AC NEWS


DIAA Title IX policy

Freedom from Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence and Stalking  

 

Prohibited Behavior and Reporting

  1. Amarillo College prohibits all employees and students from engaging in sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. All of these behaviors constitute sexual misconduct.  The prohibition encompasses conduct occurring on-campus or in connection with a College activity or program. Prohibited conduct that occurs off-campus is encompassed by these rules if the conduct creates a sexually hostile environment on campus or in a college activity or program or adversely affects another student’s educational opportunities at the College.  Prohibited conduct may be verbal or physical and proof of force or physical injury is not required. The parties may be the opposite sex or the same sex. In determining whether sanctionable conduct has occurred, the College may consider the on-campus impact of incidents that occurred off campus.
     
  2. Students who believe that they have been subjected to sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking are encouraged to report their complaint to the police department as soon as possible after the incident occurs.
     
  3. Reports of alleged sexual misconduct by a student should be directed to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Denese Skinner, Vice President of Student Affairs.
     
  4. Reports of alleged sexual misconduct by an employee or campus visitor should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Cheryl Jones, Vice President of Human Resources.
     
  5. An employee who witnesses or receives information regarding the occurrence of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking and is alleged to have been committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the college at the time of the incident must promptly report the incident to the college’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, as identified herein.  Reporting is required regardless of when and where the alleged incident occurred and regardless of when and where the employee witnessed or received information about it.  A victim is not required to make a report concerning an incident.
     
  6. An employee who is required to make a report and knowingly fails to do so, or knowingly makes a false report, will be terminated in accordance with Texas Education Code § 51.255.
     
  7. During an investigation or any disciplinary proceeding, the rights of both the respondent and the reporting party shall be respected, and the confidentiality of proceedings will be maintained to the extent permitted by law. The existence of the College’s policies and procedures is not intended to diminish or alter the rights that the respondent and reporting party have under civil law or the criminal law.
     
  8. A victim of sexual misconduct has a right to receive a prompt and equitable resolution of the report.

 

Definitions of Prohibited Behavior

Sexual Harassment

  1. Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or both of the following: (a) An employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); or (b) Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to an education, program, or activity (hostile environment).  Sexual harassment is wrongful regardless of whether the parties are of the same sex or of the opposite sex.

Sexual Assault

  1. Intentionally or knowingly causing physical sexual contact or penetration of another person without that person’s consent. “Sexual contact” includes any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. Sexual assault is without consent of the other person if the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by use of physical force or violence, or threat of force or violence, and the other person believes the actor has the present ability to execute the threat; or the other person cannot consent due to age, mental impairment or other circumstance.

Dating Violence

  1. 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 reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.

Stalking

  1. 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. “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly or indirectly, or through third parties, by any actions, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

 

Sanctions for Violations

  1. Existing disciplinary procedures found in the Board of Regents Policy Sections FMA, DGBA and DH will serve as the framework for resolving allegations of sexual misconduct against students and employees. Students found guilty of sexual misconduct will be subject to campus disciplinary actions. If an investigation substantiates that an employee engaged in sexual misconduct, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as provided in DGBA and DH policy. In addition, any employee or student may face criminal prosecution for violations of applicable state and federal laws.

 

Protocol for Reporting and Responding to Report

  1. The protocol for reporting sexual misconduct is described in the following complaint procedure.  The complaint form is available on the website at https://www.actx.edu/hr/title-ix.

 

Complaint Procedure

  1. This procedure addresses sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, or stalking. Students may use this procedure to file a complaint against a student, a College employee, a College contractor, or a third party who is visiting the College or participating in a College activity. For ease of reference, the phrase “sexual misconduct” occasionally is used to encompass all categories addressed in this procedure.   
                
  2. This complaint procedure constitutes a grievance procedure required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. As used in this procedure, “complaint” and “grievance” are synonymous.
     
  3. Title IX is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs. The College has appointed Title IX Coordinators who facilitate the College’s compliance with Title IX and other laws that prohibit discrimination. These officials can assist students with claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

 

Title IX Coordinators

  1. Title IX Coordinator:
    Cheryl Jones, Vice President of Human Resources
    Email: titleIX@actx.edu 
    Phone: 806-371-5040
    Office Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Room 260
     
  2. Deputy Title IX Coordinator:
    Denese Skinner, Vice President of Student Affairs
    Email: titleIX@actx.edu 
    Phone: 806-371-5252
    Office Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Room 228C
     
  3. In addition to the Title IX Coordinators, all other College employees are designated as “Responsible Employees” who have reporting duties under Title IX. All employees except those who have a duty of confidentiality, such as licensed professional counselors and medical professionals have a duty to report information received to the Title IX Coordinator.

