Title IX

Title IX Coordinator

Lisa McLario

Campus Director

4230 Lawrenceville Hwy, Ste. 11

Lilburn, GA 30047

(770) 381-7200

lmclario@gwinnettcollege.edu

Title IX Coordinator – Alternate

Travis Eacona

Assistant Director of Education

4230 Lawrenceville Hwy, Ste. 11

Lilburn, GA 30047

(770) 381-7200

teacona@gwinnettcollege.edu

 Community Resources

SEXUAL AND INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION POLICY

I.             STATEMENT OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

The College does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, status as a veteran, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, or any other category protected by applicable law, in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, or other school administered programs.

II.           STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

The College  is  committed  to  establishing  and  maintaining  a  safe  learning and  working environment where healthy, respectful, and consensual conduct occurs. This policy prohibits Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Relationship and Interpersonal Violence and Stalking (together, “Prohibited Conduct”).  It also prohibits retaliation against an individual for making a report of conduct prohibited under this policy or for participating in an investigation of an alleged violation of this policy.    It  also  defines  prohibited  relationships  of  a  sexual  or  intimate  nature  between individuals where one individual has power or authority over another.   These prohibited forms of conduct will not be tolerated.

It is the responsibility of every member of the College community to foster an environment free from Prohibited Conduct. All members of the community are encouraged to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of Prohibited Conduct. This may include direct intervention when safe to do so, enlisting the assistance of others, contacting law enforcement, or seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to exercise this positive responsibility will be supported by the College and protected from retaliation.

This  policy  is  in  compliance  with  applicable  legal  requirements  including  Title  IX  of  the  Education Amendments of 1972; relevant provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act; and other applicable federal and state laws.

III.          WHAT TO DO IF AN ACT OF VIOLENCE OCCURS

BEFORE YOU SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION, PRESERVE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE:

IV.          INDIVIDUALS COVERED BY THE POLICY

This policy applies broadly to the entire College community, including

This policy pertains to acts of Prohibited Conduct committed by or against Covered Persons when:

The College has developed this policy and procedure to investigate an allegation that an individual has committed or been subject to an act of Prohibited Conduct. The College will select the appropriate process to use in a given situation based on the identity of the person alleged to have violated the policy.  The individual submitting a Complaint will be referred to as the “complainant.”  The individual who is alleged to have violated the policy will be referred to as the “respondent.”  There may be instances where another person, who has not experienced but is aware of the occurrence of Prohibited Conduct, may report conduct, and that person is referred to as the “Reporting Party.”  In that case, the College will determine which of the protections provided to the Complainant are also applicable to the Reporting Party.

V.         TITLE IX Coordinator (and Alternate)

The College’s Title IX Coordinator and Alternates, with the assistance of the Home Office Coordinator and Alternate are responsible to:

Individuals may also contact the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights for additional assistance.

VI.            PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

The College is committed to making reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of a complainant, a respondent and/or other individuals involved in a report under this policy.

Privacy

For the purposes of this policy, privacy generally means that information related to a report of Prohibited Conduct will be shared with a limited number of individuals who need the information to assist in the review, investigation, and resolution of the report, and related issues. All employees who are routinely involved in the College’s Title IX response receive specific training and guidance about safeguarding private information in accordance with applicable laws.

Confidentiality

The College’s goal is to limit the number of individuals involved in an investigation, the College cannot guarantee confidentiality. The College will make efforts to protect a Complainant’s and Respondent’s privacy and to protect the confidentiality of information. To the extent permissible by law, the College will take reasonable steps to avoid inclusion of identifying information about the Complainant, the Respondent or Reporting Party from publicly-available records.

VII.          EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITY TO REPORT ALLEGATIONS

Confidential Resources: The College does not employ confidential resources, such as licensed counselors.  The Complainant may contact individuals at community service centers if they wish to keep the incident confidential.

