Title IX Information for Students

 

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Sexual violence in a form of sexual discrimination. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act ("VAWA") that was signed into law March 7, 2013, imposes new obligation on colleges related to this form of sexual discrimination under its Campus Sexual Violence Act ("SaVE Act").

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Important Definitions and Examples

Sexual Harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer, or another student.

Examples of this harassment include, and are not limited to:

  • persistent requests for a date
  • unwelcome requests for sexual favors or acts
  • continued expression of sexual interest after being informed that the interest is unwelcome
  • unwelcome physical contact
  • posters, photos, cartoons in the workplace or public place that are demeaning or offensive
  • unwelcome visual contact, such as leering or staring at another person
  • comments or statements that are demeaning humiliating, suggestive, insulting, vulgar, or lewd
  • failure to provide assistance that is usual under same or similar circumstances
  • retaliation, retribution, or reprisals in any form or manner for complaints about harassment or requests that harassing conducts stop, or for assisting a person with a complaint of harassment
  • physical interference with job performance
  • preferential treatment for submitting to sexual conduct
  • harassment by non-employees such as visitors or vendors

Discrimination

Discrimination is conduct of any nature that denies an individual the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the college's program or activity, or otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, or living environment, because of the individual's age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct is a form of sexual harassment and refers to sexual offenses including but not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, sexual coercion and any other forms of non-consensual sexual activity. Sexual misconduct can be committed by strangers, acquaintances and family members, as well as casual and long-term dating partners. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, attempted or unwanted sexual activity, such as sexual touching and fondling. This includes the touching of an unwilling person's intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast or buttock, or clothing covering them), or forcing an unwilling person to touch another's intimate parts.

Consent

Consent must be informed, freely given and mutual. If coercion, intimidation, threats or physical force are used, there is no consent. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent: this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. Inducement of incapacitation of another with the intent to affect the ability of an individual to consent or refuse to consent to sexual contact almost always, if not always, negates consent. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent. Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over an alleged victim may be a factor in determining consent.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation includes, but is not limited to, prostituting another person, non-consensual visual or audio recording of sexual activity, non-consensual distribution, including electronic distribution, of photos images or information of an individual's sexual activity or intimate body parts, non-consensual voyeurism, coercing someone against their will to engage in sexual activity, or knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) without disclosing STD status.

Stalking

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others, or to suffer emotional distress. Stalking may include repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other action, device or method.

Dating Violence

Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be based on the length and type of relationship and the frequency of interaction with the persons involved in the relationship. It is important to recognize that emotional, verbal, and economic abuse are part of the web of dating violence and can exist without the presence of physical abuse.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence includes crimes of violence committed against a victim by: (i) a current or former spouse; (ii) a person with whom the victim shares a child; (iii) a person who is or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse; (iv) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim; or (v) any other person against whom the victim is protected under New Jersey domestic and family violence laws. It is important to recognize that emotional, verbal, and economic abuse are part of the web of domestic violence and can exist without the presence of physical abuse.

Retaliation

Retaliation means any adverse action taken by a member of the College faculty, staff, or student body against any individual on the basis of such individual's participation in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry by the college or an Appropriate Authority

Bullying

Bullying is any intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act, or a series of acts that is severe, persistent or pervasive; and has the effect of doing any of the following: (i) substantially interfering with a student's education; (ii) creating a threatening environment; or (iii) substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the College.

Hazing

Any action or situation that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student or that willfully destroys or removes public or private property for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in, any registered student organization.

DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REPORTINGPROCEDURE

Scope/Jurisdiction/Application

This reporting procedure applies to allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation that take place on Atlantic Cape Community Collegeproperty or at College-sponsored events, regardless of their location. This procedure may also apply to allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation that occur in sponsored off-campus events or educational activities or to actions Online when the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator determines that the off-campus or Online conduct could have an on-campus impact or impact on the educational mission of the College. Such impact includes:

  • Any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by federal, state, or local law;
  • Any situation where it appears that the respondent may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others;
  • Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property, or achievements of others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  • Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the College.

