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As a recipient of federal funds, Virginia Highlands Community College is required to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, admission and employment. Under certain circumstances, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and similar conduct constitute sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to the College’s Title IX Coordinator or to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The Title IX Coordinator is Karen Cheers, whose office is located in ISC Building room 128 B, and may be contacted by phone at 276-739-2490 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Highlands Community College is committed to providing an environment that is free from harassment and discrimination based on any status protected by law. This Policy supplements the following general policy statement set forth by the Virginia Community College System: This institution promotes and maintains educational opportunities without regard to race, color, sex, ethnicity, religion, gender, age (except when age is a bona fide occupational qualification), disability, national origin, or other non-merit factors. This Policy also addresses the requirements under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, (also known as the Campus SaVE Act).
This Policy is not intended to substitute or supersede related criminal or civil law. Individuals should report incidents of sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to law enforcement authorities. Criminal and civil remedies are available in addition to the potential remedies that the College may provide.
The purpose of this Policy is to establish that the College prohibits discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation and to set forth procedures by which such allegations shall be filed, investigated and resolved.
This Policy applies to all campus community members, including students, faculty, staff and third parties, e.g., contractors and visitors. Conduct that occurs off campus can be the subject of a complaint or report and will be evaluated to determine whether it violates this Policy, e.g. if off-campus harassment has continuing effects that create a hostile environment on campus.
Advisor: An individual who provides the complainant and respondent support, guidance, or advice. Advisors may be present at any meeting or hearing, but may not speak directly on behalf of the complainant or respondent.
Complainant: A complainant refers to an individual who believes that they have been the subject of a violation of this Policy and files a complaint against a faculty, staff member or student.
Consent: Any sexual activity or sex act committed against one’s will, by the use of force, threat, intimidation, or ruse, or through one’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness is without consent. Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually-agreed upon sexual activity. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities, or a current or previous dating relationship, does not imply ongoing or future consent. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). An individual cannot consent who is under the age of legal consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred.
Mental incapacity means that condition of a person existing at the time which prevents the person from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act involved (the who, what, when, where, why, and how) and about which the accused knew or should have known. This includes incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol. Intoxication is not the same as incapacitation.
Physical helplessness means unconsciousness or any other condition existing at the time which otherwise rendered the person physically unable to communicate an unwillingness to act and about which the accused knew or should have known. Physical helplessness may be reached through the use of alcohol or drugs.
Any form of retaliation, including intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action taken or threatened against any complainant or person reporting a complaint alleging a violation of this Policy, or any person cooperating in the investigation of allegations of violations of this Policy, to include testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in an investigation pursuant to this Policy and the resolution procedures is strictly prohibited by this Policy. Action is generally deemed adverse if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this Policy. Retaliation may result in disciplinary or other action independent of the sanctions or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of violations of this Policy.
The College encourages the reporting of incidents that violate this Policy. The use of alcohol or drugs should not be a deterrent to reporting an incident. When conducting the investigation, the College’s primary focus will be on addressing the alleged misconduct and not on alcohol and drug violations that may be discovered or disclosed. The College does not condone underage drinking; however, the College will extend limited amnesty from punitive sanctioning in the case of drug or alcohol use to complainants, witnesses, and others who report incidents, provided that they are acting in good faith in such capacity. The College may provide referrals to counseling and may require educational options, rather than disciplinary sanctions, in such cases.
The College is required by federal law to issue timely warnings for reported incidents that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College will ensure, to every extent possible, that an alleged victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for members of the campus community to make decisions to address their own safety in light of the potential danger.
Prior to the resolution of a complaint, the College may suspend or place on disciplinary or administrative leave the respondent when it is determined that the respondent’s continued presence on campus threatens the safety of an individual or of the campus community generally; may hamper the investigation into the alleged misconduct; or is necessary to stop threatening or retaliatory contact against the complainant or complainant’s witnesses. The College shall provide advance notice of such measures, except in cases where the individual’s presence constitutes a threat. In all cases, however, the College shall notify individuals subject to these interim measure(s) in writing of the specific facts and circumstances that make such interim measure(s) necessary and reasonable. Individuals subject to proposed interim measures shall have the opportunity to show why such measure(s) should not be implemented. Notwithstanding the above, the College may impose a "no contact" order on each party, requiring the parties to refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through proxies, whether in person or by electronic means. The College also will enforce orders of protection issued by courts on all College property to the extent possible. The College may implement other measures for either the complainant or the respondent if requested, appropriate, and reasonably available, whether a formal complaint has been filed or whether an investigation by either campus administrators or law enforcement agencies has commenced. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, course schedule adjustments, reassignment of duty, changing work arrangements, changing parking arrangements, rescheduling class work, assignments, and examinations, and allowing alternative class or work arrangements, such as independent study or teleworking.
Anyone who has experienced sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking should do the following:
As soon as is practicable, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant to schedule an initial meeting. If the complainant is not the alleged victim, the Title IX Coordinator also will contact the alleged victim as soon as possible to schedule an initial meeting. The complainant may be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choosing. At this initial meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will:
Respondent’s Initial Meeting with the Assigned Title IX Coordinator.
Any individual who knowingly files a false complaint under this Policy, who knowingly provides false information to College officials, or who intentionally misleads College officials who are involved in the investigation or resolution of a complaint may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal for students and termination of employment for faculty and staff. An allegation that cannot be proven by a preponderance of the evidence is not necessarily proof of knowingly filing a false complaint.
Consenting romantic and sexual relationships between faculty and students, although not expressly forbidden, are generally deemed unwise and are strongly discouraged. Consent by the student in such a relationship may be suspect, given the fundamentally asymmetric nature of the relationship. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome.
The Title IX Coordinator shall maintain, in a confidential manner, for at least five (5) years, paper or electronic files of all complaints, witness statements, documentary evidence, written investigative reports, written corrective action reports, sanctions, appeal hearings and associated documents, the responses taken campus personnel for each complaint, including any interim and permanent steps taken with respect to the complainant and the respondent, and a narrative of all action taken to prevent recurrence of any harassing incident(s), including any written documentation.
 Colleges must use the definitions set out in this Policy. The Campus SaVE Act states that the definitions of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and consent must be of the applicable jurisdiction.
 This is required to be addressed in the policy under the Campus SaVE Act.
 This is required to be addressed in the policy under the Campus SaVE Act.
 The information required by the Campus SaVE Act is included in this Policy: (a) possible sanctions or protective measures that the College may impose following a final determination of a disciplinary procedure regarding sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, or stalking (b) procedures individuals should follow if sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, or stalking has occurred; (c) procedures for disciplinary action in cases involving sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, including a clear statement that the College’s proceedings shall provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution; (d) information about how the College will protect the confidentiality complainants; (e) written notification of students and employees about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available for victims both on-campus and in the community; and (f) written notification about options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations, if so requested and if such accommodations are reasonably available, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement. Therefore, Colleges may fulfill this requirement by providing anyone who makes a report a copy of this Policy.
 Required by the Campus SaVE Act.
 Required by the Campus SaVE Act.
 The College may request a meeting with a third party complainant, but it may not require his or her attendance.
 The College may request a meeting with a third party respondent, but it may not require his or her attendance.
 The complainant shall not receive information that would constitute personnel records; however, the College will take appropriate steps as necessary to protect the safety of the complainant while also complying with state law and policy.
 Colleges may choose the composition of the hearing committee and the selection thereof. All members of the committee must receive training on how to conduct a hearing.
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