FH. Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

Members of the South Plains College (SPC) community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of gender and sex-based discrimination, examples of which can include acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy.

All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. SPC believes in a zero tolerance policy for gender-based misconduct. When an allegation of misconduct is brought to an appropriate administration’s attention, and a responding party is found to have violated this policy, serious sanctions will be used to reasonably ensure that such actions are never repeated.

Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is, sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it, unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from SPC’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation.

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force.

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force.

  • Sexual Exploitation

Taking 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 other sexual misconduct offenses.

Information Regarding Consent

Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Coercion, force or threat of either invalidates consent. Someone who is incapacitated cannot consent.

Policy Expectations With Respect To Consensual Relationships

SPC does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of SPC. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) are generally discouraged. This includes Wing Advisors and the students over whom they have direct responsibility.

Other Related Misconduct Offenses

(These items fall under Title IX when sex or gender-based)

  • Violence-Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • Discrimination - actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
    • Intimidation - implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
    • Hazing -  acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within SPC community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity;
    • Bullying - repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment).
      • Stalking - repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following,harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.

Sanctioning For Policy Violations

Any person found responsible for violating the policy on Sexual Misconduct will face a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion or termination, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations. The decision-making body reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing officers nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so. Additional information regarding sanctions and due process can be found in the SPC Student Guide, Faculty Handbook and Policy and Procedures Manual.

Reporting Of Offenses

All SPC employees, with some limited exceptions, are expected to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials.

Confidential Reporting

If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with:

  • On-campus licensed professional counselors,
  • Campus health service providers,
  • Campus Victim Advocates (located in the SPC Health & Wellness Center)

All of the above employees will maintain confidentiality except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor. Campus counselors are available to help free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours. These employees will submit quarterly anonymous statistical information for Clery Act purposes unless they believe it would be harmful to their client or patient.

Formal Reporting Requirements

All SPC employees have a duty to report, unless they fall under the “Confidential Reporting” section above, incidents of sexual assault or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Coordinator. If a reporting party does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the reporting party may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law.

In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, SPC will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. In cases where the victim requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow SPC to honor that request, SPC will offer interim supports and remedies to the victim and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action. A reporting party has the right, and can expect, to have reports taken seriously by SPC when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.

Reports to the Title IX Coordinator can be made via email, phone or in person at the contact information below:

Vice President for Student Affairs

Student Services Building

806-716-2360

cmitchell@southplainscollege.edu

Failure of a non-confidential employee, as described in this section, to report an incident or incidents of sex or gender harassment or discrimination of which they become aware, is a violation of SPC policy and is subject to disciplinary action ranging from a warning up to and including termination of employment.

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Certain campus officials have a duty to report campus crimes including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the Annual Security Report. Mandated federal reporters include: student/conduct affairs, campus law enforcement, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.

Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations

Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that South Plains College administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. South Plains College will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.

Approved by Executive Council April 4, 2016

 


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