Reporting Responsibilities

College employees who are aware of or witness discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation against any student or students are required to promptly report to the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator unless prohibited by confidentiality (see below). Any student who is aware of or who witnesses discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation is encouraged to promptly report to the Title IX Coordinator or Co- coordinator.

All initial contacts will be treated with the maximum possible privacy: specific information on any complaint received by any party will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, but, subject to the College's obligation to investigate and redress violations, every reasonable effort will be made to maintain the privacy of those initiating a report of a complaint. In all cases, the College will give consideration to the complainant with respect to how the complaint is pursued but reserves the right, when necessary to protect the community, to investigate and pursue a resolution when an alleged victim chooses not to initiate or participate in a formal complaint.

College employees who experience, are aware of or witness discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct or retaliation against any employee or employees should report such activity to the Affirmative Action Officer.

Dr. Richard Perniciaro, Executive Vice President, Planning, Research and Facilities, 5100 Black Horse Pike, Mays Landing, NJ 08330. (609)343-5670, email: rpernici@atlantic.edu, his office is located in room J254.

Title IX Flow Chart

(.pdf version of Title IX flow chart)

Complaint Resolution Process

Atlantic Cape will respond to every alleged violation of this procedure received by the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Co-coordinator. This section outlines ways in which offenses can be reported by individuals choosing to pursue complaint options.

Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses

Atlantic Cape Community College will make every effort to safeguard the identities of individuals who seek help and/or report discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation. While steps are taken to protect the privacy of victims, the College may need to investigate an incident and take action once an allegation is known, whether or not the reporting individual chooses to pursue a complaint. Remember full confidentiality can only be offered by the counseling and/or Health Professional. (See flow chart regarding who can offer confidentiality and the limits of confidentially)

When a report is made, personally identifiable information (name of victim, name of respondent, etc.) may be initially withheld in cases where the victim is hesitant to come forward. Subsequently, campus officials may need additional information. The College Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator will conduct an initial inquiry, looking for any sign of pattern, predation, violence, or threat. When such exists, institutional action may be required in an effort to ensure campus safety. No employee should ever promise absolute confidentiality except those as described in the section on Confidential Reporting. Reports may be private, but not confidential, as described below in the section on Confidential Reporting. Reports to Public Safety and Security, the local police and/or Title IX officials do not obligate the complainant to file any criminal or College conduct charges.

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, as opposed to complaints which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are just as serious an offense as discrimination, harassment, or retaliation and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Options Available to Victim/Survivor

If a victim/survivor chooses to share information regarding a suspected sexual misconduct incident with HEALTH SERVICES or COUNSELING SERVICES the following departments are a confidential resource. Unless they feel a duty to warn, when they believe there is a threat of intent to harm self or others, child abuse or elder abuse. Please be aware that these staff members are termed confidential resources. The Following protocol will be followed:

  • THIS IS A CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCE. Health professionals and/or mental health professionals have the privilege of confidentiality. This means that the information regarding sexual misconduct that is shared with a health professional and or/mental health professional cannot be shared with others without written permission unless the victim/survivor is under 18 years of age.
  • Sexual assault is a physical and psychological trauma, which necessitates the medical and emotional evaluation of the victim/survivor.
  • Any victim/survivor of sexual misconduct will be triaged into an immediate appointment with an available counselor.
  • If the sexual misconduct occurred in the remote past, the victim/survivor may be seen at a scheduled appointment, unless there is a request for an immediate appointment.
  • If an incident occurs after hours on campus, it would be reported to security. Security will then inform the victim/survivor of options available to them.
  • The victim/survivor will be treated with respect, support and consideration for the emotional stress that she/he may be experiencing.
  • The mental health professional will work together with the victim/survivor throughout the journey toward healing and regaining the power that may feel lost as a result of the assault.
  • If the victim/survivor goes to Counseling Services and has not already been evaluated by a medical professional, the victim/survivor will be strongly encouraged and educated about the medical assessment and treatment options available at Health Services and/or AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Cape Regional Medical Center or Shore Medical Center.
  • If the victim/survivor chooses to have forensic evidence collected ("Rape Kit"), such evidence must be collected by a legally sanctioned and specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). The victim/survivor, if possible, can have a member of counseling meet them at the hospital. This evidence is vitally important should the victim/survivor ever decide to take legal action against the perpetrator; however the collection of evidence does not require the victim/survivor to submit a formal report.
  • The victim/survivor will decide what other resources of support she/he wishes to accept but will be educated by the mental health professional of Atlantic Cape's Sexual Misconduct Policy and the options and support available. The importance of Health Services and Counseling services in the healing process of this trauma will be emphasized. The victim/survivor will be reminded of the confidential nature/privilege of these individuals.
  • The victim/survivor will decide on a reporting course of action. The victim/survivor will hear the Health and or/Counseling professional describe all reporting options, including the option not to report.
  • The victim/survivor can discuss the situation with any confidential resource before making a decision about reporting.
  • Decisions surrounding reporting are controlled by the victim/survivor when she/he is seeking help and services from confidential resources. If the victim/survivor shares information with reporting resources, these individuals are legally obligated to report the event to the Office of Public Safety and Security and the Title IX Coordinator..

