3.26 Policy Regarding Student Protections Against Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, and Stalking
East Central College is committed to maintaining an educational environment that is free from illegal discrimination or harassment in admission or access to its programs, activities and facilities. This includes conduct on property owned or operated by the College, at College-sanctioned functions, and certain off-campus events. Sexual assault, as that term is defined in this Policy, is a form of sexual harassment and is strictly prohibited. Relationship violence and stalking may also be forms of discrimination and harassment and are also strictly prohibited. For purposes of this Policy, “relationship violence” refers to both dating and domestic violence, as those terms as defined below. The College also prohibits:
1. Retaliatory actions based on making complaints of prohibited discrimination or harassment or based on participation in an investigation, formal proceeding or informal resolution concerning prohibited discrimination or harassment.
2. Aiding, abetting, inciting, compelling or coercing discrimination or harassment.
3. Discrimination or harassment against any person because of such person’s association with a person protected from discrimination or harassment as described in this Policy.
The College is committed to ensuring that all students feel and are free to benefit fully from the College’s programs and activities. As part of this commitment, the College seeks to create an environment that encourages individuals to report incidents of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. Reporting allows the College to provide support to victims, and is the only procedure through which the College can address offenders and attempt to reduce the risk of future occurrences. This Policy provides information about how individuals may report allegations of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking to the College, how the College responds to such reports, as well as information about resources available to victims of sexual assault relationship violence and stalking.
In investigating and responding to complaints of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking, the College’s primary focus is to address the sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking, and, in most cases, the College will grant amnesty to a Reporting Party for other potential violations, such as alcohol violations. Such potential violations should not discourage a Reporting Party from notifying the College of incidents of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking.
This Policy addresses behavior where the Accused Individual is a student. Behavior that does not rise to the level of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking, as those terms are defined in this Policy, may still violate College Policy, and may be addressed by the College’s Policy regarding Student Protections Against Discrimination and Harassment (Policy 3.25) or the College’s Student Conduct Policy (Policy 3.17). In the event the Accused Individual is an employee, the reporting procedures and resources are the same as set forth in this Policy, but the investigation and response to allegations against employees is found in Policy 5.4.
3.26.1 Definitions – the following definitions apply to this Policy:
Accused Individual – Any person identified by the Reporting Party as the perpetrator of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking.
Consent – An affirmative, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity during a sexual encounter. The person initiating sexual activity must obtain the other person’s consent throughout the duration of the sexual activity. Consenting persons must act freely, voluntarily, and have knowledge of the act or transaction involved. Consent will not be implied by silence or mere passivity from a state of intoxication or unconsciousness; it may not be inferred in circumstances in which consent is not clear, including, but not limited to situations that involve the absence of “no” or “stop,” or those that involve the existence of a prior or current relationship or sexual activity. Consent cannot be given if the Accused Individual has taken advantage of a position of influence which that person has over the Reporting Party. Consent cannot be given by an individual who is incapacitated through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
Dating Violence – Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purpose of this definition: (a) A social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature means a relationship which is characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement between the parties. (b) Dating violence can be a single event or a pattern of behavior that includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse. (c) Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence – (1) A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed–(a) By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (b) By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (c) By a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (d) By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or (e) 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 jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred. (2) Domestic violence can be a single event or a pattern of behavior that includes, but is not limited to, sexual, or physical abuse.
Discrimination – Conferring, refusing or denying benefits or providing differential treatment to a person or class of persons in violation of law based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.
Harassment – A form of discrimination, as defined above, that occurs when the school or work environment becomes permeated with intimidation, ridicule or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough that it unreasonably alters the employment or educational environment. Behaviors that could constitute illegal harassment include, but are not limited to, the following acts if based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, ancestry, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law: verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression; stalking; graffiti; display of written material or pictures; name calling; slurs; jokes; gestures; stereotyping; threatening, intimidating or hostile acts; theft; or damage to property.
Reporting Party – A member of the College community, who reports to the College that he or she has been the victim of alleged sexual assault, relationship violence, and/or stalking.
