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Sexual Harassment/Sexual Violence Policies

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Austin Community College District is committed to providing timely support and assistance to victims/survivors[1] of sexual misconduct. This policy provides detailed descriptions of how the institution identifies and responds to such complaints. This executive summary is intended to provide a short summary of essential information for persons who need immediate assistance so they do not have to navigate the entire document. This information is also included within the document in more detail.

 

“Sexual misconduct” is an umbrella term that refers collectively to the below offenses that are prohibited. Those offenses are the following:

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Sexual Assault, which includes Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration and Sexual Touching
  • Intimate Partner Violence which includes Dating Violence and Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Stalking
  • Gender-based harassment and discrimination that is non-sexual

Students or employees who experience an incident of sexual misconduct should consider the information and resources provided below. Full definitions of the above offenses are found later in this document.


[1] The words “victim” and “survivor” are both used in the literature and research on this topic ACC respects the decision of those who have experienced violence to identify as a victim or a survivor. We recognize that choosing to identify as a survivor is an important part of the healing process for some who have experienced sexual misconduct. In this document, we will refer to the complaining party as “victim/survivor” or as the “Complainant.”

EMERGENCY INFORMATION

FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE

1. Confidential Support: Any student in need of immediate emotional support should contact an ACC Campus Counseling Office (find your campus contact by visiting http://www.austincc.edu/counseling) and request to speak with a confidential counselor. 

2. For employees, Austin Community College's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free and confidential assessment, short-term counseling, prevention, education, and referral services for employees and their dependents. Trained counselors are available 24/7, 365 days of the year and employeeshave access to a number of confidential sessions with a counselor at no cost. More information on accessing the EAP may be accessed here:

http://www.austincc.edu/eap .

3. Victims/survivors (employees or students) may also contact Safe  (an off-campus non-profit sexual violence resource center) to speak with a confidential advocate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (512) 267-SAFE (7233).  Access ’s website at http://www.safeaustin.org/learn-more/sexualassault/

4. Reporting: Students and employees are strongly encouraged to report sexual misconduct to College authorities and to the police in order to protect themselves and others. Even if the victim/survivor does not want to make a formal incident report or file charges, he or she still may have the right to other victims’ services, including reasonable accommodations and interim protective measures in addition to support services. To file a report, any person can contact any of the following

a. District Title IX Coordinator: (available during regular business hours) Charlene Buckley, District Title IX Coordinator, 5930 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752 E-mail: charlene.buckley@austincc.edu  or  compliance@austincc.edu. Phone:(512) 223-7964.  (Deputy Coordinators are also assigned to each campus.  For a listing of Deputy Title IX Coordinators by campus, please see Page 17 of this documentReporting to the District Title IX Coordinator will not result in a criminal investigation but will result in an administrative investigation to determine if this policy was violated. If the incident occurred on campus, limited information will be shared with the District Police for purposes of determining if a Timely Warning Notice should be sent out to the community and for purposes of capturing and counting crime data.)

b. The ACC District Police Department (ACCPD): http://www.austincc.edu/police  (Visit their website to access the correct address and/or telephone number for the appropriate campus or see contact information for each campus referenced in this policy on Pages 8-10.) Reporting to the ACC District Police may initiate a criminal investigation into your complaint. The District Chief of Police will also determine if a Timely Warning Notice should be sent out to the community and will capture and count crime data if the offense was reported to have occurred on campus or on a property owned or controlled by the institution. The District Police will report your complaint to the District Title IX Coordinator.

c.  The (City of) Austin Police Department: (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) Call 911 for emergencies, 311 for non-emergencies, or (512) 974-2000.  Visit Austin PD’s website for more information or to obtain the address or contact information for a specific division within the PD.  (http://www.austintexas.gov/department/police) Important note-The City of Austin may not share the details of your report with ACC (however, the District Police must notify the District Title IX Coordinator of a report made to their office.) If you report to the city police, you should also report to the District Title IX Coordinator so on campus accommodations, interim protective measures and resources may be provided.

MEDICAL TREATMENT AND EVIDENCE PRESERVATION

As of January 2009, victims/survivors of sexual assault may have a sexual assault forensic exam without reporting it to law enforcement. [2]  Listed below are the facilities in Central Texas that will provide such examinations. 

Hospitals in and around ACC Campuses offering forensic (SAFE) exams and evidence collection:

Hospital Name

Physical Address

Telephone Number

Website Information

Scott & White Medical Center – Temple

2401 S. 31st Street, Temple, TX 76508

754-724-2111

http://www.sw.org/location/temple-hospital

Seton Medical Center Williamson

201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock, TX 78665

512-324-4000

https://www.seton.net/locations/seton-medical-center-williamson/

Seton Northwest Hospital

11113 Research Boulevard, Austin, TX 78759

512-324-6000

https://www.seton.net/locations/northwest/

St. David’s Medical Center

919 E 32nd Street, Austin, TX 78705

512-544-7111

http://stdavids.com/home/

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

901 W Ben White Boulevard., Austin, TX 78704

512-447-2211

http://stdavids.com/home/

University Medical Center Brackenridge

601 E 15th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-324-7000

https://www.seton.net/locations/brackenridge/

State law allows an individual to have the sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) up to 120 hours (5 days) after the sexual assault.  An individual can report to law enforcement, if the person chooses to do so.  In Texas, you have ten years (statute of limitations on sexual assault) to make the report. Having a sexual assault forensic exam conducted allows an individual to preserve evidence that will be lost over time while you have time to decide how to proceed.

ACC District police officers and City of Austin police officers encourage victims/survivors to report the sexual assault even if it is past the statute of limitations. The case cannot go forward with prosecution, but it is important to document the assault and the perpetrators who commit them (in addition to allowing ACC to prevent recurrence of similar crimes, if applicable.)

In circumstances of sexual assault, if a victim/survivor does not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care providers still can treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually-transmitted infection. It is important that a victim/survivor of sexual assault not bathe, douche, smoke, change clothing or clean the bed/linen/area where she or he was assaulted within 120 hours after the incident occurred so that evidence may be preserved.

Victim/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking also are encouraged to preserve evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents, if any exist that may be useful to College investigators, ACC District Police Department, or local police.

INVESTIGATIONS

Victims/survivors who wish to pursue an investigation may choose to:

1. Contact the ACC District Police Department to pursue a criminal investigation if the reported conduct occurred on property owned or controlled by ACC.

2. Contact the local police department or sheriff’s department to pursue a criminal investigation.

3. File a civil complaint in a civil court.  (This action may require you to obtain your own attorney.)

4. Report to the ACC District Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for your campus (see contact information in this document). An investigation of a campus policy violation is independent from criminal or civil investigations and the District Title IX Coordinator accepts complaints of all kinds of conduct (criminal and non-criminal) as well as conduct that occurred on and off campus.

5. Decide not to file charges or make a report for investigation. Victims/Survivor are strongly encouraged but not required to report the incident. Victims/Survivor have the right to be free from any suggestion that victims/survivors must report the crime to be assured of any other rights or resources. Campus personnel will not pressure survivors to report a crime if the survivor does not wish to report but will assist any person in filing a report with law enforcement no matter where the misconduct occurred.

6. Report anonymously online through a link provided on the College’s homepage.

7. A victim/survivor may report to all of the above and have concurrent criminal and administrative investigations.  ACC will not wait for the completion of a criminal investigation to begin or conduct its’ administrative investigation.

ACCOMMODATIONS

A victim/survivor may make a request for accommodations to the District Title IX Coordinator (or their respective Deputy Title IX Coordinator). The victim/survivor does not need to participate in an investigation or file charges in order to request accommodations. The District Title IX Coordinator will work in conjunction with relevant parties to determine which measures are appropriate to ensure the victim’s safety and equal access to educational programs and activities. Accommodations include:

• Accommodations related to academics, transportation, and working environment. If an alleged perpetrator and alleged victim/survivor are enrolled in the same class, a request to drop the class without any academic penalty will be granted.

• Relocation in their on-campus job if either will bring them into proximity with the perpetrator. Survivors may also request changes to their class schedule if they have classes in common with the perpetrator.

• A “no-contact” order may be put in place between the victim/survivor and the accused party[3] or if the accused party is a non-ACC member, the institution should work with law enforcement to prohibit the party from entering campus property.

• For information about loan repayment, including financial aid student success workshops and potential emergency loans, please visit:  http://www.austincc.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/obtain-financial-aid.  Contact Jason Briseno, 512-223-7221 or jbrisen2@austincc.edu.

• Resources regarding adjustment of the work schedule or leave for employees who are victims/survivors are available through the Human Resources Department.

Table of Contents

I.          POLICY STATEMENT

A.        ACC’s Prohibition Against Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

B.        Commitment to Address Sexual Misconduct

II.        SCOPE OF POLICY

A.        Persons Covered

B.        Locations Covered

C.        Confidentiality and Privacy

i               Privacy and Confidentiality: Understanding the Differences

ii              Privacy

iii             Confidentiality

iv            Responsible Employees and Requests for Confidentiality

v             Disclosures Required by the Clery Act

III.       OPTIONS FOR ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING AN INCIDENT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

A.        Immediate Assistance

i               Confidential Resources (Non-Medical)

ii              On-Campus Confidential Mental Health and Counseling Resources

iii             Online & Off-Campus Confidential Resources

iv            ACC District Police and Law Enforcement

v             Sexual Assault Responses Team (SARRT)

vi            Confidential Medical Resources

vii           Additional On-Campus & Off-Campus Resources

B.        Ongoing Assistance

C.        Academic Accommodations and Interim Measures.

i               Overview.

ii              Range of Measures.

iii             Interim Suspension or Separation.

