8.1 BUSINESS CONTINUITY
Champlain College takes precautionary measures to ensure that student learning and instructional processes can continue in a “virtual environment” even during an extended emergency such as severe weather, contagious disease, physical infrastructure failure, campus closure, or similar incident. Continuation of classes in a virtual environment also means that payment to instructors can be maintained during the emergency for all classes that continue either online through a College-provided learning management system, or through some other process that has been approved by a Division Dean.
In the event of such an emergency, faculty members are expected to continue teaching in a virtual environment. For appropriate courses, Champlain College’s academic technology team, along with each academic division, will provide each instructor with a skeleton course that has been created in the College’s learning management system. In some cases, the Division Dean may determine that no virtual environment is appropriate or available for a course, and in that event may cancel the remainder of the course or take other appropriate steps.
In order for this emergency preparedness plan to be effective, it requires that faculty do the following prior to the start of each semester:
- Be prepared with basic skills in managing an emergency course online using the College’s learning management system;
- As needed, participate in basic training provided by the College and attain basic competency in managing an online course;
- Become familiar with your online course, when available, by logging in and preparing yourself to manage your students’ learning process in the online course;
- Become familiar with the College’s emergency communication channels and how to access its learning management support systems;
- If you are using an alternative virtual process approved by the Division Dean, become familiar with the use of that process.
At the beginning of each semester, instructors will need to:
- Upload the course syllabus;
- Engage with each class in at least one virtual activity during the first two weeks of the semester, or as soon as practicable, to ensure that students know how to access the online course or alternative course delivery.
- Be prepared, if notified, to contact all students and continue the class in the online learning management system provided by the College or in the alternative virtual process approved by the Division Dean. In order to assist this effort, you should consider posting an announcement to the class as part of your initial activity.
In the event of such an emergency, instructors will be notified of the schedule by which classes will continue in a virtual environment. The delay between campus closure and the start of virtual classes will be no less than one week in order to allow time for both students and faculty to travel, as required, and make final preparations. Upon notification, this requires that you:
- Make any final adjustments to your lesson plans in preparation for use of your virtual environment.
- Begin, at the appropriate time, to engage with each class and monitor students’ progress by engaging with the class no less than four times per week.
The Center for Learning & Technology provides training and support opportunities for faculty to promote academic continuity.
8.2 FINANCIAL EXIGENCY AND REDUCTION IN FORCE - AMENDMENT REQUIRES BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVAL
Financial exigency is a rare and grave institutional crisis. It is an existing or anticipated financial condition that threatens the continued viability of the College. It is an urgent condition reflecting the institution’s inability to meet its annual expenditures with revenue sufficient to prevent a sustained loss of funds. This situation may arise from a significant decline in enrollment, reversals in endowment income, or other factors that impinge on the College’s financial viability. This condition is to be distinguished from a single-year budget deficit, cyclical market trends in investments and enrollment, or a temporary reduction in annual gift income. This policy is not intended to be used as a program discontinuance policy. See the Program Discontinuance policy in this Handbook.
Termination of permanent or long-term continuous appointments because of financial exigency or formal reduction will be sought only as a last resort, after every effort has been made to meet the need in other ways and to find for the faculty member(s) other employment in the institution. Situations which make retrenchment of this sort necessary should preclude expansions of staff at other points at the same time, except in extraordinary circumstances. The Board of Trustees and the President will seek to minimize the impact on teaching and students by addressing reductions in infrastructure first and foremost but with due consideration for the viability of the institution.
8.2.3 THE PROCESS
As a first step, the President should consult with faculty senate leadership to advise them that a condition of financial exigency exists or is imminent or that a formal reduction is necessary. Faculty senate leaders should have the opportunity to review relevant financial data and be confident that all feasible alternatives to termination of appointments have been pursued. Faculty senate leaders will also be consulted to determine criteria to identify individuals whose appointments will be terminated.
Within five (5) work days of a declaration of financial exigency or a declaration that a formal reduction is necessary, the President and the Provost shall notify faculty senate leadership and request a meeting of the faculty. At that meeting, faculty will be presented with the relevant financial data that formed the basis of the Board’s decision. Faculty will be given the opportunity to provide input to the President for recommendations of how to respond to the financial situation.
After meeting with the faculty, the President shall convene an ad hoc committee which includes academic deans, representatives of appropriate constituent groups, relevant faculty senate committees including but not limited to Curriculum, Welfare, and the Executive committees, academic and non- academic administrators, and staff. Members of the committee and the chairperson shall be designated by the President. It shall be the responsibility of this committee to make recommendations to the President for the development of a retrenchment plan for the College. Their recommendations should include identifying and prioritizing areas for possible retrenchment. Judgments about academic programs and faculty status directly reflect an impact on the educational mission of the institution. Therefore, faculty should have the primary role in making such recommendations.
