0.3 Title IX (Federal) and Non-Title IX (Texas) Compliance
In May of 2020, the United States Department of Education issued new regulations that substantially updated how schools receiving federal funds must respond to allegations of Sexual Misconduct. These rules mandate specific definitions and formalize investigatory and adjudicatory processes which Austin College is required to implement by August 14, 2020. Several of the new Federal provisions either conflict with or go beyond the requirements imposed on Austin College by the Texas legislature.
The New Regulations address this conflict: Section 106.45(b)(3)(i) (“The Recipient must investigate the allegations in a formal complaint. If the conduct alleged by the complainant would not constitute sexual harassment as defined in § 106.30 even if proved, did not occur in the Recipient’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then the Recipient must dismiss the formal complaint with regard to that conduct for purposes of sexual harassment under title IX or this part; such a dismissal does not preclude action under another provision of the Recipient code of conduct.”)
Given this discretion, Austin College remains committed to responding to all allegations of sexual misconduct made by members of Austin College’s community and has incorporated a Non-Title IX procedure into this Sexual Misconduct policy to address allegations that fall outside of Title IX.
If an allegation in a Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct is dismissed under the Title IX Process because it occurred outside of either the United States or Austin College’s Educational Program or Activities, or it does not meet the Title IX Harassment definition, then the complainant may submit the Formal Complaint to the Non-Title IX process. All Formal Complaints alleging sexual misconduct must first go through the Title IX Process, before it goes through the Non-Title IX Process.
The State of Texas requires that Austin College’s governing board approve its Sexual Misconduct policy. (H.B. 1735 Section 51.282(a)(2)) As compliance with both the Federal Regulations and the Texas Laws are non-negotiable, this sexual misconduct policy, which incorporates both Federal and State mandates, has been approved by Austin College’s Governing Board for responding to Sexual Misconduct.
Date of Board Approval: Nov. 7, 2020;
0.4 Record Keeping
1) Austin College must maintain for a period of seven years records of—
(A) Each sexual misconduct investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to Austin College’s education program or activity;
(B) Any appeal and the result therefrom;
(C) Any informal resolution and the result therefrom; and
(D) All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. Austin College must make these training materials publicly available on its website.
2) For each response required under Title IX, Austin College must create, and maintain for a period of seven years, records of any actions, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment. In each instance, Austin College must document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to Austin College’s education program or activity. If Austin College does not provide a complainant with supportive measures, then Austin College must document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances. The documentation of certain bases or measures
does not limit Austin College in the future from providing additional explanations or detailing additional measures taken.
0.5 Mandatory Training
1) All individuals designated by Austin College as a Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated to facilitate an informal resolution process, will not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent.
2) Austin College ensures that Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, receive training on the definition of sexual harassment in this policy, the scope of the College's education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including earings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.
3) Austin College ensures that decision-makers receive training on any technology to be used at a live hearing and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the complainant's sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, as set forth in this policy.
4) Austin College ensures that investigators receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
5) Any materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, do not rely on sex stereotypes and promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment.
Review the Title IX Training material.
0.6 Requesting an Accommodation
Requests for accommodation (ADA, Section 504) should be made to the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator will work with the appropriate college authority to determine what reasonable accommodations may be provided.
Individuals that believe they need a translator or Language Assistance throughout the Title IX or Non-Title IX process may contact the Title IX Coordinator
0.7 Reasonably Prompt Time Frames
0.7(a) Investigation - The investigation of a Formal Complaint will be concluded within 90 business days of the filing of a Formal Complaint.
0.7(b) Grievance Process, including Appeal – The entire grievance process outlined in this policy, including any appeal, will generally be completed in no more than 165 business days. This time frame is subject to change.
0.7(c) Appeal – 21 Business days
0.8 Requesting an Extension of Time
Any party who wishes to request a temporary delay in the grievance procedure or the limited extension of time frames must submit a written request to the Title IX Coordinator that details why that party is requesting the delay/extension. The party filing the request must demonstrate good cause for the delay/extension to be granted.
The Title IX Coordinator will make a determination regarding the request for delay/extension. If the request is denied, the requesting party will receive notice of the decision and the reasons why the request was rejected. If the request is granted, both parties will receive written notice of the delay/extension and the reasons for it.
Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party's advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities. Delays caused solely by administrative needs, for example, would be insufficient to satisfy this standard.
Even where good cause exists, Austin College may only delay the grievance process on a temporary basis for a limited time. A respondent (or other party, advisor, or witness) would not be able to indefinitely delay a Title IX proceeding by refusing to cooperate. The grievance process can proceed to conclusion even in the absence of a party or witness.
1.0 – Sexual Misconduct Policy
The Federal mandates established by Title IX and the Campus SaVE Act reaffirm that students, employees, and third parties have the right to be free from discrimination based on their gender, sex, sexual orientation, and gender appearance/expression. All procedures regarding such incidences can be found herein.
1.1(a) Scope of Title IX Policy
This policy applies to Austin College students, employees, and third-parties participating in Austin College’s education program or activity as defined in 34 C.F.R. § 106.44(a): Locations, events, or circumstances over which the college exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the College.
1.1(b) Scope of Non-Title IX Policy
This policy applies to Austin College students, employees, and third parties both on and off-campus, as well as in cyberspace. Off-campus coverage of this policy includes incidents that occur within the College’s operations including incidents that occur outside the United States such as employee-led trips, study-abroad sites, internship sites, service-learning sites, college-owned properties and when the conduct substantially affects a person’s education or employment with the College or poses a risk of harm to members of the Austin College community.
1.2 - Prohibited Misconduct Defined
Conduct that is prohibited and encompassed by this policy includes sexual harassment, sex and gender discrimination, sexual assault, rape, stalking, and relationship abuse (including domestic and dating violence). These acts are also a violation of federal and state law (including Title IX, Title VII, the Campus SaVE Act, and the Violence Against Women Act). These acts are prohibited in any sex or gender configuration (i.e., between the same or differing genders), regardless of sex and gender identity, or in any power configuration. Individuals found responsible for violating these policies will face sanctions that are commensurate with the severity of the policy violation, ranging from warning to expulsion or termination of employment. Many of the behaviors outlined in this policy may be felony or misdemeanor crimes in addition to violations of this policy. Victims are encouraged to explore legal options for prosecution if they desire. Austin College will conduct its own investigation and resolution process for a Formal Complaint, regardless of whether the alleged misconduct is also being pursued through the criminal justice system. Acts of harassment or sex- and gender-based discrimination may vary in severity and include the following categories listed in sections 1.21 – 1.29. Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy Violation
1.21 Title IX Sexual Harassment
All allegations of prohibited misconduct defined under section 1.21 are subject to the resolutions processes articulated by the 2020 Title IX Regulations codified in this policy in sections 1.7 or 1.8(a). Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
1.21.1 Quid Pro Quo, Sexual Harassment
Quid Pro Quo Harassment means an employee of the college conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the college on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
1.21.2 Davis Standard, Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient's education program or activity.
1.21.3 Clery/VAWA Offenses, Sexual Harassment:
1.21.3(a) - Sexual Assault
Sexual assault means an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program:
(A) “Rape” means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
(B) “Fondling” means the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
(C) “Incest” means sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
(D) “Statutory Rape” means sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
(Citation: 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), Defined at 34 CFR 668.46)
Sexual assault can be committed by persons of the same sex as well as those of different sex.
Students, employees, and third parties should understand that forced or unwanted sexual intercourse or sexual contact (as defined above), whether it involves a stranger or an acquaintance, is sexual assault. The severity of the violation is the same whether the responding participant is a stranger or known to the reporting participant.
12 1.21.3(b) - Dating Violence
Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of: 1) length of the relationship, 2) the type of relationship, and 3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
1.21.3(c) - Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against the adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s act under the domestic or family violence laws of Texas. (Citation: 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8))
1.21.3(d) - Stalking
“Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. (Citation: 42 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30)) For guidance purposes regarding this definition:
(A) Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property.
(B) Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
(C) Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.(Citation: 34 CFR 668.46)
Stalking can occur between strangers, individuals who know each other, or individuals who are or were previously in a relationship. Stalking behaviors may include unwanted following or watching, unwelcome gifts, or communications in person, in writing, or through the use of technology. It also includes accessing personal information to monitor a person’s activity.
Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy Violations
Sections 1.22 – 1.29 define misconduct involving non-Title IX Sexual Harassment and violations of college policy that do not fall under the 2020 Title IX Regulations definition of Sexual Harassment. Allegations of these violations will be handled through the non-Title IX resolution process articulated in sections 1.7 or 1.8(b).
1.22 Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment
Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment means 1) unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct that:
(a) in the employment context, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or
(b) in the education context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities of Austin College.
Examples of sexual of harassment may be: repeated unwelcomed sexual conduct or advances that may take the form of inappropriate sexual or suggestive comments, sounds or jokes; unsolicited touching that falls outside of the Sexual Assault definition.
1) No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by title IX or this part, constitutes retaliation.
2) Austin College will keep private the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by the FERPA statute, 20 U.S.C. 1232, or FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99, or as required by law, or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR part 106, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder. Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the grievance procedures for sex discrimination.
3) The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation prohibited.
4) Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance under this part does not constitute retaliation prohibited, provided however, that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.
1.24 Sexual Exploitation
Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited. This behavior may fall under either the Title IX Non-Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment standard or the Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment standard. There are many degrees and types of sexual exploitation. Examples of sexual exploitation are described below.
- Photographing or taping someone (via audio or video) involved in sexual activity, or in a state of undress without their consent or knowledge constitutes prohibited sexual exploitation (even if a person consented to the sexual activity or the state of undress, photographing or taping someone without their knowledge goes beyond the boundaries of that consent).
- Disseminating photographs or video/audio of someone involved in sexual activity or in a state of undress without their knowledge or consent constitutes a separate and additional act prohibited by this policy.
- Voyeurism, which is the act of observing a person involved in sexual contact/activity or in a state of undress without their knowledge or consent, is prohibited by this policy.
- Inducing intoxication/incapacitation for the purpose of sexual activity (i.e., offering drugs, alcohol, or other substances to a person with or without their knowledge with the intent to impair their ability to withhold consent or their ability to knowingly consent to sexual activity) is a violation of this policy. This type of conduct constitutes sexual exploitation regardless of whether any sexual activity takes place.
1.25 Intentional Presentation of False Information
Participants in both the Title IX and Non-Title IX process must present, in good faith, truthful and accurate information to those involved in ensuring a fair process. Knowingly making false statements or presenting inaccurate information is unacceptable and may result in a separate disciplinary action regarding that conduct. Please note that filing a report or providing information which a participant or witness genuinely believes is accurate, but which is ultimately dismissed due to insufficient evidence or found to be untrue, does not constitute the intentional presentation of false information.
1.26 Violation of Supportive Measures
An employee or student’s failure to comply with the terms of Supportive Measures directives is a violation of Austin College policy.
1.27 Employee Failure to Report or False Report
It is a violation of Texas Law and Austin College policy for an employee who is required to make a report to not make a report to the Title IX Office. The State of Texas has determined that an employee commits an offense if: 1) they are required to make a report and knowingly fails to make a report; or 2) with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly makes a report that is false. These offenses are classified as Class B Misdemeanors, which can be upgraded to a Class A Misdemeanor at trial. As is required by Texas Law, Austin College shall terminate the employment of an employee whom the institution determines in accordance with the institution’s disciplinary procedure to have committed the offense of not making a report they knew of or making a false report.
1.28 Interference with Processes under this Policy
Any person who interferes with the Grievance Processes under this Policy is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal or separation from the College. Interference with a Grievance Process may include, but is not limited to:
(1) Attempting to coerce, compel, or prevent an individual from providing testimony or relevant information;
(2) Removing, destroying, withholding, or altering documentation relevant to the Grievance Process; or
1.29 Employee – Student Relationships
Sexual, romantic, or dating relationships between employees and students are inconsistent with the mission of the College and inappropriate because they carry a risk of damaging the student's educational experience and the faculty or staff member's career. The College thus prohibits sexual, romantic, or dating relationships, even of a consensual nature, between employees and currently enrolled students. Enrolled students who are employed by College are considered students for consensual relationships.
