Date of Issue: September 10, 2014
Revised: August 15, 2016

Please Note: College Policies and Procedures (P&P) Memorandum No. 357 replaces P&P Memorandum No. 351 - Discrimination Complaint Policy and P&P Memorandum No. 352 - Discriminatory Harassment Prevention Policy.


The purpose of the Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Policy is to create an academic and working environment free of unlawful discrimination or harassment and to identify the procedures for handling discrimination, sexual harassment, and other harassment issues, including sexual assault.

The Community College of Philadelphia does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. Such behavior is inconsistent with the College’s commitment to excellence and to a community in which mutual respect is a core value as articulated in the College’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values Statements. The prohibition against unlawful discrimination and harassment applies to all levels and areas of College operations and programs, students, administrators, faculty, staff, volunteers, vendors, and contractors.

The College is subject to Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, Federal executive Order 11246, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), and all other rules and regulations that are applicable.


Under the direction of the President, the Director, Office of Diversity and Equity shall ensure compliance with this policy. The Director, Office of Diversity and Equity, in conjunction with the College’s Vice Presidents, Deans, and all other staff in a supervisory capacity shall implement this policy. All College employees have a duty to report claims of sexual misconduct or sexual assault to Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity, Title IX Coordinator and Section 504 Coordinator at, Room M2-3, 1700 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia PA 19130, (215) 751-8039.

Prohibited Acts

Discrimination/Harassment – any conduct directed toward an individual or group based upon one or more of the following categories or traits: age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to a reasonable person that it alters an individual’s employment condition, educational environment or participation in a College activity and creates intimidating, offensive or a hostile environment for employment, education, or participation in a College activity. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, repeated remarks of a demeaning nature, implied or explicit threats, slurs, innuendoes or gestures, demeaning jokes, stories, pictures, touching or other forms of physical harassment or objects or activities directed at an individual based on any of the above categories or groups.

Sexual Harassment – Unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, request for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, study, or participation in College-sponsored activities; or
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting individual’s study, employment, or participation in College sponsored activities; or
  3. 3. Such verbal or physical conduct is severe or pervasive enough to a reasonable person that it substantially interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or demeaning academic or working environment.
  4. Examples of behavior which may be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
    1. Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, promotion or grades;
    2. Direct propositions of a sexual nature;
    3. Sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or teasing;
    4. Unnecessary touching, panting, hugging or brushing against a person’s body;
    5. Remarks of a sexual nature regarding a person’s clothing, body, sexual activity, previous sexual experience, or sexual orientation;
    6. Repeated requests for dates or social interaction made through verbal requests, notes, telephone calls, facsimiles, e-mails;
    7. Visual displays of inappropriate sexual images; and
    8. Attempted or actual incidents of sexual assault.

Sexual Assault – includes any of the following: (a) any intentional, unconsented touching, or threat or attempt thereof, of: (i) an intimate bodily part of another person, such as a sexual organ, buttocks or breast; (ii) any bodily part of another person with a sexual organ; or (iii) any part of another person’s body with the intent of accomplishing a sexual act; (b) disrobing of another person without the other’s consent or purposeful exposure of one’s genitals to another without the other’s consent; or (c) forcing or attempting to force, another person to engage in sexual activity of any kind without their consent. Consent in sexual activity is defined in Pennsylvania in accordance with its plain and common meaning. Consent means words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing through sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. Assent (an affirmative statement or action) shall not constitute consent if it is given by a person who is unable to make a reasonable judgment concerning the nature or harmfulness of the activity because of their intoxication, unconsciousness, youth, mental deficiency or incapacity, or if the assent is the product of threat or coercion. Consent to prior sexual activities does not constitute consent to future acts.

Retaliation – It is a violation of this policy to retaliate against any party for participating in a discrimination/harassment investigation. Retaliation includes any adverse treatment that is reasonably likely to deter the complainant or others from filing a charge of discrimination/harassment or participating in a discrimination/harassment investigation. Retaliation can be verbal, written, graphic, electronic or physical.

Knowingly Filing False Complaints – Knowingly filing a false complaint of discrimination/harassment in retaliation is a violation of this policy. Such conduct may be pursued using the steps followed for a complaint of discrimination/harassment, and if found to have occurred, will result in disciplinary action that may include termination or expulsion.


The Community College of Philadelphia is committed to creating and maintaining a working and learning environment for all faculty, staff, and students, which is free of discriminatory or harassing conduct or communication. The College will not tolerate any conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, threatening or offensive working or learning environment.

The College views all forms of discrimination/harassment and all attempts to commit such acts as a serious offense and will impose disciplinary action up to and including expulsion, required withdrawal, suspension or termination. The College is committed to maintaining an environment free from discrimination/harassment toward visitors. Discrimination/harassment by employees, students or contractors toward visitors will not be tolerated by the College and will be addressed by this policy.

Consensual Relationships

Consensual relationships occurring between supervisors and subordinates or faculty and students can lead to circumstances which may be interpreted as sexual harassment. Consensual relationships may also be viewed as causing a hostile or offensive work environment when other staff or students believe that the person(s) involved in the relationship(s) is/are receiving favorable treatment in employment or educational decisions and actions.