Final decision making with respect to the plan rests with the President. The President is responsible for developing and implementing a written retrenchment plan. The plan should include, at a minimum, the identification of (a) programs to be discontinued or retrenched, (b) positions to be eliminated or reduced from full-time to part-time, (c) number of faculty contracts to be terminated, by division, (d) an implementation timeline and (e) fiscal consequences of implementing the plan.
The President shall submit the plan and recommendations to the Board of Trustees for its actions. Upon approval of the plan, the President shall distribute it to the College community.
The Board of Trustees is solely authorized to declare a state of financial exigency. Such a declaration shall be made after a review of relevant financial data.
8.2.4 NOTIFICATION TO FACULTY AND FACULTY RIGHTS
If recommended actions include discontinuance of programs and/or termination of faculty contracts, from either a declaration of exigency or a formal reduction:
- Affected faculty will be given one-year’s advance notice, or a minimum of one year’s salary, if financially feasible. On the recommendation of the Provost, the President may, at his or her discretion, approve up to an additional year of salary compensation. The College will provide assistance to affected faculty members who cannot be relocated into existing vacancies at the institution. The scope of assistance shall be determined at the discretion of the College and may include, but not be limited to, outplacement services and/or support for retraining;
- In the event that the discontinued program is reinstated within three (3) years, terminated faculty members will receive priority consideration for reemployment in positions for which they are qualified, provided their performance has been satisfactory. Faculty whose positions have been lost as a result of financial exigency will also be given priority consideration for other faculty positions that become open in the College for three (3) years following their termination, provided they meet qualifications for the position.
The College will make every effort to teach-out students already enrolled in any program that is being discontinued.
Final decision to discontinue a program or to terminate faculty contracts rests with the President and the Board of Trustees. Faculty whose contract is terminated due to a formal reduction may appeal that decision to the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee. The decision of the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee will be final. The decision to terminate a contract in the case of financial exigency is not subject to appeal.
8.3 INITIATING AND DISCONTINUING ACADEMIC PROGRAMS - AMENDMENT REQUIRES BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVAL
From time to time, it may be necessary for Champlain to end the operation of one or more of its degree programs that will result in the elimination of faculty positions in that area. This policy is not concerned with program elimination or changes that result in the reassignment of faculty to teach in a new/updated program. It is important for the College community to know the conditions which may trigger a decision to discontinue a program, to know the principles upon which such a decision would be based, and to understand the process that would be followed.
8.3.2 CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH A PROGRAM MAY BE DISCONTINUED
The decision to discontinue an academic program may be triggered by, but is not limited to, one or more of the following conditions: significant decline in program enrollment (as distinguished from a single-year decline or temporary variation in enrollment); a change in institutional priorities, mission, and vision; budget deficits; a curriculum no longer offers realistic career opportunities for its graduates; changes in the professional field; or, in an extreme case, a declaration by the Board of Trustees of financial exigency or a reduction in force. (See the applicable College policy on Financial Exigency and Reduction in Force.) If the decision to discontinue an academic program is based on financial exigency, or a reduction in force, the procedures outlined in that policy will take precedence, and the procedures and provisions of this policy will not apply.
The goal is to have a process that is transparent and that is in keeping with the College’s institutional values. Any consideration of program discontinuance should reflect long-range appraisal of the effect of discontinuance on the educational mission of the institution.
Discussion about discontinuance of a program normally begins (but need not always begin) with either the administration or faculty as a result of the program review process. The annual review is evidence- based to provide results that support institutional needs for planning and decision-making. The review should address an evaluation of program management, including viability of the academic program, and an assessment of student outcomes. The reports generated by faculty and deans in the annual review process are an essential input into decisions about discontinuing academic programs.
Because curriculum is the primary responsibility of faculty, no program will be discontinued without the involvement of faculty in that program and the respective academic dean. Regardless of who initiates the discussion about program discontinuance, data supporting the need for discontinuance should be reviewed by the affected division and by the appropriate faculty senate committee(s) as defined in the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate. Faculty in the affected unit should have the opportunity to present a proposal for continuation and/or reorganization to the senate committee(s). Such a proposal should ideally have majority support of the voting members of that division, although minority reports may be submitted for consideration.
The affected unit and committee(s) should have access to institutional support and to all pertinent information including, but not limited to:
- The reasoning behind the proposed program termination;
- The administrative history of the program, including what actions have been taken over the preceding five years which were supportive or non-supportive of the program;
- All recent academic evaluations of the program by both internal and external evaluators;
- All financial data relevant to the program and related programs, including estimated costs for retaining it or reorganizing it as a quality program consistent with the standards of the College and the probable impact such expenditures would have on other programs at the College;
- All recent annual reports and program reviews.
In the event that a program is to be discontinued, all communications regarding the decision should be managed with the highest level of regard for students currently in the program, as well as for faculty teaching in the program. Formal announcements should all be handled through the office of the President or through the President’s designee.