If a victim/survivor chooses to share information regarding a suspected sexual misconduct incident with the TITLE IX COORDINATOR, AN ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF MEMBER, FACULTY MEMBER, SUPPORT STAFF (Administrative Assistants, Athletic Department Staff, Library Assistants etc), PHYSICAL PLANT STAFF, and THE OFFICE OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY. Please be aware that these staff members are termed reporting resources. The following protocol will be followed:

  • THE STAFF MENTIONED ABOVE ARE REPORTING RESOURCES. Reporting resources are legally required to report allegations of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Co-coordinator or Office of Public Safety and Security.
  • Sexual assault is a physical and psychological trauma, which necessitates the medical and emotional evaluation of the victim/survivor. Atlantic Cape staff should always encourage the victim/survivor to seek the services of Health and Counseling.
  • The victim/survivor will be treated with respect, support and consideration for the emotional stress that she/he may be experiencing.
  • The supportive response a victim/survivor receives from any reporting member of listed departments can be of great value in the healing process. How a victim/survivor is first received can deeply influence the healing process.
  • Staff members are required by law to report an allegation of sexual misconduct to the Office of Public Safety and Security, the victim/survivor can decline to discuss or disclose any information that she or he is uncomfortable sharing. What this means is that when contacted by the Office of Public Safety and Security (or legal authorities) the victim/survivor may refuse to respond to questions or provide information. The victim/survivor always controls the amount of information she or he will share
  • The victim/survivor will be provided confidential support options (Health Services, Counseling Services).

Complaints and reports should be made as soon as possible after an incident.

If the incident is an assault, seek immediate medical attention. Do not change clothing, shower, bathe, brush teeth or douche. Delay the above and going to the bathroom (if possible) until you are examined as this preserves evidence of the assault. Medical attention should be accessed at a local hospital.

Medical Centers
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center 609-652-1000 Pomona
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center 609-345-4000 Atlantic City
Cape Regional Medical Center 609-463-2000 Cape May Court House
Shore Medical Center 609-653-3500 Somers Point

We encourage you to seek emotional support. When you are ready to talk about this issue, tell someone you trust. If you would like to bring a friend or family member to speak to someone on campus, you will be fully supported.

Public Safety and Security will report to police ONLY if requested by the complainant, and note further that any such report will be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator.

On campus you may contact:

  • Counseling Office: ML: 609.343.5667, Monday to Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Summer Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:37 p.m., Friday (closed), AC: 609.343.4859, Monday to Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CM: 609.463.8113, Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Health Office: ML: 609.343.5112, Monday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.,Tuesday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every other Tuesday, September through May, Wednesday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.,Thursday 1-5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (closed during summer), AC: 609.343.4835,Thursday 9 a.m.-12 p.m., CM: 609.465.3602,Tuesday10 a.m.-2 p.m. every other week September through May
  • Public Safety and Security, hours and weekends: ML, 609.343.5125, AC, 609.343.4841, CM, 609.463.6390 daytime, 609.463.3967 evening

After hours and on weekends, you can contact these confidential resources. Contact the rape treatment or crisis center located in your community. These agencies have a 24 hour, 7 days a week hotline. They can provide accompaniment to the hospital, police department and/or court, individual and group counseling for victims of sexual assault and advocacy.