Sexual Assault – A form of sexual harassment, and is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual assault includes intentional touching, either of the victim or when the victim is forced to touch, directly or through clothing, another person’s genitals, breasts, thighs, buttocks, or other intimate parts. Sexual assault also includes attempted or actual sexual penetration of any kind without a person’s consent.
Sexual Harassment – A form of discrimination, as defined above, on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, includes a variety of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature ranging from unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual exploitation, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault, that is sufficiently severe to the point it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs. Sexual assault is a severe form of sexual harassment and one instance may be sufficient to create a hostile environment.
Stalking – Activity that may be a form of harassment, as defined above, that involves engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. For purposes of this definition, a course of conduct 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. Stalking may involve physical stalking and/or cyber stalking.
3.26.2 Compliance Officers
The Board of Trustees designates the following individuals to act as the College’s compliance officers:
Title IX Administrator
Section 504 Administrator
Vice President of Student Development
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road
Union, MO 63084
Title IX Deputy Administrator
Director of Human Resources
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road
Union, MO 63084
The compliance officer will:
1. Coordinate compliance with this Policy and the law.
2. Receive all complaints regarding discrimination and harassment at East Central College.
3. Serve as the College’s contact person for compliance with discrimination laws.
4. Investigate or assign persons to investigate complaints; monitor the status of complaints; and recommend consequences.
5. Seek legal advice when necessary to enforce this Policy.
6. Report to the College President and the Board of Trustees aggregate information regarding the number and frequency of complaints and compliance with this Policy.
7. Make recommendations regarding changing this Policy or the implementation of this Policy.
8. Coordinate and institute training programs for College staff and supervisors as necessary to meet the goals of this Policy, including instruction in recognizing behavior that constitutes discrimination and harassment.
9. Perform other duties as assigned by the College President.
3.26.3 Reporting a Complaint
The College encourages the reporting of all incidents of sexual harassment, including, but not limited to, sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. The decision to report such incidents is a deeply personal and often difficult decision, but is often a way for the victim to begin healing. Such reporting may also help prevent future incidents of a similar nature from occurring. Victims are not required, however, to report such incidents, and will not be penalized if they choose not to report an incident to law enforcement or a Compliance Officer.
The first priority for any victim of sexual assault or relationship violence is to receive appropriate medical attention for any medical injuries and to preserve evidence in the event the Reporting Party chooses to pursue a complaint. The College will maintain and publish information containing resources and guidance for victims of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. Such information will be maintained in the College’s Annual Security Report and the College’s Student Handbook, and any other means identified by the College administration to make the information readily available to the campus. Copies will also be maintained by the College’s Title IX Administrator, who will make such information available to any interested person.
The College provides several options for reporting incidents of sexual harassment, including, sexual assault, relationship violence, and/or stalking:
1. Confidential Reporting – Individuals may make a confidential report to a College counselor. Counseling services are available at no cost to students and referrals to community resources are available. College counselors can also help the alleged victim identify other available College resources.
2. Formal Complaint – Individuals may also file a formal (verbal, written, or online) complaint with the Vice President of Student Development and it will be promptly investigated. There is no time limit on the filing of complaints, though the College encourages prompt reporting, as delayed reporting may hinder the College’s ability to pursue disciplinary action against an Accused Individual.
3. Criminal Report – Individuals may make a criminal report with local law enforcement, or appropriate jurisdiction. College personnel are available to assist individuals with contacting the appropriate jurisdiction for making such a report.
In addition to pursuing criminal or College disciplinary proceedings, individuals may wish to obtain an order of protection, no-contact order, or restraining order from the relevant jurisdiction. Such orders are enforced by the local law enforcement agency in the relevant jurisdiction.
Upon receiving a complaint of sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking, the College will provide to the Reporting Party a written notice describing the reporting options listed above. Reporting Parties are not limited to one form of reporting and may pursue multiple methods of reporting options.
