Statement on Diversity and nondiscrimination

Oak Valley College is uniquely situated within a geographic region of great diversity in language, culture, ethnicity, and socio-economic status for the purpose of fulfilling its mission of biblically centered education and service.

Within this cultural milieu, the college is called, not only to respect this diversity, but to reflect it as well, for Christ intends his Church to be a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-national body of believers.

We believe it is our purpose, therefore, to create an environment in which all believers, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, age, economic status, or physical ability, can pursue knowledge and personal development as they strive to become all God intends them to be.

In order to maximize the learning of students and expose them to the diversity that exists in the culture at large, we seek to foster an understanding and appreciation of those elements in every culture, which enhances human dignity and is consistent with scriptural teaching.

We are dedicated to expanding opportunities for Christians of all cultures and ethnic backgrounds to attend Oak Valley College, to be employed here, and to participate in the fellowship and mission to which we are called, always keeping in mind our desire to pursue excellence in all we do.

We are committed to working for the establishment of a community composed of believers from every race, culture, and class who are united in their devotion to Jesus Christ, their obedience to His Word, and in their willingness to serve one another.

Oak Valley College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic group identification, gender, age, socio-economic status, or physical or mental disability. However, as a private religious institution, the college reserves the right to exercise preference on the basis of Christian orthodoxy in its employment practices, student admissions decisions, and conduct within the campus community.

We believe that all men and women are created in the image of God, resulting in a foundational unity, and that our racial, cultural, gender, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity reflects the intent and imaginative design of our Creator (Gen. 1:27; Acts 17:26-28), as well as the consequences of the fall.

We believe that God is redeeming some from “every nation, tribe, people, and language” and that we, in our diverse identities, will add our unique contributions to His eternal praise (Rev. 5:9-10; 7:9-10; 21:23-26).

We also believe that today, through faith in Christ, God is creating a “new person”—a new citizenship that transcends but does not erase our individual ethnic, social, and gender distinctions. This new faith-citizenship is named in recognition of the love relationship we have with our Savior—we are “Christians” (Eph. 2:14-22; Col. 3:10-11; Gal. 3:26-28; Acts 11:19-26).

As Christians, therefore, we will imitate our Savior who crossed all social, racial, and gender boundaries to share God’s redeeming love (Matt. 9:9-13; Mark 7:24-30; Luke 17:11-19; John 4:4-42). We will imitate the early believers who yielded their cultural prerogatives in order to gather all nations, peoples, and classes into a community that demonstrated the unifying power of their faith (I Cor. 9:19-23; Acts 6:1-7, 13:1-3, 18:26; Rom. 16:1-2).

We believe, finally, that our diversities in background, thought, and practice will continue to enrich our personal lives as we submit them to be critiqued and evaluated by the authoritative words of Scripture. We are convinced of the words of our Lord: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32).

Statement of Nondiscrimination

Oak Valley College operates in compliance with all applicable federal and state non-discrimination laws and regulations in conducting its programs and activities and in its employment decisions. Such laws and regulations include:

1. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin in the programs and activities of the college.  This policy of non-discrimination also complies with Internal Revenue Service Revenue Ruling 71-447 required for maintaining the university’s tax-exempt status.

2. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, race, religion, color, or national origin.

3. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the recruitment and admission of students, the recruitment and employment of faculty and staff, and the operation of its programs and activities.

4. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-336), the purpose of which is to afford the disabled equal opportunity and full participation in life activities and to prohibit discrimination based on disability in employment, public service, public accommodations, telecommunications, and transportation.

5. The Age Discrimination Act of 1975, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities of the college.

6. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which prohibits discrimination against persons aged 40 and over regarding employment decisions.

7. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment and sexual assault) in programs and activities of the university, except where the university has been granted exemptions based on its religious tenets.

8. The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC §1092(f)) (“Clery Act”) which requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. This includes recent amendments to the Clery Act under the Campus SaVE Act and Violence Against Women Act, which deals with incidents of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.

As a religious institution, the university is exempted from certain provisions of the above laws and regulations relating to discrimination on the basis of religion.

Policies and Procedures Regarding Discrimination, Sexual misconduct, Domestic & Dating Violence, and Stalking (“Policy”)

I. Non-discrimination Policy

The university deplores the unfair treatment of individuals based on race, color, national origin, gender, socio-economic status, age, disability, or cultural differences regardless whether such treatment is intentional or resulting from careless or insensitive behavior.  Rather, employees and members of the student body should embrace the expectation of Scripture to love God with all their being and their neighbors as themselves.