8.3.4 THE PROCESS
220.127.116.11 ALERT STATUS
When a program has been identified as a candidate for discontinuance, (as a result of an annual review process or otherwise), the Provost will notify the program faculty and the Faculty Senate. The program will immediately be placed on alert status. The program alert status will provide advance notice and provide an opportunity, if desired, to address issues and possibly prevent program closure.
If it is the will of both the administration and the faculty to discontinue the program, the Provost will make a recommendation to the President who will, in turn, make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Plans for a teach-out phase will immediately begin during the alert status year. The program will no longer be marketed and Admissions will cease to admit new students into the program. (See Impact for Program Faculty.)
If program and division faculty wish to advocate for program continuation, the Faculty Senate will inform the Provost within 30 days of receiving the alert status notification. Program and division faculty will develop a plan to revitalize the program during the alert status year. The plan should address the scope and implications of program continuance including, but not limited to, impact on the College mission, direct or indirect impact on other programs, financial and personnel implications, and the sustainability of other programs in the division. Program and division faculty should submit the plan to the appropriate Senate committee, as defined in the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate will submit a recommendation to the administration. The Provost will make a recommendation about the program to the President no later than the end of the alert status year. If the recommendation is to discontinue the program, the President shall make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Plans for a teach-out phase will begin immediately upon approval by the Board. (See Impact for Program Faculty.) If the revitalization plan is accepted, implementation of the plan will begin no later than the following academic year. (See Revitalization Year.)
18.104.22.168 REVITALIZATION YEAR
At the end of one full year of program revitalization, the appropriate Senate committee will consult with program and division faculty, review the status of the program and make a recommendation to the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate will then make a recommendation to the Provost who will make a recommendation to the President. Based on the Provost’s recommendation, the President may (a) rescind alert status, (b) extend the revitalization period by one year, or (c) decide to recommend to the Board to discontinue the program. If the revitalization period is extended, at the end of this extended revitalization period, the President may rescind alert status or make a recommendation to the Board to discontinue the program. If the Board approves discontinuing the program, plans for a teach-out phase will begin immediately. (See Impact for Program Faculty.)
After a review of the academic records of students in the program, the administration, in consultation with the faculty and the division dean, will make a determination of the length of the teach-out period. During the teach-out period, the program will no longer be marketed and Admissions will cease to admit new students into the program.
22.214.171.124 IMPACT FOR PROGRAM FACULTY
A decision to discontinue an academic program may result in termination or modification of program faculty appointments prior to the expiration date in individual letters of appointment. Nevertheless, the College will make reasonable efforts to retain affected faculty through the end of their appointment term. In cases of termination, the College will have no further obligations with respect to the payout of the remainder of terms specified in letters of appointment, because such letters are issued subject to the provisions of this policy and/or other College policies as posted and amended from time to time. For the same reason, modification of the terms stated in individual letters of appointment may also be made by the College under this policy as posted and amended from time to time.
When a decision to discontinue an academic program is made, the College may offer full-time faculty teaching in the program a one-year letter of appointment, regardless of preexisting contractual obligations, or it may offer severance compensation of one-year’s salary in lieu of a letter of appointment. Because of the commitment required by both the College and the faculty during the teach-out phase, if faculty remain with the program through the teach-out phase, they may be offered severance compensation of one-year’s salary upon completion of the teach-out. In either case, on the recommendation of the Provost, the President may, at his or her discretion, approve up to an additional year of salary compensation. Alternatively, full-time faculty may be placed in another position at the College. The Provost, in consultation with the relevant Dean, will determine whether full-time regular faculty members associated with the discontinued program possess qualifications required to continue teaching at the College. If it is determined that the faculty do not possess the necessary qualifications to continue teaching, the College will make reasonable efforts to place them in a non-teaching position. The College will provide assistance to affected faculty members who cannot be relocated into existing vacancies at the institution. The scope of assistance shall be determined at the discretion of the College and may include, but not be limited to, severance (as noted above), outplacement services and/or support for retraining and COBRA.
In the event that the discontinued program is reinstated within three (3) years from the completion of the teach-out period, terminated faculty members will receive priority consideration for reemployment in positions for which they are qualified, provided their performance had been satisfactory. Faculty whose positions have been lost as a result of program discontinuance will also be given priority consideration for other faculty positions that become open in the College for three (3) years following their termination, provided they meet qualifications for the position. If they are rehired into a faculty position, their prior years’ service and seniority will count toward their new academic rank.
126.96.36.199 REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION
The final decision to discontinue an academic program rests with the President and the Board of Trustees.
A faculty member whose appointment is terminated by reasons of program discontinuance has the right to file a request for reconsideration to the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee. The issues of the request may include the institution’s failure to satisfy any of the conditions specified in the termination decision. The right to request reconsideration will not be reduced or relieved through the acceptance of a severance agreement; the faculty member is entitled to both as a matter of process. The decision of the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee will be final.
