Title IX: Definitions
Title IX protects students, faculty, staff, and community members at Skagit Valley College against discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex or gender. This includes issues related to access to programs, treatement in performance reviews and grading, subjection to inequitable environments, or targeted verbal or physical attacks.
Below are some important definitions retreived from the Skagit Valley College Policy/Procedure for Prevention and Remediation of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination:
Advocate: Individuals who assist members of the SVC community with concerns about their rights and the policies and procedures of Skagit Valley College. Advocates will:
• Provide information on college policies and Title IX obligations
• Provide resources about counseling and medical resources both on campus and in the community
• Upon request, assist complainant with filing a complaint
• Upon request, assist respondent with reviewing college policies and procedures
• Act as a neutral/impartial resource for student/staff
• Upon request, serve as advocate during investigation
Business Day: A week-day, excluding weekends and college holidays.
Calendar Day: Days on the calendar including weekends and holidays.
Campus: (1) Any building or property owned or controlled by an institution within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area and used by the institution in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the institution’s educational purpose, including residence halls; and (2) Any building or property that is within or reasonably contiguous to the area identified in paragraph (1) of this definition, that is owned by the institution but controlled by another person, is frequently used by students, and supports institutional purposes (such as food or other retail vendor).
Complainant: employee(s), student(s), applicants, or visitors(s) of Skagit Valley 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 or harassment.
Conflict of Interest: If an advocate, designee or investigating authority has an actual or perceived conflict of interest, that individual may excuse themselves from the process. Once excused, that member will not have access to records/evidence pertaining to the case.
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 engaged in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has engaged in nonconsensual sexual 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 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, social programs and/or student housing. 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:
A. Epithets, slurs, "jokes," mockery or other offensive or derogatory conduct focused upon an individual’s membership in a protected category.
B. Verbal or physical threats of violence directed toward an individual based upon their membership in a protected class.
C. Making, posting, displaying, e-mailing, 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.
Hate Crime: A crime reported to local police agencies or to a campus security authority that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. For the purpose of this section, the categories of bias include the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, and disability.
Investigation: The Title IX Officer may appoint a designee to investigate the complaint. The Officer shall inform the complainant and respondent of the appointment. The College representative shall conduct an investigation based upon the submitted complaint from the complainant or prepared by the Officer.
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.
Reporter: employee(s), student(s), applicants or visitor(s) of Skagit Valley College who are aware of discriminatory practices or sexual misconduct.
Retaliation: Retaliation occurs when an adverse action is either threatened or taken against an individual for engaging in protected activity. An adverse action is an action which might dissuade a reasonable person from making or supporting a complaint. Retaliation may include adverse actions taken against a person close to the complainant.
Resolution: the means by which the complaint is finally addressed. This may be accomplished through informal or formal processes, including counseling, resource referral, protective measures, reasonable changes to academic and housing situations, mediating, mediation, or the formal imposition of discipline. No complainant will be required to have face to face interaction with an alleged perpetrator in any informal resolution or mediation. Mediation will not be used in cases of sexual violence.
Respondent: person or persons who are members of the campus community who allegedly discriminated against or harassed another person or persons.
Sexual Misconduct: A range of behaviors including sexual harassment, sexual coercion or exploitation, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic/dating violence, and gender-based stalking.
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.
a. 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, social programs and/or student housing.
b. 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 body.
• Remarks of sexual nature about an individual’s clothing, body, or speculations about previous sexual experience.
• Persistent, unwanted attempts to change a professional relationship to an amorous relationship.
• Direct or indirect propositions for sexual activity.
• Unwelcomed 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.
A. 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.
B. 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 breasts, groin, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
C. 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.
D. 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.
E. 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.