Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation
Saint Mary’s College of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which all persons who participate in Saint Mary’s programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination, exploitation, intimidation, or harassment, including sexual, based on a legally protected characteristic or status. Every member of the Saint Mary’s community should be aware that Saint Mary’s will not tolerate harassment or discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, medical condition, or physical or mental disability, taking a protected leave (e.g., family medical or pregnancy leave), or on any other basis protected by applicable laws. Such behavior is prohibited both by law and by Saint Mary’s policy.
It is Saint Mary’s intention to take whatever action may be needed to prevent, correct, and if necessary, discipline behavior which violates this Policy, which may include suspension, termination, expulsion, or another sanction appropriate to the circumstances and violation. All members of the Saint Mary’s community, including faculty, staff, students, and volunteers are responsible for maintaining an environment that is free of sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination, harassment and retaliation as described in this Policy.
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The U.S. Department of Education Office For Civil Rights provides guidelines to ensure that schools take effective steps to respond to sexual harassment and sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX.
Saint Mary’s College Title IX Coordinator:
Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
Title IX Officer Deputy Coordinators:
Peter Chen (Employees)
Director of Employee Relations & Compensation and HR Consultation
Dr. Evette Castillo Clark (Students)
Dean of Students
Kami Gray (Students)
Senior Women's Administrator/Associate Director of Athletics
Unlawful discrimination may occur when an individual is treated less favorably with respect to the terms and conditions of employment or education, or with respect to the individual’s receipt of employment or educational benefits, because of his or her membership in a protected class. Accordingly, all employment-related decisions, including but not limited to decisions relating to recruitment, hiring, promotion, transfers, benefits and any other terms and conditions of employment, will be made without regard to the employee’s or applicant’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, age, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, covered veteran status, genetic information, or other characteristic protected by federal or state law. Similarly, all education-related programs and activities, including but not limited to admissions, financial aid, academic programs, research, housing, athletics, and other extracurricular activities, will be administered without regard to the student’s or applicant’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy, age, physical disability, mental disability, or other characteristic protected by federal or state law.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is illegal under both federal and state laws. It can be verbal, non-verbal, visual, or physical. Although what constitutes sexual harassment will vary with the particular circumstances, it is defined as follows:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in a College activity; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting that individual; or
- Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or abusive working or learning environment.
Sexual harassment does not include verbal expression or written material that is relevant and appropriately related to course subject matter or curriculum, and nothing in this policy is intended to interfere with Saint Mary’s educational mission or academic freedom, e.g., the ability of a teacher or student to examine examples of harassment appropriate to a particular subject.
A determination of whether particular conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or abusive work or learning environment is assessed from the point of view of a reasonable person in the complainant’s position. Such a determination also takes into account the totality of the circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:
- the frequency of the offensive conduct;
- its seriousness;
- whether it is physically threatening or humiliating;
- the location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred;
- the degree to which the conduct affected the education or employment environment; and
- the relationship between the parties and their positions at Saint Mary’s
Examples of Conduct That May Be Sexual Harassment
Examples of verbal, physical or visual conduct which may be sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- direct propositions of a sexual nature;
- sexual innuendoes and other seductive behavior, including subtle pressure for sexual activity such as repeated, unwanted requests for dates, and repeated inappropriate personal comments, staring, or touching;
- direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, promotion, grades, etc;
- conduct (not legitimately related to the subject matter of a course or curriculum, if one is involved) that has the effect of discomforting, humiliating or both, and that includes one or more of the following:
- comments of a sexual nature, including sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, anecdotes, or graphic material (e.g., visuals, such as screen savers, which are sexually explicit);
- unnecessary or unwanted touching, patting, massaging, hugging or brushing against a person’s body or other conduct of a physical nature;
- remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body;
- insulting sounds or gestures, whistles, or catcalls;
- invading someone’s personal space or blocking her/his path;
- unwelcome and inappropriate letters, telephone calls, electronic mail, instant or text messaging, or other communications;
- displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters (e.g. screen savers).
- a consensual romantic or sexual relationship which:
- causes adverse treatment of third parties; or
- creates a hostile or intimidating working or learning environment for third parties;
- stalking (which is also criminal behavior);
- sexual assault (which is also criminal behavior).
Some conduct that may appear to be consensual may also be unacceptable.
Sex/gender-based discrimination, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on a person’s gender or gender-based characteristics, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature (e.g., the repeated sabotaging of female students’ laboratory experiments by male students in the class), may be a form of sex discrimination prohibited by law. While sex/gender-based discrimination may be distinguished from sexual harassment, acts of sex/gender-based discrimination may contribute to the creation of a hostile work or academic environment. Thus, a determination of whether a hostile environment due to sexual harassment exists may take into account acts of sex/gender-based discrimination.
Not all sexual harassment occurs between persons of differing power. Sexual harassment may also occur between peers. In addition, while the majority of reported cases of sexual harassment involve a male harassing a female, sexual harassment may also involve a female harassing a male, or an individual harassing a person of the same gender.
Employees who engage in conduct in violation of this policy are acting outside the scope of their employment responsibilities and, in addition to discipline including termination of their employment, may be subject to individual legal liability and damages for their actions.
NOTE: Nothing in Saint Mary’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment should be construed to prevent employees from rigorously challenging fundamental beliefs held by students and society. However, employees may not interject into the academic setting sexual material that is unrelated to any legitimate educational objective or allow the educational setting to be so sexually charged that Saint Mary’s students are prevented from effectively participating in the academic environment.
