Sex Discrimination and Other Forms of Sexual Misconduct Policy (Title IX)

Introduction

Hesston College is committed to providing a learning, working and living environment that promotes personal integrity, civility and mutual respect in an environment free of discrimination on the basis of sex. Sex discrimination violates an individual’s fundamental rights and personal dignity. Hesston College considers sex discrimination in all its forms—referred to in this policy as “sexual misconduct”—to be a serious offense.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. To ensure compliance with Title IX and other federal and state civil rights laws, Hesston College has developed policies and procedures (specified below) that prohibit sex discrimination in all of its forms. This policy applies to all persons who participate in the College’s educational programs and activities, including students, administrators, faculty, staff, and those who come onto campus, including visitors, alumni, vendors, guests, and prospective students. As such, the term utilized throughout this policy to refer to those covered is “individual.”

In situations where this policy is violated, Hesston College strives to stop the behavior, appropriately remedy what occurred, and work to prevent future occurrences. A reporting and investigation process is in place to provide appropriate action for policy violations.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is an omnibus term that captures all forms of sex discrimination prohibited by this policy. By its very nature, sexual misconduct refers to behavior or conduct that the target of the conduct did not want or did not consent to. Sexual misconduct can take many forms as defined below. (Click on bolded terms to show definitions. Click again to hide definitions. See additional definitions)

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination is material, adverse treatment on the basis of sex with respect to access to or the benefits of the College’s educational programs and activities. For purposes of this policy, sex discrimination includes material, adverse treatment on the basis of gender identity or gender stereotype.


Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is harassment that occurs in one of two ways: Quid Pro Quo and hostile environment.

  • Quid Pro Quo Harassment – Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, by a person having power or authority over another, when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating, evaluating, or providing a benefit to an individual’s education or employment development or performance.
  • Hostile Environment Harassment – When sexual harassment is severe, persistent or pervasive, and objectively offensive (unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the institution’s education or employment programs).

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

This is intentional contact with breasts, buttock, groin, genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts, or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner. This includes:

  • any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • that is without consent and/or by force

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

This is vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, or oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact. This includes:

  • any sexual intercourse,
  • however slight,
  • with any object,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation includes non-consensual or abusive conduct that takes sexual advantage of another person, for his or her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit/advantage someone other than the individual being exploited, and does not constitute any other sexual misconduct offense addressed in this policy.


Intimate Partner Violence

An act or threatened act of violence against a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship, or an act or threatened act of violence against a family or household member by a family or household member. Domestic violence also includes any other crime committed against a person or against property, or any municipal ordinance violation against a person or against property, when directed against a person with whom the offender is involved or has been involved in a dating relationship or when directed against a family or household member by a family or household member. For purpose of this definition:

  1. “Dating relationship” means a social relationship of a romantic nature. In addition to any other factors the court deems relevant, -the trier of fact may consider the following when making a determination of whether a relationship exists or existed: Nature of the relationship, length of time the relationship existed, frequency of interaction between the parties, and time since termination of the relationship, if applicable.
  2. “Family or household member” means persons 18 years of age or older who are spouses, former spouses, parents or stepparents, and children or stepchildren, and persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time. Family and household member also includes a man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is the alleged father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time.

Stalking

Stalking is:

  1. Recklessly engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person, which would cause a reasonable person in the circumstances of the targeted person to fear for such person’s safety, or the safety of a member of such person’s immediate family and the targeted person is actually placed in such fear;
  2. Engaging in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person with knowledge that the course of conduct will place the targeted person in fear for such person’s safety or the safety of a member of such person’s immediate family; or
  3. After being served with, or otherwise provided notice of any protected order…that prohibits contact with a targeted person, recklessly engaging in at least one act listed in subsection (f)(1) that violates the provisions of the order and would cause a reasonable person to fear for such person’s safety, or the safety of a member of such person’s immediate family and the targeted person is actually placed in such fear.