The College strongly discourages any sexual or romantic relationship between a faculty member and a student where the faculty member has authority, influence, or responsibility with regard to that student. Similarly, the College discourages any sexual or romantic relationship between a supervisor and a staff employee, where the supervisor has authority, influence, or responsibility with regard to that employee. Consensual relationships among faculty and students or supervisors and staff where on such authority, influence or responsibility exists are strongly discouraged.

Duty to Investigate Harassment Complaints

Allegations of harassment require that the College take action to investigate and remedy the situation, if harassment has occurred. The College is legally obligated to take action to eliminate harassment that is known or should have been known to anyone in an executive, managerial or supervisory capacity. Employees in supervisory roles must report allegations of harassment to Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity.


These procedures apply to prohibited acts (defined above) performed by any employee (including student worker), applicant, volunteer, vendor, or contractor of the College. Discrimination/harassment allegedly perpetrated by or between students who are not acting in the capacity of a college employee falls within the jurisdiction of the Judicial Affairs Officer. The Judicial Affairs Officer will address the complaint in accordance with procedures described in the Student Code of Conduct located in the Student Handbook. Discrimination/harassment allegedly perpetrated toward students by a college employee or third party fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Diversity and Equity and complaints of this nature will be addressed in accordance with procedures listed herein.


Any employee, faculty or student may make verbal inquiries regarding discrimination/harassment to Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity. The Office of Diversity and Equity will discuss the situation with the individual and recommend steps the person may take toward resolution of the problem and/or may refer the inquirer to other appropriate resources for assistance. Any faculty or staff member may report allegations of discrimination/harassment to their immediate superior. Students may report discrimination/harassment complaints to the Office of Academic and Student Success, Dean of Students, or a faculty member who must report it to Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity. Students, faculty and staff members may also report discrimination/harassment complaints directly to Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity.

The complaint process consists of consultations, and an informal and/or formal investigation process for acts of discrimination/harassment as described below:

  1. Consultations may occur with employees or students. Management may also consult before taking other action.
  2. In the informal complaint process, the Office of Diversity and Equity may mediate or conduct an informal investigation at the discretion of Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity. Mediation is not available in cases involving sexual assault. The Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity, Simon Brown, may attempt to negotiate a resolution to the informal complaint of alleged discrimination/harassment or issue a written determination when attempts at mediation are unsuccessful. All complainants have the right to end the informal process at any time and proceed to the formal process.
  3. Formal complaints shall be in writing, and will be investigated even if the complaint is unsigned.
  4. All complaints will be promptly investigated:
    1. Complaints should be filed within 30 business days of the occurrence of the alleged objectionable behavior whenever practicable.
    2. Internal investigations will be concluded within 60 days of submission whenever practicable, to determine if there is a basis to present witnesses and any other pertinent evidence. The individual accused of discrimination/harassment will be advised of the allegations, the source of the complaint if known, and then given the opportunity to respond to the allegations. If an internal investigation cannot be concluded within 60 days, the appropriate parties will be advised and a projected conclusion day will be announced.
    3. Should cause be found to support the allegations, Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity, will identify appropriate remedial actions which may include disciplinary action up to and including termination, and he will report those recommendations to the person responsible for the division/department in which the alleged discrimination/harassment occurred. The appropriate vice president, dean, or department head shall implement the recommendations made by the Director, Office of Diversity and Equity to resolve the situation within two weeks of receiving the findings.
    4. A notice of the findings resulting from the complaint shall be distributed to all relevant parties. The College will also take steps to prevent the reoccurrence of any discrimination/harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others if appropriate.
    5. Both parties may file an appeal if there is a disagreement with the results and conclusion of the complaint. An appeal must be made in writing. For all student complaints initiating with the Judicial Hearing Committee, the appeal process shall proceed in accordance with the College’s established judicial process as outlined in Article VI: Judicial Policies, in the Student Handbook. All complaints filed with and handled by the Office of Diversity and Equity will be addressed in accordance with the appeals procedures listed as follows:
      All appeals must be filed with the President or his/her designee within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the investigator’s decision. The appeal must state why the complainant believes the result and conclusion is unsatisfactory. The President or his/her designee shall review the record and investigate further if deemed necessary. Within twenty-one (21) working days of the date of the filing of the appeal, all parties will receive notice of the President’s or his/her designee’s decision in writing. The President’s or his/her designee’s decision will be final and binding on all parties.
    6. Employees have an obligation to cooperate in the investigation of any such complaint. Management at every level has an affirmative responsibility to ensure that recommendations for corrective action are promptly implemented.
    7. The confidentiality of all parties involved in a discrimination/harassment complaint shall be protected as long as it does not interfere with the College’s obligations to investigate allegations of misconduct or take corrective action.
    8. The complainant may, at any time, request to have his/her complaint withdrawn. In the case of an informal complaint, the request can be made verbally. Requests to withdraw formal complaints should be made in writing to Simon Brown, Director, Office of Diversity and Equity. At its discretion the Office of Diversity and Equity may pursue the investigation and seek remedy if the issues brought forth during the investigation have an adverse impact against other employees or the College.

External Reporting

Discrimination/harassment is prohibited by federal, state, and local law. In addition to the internal process described, individuals may pursue complaints directly with government agencies that deal with unlawful discrimination/harassment claims, e.g., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the U.S. Department of Education, Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission, and the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission.

Return to Polices and Procedures home page