IV.            The Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators.

V.        Definitions.

A.        Sex or Gender-Based Discrimination.

i               Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment

B.        Sexual Assault: Forms. 

i  Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration.

ii Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

C.        Sexual Exploitation

D.        Stalking.

E.         Intimate Partner Violence: Forms

i               Dating Violence

ii              Domestic Violence

F.         Definitions of Key Terms; Other Considerations

i               Affirmative Consent

ii              Force

iii             Intimidation

iv            Coercion

v             Incapacitation

vi            Prohibited Relationships by Persons in Authority

vii           Retaliation

VI.            Reporting Policies and Protocols

A.        Amnesty for Alcohol or Other Drug Use or Other Conduct Violations

B.        Coordination with Law Enforcement

C.        False Reports

D.        Reports Involving Minors or Suspected Child Abuse

E.         Investigation Procedures

i               Initial Report and Determination of Jurisdiction

ii              Immediate Safety Concerns and Interim Measures

iii             Formal Resolution: Assignment of Case to Investigator

iv            Investigation Phase

v             Preliminary Report of Investigator

vi            Final Report of Investigator

vii           Determination of Misconduct and Sanctions

F.         Appeals

G.        Informal Resolution

H.        Sanctions

i               Modification of Investigation Process

ii              Consolidation of Investigations.

iii             Integrity of Proceeding

iv            Records

VII.           Prevention and Education

VIII.         Training

 

I. POLICY STATEMENT

It is the policy of the Austin Community College District (“ACC” or the “College”) to maintain an environment for students, employees, and visitors that is free of all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct.  The College has enacted this Prohibition of Sexual Discrimination or Sexual Violence or Sexual Harassment Policy (the “Sexual Misconduct Policy” or “the Policy”) to reflect and maintain its institutional values and community expectations, to provide for fair and equitable procedures for determining when this Policy has been violated, and to provide recourse for individuals and the community in response to violations of this Policy.  

So that the College may continue to foster a climate of respect and security on its campuses and ACC owned or operated sites as it relates to preventing and responding to acts of sexual misconduct, this policy has been created and serves to demonstrate the College’s commitment to:

· Prohibiting all forms of gender and sex-based harassment and discrimination, defined as “sexual misconduct” by ACC, to include sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual penetration and contact, sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence as well as gender-based harassment and discrimination that is non-sexual;

· Disseminating clear policies and procedures for responding to sexual misconduct reported to the College;

· Delivering primary prevention and awareness programs and ongoing training and education campaigns to students and employees so they may identify what behavior constitutes sexual misconduct; understand how to report such misconduct; recognize warning signs of potentially abusive behavior and ways to reduce risks; and learn about safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than such individual;

· Engaging in investigative inquiry and resolution of reports that are prompt, fair, equitable, and independent of other investigations that may occur;

· Supporting and protecting the rights of victims/survivors and accused parties, as well as holding persons accountable for established violations of this policy;

· Providing a written explanation of the rights and options available to every student or employee that has been the victim/survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, regardless of whether the offense occurred on or off campus; and

· Addressing the policy’s impact on contractors and visitors to ACC facilities.

In addition, this policy:

· Identifies the College’s District Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, and Title IX Investigators, and describes their roles in compliance with guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and in compliance with the Clery Act.

· Identifies how students and employees can report sexual misconduct to the College confidentially and what resources are available both on and off campus to aid them, including employees’ and students’ rights to notify local law enforcement and their right also to decline to notify such authorities.

· Provides information about how reports are assessed, investigated, and resolved.

· Provides the College with a means to take all reasonable steps to identify harassment, prevent recurrence of any harassment, and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.

A. ACC’s Prohibition Against Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

ACC does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational, extracurricular, or other programs or in the context of employment.  Sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that provides:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

This Policy prohibits all forms of sex and gender-based discrimination, harassment, and misconduct, including non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual sexual contact, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking.  This Policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who reports, complains about, or who otherwise participates in good faith in, any matter related to this Policy.  All of the foregoing sexual misconduct shall be referred to as “Prohibited Conduct.”

Sexual harassment is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Texas Penal Code, and other applicable statutes.  This Policy prohibits sexual harassment against ACC community members of any sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in the context of education or employment.  This Policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

ACC also prohibits other forms of discrimination and harassment, including discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, religious belief, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Such prohibited conduct is addressed in other College Administrative Rules prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on protected status (other than sex or gender).

B. Commitment to Address Sexual Misconduct

Upon receipt of a complaint or a report, the College will take prompt and equitable action to eliminate the Prohibited Conduct (if any), prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  In addition, the College will fulfill its obligations under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”) amendments to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”) in response to reported Prohibited Conduct.  The College’s process for investigating and responding to reported Prohibited Conduct is contained in the following Section VI. Students or employees who are found to have violated this Policy may face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion (students) or termination of employment (faculty, staff, or other employees).  

II. SCOPE OF POLICY

This Policy applies to all reports of Prohibited Conduct occurring on or after the effective date of this Policy.  Where the date of the reported Prohibited Conduct precedes the effective date of this Policy, the definitions of misconduct in existence at the time of the report will be used.  The Investigation Process under this Policy, however, will be used to investigate and resolve all reports made on or after the effective date of this Policy, regardless of when the incident(s) occurred.

When used in this Policy, “Complainant” refers to the individual who is identified as the subject alleging to have been harmed by the Prohibited Conduct.  “Respondent” refers to the individual alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct.  A “Third-Party” refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness or an individual who makes a report on behalf of a Complainant. The roles of administrators are explained in greater detail later in this document.

A. Persons Covered  

This Policy applies to all ACC community members, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, volunteers, vendors, contractors, visitors, and individuals regularly or temporarily employed, conducting business, studying, visiting, or having any official capacity with the College or on its property.  

The College strongly encourages reports of Prohibited Conduct regardless of who engaged in the conduct.  Even if the College does not have jurisdiction over the Respondent, the College will take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of the Complainant and the broader campus community and prevent recurrence, if possible.

B. Locations Covered 

This Policy applies to all on-campus conduct and some off-campus conduct, described below.  The College strongly encourages reports of Prohibited Conduct regardless of location.  Even if the Policy does not apply to the conduct because of its location, the College will take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of the Complainant and the broader campus community and to prevent recurrence, if applicable.

On-Campus Conduct.  This Policy applies to conduct that occurs on-campus, including conduct which occurs on property owned or controlled by the College.

College Programs.  This Policy applies to conduct that occurs in the context of College employment or education programs or activities.

Off-Campus Conduct.  This Policy also applies to conduct that occurs off-campus and has continuing adverse effects on, or creates a hostile environment for, any member of the ACC community on-campus or in any College employment or education program or activity. 

C. Confidentiality and Privacy

i Privacy and Confidentiality: Understanding the Differences

The College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of reports under this Policy.  The College also is committed to assisting students, employees, and Third-Parties in making informed choices.  With respect to any report under this Policy, the College will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to take steps to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  All College employees who are involved in the College’s Title IX response receive specific instruction about respecting and safeguarding private information.  

Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this Policy.

ii Privacy

“Privacy” generally means that information related to a report of Prohibited Conduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, or resolution of the report.  While not bound by confidentiality, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.

The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the Administrative Rule 3.03.015, which details the College’s regarding the confidentiality of student records. 

The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records may be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), excepting health records protected by FERPA and by Texas state law.  Access to an employee’s personnel records may be restricted by applicable Texas and federal law.

While there are certain limitations on privacy, the College generally will not release the names of the Complainant or Respondent to the general public without express written consent or absent another exception consistent with the law.  The release of names will be guided by applicable law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Clery Act, and the Texas Public Information Act.

ACC’s employment policies set forth disciplinary consequences for an employee who releases confidential student information.

iii Confidentiality

“Confidentiality” generally means that information shared by an individual with designated authority on a campus or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other individual without the express permission of the individual. 

The confidentiality of information shared by an individual with designated campus or community professionals generally is governed by Texas law, including restrictions on disclosure of information by mental health providers, ordained clergy, rape crisis counselors, and attorneys, all of whom have legally protected confidentiality.  These individuals are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others.

An individual who seeks confidential assistance may do so by speaking with professionals who have a legally protected confidentiality.  The confidential resources available to individuals on campus are listed in Section III below.  Note, however, that these confidential resources are required by Texas state law to notify child protective services and/or local law enforcement of any report which involves suspected or known abuse of a minor under the age of 18.

iv Responsible Employees and Requests for Confidentiality

A “Responsible Employee” includes any employee who: (1) has the authority to take action to redress the harassment; (2) has the duty to report to appropriate College officials sexual harassment or any other misconduct by students or employees; or (3) a student could reasonably believe has the authority or responsibility to take action.

Certain employees have been designated by the College as Responsible Employees. This includes supervisors, faculty members (including professors, adjuncts, lecturers, and associate/assistant instructors) and all staff in the ACC District Police.  Any other ACC employee who receives such information shall immediately report it to a supervisor for handling in accordance with this policy.

The College requires that all Responsible Employees share a report of misconduct with the District Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  The purpose of this requirement is to permit the College to take immediate and corrective action to respond to allegations of Prohibited Conduct. 