Responsible Employees: Responsible Employees are required to immediately share all known details of incidents of Prohibited Conduct with the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate. “Responsible Employee” means those designated employees in a leadership or supervisory position.   Responsible Employees include the Title IX Coordinator and Alternate and members of the management team of the College. This list is not exhaustive. Any questions about the status of an employee as a ‘Responsible Employee’ should be addressed to the Title IX Coordinator.

All other Employees are encouraged to share information with the Title IX Coordinator.

Clery Act Reporting:   The College includes statistics about certain incidents in its Annual Security Report and provides those statistics to the U.S. Department of Education.  This reporting does not include any identifying information about persons involved in an incident.  The College will also issue a timely warning to the community for reports of Clery-defined conduct that constitutes a serious and ongoing threat, as outlined in the Annual Security Report.

VIII.         PROHIBITED CONDUCT UNDER THIS POLICY

Conduct under this policy is prohibited regardless of the sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression of the complainant or respondent.

A.  Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment

Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, electronic, or otherwise, when one or more of the following conditions are present:

Gender-Based Harassment includes harassment based on sex or gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of intimidation or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the College will consider the totality of known circumstances, such as:

Examples of conduct that may constitute Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment under the quid pro quo or hostile environment analysis include:

B.  Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without consent. (see below for definition of consent).

Sexual contact includes:

C.  Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation is purposefully taking sexual advantage of another person without consent.  It may involve use of one’s own or another individual’s nudity or sexuality.

Examples of Sexual Exploitation include:

D.  Relationship and Interpersonal Violence

Relationship and Interpersonal Violence includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with that person, or against a person with whom the respondent has sought to have such a relationship.

Relationship and Interpersonal Violence may include Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, and Physical Assault. Physical Assault is threatening or causing physical harm or engaging in other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person. Prohibited Conduct under this definition includes, physical, sexual, emotional, economic and/or psychological actions or threats of action, including threatening to reveal personal or confidential information (including information regarding one’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation), that are intimidating, frightening, terrorizing or threatening. Prohibited Conduct under this definition includes threats of violence or harm to one’s self, one’s family member(s) or friends.

E.  Stalking

Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct toward another person under circumstances that would cause a person to fear bodily injury or experience substantial emotional distress.

Course of conduct means two or more instances including but not limited to unwelcome acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish.

Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.

F.  Provision of Alcohol and/or Other Drugs for Purposes of Prohibited Conduct

The providing of alcohol and/or other drugs to an individual for the purpose of committing or facilitating Prohibited Conduct under this policy is also Prohibited Conduct. Such behavior may include providing a drink or food which contains alcohol and/or other drugs without the knowledge of the individual to whom it is being provided or other actions taken with the intention of impairing the senses, judgment, and/or physical and mental ability of another person in order to engage in other forms of Prohibited Conduct. An individual does not have to engage in sexual activity with another person to be found responsible for the prohibited provision of alcohol and/or other drugs.

G. Retaliation

Retaliation means any adverse action or threat taken or made against an individual, including through third parties and/or legal counsel, for making a report of Prohibited Conduct or participating in any investigation or proceeding related to this policy.  Retaliation includes threatening, intimidating, harassing, or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this policy, such as seeking services, receiving protective measures and accommodations, and/or reporting Prohibited Conduct. Retaliation includes maliciously and purposefully interfering with, threatening, or damaging the academic and/or professional career of another individual before, during or after the investigation and resolution of a report of Prohibited Conduct under this policy in response to and/or on account of the report of the Prohibited Conduct.  This provision applies to reports made or information provided in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are determined not to be accurate. Retaliation will not be permitted by the College.  Any individual experiencing retaliation, in relation to this policy, should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator.  The College will take strong responsive action against any individual found to be in violation of the Retaliation section of this policy.

