College, 300 Washington Avenue, Chestertown, Maryland, 21620, phone number 410-778-7228.
Complaints alleging disability discrimination or harassment should be submitted to Andrea Vassar, the College’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator, 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 bodies (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 Dispute Resolution Committee (DDRC).
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 download here - Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form
The Title IX Coordinator or 504 ADA Coordinator will determine, with campus administrators, the 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, trained Title IX Investigators, 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 Resources 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 the request of law enforcement agency, appropriate steps will be taken to provide for the safety of the Reporting Party 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 Responding Party or summary suspension/leave from the College issued to the Responding Party. The College will promptly resume its Title IX investigation as soon the College receives notification that law enforcement has completed the evidence-gathering process.
The Reporting Party 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:
- Provide Reporting Party with an explanation of the campus conduct process.
- Give the Reporting Party the opportunity to submit a written statement and evidence.
- Give the Reporting Party the opportunity to list any witnesses who may have information pertaining to the complaint.
- Inform the Reporting Party to have no contact with the Responding Party during the course of the investigation.
- Inform the Reporting Party that there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the case and status.
The Responding Party 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:
- Provide Responding Party with an explanation of the campus conduct process.
- Present the allegations and provided the Responding Party the opportunity to respond.
- Give the Responding Party the opportunity to submit a written statement and evidence to contest the allegations.
- Give the Responding Party the opportunity to list any witnesses who may have information pertaining to the complaint.
- Inform the Responding Party to have no contact with the Reporting Party during the course of the investigation.
- Inform the Responding Party that there will be follow-up meetings to discuss the case and status.
Any person identified by the Reporting Party or Responding Party who has information that pertains to the allegation will be contacted by the investigator(s).
The person designated to conduct the investigation shall prepare a written report within fifteen (15) business days after completing 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 Reporting Party, the Responding Party, 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 Reporting Party and discuss the written report and inform him/her of the next steps in the process.
The designated college administrator will contact the Responding Party and review the written report and explain the next steps in the process.
The Reporting Party and Responding Party 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 is a summary of the investigation and will be forwarded to the appropriate administrator. The administrator will then forward the report to the Honor Board or the Discrimination Complaint 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.
The Title IX Coordinator or Section 504 Coordinator or other appropriate College administrators 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 Reporting Party and others.
Remedial actions include, but are not limited to:
- College Warning (Except in cases of Sexual Assault/Violence)
- Termination of Employment
- Protection from Retaliation
- Counseling for the Reporting Party
- Other steps to address the impact of harassment or discrimination on the Reporting Party, any witnesses, and the College community
Discrimination and Dispute Resolution Committee (DDRC)
The Washington College Discrimination Dispute Resolution Committee (DDRC) is used when the subject of a formal written complaint is an employee or third party. The DDRC will consist of faculty and staff, 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) for complaints against staff members or Provost (or designee) for complaints against faculty. Hearings, where there is a staff Responding Party, will include two staff members and one faculty member 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 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 College’s legal requirements and appropriate legal requests for said documents.
Making an Appeal
The Reporting Party or Responding Party 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 disproportionate to the violation and/or the conduct history of the Responding Party.
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 in the Student Handbook. 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; 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.
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.
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, Reporting Parties 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.
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