Sexual Misconduct Policy
July 1, 2015
Information in this publication is subject to change and Alamance Community College reserves the right to make any necessary revisions in the information contained here without notice. The College further reserves the right to add, amend, or repeal content in this publication and such modifications will be provided on the College’s website in as timely a manner as practical. If any provision of this publication is found to be outdated, invalid, or inconsistent with applicable law, the remaining provisions will continue to be valid and in full force and effect.
Questions or comments related to this publication should be directed to Dr. Carol Disque, Title IX Coordinator, Vice President of Student Success, Gee Building 126, 336-506-4138, Carol.Disque@alamancecc.edu.
Alamance Community College (the “College” or “ACC”) is committed to providing an educational environment in which all employees and students, without regard to sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, have a right to work and learn free from sexual harassment and sexual violence. The College will promptly, fairly, and impartially investigate sexual harassment and/or sexual violence complaints by members of the College community (students, employees, and third parties such as contracted workers and volunteers) or by visitors against members of the College community or visitors regarding on-campus conduct and off-campus conduct that affects the learning experience of students, the work environment of employees, or the campus climate. The College will provide to student, applicant, and employee complainants appropriate processes and accommodations in order to minimize a hostile environment, prevent the recurrence of a sexual harassment or sexual violence incident, and address its effects.
Sexual harassment (including sexual violence) is deemed a form of sex discrimination prohibited by North Carolina General Statutes 126-16; by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment; and by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination against students and employees in educational institutions which receive federal funds.
Sexual harassment is defined as a deliberate, unsolicited and unwelcomed sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other verbal and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature or with sexual implications; or unwelcome conduct based on sex or sexual stereotyping:
- Which has or may have direct employment consequences resulting from the acceptance or rejection of such conduct;
- Has or may have direct admissions, enrollment, grading or academic consequences resulting from the acceptance or rejection of such conduct;
- Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment; and/or interferes with an employee’s work performance or student’s academic performance;
- Denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in and/or benefit from a school program.
Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability, or a medically diagnosed impairment. Sexual violence is a criminal offense. A number of different defined acts are criminal offenses and fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. North Carolina criminal sex crimes (in part) are defined in N.C. G.S. §14-27.1 and in the North Carolina Domestic Violence Act as set forth in N.C.G.S. §50B-1. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.
Definitions of related terms (such as consent, dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, and stalking) are found in “Procedures to Address Sexual Misconduct,” a document updated and published annually in the student handbook and on the College’s web site.
Students and employees are encouraged to report sexual misconduct (harassment or violence) to one or more of the following: the Title IX Coordinator (who is ACC’s Director of Human Resources), a College “responsible employee,” a College “counselor/advisor,” their employment supervisor, a College security official, a local law enforcement officer, a local medical professional, a local mental health professional or a pastoral counselor. See “Procedures to Address Sexual Misconduct” for contact information.
College “responsible employees” are all faculty members, administrators, and support staff (including student employees and contracted service providers) except the Title IX Coordinator and designated “counselors/advisors”; all student services staff members except designated “counselors/advisors”; and campus security staff. A “responsible employee” shall report to the College’s Title IX Coordinator or designee relevant details of instances of sexual misconduct made known to him or her, and he/she shall inform the complainant of his/her right to file a Title IX complaint with the College and to report a crime to campus security and/or local law enforcement.
College “counselors/advisors” are not considered “responsible employees” for reporting purposes but are counselors/advisors whom students or employees may consult confidentially for support and information. These designated individuals are the Director of Career Services and Counseling, Coordinator of Academic Advising, Coordinator of Placement Testing, Coordinator of Disability Services, counselor trainees working under the supervision of a professional counselor, ACC-selected/appointed sexual assault responders, and ACC-approved third parties providing confidential counseling services on the campuses or by referral. These “counselors/advisors” are not required to report incidents except as described below, and they will provide information about support services students can use whether or not they file a complaint on-campus or with off-campus authorities. “Counselors/advisors” will report incidents under certain specific circumstances, including an informed consent release by the complainant, a threat of harm to self or others, a court order, or harm to minors. (NCGS 14-27.5) See “Procedures to Address Sexual Misconduct” for contact information.
There is no time limit to invoking this policy to respond to alleged sexual misconduct. However, complainants are encouraged to report allegations of sexual misconduct immediately in order to maximize the College’s ability to obtain the relevant information and witness testimony needed to complete a thorough and impartial investigation. The College will resolve complaints within 60 days of the initial report (not including appeal processes) unless fact-finding is delayed to defer to law enforcement evidence gathering, or if other special circumstances such as College break periods apply.
Malicious or frivolous claims of sexual misconduct are prohibited, and, if substantiated, may result in disciplinary action against the instigator.
An anonymous report of sexual misconduct is not considered a complaint under this policy. However, the College will attempt to perform an inquiry as to any anonymous report received. A third party complaint, made on behalf of someone else who has been the victim of sexual misconduct/harassment/violence, will be investigated by ACC. Complainants should be aware it may be difficult to keep the victim’s identity confidential during the investigation because of the circumstances of the charge.