H.  Intimidation

Intimidation means to intentionally say or do something which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities to be fearful of bodily harm. It is not necessary to prove that the victim was actually frightened, and neither is it necessary to prove that the behavior of the person was so violent that it was likely to cause terror, panic or hysteria

IX.   RELATED DEFINITIONS: CONSENT, COERCION OR FORCE, AND INCAPACITATION

A.  Consent

Consent is an affirmative and willing agreement to engage in specific forms of sexual contact with another person. Consent requires an outward demonstration, through mutually understandable words or actions, indicating that an individual has freely chosen to engage in sexual contact.  Consent cannot be obtained through:

Silence, passivity, or the absence of resistance does not imply consent.  It is important not to make assumptions; if confusion or ambiguity arises during a sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stops and clarifies the other’s willingness to continue.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time.  When consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must cease.  Prior consent does not imply current or future consent; even in the context of an ongoing relationship, consent must be sought and freely given for each instance of sexual contact.

An essential element of consent is that it be freely given.  Freely given consent might not be present, or may not even be possible, in relationships of a sexual or intimate nature between individuals where one individual has power, supervision or authority over another.   More information, policy and guidance regarding such relationships can be found below.

In evaluating whether consent was given, consideration will be given to the totality of the facts and circumstances, including but not limited to the extent to which a complainant affirmatively uses words or actions indicating a willingness to engage in sexual contact, free from manipulation, intimidation, fear, or coercion; whether a reasonable person in the respondent’s position would have understood such person’s words and acts as an expression of consent; and whether there are any circumstances, known or reasonably apparent to the respondent, demonstrating incapacitation or fear.

B.  Coercion or Force

Coercion  is  verbal  and/or  physical  conduct,  including  manipulation,  intimidation,  unwanted  contact,  and express or implied threats of physical, emotional, or other harm, that would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm and that is employed to compel someone to engage in sexual contact.

Force is the use or threat of physical violence or intimidation to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual contact.

C.  Incapacitation

An individual who is incapacitated lacks the ability to make informed judgments and cannot consent to sexual contact. Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because an individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, asleep, unconscious, or unaware that sexual activity is occurring. Mentally helpless means a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling one’s own conduct. Physically helpless means a person is physically unable to verbally or otherwise communicate consent or unwillingness to an act.

Where alcohol or other drugs are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond impairment or intoxication.  Where alcohol or other drugs are involved, evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs affects a person’s: decision-making ability; awareness of consequences, ability to make informed, rational judgments; capacity to appreciate the nature and quality of the act or level of consciousness. The assessment is based on objectively and reasonably apparent indications of incapacitation when viewed from the perspective of a sober, reasonable person.

X.          PROHIBITED SEXUAL OR INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships of a sexual or intimate nature between individuals where one individual has power, supervision or authority over another are prohibited by the College.  This could  include  an  instructor  who  determines  a  student’s  grade  or  who  can  otherwise  affect  the  student’s academic performance or professional future or a supervisor overseeing an individual.   Taking advantage of one’s power, supervision or authority over another is unacceptable and may create a hostile environment for the individuals involved.

Amorous relationships that might be appropriate in other circumstances have inherent dangers when they occur between faculty or staff of the College and a person for whom they have a professional responsibility.  As defined in Section IX, an essential element of consent to sexual contact is that it be freely given. Freely given consent might not be present, or may not even be possible, in relationships of a sexual or intimate nature between individuals where one individual has power, supervision or authority over another.

Any member of the College community with questions, concerns or doubts about the appropriateness of an actual, anticipated or suspected relationship should consult with the Title IX Coordinator.

A.  Prohibited Sexual or Intimate Relationships with Students

No Faculty, Staff or Employee shall request or accept sexual favors from or engage in a romantic, sexual or intimate relationship with any College student.

B.  Consensual Relationships Between Faculty, Staff and Employees

In cases where a consensual relationship exists between Faculty, Staff and Employees who are unequal in authority, the person in the position of greater authority may not exercise any supervisory position over the other person in the relationship.   Accordingly, the person in the position of greater authority must notify their supervisor(s) and Human Resources to evaluate the situation.  

XI.            RESOURCES, REPORTING AND FILING A COMPLAINT

The College offers trained professional resources for Students and Employees, whether as complainants or respondents, to provide support and guidance throughout the initiation, investigation, and resolution of a report of Prohibited Conduct.   For comprehensive information on emergency assistance, please contact your Title IX Coordinator.

