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HUNTINGDON COLLEGE

DISCRIMINATION AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

 

Title IX Coordinator / Professor / Director of Library: Eric A. Kidwell

Phone #: (334) 833-4420

Title IX E-Mail: TitleIXCoordinator@hawks.huntingdon.edu

Anonymous electronic reporting: www.huntingdon.edu/misconduct

Anonymous telephone reporting: 334-833-4999

INTRODUCTION

Huntingdon College is committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices.  Therefore, the College, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination in its employment practices and the delivery of its educational programs on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, and/or national origin.

Every member of the College community has the right to an environment free from sexual misconduct and Huntingdon College has a zero tolerance policy for any and all sexual misconduct.  When an allegation of sexual misconduct is reported to a Responsible Employee, and a respondent is found to have violated this policy, sanctions will be imposed to reasonably ensure that such actions are never repeated.  Huntingdon College is committed to providing a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees, including victims of sexual discrimination which includes sexual assault.  This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated.

SCOPE OF POLICY

The Huntingdon College Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all students and employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and applies to third parties who interact with College constituencies on campus or in a College related activity.  Incidents and/or actions involving any current student and/or employee are covered by this policy whether occurring on or off the Huntingdon College campus if the conduct occurred in the context of an education program or activity or had continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus education program or activity.

Huntingdon College uses the term “complainant” for the person who experiences an incident of sexual misconduct or is the third party reporter of such an incident and the term “respondent” for the person who is accused of committing an act of sexual misconduct.

REPORTING OPTIONS

(Later in this document you will find a fuller explanation of reporting options.)

Huntingdon College encourages individuals who experience sexual misconduct to talk to someone about what happened so that they can get the support needed, and so the College can respond appropriately.  As listed below and detailed later in this document, there are various internal and external reporting disclosure options available, including college Advisors who can assist in explaining college policy and process and resources available to parties involved in a sexual misconduct case.  The College encourages individuals to talk to someone regardless of the person to whom they may choose to speak.

Huntingdon College Confidential Employees

Off-Campus Counseling Services

Huntingdon College Advisors

Local Law Enforcement and Crisis Response

Responsible College Employees

  • For the purposes of this policy, includes all Faculty, Administrators, Staff, Coaches, and Resident Assistants (unless otherwise designated)
  • Title IX Coordinator / Director of Library*, Mr. Eric A. Kidwell, 334-833-4420
  • Disability Services / ADA / Code 504 Coordinator*, Dr. Lisa Dorman, 334-833-4465
  • Senior Vice President for Planning & Administration*, Mr. Jay Dorman, 334-833-4406

*Serve on the College’s Discrimination Response Team

Anonymous Reporting

Other Reporting

Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, at their regional office:

Atlanta Office
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
61 Forsythe Street, SW, Suite 19T10
Atlanta, GA 30303-8927

Phone: (404) 974-9406
Fax: (404) 974-9471
TDD: (800) 877-8339
Email: OCR.Atlanta@ed.gov

TIME LIMITS ON REPORTING

There is no time limitation on reporting allegations to the Title IX Coordinator.  However, if the responding party is no longer subject to Huntingdon College’s jurisdiction  and/or significant time has passed, the ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies may be more limited.  Acting on allegations significantly impacted by the passage of time (including, but not limited to, the rescission or revision of policy) is at the discretion of the College, which may document allegations for future reference, offer resources and/or remedies, and/or engage in informal or formal action, as appropriate.  When a significant time delay impacts the reporting of alleged misconduct, the College will apply the policy in place at the time of the alleged misconduct, and the procedures in place at the time the misconduct is reported.

JURISDICTION OF HUNTINGDON COLLEGE

This policy applies to conduct that takes place on the campus of or on the property owned or controlled by Huntingdon College and at Huntingdon College-sponsored events.  It may also apply to off-campus and to online conduct when the College determines that the conduct affects a substantial college interest.  Regardless of where the conduct occurred, the College will address all allegations to determine whether the conduct occurred in the context of its employment or educational program or activity and/or has continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus program or activity. A substantial college interest includes:

  1. Any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by law. This includes but is not limited to, single or repeat violations of any local, state, or federal law;
  2. Any situation in which it appears that the responding party may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others;
  3. Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property, or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  4. Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the College.

AMNESTY STATEMENT

The College has your safety and well-being as its first priority. Do not let the possibility that you may have broken a college rule keep you from reporting an incident of sexual misconduct. Where possible, the College will pursue a policy of offering a person who has experienced sexual misconduct, or who has witnessed an incident of sexual misconduct, limited immunity from being charged with policy violations related to the particular incident.

REPORTING AND CONFIDENTIALITY DISCLOSING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: KNOW THE OPTIONS

Huntingdon College encourages anyone who experiences sexual misconduct to talk to someone about what happened so that they can get the support needed, and so the College can respond appropriately

If you experience an act of sexual misconduct during a college break, such as the break between fall and spring semesters or Spring Break, help is still available.  You may contact an off-campus resources, such as the One Place Family Justice Center in Montgomery, or you may contact Huntingdon Security (334-833-4463) which will work with you to reach an appropriate college official.

This policy is intended to make students and employees aware of the various reporting and disclosure options available to them, so they can make informed choices about where to turn should they experience sexual misconduct.   The College encourages an individual to talk to someone regardless of to whom they may choose to talk.

It is very important to obtain immediate medical care following a sexual assault, to provide for your well being and to document, collect, and properly preserve physical evidence of the assault. In order to preserve physical evidence should one later decide to pursue legal action, one should not change clothes, bathe, douche, or use the toilet. Individuals should seek medical care immediately, whether or not the assault is reported. In addition to care of obvious injuries, medical attention is needed to protect from sexually transmitted diseases or the possibility of pregnancy. Immediate medical attention can be received at the nearest local hospital emergency room or through the the One Place Family Justice Center.  If requested, a member of the college staff will accompany a student or employee.