Atlantic County Women's Center
P.O. Box 311
Northfield, NJ 08225
609.646.6767

Coalition Against Rape and Abuse, Inc.
P.O. Box 774
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
609.522.6489

Campus and Police Reporting

In addition to campus reporting, reports may also be made directly to the police, especially if a crime is or may be involved, by calling the following numbers:

  • Emergency 9-1-1
  • Atlantic City Police (Non-Emergency Number 609-347-5779)
  • Township of Hamilton Police (Non-Emergency Number 609-625-2700)
  • Middle Township Police (Non-Emergency Number 609-465-8700)

Campus Security

Mays Landing Campus Security (609) 343-5125 U Building
Cape May County Campus Security (609) 463-6390 daytime
(609) 463-3967 evening
1st floor lobby
Worthington Atlantic City Center (609) 343-4841 1st floor lobby

Options for filing a report include:

Anonymous and Third Party Reporting

The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator accept anonymous and third-party reports of conduct alleged to violate this policy and will follow up on such reports. The individual making the report is encouraged to provide as much detailed information as possible to allow the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator to investigate and respond as appropriate. The College may be limited in its ability to investigate an anonymous or third party report unless sufficient information is provided.

Confidential Reporting

If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with counselors, health service providers, victim services advocates, community resources, local or state assistance agencies, or members of the clergy who are permitted by law to maintain confidentiality (except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor or elder). The Jeanne Clery Act requires the college to report annually statistical information about crime on campus including sex offenses. Confidential resources must submit anonymous statistical information for timely warning and Clery Act reporting. Identifying information is not reported to or contained in the Clery report. If a reporting party is unsure of a resource's ability to maintain confidentiality, the reporting party is advised to ask them before talking to them.

Formal Reporting

Complainants are encouraged to speak to College officials, such as the Title IX Coordinator or Co- coordinator or Atlantic Cape Security, to make formal reports. Complainants have the right, and can expect, to have complaints taken seriously by the College when formally reported and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures. Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter as only a small group of officials who need to know will be told. Information will be shared as necessary with investigator(s), witnesses, the respondent, and a hearing board if deemed appropriate. While this process is not confidential, the number of people with this knowledge will be kept to as few as reasonably possible to preserve a complainant's rights and privacy.

Campus and Police Reporting

If someone is in immediate danger or is a victim of a crime, call 9-1-1. Some acts of discrimination and harassment may also be crimes, such as sexual assault or stalking. Besides reporting to campus security, it is strongly recommended that allegations of criminal conduct be reported to law enforcement even when it is not clear whether the conduct rises to the level of a crime. Regardless, law enforcement can assist with obtaining medical care, getting immediate law enforcement response and protection, connecting with victim advocate services and counseling support, initiating a criminal investigation as appropriate and answering questions about the criminal process.

Resolution Processes

Employees alleging discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct which involves an employee (who is not also a student), may initiate either an informal or formal complain with the Affirmative Action Officer.

Informal Resolution Process

Informal resolution is an alternative to the formal complaint resolution process. The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator will determine if informal resolution is a possible option, based on the willingness of the parties and the nature of the alleged conduct. Sanctions are generally not pursued as the result of an informal resolution process, though the parties may agree to appropriate remedies. The Title IX Coordinator will keep records of any resolution that is reached. The College reserves the right to cancel informal resolution if sufficient evidence suggests a formal investigation or other sanctions or remedies may be necessary and appropriate.

It is not necessary to pursue informal resolution first in order to make a formal complaint, and anyone participating in informal resolution can stop that process at any time and request to continue through the formal process.

In the event that an informal resolution is not reached, is not appropriate, or is not pursued, the student or employee who is alleging the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation which involves a student may initiate a formal investigation.