The College recognizes that deciding whether to make a report of Prohibited Conduct and/or choosing how to proceed, including filing a Complaint, are personal decisions.    The following will guide the College as facts and circumstances permit:

Making a Report of Prohibited Conduct involves telling a Responsible Employee, verbally or in writing, about what occurred. An individual may choose to make a report to the College and/or to external law enforcement.  Reporting conduct is different from filing a Complaint.  While reported conduct will be conveyed to the Title IX Coordinator, individuals who wish to directly file a Complaint should speak with the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate.

A.  Resources

The following resources are available at the College to individuals wishing to seek information and support, make a report and/or file a Complaint:

Confidential Resources

The College does not employ confidential resources.  A Complainant may contact local community resources to make a confidential report.

Making a report does not require an individual to decide whether to request a specific course of action. Deciding how to proceed can be a process that unfolds over time with support and assistance.  Contact the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate for more information.

Local Law Enforcement

The College also strongly encourages anyone who becomes aware of an incident of Prohibited Conduct which may constitute a violation of State Law to report the incident to local law enforcement and will provide support, resources and assistance to those who do so.    Contact the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate for more information.

B.  Time Frame for Reporting

There is no time limit for reporting or filing a complaint under this policy.

C.  Amnesty for Personal Ingestion of Alcohol or Other Drugs

The College generally will offer amnesty to a reporting student, whether as a complainant or a witness, for the personal ingestion of alcohol or other drugs in violation of the College Code of Student Conduct.

D.  Assessment Upon Receipt of a Report

Upon receipt of a report or a Complaint the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an Initial Assessment of the following:

E.  Remedial and Protective Measures

The College will take and/or make available reasonable and appropriate measures to protect the complainant  and  the  complainant’s  access  to  employment  or  education  programs  and activities regardless of whether they choose to file a Complaint under the applicable procedures.   These measures are designed to address a complainant’s safety and well-being and continued access to educational opportunities. These measures  may include emotional support, no contact and communication directives,  academic schedule modification, academic accommodations or assistance, escort, voluntary leave of absence, interim suspension, administrative leave, restrictions  on  campus  activities,  work  schedule  modifications,  and  other  remedies  as  reasonable  and appropriate.

The College will provide similar measures and accommodations for respondents where reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.   The Title IX Coordinator has the discretion to ensure the appropriateness of any measure.

The College will  also  provide  reasonably  available  accommodations  for  a  third  party  complainant, provided that the accommodations are within the scope of that individual’s relationship to The College.

XII.          APPLICABLE PROCEDURES UNDER THIS POLICY

Any individual with questions, concerns or lack of clarity regarding what to do in response to an incident of Prohibited Conduct, including how or whether to report the conduct, should contact and consult a Confidential Resource.  Any individual, referred to as a complainant may make a report of Prohibited Conduct under this policy.  

XIII.        COMPLAINT PROCESS

The College  is  committed  to  providing  an  adequate,  impartial,  and  reliable  response  to  Complaints pursuant  to  the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  The College’s  process for addressing Prohibited Conduct is grounded  in  fairness  and  support  for  all  parties,  include  procedural  protections  that  ensure  notice  and meaningful  opportunities  to  participate,  and  recognize  the  dynamics  involved  in  Prohibited  Conduct.  

Any individual, regardless of affiliation with the College, may file a Complaint.

A.            INITIAL ASSESSMENT

When the Title IX Coordinator becomes aware directly by a potential complainant or a third party of an incident which may involve gender-based misconduct, an Initial Assessment meeting will be conducted to gain a basic understanding of the nature and circumstances of the report. At this meeting, the potential complainant and/or third party will be provided with information about resources, procedural options, and remedial measures and an opportunity to discuss the College’s policies.

A reasonable assessment of the safety of the individual and of the campus community will be made.  The Coordinator will consider the interest of the complainant and the complainant’s expressed preference for the manner of resolution. Where possible the College will seek action consistent with the complainant’s request.

