AFA (Local) – Title IX: Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment


SECTION ONE: POLICY STATEMENT AND TITLE IX COORDINATOR

1.01     Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et. seq.) protects individuals from discrimination and harassment based on sex in any educational program or activity operated by recipients of federal funds.  Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination.

 

1.02     Title IX Policy Statement

It is the policy of Angelina College to provide an educational and working environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic violence and dating violence, and stalking. In accordance with federal and state law, the College prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including gender) and prohibits sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence, and stalking.

The College will not tolerate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or physical abuse, threats of violence, physical assault, or any form of sexual violence, including but not limited to sexual assault, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking (collectively or singly referred to as “prohibited conduct”). Individuals who alone, or in concert with others, participate or attempt to participate in prohibited conduct described in this policy are subject to disciplinary action by the College, notwithstanding any action that may or may not be taken by civil or criminal authorities.

The College encourages affected individuals to promptly report incidents of sex and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence, and stalking as provided in this policy. The College also encourages individuals who may have witnessed instances of prohibited conduct to report such information as outlined in this policy.

Responsible Employees of the College (as defined below) are required to promptly report incidents of prohibited conduct. The College will respond to all reports made under this policy. The College will conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution for complaints and, where appropriate, issue remedial measures and/or sanctions.

 

1.03     Title IX Coordinator

The College’s Title IX Coordinator is Mr. Steve Hudman, the Dean of Student Affairs.  The Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities include coordination of the College’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, including any investigation of any complaint communicated to the College alleging its noncompliance with Title IX or alleging any actions that would be prohibited by Title IX.  Any College student, employee, guest, or vendor may contact the Title IX Coordinator to file a grievance, to ask questions about sexual harassment, or to discuss concerns or incidents impacting the campus climate.  Students may also contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (800-421-3481) to complain of sex discrimination or sexual harassment including sexual violence.

 

1.04     Title IX Coordinator’s Contact Information

Steve Hudman, Dean of Student Affairs
Office Address: Administration Building, room 104
Phone: 936-633-5293
Email: shudman@angelina.edu

 

SECTION TWO: PROCESS

2.01     File a Report/Complaint

Reports/Complaints about prohibited behavior can be made at any time.  Students, employees, guests, and vendors may file a report/complaint with the Title IX Coordinator or any Responsible Employee (see definition of “Responsible Employee” below).

 

2.02     Complaint and Investigation

2.02.1  Reporting

The College strongly encourages the prompt reporting of prohibited conduct covered by this policy.  Delays in reporting can greatly limit the College’s ability to stop the alleged conduct, collect evidence, and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating this policy.  A report of alleged violations of this policy may be made by a person who believes he/she experienced prohibited conduct (a complainant); and/or a person who has information that prohibited conduct may have been committed (a reporter).

 

2.02.2  Investigation and Standard of Evidence

Once the College receives a report of prohibited conduct, the College will respond promptly and investigate the report in a fair and impartial manner. Where appropriate, the College will enact interim measures. The College will handle reports of prohibited conduct consistently and ensure prompt and equitable resolution of such reports. If a complainant chooses not to participate in the College’s investigation of a report, the College may, at its discretion, pursue the report without the complainant’s participation.

The purpose of an investigation, which includes interviewing the parties and witnesses, is to gather and assess evidence. The standard of evidence that will be used in investigating and adjudicating complaints made under this policy is the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This standard is met if the allegation is deemed more likely to have occurred than not. All investigators shall have appropriate and ongoing training regarding issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual misconduct and stalking, as well as, on how to conduct an investigation that protects the safety of complainants and promotes accountability.

 

2.02.3  Possible Findings of Investigation

Possible findings of an investigation include:  (1) a finding that the allegations are not warranted or could not be substantiated; or (2) a finding that the allegations are substantiated and constitute a violation of the policy.  The College Title IX Coordinator will ensure all parties to the complaint receive notification of the finding of the investigation and any resulting College actions in an appropriate and timely manner.

 

2.02.4  Role of Student Conduct and Discipline Program

In the event a final determination is made that the respondent is responsible for violating this policy, the College may impose any of the sanctions authorized in the Student Conduct and Discipline Program.

 

SECTION THREE: GENERAL PRINCIPLES

3.01     Prohibition on Retaliation

Retaliation against a person who reports a potential violation under this policy, assists someone with a report of a violation, or participates in any manner in an investigation or in the resolution of a complaint made under this policy is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation includes but is not limited to threats, intimidation, reprisals and/or adverse actions related to an individual’s employment or education.  The College will take appropriate steps to assure that a person who in good faith reports, complains about, or participates in an investigation pursuant to this policy will not be subjected to retaliation. Individuals who believe they are experiencing retaliation are strongly encouraged to file a complaint with the College.

