Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy
South College is committed to fostering an environment that is free from all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, retaliation, and intimidation. The institution takes steps to increase awareness of such misconduct, to thoroughly investigate reports of sexual misconduct, and to take fair and appropriate actions as warranted. Creating a safe and non-discriminatory campus environment is the shared responsibility of all members of the South College community.
Consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, South College does not discriminate against students, faculty, staff, or third parties based on sex in any of its programs or activities, including but not limited to educational programs, employment, and admission. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a kind of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX and by the institution. Individuals who engage in such conduct are subject to disciplinary action. This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and third parties regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Further, this policy applies to both on-campus and off-campus conduct if (a) the conduct occurred in connection with an institutional program or activity, or (b) the conduct may have the effect of creating a hostile environment for a member of the South College community.
Definition of Consent
Voluntary acquiescence refers to the act or result of reaching an accord; a concurrence of minds; actual willingness that an act or an infringement of an interest shall occur (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, ed.2, 2008). In the context of sexual misconduct, submission due to apprehension or terror is not real consent; there must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. If a person resists to the point where additional resistance would be futile or until his/her resistance is forcibly overcome, submission thereafter is not consent. Past consent does not imply future consent by an individual.
- Domestic Violence includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.
- Dating Violence means violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
- Sexual Assault/Sex Offenses means any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable.
- Stalking means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Sexual Harassment means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature (e.g. fondling). Gender-Based Harassment is a form of sexual harassment and means unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including harassment based on gender identity or nonconformity with sex stereotypes; it does not necessarily involve conduct of a sexual nature.
- Intimidation means to make an individual fearful or to put into fear.
- Retaliation refers to the act of seeking revenge upon another individual
- Sexual Discrimination includes all forms of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties against employees, students, or third parties. Students, employees, and third parties are prohibited from harassing other students and/or employees whether or not the incidents of harassment occur on the College campus or during working hours. Discrimination against pregnant and parenting students is another form of sex discrimination that is prohibited.
- Sexual Exploitation occurs when someone takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Invasion of sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another student;
- Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you have consensual sex);
- Engaging in voyeurism;
- Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
- Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
- Inducing another to expose their genitals;
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying.
Source: Title IX Resource Guide (April, 2015), http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-title-ix-coordinatorsguide-201504.pdf.
Reporting Policies and Protocols
South College is committed to responding promptly and effectively when it learns of any form of possible discrimination based on sex that involves a student, employee, or third party affiliate against a student at any location including campus/clinical/student teaching/practicum/internship/fieldwork site. South College’s Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinators are responsible for overseeing all Title IX incidents reported to the institution and for implementation of this policy, including but not limited to, identifying and addressing any systemic gender-based harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. Matters that solely involve employees (no students are involved) should be addressed with an HR representative and are governed by the institution’s sexual harassment policy.
Allegations should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator using the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident Form immediately following the alleged incident of sexual misconduct. All employees, students, and third parties can access the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident Form on the South College Portal.
Title IX Coordinator for South College:
Jeremy Wells, Vice Chancellor Student Services and Academic Operations
3904 Lonas Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909
Deputy Title IX Coordinator at the Main Campus and Parkside Learning Site:
Ms. Carolyn Hillegas, Dean of Student Services
3904 Lonas Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909
Deputy Title IX Coordinator at the Asheville Learning Site:
Dr. Lisa Satterfield, Dean of Academic and Student Services
140 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803
Deputy Title IX Coordinator at the Nashville Learning Site:
Dr. Stacy Waddell, Dean of Academic and Student Services
616 Marriott Drive, Nashville, TN 37214
Deputy Title IX Coordinator:
Mr. Randall Carr, Vice President of Talent Management & Human Resources
3904 Lonas Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909
South College encourages complainants of sexual violence to talk to somebody about what happened so that complainants can get the support they need, and so that South College can respond appropriately. Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a complainant’s confidentiality.
