WSR 07-19-038

PERMANENT RULES

WHATCOM COMMUNITY COLLEGE


[ Filed September 13, 2007, 7:38 a.m. , effective October 14, 2007 ]


Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

Purpose: To amend sections of TITLE 132U WAC: WAC 132U-120-020, add definition of dean of instruction; WAC 132U-120-110, change term lengths and requirements of student rights and responsibilities committee; WAC 132U-120-270 and 132U-120-285, add dismissal from a selective admissions program as a result of academic evaluations; and WAC 132U-300-010 and 132U-300-020, amend policies, procedures and definitions for discrimination and/or harassment/intimidation complaints.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending x [WAC 132U-120-020, 132U-120-110, 132U-120-270, 132U-120-285, 132U-300-010, and 132U-300-020].

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 28B.50.130, [28B.50.]140, and chapter 49.60 RCW.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 07-11-155 on May 22, 2007.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 4, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: September 12, 2007.

Patricia Onion

Vice-President for

Educational Services


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-01-072, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/11/03 [1/12/03])

WAC 132U-120-020   Definitions.   As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall be defined as follows:

"Academic dishonesty" shall mean plagiarism, cheating on examinations, fraudulent representation of student work product or other similar acts of dishonesty.

"Alcoholic beverages" shall mean the definition of liquor as contained within RCW 66.04.010(15) as now law or hereafter amended.

"Assembly" shall mean any overt activity engaged in by two or more persons, the object of which is to gain publicity, advocate a view, petition for a cause, or disseminate information to any person, persons or group of persons.

"Associated students" shall mean the student body and such authorized groups organized under the provisions of the constitution and bylaws of the associated students of the college.

"ASWCC" shall mean the associated students of Whatcom Community College as defined in the constitution of that body.

"Board" shall mean the board of trustees of Community College District No. 21, state of Washington.

"Code of conduct" refers to the Whatcom Community College code of student rights and responsibilities.

"College" shall mean Whatcom Community College, and any other community college centers or facilities established within Community College District No. 21.

"College community" shall mean trustees, students, employees, and guests on college-owned or controlled facilities, including distance learning environments.

"College facilities" shall mean and include any and all personal property and real property that the college owns, uses, or controls including all buildings and appurtenances affixed thereon or attached thereto district-wide. College facilities extend to affiliated websites, distance learning classroom environments, and agencies or institutions that have educational agreements with Whatcom Community College.

"College official" shall mean any person who is employed by the college or authorized to act as an agent of the college in performing assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.

"Controlled substance" shall mean and include any drug or substance as defined in chapter 69.50 RCW as now law or hereafter amended.

"Dean of students" shall mean the chief student affairs officer who is the administrator responsible for student services or designee.

"Dean of instruction" shall mean the chief officer who is the administrator responsible for instruction or designee.

"Demonstrations" shall mean any overt activity engaged in by one or more persons, the object of which is to gain publicity, advocate a view, petition for a cause or disseminate information to any person, persons, or group of persons.

"Director of student programs" shall mean the administrator responsible for student programs and activities or designee.

"Disciplinary sanctions" shall mean and include a warning, reprimand, probation, suspension, or dismissal of any student by a dean, or designee, or the president issued pursuant to this chapter where that student has violated any designated rule or regulation of the rules of conduct for which a student is subject to disciplinary action.

"Distance learning" shall mean various methods of instructional delivery that include, but are not limited to, online courses, telecourses, and interactive video courses.

"Faculty" or "instructor" shall mean any full-time or part-time academic employee of the college or an affiliated institution whose assignment is one of a combination of instruction, counseling or library services.

"Free speech area" shall be designated by the college president and can be reserved by student groups and organizations through the office of student programs and activities.

"Instructional day" shall mean any regularly scheduled day of instruction designated in the academic year calendar, including summer quarter, as a day when classes are held. Saturdays and Sundays are not regularly scheduled instructional days.

