Policy On Sexual Assault Education And Prevention

In accordance with California Education Code, Section 67385.7, and District Rules and Regulations 2.29, the San Mateo County Community College District is committed to providing programs and services that educate all students, faculty and staff on the prevention of sexual assault.

Any sexual assault or physical abuse, including but not limited to rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assaults or stalking as defined by California law, whether committed by an employee, student, or member of the public, that occurs on District property, is a violation of District policies and procedures and is subject to all applicable punishment, including criminal procedures and employee or student discipline procedures. Students, faculty, and staff who may be victims of sexual and other assaults shall be treated with dignity and provided comprehensive assistance.

In partnership with various community agencies, individuals who are victims of sexual assault or have concerns related to sexual assault shall receive support and assistance. Students, faculty and staff who need information or assistance related to sexual assault prevention, sexual assault services, and procedures related to the reporting of sexual assault incidents on campus may contact the Student Health Center, the Public Safety Department Office, or call the Public Safety Dispatch at (650) 738-4199 or the Office of the Vice President of Student Services at (650) 738-4333. Information may also be obtained on the Skyline College Public Safety Department website at http://www.skylinecollege.edu/publicsafety/index.php.

Sexual Harassment Involving Students

It is the policy of the San Mateo County Community College District to prohibit, in any and all forms, the sexual harassment of its students and staff. Sexual harassment of students by other students, staff or members of the public while on district property and/or the harassment of staff by students or members of the public while on district property is considered intolerable behavior that will be investigated and acted upon immediately. (Board Policy 7.67)

According to both State and Federal laws and guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is a form of discrimination. Sexual harassment is misconduct that can change the course of careers, disrupt the climate of an entire class, affect academic performance, and undermine the integrity of educational relationships. It is an abuse of power which confuses the boundaries of personal and professional roles and breaches trusting relationships which should exist among members of the College community.

  1. It is the policy of the San Mateo County Community College District to provide its students with a learning environment free of sexual harassment and intimidation. This policy addresses interactions between a student and faculty, staff members, or other students. Because of the seriousness of these matters, the District will make every effort to assure that sexual harassment does not occur and will take disciplinary actions up to and including dismissal or expulsion for policy violation. It is the responsibility of each District employee and student to maintain a level of conduct that is in compliance with District policy.
  2. For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unsolicited and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature which occur under any of four circumstances:
    1. Submission is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of admission to or retention in a course or program;
    2. Submission or rejection by a student is used as a basis for grading, enrollment, or other educational decisions affecting the student;
    3. Submission or rejection by a student affects negatively a student's class performance, opportunity to benefit from class participation, or constitutes a disruption of the learning process;
    4. Such conduct creates, encourages, or condones an intimidating, hostile, or otherwise offensive environment for learning and/or teaching.
  3. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    1. Making unsolicited written, graphic, verbal and/or physical contact with sexual overtones. Written examples: suggestive or obscene letters, notes, invitations, or electronic communications (e.g. text messages, emails, videos.) Graphic examples: prurient display of objects, pictures, cartoons, or posters. Verbal examples: derogatory comments, slurs, jokes, innuendos and epithets. Physical examples: indecent exposure, lewd acts, assault, touching, gestures, impeding or blocking movement.
    2. Continuing to express sexual interest after being informed that the interest is unwelcome. (Mutual attraction is not considered sexual harassment.)
    3. Making reprisal, or implied threats of reprisal, following a negative response. This can include denial of, or actually withholding, support or opportunities normally provided in the form of counseling or other services, suggesting the assignment of a poorer grade than earned.
    4. Engaging in implicit or explicit coercive sexual behavior which has the effect of controlling, influencing, or affecting the enrollment, grade, academic success, and/or learning environment of any student.
    5. Offering favors or preferential treatment such as: assignment of better grades than earned; opportunities for extra credit; recommendations, favorable assigned duties or shifts; or other benefits in exchange for sexual favors.
  4. Complaint Procedures
    1. Staff to Student or Student to Student

      1. If a student complainant feels that a specific act or environment is offensive and in violation of this policy, the complainant should first notify the offender in an effort to stop the offensive behavior. If the behavior does not stop, or the complainant does not wish to confront the offender directly, the student should notify the Vice President, Student Services or designee.

      2. Once received, the complaint will be investigated and acted upon in accordance with District Rules and Regulations. The Office of Personnel Services will be notified of all claims of sexual harassment at the time the complaint is received. Investigations involving faculty or staff members will be coordinated by the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Employee Relations.

    2. Student to Faculty/Staff

      1. If a faculty or staff member is the complainant and feels that a specific act committed or environment created by a student is offensive and in violation of this policy, the complainant should first notify the offender in an attempt to stop the behavior.