B.            FILING A COMPLAINT

If the complainant wishes to proceed with a resolution process, they will submit a written Complaint to the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate.  Upon receipt of a Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate will be responsible for making the following determinations:

If the answer to either question is no, the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate does not have the authority to resolve the Complaint and the complainant will be referred to the appropriate resources.

If the answer to both questions is yes, the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate has the authority to investigate and resolve the Complaint.

C.            STANDARD OF EVIDENCE

In all stages of the process, the College will apply the “preponderance of the evidence” standard (more likely than not) when determining whether the College’s policy has been violated.

D.             ADVISERS

Complainants and respondents are entitled to be accompanied and assisted by an adviser of their choosing at both formal and informal meetings, investigation interviews and, if applicable, a Title IX hearing. Advisers may not participate in the process or speak on behalf of the complainant or respondent, although they may ask to suspend any meetings, interviews, or hearings briefly to provide consultation.

E.            INFORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS

The Title IX Coordinator may resolve reports informally and appropriately, based on the circumstances. Informal resolutions generally are pursued when the complainant, having been fully informed of all available options, has explicitly made that choice. An informal resolution process is voluntary, and a complainant can ask to end the informal resolution process at any time before its completion. If an informal resolution process is ended by request, any information obtained may be used in a subsequent formal resolution process and hearing. Once a Complaint has been resolved through an informal resolution process, the matter will be closed.

Informal resolution is not permitted for cases involving a Complaint of sexual assault and/or relationship and interpersonal violence.  In all cases, the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate will have discretion to determine whether or not informal resolution is appropriate to the circumstances.

XIV.          FORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS

A formal resolution process  will  occur  when  a  report  of  a  violation  of  the  policy  is  made  and  the complainant seeks a formal resolution or if the Title IX Coordinator or Alternate determines that a formal resolution process is necessary for the safety of the campus community. In the situation when there is a serious threat to the campus community, but the potential complainant cannot or does not wish to proceed with the formal process, the Alternate coordinator or their designee may assume the role of a complainant.  The College will not require a party to engage in a nondisclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise, that would prevent the re-disclosure of information related to the outcome of the proceedings.

A. Formal Resolution Process Brief Overview

B.  Investigation

The Title IX Coordinator will notify the respondent of the Complaint in writing.  The respondent will have five (5) business days to submit a written statement.

Following receipt of a response statement, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will appoint an investigator to the matter. The Title IX Coordinator will have the discretion to determine whether the investigator will be internal (an employee at the College) or external, or a combination of both internal and external investigators. The role of the investigator will be to gather additional information through interviews of the complainant, respondent, and witnesses and synthesize the information in a report that will be provided to the Title IX Hearing Committee. The investigator has the discretion to determine the relevance of any witness or other evidence and may exclude information in preparing the investigation report if the information is irrelevant, immaterial, or more prejudicial than informative.

Witnesses

Both the complainant and respondent are permitted to provide names of potential witnesses to the investigator. The investigator will determine which of those potential witnesses, or other persons, may have relevant information about the alleged conduct and may request statements, either orally or in writing. Witnesses may include individuals outside the College community.

Witness statements should not be character evaluations, as all parties will be presumed to have good character. In addition, how individuals present themselves in other contexts (e.g., friendly, kind, and well-liked) has little probative value in evaluating whether particular conduct occurred. Moreover, the sexual history of the parties will not generally be deemed relevant, as described below.

Additional Evidence

Both the complainant and the respondent are permitted to provide other relevant evidence to the investigator. Evidence includes any facts or information presented in support of an assertion and may include text messages, email exchanges, timelines, receipts, photographs, etc. Any documentation shared by the complainant or the respondent with the investigator will be provided to the other party. The investigator may also consider additional documents, items or other relevant information.

Information  that  does  not  directly  relate  to  the  facts  at  issue,  but  instead  reflects  upon  the  reputation, personality, qualities, or habits of an individual is character evidence and is not relevant to the determination of whether there is a policy violation.