"President" shall mean the president of Whatcom Community College and president of Community College District No. 21, state of Washington.

"Rules of conduct" shall mean those rules contained within this chapter as now exist or which may be hereafter amended, the violation of which subjects a student to disciplinary action.

"Student," unless otherwise qualified, shall mean and include any person who is enrolled for classes at the college, including any person enrolled in distance learning courses.

"Student rights and responsibilities committee" shall mean the judicial body provided in this chapter.

"Trespass" shall mean the definition of trespass as contained within chapter 9A.52 RCW, as now law or hereafter amended.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.50.130 and 28B.50.140. 03-01-072, 132U-120-020, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/12/03; 88-15-005 (Order 88-03), 132U-120-020, filed 7/8/88.]

Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-01-072, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/11/03 [1/12/03])

WAC 132U-120-110   Structure of the student rights and responsibilities committee.   (1) The student rights and responsibilities committee shall be composed of a chairperson and four members. For the appeal of disciplinary sanctions, the chairperson shall be the dean ((for)) of instruction, or designee, and the members shall be chosen as follows:

(a) Two students in good academic standing appointed by the ASWCC president; ((for a one-year term;)) and

(b) One faculty member appointed by the president of the college ((for a three-year term)); and

(c) One administrator appointed by the president ((.for a two-year term.))

(d) Members of the student rights and responsibilities committee shall be ((chosen by no later than October 30 of each academic year.)) selected as needed when a written appeal has met the required conditions.

(((e) Student rights and responsibilities committee members shall serve during their term of office as set forth above and until their successors are appointed or elected.))

(2) If any member of the student rights and responsibilities committee is unable to consider a particular disciplinary proceeding for any reason (including but not limited to conflict of interest, matters of conscience or related reasons), such members shall abstain from considering the issues. If the chairperson abstains for any of the above reasons, the president shall appoint a temporary chairperson who will preside over the committee.

(3) A quorum for all proceedings of the student rights and responsibilities committee shall consist of a chairperson and at least three members; provided, that one student, one faculty member and one administrator are present.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.50.130 and 28B.50.140. 03-01-072, 132U-120-110, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/12/03; 88-15-005 (Order 88-03), 132U-120-110, filed 7/8/88.]

Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-01-072, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/11/03 [1/12/03])

WAC 132U-120-270   Complaints excluded.   (1) Students may not use this procedure for filing a complaint based on the outcome of summary suspension or other disciplinary proceedings.

(2) Federal and state laws, rules, and regulations, in addition to policies, regulations and procedures adopted by the college or the board of trustees, and/or the state board for community and technical colleges are not grievable matters.

(3) Different procedures are required for complaints regarding sexual harassment or illegal discrimination. These procedures are available from the dean for educational services and the personnel director.

(4) Dismissal from a selective entry program as a result of academic evaluations. This entails an alternative procedure. This procedure is available from the Office of Instruction.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.50.130 and 28B.50.140. 03-01-072, 132U-120-270, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/12/03; 88-15-005 (Order 88-03), 132U-120-270, filed 7/8/88.]

Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-01-072, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/11/03 [1/12/03])

WAC 132U-120-285   Time limits.   (1) The student must file a complaint within one academic quarter after the action that gives rise to the complaint. For this purpose, fall quarter is considered to be the academic quarter following both spring and summer quarters. The appropriate dean may modify the time limit due to exceptional circumstances such as extended illness.

(2) Every effort will be made by the appropriate dean to investigate and resolve the complaint as soon as possible. When the instructor or staff member concerned is unavailable during a quarter break, sabbatical leave, or other extenuating circumstances, the dean will outline for the student a timeline for the process.

(3) When the instructor or staff member concerned is no longer employed by the college and does not expect to return, the appropriate dean shall confer with appropriate parties and make a decision.

(a) Step 1 informal resolution.