There are exceptional circumstances in which the spouse or partner of a faculty or staff member is a student at the College. This policy does not apply in such circumstances. The Dean of the Faculty or the appropriate vice president is the administrative officer who determines whether a circumstance is exceptional.
1.3 - Process Definitions and Provisions
1.31 Academic Freedom
Austin College is committed to principles of free speech and upholding the tradition of academic freedom. This policy is not intended to restrict teaching methods or freedom of expression, nor will it be permitted to do so. The proper exercise of academic freedom does not include harassment or discrimination as defined by this policy.
1.32 Administrative Leave
The Process by which Austin College places a non-student employee respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of a grievance process.
Because breaches of confidentiality compromise the ability of Austin College to investigate and resolve claims of harassment and discrimination, the Title IX Coordinator will attempt to protect the confidentiality of harassment and discrimination proceedings to the extent reasonably possible. On-campus, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Limited Confidentiality may be available when a concern is shared with a College-designated limited reporter employee (defined in Section 1.42.3) and when the concern does not involve a continuing threat of serious harm to self or others as determined by the Title IX Coordinator.
Consent is clear, active, and affirmative permission to act, either by words or actions. The person who initiates sexual activity is responsible for obtaining the other person’s consent for that activity each and every time. The existence of a dating relationship, or prior intimate relationships, does not imply consent, and once consent has been given, it can be withdrawn at any time. Consent can never be assumed or implied. The absence of “no” or silence does not mean that consent has been given. Additionally, consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
1.34.1 - When Consent cannot be Obtained
Consent cannot be obtained when any of the following circumstances are used:
a) Physical violence, meaning that a person is exerting control over another person through the use of physical force. Examples of physical force include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, restraining, choking, and brandishing or using any weapon.
b) Threats, meaning words or actions that would compel a reasonable person to engage in unwanted sexual activity. Examples include threats to harm a person physically, to reveal private information to harm a person’s reputation, or to cause a person academic or economic harm.
c) Intimidation, meaning an implied threat that menaces or causes reasonable fear in another person. A person’s size alone does not constitute intimidation; however, a person’s size may be used in a way that constitutes intimidation (e.g. blocking access to an exit).
d) Coercion, meaning the use of an unreasonable amount of pressure to gain sexual access. Coercion is more than an effort to persuade, entice, or attract another person to have sex. When a person makes a clear decision not to participate in a particular form of sexual contact or sexual intercourse, a decision to stop, or a decision not to go beyond a certain interaction, continued pressure can be coercive. In evaluating whether coercion was used, the College will consider: (a) the frequency of the application of the pressure, (b) the intensity of the pressure, (c) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and (d) the duration of the pressure. Coercion includes continued pressure after an individual has made it clear that they do not want to engage in the behavior.
e) Consent is not present when an individual is incapacitated. An incapacitated individual is someone who cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because that person lacks the capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of a sexual interaction. This includes a person whose incapacity results from a disability, sleep or lack thereof, involuntary physical restraint, unconsciousness, or use of alcohol or other drugs. Every individual may manifest signs of incapacitation differently; typical signs include slurred or incomprehensible speech, unsteady gait, combativeness, emotional distress, vomiting, or incontinence. The impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person, and if there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other person’s intoxication or impairment, the prudent course of action is to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity. Being impaired by alcohol or other drugs is not a defense to any violation of this policy, including failure to obtain consent. In evaluating consent in cases of alleged incapacitation, the College seeks to determine 1) if the person initiating sexual activity knew that the other participant was incapacitated and 2) if not, would a reasonable person have known that the other participant was incapacitated. If the College determines that either of these statements are true, consent was absent.
f) Consent is never present if an individual is under the legal age of consent (17 in the State of Texas).
1.35 Emergency Removal
The Process by which Austin College may remove a respondent from the College’s education program or activity on an emergency basis, provided that the Title IX Office undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal, and provides the respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.
1.36 Parental Notification
Austin College retains discretion on a case-by-case basis in determining if, and when, it will be appropriate to contact a student’s parent(s) or guardian(s). Students are encouraged to inform their parent(s) or guardian(s) if they are involved in a Title IX action and should refer them to the Title IX Coordinator or their designee and this policy for questions.