Formal Resolution Process

Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator

Cynthia Correa is the Director of Student Services and Institutional Career Services (Atlantic City Campus) and Title IX Coordinator for the college. She is available to anyone seeking additional information or wishing to file a complaint. Her office is located at the Worthington Campus, 1535 Bacharach Blvd., Atlantic City, NJ (609) 343-4897, ccorrea@atlantic.edu, Office: Student Services, room 145

Title IX Co-coordinator

Dr. Tammy DeFranco, Director, Student Services and Campus Management (Cape May Campusand Title IX Co-coordinator for the college. She is available to anyone seeking additional information or wishing to file a complaint. Her office is located at the Cape May campus, 341 Court House-South Dennis Road, Cape May Court House, New Jersey 08210, (609) 463-8113, tadefran@atlantic.edu, Office: Student Services, room 111-B

Role of the Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator are charged with coordinating the College response to reports of misconduct under this procedure. The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator do not serve as advocates for either the complainant or the respondent. The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator will explain to both parties the informal and formal processes outlined below and the provisions for confidentiality. Where appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator will provide to both parties information on options for obtaining advocacy, medical and counseling services, and making criminal reports, and will assist with providing information on other resources. The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator will coordinate with other campus officials to take appropriate interim actions such as no contact orders, academic accommodations, and work assignments.

Federal Timely Warning Obligations

It is the policy of Atlantic Cape Public Safety and Security to issue timely warnings and crime alerts with an end towards maintaining a well-informed community. It is further the policy of this department to maintain compliance with applicable features of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act as mandated by the Department of Education.

Filing a Complaint

Any individual who believes that this procedure has been violated should contact the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Co-coordinator.

Complaint Intake

Following receipt of notice or a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator will normally, within five college business days, make an initial determination as to whether the information has merit to reasonably indicate there may have been a violation of College policy. If it appears a violation may have occurred, an investigation will begin. If the complaint does not appear to allege a policy violation or if conflict resolution is desired by the complainant and appears appropriate given the nature of the alleged behavior, then the complaint does not proceed to investigation. An investigation will be pursued if there is sufficient information to suggest a policy violation, a pattern of misconduct, and/or a perceived threat of further harm to the community or any of its members may exist.

Interim Action

The College will implement interim and/or protective actions upon notice of alleged discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation and will take additional prompt remedial and/or disciplinary action with respect to any member of the community, guest, or visitor who has violated this policy.

Interim actions include but are not limited to: no contact orders, no trespass notices, providing counseling and/or medical services, academic support, providing a campus escort, academic or work schedule and assignment accommodations, safety planning, and referral to campus and community resources.

The College may suspend, on an interim basis, a student or student organization or place an employee on administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation and procedures. In cases in which an interim suspension or administrative leave is imposed, the student, employee, or student organization will be given the opportunity to meet with an appropriate administrator prior to such action being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the action should not be implemented. Violation of interim provisions will be grounds for disciplinary action.

During an interim suspension or administrative leave, a student or employee may be denied access to the College campus, facilities, or events, either entirely or with specific application. As determined by the appropriate administrative officer, this restriction includes classes and/or all other College activities or privileges for which the individual might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the appropriate administrative officer, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the respondent student. At the discretion of the appropriate administrative officer, alternative employment/work options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the respondent employee.

Notice of Charges

Once an investigation has commenced, written notice of the allegations will be provided to the parties involved. If the respondent (person who complaint has been made) is an employee, the written notice of the allegation will be copied to the employee's department head/director, dean, vice president, and president.

Investigation

If a complainant wishes to pursue a formal complaint or if the College determines an investigation is necessary, the Title IX Coordinator will begin the investigation, usually within five college business days of determining that a complaint should proceed. Investigations will be thorough and impartial and will entail interviews with relevant parties and witnesses, and obtaining available evidence. Conflict of interest (real or perceived) by the investigator or appropriate staff will not be allowed. The College aims to complete investigations within 60 days, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator with notice to the parties.