(i) Students who believe a college faculty or staff member has unfairly treated them shall first discuss their concerns directly with that person. If the complaint involves a grade, the student should first discuss the grade, including the reason the student believes the grade has been awarded improperly or in an arbitrary or capricious manner, with the course instructor. The purpose of this discussion should be to clarify the perceived problem and request specific action. Most misunderstandings related to grades can be resolved at this level.

(ii) If the complaint is not resolved or if the student is apprehensive about talking directly with the staff or faculty member involved, the student may request an appointment with the department chair or appropriate associate dean/dean. The department chair, supervisor, or associate dean/dean may act as a mediator to resolve the complaint in a prompt and fair manner.

(b) Step 2 formal letter.

(i) In the unlikely event that an informal resolution is not achieved, the student may initiate a formal complaint by writing a letter to the faculty or staff member and the appropriate dean within one academic quarter after the incident that gave rise to the complaint. The formal complaint letter must include a:

&lhlsqbul; Description of the situation including dates and times;

&lhlsqbul; Summary of the actions taken by the student to resolve the complaint up to that point; and

&lhlsqbul; Proposed solution.

In a grade dispute, the student should submit specific information on performance scores, attendance, and any syllabus or written material on course grading criteria that the instructor provided to the student.

(ii) The dean shall attempt to resolve the problem by:

(A) Serving as an intermediary between the student and the faculty or staff member and bringing about a resolution that is satisfactory to all concerned; or

(B) Reviewing the facts of the situation and making a decision. The dean shall investigate the student's written complaint. The investigation may include a written response from the instructor including the course syllabus, the grade reported for the student, the evaluation criteria for the course, and the performance scores and attendance data achieved by the student in that course.

(iii) The dean shall conclude this step with a written decision that is mailed to the student's last known address.

(c) Step 3 appeal to the student rights and responsibilities committee.

(i) If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved in Step 2, the student may request a hearing to be conducted by the student rights and responsibilities committee by submitting a written request to the dean within ten instructional days of the postmark on the written decision of the dean. The written appeal by the student must clearly state errors in fact or matters in extenuation or mitigation that justify the appeal.

(ii) If the student asks a representative to assist during the hearing, the student shall submit in writing along with the hearing request, the name, address, and telephone number of the representative. The instructor or staff member may also have a representative assist during the hearing and must provide contact information to the chairperson.

(iii) All written documents concerning the complaint shall be forwarded to the chairperson of the student rights and responsibilities committee by the dean upon receiving the student's hearing request. Copies of these documents shall be made available to the committee members, the student, and the faculty or staff member to whom the complaint is directed three instructional days prior to the hearing.

(iv) The student rights and responsibilities committee shall be composed of a chairperson and four members. For a student complaint formal appeal, the chairperson shall be the dean who did not handle the initial formal complaint and the members shall be selected as follows:

(A) Two students in good academic standing appointed by the ASWCC president ((for a one-year term));

(B) One faculty member appointed by the president of the college ((for a three-year term));

(C) One administrator appointed by the president of the college ((for a two-year term));

(D) Members of the committee shall be selected ((no later than October 30 of each academic year;)) as needed when a written appeal has met the required conditions.

(E) An appropriate substitute member shall be appointed if a member of the hearing committee is unable to consider the formal complaint for any reason (including, but not limited to, conflict of interest, matters of conscience, or related reasons);

(F) A quorum shall consist of a chairperson and at least three members; provided, that one student, one faculty member, and one administrator are present.

(v) The hearing before the committee shall be conducted within twenty instructional days of receiving the written appeal. Notice of the hearing date and time shall be given to all parties involved five instructional days prior to the hearing.

(vi) A student-initiated complaint hearing shall be an informal and closed hearing. The administrative assistant to the chairperson shall electronically record the hearing and take written notes.

(vii) Both the student and the instructor shall be invited to present oral arguments that shall be restricted to issues related to the complaint. Members of the committee may question both the student and instructor.