 

Reporting Options

  1. Students have several options when reporting sexual harassment, sexual assault,  dating violence or stalking. They may seek informal guidance from counselors or other officials, or they may file a formal grievance. Students also may file a report directly with the College police or any local law enforcement agency. Students are not required to file a police report in order to receive assistance from the College. Additionally, reporting an offense does not commit the student to pursuing further legal action. Students who desire assistance in order to make a police report may contact the College police, the counseling office, or the Title IX Coordinator.
     
  2. If anyone reports sexual misconduct through any method, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures; consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures; inform the Complainant of availability of supportive measures with or without filing a complaint; and explain to the Complainant the process for filing a complaint.

 

Assistance for Victims – Confidential and Non-Confidential Options

  1. Students who have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking or other crimes may seek advice, assistance, and resources from the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Amarillo College Counseling Center, or the Advocacy and Resource Center. Individuals within these offices can assist the reporting party with accessing medical or counseling services, advocacy services, social support services, legal services and police services. Even in the absence of a formal complaint, the College may be able to provide assistance to the reporting party with respect to his or her academic, living, transportation, or working situations. For example, a student might wish to explore changing a class or class time.

 

On-Campus Resources

  1. Title IX Coordinator:
    Cheryl Jones, Vice President of Human Resources
    Email: titleIX@actx.edu 
    Phone: 806-371-5040
    Office Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Rm 260
     
  2. Deputy Title IX Coordinator:
    Denese Skinner, Vice President of Student Affairs
    Email: titleIX@actx.edu
    Phone: 806-371-5252
    Office Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Rm 228C
     
  3. Amarillo College Counseling Center
    Phone: 806-371-5900
    Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Rm 228A
     
  4. Amarillo College Advocacy & Resource Center
    Phone: 806-371-5446
    Location: Washington Street Campus, Ware Student Commons, Suite 108
     
  5. Amarillo College Police Department
    Phone (Emergency): 806-371-5911
    Phone (Non-Emergency): 806-371-5163

 

Off-Campus Resources

  1. Texas Panhandle Center Hotline
    Phone: 806-359-6699
    Phone (Toll-Free): 1-800-692-4039
     
  2. The Pavilion of Northwest Hospital
    Address: 1501 S. Coulter St., Amarillo TX
    Phone: 806-354-1810
     
  3. Affordable Counseling – Family Support Services
    Address: 7136 I-40 Frontage Rd, Park West Building B, Amarillo, TX 79106
    Phone: 806-342-2500         24 Hour Hotline:  806-374-5433
     
  4. Free Medical Clinic – Heal the City
    Address: 604 S. Tennessee Ave., Amarillo TX
    Phone: 806-231-0364
     
  5. Free Legal Help
    Legal Aid of Northwest Texas
    Amarillo Petroleum Building
    203 W. 8th Ave. #600
    Phone: 806-373-4309

 

Confidential Communications

  1. In response to an act of sexual misconduct, a victim may be unsure whom to contact for information about options and resources. Some victims may prefer a confidential consultation before deciding on a course of action. Amarillo College employees are “responsible employees” and have a duty to report complaints that come to their attention. Below, this procedure addresses when confidentiality may be honored.
     
  2. Confidential communications are those communications that cannot be disclosed to another person without the reporter’s consent, except under very limited circumstances such as an imminent threat or danger to self or others. Victims may speak confidentially with a licensed professional counselor, pastoral counselors in the community, medical personnel, licensed social workers, and victims’ advocates. These individuals may assist victims in deciding whether to report, what options exist, and what resources are available. These individuals are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the College’s Title IX Coordinator, but the report should contain only the type of incident and may not include any information that would violate the victim’s expectation of privacy.

 

Non-Confidential Communications

  1. Employees are required to report allegations of sexual misconduct even if they have been requested by the person confiding in them to keep the discussion confidential. Non-confidential communications consist of those communications reported to the Title IX Coordinator and others on a need-to-know basis in order to ensure that necessary steps are taken to protect the community as a whole and that appropriate disciplinary measures are considered and taken. Employees must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details of the occurrence, including names of those involved and relevant facts including date, time and location.
     
