Policies & Procedures

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428.00 TITLE IX POLICY

It is the policy of Cowley College to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. Section 1681 et seq. “Title IX provides 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 program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Members of the college community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of sex/gender harassment and misconduct, examples of which can include acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The college believes in a zero tolerance policy for all misconduct, including sex/gender-based misconduct. Zero tolerance means that when an allegation of misconduct is brought to a mandated reporters attention, protective and other remedial measures will be used to reasonably ensure that such conduct ends, is not repeated, and the effects on the reporting party and community are remedied, including serious sanctions when a responding party is found to have violated this policy. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.


The College’s sex/gender harassment, discrimination and misconduct policies are not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside the classroom that include controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom.  Academic freedom extends to topics that are pedagogically appropriate and germane to the subject matter of courses or that touch on academic exploration of matters of public concern.


The college uses the preponderance of the evidence (also known as “more likely than not”) as a standard for proof of whether a violation occurred.  In campus resolution proceeding, legal terms like “guilt, innocence” and “burden of proof” are not applicable, but the college never assumes a responding party is in violation of college policy.  Campus resolution proceedings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence, from all relevant sources.


The college reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of misconduct, including sexual misconduct in order to protect rights and personal safety of the college community. Such action may include taking disciplinary action against those persons whose behavior off College premises indicates that they pose a serious and substantial danger to others. The College will not routinely invoke the disciplinary process for a person’s misbehavior occurring off College premises. Nonetheless, it will be necessary to endeavor to protect the college community when there is a reasonable ground to believe that a person may pose a substantial danger to others. Normally, such "substantial danger" may be manifested by a pending criminal charge, usually relating to a crime of violence, burglary, substantial theft or fraud, the sale of illegal drugs, or the possession of substantial quantities of illegal drugs. Persons may be accountable to both civil authorities and to the College for acts that constitute violations of law and of this Code. Disciplinary action at the College will not be subject to challenge on the ground that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced.

Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements and interim suspension from campus. Not all forms of misconduct, including sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and the college reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. The college will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the person accused of misconduct, including sexual misconduct. 


SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OFFENSES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

1. Sexual Harassment
2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same)
3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
4. Sexual Exploitation


DEFINITIONS


 1. SEXUAL HARASSMENT:
Sexual Harassment is
Unwelcome, sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct. 
Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any College program is encouraged to report it immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or a deputy.  Remedies, education and/or training will be provided in response.

Sexual harassment may be disciplined when it takes the form of quid pro quo harassment, retaliatory harassment and/or creates a hostile environment.

A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and objectively offensive.  That it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational and/or employment, social and/or residential program. 

Quid Pro Quo Harassment is:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  By a person having power or authority over another constitutes sexual harassment, when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational or employment progress, development, or performance.  This includes when submission to such conduct would be a condition for access to receiving the benefits of any educational or employment program.

Examples include:  an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence; stalking; gender-based bullying.

                
2.  NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is:

Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force.
Sexual Contact includes:

Intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.


 3. NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is:

Any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force.

Intercourse includes:
Vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.


4. SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasions of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of nudity or sexual activity;
  • Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  • Engaging in voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI, STD or HIV to another person;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation

 

5.  OTHER MISCONDUCT OFFENSES

  • Threatening, or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
  • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the college community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliated activity;
  • Bullying. Defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally;
  • Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other;
  • Stalking, defined as a course of conduct at a specific person on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class that is unwelcome, and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  Repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.    

 

ADDITIONAL APPLICABLE DEFINITIONS:


Consent:
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) specific sexual activity.  Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated.

 

  • Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  • Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
  • Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).
  • Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
  • NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
  • In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.  In the State of Kansas, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 17 years) cannot consent to sexual activity.  This means that sexual contact by an adult with a person younger than 17 years old is a crime, as well as a violation of this policy, even if the minor wanted to engage in the act.
  • Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be -- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be -- mentally or, physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy.
  • Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
  • This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, developmental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another person is a violation of this policy.
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
  • This policy is applicable regardless of the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity and is not relevant to allegations under this policy.

