College investigates harassment complaints

The VP of student services sent an email to students Friday evening regarding two complaints of harassment and discrimination that allegedly occurred within the same week

Hannah Grover
The clock tower at San Juan College is pictured in this recent Daily Times file photo.

FARMINGTON — San Juan College received two complaints about harassment and discrimination on campus over the course of a week.

The complaints prompted Dave Eppich, the vice president for student services, to send an email Friday evening alerting students of the incidents and reminding them of the college's policies regarding harassment and discrimination.

According to the email, the college has identified the people involved in the incidents.

"No employee or student at San Juan College, either in the workplace or in the academic setting, should be subjected to discrimination which include inappropriate conduct," Eppich stated in his email. "Even one incident may constitute a violation of policy and can be the basis for asserting a complaint."

Renee Lucero, a spokeswoman for San Juan College, said in an email that the incidents involved writing on a Safe Zone allies sticker on campus, as well as verbal comments. The San Juan College Safe Zone is an advocacy and support group for students who identify as gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or who are questioning their sexual identity.

Lucero said the incidents are still under investigation. One of them involved racial harassment or discrimination, she said.

While both incidents occurred after the presidential election, Lucero said the college has not seen an increase in complaints of harassment and discrimination following the election of President-elect Donald Trump.

Lucero said Eppich sent the email to students as a proactive measure to remind them of the college's policies.

Farmington Municipal School District officials say they have not received recent complaints of harassment or discrimination.

Deputy Superintendent Phil Valdez said schools administrators have been concerned about actions stemming from the election, including protests like one last week at Albuquerque Academy. The Associated Press reported that during that incident about 200 students marched off campus while chanting "Not my president!"

"We always worry that it might flow over," Valdez said.

He said the school district is concerned about the incidents at San Juan College because the district has high school students who attend class on the college campus.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.