A person may desire to report Prohibited Conduct to the College but to maintain confidentiality; if so, the District Title IX Coordinator will evaluate such requests.  Where a Complainant requests that the Complainant’s name or other identifiable information not be shared with the Respondent or that no formal action be taken, the  District Title IX Coordinator will balance the Complainant’s request with the College’s dual obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all College community members and to remain true to principles of fundamental fairness that ordinarily provide for notice and an opportunity to respond before action is taken against a Respondent.  In making this determination, the College may consider the seriousness of the conduct, the respective ages and roles of the Complainant and Respondent, whether there have been other complaints or reports of harassment or misconduct against the Respondent, and the rights of the Respondent to receive notice and relevant information before disciplinary action is sought.

The College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation, but its ability to do so may be limited based on the nature of the request by the Complainant.  Where the College is unable to take action consistent with the request of the Complainant, the District Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant about the chosen course of action, which may include the College seeking disciplinary action against a Respondent.  Alternatively, the course of action may also include steps to limit the effects of the alleged harassment and prevent its recurrence that do not involve formal disciplinary action against a Respondent or revealing the identity of the Complainant.

v Disclosures Required by the Clery Act

1. Timely Warnings

A “Timely Warning” or “Crime Alert” is a District-wide notification of a serious or continuing threat to the ACC community.  The Timely Warning does notinclude identifying information about the Complainant.  If a report of misconduct discloses a serious or continuing threat to the ACC community, the College will issue a District-wide timely warning or crime alert (which will take the form of an email or text message sent to the entire ACC community) to protect the health or safety of the community.     

2. Annual Reporting Responsibilities

The College receives federal funding, and therefore is obligated to issue publicly an Annual Security Report (“ASR”) which identifies the number of particular types of reported crimes on campus or campus owned or controlled property, or adjacent to campus.  The ASR does not include identifying information about the Complainant or Respondent.

3.           Crime Log

The College must maintain a daily crime log that includes entries for all crimes that occur within both the Clery geography and the ACC District Police Department’s patrol jurisdiction.  The crime log does not include identifying information about the Complainant or Respondent.

III. OPTIONS FOR ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING AN INCIDENT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

A. Immediate Assistance

The College is committed to treating all members of the community with dignity, care, and respect.  Any community member who experiences or is affected by violations under this Policy, whether as a Complainant or a Respondent, will have equal access to support and counseling services through the College.

The College strongly encourages individuals to report Prohibited Conduct.  The College recognizes, however, that the decision to report Prohibited Conduct (to the College and/or law enforcement) can be difficult.  The College strongly encourages individuals who are considering whether to report Prohibited Conduct to seek the support of confidential campus and community resources, listed in this policy, in particular the licensed professional counselors located on each campus.  These trained professionals can provide guidance in making decisions, information about available resources and procedural options, and assistance to either the Complainant or Respondent in the event that a report and/or resolution under this Policy is pursued.  These resources are available regardless of when or where the incident occurred.

There are many resources available on campus and in the surrounding community.  As noted below, there are Confidential Resources which by law cannot share information without the consent of the individual seeking assistance (in most circumstances).  There are also a variety of College resources that will be discreet and private but are not considered confidential.  These resources will maintain the privacy of an individual’s information within the limited circle of those involved in the resolution of a complaint under this Policy.  

i Confidential Resources (Non-Medical)

The College strongly encourages all community members to make a prompt report of any incident of Prohibited Conduct to local law enforcement and the College.  For individuals who are not prepared to make a report, or who may be unsure how to proceed, but are still seeking information and support, there are several legally-protected confidential resources available as designated below.  These confidential resources will not share information with the College or anyone else without the individual’s permission.

ii On-Campus Confidential Mental Health and Counseling Resources

LOCATION

 

OFFICE OR DEPT

BLDG.

ROOM

PHONE

Cypress Creek Campus

 

Counseling Centers

2000

2114.8

512-223-2010

Eastview Campus

 

Counseling Centers

2000

2113

512-223-5188

Elgin Campus

 

Counseling Centers

1000

1151

512-223-9408

Hays Campus

 

Counseling Centers

1000

1111.04

512-262-6527;
512-223-1572 (internal)

Highland Campus

 

Counseling Centers

HLC1

2300

512-223-7315

Northridge Campus

 

Counseling Centers

1000

1101.1

512-223-4719

Pinnacle Campus

 

Counseling Centers

Main

224

512-223-8108

Rio Grande Campus

 

Counseling Centers

Annex

156

512-223-3137

Riverside Campus

 

Counseling Centers

G

8116

512-223-6201

Round Rock Campus

 

Counseling Centers

1000

1005.00

512-223-0009

South Austin Campus

 

Counseling Centers

1000

1101

512-223-9141

Veteran’s Resource Center

 

Counseling Centers

Highland Mall

2280-B

512-223-4636

For other off-campus ACC-owned or controlled locations, please contact the closest campus.

iii Online & Off-Campus Confidential Resources

TITLE

WEBSITE

PHONE

PURPOSE

2-1-1 Texas

211texas.org

877-541-7905

State and local resources for life issues, food, shelter, rent assistance, childcare, counseling and more

Austin Child Guidance

austinchildguidance.org

512-451-2242

Provides parents with information and resources

Ulifeline

ulifeline.org

Text "START" to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

A resource for suicide prevention, drugs and mental health

Guide to College Student Mental Health

LearnPsychology.org

n/a

A comprehensive guide to help college students identify common mental health disorders, their own warning signs, when to seek treatment and how to manage them.

iv ACC District Police and Law Enforcement

1. On-Campus ACC District Police

For non-emergency ACC District Police call 512-223-1231.

CAMPUS

OFFICE OR DEPT

BLDG.

ROOM

PHONE

Cypress Creek

ACC District Police

2000

2101

512-223-2008

Eastview

ACC District Police

2000

2103

512-223-5120

Elgin

ACC District Police

1000

1114

512-223-9405

Hays

ACC District  Police

1000

1102.00

512-223-1511

Highland

ACC District Police

HLC1

1461 & 2338

512-223-7307

Highland Business Center

ACC District Police

HBC

Lobby

512-223-7002

Northridge

ACC District Police

1000

1103

512-223-4718

Pinnacle

ACC District Police

Main

112

512-223-8014

Rio Grande

ACC District Police

Main

102

512-223-3101

Riverside

ACC District Police

A

2238

512-223-6044

Round Rock

ACC District  Police

1000

1133

512-223-0050

Service Center

ACC District Police

   

512-223-1231

South Austin Campus

ACC District Police

1000

1102

512-223-9142

San Marcos Goodnight Center

ACC District Police

   

512-223-1231

Veterans Resource Center

ACC District Police

   

512-223-1231

 

 

2. Off-Campus law enforcement

CAMPUS

OFFICE OR DEPT

ADDRESS

PHONE

Cypress Creek

Cedar Park Police Department

911 Quest Parkway      Cedar Park, TX 78613

512-260-4600(non-emergency);

512-260-4656(Victim Services)

Eastview

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);

512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Elgin

Elgin Police Department

202 Depot St Elgin, TX 78621

512-285-5757 (non-emergency)

Hays

Kyle Police Department

111 N. Front St Kyle, TX 78640

512-268-3232 (non-emergency);

512-268-0859 (Victim Services)

Highland

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Highland Business Center

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Northridge

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);
|512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Pinnacle

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Rio Grande

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);

512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Riverside

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency);
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Round Rock

Round Rock Police Department

221 East Main St
Round Rock, TX 78664

512-218-5500 (non-emergency); 512-341-3124 (victim assistance)

Service Center

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency); 512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

South Austin Campus

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78748

512-974-5000

San Marcos Goodnight Center

San Marcos Police Department

City of San Marcos
630 E. Hopkins
San Marcos, TX 78666

512-753-2108 (non-emergency); 512-753-2106 (Victim Services)

Veterans Resource Center

Austin Police Department

715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-974-5000 (non-emergency); 512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

v Austin/Travis County Sexual Assault Response & Resource Team (SARRT)

SARRT is the Austin/Travis County Sexual Assault Response & Resource Team.  The SARRT is a Coordinated Community Response, an established working body and multi-sectoral approach comprising all the agencies involved in the response to post-pubescent adolescent and adult sexual assault victims, including law enforcement, prosecutors, Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners, hospitals and SAFE, the local rape crisis center. The local Child Protection Team is also represented on the SARRT for coordination purposes.  The SARRT meets monthly to coordinate services, problem solve and work for improved community and systematic response to sexual assault victims/survivors.  ACC is a member of the Austin Sexual Assault Response & Resource Team.

Contact:  Kristen Lenau, MPH, SARRT Coordinator, SAFE

Office 512.356.1697/http://safeaustin.org

vi Confidential Medical Resources 

Victims/survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence have medical needs regardless of if they plan to engage with the criminal justice system (or this administrative process.)  A medical provider can provide emergency and/or follow-up medical services.  The medical exam has two goals: first, to diagnose and treat the full extent of any injury or physical effect (including prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses and pregnancy) and second, to properly collect and preserve evidence.  There is a limited window of time (within 120 hours) following an incident of sexual assault to preserve physical and other forms of evidence, although it may be possible to obtain evidence from towels, sheets, clothes, and other items for longer periods of time.  Victims/survivors are encouraged to have evidence collected in the event that they want to cooperate right away with law enforcement OR have not yet made a decision regarding making a police report, but want to have the evidence collected and saved in the event they do opt to make such a report in the future.  It is best to gather evidence prior to washing a person’s body or changing clothing.  If clothes have been changed, the clothes worn at the time of the incident should be brought to the examination in a clean, sanitary container such as a paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe and may render evidence useless).  A change of clothing should also be brought to the hospital, as the clothes worn at the time of the incident will likely be kept as evidence.