(viii) At the conclusion of the hearing, the committee shall deliberate and:

&lhlsqbul; Request additional information to be considered at a future hearing;

&lhlsqbul; Recommend that the dean's decision be upheld; or

&lhlsqbul; Find that there are sufficient reasons to modify or overrule the dean's decision and recommend alternatives to the president.

(ix) Within five instructional days after concluding the hearing, the committee shall make a written recommendation to the president.

(x) The president, after reviewing the record of the case prepared by the chairperson of the student rights and responsibilities committee and any appeal statement filed by any party to the grievance, shall issue either a written acceptance of the recommendations of the committee or written directions regarding alternative courses of action. The written findings of the president are final.

(xi) All written statements and testimony considered during the complaint process and a copy of the final decision by the president shall be retained on file by the chairperson of the student rights and responsibilities committee for one year following the complaint.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.50.130 and 28B.50.140. 03-01-072, 132U-120-285, filed 12/12/02, effective 1/12/03.]

Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.

Reviser's note: RCW 34.05.395 requires the use of underlining and deletion marks to indicate amendments to existing rules. The rule published above varies from its predecessor in certain respects not indicated by the use of these markings.
COMPLAINTS ((GRIEVANCES)) -- DISCRIMINATION

132U-300-010 Statement of P((p))olicy: Complaints - Discrimination And/Or Harassment/Intimidation
132U-300-020 ((Grievance)) Complaint ((p))Procedure -- ((Sexual harassment, sex discrimination, handicapped discrimination)) Discrimination And/Or Harassment/Intimidation.

Reviser's note: RCW 34.05.395 requires the use of underlining and deletion marks to indicate amendments to existing rules. The rule published above varies from its predecessor in certain respects not indicated by the use of these markings.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 88-15-005, filed 7/8/88)

WAC 132U-300-010   Statement of P((p))olicy: Complaints -- Discrimination And/Or Harassment/Intimidation.   (1) Whatcom Community College is covered by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibiting ((sex)) gender discrimination in education and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of ((handicap)) disability. It is the policy of Whatcom Community College to ensure equal opportunity without regard to ((sex)) gender or ((handicap)) disability status in all areas of admission, education, application for employment, and employment. Whatcom Community College's Policy 4010, Affirmative Action/Fair Employment Practices, expands the College's obligation to include no discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age (except when gender or age is a bona fide occupational qualification) or veteran status which includes Vietnam Era and/or disabled veterans in its programs, recruitments, hiring, training, retention, promotion and all other personnel actions of qualified persons. The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) RCW 49.60; Chapter 2.60.00 in the SBCTC's (State Board for Community and Technical College) Policy Manual, ADA, Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ESHB 2661 and all law and regulations affecting state employees, shall apply to employees at Whatcom Community College.

(a) It is ((also)) the policy of Whatcom Community College to provide an environment in which members of the college community can work or study free from ((sexual)) harassment or ((sexual)) intimidation. ((Sexual harassment)) Harassment/Intimidation is a form of ((sex)) discrimination. As such ((it)) harassment/intimidation is a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments.

(b) Discrimination and/or harassment/intimidation directed to any individual or group on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, creed, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and veteran status, or any behavior or action, either physical or verbal, which is sexual in nature and unwelcome, unwanted or uninvited, is a violation of the mission and purpose of Whatcom Community College as an institution of higher education and shall not be tolerated, and, pursuant to board policy and this procedure, shall be prohibited.

((Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct when))

(((1) Submission to the conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual's academic or career advancement; and/or

(2) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that individual; and/or

(3) Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.))

A complaint ((grievance)) procedure is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

(2) Definitions

(a) Prohibited Discrimination: Prohibited discrimination is an action taken on the basis of an individual's membership in, association with or presumption of membership or association with the following: race, color, gender, religion, creed, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, disability and veteran status, such action resulting in a tangible loss in any area of admission, education, programs, hiring, training, retention, promotion and all other personnel actions of qualified persons.

