Policies and Disclosures

Rights of Pregnant and Parenting Students

Effective Date: May 26, 2021

1. Rationale for Policy

A. Policy Statement

ArtCenter College of Design (“ArtCenter” or “the College”) is committed to maintaining an inclusive community that is supportive of all students. As defined by ArtCenter’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, the College prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, in accordance with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Specifically, in compliance with Title IX, ArtCenter does not unlawfully discriminate against any student or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of that student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from such conditions. ArtCenter is committed to providing relevant resources and accommodations, including granting appropriate leave, for the period of time deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician, ensuring that the student is reinstated to the same status they had prior to the leave.

This Policy has been developed to specifically outline the rights of pregnant and parenting students, as a part of ArtCenter’s ongoing efforts to ensure the protection and equal treatment of students who are pregnant, who are living with pregnancy-related conditions, and who identify as new parents. ArtCenter fully recognizes that pregnancy is not a disability. In terms of institutional assistance, students who are pregnant can expect similar accommodations and support as an individual with a temporary disability. As described in this Policy, ArtCenter will take reasonable steps to ensure that students have opportunities for academic adjustments as necessary, including ensuring that a student does not lose academic progress or access to their course catalog when taking a leave of absence or medical leave related to pregnancy or parenting status.

B. Scope of Policy

This Policy applies to all ArtCenter students in all aspects of ArtCenter’s educational programs and activities, which includes, but is not limited to, admissions related activities, extracurricular activities, student employment, etc.

For the purposes of this Policy, the term “parenting” refers to raising a child in a reasonably immediate post-partum period. “Reasonable accommodations” are changes to a student’s academic environment or typical operations to enable a pregnant student or a student with pregnancy-related conditions to continue to pursue their education at ArtCenter, thereby ensuring equal access to the College’s education program or activity. Such accommodations are provided following coordination with appropriate ArtCenter administrators and when deemed a medical necessity by the student’s selected health care provider.

C. Enforcement of Policy

The Center for the Student Experience (CSE) and the Title IX Office work collaboratively to ensure equal access for students under Title IX. General questions about this Policy and available supportive measures should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator:

Title IX Coordinator
Brittany Raygoza
Director of Title IX Compliance and Programs
Brittany.raygoza@artcenter.edu
626 396-2340

The point of contact within the CSE regarding this Policy and other issues of student equity is:

Title IX Coordinator
Brittany Raygoza
Director of Title IX Compliance and Programs
Brittany.raygoza@artcenter.edu
626 396-2340

2. Non-Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation

Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against or harassment of students who are pregnant, have just given birth, or are experiencing pregnancy-related conditions. ArtCenter is committed to providing a safe environment for such students to continue their academic program free of harassment and discrimination and without limitations due to pregnancy or related conditions.

A. Accommodations for Students Affected by Pregnancy, Childbirth or Related Conditions

ArtCenter College of Design is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. ArtCenter and its faculty and staff will not require students to limit their participation in education programs and activities or take a leave of absence as a result of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. As such, ArtCenter is committed to providing the following reasonable accommodations:

  1. Students affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions will receive benefits and services no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions.
  2. Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any student with a short-term or temporary disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodations designed to help them continue in their academic coursework without limitations or disadvantages due to their condition.
  3. ArtCenter will not impose artificial deadlines or time limitations on students’ requests for reasonable accommodations, but the College is limited in its ability to impact or implement accommodations retroactively.
  4. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
    • a. Adjustments/accommodations requested by a pregnant student to protect the health and safety of the student and/or the pregnancy, such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances;
    • b. Modifications to the physical environment, such as accessible seating;
    • c. Mobility support;
    • d. Granting breaks from class (in person or online) to use the restroom or adjust the physical body;
    • e. Extended deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up tests or assignments missed for pregnancy-related absences;
    • f. Offering remote learning options when available and appropriate;
    • g. Not academically penalizing for medically-necessary absences (this must be granted, irrespective of classroom attendance requirements set by a faculty member or department);
    • h. Granting a leave of absence per ArtCenter’s Medical Leave Policy or implementing incomplete grades for classes that will be resumed as a future date; or
    • i. Allowing breastfeeding students reasonable time and space to pump breast milk in private, clean, and reasonably accessible Lactation Rooms, which are available on both Hillside and South Campuses. Each lactation room is a private locking space with a sink, small counter/table, lounge-type chair, carpet, mirror, electrical outlet, phone, and a refrigerator for storing breast milk. Students can gain key access to these locked facilities by contacting the Title IX Office, Center for the Student Experience or Human Resources. Reservations are not required for use of Lactation Rooms. More information on Lactation Rooms is available for students, faculty, and staff on the Title IX Inside page.