8.3.5 INITIATING AN ACADEMIC PROGRAM
As Champlain keeps pace with employer standards and trends in higher education, it will be necessary to develop new degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. This policy is not concerned with program modifications or the development of new minors, specializations, or certificates. It is important for the College community to know the circumstances in which new program needs are identified and to understand the process that would be followed.
188.8.131.52 IDENTIFYING NEW PROGRAM NEEDS
The decision to develop a new degree program may be triggered by, but is not limited to, one or more of the following circumstances: new developments in professional trends and career opportunities; significant student interest; research conducted by the College’s Marketing department; or feedback from the College Admissions team. New programs will also align with institutional priorities, mission, and vision.
The goal is to have a process that is transparent and that is in keeping with the College’s institutional values. Any consideration of a new degree program should reflect long-range appraisal of the resources needed to develop and maintain the program and how the program supports the educational mission of the institution.
Discussion about developing a new degree program normally (but need not always) begins with either the administration or faculty as a result of any of the factors identified above. Faculty wishing to develop a new degree program will first obtain the support of the Division Dean and the Provost before conducting market and budget research. Both a market analysis and feasibility study provide the evidence that support the planning and decision-making for developing a new program. The market analysis addresses the viability of the academic program, career opportunities and employment trends and target audience. The feasibility study shows the additional resources needed to implement and support the program. Information gained from these reports is essential for making decisions about offering new degree programs.
Because curriculum is the primary responsibility of faculty, no program will be proposed without the involvement of the appropriate Division’s faculty, Program Directors and respective academic Dean(s). Data supporting the proposal of a new degree program, along with program curriculum, learning objectives and methods of assessment, should be reviewed by the originating Division’s faculty. Such a proposal will have majority support of the voting members of that Division.
The proposal will continue in the curriculum management system through the steps in the approval process as defined by the Curriculum Policy and Processes Handbook. The final decision to establish a new academic degree program rests with the President and the Board of Trustees.
8.4 NEWS RELEASES AND PRESS CONFERENCES
To maintain good media relations and to use most efficiently the time of faculty and staff, interviews with the press concerning matters of official policy of the College should be channeled through the Strategic Communications unit.
Members of the faculty should make themselves aware of various confidentiality requirements imposed by the College and by federal laws, e.g., The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Members of the faculty are expected to use good judgment in determining which affairs of the College are confidential and to make conservative decisions in case of doubt. College legal counsel, with the permission of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, can be consulted for advice in this regard.
8.6 TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT
Procedures for obtaining reimbursements for expenses incurred during the conduct of College business are as follows:
- Obtain a Travel Expense Form from the divisional Operations Manager or online. http://www.champlain.edu/faculty-and-staff/campus-information/finance/policies-and-forms;
- Fill out only your Name, Department, Account Number, Report Date, Business Purpose of Trip or Advance, Trip Date, and Advance Amount requested;
- Fund advances for travel should only be for estimated funds needed during your trip. Any expenditure requiring payment prior to your trip or which will be billed to the College should follow the normal purchase order system. (i.e., pre-registration payments, car rentals, airline tickets, etc.);
- Original receipts are recommended for all expenses submitted for reimbursement; original receipts are required for all expenses greater than $25.00;
- IRS regulations require documentation of business expenses to include (a) the amount of the expenditure, (b) the time and place of the expenditure, (c) the business purpose of the expenditure, and (4) the names and business relationships of individuals for whom the expenditure was made.
- Ensure proper authorization on all expense reports and authorizations as defined by Finance Policy No. 301;
- Refer to Finance Policy No. 300 for reimbursable expenses, non-reimbursable expenses, meal expenditures, use of personal cars, and other specific requirements governing reimbursement of expenses.
8.7 EMERGENCY TRAVEL FUNDS
In most instances, employees are aware of travel schedules well in advance and can submit requests for funds in time to accommodate the work demands of the Finance Office. Requests for cash advances should be made on the travel expense report. The Finance Office processes requests for checks once a week, on Wednesdays. Exceptions for cash advances are rare and provided only after Finance has determined that other methods (credit card, cutting a check, wiring money) are not possible. Any cash advance over $2,000 requires 14-days’ advance notice. Finance policy #306 outlines the specific steps for requesting a cash advance.
8.8 GRANT SUBMISSION AUTHORIZATION REQUEST
The formal process to submit authorization to request a grant is defined in Finance Policy No. 304. To request authorization, submit a brief summary of the project along with the following information:
- Title of Project;
- Principal Investigator/Division;
- Funding Source;
- Submission Deadline;
- Estimated Project Dates;
- Maximum Dollar Request;
- Matching Funds Required (Yes/No);
- Direct Dollars/Indirect Dollars;
- Proposed Partners.