1.37 Process Participants
1.37.1 - Title IX Coordinator
This individual is responsible for the oversight of this policy and the Enforcement of Supportive Measures and Sanctions.
1.37.2 - Reporting Participant
An individual who provides notice to the College that they have experienced one or more acts of sexual misconduct. If necessary, the College can assume the role of reporting participant.
1.37.3 - Complainant
An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or any of the violations defined in this policy.
1.37.4 - Respondent
Any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or any of the violations defined in this policy.
1.37.5 - Witness
The reporting and responding participants have the right to identify any individuals who may be witnesses to the conduct alleged in a formal complaint. Participants may provide an explanation the witness’s relevance to this investigation at the time the witnesses are identified to the investigator(s). Participants should be aware that it is possible for both reporting and responding participants to list the same people as 19 witnesses on their behalf. Witnesses are expected to cooperate and speak the truth. Witnesses should not be intimidated, threatened or improperly influenced in any way by either participant or through other individuals (e.g. friends, family members, attorneys, social media, etc..). The investigator(s) will attempt to interview any witnesses identified by the participants that the investigator(s) deems to be relevant to the resolution of the complaint. As members of Austin College’s community, students and employees are expected to cooperate with and participate in the investigation process. Witnesses may also be a Party Advisor.
1.37.6 - Party Advisor
Each Complainant and Respondent in a sexual misconduct investigation is entitled to one Party Advisor of their choosing to perform cross examination at the Live Hearing and accompany and assist them throughout the campus resolution process. The Party Advisor can be a friend, family member, attorney, faculty member, witness, or any other individual a participant selects who is willing, eligible, and available. Other than serving as a witness and conducting Cross Examination at the Live Hearing (in the Title IX Formal Resolution Process), a Party Advisor may not be otherwise involved in the process.
Participants are entitled to be accompanied by their party advisor in all meetings and interviews at which participants are requested to be present. The party advisor may help their participant prepare for each meeting. At a Title IX Formal Resolution Live Hearing the Party Advisor is permitted to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, Austin College will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor (not required to be an attorney) to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party. Party Advisors may not answer questions for the party they are advising during an Investigation, Live Hearing, or other meeting. Party Advisors may not give the opening or closing for the party they are advising during the Live Hearing (Title IX Formal Resolution Process).
All party advisors are subject to the same campus rules, whether or not they are attorneys. Party advisors who step out of their role or otherwise violate this policy during the campus resolution process will be subject to removal as a party advisor. The College expects the party advisors to adjust their schedules to allow them to attend College meetings, interviews, or other necessary events when scheduled. Accommodations for participation may be considered (e.g. phone, Skype).
Participants must inform the Title IX Coordinator of the identity of their party advisor. Participants and the party advisor must provide timely notice of a change in party advisors to the Title IX Coordinator. Prior to attending any interviews, the party advisor will be required to agree to confidentiality/non-retaliation, agreeing not to disclose or discuss anything relating to the formal report with anyone other than those authorized to see or hear such information under this process. A party’s advisor may choose to withdraw from their role during the process for any reason. A party advisor must provide notice to the Title IX Coordinator when they withdraw from their role.
1.37.7 - Process Advisor
The College maintains a list of limited reporter employees who are trained to assist participants understand this policy and the resolution processes. These individuals are appointed by the College. They will report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator; however, they are not required to report personally identifiable information about the reporting or responding participants.
1.37.8 - Investigator
The Individual assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to investigate a Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct. These individuals will not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent. The Title IX Office will ensure that all investigators receive training on the definition of sexual harassment in § 106.30, the scope of Austin College’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. Investigators have received training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. Materials used to train these individuals do not rely on sex stereotypes and must promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment.
1.37.9 - Decision Maker
The individual assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to ask relevant questions at the hearing and decide if cross examination questions are relevant at the live hearing, and to make determinations regarding responsibility. These individuals will not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent. The Title IX Office will ensure that all decision makers receive training on the definition of sexual harassment in § 106.30, the scope of Austin College’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. The Title IX Office will ensure that decision-makers receive training on any technology to be used at a live hearing and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the complainant's sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant. Materials used to train these individuals do not rely on sex stereotypes and must promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment.