 

SANCTIONS
The following sanctions may be imposed upon any member of the college community found to have violated the Sex/Gender Harassment, Discrimination and Misconduct Policy.  The following are the typical sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:

Student Sanctions

  • Warning
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Withholding Diploma
  • Revocation of Degree
  • Transcript Notation
  • Organizational Sanctions
  • Other

 

Employee Sanctions

  • Warning – Written or Verbal
  • Performance Improvement Plan
  • Required Counseling
  • Required Training or Education
  • Demotion
  • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
  • Suspension without Pay
  • Suspension with Pay
  • Revocation of Tenure
  • Termination
  • Other

 

Sanctioning for Sexual Misconduct

  • Any person found responsible for violating the Non-Consensual Sexual Contact policy (where no intercourse has occurred) will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations.
  • Any person found responsible for violating the Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse policy will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion (student) or suspension or termination (employee).
  • Any person found responsible for violating the Sexual Exploitation or Sexual Harassment policies will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion or termination, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations.

*The decision-making body reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing officers nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.


CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING OF OFFENSES UNDER THIS POLICY
All college employees (faculty, staff, and administrators) are expected to immediately report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials, though there are some limited exceptions.  In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources.  On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality – meaning they are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate college officials – thereby offering options and advice without obligation to inform an outside agency or individual unless a victim has requested information to be shared.  Other resources exist for a victim to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when an incident is reported to them.

 

The following describes the two reporting options at Cowley College:


CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING – ON CAMPUS

If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with:


On-campus licensed professional counselors and staff
On-campus health service providers and staff
On- campus Victim Advocates
On-campus members of the clergy/chaplains working within the scope of their licensure or ordination
Athletic trainers if licensed, privileged under state statute and/or working under the supervision of a health professional


OFF-CAMPUS
Licensed professional counselors
Local rape crisis counselors
Domestic violence resources
Local or state assistance agencies
Clergy/Chaplains


All of the above employees will maintain confidentiality except in the extreme cases of immediate threat or danger, or abuse of a minor.  Campus counselors and/or the Employee Assistance Program are available to help free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours.  These employees will submit timely, quarterly, semesterly, yearly anonymous, aggregate statistical information for Clery Act purposes unless they believe it would be harmful to a specific client, patient or parishioner.

 

FORMAL REPORTING OPTIONS
All college employees have a duty to report, unless they fall under the “Confidential Reporting” section above.  Reporting parties may want to consider carefully whether they share personally identifiable details with non-confidential employees, as those details must be shared by the employee with the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Coordinators.  Employees must share all details of the reports they receive.  Generally climate surveys, classroom writing assignments, human subjects’ research, or events such as Take Back The Night marches or speak-outs do not provide notice that must be reported to the Coordinator by employees.  Remedial actions may result without formal college action.  If a reporting party does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the reporting party may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law.  In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, the College will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality.  In cases where the reporting party requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the College to honor that request, the College will offer interim supports and remedies to the reporting party and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action.  A reporting party has the right, and can expect, to have reports 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, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told, including but not limited to:  (Division of Student Affairs, College Security, and the Behavior Intervention Team).  Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses and the responding party.  The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve a reporting party’s rights and privacy.  Reports to the Title IX Coordinator can be made via email, phone or in person at the contact information below:


Jim Brown (LMSW)
Room 103 Brown Center
Phone:  620-441-5557
Email:  Jim.Brown@cowley.edu 

 

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations
Certain campus officials have a duty to report sexual misconduct for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student/conduct affairs, campus law enforcement, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously. 

Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that college administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The college will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger. The reporters for timely warning purposes are exactly the same as detailed at the end of the above paragraph.


Definitions


Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program. The unwelcome behavior may be based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation. Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwanted sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.


Discrimination: Any distinction, preference, advantage for or detriment to an individual compared to others that is based upon an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion or sexual orientation that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or activities.


Discriminatory Harassment: Detrimental action based on an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation or other protected status that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or activities.


Retaliatory Harassment: Intentional action taken by an accused individual or allied third party, absent legitimate non-discriminatory purposes, that harms an individual as reprisal for filing or participating in a civil rights grievance proceeding.