REQUESTING CONFIDENTIALITY FROM THE COLLEGE: HOW THE COLLEGE WILL WEIGH THE REQUEST AND RESPOND

If a complainant discloses an incident of sexual misconduct but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action be taken, the College must weigh that request against the College’s primary obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees, including the complainant.  If the complainant wishes confidentiality, they should speak with a Confidential Employee or seek assistance from an off-campus confidential resource such as the One Place Family Justice Center.   The College’s  Advisors  can provide privacy and will generally only report to the College that an incident occurred, without revealing any personally identifying information, if in the Advisor’s  judgment it is in the best interest of the complainant and no greater risk is apparent to the college community.  Responsible Employees MUST report all details of incidents of sexual misconduct that come to their attention.

If the complainant desires confidentiality, the complainant must understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the respondent will be limited.   Also it should be understood that there are times when the College may not be able to honor a complainant’s request in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for the college community.

Huntingdon College has designated a Discrimination Response Team to oversee the College’s sexual misconduct process.  The Discrimination Response Team consists of the Senior Vice President for Planning and Administration, the Title IX Coordinator, the Disability Services/ADA/504 Coordinator, the Chief of the Huntingdon College Security Department, and other members as appointed from Student Life and the Faculty.

When weighing a complainant’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or discipline be pursued, the Discrimination Response Team will consider a range of factors, including but not necessarily limited to the following:

  • The increased risk that the respondent will commit additional acts of sexual misconduct, such as:
    • whether there have been other sexual misconduct complaints about the same respondent;
    • whether the respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of misconduct and the severity of misconduct;
    • whether the respondent directly or indirectly threatened further sexual misconduct or other misconduct against the complainant or others, and its degree of severity;
    • whether the sexual misconduct was committed by multiple persons;
  • whether the sexual misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
  • whether the complainant is a minor;
  • whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual misconduct (e.g. security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
  • whether the complainant’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.

The presence of one or more of these factors will lead the College to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary and/or legal action.  If none of these factors is present, the College will likely respect the complainant’s request for confidentiality or  no investigation.

If the College determines that it cannot grant a complainant’s wishes, the College will inform the complainant prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the College’s response.

Although students are strongly encouraged to seek family support when they experience sexual misconduct, Huntingdon College will generally not contact the parents/guardians of a complainant or respondent without the complainant’s or respondent’s consent.

The College will remain ever mindful of the complainant’s well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the complainant from retaliation or harm and work with the complainant to create a safety plan.  Retaliation against any party in a complaint, whether by students or college employees, will not be tolerated.  The College will also:

  • work with the complainant to access  available remedies and resources.
  • provide other security and support, which could include issuing a no-contact order, helping arrange a change of living or working arrangements or course schedules (including for the respondent pending the outcome of an investigation) or adjustments for assignments or tests; and
  • inform the complainant of the right to report a crime to campus or local law enforcement-and provide the complainant with assistance if the complainant wishes to do so.

A complainant who at first requests confidentiality or that no investigation take place, and that request is honored by the College, may later decide to file a complaint with the College or report the incident to local law enforcement, and thus have the incident fully investigated.  An Advisor will provide the complainant with assistance in reporting the incident if the complainant wishes them to do so.

Although students are strongly encouraged to seek family support when a sexual misconduct occurs, Huntingdon College will generally not contact the parents/guardians of a complainant or respondent without the complainant’s or respondent’s consent.

FALSE ALLEGATIONS AND INFORMATION

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Additionally, witnesses and parties providing knowingly false evidence or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation will be subject to discipline under Huntingdon College policy.

FEDERAL TIMELY WARNING OBLIGATIONS

Parties reporting sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking should be aware that under the Clery Act, Huntingdon College must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to it that pose a serious or continuing threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community.  Huntingdon College will ensure that a complainant’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 potential danger.

THE OPTIONS: EXPANDED EXPLANATION

Off-Campus Confidential Resource

One Place Family Justice Center, 334-262-73781-800-650-6522 (24/7 crisis line)

One Place Family Justice Center is a safe place where victims can go to plan for their safety, meet with an advocate, talk with a police officer, meet with a prosecutor, receive medical assistance, and obtain information on shelters and sexual assault services.

College Confidential Resources and Advisors

Confidential employees will maintain confidentiality except in cases involving a minor, or in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger.

Huntingdon College Counseling Center , Latonya Graham, PhD, NCC, LPCS, (334) 833-4302 lgraham@hawks.huntingdon.edu

The Huntingdon College Counseling Center is staffed by a licensed, professional counselor who provides mental health counseling to members of the College community.  The Huntingdon College Counseling Center maintains the confidentiality of members of the College community reporting sexual misconduct, within the limits of state law.

Chaplain Rhett Butler, M.Div., (334) 833-4474, chaplain@hawks.huntingdon.edu

The College Chaplain, as an ordained pastor appointed by the Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, is within the Huntingdon College community uniquely charged with providing an ethic of confidentiality grounded in ecclesiology.  However, unlike a professional counselor or a pastor assigned to a more traditional congregation, the College Chaplain experiences a wide range of contact, both formal and informal, direct and indirect, with all College constituencies and as such a request of confidentiality made to the Chaplain will be considered given the ministerial role applicable to a particular encounter and taking into account the pastoral needs and spiritual purposes of both the individual and the College community.

Huntingdon College encourages the above college confidential employees to inform the persons they are counseling of any procedures that the confidential employee follows to report crimes on a voluntary, confidential basis for inclusion in its annual Clery reporting of crime statistics, should the confidential employee deem such reporting appropriate.

 Advisors

The College’s  Advisors  can provide privacy and will generally only report to the College that an incident occurred, without revealing any personally identifying information, if in the Advisor’s  judgment it is in the best interest of the complainant and no greater risk is apparent to the college community.  Both a complainant and a respondent are entitled to an advisor.

Advisors , Dr. Kristine Copping, (334) 833-4318, kcopping@hawks.huntingdon.edu;  and Mr. Rhett Butler* (334) 833-4474 rbutler@hawks.huntingdon.edu

*In his role as an Advisor Mr. Butler does not offer confidentiality as he is not acting in his capacity as an ordained minister and chaplain for the College.