II. Sexual Misconduct Policy

Oak Valley College seeks to maintain a Christian community that provides a place for spiritual growth, work, and study free of all forms of sexual intimidation and exploitation.  All students, staff, and faculty should be aware that the college is prepared to take action to prevent such intimidation and exploitation and that individuals who engage in such behavior are subject to discipline.

“Sexual misconduct” can include sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.

A. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment can vary with particular circumstances, but, generally, it is defined as unwelcome or offensive sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwanted or uninvited verbal suggestions or comments of a sexual nature, or objectionable physical contact.  This includes suggestions that academic or employment reprisals or reward will follow the refusal or granting of sexual favors, or conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

B. Sexual Violence: Sexual violence as used in this policy refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated without the affirmative consent of the parties or where a person is incapable of giving consent and includes, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.

C. Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking: Incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are also processed under this policy.

None of these actions reflect a Christian attitude or commitment and adversely affect the working or learning environment.  All forms of sexual misconduct constitute violations of the college’s Honor Code.  Any individuals engaging in such conduct may also be personally liable in legal action brought against them and/or prosecuted for criminal violations.

Pursuant to the procedures set forth in this Policy, the college will thoroughly investigate all reports of sexual misconduct and will take whatever corrective action is deemed necessary, including disciplining or discharging any individual who is found to have violated this prohibition against sexual misconduct.  The reporting student or employee will be informed of the action taken.  The appropriate officials will also take action to protect the reporting student or employee to prevent further misconduct or retaliation, and as appropriate, to redress any harm done.  A student or employee who feels that he or she has been sexually harassed, assaulted, or the victim of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking involving sexual assault or sexual harassment may meet with a person officially designated in this Policy to work for resolution in such situations.

Processing of a Complaint

Any person who believes he/she has been subjected to prohibited discrimination, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may file a Complaint with any senior official (President, Executive Vice President, or Deans).  All individuals are encouraged to file a timely Complaint.  The ability to investigate and respond effectively may be reduced with the passage of time.

If an individual requests that the college not investigate or seek action against the Respondent, the college will need to determine whether or not it can honor such a request while continuing to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all individuals, including the individual who reported the incident.  The college will consider the following factors in weighing an individual’s request not to investigate or seek action:

  1. Circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of the Respondent committing additional acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence against the Complainant or others in the university community, such as:

    1. Whether there have been other Complaints of sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence about the same Respondent.

    2. Whether the Respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence.

    3. Whether the Respondent threatened further sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence against the Complainant or others.

    4. Whether the sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence was committed by multiple people.

  2. Circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of the Respondent committing additional acts of sexual violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence under similar circumstances at a given location or by a particular group (e.g., whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration).

  3. Whether the sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence was perpetrated with a weapon.

  4. The age of the student subjected to the sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or other violence.

  5. Whether there are other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g. physical evidence).

Additionally, individuals are strongly encouraged to report alleged incidents of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking immediately to local law enforcement.  It is the individual’s decision whether or not to file a police report or to pursue civil action against the Respondent.

Individuals will have access to support and referral services regardless of whether or not he/she decides to report the incident to local law enforcement.

Informal Procedures

The following informal process is designed to resolve charges of unlawful discrimination, sexual misconduct (not including allegations of sexual violence), domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.  This informal procedure is not appropriate for cases alleged sexual misconduct involving alleged sexual violence.

A.  The Complainant or person who would like assistance in determining whether prohibited discrimination or sexual misconduct has occurred should talk with a senior administrator (President, Executive Vice President, or Deans).  If the college becomes aware of a situation that may be considered a violation of this Policy and alleged victim has not come forward, the college will initiate a process with that person.  If the situation involves an alleged incident of sexual misconduct involving sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, local law enforcement will be notified to begin an initial investigation.

B.  The senior administrator shall meet the Complainant or other concerned individual to:

  • understand the nature of the concern;

  • give to the Complainant a copy of the Policy and procedure concerning discrimination, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and inform the Complainant of his or her rights under the Complaint Policy/Procedures; and

  • assist the individual in any way advisable.

C.  If deemed appropriate, the senior administrator shall meet with the Respondent to inform him/her of the nature of the concern.

D.  If the parties agree to a proposed resolution that does not include disciplinary action, the resolution shall be implemented and the informal process shall be concluded.  At any time during the informal process the Complainant may initiate a formal complaint.

E.  The senior administrator shall keep a written log of discussions and a record of the resolution.  This information shall become part of the official investigation file if the Complainant initiates a formal Complaint.  A letter summarizing the informal investigation and the resolution agreed upon shall be sent to the Complainant and the Respondent and kept as part of the record.

F.  At any time during the informal process the Complainant may initiate a formal Complaint. Once a Complaint is put in writing by the Complainant, the Complaint is considered to be formal and the formal Complaint procedures should be followed.