Investigation may take longer when initial complaints fail to provide direct first-hand information. The College may undertake a short delay (usually 3-10 days, to allow evidence collection) when criminal charges are being investigated. Complainants will be informed, at regular intervals, of the status of the investigation. College action will continue regardless of the status of civil or criminal charges involving the same incident. A complainant may proceed with both a criminal charge and a request for a College resolution simultaneously.

Student Withdrawal While Charges Pending

Should a responding student decide to withdraw from the College and/or not participate in the investigation and/or hearing, the process will nonetheless proceed in the student's absence to a reasonable resolution and that student will not be permitted to return to the College unless any and all sanctions have been satisfied. The Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator will continue to act to promptly and effectively remedy the effects of the conduct upon the victim and the community.

Employee Resignation While Charges Pending

Should a responding employee resign while charges are pending, the records of the Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator will reflect that status. College responses to any future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will be limited to job title and dates of employment. Should an employee who is not place on administrative leave by the college decide to take other leave time and not participate in the investigation and/or hearing, the process will nonetheless proceed in the employee's absence to a reasonable resolution and that employee will not be permitted to return to the College unless any and all sanctions have been satisfied. The Title IX Coordinator and Co-coordinator will continue to act to promptly and effectively remedy the effects of the conduct upon the victim and the community.

Investigation Findings

For Students

Upon receipt of the investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator will forward it to the Vice President of Student Affairs and Branch Campus Management or designee for an appropriate hearing per the Student Code of Conduct procedures. During a hearing:

  • Both the complainant and the respondent will receive equal notice of the process.
  • The complainant will have the opportunity to be present throughout the entire Hearing.
  • The complainant will be entitled to the same opportunity to have others present during a Hearing as is provided to the respondent, including College staff member(s);
  • Both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to present witnesses with information pertinent to the alleged sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or sexual assault, and any relevant information to the Hearing panel during the conduct process;
  • The complainant will be provided options for reasonable alternative arrangements if he or she does not want to be present in the same room as the respondent during the Hearing;
  • Testimony regarding any party's past sexual conduct will ordinarily not be permitted, except in those instances where there was a prior sexual relationship between the parties and the testimony may be relevant to the issue of consent. If the respondent is found responsible for the conduct alleged in the complaint, his or her past sexual misconduct, if any, may be considered in determining the appropriate outcome.
  • The College will document the proceedings and keep appropriate records secured in the office of the Title IX Coordinator.

Following the hearing, the decision of whether a policy violation has occurred will be determined by using a preponderance of the evidence standard (see Preponderance chart). A finding of a policy violation by a preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that the policy violation occurred. If, following the hearing, the decision is that no policy violation has occurred the process will end. Regardless of the outcome, the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator will be notified of the finding in writing.

If, following a hearing, the student is found to have violated College policy, appropriate disciplinary sanctions will be determined via consultation with the Title IX Coordinator or Co-Coordinator and the office of Student Development and Judicial Affairs. The Vice President of Student Affairs and Branch Campus Management (or designee) will notify the respondent, the complainant, and the Title IX Coordinator in writing of the Vice President's decision. This written decision must be issued normally within fifteen college business days of the date of receipt of the investigative report from the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator.

For Employees

Investigations will be thorough and impartial and will entail interviews with relevant parties and witnesses, utilizing available evidence. Both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to present witnesses with information pertinent to the alleged sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or sexual assault, and any relevant information. The investigator will document the proceedings. Any complaint of alleged sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or sexual assault involving an employee as complainant and employee as respondent, so long as neither party is also a student, should be filed and will be referred to the Affirmative Action Officer and Human Resources.

Upon receipt of the investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if this policy has been violated by using a preponderance of the evidence standard. A finding of a policy violation by a preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that the policy violation occurred. If the Title IX Coordinator decides that no policy violation has occurred, then the process will end. Regardless of the outcome, the complainant and the respondent will be notified of the finding in writing. The respondent's department head/director, Dean, Vice President, and the President will also be notified of the finding.