(b) Prohibited Harassment and/or Intimidation: Prohibited harassment and/or intimidation shall include, but will not be limited to verbal and written comments, slurs, jokes, innuendoes, cartoons, pranks and any and all other physical or non-physical conduct or activity that can be construed as derogatory, intimidating, hostile or offensive and which is directed at the victim because of his/her membership in, association with or presumption of membership or association with the following: race, color, gender, religion, creed, age, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, political affiliation and veteran status; or any behavior or action, either physical or verbal, which is sexual in nature and unwelcome, unwanted or uninvited. Discrimination and/or harassment/intimidation actions are herein defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other related verbal or physical conduct when:

(i) Submission to the conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual's academic or career advancement; and/or

(ii) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that individual; and/or

(iii) Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individuals's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

(c) Board Policy: Board policy is based on the principle that all forms of discrimination and/or harassment/intimidation are unacceptable and will be dealt with promptly and effectively. The purpose of the development of a procedure is to establish the methods by which Whatcom Community College will show reasonable care in the prevention of harassment and discrimination. This may include, but will not be limited to the following:

(i) Have in place an effective discrimination and harassment prevention procedure that supports Board policy;

(ii) Offer and communicate existence of flexible, accessible, and non-intimidating complaint procedures;

(iii) Protect confidentiality to the extent possible under the law;

Develop an investigative protocol aimed at prompt fact gathering without bias or subjectivity;

(iv) Provide a disciplinary mechanism that is reasonably calculated to end harassing or discriminatory behavior and correct inappropriate behavior;

(v) Provide mandatory training programs on harassment for supervisors and separate training for non-supervisory employees.

[Statutory Authority: ((RCW 28B.50.130 and)) 28B.50.140 and 28B.49.60. 88-15-005 (Order 88-03), 132U-300-010, filed 7/8/88.]. ESHB 2661, 1/31/06. RCW 41.06 and RCW 43.01, 7/22/07)]

Reviser's note: RCW 34.05.395 requires the use of underlining and deletion marks to indicate amendments to existing rules. The rule published above varies from its predecessor in certain respects not indicated by the use of these markings.

Reviser's note: The brackets and enclosed material in the text of the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 88-15-005, filed 7/8/88, effective 8/8/88)

WAC 132U-300-020   ((Grievance)) Complaint ((p))Procedure -- ((Sexual harassment, sex discrimination, handicapped discrimination)) Discrimination and/or harassment/intimidation.   (((1) Any applicant for admission, enrolled student, applicant for employment or employee of Whatcom Community College who believes he/she has been discriminated against on the basis of sex or on the basis of a handicap may lodge a formal institutional grievance according to the following procedures:

(a) Step 1: Informal meeting. The complainant may request an informal meeting with the individual believed to have committed the discriminatory act in an attempt to informally resolve the concern.

(b) Step 2: Official hearing. If not satisfied by the results of the informal meeting, or if he or she has waived rights to an informal meeting, the complainant may request a meeting with the college designated grievance officer.

(i) The request for an official hearing must be made in writing and must stipulate the specific grievance(s) the complainant wishes to raise.

(ii) Within thirty calendar days of receiving the written request, the college designated grievance officer shall arrange a meeting to hear the complaint. It shall be at the discretion of the complainant to determine whether the officer will meet with the complainant and the person to whom the complaint has been directed separately or in a single meeting. If the complainant requests a single meeting, the meeting shall be attended by the complainant, the person to whom the complaint is directed, and the college officer, who will chair the meeting.

(iii) Following the hearing and within thirty calendar days of receiving the written request, the college officer will report his/her findings in writing to both the complainant and the person to whom the complaint has been directed.

(c) Step 3: Presidential appeal. If the complaint is not resolved as a result of the hearing conducted by the college designated grievance officer, either the complainant or the person to whom the complaint is directed may request an appeal to the college president.

(i) The request must be made in writing within ten days after receipt of the written results of the official hearing.

(ii) Within fifteen days after receiving the request, the college president or the president's designee will conduct the presidential appeal hearing and report the findings in writing to both the complainant and the person to whom the complaint is directed.

