SECTION ONE: STATEMENT OF NONDISCRIMINATION
1.01 Statement of Nondiscrimination
The College prohibits discrimination, including harassment, against any student on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law.
The College prohibits retaliation by a student or by a College employee against a student alleged to have experienced discrimination or harassment or another student who, in good faith, makes a report of harassment or discrimination, serves as a witness, or otherwise participates in an investigation.
1.03 False Claims and Statements and Noncooperation with Investigations
A student who intentionally makes a false claim, offers false statements, or refuses to cooperate with a College investigation regarding discrimination or harassment shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
SECTION TWO: DEFINITIONS
Discrimination against a student is defined as conduct directed at a student on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, or on any other basis prohibited by law that adversely affects the students.
2.02 Prohibited Harassment
Prohibited harassment of a student is defined as physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct based on the student’s sex, gender, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct limits or denies a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program. Examples of prohibited harassment may include offensive or derogatory language directed at another person’s religious beliefs or practices, accent, skin color, or need for accommodation; threatening, intimidating, or humiliating conduct; offensive jokes, name calling, slurs, or rumors; physical aggression or assault; display of graffiti or printed material promoting racial, ethnic, or other negative stereotypes; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property.
2.03 Sexual Harassment by an Employee
Sexual harassment of a student by a College employee includes unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; sexually motivated physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct; or other conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:
2.03.1 A College employee causes the student to believe that the student must submit to the conduct in order to participate in a school program or activity, or that the employee will make an educational decision based on whether or not the student submits to the conduct; or
3.03.1 The conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it limits or denies the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program.
2.04 Sexual Harassment by Others
Sexual harassment of a student, including harassment committed by another student, includes unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or sexually motivated physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct when the conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it limits or denies a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program.
2.05 Sexual Violence
Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol or due to an intellectual or other disability.
2.06 Examples of Sexual Harassment
Examples of sexual harassment of a student may include sexual advances; touching intimate body parts or coercing physical contact that is sexual in nature; jokes or conversations of a sexual nature; rape; sexual assault; sexual battery; sexual coercion; and other sexually motivated conduct, communications, or contact. Physical contact not reasonably construed as sexual in nature is not sexual harassment.
2.07 Gender-Based Harassment
Gender-based harassment includes physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct based on the student’s gender, the student’s expression of characteristics perceived as stereotypical for the student’s gender, or the student’s failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. For purposes of this policy, gender-based harassment is considered prohibited harassment if the conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct limits or denies a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program.
Examples of gender-based harassment directed against a student, regardless of the student’s or the harasser’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, may include offensive jokes, name-calling, slurs, or rumors; physical aggression or assault; threatening or intimidating conduct; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property.
Retaliation is punishing students for asserting their rights to be free from discrimination including harassment. Examples of retaliation may include threats, rumor spreading, ostracism, assault, destruction of property, unjustified reprimands, or unwarranted grade reductions. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.
2.09 Prohibited Conduct
In this policy, the term “prohibited conduct” includes discrimination, harassment, and retaliation as defined by this policy, even if the behavior does not rise to the level of unlawful conduct.
SECTION THREE: REPORTING PROCEDURES
3.01 Student Report
Any student who believes that he or she has experienced prohibited conduct or believes that another student has experienced prohibited conduct should immediately report the alleged acts to a responsible employee.
3.02 Employee Report
Any College employee who suspects and any responsible employee who receives notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced prohibited conduct shall immediately notify the appropriate College official listed in this policy and shall take any other steps required by this policy.
3.03 Reporting Exceptions
A person who holds a professional license requiring confidentiality, such as a counselor, or who is supervised by such a person shall not be required to disclose a report of prohibited conduct without the student’s consent. A person who is a nonprofessional counselor or advocate designated in administrative procedures as a confidential source shall not be required to disclose information regarding an incident of prohibited conduct that constitutes personally identifiable information about a student or other information that would indicate the student’s identity without the student’s consent, unless the person is disclosing information as required for inclusion in the College’s annual security report under the Clery Act.
3.04 Responsible Employee
For purposes of this policy, a “responsible employee” is an employee:
3.04.1 Who has the authority to remedy prohibited conduct;
3.04.2 Who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of prohibited conduct; or 3.04.3 Whom a student reasonably believes has the authority to remedy prohibited conduct or has been given the duty of reporting incidents of prohibited conduct. The College designates the following persons as responsible employees: any instructor, any administrator, or any College official designated below.
3.05 Title IX Coordinator
Reports of discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment or gender-based harassment, may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. The College designates the following person to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended:
Dean of Student Affairs
Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, P.O. Box 1768, Lufkin, TX 75902-1768
101 Student Center
3.06 Student ADA/Section 504 Coordinator
Reports of discrimination based on disability may be directed to the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator. In matters relating to students, the College designates the following person to coordinate its efforts to comply with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, which incorporates and expands the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended.