Students may seek assistance from the Center for the Student Experience or the Title IX Office for the above accommodations. ArtCenter will treat pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions in the same manner as temporary disabilities. This means that pregnant students will be treated by ArtCenter the same as a student who is experiencing a temporary disability, and will receive similar options and resources. The College may require a pregnant student or student who has given birth to submit medical certification for participation in any program only if the program also requires such certification from all students with other conditions requiring the attention of a physician. Options for online course completion, make-up assignments, and extended deadlines will be employed similar to how they are utilized with students experiencing other temporary medical conditions.

Information about pregnant students’ requests for accommodations will be kept private and only shared with faculty and staff to the extent necessary to provide the reasonable accommodations or adjustments to the students’ schedule. Any ArtCenter employee who receives this information will regard it as private and will not disclose the information unless necessary. The Title IX Coordinator takes responsibility for the appropriate documentation of reasonable accommodations under this policy.

Students are encouraged to communicate with their faculty members and relevant departments listed in Section 1C of this Policy to determine a plan for how to best address conditions as pregnancy progresses, anticipate any changes to reasonable accommodations and effectively remain on track with academic progress as comfortably as possible. The Title IX Coordinator will assist with plan development and implementation as needed.

B. Academic Leave of Absence

As long as students can maintain appropriate academic progress, ArtCenter does not require students experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions to take a leave of absence, limit their academic course load, or withdraw. Pregnant and parenting students interested in taking a leave of absence may do so under the College’s Leave of Absence (LOA) Policy or Medical and Psychological Leave Policy. Students taking a leave of absence under this Policy are asked to provide notice of their intent to take leave as soon as practicable, so that the College may work with them to make appropriate arrangements for their leave and return. Students who are not the birth parent may also be granted a leave of absence. Students are not required to reapply to the College unless they have not attended courses for two or more years.

Students intending to take a Leave of Absence (LOA) or Withdrawal from ArtCenter must complete and submit a Leave of Absence Request or a Withdrawal form, both available in Enrollment Services. International students may have addition requirements or restrictions on LOA processes and must meet with the International Student Advisor prior to taking a LOA or Withdrawal from ArtCenter. As described in the Student Handbook, a LOA or Withdrawal is effective according to the date that the form was approved and signed by Enrollment Services. Students who are enrolled in ArtCenter Extension that are intending to withdraw from ACX classes must submit a Change of Program form, available, through the ACX office. Taking a LOA or Withdrawal from ArtCenter may have financial implications, as by law, the Financial Aid office must refund certain kinds of aid (government grants, loans, ArtCenter scholarships, etc.) to their respective sources if a student is not enrolled at ArtCenter. Students are welcome to discuss this with the College prior to their leave. Students on a LOA who withdraw or take a term off from the College are not covered by student health insurance. The Center for the Student Experience can provide students with information about alternative insurance options, including the option of purchasing the school’s health insurance plan.

To the extent possible, ArtCenter will take reasonable steps to ensure that students who take a leave under this Policy are able to return to their academic program in the same status as when the leave began, without a tuition penalty or academic penalty. Tuition penalties do not include regularly scheduled tuition raises. Continuation of students’ scholarships or similar College-sponsored funding during the leave term will depend on the students’ registration status and the policies governing the scholarship or funding program. ArtCenter is committed to ensuring that students will not forfeit their future eligibility for scholarships or College-sponsored funding by exercising their rights under this policy.