Professional, licensed counselors who provide mental-health counseling to members of the school community (and including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator without a complainant’s permission. These counselors will provide information to the College if there is a serious threat to the safety of students and employees.
When reporting to responsible employees, who are required to report potential violations of this policy, the complainant can expect South College to take steps to investigate and resolve the situation promptly and equitably. The issue will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator using the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident form. To the extent possible, the information reported will only be shared with the employees charged with handling the College’s response to the report.
The following employees (or categories of employees) are the College’s responsible employees:
- All Faculty
- All Clinical Site Preceptors/Instructors
- All Staff
If a complainant discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, the institution will weigh that request against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the complainant. If the request for confidentiality is honored, a complainant must understand that the institution’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited. Although rare, there are times when the College may not be able to honor a complainant’s request in order to provide a safe, nondiscriminatory environment for all students. All requests for confidentiality will be determined by the Title IX Coordinator.
Retaliation against any person who alleges a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy or who reports or assists South College in the investigation of a complaint under this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal by South College. Retaliation against any person who is a respondent to an alleged sexual misconduct violation is prohibited as well. South College will take steps to protect all parties from retaliation or harm and will work with the complainant to create a safety plan. Any alleged retaliation should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Assistance for Reported Complainants of Sexual Misconduct
South College will provide assistance to reported complainants of sexual misconduct. Among other possible actions, the College may:
- institute a no contact directive in writing by the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator to all persons involved in the incident once a report has been made. Failure of a complainant or a respondent to abide by this directive may be subject to disciplinary action.
- assist the complainant(s) in accessing available complainant advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability, health or mental health services, and legal assistance both on and off campus.
- provide other security and support, which could include helping arrange course schedules (including for the alleged perpetrator pending the outcome of an investigation) or adjustments for assignments or tests.
- inform the complainant(s) of the right to report a crime to campus or local law enforcement and provide the complainant(s) with assistance if determination is made to do so.
Informal Complaint Process
In some cases, the complainant may feel that a situation can be remedied without going through the formal complaint process. In this case, the Title IX Coordinator and appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator will work with the complainant and respondent to determine a resolution to the complaint. At any time, the complainant or institution may elect to transition the proceedings to the Formal Complaint Process. A complainant may also request to go through the Informal Complaint Process after a formal investigation has been completed. South College will allow an informal complaint to proceed only if the potential remedies to the alleged misconduct do not involve the possibility of serious disciplinary action (e.g. suspension or dismissal).
Formal Complaint Process
Once South College is aware of a reported incident of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator or assignee, together with a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, will conduct an investigation to determine if the allegation(s) have merit, as well as to determine if the allegations should be pursued through a hearing by the Title IX Conduct Committee.
The following guidelines will govern an Investigation:
- Title IX investigations should be concluded within (60) days of receipt of a report, unless there are extraordinary circumstance in which a longer period will be permitted. Both the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) will be notified in writing should an extension be required.
- If the investigation results indicate that the complaint should not proceed to a review by the Title IX Conduct Committee, both parties (complainant and respondent) will be informed in writing within (14) business days of the decision that the complaint was dismissed without further proceedings. Should the complainant wish to appeal this decision, he/she should follow the Appeal Process listed in the last section of this policy.
- If the investigation results indicate that a complaint should proceed to a review by the Title IX Conduct Committee, both parties (complainant and respondent) will be informed within (14) business days of the decision. The formal hearing by the Title IX Conduct Committee will then occur within (14) business days of the notification.
- Each party will have access to review the statements and documents relied upon by the Title IX investigators in reaching the decision.
While not required, each party may choose an advisor (attorney or otherwise) at his/her own expense to assist during the investigation and hearing process. While the advisor may be present, s/he cannot verbally participate in either process. All statements and testimony must come solely from the parties and their witnesses. If the desired advisor is an employee of the institution, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that there is a conflict of interest and require that an alternative advisor be used.