(iii) Attendance at the presidential appeal hearing shall be limited to the college president or designee, the designated grievance officer, the complainant, and the person to whom the complaint is directed unless otherwise mutually agreed by the parties. The college president or presidential designee shall preside.

(iv) Either the complainant or the person to whom the complaint is directed may call witnesses at the discretion of the person presiding.

(v) The written findings of the presidential appeal will be considered final. No further intra-institutional appeal exists.

(2) If desired, inquiries or appeals beyond the institutional level may be directed to:

(a) Regional Director, Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education, HEW, 2901-3rd Avenue, M.S. 106, Seattle, Washington 98101.

(b) The Equal Opportunity Commission, 1321-2nd Avenue, 7th Floor, Arcade Plaza, Seattle, Washington 98101.

(c) The Human Rights Commission, 402 Evergreen Plaza Building, Mailstop FJ-41, 711 S. Capitol Way, Olympia, Washington 98502.))

(1) Purpose

(a) Those employees of Whatcom Community College who believe that they have been harassed/intimidated and/or discriminated against in employment or the employment application process, or any applicants for admission or students/members of the public who believe that they have been harassed/intimidated by or discriminated against by an employee or a student of the Whatcom Community College, are encouraged to report that belief to Whatcom Community College under this procedure's Complaint Process which follows.

(2) Definitions

(a) Designated Officer. Designated officer means an individual who is primarily responsible for conducting an initial inquiry, determining whether to proceed with an investigation under this procedure, and investigating or coordinating the investigation of reports and complaints of discrimination/harassment in accordance with this procedure.

(i) The human resources director is the designated officer for all issues except as follows: a) student-to-student complaints, for which the vice president for educational services is the designated officer; b) complaints against the human resources director for which the president is the designated officer.

(ii) A report/complaint against the president of the college shall be filed with the chair of the board of trustees. However, complaints against a president shall be processed by the college if the president's role in the alleged incident was limited to a decision on a recommendation made by another administrator, such as tenure, promotion or non-renewal, and the president had no other substantial involvement in the matter.

(b) Decision Maker. Decision maker means a high level administrator who reviews the investigative reports, to make findings whether board policy (132U-300-10.2.3.) has been violated based upon the investigation, and to determine the appropriate action for the institution to take based upon the findings.

(i) The appropriate vice president with whom the complainant jurisdiction is the decision maker.

(ii) The president is the decision maker when the accused is an administrator.

(iii) The chair of board of trustees is the decision maker if the accused is the president.

(3) Complaint Process

(a) Incident Notification Form: Whatcom Community College has developed an Incident Notification Form on which any person may report complaints of discrimination and or harassment/intimidation, regardless of the complaint's basis. The form which includes directions on how to complete and route it properly is widely available and can be readily obtained from the human resources director. The form also identifies the limits of confidentiality and the Whatcom Community College's non-retaliation policy. Any supervisor or administrator is authorized to accept and forward the form, or it may be submitted directly to the human resources director for all issues except student-to-student complaints, which shall be forwarded to the vice president for educational services.

(b) Filing a Complaint/Officers Designated to Receive Complaints: Any employee/student or member of the public who believes he/she has been subject to harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination has the right to file a complaint. This complaint should be filed in a timely manner, but no later than one hundred eighty (180) calendar days from the most recent incident of the alleged behavior or action. Any supervisor or administrator is authorized to accept or take a complaint. If the complainant does not feel comfortable with filing a written complaint, the complaint may be verbally made, and the supervisor/administrator the supervisor/administrator will then document the verbal complaint on the Incident Notification Form which the complainant shall sign. If the employee or student believes he/she is being harassed or discriminated against by a supervisor, administrator or employee, he/she should notify the human resources director directly. All complaints, regardless of the perceived merit or basis, are to be forwarded for review and processing, without exception, directly to the human resources director for all issues except student-to-student complaints, which shall be forwarded to the vice president for educational services. In the event that the human resources director's conduct is the subject of the complaint, the president or his/her designee shall be the designated officer to receive such complaint.