As used in [the definition of stalking]: “Course of conduct” means two or more acts over a period of time, however short, which evidence a continuity of purpose. A course of conduct shall not include constitutionally protected activity nor conduct that was necessary to accomplish a legitimate purpose independent of making contact with the targeted person. A course of conduct shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following acts or a combination thereof:

  1. Threatening the safety of the targeted person or a member of such person’s immediate family;
  2. Following, approaching, or confronting the targeted person or a member of such person’s immediate family;
  3. Appearing in close proximity to, or entering the targeted person’s residence, place of employment, school or other place where such person can be found, or the residence, place of employment, or school of a member of such person’s immediate family;
  4. Causing damage to the targeted person’s residence or property or that of a member of such person’s immediate family;
  5. Placing an object on the targeted person’s property or the property of a member of such person’s immediate family, either directly or through a third person;
  6. Causing injury to the targeted person’s pet or a pet belonging to a member of such person’s immediate family;
  7. Any act of communication;

“Communication” means to impart a message by any method of transmission, including, but not limited to: Telephoning, personally delivering, sending, or having delivered, any information or material by written or printed note or letter, package, mail, courier service, or electronic transmission, including electronic transmissions generated or communicated via a computer;

“Computer” means a programmable, electronic device capable of accepting and processing data;

“Immediate family” means father, mother, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling, spouse, or grandparent of the targeted person; any person residing in the household of the targeted person; or any person involved in an intimate relationship with the targeted person.


Retaliation

Retaliation is material, adverse action taken against a person because they engaged in the protected activity of making a report or participating in an investigation.


Consent

Consent is all of the following three things: clear, knowing, and voluntary. Consent is words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity. Here is some additional guidance as it relates to consent:

  • Consent is active, not passive.
  • Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.
  • Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions would lead a reasonable person to understand the other party is willing to engage in the specific sexual conduct at issue
    • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to any other form of sexual activity.
    • Previous relationships or prior consent do not imply consent to future sexual acts.
    • Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated. Once consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must stop promptly.
    • In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.
    • Consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated.

In cases involving alleged non-consensual sexual contact and non-consensual sexual intercourse, the College must determine whether consent was present. The College’s definition of consent is available here. A person who is incapacitated cannot give valid consent. Consent cannot be procured by force.

Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator for Hesston College oversees this policy as well as the reporting, investigation, and response process to any report. This position is currently housed within the Business Office. The current Title IX Coordinator is Monica Miller, 2nd Floor Alliman Administration Center, monica.miller@hesston.edu and 620-327-8265.

Reporting

Hesston College prohibits sexual misconduct and will take steps calculated to stop the behavior, appropriately remedy what occurred, and work to prevent future occurrences. We want individuals who believe they have experienced sexual misconduct to tell someone, and encourage reporting of what occurred to a faculty or staff member. Reporting can be completed anonymously through our online reporting system. The majority of our faculty and staff members are considered mandatory reporters and are obligated to report a concern of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. They are trained to communicate to you your rights, our obligations as an institution, discuss the resources available to you, or to point you to someone who can more fully help. Included in our faculty and staff are college support persons who can specifically help an individual understand available resources and decide on next steps. Student workers who work in the Student Life department (i.e. Resident Assistants; Intramurals; CAB; etc.) are considered mandatory reporters; all other student workers do not have a duty to report.

A reporter has three options when they report sexual misconduct: request a formal investigation; request an informal resolution; or request nothing be done. With a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or an authorized designee will conduct an investigation, to include gathering evidence, conducting witness interviews, and will provide facts related to the investigation to the Student Development Counsel (SDC). SDC will be responsible for determining if this policy was violated and to recommend appropriate action based on the facts presented. The evidentiary standard used during a formal investigation is whether a violation of policy more likely than not occurred.

With an informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator or Student Life Office will work with the appropriate parties to resolve the situation. Informal resolutions may include discussions, mutually agreed upon plans of action, or mediation. Informal resolutions are only available if the individuals involved agree to participate and if the Title IX Coordinator agrees that it provides the best possible outcome for the situation and there are no additional safety concerns. An individual who initially agrees to participate in informal resolution may insist upon a formal investigation at any time.

If the reporter requests no action, the situation will be recorded in case additional concerns arise or the reporter chooses to pursue the concern in the future. In some situations, such as Non-Consensual Sexual Contact and Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, the institution has an obligation to ensure campus safety and may have to investigate the concern without the reporter’s permission.

