Commitment to Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment
VDCI is committed to providing an education conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual and is committed to maintaining an academic environment free of discrimination and harassment. VDCI does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, political affiliation (and any other legally protected classes in the relevant jurisdiction) that complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and applicable state and local laws.
VDCI will not tolerate, condone or allow discrimination or harassment, whether engaged in by fellow students, faculty members, or non-faculty colleagues.
VDCI and all staff members do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.
What is discrimination?
For purposes of this policy, impermissible discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favorably based solely on the person’s membership in one of the legally protected groups listed above. Impermissible discrimination involves taking detrimental action against a person that is not based on the person’s individual abilities or merit, but rather on the collective group to which the person belongs.
What is harassment?
Harassment is a form of discrimination. Harassment is unwelcome, offensive behavior that is based one of the legally protected groups listed above and which is severe or pervasive enough to create an environment that a reasonable person would consider hostile. Examples of words or conduct that may constitute harassment that would violate this policy are:
- Verbal abuse, slurs, derogatory comments, or insults about, directed at, or made in the presence of an individual or group based on protected status. This could include telephone calls, emails, instant messages, etc.
- Display or circulation of written materials or pictures that are degrading to a person or group based on protected status.
- Damage to, trespass to, or unauthorized use of property, such as spraying or scratching of a motor vehicle, damage or theft of property, based upon the protected status of an individual or group.
- Physical contact or verbal threats based upon the protected status of an individual or group
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination in which the harassment (as described above) is based on a person’s sex (including gender and sexual orientation). Sexual harassment is encompassed in the broader term sexual misconduct.
Sexual harassment occurs when a person is the recipient of conduct of a sexual nature where:
- Submission to, or toleration of, such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the student’s education;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic decisions about the student; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the student’s welfare or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or demeaning academic environment.
Who to contact if you think that you have been discriminated against or harassed:
The Program Manager is available to serve as a resource to any student or other member of the VDCI community who has a discrimination or harassment inquiry or complaint. This person have information about the Institute’s non-discrimination policy, rules and procedures (including information about confidentiality), as well as, options available for the investigation and resolution of complaints Individuals with a discrimination or harassment inquiry or complaint may be more comfortable speaking with someone of the same gender, and the resource persons listed can assist in finding help of the preferred gender.
Students who wish to file discrimination or harassment complaints should follow the Student Complaint Procedure policy published in this handbook. For complaints involving sex or gender discrimination, please contact VDCI’s Program Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 758-9300.
This policy explains VDCI’s response to complaints of alleged sexual misconduct. The Institute expressly prohibits all instances of sexual misconduct including sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and rape or acquaintance rape. All acts that fall within the definitions of sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, acquaintance rape, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence or prohibited sexual contact violate Institute policy, and applicable state and federal law. The Institute is committed to fostering an environment in which all types of sexual misconduct are promptly reported, and sexual misconduct complaints are resolved in a fair and timely manner.
Maintaining a safe environment is the responsibility of all members of the Institute community. Anyone who believes he or she is a victim of sexual misconduct should report the incident as quickly as possible to the Program Manager and seek immediate medical and/or safety assistance.
The Program Manager will monitor the investigation and resolution of sexual misconduct reports and assure compliance with this policy. Furthermore, the Program Manager will work with campus administration to identify and initiate strategies intended to remedy the effects on the victim and the community to the extent practicable, and reasonably prevent the recurrence of similar misconduct.
It is VDCI’s policy to hold perpetrators of interpersonal violence, which includes sexual assault, prohibited sexual contact, stalking, dating and domestic violence in any form, accountable for their actions through appropriate student conduct or personnel procedures, and by working with community agencies and law enforcement as appropriate. Mediation will not be used to resolve an allegation of sexual misconduct.
Procedures to Follow After a Sexual Misconduct Incident
Victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, rape, and acquaintance rape on campus or at any campus property outside the main campus, or at any Institute-sponsored event or activity have the option and are encouraged to contact local law enforcement authorities.
Whenever possible victims should report a violation of this policy as soon as possible and preserve evidence as may be necessary to prove that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking occurred, or to obtain a protection order. Victims of sexual assault or rape are strongly encouraged to report the incident as described in this policy in order to deter these assaults and to ensure that victims receive the services they need. Steps should be taken to help deal with physical and emotional trauma associated with the violation. Recommended steps include:
- Go to a safe place; go somewhere to get emotional support
- Consider reporting the incident to the police If requested, the Institute will assist with notification
- Report the misconduct to Program Manager
- For your safety and well-being, immediate medical attention is encouraged. Being examined as soon as possible, ideally within 120 hours, is important especially in the case of sexual assault. The hospital will arrange for a specific medical examination at no charge. To preserve evidence, it is recommended that, if at all possible, you do not bathe, shower, douche, eat, drink, smoke, brush your teeth, urinate, defecate or change clothes before that exam. Even if you have already taken any of these actions, you are still encouraged to have prompt medical care. Additionally, you are encouraged to gather bedding, linens or unlaundered clothing and any other pertinent articles that may be used for evidence. Secure them in a clean paper bag or clean sheet.
- Even after the immediate crisis has passed, consider seeking professional counseling. This can help to recover from psychological effects.
The Institute wishes to foster an environment in which individuals feel free to discuss concerns and make complaints. The Institute understands that complainants, witnesses, and others involved in the investigation process may be concerned about the confidentiality of the information they are sharing. In some cases, however, the Institute may be obligated to take action when it becomes aware of information relating to a complaint.
Confidentiality in cases of sexual misconduct will be maintained to the extent permissible by law and consistent with the Institute’s obligations in investigating complaints. Once an individual discloses identifying information to the Institute through the processes described above and in the applicable complaint procedures, he/she will be considered to have filed a complaint with the Institute. While the confidentiality of information received, the privacy of individuals involved, and compliance with the wishes of the complainant or witnesses cannot be guaranteed, they will be respected to the extent possible and appropriate.