Discrimination & Harassment Complaint Procedure
Lower Columbia College recognizes its responsibility for investigation, resolution,
implementation of corrective measures, and monitoring the educational environment
and workplace to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination on the basis of race,
color, national origin, age, perceived or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy,
genetic information, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed,
religion, honorably discharged veteran or military status, or use of a trained guide
dog or service animal, as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972,
Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities
Act and ADA Amendment Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Violence Against
Women Reauthorization Act and Washington State’s Law Against Discrimination, Chapter
49.60 RCW and their implementing regulations. To this end, Lower Columbia College
has enacted policies prohibiting discrimination against and harassment of members
of these protected classes. Any individual found to be in violation of these policies
will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the College
or from employment.
Any employee, student, applicant, or visitor who believes that he or she has been
the subject of discrimination or harassment should make a report
Questions should be directed to the College’s Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy identified
below. If the complaint is against that Coordinator/Deputy, the complainant should
contact the president’s office for further information.
Title IX /EEO Coordinator, Vice President of Foundation, Human Resources & Legal Affairs
Office: Administration Building 115
1600 Maple Street, Longview, WA 98632
TTY/Relay Service: 7-1-1 or 800.833.6388
Title IX /EEO Deputy Coordinator, Vice President of Student Services
Office: Admissions Center 159
1600 Maple Street, Longview, WA 98632
TTY/Relay Service: 7-1-1 or 800.833.6388
The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy or designee:
- Will accept all complaints and referrals from College employees, applicants, students,
- Will make determinations regarding how to handle requests by complainants for confidentiality.
- Will keep accurate records of all complaints and referrals for the required time period.
- May conduct investigations or delegate and oversee investigations conducted by a designee.
- May impose interim remedial measures to protect parties during investigations of discrimination
- Will issue written findings and recommendations upon completion of an investigation.
- May recommend specific corrective measures to stop, remediate, and prevent the recurrence
of inappropriate conduct.
The College encourages the timely reporting of any incidents of discrimination or
- Complainant: employee(s), applicant(s), student(s), or visitors(s) of Lower Columbia College
who alleges that she or he has been subjected to discrimination or harassment due
to his or her membership in a protected class.
- Complaint: a description of facts that allege violation of the College’s policy against discrimination
- Consent: knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed
upon sexual activity. Each party has the responsibility to make certain that the
other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there
must be at the time of the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact actual words
or conduct indicating freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual
contact. A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening
or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including due to
alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual
knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated
has engaged in nonconsensual conduct. Intoxication is not a defense against allegations
that an individual has engaged in nonconsensual sexual conduct.
- Discrimination: unfavorable treatment of a person based on that person’s membership or perceived membership
in a protected class. Harassment is a form of discrimination.
- Harassment: a form of discrimination consisting of physical or verbal conduct that denigrates
or shows hostility toward an individual because of their membership in a protected
class or their perceived membership in a protected class. Harassment occurs when
the conduct is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive and so objectively offensive that
it has the effect of altering the terms or conditions of employment or substantially
limiting the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the College’s
educational and/or social programs. Petty slights, annoyances, offensive utterances,
and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) typically do not qualify as harassment.
Examples of conduct that could rise to the level of discriminatory harassment include
but are not limited to the following:
- Epithets, "jokes," ridicule, mockery or other offensive or derogatory conduct focused
upon an individual's membership in a protected class.
- Verbal or physical threats of violence or physical contact directed towards an individual
based upon their membership in a protected class.
- Making, posting, emailing, texting, or otherwise circulating demeaning or offensive
pictures, cartoons, graffiti, notes or other materials that relate to race, ethnic
origin, gender or any other protected class.
- Protected Class: persons who are protected under state or federal civil rights laws, including laws
that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, perceived
or actual physical or mental disability, pregnancy, genetic information, sex, sexual
orientation, gender identity, marital status, creed, religion, honorably discharged
veteran or military status, or use of a trained guide dog or service animal.
- Resolution: the means by which the complaint is finally addressed. This may be accomplished
through informal or formal processes, including counseling, mediation, or the formal
imposition of discipline sanction.
- Respondent: person or persons who are members of the campus community who allegedly discriminated
against or harassed another person or persons.
- Sexual Harassment: a form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome, gender-based verbal, written, electronic
and/or physical conduct. Sexual harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature,
however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's gender. There are two
types of sexual harassment.
- Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment occurs when the conduct is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive and so objectively
offensive that it has the effect of altering the terms or conditions of employment
or substantially limiting the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from
the College’s educational and/or social programs.
- Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment occurs when an individual in a position of real or perceived authority, conditions
the receipt of a benefit upon granting of sexual favors. Examples of conduct that may qualify as sexual harassment include:
- Persistent comments or questions of a sexual nature.
- A supervisor who gives an employee a raise in exchange for submitting to sexual advances.
- An instructor who promises a student a better grade in exchange for sexual favors.
- Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes.
- Unwelcome touching, patting, hugging, kissing, or brushing against an individual's
- Remarks of a sexual nature about an individual's clothing, body, or speculations about
previous sexual experiences.
- Persistent, unwanted attempts to change a professional relationship to an amorous
- Direct or indirect propositions for sexual activity.
- Unwelcome letters, emails, texts, telephone calls, or other communications referring
to or depicting sexual activities.
- Sexual Violence: is a type of sexual discrimination and harassment. Nonconsensual sexual intercourse,
nonconsensual sexual contact, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are
all types of sexual violence.
- Nonconsensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object,
by a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual intercourse
includes anal or vaginal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object, or oral
copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.
- Nonconsensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon
another person that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual touching includes any
bodily contact with the breasts, groin, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another
individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
- Domestic violence includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim's
current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated
under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or
family violence law.
- Dating violence means violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with
the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type,
and frequency of interaction.
- Stalking means intentional and repeated harassment or following of another person, which places
that person in reasonable fear that the perpetrator intends to injure, intimidate,
or harass that person. Stalking also includes instances where the perpetrator knows
or reasonably should know that the person is frightened, intimidated, or harassed,
even if the perpetrator lacks such intent.
C. Who May File A Complaint
Any employee, applicant, student or visitor of the College can make a report regarding discrimination and/or harassment complaints. The College encourages the
timely reporting of any incidents of discrimination or harassment.
D. Confidentiality And Right To Privacy
Lower Columbia College will seek to protect the privacy of the complainant to the
full extent possible, consistent with the legal obligation to investigate, take appropriate
remedial and/or disciplinary action, and comply with the federal and state law, as
well as Lower Columbia College policies and procedures. Although Lower Columbia College
will attempt to honor complainants’ requests for confidentiality, it cannot guarantee
complete confidentiality. Determinations regarding how to handle requests for confidentiality
will be made by the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy.
Confidentiality Requests and Sexual Violence Complaints. The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy will inform and obtain consent from the complainant
before commencing an investigation into a sexual violence complaint. If a sexual
violence complainant asks that his or her name not be revealed to the respondent or
that the College not investigate the allegation, the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy
will inform the complainant that maintaining confidentiality may limit the college’s
ability to fully respond to the allegations and that retaliation by the respondent
and/or others is prohibited. If the complainant still insists that his or her name
not be disclosed or that the College not investigate, the Title IX /EEO Coordinator/Deputy
will determine whether the College can honor the request and at the same time maintain
a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the college community,
including the complainant. Factors to be weighed during this determination may include,
but are not limited to:
- the seriousness of the alleged sexual violence;
- the age of the complainant;
- whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
- whether the respondent has a history of committing acts of sexual violence or violence
or has been the subject of other sexual violence complaints;
- whether the respondent threatened to commit additional acts of sexual violence against
the complainant or others; and
- whether relevant evidence can be obtained through other means (e.g., security cameras,
other witnesses, physical evidence).
If the College is unable to honor a complainant’s request for confidentiality, the
Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy will notify the complainant of the decision and
ensure that complainant’s identity is disclosed only to the extent reasonably necessary
to effectively conduct and complete the investigation.
If the College decides not to conduct an investigation or take disciplinary action
because of a request for confidentiality, the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy will
evaluate whether other measures are available to limit the effects of the harassment
and prevent its recurrence and implement such measures if reasonably feasible.
E. Investigation Procedure
Upon receiving a discrimination complaint, the College shall commence an impartial
investigation. The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy shall be responsible for overseeing
all investigations. Investigations may be conducted by the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy
or his or her designee. If the investigation is assigned to someone other than the
Title IX /EEO Coordinator/Deputy, the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy shall inform
the complainant and respondent(s) of the appointment of an investigator.