Pattern Evidence: Evidence of an occurrence or occurrences of prohibited conduct so distinctive and so closely resembling either party’s version of the alleged encounter to attempt to prove a material fact may be considered. Where there is evidence of a pattern of similar prohibited conduct, either before or after the conduct in question, this information may be deemed relevant to the determination of policy violation or assigning of a sanction.

Prior Sexual History of the Parties: An individual’s character or reputation with respect to other sexual activity is not relevant and will not be considered as evidence.

Prior Sexual History Between the Parties: Even in the context of a relationship, consent to one sexual act does not, by itself, constitute consent to another sexual act, and consent on one occasion does not constitute consent on a subsequent occasion. Where the parties have a prior sexual relationship, and the existence of consent is at issue, the sexual history between the parties may be relevant to help understand the manner and nature of communications between the parties and the context of the relationship, which may have bearing on whether consent was sought and given during the incident in question. However, this does not assume that the prior sexual history was consensual and this should be a factor in considering relevance.

Investigation Report

The investigator will produce a written report that contains the relevant information and facts learned during the investigation, and may include direct observations and reasonable inferences drawn from the facts and any consistencies or inconsistencies between the various sources of information. The investigator may exclude statements of personal opinion by witnesses and statements as to general reputation for any character trait, including honesty. The investigator will not make a finding or recommended finding of responsibility. The investigator’s report will include credibility assessments based on their experience with the complainant, respondent, and witnesses, as well as the evidence provided.

The investigation report will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator, as well as the complainant and the respondent to review before it is finalized. Within three (3) business days, the complainant and respondent may offer additional comment, clarify information previously shared, suggest additional witnesses, or identify any other relevant information or evidence to assure the thoroughness and sufficiency of the investigation. When the report is finalized, it will be delivered to both parties, the Title IX Coordinator, the Home Office Title IX Coordinator(s) and the President or designee. The complainant and respondent may only share the investigation report for the purpose of receiving counsel or advice related to the College’s process.

C.  Hearing Committee: Role, Procedure and Responsibility

The role of the Hearing Committee is to review the information presented in the investigation report and to determine if an individual or individuals violated the College’s policy, and, if yes, to determine an appropriate sanction. An appropriate Hearing Committee of three (3) members will be formed for each case.

Role of the Chair

The Chair of the Hearing Committee presides over the hearing. The Chair is responsible for:

Hearing Process and Deliberations

The Committee will receive the investigation report five (5) days in advance of the hearing. Complainants and respondents may submit a written statement to the Committee, which must be submitted to the Chair of the Hearing Committee twenty-four (24) hours before the hearing.

The Hearing Committee will convene with the investigator. The complainant and respondent will not be present in the hearing room. The Hearing Committee may ask the investigator questions related to the investigation report. The Hearing Committee may also request to hear from one or more of the witnesses. The Chair has complete discretion to approve or deny those requests. If any additional relevant information is gathered after the investigation report is finalized, that information will be shared with both parties and each may submit a written response to the Chair within three (3) days of the date the information is received.

The complainant and respondent will be granted the opportunity to appear before the Hearing Committee and make an oral statement regarding the facts. The complainant and respondent will not be in the hearing room together, unless both parties agree in writing. The party who is not before the Committee may have audio access to the hearing via telephone when the other party appears. The Hearing Committee may ask questions.

The complainant and the respondent may submit questions to the Hearing Committee to be presented to the complaint or respondent by the Committee.  Neither party will address the other directly.  The Chair may review the questions and remove any questions they deem inappropriate.

The Hearing Committee will convene to deliberate and render a decision, by majority vote, regarding whether or not the respondent has violated the College policy by a preponderance of the evidence. No member may abstain.

The Sanction and Decision

If the Hearing Committee determines that the respondent is responsible for one or more violations of the College Policy, it will then deliberate as to an appropriate sanction.  The Hearing Committee will be permitted to consider prior policy violations in determining an appropriate sanction.

The Chair prepares the Hearing Committee’s written decision and rationale, including a finding of responsibility or non-responsibility, and, if applicable, the sanction and rationale. Within five (5) business days, the report of the Hearing Committee will be provided simultaneously to the complainant and the respondent.