Parties may choose to use their own advisor, though this person needs to be someone eligible and available to serve in this role. Should a non-college advisor be chosen, the advisor should meet with the Title IX Coordinator to review college policy and process.

Parties may be accompanied by their Advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews.  Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith.

Huntingdon College cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, Huntingdon College is not obligated to provide an attorney.

All advisors are subject to the same campus rules, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not address campus officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent their advisee during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the investigators or other decision-makers.

The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf throughout the investigation. While the advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the advisor may consult with their advisee, either privately as needed, or quietly by passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks to step out of meetings to allow for private consultation.

Advisors may be given an opportunity to meet with the administrative officials conducting interviews/meetings in advance of these interviews or meetings. This pre-meeting allows advisors to clarify any questions they may have, and allows the College an opportunity to clarify the role the advisor is expected to take.

Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the College’s investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated or replaced by a different advisor.

The College expects that the parties may wish to have the College share documentation and evidentiary information related to the allegations with their advisors. Parties may share this information directly with their advisor. Doing so may help the parties participate more meaningfully in the resolution process. The College also provides a consent form that authorizes the College to share such information directly with the advisor. The parties must either complete this form or provide similar documentation consenting to a release of information to the advisor before the College is able to share records with an advisor.

Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. [These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the College.  The College may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the College’s privacy expectations.]

The College expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend College meetings when planned. The College does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The College will, however, make reasonable provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.

A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not obligated to use the same advisor throughout. The parties are expected to inform the investigators of the identity of their advisor at least one (1) day before the date of their first meeting with investigators (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired). The parties are expected to provide timely notice to investigators if they change advisors at any time.

Reporting to “Responsible Employees”

Huntingdon College employees, with few exceptions, are required to report all the details of a sexual misconduct incident (including the identities of both the complainant and respondent and identified witnesses) to the Title IX Coordinator.  A report to these employees (called “Responsible Employees”) constitutes notice  to the College, and obligates the College to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the situation.

A “Responsible Employee” is a College employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment, or the duty to report incidents of sexual harassment or other types of misconduct, or whom someone could reasonably believe has this duty. A “Responsible Employee” for the purposes of this policy includes all Huntingdon College faculty, administrators, staff, student life staff (including Resident Assistants) and coaches, unless otherwise specified in this policy document.

When a complainant tells a “Responsible Employee” about an incident of sexual misconduct, the complainant has the right to expect the College to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.

A “Responsible Employee” must report to the Title IX Coordinator (except as noted above for Confidential Employees and in some instances an Advisor ) all relevant details about the alleged sexual misconduct shared by the complainant and that the College will need to determine what happened, including the names of the complainant and respondent, any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.

To the extent possible, information reported to a Responsible Employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report.  A Responsible Employee should not share information with law enforcement without the complainant’s consent or unless the complainant has also reported the incident to law enforcement, or in the case of abuse of a minor.

Before a complainant reveals any information to a Responsible Employee, the employee should ensure that the complainant understands the employee’s reporting obligations and, if the complainant wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the complainant to confidential resources.

If the complainant wants to tell the Responsible Employee what happened but also maintain confidentiality, the employee should advise the complainant that the College provides both on- and off-campus confidential resources.  Regardless, the College will take steps as necessary to protect and assist the complainant.

The College may not require a complainant to participate in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding.

Because the College is under a continuing obligation to address the issue of sexual misconduct campus-wide, reports of sexual misconduct (including non-identifying reports) will also prompt the College to consider broader remedial action, such as increased monitoring, supervision or security at locations where the reported sexual misconduct occurred; increasing education and prevention efforts, including to targeted population groups; conducting climate  surveys; and/or revisiting its policies and practices.

OVERVIEW OF POLICY EXPECTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO PHYSICAL SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

The expectations of the Huntingdon community regarding sexual misconduct can be summarized as follows:

In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Understand that college policy applies regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Consent:

  • Sexual Permission
  • Informed, Knowing, and Voluntary
  • Active (not passive)
  • Affirmative Action through clear words or actions.
  • Creating mutually understandable permission regarding sexual activity.
  • Cannot be obtained by use of physical force, threats, intimidation or coercion
  • Cannot be given by someone who is not of legal age; a minor by definition cannot give consent.
  • Cannot be given by someone known to be – or should be known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated
  • Cannot be given by someone known to be – or should be known to be – incapacitated by alcohol or drugs.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner.  These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
  • Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  • Do not confuse coercion with seduction. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex.
  • DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT CONSENT;about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other form of sexual activity.
  • Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them.  They may not have determined how far they want to go with you yet.  You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
  • Silence—without actions demonstrating permission—cannot be assumed to show consent.
  • Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t.
  • Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.
  • When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if it is known or reasonably should be known thatthey cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing.
  • Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense to a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size.  Don’t abuse that power.
  • Understand that there is no requirement that a party resist a sexual advance or request in expressing non-consent, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance.
  • Understand that previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.

A FURTHER WORD ON FORCE AND CONSENT

Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g. “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).

Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced.  Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent.  Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance.  While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Coercion:  Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity.  Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, 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.

Incapacitation: A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs. A person violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone they know to be, or should know to be, physically or mentally incapacitated.

Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g. to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).  Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs.

OVERVIEW OF POLICY EXPECTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS

Huntingdon College prohibits romantic or amorous relationships between faculty and students, administrators and students, and staff and students.

While romantic and sexual relationships between genuinely consenting employees is not expressly prohibited by College policy, faculty and administrators, as individuals in authority, must recognize that the imbalance of power between themselves and students render mutuality of consent in relationships with students problematic and raise potential conflicts of interest.  Further, when the authority and power inherent in administrative and faculty relationships with students is abused, whether overtly, implicitly, or through misinterpretation, there is potentially great damage to individual students, to the persons complained of, and to the educational climate of the institution.  To put it simply, consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT – RISK REDUCTION TIPS

Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally.  With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit acts of sexual misconduct are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual act.