Retaliation and/or Violation of Interim Protections
Threats or other forms of intimidation and/or retaliation against a student or employee for bringing a complaint of alleged discrimination, harassment (including sexual or sexual assault) or of any other violations of College policies, including but not limited to the Student Code of Conduct, are prohibited. This prohibition includes threats or other forms of intimidation and/or retaliation against the family or friends of a student or employee who brings a complaint under this policy, or those who assist a student or employee in bringing a complaint, or those who participate in an investigation and/or student discipline process for an alleged violation of the Student Code or other College policy.
Retaliation is a violation of College policy and may also be a violation of the law. An allegation of retaliation constitutes an independent basis for investigation and imposition of sanctions on the retaliating student or employee if determined to have occurred. All conduct that is believed to constitute retaliation should be reported immediately to Evette Castillo Clark, Dean of Students (Title IX Deputy), [email protected] at 925-631-4238—when the individual alleged to have engaged in retaliation is a student or student visitor—or to Eduardo Salaz, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources (Title IX Coordinator), [email protected] at 925-631-4212 or his/her designee—when the individual alleged to have engaged in retaliation is an employee (faculty and staff) or visitor to the College (e.g., contractors, vendors, or non-student guests).
The reporting procedures described below also apply to allegations of retaliation. Interim protections mean steps the College takes to reasonably protect employees and students during an investigation and/or student discipline process.
Title IX – Sexual Assault Reporting Process
Complaint and Reporting Procedures and Resources for Addressing Incidents of Discrimination, Harassment, Including Sexual, and Retaliation
Saint Mary’s has in place internal procedures to investigate and address complaints of discrimination, harassment (including sexual) and retaliation as described in this Policy. These procedures are intended to assure fairness and to maintain confidentiality in the process of responding to complaints.
Complaints of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault, and/or retaliation involving students or student visitors should be reported promptly to:
- Title IX Officer Designee and Deputy:
Dr. Evette Castillo Clark, Dean of Students
- Public Safety Department
Emergency: 9-1-1 OR 925-631-4282
General Information/Administration: 925-631-4052
Complaints of discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault, and/or retaliation that involve employees (faculty and staff) or visitors to the College (e.g., contractors, vendors, volunteers or non-student guests) should be reported promptly to:
- Saint Mary’s College Title IX Coordinator or designee:
Eduardo Salaz, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
- Public Safety Department
Emergency: 9-1-1 OR 925-631-4282
General Information/Administration: 925-631-4052
- Vice Provosts, Deans, Managers, Supervisors
The Assistant Vice President of Human Resources is responsible for overseeing Saint Mary’s compliance with this Policy and will determine the appropriate next step for investigation and resolution. All members of the Saint Mary’s community must cooperate fully with the Title IX Coordinator and Title IX Deputy in the fulfillment of her/his responsibilities.
Reports shall be brought as soon as possible after the alleged conduct occurs, optimally within one year. Prompt reporting will enable the College to investigate the facts, determine the issues, and provide an appropriate remedy or disciplinary action. The College shall respond to reports of sexual harassment brought after one year to the greatest extent possible, taking into account the amount of time that has passed since the alleged conduct occurred. Once reported, the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources as Title IX Coordinator and/or his/her designees will provide prompt and equitable resolution.
In addition, individuals who believe they have experienced discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment or sexual assault, based on the protected characteristics listed above and/or retaliation are also free to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to pursue external legal remedies.
Investigation and Corrective Action
The College will investigate every reported complaint of unlawful discrimination or harassment. The investigation will be conducted in a thorough, prompt and professional manner.
If the conclusion of the investigation is that unlawful discrimination or harassment occurred, the College will initiate corrective action, as appropriate under the circumstances. For employees, the corrective action may range from verbal warnings up to and including termination from employment. For students, the corrective action will be imposed in a manner consistent with the College’s Student Code or other applicable procedures. If the individual found to have engaged in the unlawful discrimination or harassment is not an employee or student of the College, corrective action within the reasonable control of the College, and as appropriate under the circumstances, will be initiated.
If termination of a faculty member is contemplated, the applicable rules governing dismissal for unfitness will be followed.
The employee or student who raised the complaint will be advised of the results of the investigation, unless doing so is prohibited by FERPA or other applicable law. Similarly, an employee or student who is accused of the unlawful discrimination or harassment will be advised of the results of the investigation.
Intentionally False Reports
Discriminatory activity and harassment, and particularly sexual harassment or assault, often is not witnessed by others, and reports of such activity cannot always be substantiated by additional evidence. Lack of any such additional evidence should not discourage an individual from reporting any incident In violation of this policy. However, individuals who make reports that are later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously, without regard for truth, may be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
Where sexual harassment or assault has been reported, the College will make every effort to preserve the victim’s privacy and protect the confidentiality of his or her information. The degree to which confidentiality can be protected, however, will often depend upon the professional role of the person being consulted:
Clergy or sexual assault victim counselors may keep the confidentiality of statements made to them in their role as clergy or counselors.
Physicians and psychotherapists may keep the confidentiality of statements made to them in their role as medical professionals, but are required by law to report
- treatment of an injury sustained during a sexual assault, and
- suspicion of a sexual assault committed against a person under 18 years of age.
Information shared with other individuals is not legally protected from disclosure. For example, the Dean of Students may need to inform other individuals to protect their safety or rights, in fairness to the persons involved, or in response to legal requirements. In addition, the College is required by law to report to the police certain information about incidents occurring on campus. Such reports are for statistical purposes only and do not include individual identities.