If a respondent is found responsible and the sanction includes separation, they will either be severely restricted in their movements on campus or barred completely during the entirety of the appeal process.

D.  The Appeals Process

The complainant and respondent have the right to appeal final determination of responsibility and/or the resulting sanction based on new evidence not reasonably available at the time of the hearing. The Appeal process does not allow for the complete review of previous facts.  Written requests for appeal must be submitted within three (3) business days following delivery of the notice of the outcome to the Title IX Coordinator. Each party may respond in writing to any appeal submitted by the other party. Written responses must be submitted within three (3) business days following delivery of the notice of the written appeal. Written requests for appeal submitted by one party will be shared with the other party.

The appeal panel’s responsibility will be strictly limited to determining new evidence not reasonably available at the time of the hearing. If the appeal is denied, the matter is closed.

If the appeal is granted due to the discovery of new evidence not reasonably available at the time of the initial hearing, the matter will be returned to the same Hearing Committee which originally heard the matter for reconsideration in light of the new evidence.

The Hearing Committee will act promptly to reconsider the matter consistent with the new evidence.  Following reconsideration, the finding of the Hearing Committee or the sanction imposed will be final and not subject to further appeal.

XV.   WITHDRAWAL OF A COMPLAINT

The complainant may request to withdraw a Complaint at any time. The College reserves the right to make a determination whether to approve or deny this request, but will strongly consider the complainant’s wishes.

XVI.          TIMEFRAME FOR COMPLETION OF INVESTIGATION AND DISCIPLINARY PROCESS

The College cannot promise the definitive timeframe of this process, but ordinarily will complete its investigation and disciplinary process, if any, within sixty (60) days. This time period does not include the time for an appeal. The U.S. Department of Education has made clear that the length of investigations may vary with the complexity and unique factors in each case. Examples of such factors include, without limitation, circumstances in which critical witnesses are unavailable or if law enforcement requests the College temporarily halt its investigation for a brief period of time. Accordingly, all timeframes set forth in this policy may be altered by the Title IX Coordinator for good cause. The College’s goal is that all Complaints be investigated in a prompt, fair, and impartial manner.

XVII.         SANCTIONS

A Student or Employee determined to have committed an act of Prohibited Conduct in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action.   Disciplinary action may include a reprimand, probation, deferred suspension, administrative leave without pay, or temporary or permanent separation from the College.  Third Parties or Invitees who violate this policy may have their relationship with the College terminated and/or their privilege of being on the College premises withdrawn.

If a Student Respondent withdraws from the College after an investigation has begun but prior to a finding or resolution, an entry may be made on their transcript that indicates the Student has withdrawn with a disciplinary investigation or Complaint pending.

If an Employee Respondent separates from the College after an investigation has begun but prior to disciplinary charges being filed, an entry may be made in their personnel file that indicates that employment was terminated with an investigation pending.         If an Employee separates after disciplinary charges have been filed but prior to resolution, an entry may be made in their personnel file that indicates that employment terminated with disciplinary charges pending.

XVIII.   ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND INTEGRITY

The College is committed to the principles of free inquiry and expression. Vigorous discussion and debate are fundamental to this commitment, and this policy is not intended to restrict teaching methods. Offensiveness of conduct, standing alone, is not sufficient for the conduct to constitute Prohibited Conduct.  The conduct must be sufficiently serious to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s ability to participate in employment or educational programs and activities. Such behavior compromises the College’s integrity and tradition of intellectual freedom and will not be tolerated.

XIX. Conflict of Interest

The College and its related guidelines apply to all members of the College community and to all processes and procedures, including all investigative and disciplinary procedures in place to support and implement this policy. A conflict of interest may arise when a member of the College community may be able to use the authority of their position to influence a College decision, action or outcome with regard to the implementation and enforcement of this policy, including associated investigative and disciplinary procedures. It is the responsibility of all members of the College community involved in any aspect of a report of Prohibited Conduct to ensure a conflict of interest does not exist in the investigative and disciplinary procedures.

