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Policy on Sexual 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.

Policy Statement concerning Sexual Harassment

Washington College will not tolerate sexual harassment in any form. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence/assault/misconduct.  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 of Sexual Harassment:

  • 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.

Consensual Relationship Policy.

Interim Measures

By decision of the President of the College, the Vice President of Student Affairs, or a designee of either, an individual 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 Reporting Party, 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.