  2. When receiving a sexual misconduct report from an alleged victim, employees shall notify the victim that (i) the employee has an obligation to report the complaint to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator and (ii) the alleged victim may request confidentiality, which will be evaluated by the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator. The employee shall also inform the alleged victim that he or she may speak confidentially with a licensed professional counselor or others identified in this procedure and although the alleged incident will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, it will only include the type of incident and may not include information that would violate the victim’s expectation of privacy.

 

Requests for Confidentiality

  1. To the greatest extent possible, the College shall maintain the confidentiality of information and records related to investigations of complaints based on sexual misconduct. Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation and comply with applicable law. A Title IX Coordinator will evaluate a reporting party’s request for confidentiality in the context of the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the entire college community. The Title IX Coordinator will make every effort to respect a reporting party’s request for confidentiality; however, there are situations in which the College must override a reporting party’s request for confidentiality in order to meet its Title IX obligations. When weighing a reporting party’s request for confidentiality that could preclude a meaningful investigation or potential discipline of the respondent, the College will consider a range of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of the respondent committing additional acts of sexual violence or other violence (e.g., whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same respondent, whether the respondent has a history of arrests, etc.); (ii) whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon; (iii) the age of the victim subjected to the sexual violence; and (iv) whether the school possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence.)
     
  2. The College will inform the reporting party prior to disclosing the reporting party’s identity to a respondent and will take whatever interim measures are necessary to protect the reporting party and ensure the safety of others.
     
  3. Finally, while federal law requires Amarillo College include certain reported incidents of sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking among its annual campus crime statistics, such information will be reported in a manner that does not identify victims.

 

Complaints Involving Victims Under the Age of 18

  1. Complaints involving abuse of minors must be reported to Children’s Protective Services or other law enforcement agencies. The phone number for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is 1-800-252-5400.

 

Evidence Preservation in Sexual Assault Cases / Medical Exams

  1. If a student experiences sexual misconduct or other criminal offense, it is important that he or she take action to preserve evidence. Such evidence will be helpful in the event that the victim seeks a protective order or desires to pursue a criminal prosecution. Victims of sexual assault or dating violence should not wash, shower, bathe, or change clothes prior to a medical exam or treatment. If the victim needs to remove an item of clothing, it should be placed in a paper bag (not a plastic bag). Instead of changing clothes, the victim may separately bring a change of clothing to the hospital to wear after the examination. Evidence of violence, such as visible injuries or bruising or damage to a vehicle, will need to be photographed. Likewise, evidence of emails, text messages, social media, or phone messages must be preserved and not deleted or altered.
     
  2. Students who have just experienced a sexual assault or other sexual violence should call 911 and locate to a safe place. If the incident occurred on campus, the student should contact Campus Police. Campus personnel may assist the victim in obtaining transportation to a hospital or clinic, a police department, or other location. Prompt medical attention in a case of recent assault is necessary to document and treat any injuries and screen for certain medical conditions or transmitted diseases. Victims may receive a medical exam with or without police involvement. A nurse examiner may perform a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam. Such exams generally are available in hospital emergency rooms.

 

Filing A Complaint

Informal Resolution

  1. A reporting party may, at any time, personally address the individual whose conduct is offensive, unwelcome, or intimidating and request that such conduct stop. However, particularly in cases of sexual violence, reporting parties are discouraged from contacting the alleged offender. Instead, reporting parties are encouraged to meet with a counselor or the Title IX Coordinator to discuss the student’s options. No reporting party is required to contact the alleged offender regarding the offender’s alleged conduct.
     
  2. A reporting party may seek informal resolution by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. Informal resolution may include a meeting between a Title IX representative and the respondent to reinforce the requirements of the College’s policy against harassment. Informal resolution is not a precondition to filing a formal complaint. Additionally, if informal resolution is undesirable or ineffective, then the student may initiate a formal complaint at any time. Mediation shall not be employed in any instances involving sexual violence or an allegation that an employee sexually harassed a student.

 

Formal Complaint Process

Contents of Complaints

  1. Although reporting parties may file a complaint at any time, the College encourages reporting parties to report their concerns as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s) so that prompt action can be taken to investigate and resolve the complaint. A delay in reporting may result in a loss of evidence or availability. Reporting parties are encouraged to file complaints during the same semester that the alleged incidents occurred or within 30 days of the conclusion of the semester.
     
  2. Reporting parties are encouraged to submit written complaints that describe all incident(s) or action(s) considered by the reporting party to be harassing or violent.

