VanderCook seeks to ensure that all individuals feel safe from harassment, and are able to interact with all constituents of the academic community without fear or concern.
General harassment is defined as any physical, verbal, or written (including online social networking (e.g., Facebook, etc.), email, and mobile phone networking (e.g., texting, Twitter, etc.)) communication or action that targets a person based on race, religion, culture, beliefs, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, affective associations, or mental or physical differences which is persistent or severe enough to interfere with that person’s work or academic performance. If actions or communications are deemed offensive, hostile, or intimidating from the perspective of the person experiencing the action or communication, as well as from an objective (i.e., a reasonably uninvolved person’s) viewpoint, a finding of harassment may result.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome physical, verbal, or written (including online social networking (e.g., Facebook, etc.), email, and mobile phone networking (e.g., texting, Twitter, etc.)) contact that is of a sexual nature. This may include any uninvited physical contact; requests for sexual favors; pressure to continue a sexual relationship when one party has expressed a desire to end the relationship; or pressure to engage in sexual contact when one party has not given consent, has withdrawn consent, or is not able to give informed consent. When such conduct creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment that affects an individual’s work or academic performance, a finding of harassment may result. Protection from sexual harassment is included under federal law (Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972). VanderCook designates a full-time faculty member as a Title IX coordinator.
Retaliation in word or action for a complaint of harassment is considered just as serious as the original alleged behavior.
A complaint may be made if anyone feels victimized in any of the above ways and has not been successful (or comfortable) addressing the situation directly with the other party or parties. A formal grievance form for candidates can be found on the VanderCook website and may be submitted to the appropriate dean. A formal complaint may also be made in person to a designated Title IX coordinator and/or the appropriate dean. Faculty and staff should make a formal complaint to the president. The complaintant must sign any formal complaints and grievances.
No one should remain silent when confronted with any situation that is perceived as harassment, but should communicate with someone they trust, even if a formal complaint is not being filed at that time.
It is incumbent upon the college to investigate and determine appropriate steps to end harassment. A formal or informal process, as outlined in the College Catalog, may be followed. Such steps may include directions for cessation of contact between the involved parties, required counseling, loss of scholarship or work study, a formal letter of warning, loss of VanderCook employment/apprenticeship, suspension or expulsion from school, issuance of restraining order(s), or other actions deemed necessary after consultation with appropriate authorities.