Taking the steps to gather evidence immediately does not commit an individual to any particular course of action.  The decision to seek timely medical attention and gather any evidence, however, will preserve the full range of options to seek resolution under this Policy or through the pursuit of criminal prosecution, and may be helpful in obtaining protective orders and/or proving that a crime of violence occurred.  

ACC does not have on-campus Student Health facilities.  Victims/survivors of any of the offenses in this policy should seek help by visiting an area hospital. 

Hospital Name

Physical Address

Telephone Number and Website Information

Baylor Round Rock

300 University Boulevard, Round Rock, TX, 78665

512-509-0100

http://www.sw.org/location/round-rock-medical-center

Cedar Park Regional Medical Center

1401 Medical Parkway, Cedar Park, TX 78613

512-528-7000

http://www.cedarparkregional.com/cedar-park/default.aspx

Cornerstone

4207 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756

512-706-1900

http://www.chghospitals.com/austin/

Scott & White Medical Center – Temple

2401 S. 31st Street, Temple, TX 76508

754-724-2111 http://www.sw.org/location/temple-hospital

Seton Medical Center Hays

6001 Kyle Parkway, Kyle, TX 78640

512-504-5000

https://www.seton.net/locations/seton-medical-center-hays/

Seton Medical Center Williamson

201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock, TX 78665

512-324-4000

https://www.seton.net/locations/seton-medical-center-williamson/

Seton Northwest Hospital

11113 Research Boulevard, Austin, TX 78759

512-324-6000

https://www.seton.net/locations/northwest/

St. David’s Medical Center

919 E 32nd Street, Austin, TX 78705

512-544-7111

http://stdavids.com/home/

St. David’s Medical Center Round Rock

2400 Round Rock Avenue

Round Rock, TX 78681

512-341-1000

http://stdavids.com/location/st-davids-round-rock-medical-center

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

901 W Ben White Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704

512-447-2211

http://stdavids.com/home/

University Medical Center Brackenridge

601 E 15th Street, Austin, TX 78701

512-324-7000

https://www.seton/net/locations/brackenridge/

vii Additional On-Campus & Off-Campus Resources 

In addition to the confidential resources listed in this document, ACC community members have access to a variety of resources provided by the College and in the local communities surrounding the District’s campuses and other locations the College owns or controls.  All of the on-campus reporting options listed above have staff members trained to support individuals affected by Prohibited Conduct and to coordinate with the Title IX Coordinator (and Deputies) consistent with the College’s commitment to a safe and healthy educational environment. While not bound by confidentiality, those resources will maintain the privacy of an individual’s information within the limited circle of those involved in the Title IX resolution process and those persons that have a “need to know”.

Students, faculty and staff may also access resources located in the local community in addition to those confidential resources.  These organizations can provide crisis intervention services, legal assistance, victim advocacy and assistance in dealing with the criminal justice system.  It may be helpful for victims/survivors to have someone who can help them explore their off-campus options and guide them through legal processes; an advocate can provide assistance in this area.

Victim Advocacy – No cost

Name of Resource

Services

Telephone Number

Website

SAFE – stop abuse for everyone

24/7 hotline. Confidential and free resources. Crisis support, safety planning, local resources, medical care (including medical forensic exams at Eloise House, free of charge), legal advocacy and counseling.

512.267-7233 (SAFE)

http://www.safeaustin.org/

       

Legal Assistance

Name of Legal Assistance Resource

Services/Information

Telephone Number

Website

Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA) – Texas Legal Services Center

Staffed by attorneys seven days a week who provide sexual assault survivors with legal information and advice about legal issues that may arise following a sexual assault including crime victim’s rights, housing, employment, immigration, education and safety planning.

1-844-303-SAFE (7233)

http://www.tlsc.org/sexual-assault.html

Sexual Assault Legal Services & Assistance (SALSA) – Texas Legal Services Center

Free confidential legal hotline for victims of sexual assault. Weekdays 8 – 5.

888-343-4414

http://www.tlsc.org/

Texas Advocacy Project

The Hope Line addresses legal concerns related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.  Staffed by attorneys M – F, 9 – 5.

800-374-4673

https://www.texasadvocacyproject.org/

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid

Non-profit organization offering free legal services to low income residents of 68 counties of SW Texas.

1-888-988-9996

http://www.trla.org/

Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas

Volunteer attorneys provide free legal advice and representation for low income clients.  M – Thurs 8 – 5; Fri 8 – 2.

512-476-5550

http://www.vlsoct.org/

Please refer to the resources listed above for additional information about victim advocacy resources in jurisdictions near ACC campuses.

Other Assistance

Resource

Services/Information

Telephone Number/Address

Website/Email

Trevor Project

24/7 crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth between 13 and 24 years old

866-488-7386

www.thetrevorproject.org

Out Youth

For youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Counseling, advocacy, HIV testing.

512-419-1233

909 East 49 ½ Street, Austin, TX 78751

http://www.outyouth.org

hello@outyouth.org

B. Ongoing Assistance

The Deputy Title IX Coordinators at each campus site are available to assist any student, employee or individual impacted by Prohibited Conduct as a Complainant or Respondent.  Contact the nearest campus or site’s Deputy Coordinator using the information listed in Section IV of this policy.

C. Academic Accommodations and Interim Measures 

i Overview

Upon receipt of a report, the College will provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations and interim measures designed to eliminate the alleged hostile environment and protect the Parties involved.  The College will make reasonable efforts to communicate with the Parties to ensure that all safety, emotional and physical well-being concerns are being addressed.  Interim measures may be imposed regardless of whether formal disciplinary action is sought by the Complainant or the College, and regardless of whether the crime is reported to ACC District Police or local law enforcement.  

A Complainant or Respondent may request a No Contact Order or other protection, or the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of all Parties, the broader College community, and/or the integrity of the process.  

The College will maintain the privacy of any remedial and protective measures provided under this Policy to the extent practicable and will promptly address any violation of the protective measures.  All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure.  The College will take immediate and responsive action to enforce a previously implemented restriction if such restriction was violated.

ii Range of Measures

Interim measures will be implemented at the discretion of the College.  Potential remedies, which may be applied include:

• Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up an initial appointment, both on or off campus;  

• Imposition of campus “No Contact Order;”

• Rescheduling of exams and assignments (in conjunction with appropriate faculty and deans as necessary);

• Providing alternative course completion options (with the agreement of the appropriate faculty);

• Change in class schedule, including the ability to take an “incomplete,” drop a course without penalty or transfer sections (with the agreement of the appropriate faculty);

• Change in work schedule or job assignment;

• Limiting an individual or organization’s access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter;

• Voluntary leave of absence;

• Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities;

• Assisting with access to medical services;

• Providing academic support services;

• Interim suspension or College-imposed leave;

• Any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to reasonably achieve the goals of this Policy.

iii Interim Suspension or Separation

Where the reported conduct poses a substantial and immediate threat of harm to the safety or well-being of an individual, members of the campus community, or the performance of normal College functions, the College may place a student or employee or College organization on interim suspension or impose leave for an employee.  Pending resolution of the report, the individual or organization may be denied access to campus, campus facilities, and/or all other College activities or privileges for which the student or employee might otherwise be eligible, as the College determines appropriate.  When interim suspension or leave is imposed, the College will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and resolution within an expedited time frame.

A student Respondent who has been put on interim suspension has the right to a meeting within three (3) days with the District Title IX Coordinator to appeal the interim suspension.  The District Title IX Coordinator reviews the appeal to determine whether the decision to put a student on interim suspension was arbitrary or capricious. A decision is arbitrary and capricious where there is no rational connection between the facts presented and the decision made.

Provisions for suspension of faculty members are contained in the Faculty Handbook.  Suspensions of other College employees shall be made in accordance with the Administrative Rules.  All employees of the College accused of Prohibited Conduct may be placed on leave at the discretion of the College.

IV. The Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators

The Austin Community College District is a system of campuses and other locations that are owned or controlled by the College.  As such, it has a large number of employees and students and is spread across part of the state of Texas.  In order to fulfill the duties associated with this policy and resolution procedures and to ensure that students and employees impacted by Prohibited Contact have access to administrators with responsibility for this policy and resolution procedure, the District has appointed a District Title IX Coordinator to oversee compliance with Title IX, but has also appointed three Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinators who serve specific campus(es).

The District Title IX Coordinator is supported and assisted by the three Regional Deputy Coordinators.  Collectively, the District Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Coordinators, Investigators, and other ACC representatives, are the “Title IX Team.”  The Title IX Team is a circle of individuals who have a “need to know” of any alleged Prohibited Conduct to effectuate this Policy.  The foregoing individuals receive appropriate and annual training as required by the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 to discharge their responsibilities. 

The District Title IX Coordinator monitors the College’s overall compliance with Title IX, ensures appropriate training and education, and oversees the College’s investigation, response, and resolution of reports made under this Policy by working closely with the Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinators across the District.  Upon receiving reports of Prohibited Conduct, the District Title IX Coordinator oversees the Deputies to ensure that appropriate action is taken to eliminate that conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  The District Title IX Coordinator is available to advise all individuals—including individuals who have experienced misconduct, individuals who are alleged to be responsible for misconduct, and Third-Parties — on this Policy and the appended Investigation Processes.

The College has designated Charlene Buckley to serve as the College’s District level Title IX Coordinator.  The three Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinators have responsibility for specific campuses. The District Title IX Coordinator and Regional Deputy Coordinators can be contacted by telephone, email, or in person during regular office hours.  Please see the chart below for information on how to contact the Title IX Team.