Signatures from the Development and Controller offices are required on the grant request; if the grant is an academic project, the signature of the Provost is also required.
8.9 CONTRACT AUTHORIZATION
Purpose: To facilitate communication among Champlain staff who may have an interest in a particular sale or purchase contract.
Scope: This policy applies to all employees of Champlain College who originate business relationships that may result in a contract.
Policy: All proposals for significant business relationships must be communicated to the appropriate college personnel and approved before a contract can be signed.
- Early Notification: The originator of the business relationship must notify the Contract & Risk Management Director as early in the process as is reasonable. The Contract & Risk Management Director will email the appropriate staff and faculty of the planned relationship. “Appropriate staff and faculty” will depend on each situation, but should include those people whose work may be significantly affected by the business relationship and/or their department heads or academic deans. The purpose of this notification is to provide an early warning in order to solicit feedback, comments and concerns.
- Term Sheet Approval: When contract negotiations are substantially completed, the originator of the business relationship must provide the contract information or a draft contract to the Contract & Risk Management Director, who will complete the following Term Sheet. The Contract & Risk Management Director will obtain written approval of the Term Sheet from the college personnel he determines are appropriate. If the proposed contract does not accompany the Term Sheet, the final contract terms must be consistent with the approved Term Sheet.
- Contract Approval: The Contract & Risk Management Director will submit the proposed contract and the approved Term Sheet to the Vice President of Finance for final approval. Contracts may not be signed without a fully approved Term Sheet.
8.10 USE OF COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL
The College, as an educational institution that is both a consumer and producer of information, supports the College community’s responsible and good faith exercise of fair use of copyrighted materials in pursuit of the College’s educational mission. The College is committed to complying with laws protecting the rights of copyright holders, while recognizing that those rights are limited by fair use and other provisions of copyright law. The College provides information and resources to educate members of the College community about copyright law, the rights of copyright holders and the exercise of fair use. The faculty, staff and other College employees, the students of the College, and all members of the College community have an obligation to make informed and responsible decisions regarding their use of copyrighted materials and are obligated to comply with copyright law.
8.11 INVESTIGATION OF CONCERNS RELATIVE TO BUSINESS PRACTICES
The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for submitting complaints or concerns regarding financial statement disclosures, accounting or business practices, finances, internal controls or auditing matters, or suspected violations of Champlain’s Code of Business Conduct. For other issues, please consult the People Center for advice on the mechanism for reporting.
This policy applies to all employees and students of Champlain College.
Whistleblower: A person who reports potential wrongdoing with respect to the College’s financial statement disclosures, accounting or business practices, finance, internal controls or auditing matters, or potential violations of the College’s Code of Business Conduct, to the College’s administration and/or Board.
The College’s internal controls and business policies and procedures are intended to prevent or detect improper activities with respect to the College’s financial statement disclosures, accounting or business practices, finances, internal controls or auditing matters, and/or suspected violations of Champlain’s Code of Business Conduct. Nonetheless, the College welcomes information concerning potentially undetected improper activities of this sort. The College, therefore, encourages employees, students, alumni, parents and others to report in good faith, their concerns about suspected improper activity as described in this policy. No individual who, in good faith, reports a matter covered by this policy, shall suffer harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment, academic or education consequence as a result.
- Individuals wishing to report violations or suspected violations may send or submit a sealed envelope to the Chair of the Audit Committee, Champlain College Board of Trustees, c/o President’s Office, PO Box 670, Burlington, VT 05402-0670. If an individual wishes to discuss any matter with the Audit Committee, he or she should so indicate in the submission and include a telephone number where he or she can be reached. Should the Committee deem such communication appropriate, the individual will be contacted accordingly.
- Following the receipt of a complaint submitted under this policy, the Audit Committee will:
- Acknowledge receipt of the complaint to the sender (unless anonymously submitted);
- Investigate or direct an investigation to commence on each matter reported, and take corrective or disciplinary actions, if appropriate. In conducting an investigation, the Audit Committee or its representative, will use reasonable efforts to protect the confidentiality and anonymity of the complainant. Confidentiality may have to yield to the needs of the investigation and/or the accused’s need to participate in a discussion of the situation, but the College prohibits retaliation in any event.
- The Audit Committee may engage legal counsel or other outside professionals to conduct the investigation and provide a report to the Chair of the Audit Committee.
- At the conclusion of any action(s) taken by the Audit Committee under this policy, the Chair of the Audit Committee will:
- Provide a summary report of the investigation, conclusion, and resolution regarding the suspected violations to the Champlain College Board of Trustees. A verbal or written summary may also be provided to the individual filing the complaint, as determined by the Chair of the Audit Committee.
- Provide a copy of the file to the Secretary of the Board of Trustees for the purpose of documenting and maintaining the resolution of the matter.
