Equity and Compliance


Campus:  Blountville
Office:  Equity and Compliance
Room:  P316, Pierce Administration Building
Office Hours:  8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday
Address:  2425 Highway 75, P.O. Box 246, Blountville, TN 37617
Phone:  423.354.5255
Fax:  423.323.0209
Email:  equityofficer@NortheastState.edu
Web:  www.NortheastState.edu/EquityAndCompliance

Discrimination and Harassment

The Equity & Compliance Office, a division of the College Advancement Office, is responsible for the Northeast State Community College policies, procedures, training, research and management of Title IX, civil rights, and harassment/discrimination laws.

A Campus Prevention Advocate position was created in 2015 to help provide resources to students, faculty, and staff. Whether victims of sexual violence or other offenses, the advocate is available with resources, information, and community referrals. For assistance, contact Tim Harrison, Campus Prevention Advocate, at 423.354.5296 or email wtharrison@NortheastState.edu or campusadvocate@NortheastState.edu. The office is located in the Basler Library on the third floor, Room L303A. 

Office Hours

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. It applies to all institutions receiving federal funding – which means all of us! (It is not just about sports scholarships.) All Northeast State faculty and staff must receive annual Title IX training. There are several policies, procedures, guidelines and laws that are important components of Title IX management. 

  1. Title IX sex discrimination in education includes, but may not be limited to, recruitment, admissions, rules on student life activities, access to course offerings, counseling, employment assistance and health/insurance benefits and services.
  2. Title IX sex discrimination in employment includes, but may not be limited to, employment criteria, recruitment, hiring, promotion, tenure, demotion, transfer, compensation, job assignments, leave and fringe benefits.

Each college must designate a Title IX Coordinator. At Northeast State, this person is the Equity & Compliance Officer, located in Room P316 of the Pierce Administration Building. The duties of the Equity & Compliance Officer are to: 

  • Oversee all complaints of sex discrimination and identify and address any patterns or systemic problems
  • Be available to meet with students, faculty and/or staff
  • Thoroughly investigate accusations or reports of harassment 

The " April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter" is a federal memo that is applied like a law. It requires the College to treat sexual violence as sexual harassment.

It is the intent of the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), and therefore Northeast State’s intent, to promote and ensure equal employment for all persons. Northeast State must fully comply with all federal and state Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)/Affirmation Action laws. TBR outlines the processes and procedures the College must take in investigating complaints based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Creed
  • Ethnicity
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation/gender identity/gender expression
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Status as covered veteran
  • Harassment
  • Genetic information 

Any employee or student who believes he/she has been discriminated against, or any employee or student who believes he/she witnesses discrimination (as outlined above), must contact the College’s Equity & Compliance Officer.

If there is a circumstance related to discrimination or harassment, as listed above and that person is a victim or witnesses a situation in which someone is in danger, please call the Northeast State Police Department at 423.677.7927 (emergency cell). (In an immediate, dangerous situation, always call 9-1-1, first.) Then, contact the Equity & Compliance Officer. In this case, two investigations will be conducted – one by law enforcement and one by the College.

The Equity & Compliance Officer (Title IX/EEO/AA Officer) will investigate all complaints made to the institution regarding discrimination and harassment.

TBR P-080: While this acronym may remind you of a Star Wars movie, this is actually one component of the Tennessee Board of Regents Policies and Guidelines Manual. P-080 outlines our College responsibilities when it comes to discrimination and harassment. All faculty, staff and students must be knowledgeable of this guideline. In addition, we must all cooperate in any College investigation. Each one of us must promptly report any complaint or conduct which might constitute harassment, whether received formally or informally. There could be disciplinary action for failure to report discrimination and harassment.

Discrimination / Harassment Complaint Form

Discrimination may occur by treating someone less favorably because of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation/gender identity, disability, age, or status as a covered veteran, OR having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on a protected class. 

Race discrimination also may involve treating someone unfavorably because the person is married to or associated with someone of a certain race or connection with a race-based organization.

Discrimination can occur when the victim and the person who inflected the discrimination are the same race or gender.

Harassment may occur when there is conduct based on a person’s race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation/gender identity, disability, age, or status as a covered veteran. Harassment occurs when: 

  • There is conduct that adversely affects a term or condition of employment, education, participation in education activities or living environment.
  • There is unreasonable interference with employment or academic performance or a hostile or abusive environment.
  • It is used as a basis or factor in a decision that tangibly affects employment, education, participation in education activities or living environment. 

Examples of harassment include: 

  • Verbal or physical conduct relating to an employee’s national origin, race, surname, skin color or accent
  • Offensive or derogatory jokes based on a protected category
  • Racial or ethnic slurs
  • Pressure for dates or sexual favors
  • Unwelcome comments about a person’s religion or religious garments
  • Offensive graffiti, cartoons or pictures
  • Offensive remarks about a person’s age 

Examples of sexual harassment include: 

  • Refusal to hire, promote or grant or deny privileges because of acceptance or rejection of sexual advances
  • Suggestive or inappropriate communications through any written material or displaying objects or pictures that are sexual in nature
  • Suggestive or insulting sounds
  • Humor or jokes that sexually degrade men or women
  • Sexual propositions or pressures
  • Implied or overtly sexual threats
  • Any type of inappropriate touching
  • Attempted or actual kissing or fondling
  • Sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking

REMEMBER: Sexual violence may be a criminal act. Therefore, a police investigation may occur in addition to our College investigation by the Equity & Compliance Officer. All informants have a right to report an incident to law enforcement.

It is against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee. Reports of retaliation will be managed by an Equity & Compliance Officer investigation. Retaliation will not be tolerated. Consensual relationships are strongly discouraged between supervisors/subordinates and faculty/students. This could lead to undue favoritism, abuse of power and compromised judgment. 

Visit the TBR policies and procedures website and review P-080. You may also visit the Northeast State Policies & Procedures Manual for local related policies and procedures, including: 

  • 02:18:00 - Admission & Delivery of Services to International Students and the Employment & Delivery of Services to International Faculty & Academic Staff at TBR Institutions
  • 03:01:01 - Discrimination and Harassment
  • 03:01:01:01 - Sexual Harassment
  • 03:01:01:02 - Racial Harassment
  • 03:01:01:03 - Discrimination
  • 03:01:04 - Hazing
  • 03:01:08 - Sexual Misconduct
  • 03:01:08:01 - Rights of the Accused and of the Complainant
  • 03:01:08:02 - Assistance for Referrals
  • 03:05:03 - Disciplinary Offenses
  • 05:04:03 - Harassment: Sexual, Racial and Other
  • 05:09:00 - Northeast State Community College Employee Disciplinary Procedures
  • 07:02:00 - Safe Campus

Dr. Leigh Hornsby serves as the Northeast State Equity & Compliance Officer.

Go to Safe Northeast