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Nondiscrimination & Protection Policies

AIDS POLICY

Gordon College maintains and adheres to a policy of nondiscrimination and education regarding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

AMERICAN DISABILITIES ACT

Gordon College does not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of any of its programs and activities, as specified by applicable federal laws and regulations. The dean of student care, in the Office of Student Life, is the designated coordinator for university compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and American Disabilities Act.

EXPRESSIVE ACTIVISM POLICY

As a community of Christian learners at Gordon College, we recognize the value of freedom of speech, and desire for our students to be actively engaged in this community and in the broader world. We encourage an atmosphere where students have opportunities to learn to engage with others who may disagree with them through constructive dialogue, debate and—when appropriate—loving acts of confrontation. We recognize that the content around which students wish to organize may differ from the College’s beliefs, but we value both the right of students to conscientiously object and the opportunity to do so. We also recognize that we are a residential community of learners, so we offer certain guidelines to govern our life together. These are found in the assumptions and principles of our life and conduct statement, which encourages students to conduct themselves with discretion and with a respect toward others.

To ensure that expressive activism does not interfere with the ordinary operation of the College, notification regarding the time, place and manner of all activities in the nature of a public expression, rally, demonstration, march, silent vigils, protest, etc. must be submitted and signed a minimum of 24 hours in advance to the Vice President for Student Life, or his or her designee (www.gordon.edu/activismnotification). The Vice President for Student Life, or his or her designee, will determine whether it is feasible to accommodate the activity in light of public safety and the needs of the community. Should expressive activism take place without notification, the students or sponsoring organization may be asked to disperse or face school discipline as outlined in the Student Handbook or legal action, under applicable laws.

Note: This policy refers to non-educational activities on College property and not to the conduct of academic or co-curricular activities that are governed by their own policies and standards. These policies do not refer to other officially approved College events that must follow established college event protocols.

TITLE IX

Gordon is in compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972 and the regulations pertaining thereto. This means the College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, age, disability, veteran status or national or ethnic origin in the educational programs, in the activities in which it operates or in its employment practices. Please refer to Gordon's Title IX Policy.

HARASSMENT POLICY

Harassment is considered a form of discrimination that includes blatant and explicit forms of racism and sexism. As Christians, we are prompted to broaden our concept of harassment to include malicious or prejudicial behavior based on religious or cultural background, denominational or political affiliation, national origin, class standing, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental traits. Harassment takes away from the dignity of both victims and perpetrators and may lead to their psychological or physical harm. While as an academic institution we value freedom of speech, harassment offends our Lord and greatly corrupts the Christian community and society at large. As a Christian community, we must be about the promotion—not diminution—of human dignity. We are accountable to our community as a whole and our actions, whether verbal or physical, have consequences on the welfare of the entire community.

We affirm God’s righteousness as the foundation of our beliefs and practices. The Scriptures remind us of God’s creation of all human beings in His image, His acknowledgment of human diversity, His unconditional love for His people in Christ, and His command that we love likewise and act justly. Since harassment is not in keeping with these imperatives, Gordon College will not condone such behavior.

Bullying and Cyber-bullying

Gordon College prohibits bullying, which includes cyber-bullying. Bullying, as a form of harassment, is the repeated use of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture, directed at a victim that:

  1. Causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property;
  2. Places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his/her property;
  3. Creates a hostile environment at Gordon College for the victim; a “hostile environment” is a situation in which bullying causes the College environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of a student’s education or work environment;
  4. Infringes on the rights of the victim at Gordon; or
  5. Materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of the College.
  6. Examples of bullying include, but are not limited to:
    • epithets, slurs, denigrating jokes or negative stereotyping;
    • threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers health or safety;
    • written or graphic material that degrades or shows hostility or aversion;
    • pranks or horseplay intended to embarrass or humiliate;
    • imposing submission to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.

Cyber-bullying

Cyber-bullying is bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication including, but not limited to, text messages, emails, social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), pictures, videos, websites, blogs and fake profiles. Examples of cyber-bullying may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sending hateful, derogatory, harassing or threatening messages to others;
  • Spreading rumors; and/or
  • Sending personal or embarrassing information about or pictures of others with the intention of intimidating, frightening, ridiculing, or harming someone else.
  • The creation of a web page or blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person, or
  • the knowing impersonation of another person as the author of posted content or messages, if the creation or impersonation creates any of the conditions enumerated under bullying above.

Complaint Procedure

Incidents of bullying/cyber-bullying should be reported to a member of the Office of Student Life. This can include a Resident Advisor, Resident Director, Dean of Student Care, or the Vice President for Student Life. The complaint will be investigated according to the procedures in the “reporting and investigation” section under Student Disciplinary Procedures. The first goal is to stop the bullying behavior. In instances where an informal resolution seems appropriate that will be the preferred approach. This may include a mediated confrontation and reconciliation. If a complaint requires a formal resolution then the case will be investigated and referred for a hearing according to the guidelines in “hearing procedures” under Student Disciplinary Procedures. Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a victim, who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying. Retaliation is prohibited. Any form of retaliation against a student filing a complaint will result in immediate suspension from the College pending a formal hearing and imposition of sanctions.

Other Remedies

This policy is the College’s internal policy and is only intended to address bullying, or retaliation that involves Gordon students. There may be other internal or external means of address and nothing herein is intended to replace any statutory rights of redress either under state or federal law. Nothing in this policy prevents the College from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person’s membership in a legally protected category under local, state, or federal law. In addition, nothing in this policy is designed or intended to limit the authority of the College to take disciplinary action or apply other applicable laws or College policies in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether the policy covers the behavior. Such actions may include, but not be limited to, immediate suspension of a student while any investigation is pending, or, where the allegations suggest the commission of a crime, reporting of the matter to law enforcement or other appropriate governmental agencies.