- Individuals found to be making baseless allegations without regard for their truth or falsity may be subject to institutional disciplinary action.
The Vice President of Finance is the responsible official for this policy. Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President of Finance.
Questions related to the interpretation of this policy should be directed to the People Center.
Any individual with questions about whether or not the policy applies to a given incident should use the process described above. The Audit Committee will determine whether or not the incident should be investigated under this policy, or should be addressed instead to the People Center.
People Center policies and procedures are updated on an as-needed basis. As such, the College reserves the right to alter, amend or suspend the terms of this policy at its sole discretion. Please refer to the policies posted on the People Center website for the current version. This policy does not constitute an employment contract.
8.12 DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE
PURPOSE OF THE POLICY
Champlain College is committed to providing its staff, faculty and students the opportunity to pursue excellence in their academic and professional endeavors. This opportunity can only exist when each member of our community is assured an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. This Policy outlines expectations regarding how individuals who are members of the Champlain College community are to treat others in order to ensure such an atmosphere of mutual respect and a safe environment for our students, faculty and staff.
Please note that a comprehensive version of the Policy is available for detailed review in the College Catalog.
SCOPE OF THE POLICY
The Discrimination and Harassment Policy applies to all administrators, employees, admissions or employment applicants, students, members of the Board of Trustees, agents of the College, and volunteers involved in College-related activities. The policy also applies for and to those who do business with the College in their interactions with members of the College community.
The College maintains a separate Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking Policy. Reported sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct that appear to fall within the definitions and scope of that policy will be handled under the procedures outlined in that policy. Other sex-related matters (such as, e.g., disparate treatment in promotions, grading or other matters on the basis of sex) that do not fall within the definitions and scope of the Sexual Misconduct Policy will be handled under the procedures outlined in this policy.
Teaching practices or communications that are demeaning, hostile, or alienating based on or because of an individual’s possessing a protected characteristic are prohibited. (While the College has a policy supporting academic freedom, behavior that focuses attention on discriminatory characteristics in a context that is irrelevant to the course constitutes a serious violation of the College’s Harassment Policy.)
Harassment: For purposes of this policy, prohibited harassment constitutes a form of discrimination and is defined as verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at or because of an individual’s race, creed, color, national origin, place of birth, ancestry, religion, age, sexual orientation, sex (except as separately covered under the SHSMDVS Policy), gender identity, veteran or military service status, HIV-positive status, qualified disability, or on the basis of any other status protected by law, which has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the individual’s employment or educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Bias incidents and hate crimes are also considered unacceptable behaviors under this policy.
Bias incident: Any conduct, speech, or expression that demeans, degrades or harasses an individual or group based upon their membership in a protected category as recognized by law or Champlain College policy. Examples: anonymous acts of bias-related vandalism to public posters, targeted vandalism on a student’s door directed at his or her protected status, slurs directed at a group or individual (whether in person or electronically), and unlawful harassment that interferes with a person’s educational experience or employment.
Hate Crime: As defined by Vermont law, a crime in which the defendant’s conduct was maliciously motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, service in the armed forces, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or qualified disability of another individual or group of individuals, or on the basis of any other status protected by law.
Hazing: Any act committed by a person, whether individually or with others, against a student or employee in connection with pledging, being initiated into, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization which is affiliated with the College; and which is intended to have the effect of, or should reasonably be expected to have the effect of, humiliating, intimidating or demeaning the student or employee or endangering the mental or physical health of a student or employee.
Specific Types of Harassment: In addition to forms of harassment listed above, other examples of specific types of harassment might include, but are not limited to the following, if engaged in at the levels described above:
Disability Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at the characteristics of an individual’s disabling condition such as manner of speaking, manner of movement, or necessary equipment.
Sex-Based Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s sex and/or gender, such as negative gender-based stereotypes and sexist comments. Information about sexual misconduct not covered by this policy can be found in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, also referred to as the College’s SHSMDVS Policy.
National Origin Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s national origin such as negative comments regarding surnames, manner of speaking, and customs.
Racial Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s race such as words emphasizing stereotypes, comments on manner of speaking, and negative references to racial customs.
Religious Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s religion such as derogatory comments regarding surnames, religious tradition, and religious clothing.
Sexual Orientation Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s sexual orientation such as negative name-calling and imitating mannerisms.
Age Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s age, such as derogatory age-related comments and negative stereotypes.
Veteran/Military Service Status Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s veteran or military service status, such as pejorative references to same and negative comments regarding required service.
Gender Identity Harassment: Verbal or physical conduct or communications directed at an individual’s gender identity, such as negative name-calling and intentional misuse of gender-specific pronouns.