      2. If the behavior continues, the complainant will then notify the Vice President, Student Services or designee. Such continued behavior constitutes a disruption of the learning and teaching environment.

      3. Once received, the complaint will be investigated and acted upon in accordance with District Rules and Regulations. The Office of Personnel Services will be notified of all claims of sexual harassment at the time the complaint is received. Investigations involving faculty or staff members will be coordinated by the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Employee Relations.

    3. In accordance with the guidelines on sexual harassment of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the District intends: 1) to raise the subject of sexual harassment affirmatively in formal staff training and other arenas; 2) to express strong disapproval for the inappropriate behavior; and 3) to implement this policy fully.
    4. District employees or students found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to full disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal or expulsion, as appropriate, pursuant to any and all established District procedures. For represented employees, any action taken in response to a complaint under this policy is subject to the provisions of collective bargaining agreements. Upon request by the collective bargaining units, the District will negotiate any issues related to the complaints or investigations under this policy that are mandatory subjects for bargaining.
    5. For represented employees, any action taken in response to a complaint under this policy is subject to the provisions of collective bargaining agreements. Upon request by the collective bargaining units, the District will negotiate any issues related to the complaints or investigations under this policy that are mandatory subjects for bargaining.
    6. Non- represented employees found to be in violation of this policy may be subject to full disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal or expulsion, as appropriate, pursuant to any and all established District procedures.

Prohibition of Harassment

  1. All forms of harassment are contrary to basic standards of conduct between individuals and are prohibited by state and federal law, as well as this policy, and will not be tolerated. The District is committed to providing an academic and work environment that respects the dignity of individuals and groups. The District shall be free of sexual harassment and all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation, including acts of sexual violence. It shall also be free of other unlawful harassment, including that which is based on any of the following statuses: race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, genetic information, medical condition, marital status, sex, gender, gender identification, gender expression, age, or sexual orientation of any individual, military and veteran status, or because an individual is perceived to have one or more of the foregoing characteristics. This policy shall apply to all employees, students and any other individuals who come onto District property.
  2. The District seeks to foster an environment in which all employees and students feel free to report incidents of harassment without fear of retaliation or reprisal. Therefore, the District also strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual for filing a complaint of harassment or for participating in a harassment investigation. Such conduct is illegal and constitutes a violation of this policy. All allegations of retaliation will be swiftly and thoroughly investigated. If the District determines that retaliation has occurred, it will take all reasonable steps within its power to stop such conduct. Individuals who engage in retaliatory conduct may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination or expulsion. Engaging in intimidating conduct or bullying against another employee through words or actions, including direct physical contact; verbal assaults, such as teasing or name-calling; social isolation or manipulation; and cyber bullying are strictly forbidden.
  3. Any individual who believes that he or she has been harassed, bullied or retaliated against in violation of this policy and wishes to report such incidents should use the procedure provided by his/her supervisor or the office of the Vice President of Student Services. Supervisors are mandated to report all incidents of harassment and retaliation that come to their attention to the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources and Employee Relations.
  4. This policy applies to all aspects of the academic and work environment, including but not limited to classroom conditions, grades, academic standing, employment opportunities, scholarships, recommendations, disciplinary actions, and participation in any District activity. In addition, this policy applies to minors as well as adults, and to all terms and conditions of employment, including but not limited to hiring, placement, promotion, disciplinary action, layoff, reemployment, transfer, leave of absence, training opportunities, assignment of work hours and projects, and compensation.
  5. The Chancellor shall ensure that the institution undertakes education and training activities to counter discrimination and to prevent, minimize and/or eliminate any hostile environment that impairs access to equal education opportunity or impacts the terms and conditions of employment.
  6. The Chancellor shall establish procedures that define harassment throughout the District. The Chancellor shall further establish procedures for employees, students and other members of the District community that provide for the investigation and resolution of complaints regarding harassment and discrimination. All participants are protected from retaliatory acts by the District, its employees, students and agents.
  7. The District shall promptly investigate and resolve complaints of harassment and will assure that any harm resulting from the harassment will be promptly redressed by restoring any lost benefit or opportunity. All participants are protected from retaliatory acts by the District, its employees, students, and agents.
  8. This policy and related written procedures shall be widely published and publicized to administrators, faculty, staff, and students, particularly when they are new to the institution. They shall be available for students and employees on the District’s public website.
  9. It is the responsibility of each individual to maintain a level of conduct that is compliant with this policy. Employees who violate the policy and procedures may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Students who violate this policy and related procedures may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including expulsion.