Policy: Section I

I. Overview: Institutional Values and Community Principles

Bates College values the diversity of persons, perspectives, and convictions. Critical thinking, rigorous analysis, and open discussion of a full range of ideas lie at the heart of the college’s mission as an institution of higher learning. The college seeks to encourage inquiry and reasoned dialogue in a climate of mutual respect. The application of the Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Anti-Harassment Policy strives to ensure that we uphold our institutional values and community principles in order to maintain a community free from the harmful consequences of all forms of harassment.[1] Bias, harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct threaten our ability to thrive personally, academically, and professionally at Bates by violating a person’s rights, dignity, and integrity.  Quite simply, these behaviors run counter to our community principles and the mission of the college.

Bates College is committed to providing a non-discriminatory and harassment-free educational, living, and working environment for all members of the Bates community, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, contractors, and visitors. The college maintains policies that promote a community characterized by trust, mutual respect, and responsibility where all can feel secure and free from bias and discrimination in the classroom; social, recreational, and residential environments; and the workplace. All members of the community are expected to adhere to the requirements of the law, this policy, and the standards of the college community.

The purpose of this policy is to provide the Bates College community with a clearly articulated set of behavioral standards, common understandings of definitions and key concepts, and descriptions and examples of prohibited conduct, including all forms of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, stalking, and domestic and dating violence. The policy applies to all community members, including students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors and is intended to guide students, faculty, and staff who have been affected by harassment or other prohibited behavior, whether as someone who has been the target of such behavior, someone accused of violating this policy, or a third party.

This policy, as set forth, reaffirms Bates’ institutional values, defines community expectations, provides recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated, and provides for fair and equitable procedures for determining when this policy has been violated. The college is committed to fostering a climate free from bias, racism, discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct through clear and effective policies; a well-coordinated and integrated education and prevention program; and prompt and equitable procedures for the informal and formal resolution of reports. The policy provides individuals reporting potential violations with a spectrum of resolution options, including the option to simply receive supportive measures. 

This policy prohibits all forms of harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, including discrimination and harassment based upon any protected class, sexual violence, stalking, and all forms of intimate partner violence. The college is dedicated to addressing cases of harassment promptly, while supporting all parties involved. Any individual who is found to have violated this policy may face disciplinary sanctions up to and including dismissal from the college or termination of employment.

Bates strongly encourages the prompt reporting of any incident of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct to the college. Upon receipt of a report and in consultation with the individual who was the target of the prohibited conduct, the college will take prompt and effective action by: providing support for individuals who make a report or who seek assistance under this policy; conducting a review of the conduct; addressing the safety of individuals and the campus community; and as warranted, pursuing resolution through informal administrative action or formal disciplinary action against an individual accused of violating this policy. This policy outlines specific procedures for the investigation and resolution for all formal complaints.

All Bates community members are strongly encouraged to report information regarding any incident of bias, discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, regardless of whether they wish to pursue a formal complaint. The college is committed to providing programs, activities, and an educational and work environment free from all forms of discrimination, but the college cannot take appropriate action without information about incidents when they occur. By collecting this information about the lived experience of our students, staff, and faculty, we can develop appropriate programming to educate all campus constituencies about effective anti-bias strategies and actions. Through this education, we can achieve our institutional mission, foster a community built on trust and mutual respect, and better protect the health, safety, and welfare of all members of the Bates community.

The college expects all members of our community to participate in the process of creating a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment on campus. In particular, the college expects that Bates community members will take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of bias, discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Taking action may include direct intervention when safe to do so, enlisting the assistance of other individuals, contacting Campus Safety or law enforcement, or seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to take these actions will be supported by the college and protected from retaliation.

Retaliation, in any way, shape, or form, against any person or group who makes a good faith report, cooperates with an investigation, or participates in a grievance procedure is a violation of college policy. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Associate Vice President for Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance/Title IX Coordinator (hereafter, Title IX Coordinator) for investigation, which may result in disciplinary action independent of any sanction or supportive or remedial measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of discrimination and/or harassment.

Discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence also violate federal and state civil rights laws and may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to action taken by the college. Because behavior that violates this policy may also be a violation of law, any individual who has been subjected to harassment or sexual violence is also encouraged to report to local law enforcement and to consider criminal or civil legal options. An individual may also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and/or the Maine Human Rights Commission.

This policy is in compliance with the federal 2020 Title IX Regulations regarding the handling of sexual harassment, as well as other Department of Education Office of Civil Rights regulations and guidance regarding Title IX and/or the handling of other civil rights and equity matters.

These policy and procedures supersede any previous policy(ies) addressing harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct, and/or retaliation.  The Associate Vice President for Title IX & Civil Rights Compliance will review this policy on an annual basis in order to attend to evolving legal requirements and improve the institutional response, including support services and resources and resolution procedures. Further, this policy may be amended, in writing, by the President or their designee at any time in consultation with the Associate Vice President for Title IX & Civil Rights Compliance. All changes will be posted online and take effect immediately upon posting.

[1] These categories include: race, color, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, primary or native language, marital status, parental status, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, veteran status, citizenship status, and HIV status.  Whenever they are used in this policy the terms bias, harassment, and discrimination connote all forms of bias, harassment, and discrimination based on any of these protected classes.  When these umbrella terms appear, it should be assumed that all forms of racism, sexism (including sexual violence, stalking, and domestic and dating violence), homophobia, transphobia, ageism, ableism, and xenophobia are included.