Reporting parties should provide the following information:

  • Contact information, including address, telephone, and email;
  • Name of person(s) directly responsible for alleged violation(s);
  • Date(s) and place(s) of alleged violations;
  • Nature of alleged violation(s) as defined in this policy;
  • Detailed description of the specific conduct that is the basis of the alleged violation(s);
  • Copies of documents, emails, text messages, photos, social media, or other physical evidence pertaining to the alleged violation(s);
  • Names of any witnesses to alleged violation(s) and contact information, if available;
  • Action requested to resolve the situation;
  • Reporting party’s signature and date of filing; and
  • Any other relevant information
     
  1. The Reporting Party’s failure to provide a written complaint or to provide the information requested above may adversely impact the College’s ability to conduct a complete and thorough investigation and may limit the College’s ability to take appropriate corrective action.

 

Where to File a Complaint

  1. Complaints alleging misconduct by a student shall be filed with the Title IX Coordinator who addresses student concerns.
    Deputy Title IX Coordinator:
    Denese Skinner, Vice President of Student Affairs
    Email: titleIX@actx.edu
    Phone: 806-371-5252
    Office Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Room 228C
     
  2. Complaints alleging misconduct by an employee or campus visitor shall be filed with the Title IX Coordinator who addresses employee concerns.
    Cheryl Jones, Vice President of Human Resources
    Email: titleIX@actx.edu
    Phone: 806-371-5040
    Office Location: Washington Street Campus, Student Services Center, Room 260

 

Processing and Investigating the Complaint:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will evaluate the complaint to determine whether it is covered by this procedure. A formal investigation will be initiated if a complaint is within the scope of this policy and articulates sufficient specific facts, which if determined to be true, would support a finding that the College’s policy was violated. The College may decline to process a complaint under a variety of circumstances, including (i) the complaint is vague and does not describe conduct covered by this procedure; (ii) the reporting party declines to cooperate in the College’s investigation; or (iii) the complaint has been withdrawn or the requested remedy has already been implemented or was offered and rejected. If the College declines to process a complaint pursuant to this procedure, the College shall send the student or employee a written notification explaining the reasons.
     
  2. If the College proceeds with a complaint investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall determine whether interim action is needed pending completion of an investigation (e.g., a no-contact order, temporary reassignment, or suspension). The Title IX Coordinator shall appoint an impartial investigator to investigate the complaint. In cases where the respondent is a student, the investigator will typically be from Student Affairs. In cases in which the respondent is an employee, an investigator from Human Resources typically will conduct the investigation. In some instances, and when available, a team comprised of an investigator from Student Affairs and an investigator from Human Resources will conduct the investigation together.
     
  3. The Title IX Coordinator or designee shall notify the reporting party and respondent of the name and contact information of the investigator(s). The respondent shall receive written notice of the allegations and shall be informed of his or her right to submit a written response to the allegations within 10 school days, unless unusual circumstances warrant additional time. The written notice shall inform the respondent that retaliation against the reporting party is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

 

Time Frame for Investigation

  1. Barring unusual circumstances (e.g., multiple reporting parties, a complaint filed prior to a College holiday), the investigation ordinarily will be completed within a reasonably prompt timeframe. An investigation shall commence even if a law enforcement agency is conducting a separate criminal investigation against the respondent. However, the College’s investigation may be temporarily delayed when requested by police investigators or the District Attorney’s Office. If the College’s investigation is temporarily delayed due to a pending criminal investigation, the reporting party and respondent will be notified. All deadlines in this procedure may be extended by mutual agreement or good cause.

 

Interviews and Documentation

  1. The investigator shall interview the reporting party, the respondent, and other individuals determined by the investigator to possess relevant information. The reporting party and the respondent each will be permitted to provide documentation or other tangible evidence to the investigator. The reporting party and the respondent may suggest witnesses to interview; however, the decision whether to interview is a matter of professional judgment for the investigator in light of the issues at hand, in light of the information already obtained in the investigation, and in light of the resources available.

 

Right to Representation

  1. During meetings pertaining to the investigation and complaint process, the reporting party and the respondent may be accompanied by an advisor. Advisors, however, may not actively participate in meetings or interview witnesses.