To contact the District Title IX Coordinator:

Charlene Buckley

Highland Business Center

5930 Middle Fiskville Road

Austin, TX 78752

Direct Phone: (512) 223-7964 Email: charlene.buckley@austincc.edu; or compliance@austincc.edu

To contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for a campus, use the contact information provided below. If someone is uncertain about who to contact or have a conflict or perceive bias from the Deputy Coordinator assigned to the campus, contact the District Title IX Coordinator.  Any person may contact the District Title IX Coordinator in lieu of their Deputy Coordinator.

Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinator Name and Contact Information

Assigned Campuses this Deputy Title IX Coordinator has oversight for:

Amber Kelley, North Region Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Email: amberk@austincc.edu,

Telephone: (512) 223-2012

Address: 1555 Cypress Creek Road, Cedar Park, TX 78613

If you are reporting sexual misconduct by or against any person at any of the following campuses, you would report to Amber Kelly, whose contact information appears to the left of this block.

Cypress Creek, Northridge, Round Rock, Elgin

Dorado Kinney, Central Region Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Email: dkinney@austincc.edu

Telephone: (512) 223-7398,

Address: 6101 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78752

If you are reporting sexual misconduct by or against any person at any of the following campuses, you would report to Dorado Kinney, whose contact information appears to the left of this block.

Highland, Eastview, Rio Grande

Wade Bradfute,South Region Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Email: rbradfut@austincc.edu

Telephone: (512) 223-8108

Address: 1020 Grove Boulevard, Austin, TX 78741

If you are reporting sexual misconduct by or against any person at any of the following campuses, you would report to Wade Bradfute, whose contact information appears to the left of this block.

Riverside, Pinnacle, Hays, South Austin

For incidents associated with the Highland Business Center or the Service Center, report to the

Title District IX Coordinator,

Charlene Buckley

Highland Business Center

5930 Middle Fiskville Road

Austin, TX 78752

Direct Phone: (512) 223-7964 Email: charlene.buckley@austincc.edu; or compliance@austincc.edu

For complaints involving an employee as the Respondent, there will be two Deputy Coordinators assigned, the respective Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinator as well as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees, Geraldine Tucker, or her designee.

To contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees:

Geraldine Tucker, Vice President, Human Resources

Highland Business Center

5930 Middle Fiskville Road

Austin, TX 78752

Direct Phone: (512) 223-7572 Email: gtucker@austincc.edu

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for overseeing institutional noncompliance with Title IX.  To file a report directly with the U.S. Department of Education, use the contact information below.

The OCR office for Texas is located at:

The OCR National Headquarters is located at:

Dallas Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, Texas 75201-6810

Telephone: 214-661-9600
FAX: 214-661-9587; TDD: 800-877-8339
Email:OCR.Dallas@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg.
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100

Telephone: 800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 800-877-8339
Email:OCR@ed.gov

V. Definitions

A. Sex or Gender-Based Discrimination

Sex or gender-based discrimination refers to the disparate treatment of a person or group because of that person’s or group’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

i Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment  

“Harassment”is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment or that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected status, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.  All such conduct is unlawful.  

“Sexual Harassment” is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise. 

“Gender-Based Harassment” is harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise.  To qualify as Gender-Based Harassment, the conduct need not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Generally speaking, harassment can be divided into two types of conduct:

1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment.  Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any aspect of a College program or activity or is used as the basis for the College’s decisions affecting the individual.

2. Hostile Environment.  A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the College’s education or employment programs and/or activities.  Whether conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent is determined both from a subjective and objective perspective.   

Harassing conduct can take many forms.  The determination of whether an environment is hostile is based on the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to:  (1) the frequency of the conduct; (2) the nature and severity of the conduct; (3) whether the conduct was physically threatening; (4) the effect of the conduct on the Complainant’s mental or emotional state, with consideration of whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or College programs or activities; (5) whether the conduct was directed at more than one person; (6) whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct; and (7) whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech.

A single isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, particularly if the conduct is physical.  A single incident of Sexual Assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment.  In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.

Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment: 

• May be blatant and intentional and involve an overt action, a threat or reprisal, or may be subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated. 

• May be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, position or authority.  While there is often a power differential between two persons, perhaps due to differences in age, social, educational or employment relationships, harassment can occur in any context.

• May be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, or someone with whom the Complainant has an intimate or sexual relationship.

• May be committed by or against an individual or may be a result of the actions of an organization or group.

• May occur by or against an individual of any sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

• May occur in the classroom, in the workplace, in residential settings, or in any other setting.

• May be a one-time event or can be part of a pattern of behavior.

• May be committed in the presence of others or when the Parties are alone.

• May affect the Complainant and/or third Parties who witness or observe harassment and are affected by it.

Examples of conduct that may constitute Sexual Harassment as defined above may include a severe, persistent, or pervasive pattern of unwelcome conduct that includes one or more of the following:

Physical conduct, including unwelcome touching, sexual/physical assault, impeding, restraining, or blocking movements, or unwanted sexual advances;

Verbal conduct, including making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or humor; verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual's body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations; or objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;

Visual conduct, including leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters in a public space or forum; or severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading sexually oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate; 

Written conduct, including letters, notes or electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above;

Quid pro quo conduct, including direct propositions of a sexual nature between those for whom a power imbalance or supervisory or other authority relationship exists; offering educational or employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors; making submission to sexual advances an actual or implied condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation, including subtle pressure for sexual activity, an element of which may be repeated requests for private meetings with no academic or work purpose; or making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.

This Policy is consistent with the College’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech.  This commitment requires that the College protect community members’ expression of ideas in their teaching and learning including topics that may be controversial, provocative, or unpopular.  This protection extends to the expression of ideas, however controversial, in the classroom, and other campus-related activities.

It must be recognized, however, that this protection has its limits.  This Policy defines those limits, and conduct which is found to be “harassing” is not consistent with the College’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech.  No member of the College community may escape responsibility for engaging in harassing conduct merely by labeling the conduct as “speech” or other expressive activity.

B.  Sexual Assault: Forms 

   i Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration

 “Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration” is having or attempting to sexually penetrate another individual:   

• By force or threat of force;

• Without consent; or 

• Where that individual is incapacitated and could not have provided consent.  

Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact. 

      ii Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

 “Non-Consensual Sexual Contact” is having sexual contact with another individual:

• By force or threat of force;

• Without consent; or 

• Where that individual is incapacitated and could not have provided consent.  

Sexual Contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing an individual to touch their own intimate body parts, or disrobing or exposure of another’s private parts without permission.  Intimate body parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.

Examples of behavior that would constitute non-consensual sexual penetration or contact include the following:

• Engaging in sexual activity with an unconscious or semi-conscious person;

• Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is asleep or passed out;

• Engaging in sexual activity with someone who has said “no”;

• Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is not reciprocating by body movement;

• Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is vomiting, unable to stand without assistance, or has to be carried to bed;

• Allowing another person to engage in sexual activity with your partner without his or her consent;

• Requiring any person to perform any sexual activity as a condition of acceptance into any organization affiliated with the College;

• Telling someone you will “out” them if they don’t engage in sexual activity (e.g., threatening to disclose the person’s sexual orientation without their consent);

• Having sexual contact with someone under the statutory age of consent;

• Telling someone you will fail them or give them a grade different from what they deserve if they don’t agree to engage in sexual activity; or

• Facilitating or assisting in a sexual assault including purchasing or providing alcohol or drugs to further a sexual assault.

C. Sexual Exploitation

“Sexual Exploitation” occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited.  Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

• Prostituting another;

• Surreptitiously observing another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all Parties involved;

• Non-consensual sharing or streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity of the person being exploited, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all Parties involved or possession or distribution of any of the above when they depict a person under the age of 18 regardless of the Parties consent (possession or distribution of child pornography);

• Exposing one's genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in nonconsensual circumstances;

• Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without their knowledge; and

• Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity. 

D. Stalking

“Stalking”occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

A course of conduct consists of two or more acts, including, but not limited to, 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 another person, or interferes with another 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. 

Cyber-stalking is a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.  

Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to:

• Non-consensual communication including in-person communication, telephone calls, voice messages, text messages, email messages, social networking site postings, instant messages, postings of pictures or information on web sites, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear; 

• Following, pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom, or other locations frequented by a person;

• Surveillance and other types of observation, whether by physical proximity or electronic means; and

• Gathering of information about a person from family, friends, co-workers, and/or classmates. 

To qualify as stalking, the conduct is not required to be sexual in nature. 

E. Intimate Partner Violence: Forms

“Intimate Partner Violence”includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship with the Respondent.  The College will not tolerate Intimate Partner Violence of any form.   

Intimate Partner Violence is often referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, or relationship violence.  Intimate Partner Violence can encompass a broad range of behavior including, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual violence, psychological and/or emotional violence, and economic abuse.  It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior.  Intimate Partner Violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner.  Intimate Partner Violence affects individuals of all sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, races and social and economic backgrounds. 

i   Dating Violence

“Dating Violence” is physical acts of assault or threats of assault, detainment, or unwanted touching committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person subjected to such violence.  Whether there was such a relationship will be determined based on, among other factors, the Complainant’s and Respondent’s statements, and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the Parties involved in the relationship.

ii   Domestic Violence

“Domestic Violence” is physical acts of assault or threats of assault, detainment, or unwanted touching committed by:  (1) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (2) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (3) a person who is cohabiting with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (4) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas; or (5) any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws in the State of Texas.

