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Affinity Groups

Section: CADM-143
Approved By: Dr. Ivan Harrell, 2/9/21
Last Review: 2/9/21
Last Revision: 2/9/21
Prior Revisions: 11/10/20
Initial Adoption: 9/3/20

Purpose

This purpose of this policy is to establish the formation of Affinity Groups on campus.

To Whom Does This Policy Apply

Affinity Groups are open to all TCC employees.

References

RCW 42.52;
Diversity/Inclusion Policy;
Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure;
Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity Policy;
Reasonable Accommodation of Persons with Disabilities Policy;
Sexual Harassment Policy;
Language Access for Limited English Proficient Policy;
Use of State Resources Policy;
Electronic Mail Use Policy;
Telephone Policy;
Bar Association and Legal Professional Association Activates Policy;
Overtime/Compensatory Time Policy

Supplementary Documents:
Tacoma Community College Affinity Group Application (pdf)
Tacoma Community College Affinity Group Guide (pdf)
Tacoma Community College Affinity Group Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)
Example 1 Completed Application (pdf)
Example 2 Completed Application (pdf)

Definitions

Affinity Groups: for the purposes of Tacoma Community College (TCC), is a group of employees with varied status, whose primary purpose is to develop and improve the campus climate

Policy

This policy establishes the requirements for the creation of a recognized Affinity Group. An AG is able to apply for College funding, use College resources, and is an approved function of TCC.

This policy applies to groups for all employees of Tacoma Community College. All Affinity Groups, as do employees, have a responsibility to comply with TCC policies, including state and federal law. Activities of an approved Affinity Group must be consistent with TCC’s mission, vision, and Strategic Plan; state and federal law; while engaged in an Affinity Group activity. Behavior inconsistent with the guidelines outlined in the Affinity Group guide could result in removal of the Affinity Group or individuals could be subject to disciplinary action.

  1. All regular full-time and regular part-time employees are permitted to use a limited amount of paid work time (not overtime) to attend Affinity Group (AG) meetings and participate in AG activities.
    1. Meetings, informal mentoring and training may occur during regular working hours.
    2. Meeting Preparation: Employees preparing meeting agenda and/or training materials may use work time.
    3. Employees who are overtime-eligible are reminded that any time spent engaged in TCC sponsored activities constitutes work time. TCC-sponsored activities are activities in which a TCC supervisor asks an employee to participate. Examples include providing training and recruitment efforts (e.g., attending a job fair). Such work, like all assigned work performed by overtime eligible employees, is subject to the requirements of the Overtime/Compensatory Time Policy.
    4. TCC anticipates that some AG and/or group members will ask to participate, or be invited to participate in the development of TCC- sponsored training programs and in TCC outreach and recruitment. When AG members are involved in such TCC management approved training or recruitment and outreach they are performing TCC assigned work. As such, they will be able to make use of the same resources provided to any employee performing the assigned tasks.
  2. Be formed around a shared characteristic or common interest that can affect professional development or experience. See FAQs for example.
  3. Be open to all TCC employees.
  4. Supervisor approval is not required for AG participation. An employee’s participation may not interfere with performance of the employees assigned work, however. Where an employee’s performance is affected by participation, supervisors may limit use of work time on AG activities in order to improve performance.
  5. Members of an AG are responsible for:
    1. Forming, organizing, managing, and leading the group.
    2. Setting meetings and activities including frequency, location, purpose and content.
    3. Developing, recruiting, and maintaining a contact list for current members. The College cannot provide lists and/or names.
    4. Completing and submitting proposed and finalized annual   goals and , objectives, as well as an initial funding request and an end of year financial summary. 
    5. Attending annual AG gathering.
  6. The following TCC resources are available to AGs with limited use. Examples include:
    1. AG meetings may be conducted using teleconference (e.g., Zoom, MS Teams, etc.) to facilitate participation of TCC employees.
    2. TCC computers may be used to prepare agenda and/or training materials.
    3. Emails and phones may be used to hold meetings by teleconference, convey information about upcoming meetings, communicate with another between meetings, communicate with speakers or potential speakers and provide advice and mentoring to others.
    4. College space may be used to conduct meetings.
  7. The Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will provide support to AGs, including consultation, annual report submission, funding support (as available), and facilitating connections with other AGs.

Procedure

In order to be recognized as an approved AG, an application should be submitted to the Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, who will consult with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council Co-Chairs for approval. Each AG will:

  1. Complete an Affinity Group Application, including mission, goals, objectives, and financial proposal.
  2. Identify the common interest(s) or characteristic(s) that will connect members of the Affinity Group, understanding that membership must be open to anyone who supports the mission of the group.
  3. Maintain a list of active TCC employees participating in the Affinity Group.
  4. Complete an initial first meeting with the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).
  5. Submit brief mid-year and annual reports (e.g. bulleted list of activities and expenditures) to the Office for EDI by mid-December and June (respectively) of each year.
  6. Ensure that group is governed by current TCC employees.
  7. Ensure that group adheres to Affinity Group Guidelines, TCC, State, and Federal Policies. This includes the use of state resources, such as:
    • Use of teleconference platforms (e.g., Zoom, MS Teams, etc.) to facilitate participation of employees across the state.
    • TCC computers may be used to prepare agenda and/or training materials.
    • Emails and phones may be used to hold meetings by teleconference, convey information about upcoming meetings, communicate with one another between meetings, communicate with speakers or potential speakers and provide advice and mentoring to others.
    • College space may be used to conduct meetings.