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Tacoma Community College » About TCC » Policies » Sexual Harassment and Title IX

Sexual Harassment and Title IX

Tacoma Community College defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” which offends the student, causes discomfort or humiliation, or interferes with school performance; or in the case of employees, is made a condition of employment, is used as a basis for employment decisions or interferes with an individual’s work or creates a hostile or offensive work environment. The TCC Sexual Harassment Policies are designed to protect students, faculty and staff. Please contact the on-campus resources for complete policy information.

Sexual harassment includes any unwanted sexual attention such as:

  • Subtle pressure for sexual activity
  • Sexually suggestive gestures, notes, teasing, jokes
  • Deliberate and unwelcome touching, pinching, patting
  • Attempts to kiss or fondle
  • Pressure for dates, pressure for sex
  • Inappropriate and/or offensive personal remarks of a sexual nature
  • Sexually demeaning comments, sexual graffiti, or offensive illustrations
  • Requests for sexual favors in exchange for grades, salary increases or promotions
  • Embarrassing and sexually suggestive favoritism shown by an instructor toward a student(s)
  • Disparaging remarks about one’s gender

Examples of Sexual Harassment

Connie hears her first discussion of sexual harassment as part of a Training and Development session. She realizes then that when her supervisor clips sexually suggestive notes to her assignments, such as “I work better after hours, let’s talk about this over drinks” or “How about discussing this at my place tonight?,” it may constitute sexual harassment. Connie sees that she has tolerated this behavior hoping that it would go away. It hasn’t.

David’s instructor has just approved his course selection for his final quarter before graduation. As he leaves, the instructor tells him that if she got to know him personally outside the classroom she could help him with his job search.  She then reaches out and gives him a squeeze. David talks about it with other students in the program and discovers that the same instructor had recently made similar suggestions to two others.

Jennifer’s boss is going through a divorce. Lately, he has begun telling her about his fantasies and pressuring her into making his fantasies come true. She has refused, but now he is saying she will never get a promotion if she doesn’t have sex with him. Jennifer is extremely depressed and fearful that her career is at stake. She is considering quitting her job.

You Can Take Action

Tacoma Community College provides a system to help you, but we can act only if you tell us.

What You Can Do:

  • Say no. Tell the harasser his or her advances are unwanted. Many people believe that a “no” is really a “yes” and therefore do not accept refusal. If you say “no” your response should be respected and accepted.
  • Don't delay. Pay attention to cues or comments indicating harassment. If a person’s behavior makes you uncomfortable, say so.
  • Keep a record. Should the harassment continue, keep track of dates, times, places and statements. This information can be used to support a claim.
  • Talk to others. Talk to the Title IX or EEO Officer to get support and help in stopping harassment. If you wish to file a formal complaint, college officials will help you. If a formal complaint is filed, the college will take appropriate action while protecting the rights of all persons.

Are You Afraid That:

  • You will suffer retaliation from the harasser?
  • People will think "You asked for it?"
  • You have misread the initiator's intentions?
  • You are somehow responsible for the harasser's behavior?

These fears are often reported by people who have suffered from unwanted sexual advances. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don’t accept these actions as the “way things are.”

Help Is Available

If you believe you are being harassed, seek help—the earlier the better.

Tacoma Community College has designated people to help you. They can assist with options on how to deal with the harassment. These options range from suggestions on how to discourage the harasser to filing a formal complaint. Outside agencies are listed below and can help answer questions and assist you.

Tacoma Community College On-Campus Resources

Contact for Student Complaints
Vice President for Student Services
Title IX Officer
Mary Chikwinya
Bldg. 7 — 253.566.5127

Contact for Employee Complaints
Human Resources Director
EEO Officer
Beth Brooks
Bldg. 14 — 253.566.5054

Sexual Harassment Is Illegal

Because sexual harassment is a type of sex discrimination, you may also file a formal complaint of sex discrimination with:

  • The Human Rights Office
  • Washington State Human Rights Commission
  • U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • U.S. Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education

While most harassment involves men harassing women, either men or women can be harassed by members of the same or opposite sex. Tacoma Community College policy prohibits all forms of sexual harassment.

Tacoma Community College will take appropriate action to resolve the complaint and which protects the rights of both the person complaining and the alleged harasser. Tacoma Community College has been very successful in resolving both formal and informal complaints.

Off-Campus Resources

City of Tacoma Human Rights Department
747 Market Street, Room 808
Tacoma, WA  98402

Washington State Human Rights Commission
711 S. Capitol Way, #402
P.O. Box 42490
Olympia, WA  98504-2490
360.753.6770 — 800.233.3247

United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
909 First Avenue, Suite 400
Seattle, WA  98104-1061
206.220.6883 -- 800.669.4000

Office of Civil Rights
United States Department of Education

Seattle Office
U.S. Department of Education
915 Second Avenue Room 3310
Seattle, WA  98174-1099

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