 

3.02     Support Services

Any student who requires assistance with classes, living arrangements, and/or College-provided support services and referrals as a result of an alleged violation of this policy is encouraged to visit the Office of Student Success & Inclusion (OSSI) for additional information. OSSI staff can assist students with the various reporting options and support services that may be available to them.

If a student believes he/she has experienced conduct prohibited under this policy, the student may also contact the College Title IX Coordinator for additional assistance and information. A student who would like to report an alleged sexual assault, interpersonal violence (including domestic violence and dating violence) and/or stalking to the police and would like the College Title IX Coordinator to accompany him/her to provide support during the reporting process, should contact the College Title IX Coordinator.

 

3.03     Use of Drugs and Alcohol

Any student who files a complaint, or who acts as a third-party witness in an investigation under this policy, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs for using and/or consuming alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the alleged incident, provided that any such alcohol or drug use did not, and do not, place the health or safety of any other person at risk.

 

3.04     Confidentiality and Anonymity

Individuals wishing to remain anonymous can file a complaint with the College Title IX Coordinator. However, electing to remain anonymous may greatly limit the College’s ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence, and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating this policy.

The College has an obligation to maintain an environment free of sex discrimination, thus many College employees have mandatory reporting and response obligations and may not be able to honor a complainant’s request for confidentiality. In the event confidentiality cannot be maintained, the College will share information only as necessary and only with people who need to know to fulfill the purposes of this policy and applicable law, such as investigators, witnesses, administrators, and the respondent. The College will comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and with other confidentiality laws as they apply to Title IX investigations.

 

3.05     Ongoing Training

The College’s commitment to raising awareness of the harm resulting from the conduct prohibited in this policy includes offering ongoing education to both employees and students. In addition, the College Title IX Coordinator, investigators, and hearing officers receive training each academic year about offenses, investigatory procedures, due process requirements, conducting a hearing and College policies related to or described in this policy. The College is committed to protecting the safety of complainants and the due process of rights of all students, and promoting accountability.

 

3.06     Academic, Living, Travel, or Work Accommodation(s)

In some instances, when a student reports an alleged violation of this policy to the College, the College may take emergency action to protect the emotional health or physical safety of the reporting student and/or of the larger College community. Specific arrangements will be made on a case by case basis to ensure appropriate accommodations are provided. Such arrangements will be facilitated through the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs and/or other appropriate College officials and all decisions will be based upon the evidence then available.

 

3.07     Interim Measures and Final Sanctions for Students

 

3.07.1  Interim measures.

If the College receives evidence indicating a respondent presents a continuing danger to people or property or poses an ongoing threat of disrupting the academic process, the Dean of Student Affairs or other appropriate College official may take immediate interim protective action against the respondent pending a final determination of an alleged violation of this policy. Such protective/interim measures may include, but are not limited to, suspending the right of the student to be present on campus (including living in campus residence halls) and to attend classes, and otherwise altering the status of the student. Other protective measures may be implemented given the respondent’s relationship with the College.

 

3.07.2  Final sanctions.

In the event a final determination is made that the respondent is responsible for violating this policy, the College may impose any of the sanctions authorized in the Student Conduct and Discipline Program.

 

SECTION FOUR: DEFINITIONS

1.01     For purposes of Title IX compliance at Angelina College, the definitions below apply. Some of these terms are also defined under federal and/or Texas State law.

  • Complaint: A signed document or other report, including verbal reports, alleging a violation of this policy.
  • Complainant: A person who submits a complaint alleging a violation of this policy, or is identified as the person who has allegedly experienced a Title IX related incident.
  • Consent: A voluntary, mutually understandable agreement that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in each instance of sexual activity.  Consent to one act does not imply consent to another.  Past consent does not imply future consent.  Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.  Consent can be withdrawn at any time.  Any expression of an unwillingness to engage in any instance of sexual activity establishes a presumptive lack of consent.

Consent is not effective if it results from: (a) the use of physical force, (b) a threat of physical force, (c) intimidation, (d) coercion, (e) incapacitation, or (f) any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise his/her own free will to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.

An individual’s manner of dress or the existence of a current or previous dating or sexual relationship between two or more individuals does not, in and of itself, constitute consent to engage in a particular sexual activity. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be a voluntary, mutually understandable agreement that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in each instance of sexual activity.