F. Definitions of Key Terms; Other Considerations

To provide clarity to all individuals as to the kinds of behavior which constitute Sexual Misconduct, the College further defines key terms which the College will use in evaluating whether Prohibited Conduct has occurred.

i   Affirmative Consent

“Affirmative Consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.  Affirmative consent is required for any sexual activity to occur between two or more individuals.  It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the affirmative consent of the other(s) to engage in the sexual activity.   

It shall not be a valid excuse to alleged lack of affirmative consent that the Respondent believed that the Complainant consented to the sexual activity under either of the following circumstances: (a) The Respondent’s belief in affirmative consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the Respondent, or (b) the Respondent did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the Respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the Complainant affirmatively consented. 

The following are essential elements of affirmative consent:

· Informed and reciprocal: All Parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.

· Freely and actively given: Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, coercion, threats, intimidation or pressuring, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual.

· Mutually understandable: Communication regarding consent consists of mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate a mutually unambiguous willingness to engage in sexual activity.  Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance, or lack of active response.  An individual who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.  Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to a false conclusion as to whether consent was sought or given.

· Not indefinite: Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout the activity.  Consent may be withdrawn by any Party at any time.  Recognizing the dynamic nature of sexual activity, individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity.  Withdrawal of consent can be an expressed “no” or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain, or is no longer a mutual participant.  Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately and all Parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.

· Not unlimited: Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person.  Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant.  Even in the context of a current or previous intimate relationship, each Party must consent to each instance of sexual contact each time.  The consent must be based on mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity.  The mere fact that there has been prior intimacy or sexual activity does not, by itself, imply consent to future acts.

· Age: The State of Texas considers sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17 to be unlawful.  A person who engages in “unlawful” sexual intercourse as described in the Texas Penal Code does so without effective consent as defined by the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.  Specifically, there is no effective consent under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy where one Party (the “minor”) is under the age of seventeen, and the other Party is more than three years older than the minor.   Reports received that allege sexual contact with a person under the age of 17 will be reported to the City of Austin Police Department (or appropriate law enforcement agency if the act occurred outside of the City of Austin) as this conduct could constitute sexual abuse of children.

ii Force

“Force” is the use or threat of physical violence to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide consent.  Consent obtained by force is not valid.  

For the use of force to be demonstrated, there is no requirement that a Complainant resist the sexual advance or request.  However, evidence of resistance by the Complainant will be viewed as a clear demonstration of a lack of consent. 

iii Intimidation

“Intimidation” is the use of implied threats to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide consent.  Consent obtained by intimidation is not valid.

iv Coercion

“Coercion” is the improper use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against that individual’s will.  Consent obtained through coercion is not valid.  

Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats, and blackmail.  A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.  Examples of coercion include threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and threatening to harm oneself if the other Party does not engage in the sexual activity.  When someone indicates, verbally or physically, that they do not want to engage in a particular sexual activity, that they want to stop a particular activity, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued activity or pressure to continue beyond that point can be coercive.  The College will evaluate the following in determining whether coercion was used:  (a) the frequency of the application of pressure, (b) the intensity of the pressure, (c) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and (4) the duration of the pressure.

v Incapacitation

“Incapacitation” is a state where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because of a lack of conscious understanding of the fact, nature, or extent of the act (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of the sexual interaction) and/or is physically helpless.  For example, an individual is incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent, if the individual is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring.  An individual will also be considered incapacitated if the person cannot understand the nature of the activity or communicate due to a mental or physical condition. 

Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol, drugs, or other medication.  Consumption of alcohol or other drugs alone is insufficient to establish incapacitation.  

The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person, and evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs impacts an individual’s:  (1) decision-making ability; (2) awareness of consequences; (3) ability to make informed judgments; or (4) capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act.

It shall not be a valid excuse that the Respondent believed that the Complainant affirmatively consented to the sexual activity if the Respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances: (a) the Complainant was asleep or unconscious; (b) the Complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the Complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; (c) the Complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

Whether the Respondent reasonably should have known that the Complainant was incapacitated will be evaluated using an objective reasonable person standard.  The fact that the Respondent was actually unaware of the Complainant’s incapacity is irrelevant to this analysis, particularly where the Respondent’s failure to appreciate the Complainant’s incapacitation resulted from the Respondent’s failure to take reasonable steps to determine the Complainant’s incapacitation or where the Respondent’s own incapacitation (from alcohol or drugs) caused the Respondent to misjudge the Complainant’s incapacity.   

It is the responsibility of each Party to be aware of the intoxication level of the other Party before engaging in sexual activity.  In general, sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all Parties.  If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication, it is safest to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity. 

Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is no defense to any violation of this Policy and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

vi Prohibited Relationships by Persons in Authority

Sexual or other intimate relationships in which one Party engages in a supervisory or evaluative role over the other Party are prohibited.  In general, this includes all sexual or other intimate relationships between students and their professors, coaches, advisors, employers, supervisors, or other College employees. 

Similarly, College employees (faculty and staff) who supervise or otherwise hold positions of authority over others are prohibited from having a sexual or other intimate relationship with an individual under the employee’s supervision.

The College does not wish to interfere with private choices by adults regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the College.  However, faculty, administrators, and others who educate, supervise, evaluate, employ, counsel, coach, or otherwise guide students should understand the fundamentally asymmetrical nature of the relationship they have with students, employees (as applicable), or subordinates. 

Intimate or sexual relationships where there is a differential in power or authority produce risks for every member of our community and undermine the professionalism of faculty and supervisors.  In either context, the unequal position of the Parties presents an inherent element of risk and may raise sexual harassment concerns if one person in the relationship has the actual or apparent authority to supervise, evaluate, counsel, coach, or otherwise make decisions or recommendations as to the other person in connection with their employment or education at the College.

Sexual relations between persons occupying asymmetrical positions of power, even when both consent, raise suspicions that the person in authority has violated standards of professional conduct and potentially subject the person in authority to charges of sexual harassment based on changes in the perspective of the individuals as to the consensual nature of the relationship.  Similarly, these relationships may impact Third-Parties based on perceived or actual favoritism or special treatment based on the relationship.

Any evidence that demonstrates that a person in a position of authority over another is engaging in an intimate or romantic relationship with someone whom they are teaching, mentoring, evaluating, supervising, counseling advising, or the like shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this policy regardless of whether the conduct is or continues to be wanted or reciprocated. 

Evidence that such relationships occurred in the past will also be considered prima facie evidence of a violation of this policy.

vii Retaliation 

Retaliation includes adverse action taken against a person for making a good faith complaint or report of Prohibited Conduct or participating in any proceeding under this Policy.  Adverse action includes conduct that threatens, intimidates, harasses, coerces or in any other way seeks to discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this Policy.  Retaliation can be committed by or against any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant.  Retaliation does not include good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of Prohibited Conduct.  Retaliation may be present even where there is a finding of “no responsibility” on the allegations of Prohibited Conduct.  

The College will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and will pursue disciplinary action as appropriate.  An individual reporting Prohibited Conduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not proven.

As explained below, any employee may pursue any charge of discrimination or harassment with the Texas Workforce Commission (“TWC”) or the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”).  It is unlawful to retaliate against any employee for opposing the practices prohibited by the State of Texas or comparable federal law or for filing a complaint with, or for otherwise participating in, an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted by the TWC or EEOC.

The TWC's Civil Rights Division’s programs provide an avenue for current and former employees (or people who applied for employment) to file a complaint if they believe they have been discriminated against in an employment transaction. TWC accepts complaints if you believe the treatment you received from the employer was because of your race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, disability, or because of retaliation for participating and/or filing another discrimination complaint and occurred within 180 days of the filing of the complaint.

Employees who believe they may have been discriminated against may get more information on filing a complaint through TWC by visiting: http://www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/how-submit-employment-discrimination-complaint

VI. Reporting Policies and Protocols

The College strongly encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or law enforcement immediately after an incident of sexual or intimate partner violence.  This is the best option to ensure preservation of evidence and to begin a timely investigative and remedial response.

The College also strongly encourages all individuals to make a report to the College and to law enforcement, although neither is required.  These reporting options are not mutually exclusive.  Both internal and criminal reports may be made simultaneously. Reports can also be made anonymously online through a link provided on the College’s homepage.

The College has a strong interest in supporting victims/survivors of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence and strongly encourages all individuals or Third-Parties to report any incident to the College.

Making a report means telling a Responsible Employee what happened — in person, by telephone, in writing, or by email.  At the time a report is made, a Complainant does not have to request any particular course of action, nor does a Complainant need to know how to label what happened.  Choosing to make a report, and deciding how to proceed after making the report, can be a process that unfolds over time. The College provides support that can assist each individual in making these important decisions, and will respect an individual’s autonomy in deciding how to proceed to the extent legally possible.  In this process, the College will balance the individual’s interest with its obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the College community.

The College will investigate and resolve all reports of Prohibited Conduct in a fair and impartial manner.  A Complainant, a Respondent and all individuals involved will be treated with dignity and respect.  In response to all reports of Prohibited Conduct, the College will make an immediate assessment of any risk of harm to the Complainant, Respondent, or to the broader campus community and will take steps necessary to address those risks.  These steps may include interim measures to provide for the safety of the individual and the campus community. 

A. Amnesty for Alcohol or Other Drug Use or Other Conduct Violations

The College strongly encourages the reporting of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy.  It is in the best interest of this community that as many Complainants as possible choose to report to college officials and that participants in the investigation process are forthright in sharing information. 

To guard against discouraging reporting, a student who reports Prohibited Conduct in good faith, either as a victim or a witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for personal consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs or other violations of the student conduct policy (not including this Policy) at or near the time of the incident. The College may investigate to determine whether a report of Prohibited Conduct outlined in this policy was made in good faith.

