Order of Precedence

This supplemental employee discipline procedure applies to claims of Sexual Harassment subject to Title IX jurisdiction pursuant to regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Education. See 34 C.F.R. § 106. Disciplinary proceedings against an employee respondent alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment in violation of Title IX shall be governed by District Policy 283 and this supplemental hearing procedure. To the extent this supplemental hearing procedure conflicts with provisions set forth in applicable employment contracts, collective bargaining agreements, employee handbooks, and other Seattle Colleges employment policies and procedures, this supplemental hearing procedure will take precedence.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, if Respondent is a tenured or probationary faculty member and the Title IX Coordinator determines that the claims in the investigation, if true, would warrant Respondent’s dismissal from the College, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter to the Tenure Dismissal Committee for a hearing pursuant to RCW 28B.50.863 and applicable procedures set forth in the faculty union Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). To the extent the Tenure Dismissal Committee procedures are inconsistent or in conflict with Sections II through VII of this Supplemental Procedure, those Supplemental Procedure sections will prevail. At the end of the hearing, the Tenure Dismissal Committee will issue a Recommendation consistent with the provisions set forth in Section VIII. The Complainant shall have the same right to appear and participate in the proceedings as the Respondent, including the right to present their position on the Recommendation to the Title IX Coordinator before final action is taken.

1. Prohibited Conduct Under Title IX

Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Act Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, the Seattle Colleges may impose disciplinary sanctions against an employee who commits, attempts to commit, or aids, abets, incites, encourages, or assists another person to commit, an act(s) of “sexual harassment.”

For purposes of these Title IX Grievance Procedures, Sexual Harassment occurs when a Respondent engages in the following discriminatory conduct on the basis of sex:

1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment occurs when a Seattle Colleges employee or student employee in a position of real or perceived authority conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the Seattle Colleges on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

2. Hostile Environment occurs when a respondent’s conduct is objectively offensive and sufficiently severe, persistent, and/or pervasive 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 and/or student housing.

3. Sexual Violence is a type of sexual discrimination and harassment, which includes nonconsensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are all types of sexual violence.

See below:

a. Sexual assault. Sexual assault includes the following conduct:

i. Nonconsensual sexual intercourse. Any actual or attempted sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object or body part, 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.

ii. Nonconsensual sexual contact. Any actual or attempted sexual touching, however slight, with anybody part or 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.

iii. Incest. Sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person known to be related to them, either legitimately or illegitimately, as an ancestor, descendant, brother, or sister of either wholly or half related. Descendant includes stepchildren and adopted children under the age of eighteen (18).

iv. Statutory rape. Consensual intercourse between a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older, and a person who is under the age of sixteen (16).

v. Domestic violence. Physical violence, bodily injury, assault, the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking committed by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Washington, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Washington, RCW 26.50.010.

vi. Dating violence, Physical violence, bodily injury, assault, the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, sexual assault, or stalking committed by a person (i) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (ii) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

1. The length of the relationship;
2. The type of relationship; and
3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

vii. Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (i) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (ii) suffer substantial emotional distress.

2. Title IX Jurisdiction

0. This supplemental procedure applies only if the alleged misconduct:

0. Occurred in the United States;

1. Occurred during a Seattle Colleges educational program or activity; and

2. Meets the definition of Sexual Harassment as that term is defined in this supplemental procedure.

1. For purposes of this supplemental procedure, an “educational program or activity” is defined as locations, events, or circumstances over which the Seattle Colleges exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the alleged Sexual Harassment occurred. This definition includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the Seattle Colleges.

2. Proceedings under this supplemental procedure must be dismissed if the Title IX Coordinator determines that one or all of the requirements of Section A (1)-(3) have not been met. Dismissal under this supplemental procedure does not prohibit the Seattle Colleges from pursuing disciplinary action against a Respondent based on claims that the Respondent engaged in other misconduct prohibited by federal or state law, employment contracts or handbooks, or other Seattle Colleges policies.