  • If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
  • Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
  • Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  • Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
  • Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake.  Respect them when they do.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OFFENSES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

  1. Sexual Harassment
  2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
  3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
  4. Sexual Exploitation
  5. Intimate Partner Violence
  6. Stalking

SEXUAL HARASSMENT:

For the purpose of determining whether a particular course of conduct constitutes sexual harassment under this policy, the following definition will be used:  Sexual Harassment is

  • unwelcome,
  • sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based,
  • verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct

Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical   conduct of a sexual nature constitutes harassment when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a College activity;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a College activity;
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a College activity.

It should be noted that not all workplace or educational conduct that may be described as “harassment” has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or educational performance.  For example, a mere utterance of a gender-based epithet which creates offensive feelings in an employee or student would not normally affect the terms and conditions of their employment or education. Sexual Harassment may be disciplined when it creates a hostile environment, takes the form of quid pro quo harassment, and/or is retaliatory harassment. A hostile environment is created when Sexual Harassment is: Severe, and/or Persistent and/or Pervasive AND is objectively offensive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits the ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational, employment, social, and/or residential programsHowever, the more severe the conduct, the less consideration there is in determining a repetitive nature. Some Examples of Sexual Harassment:

  • A faculty member insists that a student have sexual contact with them in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless if the student accedes to the request.
  • A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list they created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
  • Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in an office, on a residence hall door, or on a computer monitor that meet the definition of harassment.
  • A coach frequently “rates” students’ bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
  • A faculty member engages students in discussions in class about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not germane to the subject matter of the class. The faculty member probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
  • An ex-partner widely spreads false stories about their sex life with their former partner to the clear discomfort of that former partner, turning the former partner into a social pariah on campus.

NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT:

Non-Consensual 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.

It should be noted that the use of force is not “worse” than the subjective experience of violation of someone who has sex without consent.  However, the use of physical force constitutes a stand-alone non-sexual offense that is not tolerated on the Huntingdon College campus.

Sexual touching includes:

  • Intentional contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, or mouth, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or
  • Any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

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.

It should be noted that the use of force is not “worse” than the subjective experience of violation of someone who has sex without consent.  However, the use of physical force constitutes a stand-alone non-sexual offense that is not tolerated on the Huntingdon College campus.

Sexual Intercourse includes:

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

It should be noted that incidences of Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse and/or Non-Consensual Sexual Contact are    reported as “Sexual Assault” in the College’s annual Clery security report.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION:

Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their

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:

  • 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 sexual voyeurism;
  • knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another person;
  • exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances, including unwelcome sexting;
  • inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • stalking and/or bullying (may also be considered a form of sexual exploitation).

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE (IPV):

  • IPV (commonly referred to as dating, domestic, or relationship violence) is any instance of violence or abuse—verbal, physical, or emotional/psychological—that occurs between those who are in or have been in an intimate relationship with each other.

Verbal Abuse is the extreme or excessive use of language, often in the form of insults, name-calling, and criticism, designed to mock, shame, embarrass, or humiliate the other intimate partner. Verbal abuse often has the aim of diminishing the complainant’s self-esteem, dignity, or security. Importantly, like other forms of verbal sexual harassment, the alleged verbal behavior must be: (1) objectively offensive and (2) sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive.

Physical violence or abuse occurs when one intentionally or recklessly (1) causes bodily harm; (2) attempts to cause another bodily harm; or (3) puts another in fear of imminent bodily harm. Put simply, if one does harm, tries to do harm, or imminently threatens to do harm to an intimate partner, the behavior will likely constitute violence or abuse under an IPV policy.

Emotional and psychological abuse involves a persistent pattern or prolonged climate of dominating or controlling behavior, often involving some type of power imbalance. The abuser’s behavior is often intended to terrorize, intimidate, isolate, or exclude an intimate partner, and can often result in measureable psychological harm, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress symptoms. Examples include relentless denigration and disparagement, threatening to harm a beloved pet or destroy sentimental possession(s), as well as financial and economic abuse and blackmail.

To be considered intimate, a relationship must include (or have included) some romantic, sexual, and/or domestic element. Common intimate partner relationships are:

  • Married Partners – two individuals who are legally married.
  • Domestic Partners – two individuals who live together AND who are romantically interested in one another (not simply roommates, regardless of state law); can be married or unmarried; can include a sexual component, but does not have to.
  • Dating Partners – individuals who are romantically interested in one another; can be a couple (dating each other exclusively) or dating casually (concurrently dating other people); can include a sexual component, but does not have to.
  • Sexual Partners – individuals who have engaged in at least one sexual act with one another.

STALKING:

  • Engaging in a course of conductdirected at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

It should be noted that “course of conduct” for the purpose of this policy means two or more acts, including, but not   limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method , device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

OTHER MISCONDUCT OFFENSES (MAY BE CONSIDERED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WHEN SEX OR GENDER BASED):

  • 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-affiliation activity;
  • Bullying and/or Cyber-bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally;

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:

RETALIATION:

Retaliation is defined as any materially adverse action taken because of a person’s participation in a protected activity.  Protected activity includes reporting an incident that may implicate this policy, participating in the resolution process, supporting a complainant or respondent, or assisting in providing information relevant to an investigation.

Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated.  The College is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

Examples of Retaliation:

  • Student athlete A alleges sexual harassment by a coach; the coach subsequently cuts the student-athlete’s playing time in half without a legitimage justification.
  • A faculty member alleges gender inequity within their department; the Department Chair then revokes their approval of the faculty member’s attendance at a national conference, citing the faculty member’s tendency to “ruffle feathers.”
  • A student from Organization A participates in a sexual misconduct investigation as a witness whose testimony is damaging to the respondent, who is also a member of Organization A; the student is subsequently removed as a member of Organization A because of their participation in the investigation.

