POLICY: Spoon River College recognizes that a campus that is physically and emotionally safe and secure for all individuals promotes good citizenship, increases student and employee attendance and engagement, and supports career and academic achievement. To protect the rights of all individuals and groups for a safe and secure learning and working environment, Spoon River College prohibits acts of bullying, harassment, and other forms of aggression and violence. Bullying, like other forms of aggressive and violent behaviors, interferes with employment, the College’s ability to educate its students, and a student’s ability to learn. All administrators, faculty, staff, volunteers, and students are expected to refuse to tolerate bullying and to demonstrate respectful and civil behavior.
The College’s Anti-Bullying Policy and these implementing Procedures apply to students, employees, appointees, or third parties if the bullying occurs:
On College property or
Off College property if:
The conduct was in connection with a College or College-recognized program or activity; or
The conduct may have the effect of creating a hostile environment for the student or employee.
“Bullying” is any gesture or written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts – i.e., cyberbullying, through the use of internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), computer, or wireless handheld device, currently in use or later developed and used by individuals) that is reasonably perceived as being dehumanizing, intimidating, hostile, humiliating, threatening, or otherwise likely to evoke fear of physical harm or emotional distress and may be motivated either by bias or prejudice based upon any actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic, or is based upon association with another person who has or is perceived to have any distinguishing characteristic.
Bullying may take various forms, including without limitation one or more of the following: harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying. This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.
“Bullying” includes “cyber-bullying” and means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward an individual or individuals that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
Placing the individual or individuals in reasonable fear of harm to the individual’s or individuals’ person or property;
Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the individual’s or individuals’ physical or mental health;
Substantially interfering with the student’s or students’ academic performance; or
Substantially interfering with the individual’s or individuals’ ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the College.
Cyber-bullying means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication (including without limitation any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature) transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic system, photoelectronic system, or photo-optical system (including without limitation electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages, or facsimile communications). Cyberbullying can happen over email, through texting, on social media, while gaming, on instant messaging, through photo sharing, and other platforms. Cyber-bullying includes the creation of a webpage or weblog 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 effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section. Cyberbullying also includes the distribution by electronic means of communication to more than one person or the posting of material on an electronic medium that may be accessed by one or more persons if the distribution or posting creates any of the effects enumerated in the definition of bullying in this Section.
Bullying includes doxing, defined by Public Act 103-0439, the intentional publishing of another person’s personally identifiable information without consent, and the information is published with the intent to harm or harass the person with knowledge (or disregard) that the person would suffer harm.
Bullying also includes forms of retaliation against individuals who report or cooperate in an investigation under this policy. Such behaviors are considered to be bullying or harassment, whether on or off college property, at any college-sponsored function, in a college vehicle, or at any time or place where an individual’s imminent safety or overall well-being may be at issue.
The College has designated the Dean of Student Services and/or the Director of Human Resources as the person(s) who intakes reports of bullying. A report of bullying may be submitted electronically or in person.Electronically: Individuals may report an act of bullying by utilizing Title IX reporting options. You may report an act of bullying electronically by completing the Reporting Form or by emailing TitleIXCoordinator@src.edu.
In Person: Victims, third parties, and bystanders can make a report of bullying to Missy Wilkinson, Dean of Student Services, or Andrea Thomson, Director of Human Resources.
The College has an affirmative duty to take immediate and appropriate action once it knows of an act of bullying. The College will promptly and thoroughly investigate any complaints of bullying in accordance with the procedures set forth below.A report of alleged bullying may also prompt the College to consider broader remedial action, such as increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations where the alleged incident occurred; increased education and prevention efforts, including to targeted population groups; the use of assessments and/or surveys; and/or revisions to the College’s policies and practices.
The College will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to a complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the College’s ability to provide supportive measures.The Dean of Student Services and/or Director of Human Resources and/or their designee(s) is/are responsible for coordinating the College’s implementation of supportive measures.
Investigation and Response: Depending on the parties involved in the allegation of bullying, the individuals responsible for addressing and resolving it may vary. Spoon River College has policies that prohibit sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence, discrimination, and harassment. While bullying can be intertwined with these, bullying behavior can occur apart from these other forms of misconduct. Bullying that falls within the scope of Title IX will follow Policy 3.1.3 Sex Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Interpersonal Violence (Title IX). Incidents of bullying that also fall under the scope of the Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy will follow Policy 3.1.1 Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment. In all cases, the Procedures include the basic elements outlined below for the resolution of allegations of bullying.
Initial assessment by the appropriate College official.
Interim measures and remedies where appropriate.
Consideration of voluntary resolution, where appropriate.
Investigation and resolution if voluntary resolution is not appropriate.
Sanctioning by the appropriate College official.
Recourse to the appropriate appeal process.
Protection from retaliation.
Employment: This policy in no way limits a supervisor’s or administrator’s ability to adjust an employee’s schedule and/or job duties; delegate tasks, projects, and/or responsibilities; and approve/deny time off/volunteerism, etc. Supervisors and administrators retain management authority and the right to assignment. Bullying is distinct from the actions of a supervisor or administrator making reasonable but perhaps unpopular decisions. It is also distinct from techniques used to manage or improve staff performance. An assertive management style would in itself not be considered bullying. However, assertiveness that leads to aggression is likely to become destructive rather than constructive and may constitute bullying.
Supportive Measures: The Dean of Student Services and/or Director of Human Resources and/or their designee(s) coordinate any appropriate supportive measures and ensure the effective implementation of any remedies.Supportive measures (also referred to as “interim protective measures”) are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to a complainant or respondent.
Examples of supportive measures that the College may offer include, but are not limited to:
Counseling and mental health support;
Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments;
Leaves of absence;
Changes to academic, living, dining, transportation, and/or working schedules or situations;
Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus;
Issuance and enforcement of mutual campus no contact orders; and
Enforcement of an order of protection or no contact order entered by a State civil or criminal court.
Retaliation: It is a violation of College Policy to retaliate in any way against a person or persons because they have opposed any practices forbidden under these policies or have filed a report, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under these policies. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop a bias-related incident. Retaliation may take many forms and may include intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s complaint or participation. Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this Policy. The College will take immediate and responsive action upon receiving any report of retaliation and may pursue disciplinary action as appropriate.
Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions: Complaints against an employee may result in disciplinary action up to and including discharge in accordance with the Progressive Discipline Policy 3.5.13. Complaints against students may result in sanctions up to and including expulsion in accordance with Spoon River College Code of Conduct. In the event of policy violations, a number of factors will be considered in determining appropriate discipline or remedial action, including the nature of the violation, and the severity and pervasiveness of the conduct. Nothing in this procedure limits or delays the College’s right to take appropriate disciplinary actions, up to and including termination, when an employee’s behavior warrants the action.
Records Maintenance: The College will maintain documentation and records regarding alleged bullying-related incidents and their resolution in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties involved, complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and to the extent possible excludes personally identifiable information about victims. If a student, faculty, or staff member has been found responsible for a bullying-related incident, this finding remains a part of that student’s or employee’s conduct record.