3. If the Disciplinary Officer determines the facts in the investigation report are not sufficient to support Title IX jurisdiction and/or pursuit of a Title IX violation, the Title IX Coordinator will issue a notice of dismissal in whole or part to both parties explaining why some or all of the Title IX claims have been dismissed.

3. Initiation of Discipline

1. Upon receiving the Title IX investigation report from the Title IX Investigator, the Disciplinary Officer, appointed by the Chancellor or designee will independently review the report to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to pursue disciplinary action against the Respondent for engaging in prohibited conduct under Title IX.

2. If the Disciplinary Officer determines that there are sufficient grounds to proceed under these supplemental procedures, the Title IX Coordinator will initiate a Title IX disciplinary proceeding by filing a written disciplinary notice with the Hearing Officer, by serving the notice on the Respondent and the Complainant, and their respective advisors.

The notice must:

0. Set forth the basis for Title IX jurisdiction;

1. Identify the alleged Title IX violation(s);

2. Set forth the facts underlying the claim(s);

3. Identify the range of possible sanctions that may be imposed if the Respondent is found responsible for the alleged violation(s);

4. Explain that each Party is entitled to be accompanied by an Advisor of their own choosing during the hearing and that:

0. Advisors will be responsible for questioning all witnesses on the Party’s behalf;

1. An Advisor may be an attorney or any non-union person of the party’s choice. Any member represented by a union may request union representation at the hearing in accordance with section VI.d.;

2. The Title IX Investigator will appoint the Party an Advisor of the Seattle Colleges’ choosing at no cost to the Party, if the Party fails to choose an Advisor; and

5. Explain that if a Party fails to appear at the hearing, a decision of responsibility may be made in the Party’s absence.

3. The hearing will be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge appointed by the Office of Administrative Hearings or someone with similar credentials and expertise. 

0. Service of the disciplinary notice or any other document required to be served under this supplemental procedure may be done personally or by first class, registered, or certified mail, or by electronic mail to the Party’s Seattle Colleges email address.

4. Pre-Hearing Procedure

0. Upon receiving the disciplinary notice, the Hearing Officer will send a hearing notice to all parties in compliance with WAC 10-08-040. Pursuant to Policy 283, the hearing date may not be scheduled less than ten (10) days after the Title IX Coordinator provided the Final Investigation Report to the Parties. Seattle Colleges may, at its discretion, contract with an Administrative Law Judge or someone with similar credentials and expertise to conduct the hearing on behalf of or in lieu of the Hearing Officer.

1. A Party is entitled to be accompanied by an Advisor of their choice during the disciplinary process at the party’s own expense. The Advisor may be an attorney. At any time during the disciplinary process, if the party is a represented employee, the party may have a union representative present.

0. If the Advisor is an attorney, the Advisor must file a notice of appearance with the Hearing Officer with copies to all parties and the Title IX Coordinator at least five (5) days before the hearing. If a notice of appearance is not filed within this timeframe, the Party will be deemed to have waived their right to have an attorney as an Advisor.

2. In preparation for the hearing, the Parties will have equal access to all evidence gathered by the investigator during the investigation, regardless of whether the Seattle Colleges intends to offer the evidence at the hearing.

5. Rights of Parties

0. The provisions of this supplemental procedure shall apply equally to all parties.

1. The Seattle Colleges bears the burden of offering and presenting sufficient testimony and evidence to establish that the Respondent is responsible for a Title IX violation by a preponderance of the evidence.

2. The Respondent will be presumed not responsible until such time as the disciplinary process has been finally resolved.

3. During the hearing, the Complainant and Responding party shall each be represented by their own Advisor. The Complainant and Responding party are entitled to an Advisor of their own choosing and the Advisor may be an attorney. If a party does not choose an Advisor, then the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Advisor of the Seattle Colleges’ choosing on the Party’s behalf at no expense to the Party. The advisor may be a union representative.  A party may choose to have both an Advisor and a union representative present at the hearing, but in such a case, the union representative role will be limited to being an observer.

6. Evidence

The introduction and consideration of evidence during the hearing is subject to the following procedures and restrictions:

0. Relevance: The Committee Chair shall review all questions for relevance and shall explain on the record their reasons for excluding any question based on lack of relevance.