 

Investigative Reports

  1. The investigator shall prepare a written report that summarizes the facts and evidence gathered during the investigation. The investigator will then permit the respondent and the reporting party to review the written report (with a copy to the Title IX Coordinator). Student identifiable information, if confidential by law, will be redacted. The respondent and the reporting party will each have 10 school days to provide comments and suggested corrections to the investigator. After receiving the comments from the parties (or if no comments are submitted), the investigator will determine whether additional investigation is needed and write a report that summarizes the findings using a preponderance of the evidence standard. The investigator will consider the totality of the circumstances, including the context and duration of the conduct and its severity. Facts will be considered on the basis of what is reasonable to persons of ordinary sensitivity.
     
  2. The investigator will send the report to the Vice President of Enrollment Management if the respondent is a student or to the Vice President of Human Resources if the respondent is an employee to proceed with a hearing or finding. If determined that a violation of policy occurred, the decision maker will then proceed with a disciplinary consequence or other corrective action. The action shall be reasonably calculated to prevent a reoccurrence of the misconduct and/or to ameliorate its impact. If the respondent is a student, the procedures set forth in Board of Regents Policy Section FMA should be followed and if the respondent is an employee, the procedures set forth in Section DGBA should be followed.
     
  3. The final determination shall be sent to the respondent, the reporting party, and the Title IX Coordinator. The final determination may be redacted to protect student information that is confidential by law under the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act.

 

Review and Appeals

  1. If the reporting party or respondent wish to appeal the final determination or discipline, the reporting party or respondent should follow the procedures set forth in the Board of Regents Policy Section FMA if the alleged sexual misconduct is by a student or Section DGBA if the alleged sexual misconduct is by an employee.

 

Rights During Disciplinary Proceedings

  1. In disciplinary hearings and appeals involving allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, the individual presenting the case, subject to the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, should notify the Title IX Coordinator and the reporting party that the respondent has requested a hearing and the date and time of the hearing. The reporting party and responding party shall receive written notice of the following rights and options:

 

  1. The right to attend and participate in the hearing;
  2. The right to have his or her past sexual history excluded from evidence;
  3. The right to provide testimony at the hearing in a manner that does not require the reporting party to directly confront or to be directly questioned by the respondent while preserving the respondent’s right to challenge such testimony;
  4. The right for an advisor to cross-examine a party or a witness to provide the opportunity to test the credibility of parties and witnesses;
  5. The right to receive assistance from the College’s Tile IX Coordinator;
  6. The right to provide input to the individual presenting the case regarding potential witnesses, evidence and argument that may be presented at the hearing or during a subsequent appeal;
  7. The right to know the outcome of the hearing; and
  8. The right to information regarding the procedure for appealing the final disposition.

 

  1. The notice to the reporting party and responding party shall include a copy of the applicable disciplinary procedure. Additionally, the notice shall inform the reporting party of his or her right to be accompanied during any disciplinary proceeding by an advisor of his or her choice. If the reporting party intends to attend the hearing and/or to bring an advisor, he or she shall notify the individual presenting the case in writing at least three school days prior to the hearing. The student’s advisor may cross-examine witnesses or parties. An advisor may not be a witness in the matter.
     
  2. The individual presenting the case shall notify the respondent and the Title IX Coordinator of the reporting party’s intent to attend the hearing.

 

Retaliation Prohibited

  1. Every reporting party has the right to file a complaint or to participate in an investigation without being subjected to retaliation. Retaliation is an adverse action taken by an employee or student against an individual who makes a good faith report of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct or who participates in an investigation pertaining to a complaint of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct. For an action or decision to be considered adverse, it must be materially adverse and be of the type that would dissuade a reasonable person from exercising his or her rights to file a complaint or to participate in an investigation. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances. Any employee or student who engages in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action.

 

Office for Civil Rights

  1. Students may wish to file complaints of discrimination and harassment with the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education, Washington, D.C., at the same time they file a grievance, during or after use of the grievance process, or without using the grievance process at all. If a student files a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, the complaint must be filed no later than 180 days after the occurrence of the possible discrimination.

 

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Dallas Office
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, Texas 75201-6810
Phone: 214-661-9600
Email: OCR.Dallas@ed.gov

 

Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act

  1. In compliance with the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act (Section 1601 of “Public Law 106-386”) and the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, all persons required to register as part of the State of Texas’ Sex Offender Registration Program are required to provide notice of their presence on campus to the Campus Police Department. Information on registered sex offenders can be obtained through the Texas Department of Public Safety Crimes Record Service at: records.txdps.state.tx.us/SexOffender.

Approved: 09-22-20


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