The College may always initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies with the student regarding alcohol or other drugs.  Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is no defense to any violation of this Policy and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

B. Coordination with Law Enforcement

The College strongly encourages Complainants to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence that may also be crimes under Texas law.  The Title IX Team will assist a Complainant in making a criminal report with law enforcement agencies if a Complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law. 

The College’s Policy, definitions, and burden of proof differ from Texas criminal law.  A Complainant may seek recourse under this Policy and/or pursue criminal action.  Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to prosecute a Respondent, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, are determinative of whether a violation of this Policy has occurred.  Proceedings under this Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus. 

The College may not delay conducting its own investigation unless specifically requested by law enforcement. In the event of such specific request, the College shall defer its investigation only during the time that law enforcement is conducting preliminary fact-finding, which should not exceed ten (10) days absent extenuating circumstances. The College will nevertheless communicate with the Complainant and Respondent (if appropriate) regarding Title IX rights, procedural options, and the implementation of interim measures to assure safety and well-being.  The College will promptly resume fact-gathering as soon as it is informed that law enforcement has completed its initial investigation. 

C. False Reports

The College takes the accuracy of information very seriously, as a report of Prohibited Conduct may have severe consequences.  A good-faith complaint that results in a finding of not responsible is not considered a false or fabricated report of Prohibited Conduct.  However, when a Complainant or Third-Party witness is found to have fabricated allegations or given false information with malicious intent or in bad faith, the Complainant may be subject to disciplinary action.  It is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any Policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

D. Reports Involving Minors or Suspected Child Abuse

Under Texas law, an individual must make a mandatory report of suspected child abuse and neglect, including sexual assault when that individual, in their professional capacity or within the scope of their employment, has knowledge of, or observes, a minor under the age of 18 whom the individual knows or reasonably suspects has been the survivor of child abuse or neglect.

All College employees are required to immediately report any suspected child abuse and neglect to the District Title IX Coordinator and the Chief of the ACC District Police.  The source of abuse does not need to be known in order to file a report. 

The College will report all suspected child abuse and neglect, including sexual assault, to law enforcement and/or the Texas Child Protective Services.  The College must act quickly regarding all reasonable suspicions of sexual or physical abuse.  It is not the responsibility of any employee, student, or volunteer to investigate suspected child abuse.  This is the role of Child Protective Services and law enforcement authorities.

In addition to notifying the District Title IX Coordinator and Chief of the ACC District Police, any individual may make a direct report as follows:

• If a child is in immediate danger, call 911. 

• If there is no immediate danger, contact the Texas Child Protective Services by calling 1-800-252-5400.

E. Investigation Procedures

i Initial Report and Determination of Jurisdiction

• Upon receiving a report (either verbally or in writing), the District Title IX Coordinator will assess the report independently, or in concert with the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) (depending on who the report was made to and depending on the facts and circumstances being alleged).

• If the District Title IX Coordinator determines that this policy has jurisdiction over the conduct being alleged, the District Coordinator will inform the appropriate Deputy Coordinator about the case.

• The District Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant with a “Written Notice of Rights” and a copy of this policy via email or in person, depending on the location of the Complainant.

ii Immediate Safety Concerns and Interim Measures

• The District Title IX Coordinator will assess any immediate safety concerns, need for medical attention, and interim protective measures the Complainant may require based on the report.  The Deputy Coordinator will discuss these with the Complainant either during this meeting or by scheduling a subsequent meeting when the Complainant is medically/psychologically able to receive such information as best determined by the Coordinator. The District Title IX Coordinator will implement such protective measures in concert with appropriate resources and stakeholders.

• The District Title IX Coordinator will offer the Complainant access to law enforcement, if applicable, and shall assist the Complainant in contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency if the Complainant so desires.

iii Formal Resolution: Assignment of Case to Investigator

• The District Title IX Coordinator will then assign the case for investigation by an ACC employee (or employees) trained in conducting Title IX investigations, or in certain circumstances by an outside person (or persons) who is trained in conducting Title IX investigations.  The pool of investigators may include trained administrators and faculty members.  If an employee is the Respondent, confidential information may also be disclosed with appropriate personnel by the investigator assigned or member of the Title IX team.

• The District Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties that an investigation will ensue.  Both Parties will be advised on the offense being alleged, the date and time that the incident is alleged to have occurred, and the name of the Investigator (if known at that time.)  The Parties will also be provided with information on all on and off campus resources available to support them through the process as well as their right to have an advisor of choice accompany them to any meeting or disciplinary proceeding in which they are required to be present.  The letter will outline the major timeframes of the process and explain where the Parties are in the process currently.

iv Investigation Phase

• The District Title IX Coordinator will contact the Parties and set a date and time for the initial interview with the Investigator with each party (separately.)  The District Title IX Coordinator will advise the Parties that they have the right to present any evidence and/or witnesses that they would like included in the fact-finding and reiterate their right to an advisor of choice be present at their meeting. 

• The District Title IX Coordinator attends the initial interview to introduce the investigator and restate process.

• The Investigator will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the facts of the case and additionally interview any witnesses relevant to the fact-finding and inspect and collect evidence submitted or uncovered.   

• If the investigation is conducted by an outside person, the District Title IX Coordinator shall provide the investigator with any relevant ACC policies and procedures or any materials that the investigator will need to conduct a thorough investigation.

v     Preliminary Report of Investigator

• At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will draft a Preliminary Report and deliver the report to the Deputy Coordinator who will review with the District Title IX Coordinator.  The District Title IX Coordinator and the Deputy Coordinator will determine if the investigation is in fact complete or will re-direct the Investigator to conduct further fact-finding.

• Once fact-finding is complete, the Investigator will deliver the final preliminary report to the Deputy Coordinator, who will review with the District Title IX Coordinator. The Deputy Coordinator will meet with the Complainant and Respondent separately to discuss the major facts that will be used to reach an outcome and to allow the parties the opportunity to present any information, evidence or witnesses that were not included in the investigation but are substantively relevant.

• If, during the course of the investigation, other violations of ACC policies or procedures or statutes are discovered, the violations should be communicated to the District Title IX Coordinator for management in accordance with ACC policies and procedures.

vi       Final Report of Investigator

• The parties will have five (5) business days from the date of this meeting to provide a written response to the Deputy Coordinator citing any further information, evidence or witnesses that they would like to be considered.

o If one or both of the parties provides a written response, the Deputy Coordinator in consultation with the District Title IX Coordinator, will determine if there is a need for further investigation, and if so the Deputy Coordinator will direct the Investigator to conduct further investigation until the Investigator determines the fact-finding is complete. Any new information that is relevant to the investigation will be revealed to the Complainant and the Respondent.

o  If neither party provides a written response fact finding will be determined to be complete.

• Once fact finding has been completed and the Parties’ feedback, if any, has been received, the Investigator will provide a Final Report to the District Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator including a finding and recommendation as to whether or not, using the preponderance of the evidence standard, misconduct (as defined in this policy) occurred. At this time, should a victim/survivor wish to submit an impact statement, one may be submitted to the District Title IX Coordinator.

vii Determination of Misconduct and Sanctions

• The District Title IX Coordinator and the Deputy Coordinator will review the findings, and together will determine whether the claimed misconduct occurred. 

• If the findings determine misconduct occurred, applicable sanctions and permanent protective measures will be issued. Sanctions are administered in accordance with the provisions outlined in Section H.

• The District Title IX Coordinator will communicate decisions regarding responsibility, the reason for the determination of responsibility, permanent protective measures (if any) and sanction(s) (if any) to the Complainant and Respondent simultaneously and in writing by College email and U.S. Mail. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator shall be copied on all outcome notices.

F. Appeals

All determinations, including “not responsible findings”, may be appealed to an Appeal Panel of three ACC administrators who will be appointed by the Vice President, Student Services to consider the appeal. For purposes of the appellate panel, ACC administrator is defined as Executive Director, Dean, Executive Dean, Assistant Vice President, or Vice President. Either Party may file a request for appeal in writing. The appeal should state reasons and grounds for the appeal.

Appeals are not heard in person; instead all requests for appeal must be submitted in writing to the Vice President, Student Services within five (5) business days from the date on the letter notifying the Respondent or the Complainant of the original finding. Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original finding final. The Appeal Panel may request a written response from the non-appealing party to the issue raised in the written request for an appeal. Appeals shall be decided upon the record of the original report, the written request for appeal, and any response received by the Appeal Panel. The Vice President, Student Services will forward the written request for the appeal to the Appeal Panel.

Appeals shall be granted only on one or more of the following grounds:

1. If there was a specified procedural error (or errors) in the interpretation of the College regulations that were so substantial as to effectively deny the party appealing a fair investigation or resolution process;

2. If new and significant evidence has become available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person during the original investigation; or

3.  If the sanction(s) is/are disproportionate to the offense for which the respondent was found responsible.

The fact that one of the parties disagrees with the finding or sanction does not in and of itself constitute grounds for appeal. If the Appeal Panel finds no grounds for an appeal, then the decision will become final. There is no further appeal within the College.

If the Appeal Panel finds grounds for appeal, then they shall consider the issues raised and information presented in the appeal.  The Appeal Panel has authority to dismiss the case, change the sanction, modify the findings, or uphold the findings and sanctions.  The appeal panel must base its decision on the information presented in the appeal and a review of the record in the case.  The scope of the Appeal Panel’s review is limited to the grounds for appeal identified in the appeal letter. The Appeal Panel shall send written final decision to the Vice President, Student Services and the District Title IX Coordinator.