It is imperative that Champlain College provides a safe environment conducive to learning and working. Harassment as described above is unacceptable and will not be tolerated for any reason. In accordance with Federal and State laws, the College affirms its commitment to providing equal opportunity in education and employment and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of characteristics such as race, creed, color, national origin, place of birth, ancestry, religion, age, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, veteran or military service status, HIV-positive status, qualified disability or any other characteristic to the extent protected, and as defined by, applicable law, in the administration of its educational and admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, employment practices, athletic, and other college-administered programs. The College will, therefore, comply with all applicable federal and Vermont nondiscrimination laws.
It is, therefore, the intent of the College to comply with the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act of 1963, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1970, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other such federal, state and local nondiscrimination laws, as they apply.
Compliance with this policy is a term and condition of student enrollment and student, staff and faculty employment at the College. An individual who violates this policy may be subject to disciplinary action. Depending on the seriousness, sanctions for involvement in harassment or discriminatory activities could include verbal or written reprimand; required participation in community projects; loss of privileges; suspension from employment (with or without pay) or enrollment; probation; requirement to participate in counseling; dismissal from housing, school, or employment. The College reserves the right to take action to stop and to sanction discriminatory and/or harassing behavior, even in instances where such behavior does not rise to a level that it would constitute unlawful harassment under applicable law.
The right to make a complaint is not limited to someone who is the direct target of the harassment. Anyone who has observed discrimination or harassment should report the alleged incident(s) to the Vice President, People Center or to the Vice President of Student Life (student-to-student harassment). Retaliation against individuals who make or support a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, as discussed further in the College’s Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure, is prohibited and will be considered a violation of this policy.
In fact, all College officials, such as vice presidents, directors, staff, deans, faculty, and individuals in management/supervisory positions are obligated by law to report conduct that may be in violation of the College’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy. College officials who become aware of conduct that they believe may violate the College’s discrimination and harassment policy must report that conduct to the Vice President, People Center or, if the alleged conduct was engaged in by a student, to Student Life.
Counselors and student health service employees in the Student Health Center are the only individuals available to provide support and assistance on a confidential basis and will not release any information without the individual’s permission except in circumstances where they believe that the safety and welfare of the individuals or others may be at risk or as otherwise required by law. The College cannot, however, guarantee the confidentiality of information shared with anyone other than the College Counselors because of laws requiring that action be taken.
A copy of the Discrimination and Harassment Policy is provided to every employee and student through the People Center’s website and the College Catalog, which is located online. The College also provides appropriate educational training.
Any individual found to have engaged in discrimination or harassment as defined above will be in violation of this policy and shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from enrollment at the College. Any individual who believes he/she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment under this policy is entitled to pursue the internal Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure and/or may pursue remedies provided by Federal and State law. There also are instances when the College may choose to follow up on a concern with an informal process or formal complaint without having received a formal or informal complaint from an individual (i.e., when a problem is identified by another member of the College community).
Please refer to the College’s Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Procedure, for information regarding how to report a concern about harassment or discrimination, and how complaints relative to harassment or discrimination are resolved. Specific contact information for individual resources and appropriate offices is also available at this link. For the College’s policy on sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence and stalking, see the College’s Sexual Misconduct policy.
8.13 SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Introduction and Notice of Non-Discrimination
It is the policy of Champlain College (“Champlain” or the “College”) to maintain an environment for students, faculty, administrators, staff, and visitors that is free of all forms of unlawful discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct. The College has enacted this Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking Policy (the “Policy”) to reflect and maintain its institutional values and community expectations, to provide for fair and equitable procedures for determining when this Policy has been violated, and to provide recourse for individuals and the community in response to violations of this Policy.
This Policy prohibits sexual or gender-based discrimination, harassment, and misconduct, including sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, and sexual exploitation, as defined below. It also prohibits intimate partner violence and stalking, as defined below. The Policy also prohibits retaliation against a person because they have reported, complained about, or participated in good faith in an investigation of conduct covered by this Policy. All of the foregoing conduct shall be referred to collectively as “Prohibited Conduct.”
Champlain does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational, extracurricular, athletic, or other programs or in the context of employment. Sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that provides:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Sexual harassment is also prohibited under Title IX, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes. This Policy prohibits sexual harassment against Champlain community members of any sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity in the context of education or employment. This Policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
The College strongly encourages all members of our community to take action to maintain and facilitate a safe, welcoming, and respectful environment on campus. In particular, the College expects that all Champlain community members will take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop Prohibited Conduct. The College strongly supports bystander intervention and supports individuals who choose to take such action and will protect such individuals from retaliation.
Upon receipt of a report, the College will take equitable action to eliminate the Prohibited Conduct (if any), prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. In addition, the College will fulfill its obligations under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”) amendments to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”) in response to reported Prohibited Conduct. The College’s process for investigating and responding to reported Prohibited Conduct is outlined below. Students or employees who are found to have violated this Policy may face disciplinary action up to and including dismissal (students) or termination of employment (faculty or staff).