TAKE BACK THE NIGHT AND OTHER PUBLIC AWARENESS EVENTS:

Public awareness events such as “Take Back the Night,” the Clothesline Project, candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speak outs” or other forums in which students or employees disclose incidents of sexual misconduct are not considered notice to the College of sexual violence for purposes of triggering its obligation to investigate any particular incident(s).  Such events may, however, inform the need for campus-wide education and prevention efforts, and the College may determine a need to take some form of action if a threat to the campus community is perceived.

THIRD-PARTY VENDORS:

Third-Party vendors are contractually obligated to provide relevant Title IX training to their employees.

ANONYMOUS REPORTING:

Although the College encourages complainants to talk to someone, the College provides an online option for anonymous reporting. The form will notify the user that entering personally identifying information may serve as notice to the College for the purpose of triggering an investigation.  It must be understood that anonymous reporting will limit the College’s ability to take action to address complaints of sexual misconduct.

In addition, the College provides an anonymous reporting voice mailbox to be used when reporting incidents of sexual misconduct and all other forms of civil rights violations. 334-833-4999.

Responsible Employees cannot use the anonymous reporting option in meeting their obligation to report incidents that come to their attention.

Reporting to Law Enforcement: (It is your option.)

Huntingdon College strongly encourages individuals to report sexual assaults.  Reporting sexual assaults is the only way that legal action can be taken against an alleged attacker.  However, it is solely the option of the complainant as to whether or not the individual decides to notify and seek assistance from law enforcement and campus authorities.

The Huntingdon College Security Department maintains a professional working relationship with the Montgomery Police Department and the Montgomery Sheriff’s Department. While every Huntingdon College student and/or employee has the right to contact local law enforcement agencies at any time, it is recommended that campus security be called immediately pursuant to an incident of sexual assault.  Proper and accurate reporting is vital to a timely and appropriate response.

It is very important to obtain immediate medical care following a sexual assault, to provide for the complainant’s well being and to document, collect, and properly preserve physical evidence of the assault. In order to preserve physical evidence should one later decide to pursue legal action, one should not change clothes, bathe, douche, or use the toilet. Individuals should seek medical care immediately, whether or not the crime is reported. In addition to care of obvious injuries, medical attention is needed to protect from sexually transmitted diseases and/or the possibility of pregnancy. Immediate medical attention can be received at the nearest local hospital emergency room, as well as at the One Place Family Justice Center.

Campus Security:

Huntingdon College Campus Security, 334-833-4463 or 334-324-6565

Local law enforcement and crisis response contact information is as follows:

Montgomery Police Department (MPD), 334-625-2532 or 911

Montgomery District Attorney’s Office, 334-832-2550

Montgomery Sheriff’s Department, 334-832-4980 or 911

RESOLUTION PROCESS

Huntingdon College commits itself to providing a disciplinary process that is prompt, fair, and impartial of the individual rights and needs of all involved. Until the respondent is determined to be responsible for a policy violation under the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof, the College operates with the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct.  Likewise, until evidence supports otherwise, the College operates with the presumption that the complainant’s allegation of experiencing misconduct is an allegation that has been made in good faith.  The complainant and the respondent are entitled to the same opportunities to have an advisor/advocate of their choosing present during a resolution proceeding and to present relevant witnesses and other evidence; and both the complainant and the respondent shall be simultaneously informed in writing of the outcome of any institutional resolution proceeding alleging sexual misconduct, the institution’s procedures for the respondent and the complainant to appeal the results of the institutional resolution proceeding, of any change to the results that occur prior to the results becoming final, and when the results become final.

Appropriate measures may be taken, as necessary, to protect the safety of the complainant, of the respondent and of witnesses.  The resolution process will include a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation conducted by the Huntingdon College Chief of Security who serves as the chief Investigator and is experienced in matters related to sexual misconduct and receives annual training on how to conduct an investigation that protects the safety of all parties concerned.

All parties in the complaint are advised to observe privacy of the details of the case, so as to lessen the potential for claims of retaliation.

The resolution process for reports of sexual misconduct shall be conducted by the Title IX Coordinator who receives annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct including intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking and how to conduct an investigation that protects the safety of the parties and promotes accountability.  The Discrimination Response Team serves as the resolution body for all Title IX complaints, including those related to sexual misconduct, and all disciplinary decisions are based on the evidentiary standard of preponderance-of-evidence (i.e., more likely than not) in any Title IX proceedings, including fact-finding process.

Typically, matters will be resolved within 60 days.

A Title IX Investigation conducted by the College is NOT a criminal investigation and as such will never result in incarceration of an individual and therefore the procedural protections and legal standards required in a criminal investigation are not applicable. Further, while a criminal investigation is initiated at the discretion of law enforcement authorities, a Title IX investigation is not discretionary; a college has a duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably and to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and employees  free from sexual misconduct.  Because the standards for pursuing and completing criminal investigations are different from those used for the Title IX investigations, the termination of a criminal investigation without an arrest or conviction does not affect the college’s Title IX obligations.

INVESTIGATIVE PROCESS – FURTHER EXPLAINED

Upon receipt of an allegation or notice to the College of an alleged violation of the Policy, the College will initiate its resolution process, which involves a prompt preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the College’s Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy has been violated.

If so, the College will initiate one of three responses: a remedial response because the complainant does not want to proceed formally; an informal resolution; or a formal resolution including an investigation and determination by the Discrimination Response Team as to whether the Policy has been violated.

If a violation of the Policy is determined to have occurred, the College will promptly implement effective remedies designed to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

If at any point in the resolution process the evidence indicates that an incident does not rise to the level of discrimination or harassment but could be in violation of other college policies, the Title IX Coordinator may refer the matter to the appropriate office for further investigation and resolution.

Interim Actions and Responsive Measures

Huntingdon College will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable responsive, supportive, and/or protective measures to complainant and respondent upon notice of alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

These interim actions are intended to support both parties; protect and preserve access to educational and employment programs and activities; address the short-term effects of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation; protect the safety of all parties; and prevent further violations.

These actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other health services
  • Education to the college community or community subgroup
  • Altering campus housing situation
  • Altering work assignments for employees or student employees
  • Safety planning
  • Providing campus escorts
  • Implementing contact limitations (i.e. no contact orders) between the parties
  • Academic support
  • Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

The College will maintain as confidential the supportive or protective measures, provided that confidentiality does not impair the College’s ability to provide the supportive or protective measures. Reasonable measures taken will be at no cost to the parties.

The College will use the least restrictive means possible when determining appropriate interim actions to ensure the continued safety and health of the complainant and respondent and/or the College’s community and to ensure as minimal an academic impact on the complainant and respondent. The College will implement measures that do not unreasonably burden the other party and will regularly re-evaluate the actions to determine the necessity of their continued implementation.

The College may interim suspend a student or student organization, or place an employee on paid or unpaid administrative leave, pending the completion of investigation and resolution procedures when, in the judgment of the College, the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the College’s community may be jeopardized by the on-campus presence/on-going activity of the respondent. The College may implement such measures if, after engaging in an individualized analysis, the College determines that the immediate threat to any member(s) of the College’s community justifies removal of the individual.

Preliminary Inquiry

Following receipt of notice of an alleged violation of the College’s Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the College engages in a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the Policy has been violated.

This inquiry may also help the College determine if the allegations involve violence, threat, pattern, predation, minors, and/or the use of a weapon, in the event that the complainant has asked for no action to be taken.

Compelling Formal Proceedings

The College reserves the right to initiate formal resolution proceedings without a report or participation by the complainant when deemed necessary, usually to protect the community in situations that evidence a compelling safety risk. When the College has actual knowledge of reports by multiple individuals regarding misconduct by the same responding party, the College will initiate formal proceedings pursuant to this section, regardless of the participation level of one or more of the complaining parties.

When the College proceeds, the complainant (or their advisor) may have as much or as little involvement in the process as they wish. The complainant retains all rights of a complainant under this process irrespective of their level of participation. Typically, when the complainant chooses not to participate, the advisor is appointed as proxy for the complainant throughout the process, acting to ensure and protect the rights of the complainant. When the College believes it is necessary to move the process forward but also knows that credibility will be a key consideration in the formal process, the College must balance the institutional need to move forward without the involvement of the complainant against the rights of the complainant, who is entitled to a fair process in accordance with these procedures.

When the complainant wishes to proceed or the College determines it will proceed, and the preliminary inquiry shows that reasonable cause exists, the Title IX Coordinator will direct that the allegation be resolved through one of the following processes, discussed briefly here and in greater detail below:

  • Informal Resolution – typically used for less serious offenses and only when the complainant and respondent agree to informal resolution or the respondent is willing to accept responsibility for a violation. A preliminary inquiry will still typically precede this step.
  • Formal Resolution – investigation and determination by the Discrimination Response Team, subject to appeal. Remedies to restore those impacted will be implemented upon a finding of policy violation.

Discretion to Terminate the Process at Any Time

The process followed considers the preferences of the parties, but is ultimately determined by the College. If, during the preliminary inquiry or at any point during the formal investigation, the College  determines that reasonable cause does not support the conclusion that policy has been violated, the process will end and the parties will be notified.

The complainant may request that the College review the reasonable cause determination and/or re-open the investigation. This decision lies in the sole discretion of the College, but the request is usually only granted in extraordinary circumstances. Other appeal options do not apply.

 

Resolution Processes

Proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings in accord with College policy. While there is an expectation of privacy around what is discussed during interviews, the parties have discretion to share their own experiences with others if they so choose. The College encourages parties to discuss this with their advisors before doing so.

  • Informal Resolution

Informal Resolution is used when the respondent accepts responsibility for violating policy or when the College can resolve the matter informally by providing remedies to resolve the situation. It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to pursue Formal Resolution, and any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and request the Formal Resolution process.

  • Respondent Admits Responsibility For Alleged Violations

The respondent may admit responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the resolution process. If the respondent admits responsibility for all alleged misconduct, the matter is referred to the Discrimination Response Team who renders the determination that the responding party is in violation of College policy and determines appropriate sanctions and/or responsive actions in coordination with other appropriate administrator(s), if applicable.

The appropriate sanction or responsive actions are promptly implemented in order to effectively stop the harassment or discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct, both on the complainant and the community.

If the respondent only admits to part of the alleged policy violations, then the Discrimination Response Team finds the responding party in violation for the admitted violations, and the contested allegations will be resolved using Formal Resolution. Any applicable sanctions will be issued upon completion of the Formal Resolution process.

  • Negotiated Resolution

The College, with the consent of the parties, may negotiate and implement an agreement to resolve the allegations that satisfies all parties and the Institution.

 

Notice

If Formal Resolution is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notification of the investigation to the respondent upon commencement of the formal process. This facilitates the respondent’s ability to prepare for the interview and to identify and choose an advisor to accompany them.

Notification will include a summary of the allegations including (if known) the identity of the parties involved, the precise misconduct being alleged, the date and location of the alleged incident(s), the specific policies implicated, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result. Notification will also note that the College presumes the respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the evidence supports a different determination, a statement that determinations of responsibility are made at the conclusion of the process, the complainant and respondent may request to inspect and review evidence obtained, and, when applicable, a statement informing the parties of any provision in the College’s policy/code of conduct/etc., that prohibits knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process.

Updates on this notice may be made as the investigation progresses and more information is available.

Notice will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent addresses of the parties as indicated in official College records, or emailed to the parties’ College-issued email accounts. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered. The complainant is typically copied on such correspondence – if copied, an indication of that will be included on the correspondence to the respondent.

Resolution Timeline

The College will make a good faith effort to complete the resolution process within a sixty-to-ninety (60-90) business day time period, including appeals, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator , with notice to the parties as appropriate.

