Staff Policy D-602.04
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Champion

Sexual Harassment - Students

  1. Sexual Harassment
    1. "Sexual harassment” under Title IX is defined to include 1) Quid Pro Quo 2) “unwelcome conduct” of a sexual nature that a reasonable person would find “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” that it effectively denies a person equal access to an education program or activity 3) this would include “sexual assault”, “dating violence”, “domestic violence”, or “stalking” as those terms are defined under other Federal laws called the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women Act. This would include:
      1. Submission to such conduct or communication is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of, or application for employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, or
      2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct or communication by an individual is used explicitly or implicitly as a factor in decisions affecting the individual's employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, or
      3. Such conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, public accommodations, public services, educational, or housing environment.
    2. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to such conduct as offensive sexual flirtations, suggestive comments, sexual innuendo, unwanted physical contact, repeated requests or pressure for "dates", advances, propositions, insults or verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, use of sexually degrading words or vulgar words of a sexual nature, humor or jokes about sex or gender-specific traits, or the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures. Prohibited conduct also includes non-verbal, suggestive, or sexually insulting actions such as leering, whistling, suggestive sounds, and obscene gestures. Prohibited touching would include any unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, pinching, intentional brushing of the body, sexual assault, and coerced sexual acts.
    3. Sexual harassment does not refer to behavior or occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior which is unwelcome, which is unreasonably offensive, which fails to respect the rights of others, or which otherwise creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive public accommodations, public services, housing, or educational environment.
    4. Verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when the allegedly harassed student has indicated, by his or her conduct, that it is unwelcome. Any person protected by this policy who has initially welcomed such conduct by active participation must give specific notice to the alleged harasser that such conduct is no longer welcome in order for any such subsequent conduct to be deemed unwelcome.
    5. Technological Abuse that is an act or pattern of behavior that occurs within domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking and is intended to harm, threaten, intimidate, control, stalk, harass, impersonate, exploit, extort, or monitor, except as otherwise permitted by law, another person, that occurs using any form of technology, including but not limited to: internet enabled devices, online  spaces and platforms, computers, mobile devices, cameras and imaging programs, apps, location tracking devices, or communication technologies, or any other emerging technologies.
  2. Reporting Sexual Harassment
    1. Students who experience sexual harassment, as defined in this policy, may immediately report such harassment to the Title IX Coordinator or any college employee who will then contact the Title IX Coordinator, on behalf of the student.
    2. All students who witness violations or suspected violations of this policy may report such to the Title IX Coordinator or to any college employee who will then contact the Title IX Coordinator, on behalf of the student.
  3. Investigation of Sexual Harassment Complaints

    Upon receiving a formal written complaint of sexual harassment, the College will send written notice to both Parties that an investigation into the allegations has been initiated. The College will promptly send written notice of any investigative interviews, meetings, or hearings to both Parties. Unless both Parties agree to an Informal Resolution Process, a Live Hearing will be scheduled within a reasonable period of time following the investigation. The College will provide the written report of the findings of the investigation along with any evidence directly related to the allegations to the Parties, their advisors at least 10 days prior to the Live Hearing to allow time for each party to respond.

  4. Retaliation Protection
    No retaliation or reprisals shall be taken against any individual because he or she has filed a harassment complaint or report, participated in a harassment investigation, or otherwise opposed unlawful harassment. No student shall be disciplined because he or she reports in good faith or complains about harassment act(s) that are not substantiated.
  5. Sanctions and Penalties
    1. Discipline shall be administered consistent with NMC guidelines and procedures on student discipline. A person suspected of serious offenses of this policy may be subject to an investigatory suspension, pending the outcome of the investigation. Any respondent who is found to have violated this policy may be subject to discipline as appropriate.
    2. Appropriate disciplinary action designed to stop the harassment immediately, remedy the effects, and to prevent its recurrence will be taken against any individual who violates this policy:
      1. Discipline imposed upon students for violation of this policy may include suspension or expulsion, depending on the nature and severity of the offense. Harassment under this policy may also be regarded and punished as a violation of other rules of student conduct prohibiting assault, threats, intimidation, and/or other misconduct.
      2. When appropriate, referral for criminal investigation and prosecution will be made.
    3. Where sexual harassment complaints are substantiated, the Complainant will be informed that remedial measures will be taken to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. The Complainant may not be apprised of the specific counseling or discipline imposed upon individuals found responsible for the sexual harassment due to various privacy and legal concerns.

Legal Intent

This policy is intended to provide a framework supportive of and consistent with applicable local, state, and federal laws and ordinances. It is not intended nor does it result in any special rights or contractual rights beyond those established by applicable local, state, and federal laws and ordinances. Anyone who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment should make this known to the appropriate College officials so that the behavior can be evaluated and, if the allegation is substantiated, appropriate action can be taken. College officials who do not respond to such complaints brought to their attention will be in violation of this policy.

The Dean of Students is responsible for developing procedures to handle complaints of sexual harassment from students. The Dean of Students, in cooperation with the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, is responsible for developing procedures to handle complaints of sexual harassment from student workers. See Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure D-702.01.

If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Initially adopted December 9, 1996 as Sexual Harassment only
Revised August 5, 1998 - Sexual Harassment Policy, renamed Harassment, expanded to include all forms of harassment with Statement of Means and Statement of Principle.
Revised March 17, 2000
Revised May 14, 2004 - Harassment Policy separated into Harassment and Sexual Harassment, with one Statement of Means developed specifically for Employees and one for Students for each Statement of Principle
Renumbered from D-402.04 (integration) to D-602.04 December 20, 2006
Reviewed without revision May 8, 2009
Revised October 16, 2020
Revised September 16, 2022