When receiving a report, Hesston College will:

  • Respect the reporter’s request for an informal resolution or to report a concern without action, when doing so is in the best interest of the parties involved as well as the college community.
  • Provide a neutral, unbiased, impartial, and objective investigation to determine if this policy was violated.
  • Select another investigator if one of the individuals involved establishes, or the Title IX Coordinator concludes, the investigator has a conflict of interest.
  • Follow College procedures without material deviation.
  • Treat everyone who participates in the investigation with dignity and respect.
  • Ensure both the reporting party and the responding party have opportunities to participate in the investigation.
  • Recognize that the College has the burden of proving any violation of policy; that burden is not on those involved in the investigation.
  • Provide equitable procedural protections to all parties.
  • Determine if the responding party more likely than not violated the policy and provide a response of such to the reporter and the responding party.
  • Provide the reporter and the responding party an opportunity to review the initial investigation report and give them 48 hours to respond with any additional information relevant to the investigation.
  • Take appropriate action for any policy violation.

Good Samaritan Policy for Students

Our main concern under this policy is to ensure the safety of our students. We want to empower students to report concerns for themselves or others who are in danger. Hesston College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time a sexual misconduct incident occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Hesston College strongly encourages students to report incidents of sexual misconduct to campus officials. A person who reports sexual misconduct to College officials or law enforcement will not be subject to conduct action for community standard violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the sexual misconduct.

Investigations

When a report is made and a formal investigation is requested (or required), the report will go through a thorough investigation process that includes notifying the responding party of the allegations in writing, gathering evidence, writing an investigative report, and providing this report to a panel for review. The College will conduct the investigation in a reasonably prompt manner. Three (3) employees on the Student Development Council (SDC) review the evidence gathered during the investigation, determine whether the evidence establishes it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred, and, if the evidence supports the existence of a policy violation, determine necessary responsive action, including discipline for the responding party.

A written determination of the investigation will be provided to the reporter and responding party. Each party will have the option of appealing the decision and will be provided the specifics of that process in the determination letter.

Participation in an Investigation

During the course of an investigation, it is expected that all participants maintain professionalism and provide respectful, cordial responses. Intentionally filing a false report, or knowingly providing false information during an investigation, is a violation of this policy. Tampering with evidence, coercing witnesses, or colluding with others to provide a common response, are violations of this policy.

Resources

Hesston College has several resources available to reporters or those impacted by sexual misconduct:

College Support Person
Harvey County Domestic & Sexual Assault Task Force
Law Enforcement
Non-Mandated (Confidential) Reporters
Safehope
Support Person

Campus Safety

Individuals should be aware that the college may have a legal obligation to issue a timely warning to the campus community when incidents reported to them pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. Details of this warning can be found on our Student Life website.

Retaliation

Retaliation is material, adverse action taken against a person because they engaged in the protected activity of making a report or participating in an investigation. Retaliation is a form of sexual misconduct prohibited by this policy. If an individual believes they have been retaliated against, they should immediately report the retaliation in the same way they would report other forms of sexual misconduct.

Policy Violations

The Student Development Council (SDC) is responsible for determining policy violation and any resulting action for any student misconduct, to include sexual misconduct. When investigations involve employees, the Student Development Council will also make the determination for policy violation and any resulting action with employees. The SDC facilitator may assign authorized designees in lieu of current SDC members when they are unable to attend to ensure appropriate representation. Violations of this policy by students are subject to the same forms of discipline specified in the student handbook for other types of student misconduct, including dismissal, suspension, fines, community service, and reprimand. Faculty or Staff found in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination per our performance management policy.

The outcome of an investigation involving students is part of the education record of the students involved, and is generally protected from release to third parties under a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), subject to narrow exceptions. The college will abide by FERPA and only disclose the outcome of an investigation involving student as permitted by the law.

Appeal Process

A reporter or responding party may appeal an investigation decision. The appeal process will be included in the determination letter. An appeal can only be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. There is new information that was not known or available at the time of the decision that would have resulted in a different outcome.
  2. There was a procedural error that materially affected the determination as to whether or not a policy violation occurred (i.e. improperly excluding evidence)
  3. The action taken is substantially disproportionate to the findings in the case (i.e. too lenient or severe)
  4. The finding as to whether or not a policy violation occurred is clearly erroneous in light of the evidence.

The appeal must be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within 5 calendar days of the date of the determination letter. If an appeal fails to assert one or more of the grounds specified above, it will be dismissed. If the appeal asserts a proper ground, two Vice Presidents from the Administrative Council will review the documents and provide an appeal decision. If an employee is the reporter or responding party in the investigation, the Vice President for whom they report to is not allowed to participate in the appeal process. The decision made on appeal is final and there will be no further appeals.

Handbook 2019-20