Policy Against Sexual Harassment

          a.       Introduction

It is the goal of the Community Colleges to promote an educational environment and workplace that is free of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment of students or employees occurring in the classroom or the workplace is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Community College. Further, any retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment or retaliation against individuals for cooperating with an investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is similarly unlawful and will not be tolerated. To achieve our goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, the conduct that is described in this policy will not be tolerated and we have provided a procedure by which inappropriate conduct will be dealt with, if encountered by students or employees.

Because the Community Colleges take allegations of sexual harassment seriously, we will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, we will act promptly to eliminate the conduct and impose such corrective measures, including disciplinary action where appropriate and consistent with applicable collective bargaining agreements.

          b.      Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is defined under the “Definitions” section of this Policy.

The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and applies to any individual of either gender who participates in the college community, including a student, faculty member, administrator or any other person having dealings with the college. In addition, other sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating workplace or academic environment to male or female workers or students may also constitute sexual harassment.

It is important to note that when assessing whether conduct constitutes sexual harassment, a “reasonable person standard” shall be applied. The term “reasonable person” is used to describe an objective standard to determine if harassment has occurred. Under the standard, in order for conduct and behavior to be considered sexual harassment, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

All employees and students should take special note that, as stated above, retaliation against an individual who has complained about sexual harassment, or retaliation against individuals who have cooperated with an investigation of sexual harassment is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Community Colleges.

          c.       Consensual Relationships

(1) Faculty/Administrator/Staff Member Relationships with Students

A romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, between a faculty member, administrator or staff member and a student is looked upon with disfavor and is strongly discouraged. No faculty member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is being taught or advised by the faculty member or whose academic work is being supervised or evaluated, directly or indirectly, by the faculty member. No administrator or staff member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who the administrator or staff member supervises, evaluates, advises, or provides other professional advice or services as part of a College program or activity.

(2) Relationships Between Supervisors, Subordinates or Co-Workers

A consenting romantic and/or sexual relationship between a supervisor and subordinate or co-workers may interfere with or impair the performance of professional duties and responsibilities and/or create an appearance of bias or favoritism. Further, such relationships could implicate state ethics laws and/or result in claims of sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation. Therefore, such workplace relationships are strongly discourage. 

          d.      Complaints of Sexual Harassment

If any student or employee believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, the student or employee has the right to file an Affirmative Action Discrimination Complaint Form (see Appendix A) with the College. For more information or assistance with filing a complaint, please contact the College’s Affirmative Action Officer or Title IX Coordinator. If the Affirmative Action Officer or the Title IX Coordinator is the subject of a complaint, the President shall designate another College official to administer the Complaint Procedures.

All complaints will be investigated in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances. If it is determined that a violation of this Policy has occurred, the College will act promptly to eliminate the harassing conduct, and take disciplinary action where warranted. All disciplinary action taken shall be consistent with any applicable collective bargaining agreement. The Duty to Cooperate, Duty to Report, and the obligation to avoid making False Charges, as discussed previously in this Policy, shall be fully applicable under this section.

          e.       Institutional Measures to Confront Sexual Harassment

The Community Colleges are committed to promoting, to the greatest degree possible, an environment free from sexual harassment. To this end, the Colleges will take the following steps:

  1. Distribute this Policy against sexual harassment to all segments of the College community on an annual basis;
  2. Post this Policy against sexual harassment; and
  3. Conduct educational programs for the College community regarding the causes, character and consequences of sexual harassment as well as the steps available to stop such practices on the campus

         f.        State and Federal Remedies

In addition to the above, if you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a formal complaint with the governmental agencies set forth below. Filing a complaint under this Policy does not prohibit you from filing a complaint with these agencies.

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC")
One Congress Street
10th Floor Boston, MA 02114
(617) 565-3200

The Office For Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education (“OCR”)
Department of Education
John W. McCormack Post
Office and Courthouse
Room 222
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 223-9662

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("MCAD")

Boston Office:
One Ashburton Place
Rm. 601
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 994-6000

Worcester Office:
Worcester City Hall
455 Main Street, Room 101
Worcester, MA 01608

Springfield Office:
424 Dwight Street
Rm. 220
Springfield, MA 01103
(413) 739-2145 

New Bedford Office:
800 Purchase St., Room 504
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 990-2390

For more information regarding the Policy Against Sexual Violence, please refer to the Policy on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity 

Last Modified: 8/4/23