Whether or not the Complainant files a formal Complaint and/or the parties reach a resolution, if the the senior administrator determines that circumstances so warrant, the senior administrator shall initiate a formal investigation and take appropriate actions as necessary to fully remedy any harm that occurred as a result of prohibited discrimination, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and to prevent any further incidents of prohibited discrimination, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

Formal Procedures

In all cases of alleged sexual misconduct involving sexual violence or in other situations where informal Complaint procedures fail to satisfactorily resolve the matter, the Complainant may initiate a Complaint with the President. Complainants are encouraged to submit Complaints in written form.  If the college becomes aware of a situation that may be considered a violation of this Policy and the alleged victim has not come forward, a senior administrator will initiate the Process with that person.  If the situation involves an alleged sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking local law enforcement will be notified to begin an initial investigation.

A.  On the Prohibited Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct Complaint, the Complainant shall submit a detailed account of the alleged prohibited discrimination or sexual misconduct and the action the Complainant requests to resolve the matter.  All Complaints shall, where known, provide at least the name(s) of the individual(s) involved, the date(s) of the event(s) at issue, and a detailed description of the actions constituting the alleged prohibited discrimination or sexual misconduct.  Names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses or potential witnesses should also be included, if possible.

B.  Within five (5) working days after the receipt of the Complaint, the President will review the Complaint to determine whether it describes the kind of prohibited discrimination or sexual misconduct that may violate the Policy and may be subject to these procedures and whether the Complaint sufficiently describes the facts of the alleged misconduct.

If the Complaint does not describe the kind of prohibited conduct under these procedures, the Complainant will be notified and will be referred to the appropriate process.  If the Complaint does not sufficiently describe the facts, the Complainant will be invited to submit an amended Complaint providing enough factual detail to allow a determination to be made.

C.  Within ten (10) working days of receiving the Complaint or amended Complaint, the President shall act as investigator or shall appoint one or more investigators to act alone, together, or in conjunction with the President to investigate the charges and shall notify the Respondent that a Complaint has been received and a formal investigation has begun.

For allegations involving sexual misconduct, the President will determine whether “interim actions” should be taken.  This process seeks to assess the need to remove any person from campus deemed an immediate threat or danger to any member of the campus community or to take other temporary actions to protect the safety of the Complainant.  The President will investigate claims of sexual misconduct even if the Complainant does not wish to pursue disciplinary or legal action.  If the Complainant desires to press legal charges, local law enforcement may also conduct a formal investigation.

D.  The investigator(s) shall commence an investigation of the Complaint within ten (10) working days of the filing of a Complaint or the referral of the Complaint to formal Complaint process.  The investigator(s) shall meet with the Complainant to review:

  1. the nature of the Complaint,

  2. provide the Complainant with a copy of this Policy/Procedures; and

  3. identify the scope and nature of the investigation.

The investigator(s) shall also meet with the Respondent to:

  1. present a copy of the Complaint,

  2. present a copy of this Policy/Procedures if needed,

  3. receive the Respondent’s answer to the Complaint, and

  4. review with the Respondent the scope and nature of the investigation.

Any written response from the Respondent shall be given to the Complainant.

E.  The investigator(s) shall thoroughly investigate the Complaint. Prior to completing the investigation, the investigator(s) may have additional meeting and communications with the Complainant and/or the Respondent to give an overview of the steps taken during the investigation, to ask the Complainant and the Respondent for the names of any others the investigator(s) should speak with and to request any additional information.

F.  The investigator(s) will prepare a report with a summary of the relevant information, testimony, and other facts concerning the Complaint.

G.  Once the investigation has been completed, both the Complainant and the Respondent will have the opportunity to review the investigative report and provide a written response to the President within five (5) days of being notified of the opportunity to review the report and prior to a decision being rendered regarding the Complaint.

H.  After receipt of the investigation report and responses from the parties, if any, the President will appoint a team of three persons to review the report, responses of the parties and evidence, making factual determinations, and reaching a conclusion (by majority vote) regarding the Complaint and appropriate disciplinary sanction, if any.

I. Within sixty (60) calendar days of receiving the Complaint, the investigation shall be completed and a determination shall be made by the decision-making team.  A Preponderance of Evidence Standard will be utilized.  The President or his/her designee shall concurrently forward to the Complainant and Respondent all of the following:

  1. a summary of the investigative report; and

  2. a written notice setting forth:

    1. the findings of the decision-making team as to whether a violation of the Policy did or did not occur with respect to each allegation in the Complaint;

    2. a description of actions taken, if any, to remedy any violation of the Policy that occurred and to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future;

    3. the Complainant’s and Respondent’s right to appeal the determination.

Adapted from Biola University.