Champlain also prohibits other forms of discrimination and harassment, including discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, religious belief, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Such prohibited conduct is addressed in other College policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on protected status (other than sex or gender).
Scope of Policy
This Policy applies to all reports of Prohibited Conduct occurring on or after the effective date of this Policy. Where the date of the reported Prohibited Conduct precedes the effective date of this Policy, the definitions of misconduct in existence at the time of the report will be used. The Investigation Process under this Policy, however, will be used to investigate and resolve all reports made on or after the effective date of this Policy, regardless of when the incident(s) occurred.
When used in this Policy, “complainant” refers to the individual who is identified as the subject of Prohibited Conduct. “Respondent” refers to the individual alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct. A “Third-Party” refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness or an individual who makes a report on behalf of a complainant.
This Policy applies to all Champlain community members, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, volunteers, vendors, contractors, visitors, and individuals regularly or temporarily employed, conducting business, studying, living, visiting, or having any official capacity with the College or on its property.
The College strongly encourages reports of Prohibited Conduct regardless of who engaged in the conduct. Even if the College does not have jurisdiction over the respondent, the College will take action, to the extent that it is reasonably able to do so, to provide for the safety and well-being of the complainant and the broader campus community.
This Policy applies to all on-campus conduct and some off-campus conduct, as described below. The College strongly encourages reports of Prohibited Conduct regardless of location. Even if the Policy does not apply to the conduct because of its location, the College will take action, to the extent that it is reasonably able to do so, to provide for the safety and well-being of the complainant and the broader campus community. Students participating in third party study abroad experiences will be subject to the guidelines established by the host institution and may, if deemed appropriate by Champlain College, also be subject to investigation and sanction under this Policy and/or other Champlain College policies as well.
1. On-Campus Conduct. This Policy applies to conduct that occurs on-campus, including conduct which occurs on property owned or managed by the College.
2. College Programs. This Policy applies to conduct that occurs in the context of College employment or education programs or activities, including, but not limited to, Champlain study abroad or internship programs.
3. Off-Campus Conduct. This Policy also applies to conduct that occurs off campus and has continuing adverse effects on, or creates a hostile environment for, any member of the Champlain community on-campus or in any College employment or education program or activity.
Prohibited Conduct and Definitions
Sex or Gender-Based Discrimination
Sex or gender-based discrimination refers to the disparate treatment of a person or group because of that person’s or group’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment
“Harassment” is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment or that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected status, including sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. All such conduct is unlawful.
“Sexual Harassment” is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise.
“Gender-Based Harassment” is harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise. To qualify as Gender-Based Harassment, the conduct need not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Generally speaking, harassment can be divided into two types of conduct:
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any aspect of a College program or activity or is used as the basis for the College’s decisions affecting the individual.
- Hostile Environment. A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the College’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Whether conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent is determined both from a subjective and objective perspective.
Harassing conduct can take many forms. The determination of whether an environment is hostile is based on the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to: (1) the frequency of the conduct; (2) the nature and severity of the conduct; (3) whether the conduct was physically threatening; (4) the effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state, with consideration of whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the complainant’s educational or work performance and/or College programs or activities; (5) whether the conduct was directed at more than one person; and (6) whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct.
A single isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single incident of Sexual Assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.
Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment:
- May be blatant and intentional and involve an overt action, a threat or reprisal, or may be subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated.
- May be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, position or authority. While there is often a power differential between two persons, perhaps due to differences in age, social, educational or employment relationships, harassment can occur in any context.
- May be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, or someone with whom the complainant has an intimate or sexual relationship.
- May be committed by or against an individual or may be a result of the actions of an organization or group.
- May occur by or against an individual of any sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
- May occur in the classroom, in the workplace, in residential settings, or in any other setting.
- May be a one-time event or can be part of a pattern of behavior.
- May be committed in the presence of others or when the Parties are alone.
- May affect the complainant and/or Third Parties who witness or observe harassment and are affected by it.
Examples of conduct that may constitute Sexual Harassment as defined above may include a severe, persistent or pervasive pattern of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that includes but is not limited to one or more of the following:
- Physical conduct, including unwelcome touching, sexual/physical assault, impeding, restraining, or blocking movements, or unwanted sexual advances;
- Verbal conduct, including making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or humor; verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations; or objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;
- Visual conduct, including leering, making sexual gestures, displaying suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters in a public space or forum; or severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading sexually oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate;
- Written conduct, including letters, notes or electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above;
- Quid pro quo conduct, including direct propositions of a sexual nature between those for whom a power imbalance or supervisory or other authority relationship exists; offering educational or employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors; making submission to sexual advances an actual or implied condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation, including subtle pressure for sexual activity, an element of which may be repeated requests for private meetings with no academic or work purpose; or making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.
Please see the detailed definitions of Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking, and important related terms and concepts available in the full policy in the College Catalog.