Ensuring Impartiality

Any individual materially involved in the administration of the resolution process (including the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or decision-maker(s)) may neither have nor demonstrate a conflict of interest or bias for either complainant or respondent generally, or for a specific complainant or respondent.

The resolution process involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, both that which supports that the respondent engaged in a policy violation and that which supports that the respondent did not engage in a policy violation. Credibility determinations may not be based, in any way, on an individual’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.

Investigation Timeline

Investigations are completed expeditiously, though some investigations take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc. The College will make a good faith effort to complete investigations as promptly as circumstances permit and will communicate regularly with the parties to update them on the progress and timing of the investigation.

Steps in the Investigation

Investigations are thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses; obtaining available, relevant evidence; and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.

All parties have a full and fair opportunity, through the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence, and to fully review and respond to all evidence, on the record.

The investigators typically take the following steps, if not completed already (not necessarily in order):

  • Determine the identity and contact information of the complainant.
  • In coordination with campus partners (e.g. the Title IX Coordinator), initiate or assist with any necessary interim actions or remedial measures.
  • Identify all policies implicated by the alleged misconduct and notify the complainant and respondent of the specific policies implicated.
  • Assist the Title IX Coordinator with conducting a prompt preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the respondent party has violated policy.
  • If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the inquiry is closed with no further action.
  • If there is sufficient evidence, the formal investigation begins.
  • Commence a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by identifying issues and developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended investigation timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the respondent.
  • Meet with the complainant to finalize their interview/statement, if necessary.
  • Prepare the initial notice of investigation (NOI) on the basis of the preliminary inquiry. Notice of allegations [charges] may be combined with the NOI or provided subsequently. Notice should inform the parties of their right to have the assistance of an advisor of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the party.
  • When formal notice of allegations [charges] is communicated, provide the parties with a written description of the alleged violation(s), including the parties involved, the date and location of the reported misconduct, a list of all policies allegedly violated, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result.
  • If and when additional/material alterations to allegations [charges] arise, communicate this promptly to the parties. This notice will provide the parties with a summary of the additions to/alterations of the allegations [charges], as well as any changes to the policies implicated.
  • Provide the parties and witnesses an opportunity to review and verify the investigator’s summary notes from their respective interviews and meetings.
  • When participation of a party is expected, provide that party with notice of the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as the expected participants and purpose. Investigators and/or the Title IX Coordinator will provide advanced notice of such meetings, with rare exception.
  • Interview all available relevant witnesses and conduct follow-up interviews as necessary.
  • Allow each party the opportunity to suggest witnesses and questions they wish the investigators to ask of the other party and witnesses.
  • Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline.
  • Provide regular status updates to the parties throughout the investigation.
  • Write a comprehensive investigation report fully summarizing the investigation, all witness interviews, and addressing all relevant evidence, copies of which are to be included in an appendix to the report.
  • Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the parties and their respective advisors (if so desired by the parties) a copy of the draft investigation report.
  • Provide the parties with an equal opportunity to inspect and review the evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the reported misconduct, so that each party may meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to the conclusion of the investigation.
  • Provide each party with a full and fair opportunity (no fewer than 10 days) to respond to the investigation report in writing.
  • Incorporate relevant elements of the parties’ written responses into the final investigation report, make any changes needed, and finalize the report. The final report is then shared with all parties.
  • The investigative report is submitted to the Title IX Coordinator, complete with all relevant evidence; the parties’ submitted responses; and any subsequent material, documentation, communication, etc.
  • The report goes to the Title IX Coordinator who has the opportunity to review it and discuss any questions with the Investigator before sending the report to the Discrimination Response Team.
  • The Discrimination Response Team will review all of the material, render a determination of responsibility, and determine appropriate sanctions in coordination with other relevant administrators, if applicable.

Role and Participation of Witnesses

Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are faculty, students, or staff of the College are expected to cooperate with and participate in the College’s investigation and resolution process. Failure of such witnesses to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of policy and may warrant discipline.

While in-person interviews for both parties and all potential witnesses are ideal, circumstances (e.g. study abroad, summer break) may require individuals to be interviewed remotely. Skype™, Zoom™, FaceTime™, WebEx™, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if investigators determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. [Witnesses may also provide written statements in lieu of interviews, if deemed appropriate by the investigators, though not preferred.]

Recording of Interviews

No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. If investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of [and consent to] audio and/or video recording.

Evidentiary Considerations in the Investigation

Unless the College determines it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding of responsibility does not consider: (1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern, (2) the sexual history of the parties (though there may be a limited exception made in regard to the sexual history between the parties or when evidence regarding the reporting party’s sexual history is offered to prove that someone other than the responding party engaged in the reported misconduct), or (3) the character of the parties.

Admission of Violation

The respondent may admit responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the resolution process. If the respondent admits responsibility for all of the alleged misconduct, the matter is directly referred to the Discrimination Response Team, who will make a determination that the individual is in violation of College policy and determine appropriate sanctions and/or responsive actions. These sanction(s) and/or responsive actions are promptly implemented in order to effectively to stop the harassment or discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct, both on the complainant and the community.

Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending

Students: Should a student decide to not participate in the resolution process, the process proceeds absent their participation to a reasonable resolution. Should a student respondent permanently withdraw from the College, the resolution process ends, as the College no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student. However, the College will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment or discrimination. The student who withdraws or leaves while the process is pending may not return to the College. A hold will be placed on their ability to be readmitted. If the student only withdraws or takes a leave for a specified period of time (e.g. one semester or term), the resolution process will continue and that student is not permitted to return to the College unless and until all sanctions have been satisfied.

Employees: Should an employee resign with unresolved allegations pending, the resolution process ends, as the College no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the resigned employee.  However, the College will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment or discrimination. The employee who resigns with unresolved allegations pending is not eligible for rehire with the College, and the records retained by the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status. All College responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will include that the former employee resigned during a pending disciplinary matter.