(c) Complaint Consideration: Although isolated incidents of harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination may not violate federal or state law, such incidents may nevertheless create a knowing and willful course of conduct which seriously alarms, annoys, harasses or is detrimental to that person or the work environment, serves no legitimate or lawful purpose, or is in direct violation of board values or the college's Affirmation of Inclusion (WCC Policy 1023) regarding mutual respect. Such complaints will be taken seriously and considered under this procedure.

(d) Addressing Complaints: The administration of the college has an affirmative duty to take timely and appropriate action to stop behavior, conduct investigations and take appropriate action to prevent recurring misconduct. The human resources director, as the designated officer, is authorized to consider complaints of harassment and discrimination and to assess and/or investigate them for all of Whatcom Community College, with the exception of student-to-student complaints, which are under the jurisdiction of the vice president for educational services, or his/her designee. All complaints, regardless of the perceived merit or basis, are to be forwarded to the appropriate office for review and processing, without exception. The designated officer shall determine whether the report/complaint is one which should be mediated or processed through another designated officer; if appropriate, the designated officer shall direct the complainant to that area as soon as possible.

(e) Assessment: The designated officer will, within thirty (30) working days of receipt of the Incident Notification Form, (a) assess the written complaint; (b) determine the appropriate process necessary to ensure all relevant evidence is obtained and all critical elements are addressed; and (c) notify the appropriate vice president with whom the complainant jurisdiction resides when the accused is a faculty or classified staff; the president when the accused is an administrator; and the chair of board of trustees if the accused is the president.

(i) This normally begins with an initial interview with the complainant. The goal is to obtain sufficient information to determine the next steps, which may include, but is not limited to obtaining clarification, providing mediation and/or consultation services, making referrals for mediation and/or consultation services, and/or initiating a formal fact-finding investigation.

(ii) If a formal investigation is undertaken, the complainant and the accused will be alerted to the existence of a formal complaint and that an investigation of the complaint is underway.

(iii) This formal investigation may take up to sixty (60) calendar days after the receipt of the Incident Notification Form, unless extended by mutual agreement in writing between the complainant and the designated officer.

(iv) Under appropriate circumstances, the administration may, in consultation with system legal counsel and labor relations committee, reassign or place an employee on administrative leave at any point in time during the report/complaint/investigation process. In determining whether to place an employee on administrative leave or reassignment, consideration shall be given to the nature of the alleged behavior, the relationships between the parties, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred and other relevant factors. Any action taken must be consistent with the applicable collective bargaining agreements.

(v) Employees, as a condition of employment, are required to be truthful and to fully cooperate in the investigation process.

(f) Other Complaints: Conduct covered by this policy and procedure are those discriminatory and/or harassment/intimation actions that occur as delineated in WAC 132U-300-010, 2.3. Complaints alleging conduct not covered by this policy and procedure will be remanded to the appropriate vice president/administrative officer for consideration and investigation as a performance-based issue.

(i) Harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination allegations based upon union activities are not included in this procedure, but covered by the various collective bargaining agreements between the Board of Trustees and its recognized faculty and employee representatives.

(g) Records: Copies of all complaints of harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination, and records related to a subsequent formal investigation conducted pursuant to that complaint, if any, shall be maintained confidentially to the extent allowed by law for an indeterminate period of time in the Human Resources Office.

(h) Confidentiality and Non-retaliation

(i) Confidentiality: To the extent possible, proceedings will be conducted in a discreet and sensitive manner. Anonymity and complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed once a complaint is made or unlawful behavior is alleged. Files pertaining to the complaints will be maintained in confidence to the fullest extent of the law. Whatcom Community College cannot guarantee complete confidentiality.

(ii) Non-Retaliation: Retaliation by, for or against any participant (accused, accuser or witness) 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 dealing with harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination is prohibited. Any person who thinks he/she has been the victim of retaliation should contact the Human Resources Director immediately.

