Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Student Policy
It is the policy of the Wiregrass Georgia Technical College that all students shall be provided an environment free of unlawful harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination, retaliation, and intimidation. All students are expressly prohibited from engaging in any form of unlawful harassing, retaliating, discriminating, or intimidating
behavior or conduct. Any student who has engaged in prohibited behavior or conduct will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. All students are encouraged to report any act of unlawful harassment, discrimination, retaliation and/or intimidation. Reports will be treated in an expeditious and confidential manner. WGTC will not tolerate retaliation for having filed a good faith harassment and/or discrimination complaint or for having provided any information in an investigation. Any student or employee who retaliates against a complainant or witness in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal or expulsion. Any student who knowingly makes a false charge of harassment/discrimination or retaliation, or any student who is untruthful during an investigation is guilty of misconduct and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including, dismissal.
A. Unlawful Harassment (Other Than Sexual Harassment): unlawful verbal or physical conduct that disparages or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, genetic information or disability and which:
- Has the purpose or effect of creating an objectively and unreasonably intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment, or
- Has the purpose or effect of objectively and unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational performance.
Unlawful harassing conduct or behavior can include, but is not limited to, epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, genetic information, age or disability. Unlawful harassing conduct can include jokes or pranks that are hostile or demeaning with regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability. Unlawful harassing conduct may also include written or graphic material that disparages or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability, and that is displayed on walls, bulletin boards, computers, or other locations, or otherwise circulated in college community in any format.
Conduct which threatens, coerces, harasses or intimidates another person or identifiable group of persons, in a manner that is considered unlawful under state and federal laws pertaining to stalking or dating/domestic violence while on college premises or at college sponsored activities may also be considered unlawful harassment under this procedure.
B. Sexual Harassment (a form of unlawful harassment): unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, written, electronic or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s education;
- Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for education decisions affecting such individual; or,
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment.
Sexually harassing conduct or behavior (regardless of the gender of the persons involved) can include but is not limited to:
Physical touching, sexual comments of a provocative or suggestive nature, suggestive looks or gestures, sexually explicit jokes, electronic media/communication, printed material or innuendos intended for and directed to another, requests for sexual favors, making acceptance of any unwelcome sexual conduct or advances a condition for grades, continued enrollment or receipt of any educational benefit or determination.
C. Sexual Violence (a form of unlawful harassment): physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent, including but not limited to sexual assault, rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. All acts of sexual violence are considered unlawful sexual harassment, regardless of gender, for purposes of this procedure.
Grievance Procedures: Unlawful Harassment and Discrimination of Students
The procedure listed below includes sexual harassment as well as forms of illegal discrimination as cited in the preceding Equal Opportunity Statement.
All students are encouraged to report events of unlawful harassment, discrimination, sexual violence and/or retaliation (“prohibited conduct”) against themselves or others, regardless of where the incident occurred, within 90 days of the incident.
- Allegations or suspicions of unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence or unlawful retaliation may be reported to Wiregrass Georgia Technical College’s Title IX Coordinator, Section 504 Coordinator, or the Human Resources Director (should the complaint involve employees). If the grievance is against the Title IX Coordinator or ADA & Section 504 Coordinator, the student shall file the grievance in the Office of the President.
- As part of the initial meeting, the Coordinator or his/her designee shall present the student with a copy of the Student Grievance Procedure for information and reference, along with a complaint form. The student shall complete the complaint form outlining the nature of the complaint and other information relevant to the investigation.
- Both the complainant and the respondent shall be given the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence in support of their statements. The Title IX coordinator, ADA & Section 504 Coordinator, or designee shall investigate the complaint and supply a written response to the President, affected Vice President, affected supervisor, complainant and respondent within 45 calendar days of receiving the complaint. The parties will be notified if extraordinary circumstances exist requiring additional time.
- A complaining party will be notified within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint if the complaint does not specify facts sufficient to allege unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual violence or retaliation and that a formal investigation will not be conducted pursuant to this procedure.
- If the grieved incident is closely related to an incident being processed through the student disciplinary procedure, that procedure shall take precedence and the grievance will not be processed until after the disciplinary procedure has run its course.
- *Note - Students have the right to file (or not to file) a criminal complaint for sexual violence with the local law enforcement authorities before, during, or after filing a complaint with the college. The College shall not unreasonably delay investigation under this procedure to await the outcome of any criminal investigation.
To appeal Investigation Report findings submitted to the President:
- If either the complainant or respondent is dissatisfied with the response from the Investigator, he or she may request a meeting with the President of the college within five business days of receiving the investigation report.
To appeal a “no finding” determination made by the President:
1. If the complainant wishes to appeal the recommendation by the President that the facts do not support a finding of unlawful harassment and/or discrimination, the complainant may do so in writing within five business days of receiving notice of the President’s recommendation.
2. The complainant must send the appeal by regular mail, facsimile, or email to the following:
Executive Director of Legal Services
1800 Century Place NE, Suite 400
Atlanta, Georgia 30345-4304
(404) 679-1615 (facsimile) / UnlawfulHarassment@tcsg.edu
3. The TCSG Executive Director of Legal Services will convene a diverse committee of at least three persons to review the investigative file to determine whether there are sufficient facts to support a finding of unlawful harassment, retaliation, and/or discrimination.
4. If the facts do support a finding of unlawful harassment, retaliation, and/or discrimination, appropriate sanctions will be taken pursuant to the applicable disciplinary procedure.
5. If the facts do not support a finding of unlawful harassment, retaliation, and/or discrimination, the matter will be closed.
6. The Executive Director of Legal Services will provide written notice to the complaining party and subject of the investigation within 15 business days of the receipt of the appeal by the Executive Director of Legal Services.
Notice and Responsibilities Regarding this Catalog
The information in this College Catalog and Student Handbook accurately reflects current policies and procedures at the time of publication. Students are admitted to the College under and are subject to the provisions of the WGTC Catalog and Student Handbooks for the term they initially enroll. Students in all programs are admitted under and are subject to the provisions of the College Catalog and Student Handbook and applicable addendums for the term they are admitted to the program at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College. If for any reason, a break in enrollment occurs, students must reapply and satisfy the College Catalog and Student Handbook requirements for the term of their re-entry to any program. The provisions of this catalog are not to be regarded as an irrevocable contract between Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and the student. The College reserves the right to change any provision or requirement at any time.