3.07 Other Antidiscrimination Laws
The College President or designee shall serve as coordinator for purposes of College compliance with all other antidiscrimination laws.
3.08 Alternative Reporting Procedures
A student shall not be required to report prohibited conduct to the person alleged to have committed the conduct. Reports concerning prohibited conduct, including reports against the Title IX Coordinator or the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, may be directed to the College President. A report against the College President may be made directly to the Board President. If a report is made directly to the Board President, the Board shall appoint an appropriate person to conduct an investigation.
3.09 Timely Reporting
Reports of prohibited conduct shall be made as soon as possible after the alleged act or knowledge of the alleged act. A failure to immediately report may impair the College’s ability to investigate and address the prohibited conduct.
3.10 Investigation of Report
3.10.1 The College may request, but shall not require, a written report. If a report is made orally, the College official shall reduce the report to written form.
3.10.2 Investigation of the Report Upon receipt or notice of a report, the College official shall determine whether the allegations, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct as defined by this policy. If so, the College official shall immediately authorize or undertake an investigation, except as provided below Section 3.10.5.
If the College official determines that the allegations, if proven, would not constitute prohibited conduct as defined by this policy, the College official shall refer the complaint for consideration under the Student Complaints policy (FLD Local in the College’s Policy and Procedure Manual), as appropriate.
3.10.3 Interim Action If appropriate and regardless of whether a criminal or regulatory investigation regarding the alleged conduct is pending, the College shall promptly take interim action calculated to address prohibited conduct prior to the completion of the College’s investigation.
3.10.4 College Investigation The investigation may be conducted by the College official or a designee or by a third party designated by the College, such as an attorney (hereinafter “investigator”). The investigator shall have received appropriate training regarding the issues related to the complaint and the relevant College’s policy and procedures. The investigation may consist of personal interviews with the person making the report, the person against whom the report is filed, and others with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the allegations. The investigation may also include analysis of other information or documents related to the allegations.
3.10.5 Criminal Investigation If a law enforcement or regulatory agency notifies the College that a criminal or regulatory investigation has been initiated, the College shall confer with the agency to determine if the College’s investigation would impede the criminal or regulatory investigation. The College shall proceed with its investigation only to the extent that it does not impede the ongoing criminal or regulatory investigation. After the law enforcement or regulatory agency has completed gathering its evidence, the College shall promptly resume its investigation.
3.10.6 Concluding Investigation Absent extenuating circumstances, such as a request by a law enforcement or regulatory agency for the College to delay its investigation, the investigation should be completed within ten College business days from the date of the report; however, the investigator shall take additional time if necessary to complete a thorough investigation. The investigator shall prepare a written report of the investigation. The report shall be filed with the College official overseeing the investigation.
3.10.7 Notification of the Outcome The College shall provide written notice of the outcome, within the extent permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) or other law, to the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is filed.
SECTION FOUR: COLLEGE ACTION
4.01 Prohibited Conduct
If the results of an investigation indicate that prohibited conduct occurred, the College shall promptly respond by taking appropriate disciplinary or corrective action reasonably calculated to address the conduct, in accordance with College policy and procedures.
4.02 Examples of Corrective Action
Examples of corrective action may include a training program for those involved in the complaint, a comprehensive education program for the College community, counseling for the victim and the student who engaged in prohibited conduct, follow-up inquiries to determine if any new incidents or any instances of retaliation have occurred, involving students in efforts to identify problems and improve the College climate, increasing staff monitoring of areas where prohibited conduct has occurred, and reaffirming the College’s policy against discrimination and harassment.
4.03 Exception – Sexual Harassment
The College shall minimize attempts to require a student who complains of sexual harassment to resolve the problem directly with the person who engaged in the harassment; however, if that is the most appropriate resolution method, the College shall be involved in an appropriate manner. Mediation shall not be used to resolve sexual harassment complaints.
4.04 Improper Conduct
If the investigation reveals improper conduct that did not rise to the level of prohibited conduct, the College may take disciplinary action in accordance with College policy and procedures or other corrective action reasonably calculated to address the conduct.
To the greatest extent possible, the College shall respect the privacy of the complainant, persons against whom a report is filed, and witnesses. Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation and comply with applicable law.
A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal through the Student Complaints policy’s appeal process (see FLD LOCAL in the AC Policy and Procedure Manual), beginning at the appropriate level. A student shall be informed of his or her right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
4.07 Records Retention
Retention of records shall be in accordance with the College’s records retention procedures.
4.08 Access to Policy, Procedures, and Related Materials
Information regarding this policy and any accompanying procedures, as well as relevant educational and resource materials concerning the topics discussed in this policy, shall be distributed annually to College employees and students in compliance with law and in a manner calculated to provide easy access and wide distribution, such as through electronic distribution and inclusion in the College Policy and Procedure Manual, and other major College publications. Information regarding the policy, procedures, and related materials shall also be prominently published on the College’s website, taking into account applicable legal requirements. Copies of the policy and procedures shall be readily available at the College’s administrative offices and shall be distributed to a student who makes a report.