1.37.10 - Clerk
The individual assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to assist all participants in the Formal Resolution process with scheduling. This person may also enforce the decorum rule at the live hearing in a Formal Resolution.
1.37.11 – Support Person
All parties may have a support person accompany them to all interviews and meetings. Support Persons may also be a party’s advisor. Support Persons are never allowed to answer for, or speak on behalf of the party they are supporting. Support Persons may confer quietly and briefly with the person they are supporting as needed in a meeting. The Support Person can be a friend, family member, attorney, faculty member, or any other individual a participant selects who is willing, eligible, and available. Support Persons may not otherwise be involved in the process.
All Support Persons are subject to the same campus rules, whether or not they are attorneys. Support Persons who step out of their role or otherwise violate this policy during the campus resolution process will be subject to removal as Support Persons. The College expects the Support Persons to adjust their schedules to allow them to attend College meetings, interviews, or other necessary events when scheduled. The College does not typically change such scheduled meetings to accommodate a support person’s ability to attend. Other accommodations for participation may be considered (e.g. phone, Skype).
Participants must inform the Title IX Coordinator of the identity of their Support Person. Participants and the support person must provide timely notice of a change in support person to the Title IX Coordinator. Prior to attending any interviews, the support person will be required to agree to confidentiality/non-retaliation, agreeing not to disclose or discuss anything relating to the formal report with anyone other than those authorized to see or hear such information under this process. A support person may choose to withdraw from their role during the process for any reason. A support person must provide notice to the Title IX Coordinator when they withdraw from their role. Support Persons that are not also serving as a Party Advisor will not receive evidence or the
Investigative report for review.
1.38 Relevant Evidence
The Formal Resolution Process will provide an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence—including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. All credibility determinations will not be based on a person's status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
1) Relevant Evidence is defined as evidence:
- Tending logically to prove or disprove a fact of consequence or to make the fact more or less probable and thereby aiding the trier of fact in making a decision.
- Having a significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand.
- Affording evidence tending to prove or disprove the matter at issue or under discussion.
“Relevant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster.
2) Questions and evidence about the complainant's sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant's prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent.
3) Legally Privileged information (Attorney/client, Dr./Patient) and legal/medical records are not relevant and may not be used or asked about unless voluntarily released by the party and relevant.
1.39 Student Amnesty
Students may be concerned about reporting sexual misconduct believing that their own behavior might subject them to disciplinary action (e.g., if a reporting participant or witness is underage and was using alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident). Witnesses and reporting participants should be assured that the focus in matters of sexual misconduct is always on the reported behavior, not on whether the witness or reporting participant was using alcohol or drugs at the time. Individuals are encouraged to come forward and report such conduct regardless of the surrounding circumstances. In situations involving allegations of sexual misconduct, Austin College will seek to make the sexual misconduct allegation the primary focus of any investigation or
disciplinary action. The College may not pursue disciplinary action against reporting participants, witnesses or a third party for disclosure of their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident provided that any such violation did not harm or place the health and safety of any other person at risk. It should be noted that the use of alcohol or drugs does not excuse sexual misconduct and a person who has been incapacitated through the use of alcohol or drugs (or by any other means) cannot give consent to sexual activity.
2.1 Discrimination and Harassment based on Pregnant and Parenting Status
Austin College prohibits discrimination and harassment against students based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions unless the student requests voluntarily to participate in a separate portion of the program or activity of the recipient. Students may report discrimination and harassment and seek both academic and non-academic accommodations based on their pregnant or parenting status by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
Students seeking academic accommodations should review their class syllabus (class schedule, project due dates, exam dates) and plan appropriate accommodations in advance with the Title IX Coordinator and their professors. Students seeking to miss regularly scheduled classes or alter assignment due dates based on required medical appointments are encouraged to contact the Title IX Office as soon as possible.
Accommodations for pregnant and parenting students will be treated the same as a temporary disability, meaning students may have to provide a doctor’s note that explains why a certain accommodation is medically necessary. Accommodations for pregnant or parenting students may be: a larger desk, frequent trips to the bathroom during class, eating and drinking in class, rides around campus, change in assignment due dates, excused absences, or other appropriate measures as determined by a doctor and Austin College.