 

DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

Student Sanctions:

Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation
  • The respondent’s disciplinary history
  • Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
  • Any other information deemed relevant by the Discrimination Response Team
  • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
  • The need for sanctions/responsive actions 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 complainant and the community
  • The impact on the parties

The sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible. The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by outside authorities.

Student Sanctions [Example]

The following are the usual sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:

  • Warning: A formal statement that the conduct was unacceptable and a warning that further violation of any College policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions.
  • Required Counseling: A mandate to meet with and engage in either College-sponsored or external counseling to better comprehend the misconduct and its effects.
  • Probation: A written reprimand for violation of College policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in viola­tion of any College policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-­curricular activities, no-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
  • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at the College.
  • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or to attend College-sponsored events.
  • Withholding Diploma: The College may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has an allegation pending or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.
  • Revocation of Degree: The College reserves the right to revoke a degree previously awarded from the College for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of College policies, procedures, or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
  • Organizational Sanctions: Deactivation, loss of recognition, loss of some or all privileges (including College registration) for a specified period of time.
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse will face the sanction of immediate expulsion.

Employee Sanctions:

The sanctions presented in this document are specific to incidences of sexual misconduct that fall under the scope of this policy document and as such do not supercede but are in addition to any and all other sanctions that might be appropriately applied under the scope of employment documents such as, but not necessarily limited to, the Huntingdon College Handbook for Administrative Employees, the Huntingdon College Handbook for Hourly Employees, the Huntingdon College Faculty Manual, and within the scope of individual employment contracts.

A sanction of dismissal, regardless of its origin, will take precedence over any other sanction(s).  However, sanctions imposed under the Huntingdon College Sexual Misconduct Policy will not be altered or otherwise reduced by sanctions imposed within the scope of any alternative policy statement.

Employee Sanctions [Example]

Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation include:

  • Warning – Verbal or Written
  • Performance Improvement/Management Process
  • Required Counseling
  • Required Training or Education
  • Probation
  • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
  • Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
  • Demotion
  • Suspension with pay
  • Suspension without pay
  • Termination
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

Any employee found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse will face the sanction of immediate dismissal.

APPEAL PROCESS

Both the complainant and the respondent may appeal a finding of sexual misconduct.  An appeal does not forestall the implementation of a sanction and cannot be filed until a finding has been rendered in a case.

An appeal is heard by the college Appeals Officer, whose decision is final.  College policy does not allow an appeal of the appeal decision.  The appeal decision is based on evidence that supports the appeal, not all evidence of the case.

The Preponderance of Evidence burden of proof applies to the appeal process.

An appeal must be filed in writing typically within 5 business days from notice of the finding and should be addressed to the Title IX Coordinator.  The College reserves the right to extend this window for good cause.

In the event of an appeal, both the complainant and the respondent receive written notification and can submit in writing a rebuttal as to why in their view the appeal should not be granted.  Written rebuttals must be received within 5 business days of notification that an appeal has been filed.  The College reserves the right to extend this window for good cause.

Grounds for appeal are limited to:

  • Substantive procedural error: a procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the finding.
  • New evidence: new evidence is evidence that was unknown or unavailable during the original investigation or decision-making process, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included in the submitted appeal request.
  • Sanctions are substantially disproportionate to severity of policy violation: the sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions the College has designated for this offense and the cumulative record of the respondent.

When the appeals officer finds that at least one of the grounds is met by at least one party, additional principles governing the hearing of appeals will include the following:

  • Decisions by the appeals officer are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only when there is clear error and to the sanction/responsive action only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
  • Appeals are not intended to provide for a full re-hearing (de novo) of the allegation(s). 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. An appeal is not an opportunity for the appeals officer to substitute their judgment for that of the original decision-maker merely because they disagree with its finding and/or sanctions.
  • The appeals officer may consult with the Title IX Coordinator on questions of procedure or rationale for clarification, if needed.
  • Appeals granted should normally be remanded to the original investigators and/or decision-maker for reconsideration.
  • Sanctions imposed as the result of the formal or informal resolution processes are implemented immediately unless the Title IX Coordinator or designee stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances pending the outcome of the appeal.

For students: Graduation, study abroad, internships/ externships, etc., do NOT in and of themselves constitute extraordinary circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal.

  • The Title IX Coordinator will confer with the appeals officer, incorporate the results of any remanded grounds, and render a written decision on the appeal to all parties generally within three (3) days from the hearing of the appeal or remand. The letter of outcome for the appeal will be shared with the parties without significant time delay between notifications. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official college records, or emailed to the parties’ college-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
  • The letter of outcome for the appeal will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation, any sanctions that may result which the College is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent the College is permitted to share under state or federal law. The letter will also include information that this is a final result.
  • Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or sanction is changed on remand (except in the case of a new deliberation).
  • In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the College or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.

Failure to Complete Sanctions/Comply with Interim and Long-term Remedies/Responsive Actions:

All respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the College. Failure to abide by the sanctions/actions imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions/ actions, including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from the College. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the College.

Records:

In implementing this policy, records of all allegations, investigations, formal and informal resolutions, and hearings will be kept indefinitely by the Title IX Coordinator.

Disabilities Accommodation in the Equity Resolution Process:

Huntingdon College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to the resolution process at the College. Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Director of Disability Services/Section 504 Coordinator, who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation and the Title IX Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation in the process.

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

Huntingdon College is committed to providing an ongoing preventive, informative, supportive, and varied campaign of programming for the college community. It is believed that the full college community has a role to play in providing an environment that is conducive to the educational mission of Huntingdon College, and the College encourages the active participation of students, faculty and staff.

REVISION

These policies and procedures supercede any previous policy(ies) addressing harassment, sexual misconduct, and discrimination and will be reviewed and updated annually by the Title IX Coordinator. The College reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect.

During the resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules.

The Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the college web site, with appropriate date of effect identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this policy and procedure.

If government laws or regulations change, or court decisions alter, the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations.

This document does not create legally enforceable protections beyond the protection of the background state and federal laws which frame such policies and codes, generally.

This policy and procedure was implemented in August 2019.

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