FFDB(LOCAL) - FREEDOM FROM DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, AND RETALIATION: OTHER PROTECTED CHARACTERISTICS
Note: This policy addresses complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, or disability targeting students. For legally referenced material relating to this subject matter, see FA(LEGAL). For discrimination, harassment, and retaliation targeting employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, or disability, see DIAB.
Statement of Nondiscrimination
The College District prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), or any other basis prohibited by law. Retaliation against anyone involved in the complaint process is a violation of College District policy.
Discrimination against a student is defined as conduct directed at a student on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or on any other basis prohibited by law, that adversely affects the student.
Prohibited harassment of a student is defined as physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct based on the student's race, color, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, disability, or any other basis prohibited by law that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct limits or denies a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the College District's educational program.
Examples of prohibited harassment may include offensive or derogatory language directed at another person's religious beliefs or practices, accent, skin color, or need for accommodation; threatening, intimidating, or humiliating conduct; offensive jokes, name-calling, slurs, or rumors; physical aggression or assault; display of graffiti or printed material promoting racial, ethnic, or other negative stereotypes; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property.
The College District prohibits retaliation by a student or College District employee against a student alleged to have experienced discrimination or harassment or another student who, in good faith, makes a report of harassment or discrimination, serves as a witness, or otherwise participates in an investigation.
Examples of retaliation may include threats, rumor spreading, ostracism, assault, destruction of property, unjustified punishments, or unwarranted grade reductions. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.
In this policy, the term "prohibited conduct" includes discrimination, harassment, and retaliation as defined by this policy, even if the behavior does not rise to the level of unlawful conduct.
Any student who believes that he or she has experienced prohibited conduct or believes that another student has experienced prohibited conduct should immediately report the alleged acts to a responsible employee.
Any College District employee who suspects and any responsible employee who receives notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced prohibited conduct shall immediately notify the appropriate College District official listed in this policy and shall take any other steps required by this policy.
A person who holds a professional license requiring confidentiality, such as a counselor, or who is supervised by such a person shall not be required to disclose a report of prohibited conduct without the student's consent.
A person who is a nonprofessional counselor or advocate designated in administrative procedures as a confidential source shall not be required to disclose information regarding an incident of prohibited conduct that constitutes personally identifiable information about a student or other information that would indicate the student's identity without the student's consent.
For purposes of this policy, a "responsible employee" is an employee:
- Who has the authority to remedy prohibited conduct.
- Who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of prohibited conduct.
- Whom a student reasonably believes has the authority to remedy prohibited conduct or has been given the duty of reporting incidents of prohibited conduct.
The College District designates the following persons as responsible employees: any instructor, any administrator, or any College District official defined below.
Reports of prohibited conduct under this policy against the College District official designated below may be directed to the College President.
Reports of prohibited conduct shall be made as soon as possible after the alleged act or knowledge of the alleged act. A failure to immediately report may impair the College District's ability to investigate and address the prohibited conduct.
Definition of College District Official
For the purposes of this policy, the College District official is the director of diversity and equity.
Reports of discrimination under this policy shall be directed to the director of diversity and equity.
Director of Diversity and Equity
1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, TX 77591
Investigation of the Report
The College District may request, but shall not require, a written report. If a report is made orally, the College District official shall reduce the report to written form.
Upon receipt or notice of a report, the College District official shall determine whether the allegations, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct as defined by this policy. If so, the College District official shall immediately authorize or undertake an investigation and notify the parties to the complaint of the allegations and the formal and informal options for resolution of the complaint. If the complaint does not rise to the level of a policy violation, the appropriate parties shall be notified.
If the College District official determines that the allegations, if proven, would not constitute prohibited conduct as defined by this policy but may constitute a violation of other College District policies, the College District official shall refer the complaint for consideration under the appropriate policy.
If the parties voluntarily agree to participate in informal resolution of the complaint, the College District official shall determine if informal resolution is appropriate for the complaint. If the official determines that informal resolution is appropriate, then the official may facilitate that resolution. If the official does not determine informal resolution to be appropriate, then the complaint will be subject to the formal resolution process.
If any of the parties decline to participate in informal resolution of the complaint or the College District official finds informal resolution of the complaint to be inappropriate, the College District official shall authorize or undertake an investigation.
If appropriate and regardless of whether a criminal or regulatory investigation regarding the alleged conduct is pending, the College District shall promptly take interim action calculated to address prohibited conduct prior to the completion of the College District's investigation.
College District Investigation
The investigation may be conducted by the College District official or a designee or by a third party designated by the College District, such as an attorney. The investigator shall have received appropriate training regarding the issues related to the complaint and the relevant College District's policy and procedures.
The investigation may consist of personal interviews with the person making the report, the person against whom the report is filed, and others with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the allegations. The investigation may also include analysis of other information or documents related to the allegations.
Concluding the Investigation
The investigator shall prepare a written report of the investigation. The report shall be filed with the College District official overseeing the investigation.
Notification of the Outcome
The College District shall provide written notice of the outcome, within the extent permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or other law, to the parties. Either party may appeal the outcome as described below.
College District Action
The College District shall determine, based on the results of the investigation, whether each individual allegation of misconduct occurred, using a preponderance of the evidence standard. If the results of an investigation indicate that prohibited conduct occurred, the College District shall promptly respond by taking appropriate disciplinary or corrective action including, but not limited to, reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion, reasonably calculated to address the conduct, in accordance with College District policy. [See FM and FMA]
Examples of corrective action may include:
- Providing a training program for those involved in the complaint;
- Providing a comprehensive education program for the College District community;
- Providing counseling for the complainant and the student who engaged in prohibited conduct;
- Permitting the students involved to drop a course in which they both are enrolled without penalty;
- Conducting follow-up inquiries to determine if any new incidents or any instances of retaliation have occurred;
- Involving students in efforts to identify problems and improve the College District climate;
- Increasing staff monitoring of areas where prohibited conduct has occurred; and
- Reaffirming the College District's policy against discrimination and harassment.
If the investigation reveals improper conduct that did not rise to the level of prohibited conduct, the College District may take disciplinary action in accordance with College District policy and procedures or other corrective action reasonably calculated to address the conduct.
To the greatest extent possible, the College District shall respect the privacy of the complainant, persons against whom a report is filed, and witnesses. Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation and comply with applicable law.
A party who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal in writing through the applicable grievance policy beginning at the appropriate level. [See DGBA(LOCAL) for employees, FLD(LOCAL) for students, and GB(LOCAL) for community members] A party shall be informed of his or her right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
Retention of records shall be in accordance with the College District's records retention procedures. [See CIA]
Access to Policy, Procedures, and Related Materials
Information regarding this policy and any accompanying procedures, as well as relevant educational and resource materials concerning the topics discussed in this policy, shall be distributed to College District employees and students in compliance with law and in a manner calculated to provide easy access and wide distribution, such as through electronic distribution and inclusion in the employee and student handbooks and other major College District publications. Information regarding the policy, procedures, and related materials shall also be prominently published on the College District's website, taking into account applicable legal requirements. Copies of the policy and procedures shall be readily available at the College District's administrative offices and shall be distributed to a student who makes a report.