In general, the College will obtain consent from the complainant before beginning an investigation. However in cases involving potential criminal conduct College officials reserve the authority to determine, consistent with State and local law, whether appropriate law enforcement authorities should be notified. If the College determines the alleged perpetrator poses a serious and immediate threat to the College community, the campus security supervisor may be called upon to issue a timely warning to the community as required by the Clery Act. Such a warning does not include information that identifies the victim.
If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the College will take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complainant consistent with the complainant’s request. The College will inform the complainant that its ability to respond may be limited. The College’s Title IX Coordinator or designee will evaluate the complainant’s request for confidentiality in the context of ACC’s obligation to provide a safe environment for students and employees, and will inform the complainant prior to starting an investigation if it cannot ensure confidentiality. At minimum in every case of reported sexual violence, an anonymous report of the incident must be provided by the Title IX coordinator to campus security staff in order to comply with campus crime reporting (Clery Act) requirements.
The College will maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective measures provided to students or employees, to the extent that confidentiality does not impair the ability of the College to provide the protective measures.
Those who make complaints or otherwise participate in investigative and/or disciplinary processes under this policy are protected from retaliatory acts. No employee or student may engage in interference, coercion, restraint, or reprisal against any person alleging sexual misconduct. Perpetrators of retaliation will face disciplinary action. Likewise, claims of sexual misconduct that are substantiated as malicious or frivolous may result in disciplinary action against the instigator.
Informal Resolution Options:
The complainant has the right to end an informal resolution process at any time and pursue formal resolution. See “Procedures to Address Sexual Misconduct” for more information about each informal option.
- Confidential consultation with the Title IX Coordinator or designee for support, information, and/or exploration of possible actions.
- Confidential counseling and referral: “Counselors/advisors” as designated in this policy may counsel a student confidentially to provide support, information, referral, and/or exploration of possible actions.
- Informal voluntary mediation, contingent on the availability of qualified mediators. This option is available only for complaints of sexual harassment, but not for sexual violence including rape, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and sexual battery.
Formal Resolution Options:
The complainant has the right to pursue the applicable following options individually or simultaneously as applicable.
- If the accused is an Alamance Community College student, such individual shall file a formal complaint with campus security and/or the Vice President for Student Success and follow the College’s grievance procedures/student conduct process as described in the student handbook.
Note that: Investigation and resolution will be prompt, fair, and impartial.
- The standard of evidence for a finding of “responsible” is preponderance of the evidence.
- Accuser and accused are entitled to have an advisor of their respective choice present at a disciplinary proceeding and any related meetings. An advisor serves on a consulting (non-participatory) basis in a disciplinary hearing.
- Sanctions assigned to a student found responsible include one or more of the following: letter of reprimand, general probation, restrictive probation, suspension, explicit dismissal, indefinite dismissal.
- If the accused is an Alamance Community College employee, contracted employee, or visitor, such individual shall file a formal complaint with campus security, employment supervisor, and/or the Title IX Coordinator (Director of Human Resources) and follow the College’s grievance procedures. An employee found responsible will be assigned one or more of the following disciplinary sanctions: oral warning, written warning, special training appropriate to the findings, probation, suspension, dismissal.
- File a criminal complaint with a local law enforcement agency. Campus security staff will assist with this process.
- File a complaint directly with the appropriate Federal or North Carolina agency (ex. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Civil Rights).
NOTIFICATION OF OUTCOME
The College will notify the complainant in writing whether or not it found that sexual misconduct occurred, any individual remedies offered to the complainant, and other steps the College has taken to eliminate a hostile environment and prevent recurrence. In cases that involve institutional grievance/disciplinary proceedings on allegations of sexual harassment not involving sexual violence, the College will disclose to the complainant matters about the sanction that are directly related to the complainant. In cases that involve institutional grievance/disciplinary proceedings on allegations of sexual violence, the College will notify the accuser and the accused simultaneously and in writing of the outcome of the proceeding, appeal procedures, any change to the result following appeal, and a summary of the final results and effective date. Final results are defined as the name of the accused, the findings of the proceeding, any sanctions imposed by the College, and the rationale (if any). Names of any other persons, such as a victim/survivor or witness, will be included only with the consent of those persons. The College will not require a party to abide by a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent the re-disclosure of information related to the outcome of the proceeding.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
The College expects all employees and students to participate in training and education on sexual harassment and sexual violence topics at regular intervals. Training and education topics and content provided by the College will be consistent with Title IX and Campus SaVE Act regulations and recommendations. New employees and students will receive training, educational programs, and materials on Title IX; sexual misconduct awareness and prevention topics; procedures for reporting and resolving complaints; procedures for making referrals; and roles of various members of the College community in addressing sexual misconduct. Ongoing prevention and awareness programs, materials, and campaigns will be provided for all employees and students. Employees in specific roles will participate in specialized training. Those roles include Title IX Coordinator, responsible employees, counselors/advisors, complaint investigators, hearing officials, grievance committee members, and campus security staff. The sexual misconduct policy and procedures will be published in key College publications (ex. General Catalog, Student Handbook, Employee Handbook, College web site) made widely available to members of the College community.