 Sexual Harassment of a Student by another Student
Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a student toward another student that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or activities.


 Sexual Harassment of a Faculty/Staff Member by a Student; Employee-on-Employee
Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward a faculty/staff member that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with employment conditions or deprives the individual of employment access or benefits.


 Sexual Harassment of a Student by a Faculty/Staff Member 
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a faculty or staff member toward a student are held to constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating an individual’s educational development or performance; or
  • Such conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or activities.

While a particular interaction must be offensive to both a reasonable person and to the victim to be defined as harassment, faculty and staff members and other persons of authority should be sensitive to questions about mutuality of consent that may be raised and to the conflict of interests that are inherent in personal relationships that result from professional and educational interactions. Harassment is particularly damaging when it exploits the educational dependence and trust between students and faculty/staff. When the authority and power inherent in faculty/staff relationships with students, whether overtly, implicitly, or through misinterpretation, is abused in any way, there is potentially great damage to the individual student, to the accused individual, and to the climate of the institution.

 

Complaints Concerning Discrimination and/or Harassment
The college does not permit discrimination or harassment in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. Persons who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy should follow the procedure outlined in this policy to report these concerns.


This process involves an immediate initial investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, the College will initiate a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation. This investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable determination about whether the college nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, the college will implement a prompt and effective remedy designed to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.


Persons who wish to report a concern or complaint relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concern to the College Title IX Coordinator. Email Jim.Brown@cowley.edu or call 620-441-5557.


Individuals with complaints of this nature also 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: http://www.ed.gov/ocr


Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for Region VII
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
601 East 12th Street – Room 353
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (816) 426-3686
TDD: (800) 537-7697 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Contact:  http://www.eeoc.gov/contact/

 

The Kansas Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
Contact:  www.khrc.net

 

STATEMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF REPORTING PARTY

  • The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of sexual misconduct made in good faith to college administrators;
  • The right to be treated with respect by college officials;
  • The right of both reporting party and responding party to have the same opportunity to have others present (in support or advisory roles) during a campus disciplinary hearing;
  • The right to be notified of the time frame within which:  (a) the school will conduct a full investigation of the complaint; (b) the parties will be notified of the outcome of the complaint; and (c) the parties may file an appeal, if applicable.
  • The right for the complaint to be decided using a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not to have happened or 50% plus a feather).  The school cannot use a higher standard of proof.
  • The right not to be discouraged by college officials from reporting an assault to both on-campus and off-campus authorities;
  • The right to be informed of the outcome and sanction of any disciplinary hearing involving sexual assault, usually within 24 hours of the end of the conduct hearing;
  • The right to be informed by college officials of options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the student so chooses.  This also includes the right not to report, if this is the victim’s desire;
  • The right to be notified of available counseling, mental health or student services for victims of sexual assault, both on campus and in the community;
  • The right to notification of and options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living situations after an alleged sexual assault incident, if so requested by the victim and if such changes are reasonably available (no formal complaint, or investigation, campus or criminal, need occur before this option is available).  Accommodations may include but not limited to:
    • Change of an on-campus student’s housing to a different on-campus location;
    • Assistance from college support staff in completing the relocation;
    • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
    • Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling;
    • Taking an incomplete in a class;
    • Transferring class sections;
    • Temporary withdrawal;
    • Alternative course completion options.
  •  The right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence in a campus hearing;
  • The right not to have any complaint of sexual assault mediated (as opposed to adjudicated);
  • The right to make a victim-impact statement at the campus conduct proceeding and to have that statement considered by the board in determining its sanction;
  • The right to a campus no contact order against another student who has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing or other improper behavior that presents a danger to the welfare of the complaining student or others;
  • The right to have complaints of sexual misconduct responded to quickly and with sensitivity by campus law enforcement.
  • The right to appeal the [finding and] sanction of the conduct body, in accordance with the standards for appeal established by the institution;
  • The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the complaint, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, at least 48 hours prior to the hearing;
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses who will be called to give testimony, within 48 hours of the hearing, except in cases where a witness’ identity will not be revealed to the accused student for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the alleged victim/complainant, which will always be revealed);
  • The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and allowed by law;
  • The right to a hearing closed to the public;
  • The right to petition that any member of the conduct body be removed on the basis of demonstrated bias;
  • The right to bring a victim advocate or advisor to all phases of the investigation and campus conduct proceeding;
  • The right to give testimony in a campus hearing by means other than being in the same room with the accused student;
  • The right to ask the investigators to identify and question relevant witnesses, including expert witnesses;
  • The right to be fully informed of campus conduct rules and procedures as well as the nature and extent of all alleged violations contained within the complaint;
  • The right to have the college compel the presence of student, faculty and staff witnesses, and the opportunity (if desired) to ask questions, directly or indirectly, of witnesses (including the accused student), and the right to challenge documentary evidence.
  • The right to be present for all testimony given and evidence presented before the conduct body;
  • The right to have complaints heard by conduct and appeals officers who have received annual sexual misconduct training;
  • The right to a conduct panel comprised of representatives of both genders;
  • The right to have college policies and procedures followed without material deviation;
  • The right to be informed in advance of any public release of information regarding the complaint;
  • The right not to have released to the public any personally identifiable information about the complainant, without his or her consent.

 

STATEMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF RESPONDING PARTY
The rights of responding party should also be prominently indicated.  These should include, among others particular to your college:

  • The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of sexual misconduct made in good faith to college administrators against the accused student;
  • The right to be treated with respect by college officials;
  • The right to be notified of the time frame with which:  (a) the school will conduct a full investigation of the complaint; and (b) the parties will be notified of the outcome of the complaint.
  • The right for the complaint to be decided using a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not to have happened or 50% plus a feather).  The school cannot use a higher standard of proof.
  • The right to be informed of and have access to campus resources for medical, counseling, and advisory services
  • The right to be fully informed of the nature, rules and procedures of the campus conduct process and to timely written notice of all alleged violations within the complaint, including the nature of the violation and possible sanctions; 
  • The right to a hearing on the complaint, including timely notice of the hearing date, and adequate time for preparation; 
  • The right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence in a campus hearing;
  • The right to make an impact statement at the campus conduct proceeding and to have that statement considered by the board in determining its sanction;
  • The right to appeal the [finding and] sanction of the conduct body, in accordance with the standards for appeal established by the institution;
  • The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the complaint, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, at least 48 hours prior to the hearing;
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses who will be called to give testimony, within 48 hours of the hearing, except in cases where a witness’ identity will not be revealed to the accused student for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the alleged victim/complainant, which will always be revealed);
  • The right to a hearing closed to the public;
  • The right to petition that any member of the conduct body be removed on the basis of bias;
  • The right to have the college compel the presence of student, faculty and staff witnesses, and the opportunity to ask questions, directly or indirectly, of witnesses, and the right to challenge documentary evidence.
  • The right to have complaints heard by conduct and appeals officers who have received annual sexual misconduct adjudication training;
  • The right to have college policies and procedures followed without material deviation;
  • The right to have an advisor or advocate to accompany and assist in the campus hearing process.  This advisor can be anyone, [optional: including an attorney (provided at the accused student’s own cost)], but the advisor may not take part directly in the hearing itself, though they may communicate with the accused student as necessary;
  • The right to a fundamentally fair hearing, as defined in these procedures;
  • The right to a campus conduct outcome based solely on evidence presented during the conduct process.  Such evidence shall be credible, relevant, based in fact, and without prejudice;
  • The right to written notice of the outcome and sanction of the hearing;
  • The right to a conduct panel comprised of representatives of both genders;
  • The right to be informed in advance, when possible, of any public release of information regarding the complaint. 

 

Responding party or complainants/reporting party must petition within 5 business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the decision or the sanctions imposed.  Any party who files an appeal must do so in writing to the Executive Director of Student Affairs Office. The Executive Director of Student Affairs will share the appeal with the other party (e.g., if the responding party appeals, the appeal is shared with the complainant/reporting party, who may also wish to file a response), and then the Executive Director of Student Affairs will draft a response memorandum (also shared with all parties). All appeals and responses are then forwarded to the appeals officer/committee for initial review to determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds and is timely.  The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final.  If the appeal has standing, the documentation is forwarded for consideration.  The party requesting appeal must show error as the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:

  • A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
  • To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.

If the Executive Director of Student Affairs determines that new evidence should be considered, it will return the complaint to the original hearing body to reconsider in light of the new evidence, only.  The reconsideration of the hearing body is not appealable.


If the Executive Director of Student Affairs determines that a material procedural error occurred, it may return the complaint to the original hearing body with instructions to reconvene to cure the error.  In rare cases, where the procedural error cannot be cured by the original hearing officers (as in cases of bias), the appeals officers or committee may order a new hearing on the complaint with a new body of hearing officers.  The results of a reconvened hearing cannot be appealed.  The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on the four applicable grounds for appeals. 


If the Executive Director of Student Affairs determines that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation, the appeals officer or committee will return the complaint to the student conduct office, which may then increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions.  This decision is final. 


The procedures governing the hearing of appeals include the following:

  • All parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision;
  • Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original hearing body for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued;
  • Appeals are not intended to be full rehearings of the complaint (de novo).  In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal;
  • This is not an opportunity for appeals officers to substitute their judgment for that of the original hearing body merely because they disagree with its finding and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so;
  • Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Executive Director of Student Affairs states their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
  • The Executive Director of Student Affairs will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within seven (7) business days* from hearing of the appeal.  The Executive Director of Student Affairs decision to deny appeal requests is final.

 

Special Process Provisions


A. College as Complainant
As necessary, the college reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the victim of misconduct.


B. False Reports
The College will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents.  It is a violation of the Student/Employee Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.


C. Immunity for Victims and Witnesses
The college community encourages the reporting of Conduct Code violations, especially sexual misconduct. Sometimes, victims or witnesses are hesitant to report to college officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interest of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to college officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, the college pursues a policy of offering victims of sexual misconduct and witnesses limited immunity from being charged for policy violations related to the sexual misconduct incident.  While violations cannot be completely overlooked, the college will provide educational rather than punitive responses, in such cases.


D. Bystander Engagement
The welfare of students in our community is of paramount importance.  At times, students on and off-campus may need assistance. The college encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need.  Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others, for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, as student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to the Campus Security). The college pursues a policy of limited immunity for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the college will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.


E. Parental Notification
The college reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations.  The college may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations.  Where a student is not-dependent, college will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk.  The college also reserves the right to designate which college officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

 

F. Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the responding party, and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA.  However, college observes the legal exceptions as follows:

  • Complainants in non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and relationship violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed of the outcome, essential findings, and sanctions of the hearing, in writing, without condition or limitation.
  • The college may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a college policy that is a “crime of violence,” including:  arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction.  The college will release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome.

 

G. Alternative Testimony Options
For sexual misconduct complaints, and other complaints of a sensitive nature, whether the reporting party is serving as the complainant or as a witness, alternative testimony options will be given, such a placing a privacy screen in the hearing room, or allowing the reporting party to testify outside the physical presence of the responding party, such as by Skype.  While these options are intended to help make the reporting party more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the responding party.


H. Past Sexual History/Character
The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other party in the investigation or hearing unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the Title IX Coordinator or Investigator.  All such information sought to be admitted will be presumed irrelevant, and any request to overcome this presumption by the parties must be included in the complaint/response or a subsequent written request, and must be reviewed in advance of the hearing by the Executive Director of Student Affairs.  While previous conduct violations by the responding party are not generally admissible as information about the present alleged violation, the Executive Director of Student Affairs may supply previous complaint information to the investigators, the conduct board, or may consider it themselves if they are hearing the complaint, only if:

    • The accused was previously found to be responsible;
    • The previous incident was substantially similar to the present allegation;
    • Information indicates a pattern of behavior and substantial conformity with that pattern by the accused student. 

 

Adopted June 18, 2012
Revised June 19, 2017