Members of the College community have an obligation to address both the substance and the appearance of conflicts of interest and commitment and, if they arise, to disclose them to the appropriate College representative and withdraw from any decision-making process where a conflict of interest exists or might arise.

XX.   CHALLENGE FOR BIAS

Any party may challenge the participation of any College official or employee hearing member in the process on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Title IX Coordinator, Alternate or designee setting forth the basis for the challenge.  The designee may not be the same individual responsible for investigating or adjudicating the conduct allegation.  The written challenge should be submitted within a reasonable time after the individual reasonably should have known of the existing of bias.  The designee will determine whether to accept or deny the challenge.  If the challenge is accepted, a replacement will be appointed to the Hearing Committee.  Please contact the Title IX Coordinator to determine the designee for individual cases.

XXI. PREVENTION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMS

As part of its commitment to the prevention of Prohibited Conduct, The College offers education and awareness programs. Incoming Students and new Faculty and Staff receive prevention and awareness programming as part of their orientation, and all Students and Faculty and Staff receive ongoing training and related programs on an annual basis.

Each year, there are education and prevention initiatives that take place in the campus community. The list of initiatives includes, but is not limited to:

XXII.   VIOLATIONS STATE LAW

Behavior that violates this policy also may violate the laws of the local jurisdiction in which the incident occurred and subject a respondent to criminal prosecution by the presiding authority. An individual can choose to make a report to external law enforcement at any time and doing so does not preclude the individual from making a report to the College. Both processes can be pursued if an individual chooses to do so.  The College encourages individuals to report an incident which may be a violation of State Law to external law enforcement. Prompt reporting to external law enforcement is important in a criminal prosecution.

XXIII.         STRATEGIES AND RISK ASSESSMENT

A. Strategies to help reduce risks of abusive behavior sexual assault:

B. Strategies to help reduce risks of abusive relationship:

C. Strategies to help reduce risks of stalking:

Additional information on risk reduction to recognizing warning signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential problems can be found at:

   

Also, victims of such offenses listed above can find additional resources at:

XXIV.          BYSTANDER INTERVENTION

A. Your Role in Preventing Sexual Assault

(https://rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-prevention/bystanders-can-help )

The only person responsible for committing sexual assault is a perpetrator, but all of us have the ability to look out for each other’s safety. Whether it’s giving someone a safe ride home from a party or directly confronting a person who is engaging in threatening behavior, anyone can help prevent sexual violence.

B. What is a bystander?

A bystander is a person who is present when an event takes place but isn’t directly involved. Bystanders might be present when sexual assault or abuse occurs—or they could witness the circumstances that lead up to these crimes.

On average there are over 293,000 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the U.S. The majority of these crimes are committed by someone the victim knows. Given these circumstances, it’s important to recognize the role bystanders can play in preventing crimes like sexual assault.

C. What can I do to prevent sexual assault?

You may have heard the term “bystander intervention” to describe a situation where someone who isn’t directly involved steps in to change the outcome. Stepping in may give the person you’re concerned about a chance to get to a safe place or leave the situation. You don’t have to be a hero or even stand out from the crowd to make a big difference in someone’s life. Take steps to protect someone who may be at risk in a way that fits your comfort level.

Whether you’re taking home a friend who has had too much to drink, explaining that a rape joke isn’t funny, or getting security involved when someone is behaving aggressively, choosing to step in can impact the way those around you think about and respond to sexual violence.

D. Why don’t people help more often?

It’s not always easy to step in, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Some common reasons bystanders remain on the sidelines include:

It’s okay to have these thoughts, but it’s important to realize that your actions can have a big impact. In many situations, bystanders have the opportunity to prevent crimes like sexual assault from happening in the first place.

E. Your actions matter

Whether or not you were able to change the outcome of the situation, by stepping in you are helping change the way people think about their roles in preventing sexual violence. If you suspect that someone you know has been sexually assaulted, there are steps you can take to support that person.

F. Related:

To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE(4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

Source:  www.RAINN.org