In addition, except as otherwise provided in this Policy, all employees, students and visitors must immediately report to the College for investigation any incident or behavior that could constitute illegal discrimination or harassment, which includes sexual assault and may include relationship violence and stalking. Such reports should be made to the Vice President of Student Development or the Director of Human Resources, as the College’s Compliance Officers. All College employees will instruct persons seeking to make a complaint under this Policy to communicate directly with the College compliance officers. Even if the potential victim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation does not file a complaint, College employees, except members of the College’s counseling staff who are considered confidential reporters, are required to report to the Compliance Officers any observations, rumors or other information regarding actions prohibited by this Policy.
After receiving a complaint, the Compliance Officer will determine the appropriate College Policy for processing the complaint. In making this determination, the Compliance Officer will consider the specific facts alleged by the Reporting Party. Allegations related to acts of Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence or Stalking, as those terms as defined in this Policy, will be processed according to this Policy. Allegations that may constitute sexual or other forms of harassment prohibited by the College, but not rising to the level of Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence or Stalking, will be reviewed according to Policy 3.25 Student Protection Against Discrimination. Once the determination is reached, the Compliance Officer will notify the Reporting Party of which College Policy will govern the disposition of the Reporting Party’s complaint, and will provide the Reporting Party with a copy of the applicable Policy. The College encourages the Reporting Party to seek clarification from the Compliance Officer if the Reporting Party believes the Compliance Officer has selected the wrong Policy to resolve the complaint.
3.26.4 Interim Measures
When a report is made or the College otherwise learns of potential discrimination, harassment or retaliation, the College will, if appropriate, take immediate action to protect the alleged victim, including implementing interim measures. For example, the College may alter a student’s class schedule, provide additional support for a student (such as counseling or academic support), suspend an employee pending an investigation, or, if applicable, alter transportation or working situations. The College will take immediate steps to prevent retaliation against the alleged victim, any person associated with the alleged victim, or any witnesses or participants in the investigation. These steps may include, but are not limited to, notifying students, employees and others that they are protected from retaliation, ensuring that they know how to report future complaints, and initiating follow up contact with the complainant to determine if any additional acts of discrimination, harassment or retaliation have occurred. The College will provide these types of interim measures if requested by the victim and if such measures are reasonably available and appropriate in the circumstances. Individuals are encouraged to speak with the College’s Compliance Officers about the availability of such measures. In the case of a confidential reporting, the Reporting Party should speak with the College counselor to whom they made the report about any requested interim measures.
3.26.5 Procedure for Investigation and Resolution of Complaints
In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes a violation of College Policy, the College will consider the surrounding circumstances, the nature of the behavior, the relationships between the parties involved, past incidents, the context in which the alleged incidents occurred and all other relevant information. Whether a particular action or incident constitutes a violation of this Policy requires a determination based on all of the facts and surrounding circumstances. If, after investigation, College officials determine that it is more likely than not that prohibited behavior has occurred, the College will take immediate corrective action.
The following procedures will be used as a guideline for investigating complaints:
1. Interview the Reporting Party regarding the nature and specifics of the incident(s);
2. Interview the Accused Individual; and
3. Interview other possible witnesses, if appropriate.
A. Complaints Against Employees of the College
If a complaint under this Policy is against an employee of the College, the complaint will be investigated by the Director of Human Resources or designee, and will be handled according to the procedures found in Policy 5.4. Employees who violate this Policy will be disciplined, up to and including employment termination.
B. Complaints Against College Students
If a complaint under this Policy is against another student, the complaint will be investigated by the Vice President of Student Development or designee. The procedures will follow those set forth in the Student Code of Conduct, except that to the extent there are any inconsistencies between the Student Code of Conduct and this Policy, the procedures set forth in this Policy will apply in cases of Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, or Stalking:
1. The College will conduct a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation.
2. Proceedings under this Policy will be conducted without undue delay, and will be conducted by officials who receive annual training on the issues related to relationship violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and how to conduct a hearing process that protects victim safety and promotes accountability. In general, proceedings pursuant to this Policy, including adjudication through the Student Discipline Policy, should be completed within sixty (60) days of the Reporting Party’s complaint to the Compliance Officer.