(i) Rights of Accused -- Notice of Complaint: If a formal investigation is undertaken, the accused will be alerted to the existence of a formal complaint and that an investigation of the complaint is underway. During the investigative process, the accused will be informed of his/her right to representation during any investigatory meeting.

(j) Findings Report: Within sixty (60) calendar days of the commencement of a formal investigation, to the extend appropriate, a Findings Report will be submitted to the appropriate vice president with whom the complainant jurisdiction resides and the president. This Findings Report will include the complaint and a synopsis of the investigation. The reporter is not precluded from providing specific recommendations in the Findings Report as to disciplinary actions or other actions to be done (i.e. training for everyone in a department where sexual jokes have gotten out of hand, etc.). The complainant and the accused will be informed of the results of the investigation in summary form.

(k) Corrective Action: The decision maker (the appropriate vice president with whom the complainant jurisdiction resides when the accused is a faculty or classified staff, the president when the accused is an administrator, or the chair of board of trustees if the accused is the president), will take appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action in situations where it is proven or is reasonable to believe that harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination took place. Any action taken will follow the due process provisions of applicable contracts or state law and regulations and will be reasonably calculated to end harassing/intimidation and/or discriminatory behavior and correct inappropriate behavior.

(4) Appeal process

(a) Any corrective and/or disciplinary action in situations where it is proven or is reasonable to believe that harassment/intimidation and/or discrimination took place on any level, except decisions by the board of trustees, may be appealed in writing to the president within fifteen (15) working days of the corrective and/or disciplinary action by either the complainant or the accused. The appeal must state specific reasons why the complainant or accused believes the decision was improper. Within fifteen (15) working days of the appeal, the president shall:

(i) Take actions recommended by the decision maker (vice president);

(ii) Reject the recommendations;

(iii) Modify the recommendations; or

(iv) Remand the recommendations to the decision maker (vice president) for further consideration; and

(v) Report in writing to the complainant, accused and vice president

(b) The decision of the chair of the board of trustees as to any complaint against the president may be reviewed by filing a complaint with the appropriate tribunal listed in section (5) Non-College Options, provided all time periods applicable to the tribunal are met.

(c) The actions of the president or, if applicable, the chair of the board of trustees, shall constitute final Whatcom Community College disposition of the matter. Upon action of the president, the complainant and accused shall have exhausted their administrative remedies within the College.

(d) However, in the event disciplinary action is undertaken against faculty member, the appeal process will be conducted in accordance with the standing faculty negotiated agreement.

(5) Non-College Options

(a) At any point during these proceedings, the complainant may choose to file with the Washington State Human Rights Commission, the Equal Opportunity Commission, and/or the U.S. Department of Education, Title IX.

(i) For anyone (employees, students, public): The Washington State Human Rights Commission, 711 S. Capitol Way, Suite 402, P O Box 42490, Olympia, WA 98504-2409; (360) 753-6770 or 1-800-233-3247; TTY 1-800-300-7525; website: www.hum.wa.gov

(ii) For employees: The United States Equal Opportunity Commission, Federal Office Building, 909 First Avenue, Suite 400, Seattle, WA 98104-1061; (206) 220-6883 or 1-800-669-4000; TTY 1-800-669-6820; website: www.eeoc.gov/seattle

(iii) For students: Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 915 2nd Avenue, Room 3310, Seattle, Washington 98174-1000; (206) 220-7900; TTY (206) 220-7907; website: www.edu.gov

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.50.130 and 28B.50.140. 88-15-005 (Order 88-03), 132U-300-020, filed 7/8/88.]

Reviser's note: RCW 34.05.395 requires the use of underlining and deletion marks to indicate amendments to existing rules. The rule published above varies from its predecessor in certain respects not indicated by the use of these markings.

Reviser's note: The spelling error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Reviser's note: The typographical errors in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appear in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office