1. Relevance means that information elicited by the question makes a fact is dispute more or less likely to be true.

2. Questions or evidence about a Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant and must be excluded, unless such question or evidence:

0. Is asked or offered to prove someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged misconduct; or

1. Concerns specific incidents of prior sexual behavior between the Complainant and the Respondent, which are asked or offered on the issue of consent.

3. No negative inference: The Hearing Officer may not make an inference regarding responsibility solely on a witness’s or party’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer questions.

4. Privileged evidence: The Hearing Officer shall not consider legally privileged information unless the holder has effectively waived the privilege. Privileged information includes, but is not limited to, information protected by the following:

0. Spousal/domestic partner privilege;

1. Attorney-Client and attorney work product privileges;

2. Privileges applicable to members of the clergy and priests;

3. Privileges applicable to medical providers, mental health therapists, and counsellors;

4. Privileges applicable to sexual assault and domestic violence advocates; and

5. Other legal privileges identified in RCW 5.60.060.

7. Initial Order

0. The Hearing Officer will be responsible for drafting an Initial Order that:

0. Identifies the claims of sexual harassment;

1. Describes the grievance and disciplinary procedures, starting with filing of the formal claim through the determination of responsibility, including notices to parties, interviews with witnesses and parties, site visits, methods used to gather evidence, and hearings held;

2. Makes findings of fact supporting the determination of responsibility;

3. Reaches conclusions as to whether the facts establish whether the Respondent is responsible for engaging in Sexual Harassment in violation of Title IX;

4. Contains a statement of, and rationale for, the Committee’s determination of responsibility for each claim;

5. Describes any disciplinary sanction or conditions imposed against the Respondent, if any;

6. Describes to what extent, if any, Complainant is entitled to remedies designed to restore or preserve Complainant’s equal access to the Seattle Colleges’ education programs or activities; and

7. Describes the process for appealing the Initial Order to the Seattle Colleges President.

1. The Initial Order will be served on the Parties simultaneously.

8. Post Hearing Appeals

A. All Parties, including the Disciplinary Officer in their capacity as a representative of the District, have the right to appeal from the determination of responsibility and/or from a dismissal, in whole or part, of a formal Title IX investigation or disciplinary hearing.  Appeals must be in writing and filed with the Appeals Officer within twenty-one (21) calendar days of service of the initial order or notice of dismissal.  Appeals must identify the specific findings of fact and/or conclusions of law in the initial order or dismissal being challenged and must contain argument as to why the appeal should be granted.  Failure to file a timely appeal constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal and the initial order or dismissal shall be deemed final.

B. A Vice Chancellor will serve as the Appeals Officer. Upon receiving a timely appeal, the Appeal Officer will serve a copy of the appeal to all non-appealing parties, who will have ten (10) days from the date of service to submit written responses to the Appeals Office addressing issues raised in the appeal.  Failure to file a timely response constitutes a waiver of the right to participate in the appeal.  Upon receipt of written responses, if any, the Appeals Officer shall serve copies of the responses to the appealing party.

C.  The appealing party shall have five (5) days from the date of service to submit a written reply addressing issues raised in the responses to the Appeals Officer.

D.  The Appeal Officer, based on their review of the parties’ submissions and the hearing or investigative record, will determine whether the grounds for appeal have merit, provide the rationale for this conclusion, and state whether a dismissal is affirmed or reversed, or if the disciplinary sanctions and conditions imposed in the Initial Order should be affirmed, vacated, or amended, and, if amended, set forth the new disciplinary sanctions and conditions.

E.  The Appeals Officer shall serve the Final Decision on the parties simultaneously.

F.  All decisions reached through this process are final and may be judicially appealed pursuant to applicable provisions of RCW 34.05, including, but not limited to, the timelines set forth in RCW 34.05.542. No decisions or recommendations arising from this disciplinary procedure will be subject to grievance pursuant to any Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Companion Document : Pol
Adoption Date : 2020/08/13
Revision Date : 2022/06/02