3. Mediation will not be used in cases alleging sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking.
4. The Compliance Officer or designee may issue a “no contact” order to all parties identified in a sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking complaint. The Compliance Officer will consider other interim measures that may be appropriate.
5. Both the Reporting Party and the Accused Individual will have equal opportunity to provide relevant information, including the identities of any witnesses they believe should be contacted as part of the investigation. Both the Reporting Party and the Accused Individual have the right to have an advisor of their choosing present during any meetings or proceedings related to the investigation. For purposes of this Policy only, there is no limitation on the choice of an advisor by either the Reporting Party or the Accused Individual. The limitations on the role of legal counsel in a disciplinary proceeding are defined by the Student Discipline Policy.
6. After reviewing all the relevant information, the Vice President of Student Development or designee will render a determination as to whether the Policy was violated and what additional actions may be necessary, including disciplinary action against the Accused Individual and/or making available to the Reporting Party appropriate College resources. In making this determination, the Vice President of Student Development or designee will utilize a “preponderance of the evidence standard,” meaning that he or she will determine whether it is more likely than not that a Policy violation occurred.
7. Students who violate this Policy will be disciplined, which may include suspension or expulsion. Other possible sanctions are found in the Student Discipline Policy.
8. The Vice President of Student Development will notify both the Reporting Party and the Accused Individual, in writing, of his or her determination. The written notification will also notify both the Reporting Party and the Accused Individual of the availability of appeal, as described below.
9. If either the Reporting Party or the Accused Individual disagrees with the Vice President of Student Development or designee’s determination, either student may request that the complaint be handled according to the procedures found in the Student Discipline Policy, Policy 3.18. In those circumstances, both the Reporting Party and the Accused Individual will have equal opportunity to participate in the process, and the process will utilize a “preponderance of the evidence standard,” meaning that it will determine whether it is more likely than not that a Policy violation occurred.
10. At the conclusion of any portion of the disciplinary proceeding, including any appeal, both the Reporting Party and the Accused Individual will be notified in writing, and simultaneously, of the result of that portion of the disciplinary proceeding, when that result becomes final, and the availability of any appeal.
3.26.6 Confidentiality, Records and Counseling
To the extent feasible, the College will endeavor to keep confidential the identity of the person filing a complaint, witnesses or other parties interviewed, and any complaint or other document that is generated or received pertaining to complaints. Information may be disclosed if necessary to further the investigation, or resolution of a complaint, or if necessary to carry out disciplinary measures. The College will disclose information to the College’s attorney, law enforcement, and others when necessary to enforce this Policy or when required by law.
In implementing this Policy, the College will comply with state and federal laws regarding the confidentiality of student and employee records.
Any student who believes he/she has been a victim of illegal discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking has the option of speaking confidentially to a College counselor. Counseling services are available at no cost to the student and referrals to community resources are available. College counselors can also help the alleged victim identify other available College resources.
All other employees are mandated to report the information regarding illegal discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking to the Compliance Officer.
3.26.7 Training and Awareness Programs
In addition to the information contained in this Policy, the College will, in accordance with the Campus Sexual Violence Act (“SaVE Act”), provide training and information to members of the campus community regarding the following topics:
1. Safe and positive steps an individual may take to intervene to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking against another person;
2. Information about how to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior in order to mitigate the likelihood of perpetration, victimization, or bystander inaction;
3. Awareness campaigns and prevention programs intended to stop domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking before they occur, and to increase campus awareness and share information and resources for the same purpose;
4. Written notification to students and employees about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available for victims, both within the institution and in the community;
The College will distribute this information to members of the campus community through the College’s Annual Security Report and the College’s Student Handbook, and any other means identified by the College administration to make the information readily available to the campus. Copies will also be maintained by the College’s Title IX Administrator, who will make such information available to any interested person.