- Interim Measures. The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy may impose interim measures to protect the complainant
and/or respondent pending the conclusion of the investigation. Interim measures may
include, but are not limited to, imposition of no contact orders, rescheduling classes,
temporary work reassignments, referrals for counseling or medical assistance, and
imposition of summary discipline on the respondent consistent with the College’s student
conduct code or the College’s employment policies and collective bargaining agreements.
- Investigation. Complaints shall be thoroughly and impartially investigated. The investigation shall
include, but is not limited to, interviewing the complainant and the respondent, relevant
witnesses, and reviewing relevant documents. The investigation shall be concluded
within a reasonable time, normally sixty days barring exigent circumstances. At the
conclusion of the investigation the investigator shall set forth his or her findings
and recommendations in writing. If the investigator is a designee, the investigator
shall send a copy of the findings and recommendations to the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy.
The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy shall consider the findings and recommendations
and determine, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether a violation of the
discrimination and harassment policy occurred, and if so, what steps will be taken
to resolve the complaint, remedy the effects on any victim(s), and prevent its recurrence.
Possible remedial steps may include, but are not limited to, referral for voluntary
training/counseling, development of a remediation plan, limited contact orders, and
referral and recommendation for formal disciplinary action. Referrals for disciplinary
action will be consistent with the student conduct code or college employment policies
and collective bargaining agreements.
- Written Notice of Decision. The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy will provide each party and the appropriate
student services administrator or appointing authority with written notice of the
investigative findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint,
subject to the following limitations. The complainant shall be informed in writing
of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any,
only to the extent that such findings, actions or recommendations directly relate
to the complainant, such as a finding that the complaint is or is not meritorious
or a recommendation that the accused not contact the complainant. The complainant
may be notified generally that the matter has been referred for disciplinary action.
The respondent shall be informed in writing of the findings and of actions taken or
recommended to resolve the complaint and shall be notified of referrals for disciplinary
action. Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to review any final
findings, conclusions, and recommendations, subject to any FERPA confidentiality requirements.
- Informal Dispute Resolution. Informal dispute resolution processes, like mediation, may be used to resolve complaints,
when appropriate. Informal dispute resolution shall not be used to resolve sexual
discrimination complaints without written permission from both the complainant and
the respondent. If the parties elect to mediate a dispute, either party shall be
free to discontinue mediation at any time. In no event shall mediation be used to
resolve complaints involving allegations of sexual violence.
- Final Decision/Reconsideration. Either the complainant or the respondent may seek reconsideration of the decision
by the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy. Requests for reconsideration shall be submitted
in writing to the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy within seven days of receiving
the decision. Requests must specify which portion of the decision should be reconsidered
and the basis for reconsideration. If no request for reconsideration is received
within seven business days, the decision becomes final. If a request for reconsideration
is received, the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy shall respond within seven business
days. The Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy shall either deny the request or, if
the Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy determines that the request for reconsideration
has merit, issue an amended decision. Any amended decision is final and no further
reconsideration is available.
F. Publication Of Anti-Discrimination Policies And Procedures
The policies and procedures regarding complaints of discrimination and harassment
shall be published and distributed as determined by the president or president's designee.
Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination in violation
of College policy will be provided a copy of these policies and procedures.
G. Limits To Authority
Nothing in this procedure shall prevent the College President or designee from taking
immediate disciplinary action in accordance with Lower Columbia College policies and
procedures, and federal, state, and municipal rules and regulations.
H. Non-Retaliation, Intimidation And Coercion
Retaliation by, for or against any participant (including complainant, respondent,
witness, Title IX/ EEO Coordinator/Deputy, or investigator) is expressly prohibited. Retaliatory
action of any kind taken against individuals as a result of seeking redress under
the applicable procedures or serving as a witness in a subsequent investigation or
any resulting disciplinary proceedings is prohibited and is conduct subject to discipline.
Any person who thinks he/she has been the victim of retaliation should contact the
Title IX / EEO Coordinator/Deputy immediately.
I. Criminal Complaints
Discriminatory or harassing conduct may also be, or occur in conjunction with, criminal
conduct. Criminal complaints may be filed with the following law enforcement authorities:
The College will proceed with an investigation of harassment and discrimination complaints
regardless of whether the underlying conduct is subject to civil or criminal prosecution.
J. Other Discrimination Complaint Options
Discrimination complaints may also be filed with the following federal and state agencies: