Policy Number: I-46
Last Reviewed: January 6, 2015
Responsible Dept.: Dean of Student Services
Policy Document (PDF)
As a recipient of federal funds, Virginia Western Community College is required to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. ("Title IX"), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, admission and employment. Under certain circumstances, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and similar conduct constitute sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to the College's Title IX Coordinator or to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. The Title IX Coordinator is Lori Baker, whose office is located at Chapman Hall, and may be contacted by phone at 540-857-6348 or by email at TitleIXCoordinator@virginiawestern.edu.
Virginia Western Community College is committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination based on any status protected by law. This Policy supplements the following general policy statement set forth by the Virginia Community College System: This institution promotes and maintains educational opportunities without regard to race, color, sex, ethnicity, religion, gender, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors. This Policy also addresses the requirements under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, (also known as the Campus SaVE Act).
This Policy is not intended to substitute or supersede related criminal or civil law. Individuals should report incidents of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to law enforcement authorities. Criminal and civil remedies are available in addition to the potential remedies that the College may provide.
The purpose of this Policy is to establish that the College prohibits discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation and to set forth procedures by which such allegations shall be filed, investigated and resolved.
This Policy applies to all campus community members, including students, faculty, staff and third parties, e.g., contractors and visitors. Conduct that occurs off campus can be the subject of a complaint or report and will be evaluated to determine whether it violates this Policy, e.g. if off-campus harassment has continuing effects that create a hostile environment on campus.
Advisor: An individual who provides the complainant and respondent support, guidance, or advice. Advisors may be present at any meeting or hearing, but may not speak directly on behalf of the complainant or respondent.
Complainant: A complainant refers to an individual who believes that they have been the subject of a violation of this Policy and files a complaint against a faculty, staff member or student.
Consent: Any sexual activity or sex act committed against one's will, by the use of force, threat, intimidation, or ruse, or through one's mental incapacity or physical helplessness is without consent. Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually-agreed upon sexual activity. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities, or a current or previous dating relationship, does not imply ongoing or future consent. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). An individual cannot consent who is under the age of legal consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred.
Mental incapacity means that condition of a person existing at the time which prevents the person from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act involved (the who, what, when, where, why, and how) and about which the accused knew or should have known. This includes incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol. Intoxication is not the same as incapacitation.
Physical helplessness means unconsciousness or any other condition existing at the time which otherwise rendered the person physically unable to communicate an unwillingness to act and about which the accused knew or should have known. Physical helplessness may be reached through the use of alcohol or drugs.
Dating Violence: Dating violence is violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury committed by a person who is or has been in a close relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the other person. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places one in reasonable apprehension of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury and that is committed by a person against such person's family or household member, which includes a current or former spouse a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, or who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the person as a spouse or intimate partner.
Respondent: A respondent refers to the individual who has been accused of violating this Policy.
Responsible Employee: A responsible employee is one designated for purposes of initiating notice and investigation of alleged violations of this Policy. A responsible employee also is any employee who a person reasonably believes is a responsible employee. Responsible employees are required to forward all reports of violations of this Policy to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator. [Any employee with supervisory authority is a responsible employee. (Alternatively, the College may name responsible employees by title, or name employees who are Campus Security Authorities as responsible employees.)]
Sex Discrimination: Sex discrimination is the unlawful treatment of another based on the individual's sex that excludes an individual from participation in, denies the individual the benefits of, or otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of an individual's employment, education, or participation in college program or activity.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is defined as the intentional sexual contact with a person against that person's will by the use of force, threat, or intimidation, or through the use of a person's mental incapacity or physical helplessness. Sexual assault includes intentionally touching, either directly or through clothing, of the victim's genitals, breasts, thighs, or buttocks without the person's consent, as well as forcing someone to touch or fondle another against his or her will. Sexual battery is a type of sexual assault.
Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her 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 other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to invasion of sexual privacy; prostituting another person; non-consensual video or audio-taping of 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; exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals, and knowingly transmitting HIV or an STD to another.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment shall be considered to have occurred in the following instances:
Quid Pro Quo: The submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for educational or employment decisions affecting the student or employee either explicitly or implicitly; or
Hostile Environment: Conduct so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it undermines and detracts from an employee's work performance or a student's educational experience.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another's will or at the expense of another. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and sexual violence.
Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is any intentional physical sexual abuse committed against a person's will. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery.
Stalking: Stalking occurs when someone, on more than one occasion, engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places that other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person's family or household member.
Third Party: A third party refers to any other participant in the process, other than the complainant or respondent, who makes a report on behalf of someone else. A third party could also include a witness to the incident.
Any form of retaliation, including intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action taken or threatened against any complainant or person reporting a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy, or any person cooperating in the investigation of allegations of violations of this Policy, to include testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in an investigation pursuant to this Policy and the resolution procedures is strictly prohibited by this Policy. Action is generally deemed adverse if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this Policy. Retaliation may result in disciplinary or other action independent of the sanctions or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of violations of this Policy.
The Title IX Coordinator will assist members of the campus community in reporting incidents to law enforcement authorities upon request. Members of the campus community may decline to notify law enforcement authorities if they wish. The College will comply with all requests for cooperation by the campus police or local law enforcement in investigations. The College may be required to suspend the Title IX investigation while the campus police or the local law enforcement agency gathers evidence. The College will resume its Title IX investigation as soon as the campus police or local law enforcement agency has completed gathering evidence. Otherwise, the College's investigation will not be precluded or suspended on the grounds that criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced.
The College encourages the reporting of incidents that violate this Policy. The use of alcohol or drugs should not be a deterrent to reporting an incident. When conducting the investigation, the College's primary focus will be on addressing the alleged misconduct and not on alcohol and drug violations that may be discovered or disclosed. The College does not condone underage drinking; however, the College will extend limited amnesty from punitive sanctioning in the case of drug or alcohol use to complainants, witnesses, and others who report incidents, provided that they are acting in good faith in such capacity. The College may provide referrals to counseling and may require educational options, rather than disciplinary sanctions, in such cases.
The College is required by federal law to issue timely warnings for reported incidents that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College will ensure, to every extent possible, that an alleged victim's name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for members of the campus community to make decisions to address their own safely in light of the potential danger.
Anyone who has experienced sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking should do the following:
For professional and confidential counseling support, call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238 or call Sexual Assault Response & Awareness (SARA) 3034 Brambleton Avenue SW Roanoke, VA 24015 - Phone: (540) 345-7273. Help is available 24 hours a day.
Any student or employee who reports an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, or who is accused of committing such acts, whether the incident occurred on or off campus, shall receive a written explanation of their rights and options related to changes in academic, parking, and working arrangements, when requested and when reasonably available.
1. All students and employees will receive information in writing of available counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available in the community and on campus.
2. For more information about available resources, go to: http://virginiawestern.edu/facstaff/campuscommunityres.php
1. The College conducts a program to educate students and employees about this Policy and its procedures. The education and awareness program is designed to promote awareness of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
2. Incoming students and new employees must take part in a mandatory primary prevention and awareness program. The program, at a minimum, shall include:
3. The College also conducts an ongoing prevention and awareness campaign for all students and employees. The campaign shall include, at a minimum, the information provided to incoming students and new employees.
1. The College has an obligation to provide prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution of alleged violations to this Policy and is committed to so doing. Title IX Coordinator, investigators, and hearing officials must receive annual training on sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and the conduct of investigations and hearings. The College may resolve complaints either by an informal or formal resolution process.
2. The parties may agree to proceed under the informal resolution process in matters not involving sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. The formal resolution process will be applied (i) when any party that participated in the informal resolution process chooses to terminate the process, and (ii) to all matters that are not eligible for informal resolution.
1. Complainant's Initial Meeting with the Title IX Coordinator.* As soon as is practicable, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant to schedule an initial meeting. If the complainant is not the alleged victim, the Title IX Coordinator also will contact the alleged victim as soon as possible to schedule an initial meeting. The complainant may be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choosing. At this initial meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will:
2. Respondent's Initial Meeting with the Assigned Title IX Coordinator.** As soon as is reasonably practicable, the Title IX Coordinator will schedule an initial meeting with the respondent. The respondent may be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choosing. During the initial meeting with the respondent, the Title IX Coordinator will:
3. Title IX Coordinator's Initial Determination.
4. Appointment of the Investigator and Conduct of the Investigation.
1. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether there is a preponderance of the evidence to find that the respondent violated this Policy as alleged. In most cases, this should occur within five (5) workdays of receiving the written investigative report from the investigator. The "preponderance of the evidence" standard requires that the weight of the evidence, in totality, supports a finding that it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred.
2. If the Title IX Coordinator finds that the evidence does not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent committed the alleged violation, the matter will be closed. The Title IX Coordinator will make the determination in writing and distribute the written investigative report with such finding to the complainant and the respondent concurrently. All parties to whom the written investigative report is distributed pursuant to this Policy should maintain it in confidence. Both the complainant and the respondent may appeal the finding under the procedure described below.
3. If the Title IX Coordinator finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation of this Policy did occur, the Title IX Coordinator will make the determination in writing and distribute the written investigative report with such finding to the complainant and the respondent concurrently. All parties to whom the written investigative report is distributed pursuant to this Policy should maintain it in confidence. Both the complainant and the respondent may appeal the finding under the procedure described below.
4. When the Title IX Coordinator finds that a violation has occurred, he or she also shall write a separate written corrective action report that will contain recommendations for steps that should be taken to prevent recurrence of any such violation and to remedy any discriminatory effects. If interim measures as described above have been taken, the written corrective action report shall include a recommendation regarding continuation, suspension or modification of any such interim measures. The Title IX Coordinator shall distribute the written corrective action report to the complainant and respondent concurrently. In most cases, the written corrective action report should be completed within five (5) workdays after the distribution of the written investigative report. The written investigative report and the corrective action report may be submitted concurrently. The Title IX Coordinator also shall provide the written investigative report and the written corrective action report to the appropriate College official, as described below.
5. If the respondent is a student, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the reports to the Vice President for Academics & Student Affairs. Within ten (10) workdays, the Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs shall determine and impose appropriate sanctions, as described below. The respondent and the Title IX Coordinator shall receive written notification of sanction(s). When the respondent is a student, within five (5) workdays of receipt, the Title IX Coordinator may disclose to the complainant the sanctions imposed on the respondent that directly relate to the complainant as permitted by state and federal law, including the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, when such disclosure is necessary to ensure the safety of the complainant. The Title IX Coordinator also may disclose in writing to the complainant the final results of a disciplinary proceeding involving the respondent with regard to an alleged forcible or non-forcible sex offense, act of stalking, domestic violence or dating violence on the complainant, as permitted by state and federal law including FERPA and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The disclosure of final results must include only the name of the student, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed by the College against the student.
6. If the respondent is an employee, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the reports to [the employee's supervisor or other college official]. Within ten (10) workdays, the Director of Human Resources shall determine and impose appropriate sanctions, as described below. The respondent and the Title IX Coordinator shall receive written notification of sanction(s).***
7. If the respondent is a third party, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the reports to [vice president/police chief, or other college official]. Within ten (10) workdays, the Vice President of Finance shall determine and impose appropriate sanctions, as described below. The respondent and the Title IX Coordinator shall receive written notification of sanction(s). The Title IX Coordinator may disclose to the complainant information as described above.
8. The Title IX Coordinator will advise the respondent and the complainant of their right to appeal any finding or sanction in writing. The written notification also shall provide information on the appeals process. If the respondent does not contest the finding or recommended sanction(s), the respondent shall sign a statement acknowledging such. The signed statement shall be part of the record.
*** The complainant shall not receive information that would constitute personnel records; however, the College will take appropriate steps as necessary to protect the safety of the complainant while also complying with state law and policy.
1. After receiving a request from both parties to resolve the complaint with the informal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a College official to facilitate an effective and appropriate resolution. Within three (3) workdays of the appointment, the College official, the complainant or the respondent may identify to the Title IX Coordinator in writing any potential conflict of interest posed by assigning such official to the matter. The Title IX Coordinator will consider such statements and will assign a different individual to facilitate if it is determined that a material conflict of interest exists. Within five (5) workdays of the appointment, the College official will request a written statement from the parties to be submitted within ten (10) workdays. Each party may request that witnesses are interviewed. Within ten (10) workdays of receiving the written statements, the College official will hold a meeting(s) with the parties and coordinate informal resolution measures. The College official shall document the meeting(s) in writing. Each party may have one advisor of his or her choosing during any meeting; however, the advisor may not speak on the party s behalf.
2. The informal resolution process should be complete within thirty (30) days in most cases, unless good cause exists to extend the timeframe. The parties will be notified in writing and given the reason for the delay and an estimated time of completion. Any party may request in writing that the informal resolution process be terminated at any time, in which case the formal resolution process will commence. In addition, any party can pursue formal resolution if he or she is dissatisfied with the proposed informal resolution.
3. Any resolution of a complaint through the informal process must address the concerns of the complainant and the responsibility of the College to address alleged violations of the Policy, while also respecting the due process rights of the respondent. Informal resolution remedies might include mandatory education, counseling, written counseling by an employee's supervisor, or other methods. The College official will provide the complainant and respondent with a copy of the final written report concurrently. The final written report shall include the nature of the complaint, a meeting(s) summary, the informal resolution remedies applied, and whether the complaint was resolved through the informal resolution process.
4. There is no right of appeal afforded to the complainant or the respondent following the informal resolution process.
1. The College will take reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of any violations of this Policy and to correct the discriminatory effects on the complainant (and others, if appropriate). Sanctions for a finding of responsibility depend upon the nature and gravity of the misconduct, any record of prior discipline for similar violations, or both.
2. The range of potential sanctions and corrective actions that may be imposed against a student includes but is not limited to the following: required discrimination or harassment education, a requirement not to repeat or continue the discriminatory, harassing, or retaliatory conduct, verbal or written warning, a no-contact order, written or verbal apology, verbal or written warning, probation, suspension, and dismissal from the College.
3. Sanctions for faculty and staff shall be determined in accordance with the VCCS Policy Manual and the Department of Human Resource Management Standards of Conduct, respectively. Possible sanctions and corrective actions include required discrimination or harassment education, informal or formal counseling, reassignment, demotion, suspension, non-reappointment, and termination from employment.
4. Third parties, e.g., contractors, will be prohibited from having access to the campus. Depending on the violation, this prohibition may be permanent or temporary.
5. Title IX Coordinator will determine the final accommodations to be provided to the complainant, if any.
6. Sanctions imposed do not take effect until the resolution of any timely appeal. However, sanctions may take effect immediately when the continued presence of an individual on campus may threaten the safety of an individual or the campus community, generally. Sanctions will continue in effect until such time as the appeal process is exhausted in such cases.
Either the complainant or the respondent has the opportunity to appeal the outcome of the written investigative report or the sanction(s) recommended. Appeals shall be conducted in accordance with the applicable grievance procedures described in the Student Handbook, VCCS Policy Manual, and the Grievance Procedure Manual of the Department of Human Resource Management. Third parties may appeal to the President. Any party involved with an appeal may identify to the Title IX Coordinator in writing any potential conflict of interest.
1. This Policy does not allow censorship of constitutionally protected expression. Verbal or written communications, without accompanying unwanted sexual physical contact, is not sexual violence or sexual assault. Verbal or written communications constitute sexual harassment only when such communications are sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that they undermine and detract from an employee's work performance or a student's educational experience.
2. In addressing all complaints and reports of alleged violations of this Policy, the College will take all permissible actions to ensure the safety of students and employees while complying with any and all applicable guidance regarding free speech rights of students and employees. This Policy does not apply to curriculum, curricular materials, or abridge the use of particular textbooks.
Any individual who knowingly files a false complaint under this Policy, who knowingly provides false information to College officials, or who intentionally misleads College officials who are involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal for students and termination of employment for faculty and staff. An allegation that cannot be proven by a preponderance of the evidence is not necessarily proof of knowingly filing a false complaint.
Consenting romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and students, although not expressly forbidden, are generally deemed unwise and are strongly discouraged. Consent by the student in such a relationship may be suspect, given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of the relationship. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome.
The Title IX Coordinator shall maintain, in a confidential manner, for at least five (5) years, paper or electronic files of all complaints, witness statements, documentary evidence, written investigative reports, written corrective action reports, sanctions, appeal hearings and associated documents, the responses taken campus personnel for each complaint, including any interim and permanent steps taken with respect to the complainant and the respondent, and a narrative of all action taken to prevent recurrence of any harassing incident(s), including any written documentation.
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