Allegations in Bad Faith

The College also recognizes that knowingly false accusations may have serious effects on innocent persons. Students found to have knowingly made false accusations of bullying will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including suspension, or expulsion as set out in the Student Disciplinary Procedures. Please note: This is not meant to include allegations that were made in good faith and reasonable belief of their accuracy but which were later determined to be insufficient or unsubstantiated so as to not prompt remedial action, in which the complainant has done nothing improper. This provision is meant only to cover allegations which the accuser knows to be false at the time they are made or makes them with reckless disregard for the truth.

Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure

As a Christian community of higher education, Gordon College is committed to providing a liberal arts education in an environment shaped by the ideals and standards consistent with a Christian worldview. Inherent in a Christian worldview are the biblical injunctions to live to the glory of God and to recognize the Lordship of Christ in every activity.

Human beings, being created in God’s image, are endowed by God with dignity and worth. Those are foundational values at Gordon for developing and maintaining a learning and working environment characterized by integrity, mutual respect and accountability. All members of the Gordon community have a responsibility to foster a respectful, supportive and safe campus environment.

Given such a foundation of human dignity and worth, Gordon College approaches issues of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct such as sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence, not just as behaviors prohibited by applicable state and federal law, but as conduct that is antithetical to the scriptural values this community espouses. Sexual misconduct is not only harmful to the individuals involved, but also undermines the entire community. As such, Gordon College prohibits sex discrimination including all forms of sexual misconduct as defined in this policy. Such forms of prohibited conduct under this policy are regarded as serious offenses and a violation of trust and integrity. Such violations will result in discipline, including expulsion or termination of employment. State and federal laws also address conduct that may meet Gordon College’s definition of prohibited conduct, and criminal prosecution may take place independently of any disciplinary action instituted by Gordon College.

Please visit our website for the College’s full policy on Sexual Misconduct.

 

Hazing

Massachusetts has enacted a law making hazing a crime in Massachusetts.

The law states that “[whoever] is a principal organizer or participant in the crime of hazing [as defined by the law] shall be punished by a fine of not more than three thousand dollars or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

The law defines the term hazing as follows: “. . . Any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such person or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.”

The law also states that “whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing . . . and is at the scene of such crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.”

Each student at Gordon College will receive a copy of the Hazing Law. Officers of student organizations will be required to distribute copies of the law to all members of their organizations and to acknowledge that such distribution has been made.

Gordon College has adopted the following disciplinary policy with regard to hazing: Organizers of, or participants in, hazing, as defined under the Massachusetts statute, and whether or not prosecuted under the statute, may be subject to suspension and/or other disciplinary action. The College will report to the appropriate public authorities any incidents of hazing that come to its attention.

NOTIFICATION OF RIGHTS UNDER FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. They are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 days of the day the College receives a request for access. Students should submit to the registrar, dean, head of the academic department, or other appropriate official, written requests that identify the record(s) they wish to inspect. The College official will make arrangements for access and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the College official to whom the request was submitted, that official shall advise the student of the correct official to whom the request should be addressed.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the student believes are inaccurate or misleading. Students may ask the College to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate or misleading. They should write the College official responsible for the record, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate or misleading. Grades, or an evaluation in lieu of grades, cannot be appealed through FERPA.If the College decides not to amend the record as requested by the student, the College will notify the student of the decision and advise the student of his or her right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorized disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the College in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff position (including law enforcement unit personnel and health staff); a person or company with whom the College has contracted (such as an attorney, auditor, the National Student Loan Clearinghouse, or a collection agent); a person serving on the Board of Trustees; or a student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Gordon College to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:

Office of the Chief Privacy Officer
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605

FERPA Annual Notice to Reflect Possible Federal and State Data Collection and Use

As of January 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s FERPA regulations expand the circumstances under which education records and personally identifiable information contained in such records—including Social Security Number, grades or other private information—may be accessed without a student’s consent. First, the U.S. Comptroller General, the U.S. Attorney General, the U.S. Secretary of Education, or state and local education authorities (“Federal and State Authorities”) may allow access to records and information without consent to any third party designated by a Federal or State Authority to evaluate a federal- or state-supported education program. The evaluation may relate to any program that is “principally engaged in the provision of education,” such as early childhood education and job training, as well as any program that is administered by an education agency or institution. Second, Federal and State Authorities may allow access to education records and information without consent to researchers performing certain types of studies, in certain cases even when we object to or do not request such research. Federal and State Authorities must obtain certain use-restriction and data security promises from the entities that they authorize to receive information, but the Authorities need not maintain direct control over such entities. In addition, in connection with Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems, State Authorities may collect, compile, permanently retain, and share without consent personal information from education records, and they may track participation in education and other programs by linking such information to other personal information that they obtain from other Federal or State data sources, including workforce development, unemployment insurance, child welfare, juvenile justice, military service, and migrant student records systems.

Directory Information

FERPA permits release of “directory information” without authorization unless the student specifically requests that the College not release such information. Directory information includes a student’s: name, month, day and place of birth, major field of study; full- or part-time status; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; dates of attendance; degrees, honors and awards received; most recent previous educational agency or institution attended. Photography, video or web image, weights and heights of members of athletic teams may also be released. Directory for official on-campus use only: address, telephone, email, class schedule and listing on class roster.