The decision of the Appeal Panel is final and there is no further appeal within the College. The District Title IX Coordinator will communicate decisions regarding the appeal to the Complainant and Respondent simultaneously via College email and U.S. Mail.

The imposition of sanctions is not normally deferred during the appeal process and sanctions may go into effect immediately if the District Title IX Coordinator deems it necessary. Interim measures will remain in place during the appeal process.

G.  Informal Resolution

As an alternative to Formal Resolution, and only if the District Title IX Coordinator determines that it is appropriate, the Parties may choose to resolve complaints through Informal Resolution.  Informal Resolution is not an option in cases involving allegations of sexual assault or physical violence.   

The Parties may proceed to Informal Resolution only if the following occurs:  first, the District Title IX Coordinator determines that the complaint may be resolved appropriately through Informal Resolution; second, the Complainant agrees to Informal Resolution; and third, the Respondent agrees to Informal Resolution.  If any of the three conditions is not met, the case will proceed to Formal Resolution.  If all three conditions are met, the District Title IX Coordinator will notify the Parties within five (5) calendar days after all parties have agreed to Informal Resolution, and proceed through the Informal Resolution Process.

The nature of Informal Resolution is flexible, and not all complaints resolved through Informal Resolution will proceed in uniform fashion.  Typically, however, the District Title IX Coordinator will ask the Complainant to prepare a written report, which sets out the factual basis for the complaint and any proposed resolution.  The Complainant will be asked to provide the written report to the District Title IX Coordinator within five (5) calendar days of conclusion of the initial meeting between the Complainant and the District Title IX Coordinator.

The District Title IX Coordinator will share the Complainant’s written report with the Respondent, and will ask the Respondent to provide a written response to the report within five (5) calendar days of reviewing the Complainant’s report.  The District Title IX Coordinator will then meet separately or together with both Parties to discuss potential alternative resolutions based on the Parties’ statements and (if applicable) other information available.  The District Title IX Coordinator will not serve as a fact finder, but rather, aid in identifying possible alternative resolution(s) to the complaint.  Possible alternative resolution(s) may include, but are not limited to:

• Permanent no-contact order between the Parties

• Specific personal boundaries if a no-contact order is unwanted by both parties

• Academic or work location reassignment

• Written apology and/or explanation of the circumstances surrounding the investigation

• Verbal apology

• Educational remedies

• Return personal belongings

• Other appropriate measures

If the Parties reach agreement, the matter is closed.  If not, the Formal Resolution will commence.  Any Party (including the District Title IX Coordinator) may terminate the Informal Resolution process at any time.  In that event, the District Title IX Coordinator will so notify the Parties in writing and will describe next steps and timeframes for the Formal Resolution.

H. Sanctions

If the report proceeds through Formal Resolution and the Respondent is found responsible for one or more violations of this policy, the College will issue sanctions commensurate with the violation(s). 

The District Title IX Coordinator will determine and issue any sanctions and permanent protective measures for students.

A variety of sanctions consistent with the Sanctioning Guidelines may be employed.  Sanctions may deviate from the guidelines on a case-by-case basis when circumstances merit deviation.

Sanctions are effective immediately.  If the Respondent appeals the findings contained in the Final Report, the sanctions will continue in effect during the appeal.

If the Respondent is an employee, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Human Resources, along with the District Title IX Coordinator, will determine sanctions if misconduct is found to have occurred.  Possible sanctions for employees are set forth in Administrative Rule (AR) 6.08.003 and the Guidelines/Procedures for AR 6.08.003.   A sanction resulting in a recommendation for termination of employment is subject to the final approval of the College President in accordance with Board Policy F-8. If termination is recommended as a sanction for a finding of misconduct, the recommendation will be forwarded to the College President for approval after the deadline to appeal has passed; or in the event an appeal isfiled and the termination recommendation is upheld, the recommendation will be sent to the College President for final approval once the appeal is finalized.

Possible sanctions for students include, but are not limited to:

1. Warning:  Notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of Prohibited Conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action.

2. Censure:  A written reprimand for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  This conduct status specifies a period of time during which the student’s good standing with the College may be in jeopardy.  The student is officially warned that continuation or repetition of Prohibited Conduct may be cause for additional conduct action including probation, suspension, or expulsion from the College.

3. Disciplinary Probation:  Exclusion from participation in privileged activities for a specified period of time (privileged activities may include, but are not limited to, elected or appointed offices, student research, athletics, some student employment, and study abroad).  Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed.  Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation or any other College policy violations may result in further disciplinary action.

4. Restitution:  Repayment to the College or to an affected Party for damages (amount to be determined by the College) resulting from a violation of this Code.  To enforce this sanction, the College reserves the right to withhold its transcripts and degrees or to deny a student participation in graduation ceremonies and privileged events.

5. Suspension:  Exclusion from College premises, attending classes, and other privileges or activities for a specified period of time, as set forth in the suspension notice.  Notice of this action will remain in the student’s conduct file and will be permanently recorded on the student’s academic transcript.  Conditions for readmission may be specified in the suspension notice.  

6. Expulsion:  Permanent termination of student status and exclusion from College premises, privileges, and activities.  This action will be permanently recorded on the student’s academic transcript.

7. Criminal Trespass Warning:  Upon expulsion, and during a period of suspension, students and employees may be prohibited from entering any ACC campus or property.

8. Revocation of Admission and/or Degree:  Admission to, or a degree awarded by, the College may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation in obtaining the degree or violation of College policies, the Student Code of Conduct or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to enrollment or graduation.

9. Withholding Degree:  The College may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Policy, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.

10. Other:  Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified here.  Service, education or research projects may also be assigned.  

11. Multiple Sanctions:  More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.

i Modification of Investigation Process

The College will follow the Investigation Process described herein barring exceptional circumstances.  In rare instances, however, the College may be required to adapt or modify the Investigation Process (including timelines) to ensure prompt and equitable resolution of a report of Prohibited Conduct.  The College reserves this right.  In such instances, the College will notify both Parties of the modification of the Investigation Process and, if appropriate, the exceptional circumstances requiring the College to adapt or modify the Investigation Process.

ii Consolidation of Investigations

The District Title IX Coordinator has the discretion to consolidate into one Investigation multiple reports against a Respondent and/or cross-complaints between a Complainant and a Respondent, if the evidence related to each incident would be relevant and probative in reaching a determination on the other incident.  Matters may be consolidated where they involve multiple Complainants, multiple Respondents, or related conduct that would regularly have been heard under the Code of Student Conduct.

iii Integrity of Proceeding

These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings, but rather procedures designed to address policy violations.  Neither Party is permitted to record (via audio or video recording) the proceedings. 

While either Party may bring a legal representative or other advisor to the proceeding, the role of the lawyer or advisor is limited to providing advice and counsel to that Party.  The lawyer or other advisor is not permitted to speak on behalf of the Party, to make arguments to the tribunal, to cross-examine individuals, or otherwise to act in a representational capacity or as a proxy for the Party.   If a Party intends to bring a lawyer or advisor, they are to provide notice of this decision in writing no less than 3 days before the proceeding.  The process will not be delayed due to the unavailability of an advisor or lawyer. An advisor or lawyer may be dismissed from any part of this process for unnecessary disruption of a meeting or proceeding or if they are deemed to have intimidated or otherwise harassed a Party through verbal, nonverbal, or physical actions.

The College reserves the right to serve as a Complainant in any complaint and to bring complaints against a Respondent(s).  This is unusual but can occur when the College feels there is sufficient information to proceed, but an actual Complainant either cannot or will not cooperate in this process.

iv Records

The Title IX Office will retain records of all reports, complaints, and Final Action Letters when the matter is resolved by Formal Resolution. Affirmative findings of responsibility in matters resolved through Formal Resolution are part of a student’s conduct record and an employee’s employment file.  Such records shall be used in reviewing any further conduct, or developing sanctions, and shall remain a part of a formal record.

In addition to records kept by the Title IX Office, the Final Action Letters issued to students for violations of this policy are maintained in the Dean of Students Office for at least seven (7) years from the date of the incident.  Further questions about record retention should be directed to the Title IX Office. 

VII. Prevention and Education

The College is committed to the prevention of Prohibited Conduct through regular and ongoing education and awareness programs.  Incoming students and new employees receive primary prevention and awareness programming as part of their orientation, and returning students and current employees receive ongoing training and related education.  Visit the Office of Student Life for information about bystander intervention programs and other educational opportunities related to preventing sexual violence at ACC:  https://sites.austincc.edu/sl/

VIII. Training

The College provides annual training to all individuals within the community who are involved in responding to, investigating, or resolving reports of Prohibited Conduct as required by the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  If the College retains an individual outside the community to respond to, investigate, or resolve reports of Prohibited Conduct, the College requires the retained individual has received adequate training consistent with the College’s standards.

The College provides training to students and employees to ensure they understand this Policy and the topics and issues related to maintaining an educational and employment environment free from all forms of Prohibited Conduct. 

 


[1] The words “victim” and “survivor” are both used in the literature and research on this topic ACC respects the decision of those who have experienced violence to identify as a victim or a survivor. We recognize that choosing to identify as a survivor is an important part of the healing process for some who have experienced sexual misconduct. In this document, we will refer to the complaining party as “victim/survivor” or as the “Complainant.” 

[2] Violence Against Women Act, 2005.

[3] The words “accused party”, “Respondent” and “perpetrator” will be used in this document to refer to the person who is alleged to have engaged in the harm or misconduct depending on which process (administrative policy violation or criminal process.) 

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