In the event that the employee violated College policy, the office of Human Resources and the employee's Vice President/Dean will collaborate to decide appropriate discipline. This decision will be informed based on the information received from the Title IX Coordinator or Co-Coordinator. Regardless of the outcome, the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator will be notified in writing of the outcome normally within twenty college business days of the date of the notice from the Title IX Coordinator. If the Vice President serves as a party or witness in the investigation, the recommendation from the Human Resources Office will be sent to the President for determination of disciplinary action.

Factors Considered When Determining Employee Discipline

Factors to be considered when determining employee discipline can include, but not limited to:

  • The nature of, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation
  • The respondent's disciplinary history
  • Previously founded complaints or allegations against the respondent involving similar conduct
  • Any other information deemed relevant by the Title IX Coordinator
  • The need to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
  • The need to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
  • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation on the victim and the community

Student Sanctions

For examples of the range of potential disciplinary sanctions against students, see the section of the Student Handbook titled Policies and Procedures.

Appeals

Appeals of the decision of the Vice President Student Affairs and Branch Campus Management (for students) or the Dean/Vice President/President (for employees) may be filed by the complainant, the respondent or both. All requests for appeal considerations must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator or Co-coordinator if a student or, if an employee, to the Office of Human Resources within five college business days of the date of the final written notice.

Appeals are limited to allegations of the following:

  • A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome.
  • There is new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the investigation, that could substantially impact the finding or discipline. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact upon the investigation must be included in the appeal.
  • The discipline imposed substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.

The original finding and discipline/responsive actions will stand if the appeal is not timely or is not based on the grounds listed above, and such a finding and discipline/responsive action(s) are final. When a party requests an appeal, the other party (parties) will be notified and given an opportunity to respond.

For students: In cases where the student is the respondent, the Director of Student Development and Judicial Affairs or designee will review the request.

For employees: In cases involving employee conduct, the Office of Human Resources will review the request.

  • Where the designee finds that at least one of the grounds is met, and proceeds with the appeal, additional principles governing the hearing of appeals include the following:
  • The original decision will be changed only when there is a compelling justification to do so.
  • Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint. Appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.
  • Discipline will not be imposed pending the outcome of the appeal. Interim and/or protective actions may be imposed and/or continued as appropriate.
  • The Human Resources Office normally will render a decision within ten college days to the Title IX Coordinator who will normally provide written notice of the appeal to all parties within three college business days from the date of the appeal review.
  • All parties will be informed of whether the grounds for an appeal are accepted and the results of the appeal decision.
  • Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted under this procedure.

Failure to Complete Sanctions/Discipline

All respondents are expected to comply with conduct sanctions/discipline within the time frame specified in their written notice. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions/discipline and/or suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from the College. For students, failure to comply may result in a hold to prevent future registration.

Remedial Actions: Employee

In addition to the interim actions outlined "for students", the Office of Human Resources (or designee for employees) may provide remedial actions intended to address the short or long-term effects of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation. That is, remedial actions may be taken at the conclusion of the process in addition to any actions that may have been taken on an interim basis, in order to redress harm to the complainant and the community and to prevent further harassment or violations. Remedial actions may also be used when, in the judgment of the Title IX Coordinator, Co-coordinator (or designee), the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the presence on campus of the respondent or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question.

These remedies may include referral to counseling and health services or to the Employee Assistance Program, altering work arrangements, providing campus escorts, implementing contact limitations between the parties, or offering adjustments to academic deadlines and/or course schedules.

Statement of Rights for Complainants and Respondents

Both complainants and respondents will be afforded the following rights under this policy:

  • To be treated with respect by College officials
  • To utilize appropriate campus support services.
  • To experience a safe educational and work environment
  • To refuse to have an allegation resolved through informal procedures
  • To be free from retaliation
  • To have complaints heard in substantial accordance with these procedures
  • To reasonable and necessary participation in the process

Federal Enforcer

The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency charged with enforcing compliance with Title IX. Individuals with complaints of this nature always have the right to file a formal complaint with the United States Department Education:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800.421.3481
Facsimile: 202.453.6012
TDD#: 877.521.2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: www.ed.gov/ocr

Sexual Assault Information

Read our brochure on sexual assault important topic.