Policy Concerning Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment of a student, an employee or any other person in the College is unlawful, unacceptable, impermissible and intolerable.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It occurs in a variety of situations that share a common element: the inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or comments into the work or learning environment. Often, sexual harassment involves relationships of unequal power and contains elements of coercion as when compliance with requests for sexual favors becomes a criterion for granting work, study or grading benefits. However, sexual harassment may also involve relationships among equals, as when repeated sexual advances or demeaning verbal behaviors have a harmful effect on a person’s ability to study or work in the academic setting.
For general purposes, sexual harassment may be described as unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical conduct and expressive behavior of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance and creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning employment or education environment.
Examples of conduct that may, depending on the circumstances, constitute sexual harassment, include:
- Repeated offensive sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions
- Continued or repeated verbal abuse or innuendo of a sexual nature
- Uninvited physical contact such as touching, hugging, patting, or pinching
- Display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures
- Jokes or remarks of a sexual nature in front of people who find them offensive
- Making obscene gestures or suggestions or insulting sounds
- Indecent exposure
- The demand for sexual favors accompanied by an implied or overt threat concerning an individual’s employment or student status or promises of preferential treatment.
In addition to sexual harassment being unlawful, it is also unlawful to retaliate against a student, employee or any other person in the College for filing a complaint of sexual harassment or for cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment.
A student, employee or any other person in the College who is found to have engaged in sexual harassment is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment or expulsion. All disciplinary proceedings will be conducted in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements and/or personnel policies.
When a student, employee or any other person in the College believes he/she has been the subject of sexual harassment, the grievance process is a mechanism for redress. A grievant may seek recourse through informal efforts or by filing a formal grievance in writing. In the latter case, a grievant may obtain an Affirmative Action Grievance Form from the College’s Title IX Officer. When filed by a student, this form must be completed and returned to the Title IX Officer within thirty (30) calendar days following the instructional period when the grievant knew or should have known of the grievable act. When filed by an employee, this form must be completed and returned to the Title IX Officer within thirty (30) calendar days from when the grievant knew or should have known of the grievable act. In either case, all grievants must contact the College’s Title IX Officer before proceeding under the Affirmative Action Policy’s procedure. If, however, the Title IX Officer is the subject of the sexual harassment complaint, the grievant may report his/her complaint to the Affirmative Action Officer. All reasonable efforts will be made to maintain confidentiality during the grievance process.
The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is responsible for investigating and handling complaints of sexual harassment filed in the Commonwealth. The MCAD is located at One Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108-1518, and can be reached at (617) 727-3990. At the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with investigating and handling complaints of sexual harassment filed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments. The EEOC is located at One Congress Street, Floor 10, Boston, MA 02114 and can be reached at (617) 565-3200.
In keeping with these regulations, a concerted effort will be made to protect employees, students, and others from sexual harassment as defined. The final authority and ultimate responsibility for the prevention of sexual harassment will rest with the President of each Community College. The President or his/her designee will take reasonable measures to prevent sexual harassment and will act positively to investigate alleged harassment and to affect a remedy when an allegation is determined to be valid, whether or not a formal grievance has been filed. However, the Title IX Officer will have the responsibility for the overall development, administration and monitoring of all programs, policies, procedures and regulations related to sexual harassment.
The College’s policies and procedures on sexual harassment are available at all student service points. In addition to formal procedures, each College shall ensure that appropriate opportunities are available to students and employees to obtain counseling concerning their rights under the law and effective means of informally resolving grievances.
Approved by Board of Higher Education
October 23, 1996
Cape Cod Community College Contacts
Title IX Coordinator/Affirmative Action Officer, Gretchen Nelson, 774.330.4382
Title IX Officer: Michelle Houlihan, 774.330.4358
See: Affirmative Action Policy 2021