  • Incapacitation: A state of being that prevents an individual from having the capacity to give consent.  For example, incapacitation could result from the use of drugs or alcohol, a person being asleep or unconscious, or because of an intellectual or other disability.
  • Domestic Violence: Abuse or violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person with whom the complainant is cohabitating (or has cohabited) with a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas.
  • Dating Violence: Abuse or violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the complainant’s statement and with consideration of the type and length of the relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Two people may be in a romantic or intimate relationship regardless of whether the relationship is sexual in nature; however, neither a casual acquaintance nor ordinary fraternization between two individuals in a business or social context shall constitute a romantic or intimate relationship.  Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
  • Respondent: The person designated to respond to a complaint.  Generally, the respondent is the person alleged to be responsible for the prohibited conduct alleged in a complaint.
  • Responsible Employee: Pursuant to Title IX, a “responsible employee” is a College employee who has the authority to take action to redress an alleged violation of this policy and who has been given the duty of reporting such allegations to the College Title IX Coordinator or designee, or an employee whom an individual could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.  At the Angelina College, responsible employees include, but are not limited to:
    • administrators
    • employees assigned an apartment in College student housing
    • student success coaches
    • coaches, and other athletic staff who interact directly with students
    • faculty members
    • police officers
    • all supervisory staff

Responsible employees have a duty to promptly report incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence, and stalking to the College Title IX Coordinator.  Responsible Employees are not confidential reporting resources.

  • Retaliation: Any action that adversely affects the academic, employment, or other institutional status of a student or employee of the College, visitor, applicant for admission to or employment with the College, because an individual has, in good faith, brought a complaint under this policy, opposed an unlawful practice, participated in an investigation, or requested accommodations. Examples of retaliation include but are not limited to: denial of promotion, non-selection/refusal to hire, denial of job benefits, demotion, suspension, discharge, threats, reprimands, negative evaluations, harassment, or other adverse treatment that is likely to deter reasonable people from pursuing their rights.  Retaliation is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.
  • Sex Discrimination: Conduct directed at a specific individual or a group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects the individual or group’s employment or education on the basis of sex (including gender).
  • Sexual Assault: An offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape.
  • Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the complainant.
  • Fondling: The touching of the private body parts (including, but not limited to the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks) of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the complainant, including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of the complainant’s age or because of the complainant’s temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than 17 years of age and is not a spouse of the respondent.
  • Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that can occur when:
    • the submission to unwelcome physical conduct of a sexual nature, or to unwelcome requests for sexual favors or other verbal conduct of a sexual nature, is made as an implicit or explicit term or condition of employment or education;
    • the submission to or rejection of unwelcome physical conduct of a sexual nature, or unwelcome requests for sexual favors or other verbal conduct of a sexual nature, is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions or evaluations;
    • unwelcome physical acts of a sexual nature, or unwelcome requests for sexual favors or other verbal conduct of a sexual nature, that have the effect of creating an objectively hostile environment that substantially interferes with employment or education on the basis of sex (including gender); or
    • such conduct is intentionally directed towards a specific individual and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with that individual’s education, employment, or participation in College activities, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive atmosphere.

Sexual harassment may include:

  1. Sexual violence, as defined under the Texas Penal Code, which includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.
  2. Physical conduct that, depending on the totality of the circumstances present, including frequency and severity, may constitute sexual harassment includes but is not limited to (a) unwelcome intentional touching; or (b) deliberate physical interference with or restriction of movement.
  3. Verbal conduct, including oral, written, or symbolic expression, that, depending on the totality of the circumstances present, including frequency and severity, may constitute sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:
    • explicit or implicit propositions to engage in sexual activity;
    • gratuitous comments, jokes, questions, anecdotes, or remarks of a sexual nature about clothing or bodies;
    • gratuitous remarks about sexual activities or speculation about sexual experiences;
    • persistent, unwanted sexual or romantic attention;
    • subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors;
    • exposure to sexually suggestive visual displays such as photographs, graffiti, posters, calendars, or other materials; or
    • deliberate, repeated humiliation, or intimidation based upon sex.

This applies only to verbal conduct that is not necessary to an argument for or against the substance of any political, religious, philosophical, ideological, or academic idea.

  • Sexual Misconduct: Behavior or conduct of a sexual nature that is unprofessional and/or inappropriate for the educational and/or working environment. Behaviors that may constitute sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to
    • repeatedly engaging in sexually oriented conversations, comments, or horseplay, including the use of language or the telling of jokes or anecdotes of a sexual nature in the workplace, office, or classroom, even if such conduct is not objected to by those present;
    • gratuitous use of sexually oriented materials not directly related to the subject matter of a class, course, or meeting, even if not objected to by those present;
    • failure to observe the appropriate boundaries of the supervisor/subordinate or faculty member/student relationship, including the participation of a supervisor, teacher, advisor, or coach in an unreported consensual romantic or sexual relationship with a subordinate employee or student; or
    • engaging in any form of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own benefit or to benefit anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, engaging in voyeurism; forwarding of pornographic or other sexually inappropriate material by email, text, or other channels to non-consenting students/groups; and any activity that goes beyond the boundaries of consent, such as recording of sexual activity, letting others watch consensual sex, or knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) to another.
  • Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s own safety or the safety of others or would cause that person to suffer substantial emotional distress. A “course of conduct” means two or more acts in which a person 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. “Reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant. “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Adopted: 11/2018