At least (3) business days prior to the hearing, both the complainant and the respondent will schedule a pre-hearing consultation with the Title IX Coordinator and/or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator to discuss the issues and facts that will likely be presented at the hearing, submit written questions for the opposing party, provide any witness or advisor information, ask procedural questions, submit a written statement, and submit evidence to be presented during the hearing if desired.
The following guidelines will govern the Title IX Conduct Committee:
- The Title IX Conduct Committee will be composed of a minimum of three trained South College officials.
- The parties will receive the names of the Committee Members in advance of the hearing and will have (2) business days to object to the membership based on alleged bias or conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator and appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator will jointly decide the merits of the objection and will replace a Committee Member if necessary.
- The decision of the Committee will be based on a preponderance of evidence standard (i.e. “more likely than not”).
- The Title IX Coordinator and/or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator will deliver the investigation report and be present throughout the hearing, but will not act as a Committee Member.
- The Chair of the Committee will be selected by the Committee Membership. The Chair will ask questions submitted by the parties and may rephrase or omit them based on professional judgement. All Committee Members may ask questions, the Chair may rephrase or filter if necessary. The parties may also be allowed to ask question at the discretion of the Chair.
- In all cases, whether the respondent is present or not, the evidence in support of the allegations shall be presented and considered. Should the respondent fail to appear for the hearing, a plea of “not in violation” shall be recorded for the respondent’s behalf and the hearing will proceed.
- Either the complainant or respondent may request to participate in the proceedings via video conferencing as long as both parties and the Committee Members may see each other and the witnesses. Participation via telephonic conferencing alone is not allowed.
- The complainant and the respondent have the right to hear all evidence, present evidence, testify, and hear and question witnesses. Direct questioning of witnesses by the respondent or complainant may be limited. All initial questions for witnesses must be submitted by the complainant and respondent prior to the hearing; the Title IX Conduct Committee Members determine if the questions are appropriate and control the questioning.
- After the hearing, the Committee will determine by majority vote whether a violation of the Title IX policy has occurred and will notify both parties of the decision in writing within (14) business days.
- If it is determined that a violation has occurred, both parties will have (3) business days from the time they receive the Committee’s written decision to submit a written impact statement if they choose. An impact statement allows the parties to express what penalty they feel is deserved and what impact that might have on them.
- Within (14) business days of receiving the impact statement(s), the Committee will notify all parties in writing of the Committee’s findings and sanctions imposed, if any.
Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct
The following sanction(s) may be imposed upon any individual student found to be in violation:
- Issuance of a formal, written warning and reprimand (status of probation may be imposed)
- Issuance of a suspension or a required leave of absence for a period of time, contingent upon the student meeting specified conditions
- Dismissal from the college without possibility of re-admission
In cases of third parties and employee sanctions, South College will take prompt and effective action to stop the harassment and prevent its recurrence upon notice of the harassment. The sanctions taken by South College will differ depending on the level of control that the College has over the third party. For employees, the following sanction(s) may be imposed upon any individual employee found to be in violation of the South College Employee Handbook/Title IX rules:
- Issuance of a verbal warning
- Requirement of training
- Issuance of a suspension (with or without pay), contingent upon the employee meeting specified conditions for returning
- Issuance of a written warning with formal counseling (status of probation may be imposed)
- Termination of employment
Should the complainant and/or respondent wish to appeal the decision of the investigation, or the decision of the Title IX Conduct Committee, an appeal must be submitted within (7) business days of delivery of the decision. The appeal must be in writing and submitted to the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement and Effectiveness. The appeal may be filed only to determine whether the investigation or hearing was conducted fairly and in conformity of the procedures or to determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate. An appeal received that does not address one of these areas will be dismissed without further consideration. A complete review of the appeal will be made by the Vice Chancellor within (14) business days after receipt of the appeal and additional information. In the event an extension is needed for this review, the individual making the appeal will be notified. A written decision will be issued to the respondent, complainant, and the Title IX Coordinator and/or Chair of the Title IX Conduct Committee.