C. Student Employee Leave

Students who are employed by ArtCenter are entitled to protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act. For employment purposes, including any relevant leave or benefits, pregnancy and related conditions are treated as any other temporary disability. Students may take a leave of absence from their ArtCenter positions following applicable policy. Students who are also full-time or part-time employees should work with the Title IX Office and Human Resources to arrange for a medical leave of absence or work-related accommodations as necessary.

D. Modified Academic Responsibilities for Parenting Students

  1. Students with child caretaking/parenting responsibilities who wish to remain engaged in their coursework while adjusting their academic responsibilities because of birth or adoption of a child or placement of a foster child may request an academic modification period during the first [X] months from the time the child entered the home. Extensions may be granted when additional time is required by medical necessity of extraordinary caretaking/parenting responsibilities.
  2. During the modification period, the student’s academic requirements will be adjusted and deadlines postponed as appropriate, in collaboration among the Title IX Office, the Center for the Student Experience, and the appropriate academic department(s).
  3. Students seeking a period of modified academic responsibilities may consult with their department chair or with the Title IX Office to determine appropriate academic accommodations requests. The Title IX Office will communicate all requests under this policy to students’ department chairs or directors and coordinate accommodation-related efforts with the academic department unless the students specifically requests otherwise. Students are encouraged to work with their advisors and faculty members to reschedule course assignments, projects, examinations, or other requirements, and/or to reduce their overall course load, as appropriate, once authorization is received from the Title IX Office and the Center for the Student Experience. If, for any reason, caretaking/parenting students are not able to work with their faculty members to obtain appropriate modifications, students should alert the Title IX Office and/or the Center for the Student Experience as soon as possible, and these offices will help facilitate needed accommodations and modifications.
  4. Students can request modified academic responsibilities under this policy regardless of whether they elect to take a leave of absence.
  5. While receiving academic modifications, students will remain registered and retain benefits accordingly.

E. Additional Protections Against Discrimination

Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against or harassment of students who are pregnant, have just given birth, or have pregnancy-related medical conditions such as false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, recovery from any of these conditions, or those who take a leave of actions due to the birth or adoption of a child. ArtCenter prohibits discrimination on these bases in Section 5 of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. Prohibition of harassment or discrimination applies to all classes, co-curricular programs, opportunities for student leadership, or other aspects of the College’s education program and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited under the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Any student who believes that they have experienced harassment or discrimination because they are pregnant, have pregnancy-related conditions, or have taken or sought a parental leave should contact the Title IX Coordinator.

3. Application of Policy

A. Policy Application

This Policy is effective on May 26, 2021. The College reserves the right to make changes to this Policy as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. This Policy will be reviewed and updated annually by the Title IX Coordinator.

Inquiries about the application of Title IX at ArtCenter may be referred to ArtCenter’s Title IX Coordinator and/or to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Questions about this Policy or reports of potential violations of this Policy may be made at any time, including outside of business hours, to:

Title IX Coordinator
Brittany Raygoza
Director of Title IX Compliance and Programs
Brittany.raygoza@artcenter.edu
626 396-2340

In addition to reporting to the Title IX Coordinator, students may file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) within the Department of Education:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Headquarters
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C.  20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800 421-3481
Facsimile: 202 453-6012 
TDD#: 877 521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

Office for Civil Rights, California Office
U.S. Department of Education
50 United Nations Plaza
Mail Box 1200, Room 1545
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415 486-5555
Fax: 415 486-5570
TDY: 800 877-8339
Email: ocr.sanfrancisco@ed.gov
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

B. Updated Resources

Additional information about Title IX and relevant resources may be found at artcenter.edu/title-ix.

All students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Lactation Room locations, and gender inclusive restroom locations, all outlined on the Title IX Inside Page.