I. Prohibited Conduct

1. Discrimination

Northampton Community College adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws banning discrimination in public institutions of higher education. The College prohibits discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment, student or applicant for admission on the basis of any protected class. Protected classes include: age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, or any other protected category under applicable federal, state, or local law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any complaint process on campus or with other human rights agencies.

This policy covers discrimination in employment and in access to educational opportunities. Discrimination is defined as adverse treatment of an individual based on that individual's membership in one or more of the protected groups listed above. Therefore, any member of the campus community, guest, or visitor who acts to deny, deprive, or limit the educational, employment, housing and/or social access, benefits, and/or opportunities of any member of the campus community on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above is in violation of the College policy on discrimination. All College employees shall report all suspected incidents of discrimination or harassment (see Section III. Reporting Responsibilities). When brought to the attention of the College, any such discrimination will be appropriately remedied according to the procedures outlined in this policy.

2. Harassment

NCC prohibits harassment against any employee, student, visitor, or guest on the basis of any class protected by College policy or law as identified in Section I.A. above. This policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane but controversial or sensitive subject matters. The sections below describe the specific forms of prohibited harassment under College policy.

  1. Bias-Related Harassment

    This policy prohibits any form of harassment on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, by any member or group of the campus community, which unreasonably interferes with an individual's work or academic environment.

    This environment may be created by verbal, written, graphic, threatening and/or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to interfere with, limit, or deny the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits, or opportunities. Merely offensive conduct and/or harassment of a generic nature not on the basis of membership in a protected class may not result in a violation of this policy but may be addressed through education and/or other resolution methods.

  2. Sexual Harassment

    This policy prohibits any form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual- or gender-based verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any College program is encouraged to report it online (www.northampton.edu/reportit), to NCC's Title IX Officer or a Deputy Coordinator, or by methods identified in the Complaint Resolution Process Section (IV.A. Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses). Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment and offenders may be disciplined when it is sufficiently severe, pervasive, persistent, or objectively offensive that it:

    • has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying, or limiting employment opportunities or the ability to participate in or benefit from the College's educational, social, and/or residential program, or
    • is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
    • Some examples of possible sexual harassment include:

    • A professor insists that a student have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student complies with the request.
    • A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes on an e-mail list the student created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
    • Two supervisors frequently rate several employees' bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
    • Consensual Relationships. There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as faculty and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of the faculty/staff handbooks. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) are generally discouraged. Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor, and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or shift the student out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. This includes CAs and mentors and students over whom they have direct responsibility. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee.

  3. Sexual Misconduct

    This policy prohibits any form of sexual misconduct. Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, gender, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved. The definition of consent below will be used in the interpretation and application of this policy:

    Consent. Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Consent to a specific sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for another specific sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred. Individuals can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that they no longer want the act to continue, and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.

    A person cannot consent if he or she is incapacitated. Under this policy, a person is incapacitated if he or she is disabled or deprived of ability to act or reason for one's self, is unable to understand what is happening, or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint, and/or from taking of an incapacitating substance. A person is incapacitated if the person is temporarily incapable of apprising or controlling the person's own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or intoxicating substance; if a person is unable to communicate an unwillingness to act because the person is unconscious, asleep, or is otherwise physically limited; or if the person has a bodily impairment or handicap that substantially limits the person's ability to resist or flee.

    An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. It is not an excuse that the respondent to a claim of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the other person's incapacity.

    The following are types of prohibited sexual misconduct under this policy:

    1. Sexual Harassment (defined above)
    2. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

      Defined as any sexual penetration or 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 penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object, or oral copulation by mouth-to-genital contact or genital-to-mouth contact.

    3. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

      Defined as 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, genitals, mouth, or other bodily orifice of another individual or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.

    4. Sexual Exploitation

      Defined as taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another; and the conduct does not fall within the definitions of sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse, or non-consensual sexual contact. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

      • sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom, or engaging in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed)
      • taking photographs, video recording, or audio recording of another in a sexual act or in any other private activity without the consent of all persons involved in the activity
      • exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person's consent)
      • engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease (STD) without informing the other person of the infection
      • administering alcohol or drugs (such as "date rape" drugs) to another person without the person's knowledge or consent
    5. Relationship Violence

      Defined as violence between those in an intimate relationship (this includes romantic, dating, or domestic relationships). Examples include, but are not limited to:

      • physical assault between two people in a current or prior intimate relationship who do not live together (Dating Violence)
      • physical assault between two people in an intimate relationship who live together (Domestic Violence)
    6. Stalking
      • Defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or suffer substantial emotional distress. Examples include, but are not limited to: sending multiple unwanted text messages, phone calls, or electronic communications
      • following, watching, photographing, or otherwise tracking an individual without his or her permission
      • sending unwelcome gifts, notes, or other items to another person

3. Retaliation

The College seeks to create an environment where its students and employees are free, without fear of reprisal, to use its procedures to determine if there has been a violation of their civil rights. Any act of retaliation will result in appropriate disciplinary action.

Retaliation is defined as any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. Retaliation against an individual for alleging a violation of their civil rights, supporting a complainant, or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim, is a serious violation of the this policy. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Officer or Deputy Coordinators.

4. Other Offenses

This policy prohibits other offenses of a discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory nature not included in the previous sections as follows:

  • Intimidation, defined under this policy as implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class
  • Hazing, defined under this policy as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the College community when related to the admission, initiation, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class.
  • Bullying, defined under this policy as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class.
  • Violation of any other College rule, when it is motivated by sex or gender or the actual or perceived membership of the victim in a protected class, may be pursued using this policy and process.