Sexual Harassment Policies & Procedures
It is the policy of Iowa Lakes Community College, in keeping with efforts to establish an environment in which the dignity and worth of all member of the collegewide community are respected, that the discrimination or harassment of students, faculty and/or staff at any of its campuses, facilities, and/or activities will not be tolerated. This includes sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking as defined herein, as well as retaliation against an individual for exercising rights under this Policy and Procedures.
It is the policy of Iowa Lakes Community College to provide education to help prevent, facilitate the reporting of, and provide information on counseling concerning sexual harassment. This policy sets forth the College’s prohibition on sexual harassment, and the applicable procedures for resolving complainant or report of sexual harassment under Title IX, the Clery Act, and other applicable law.
The College’s scope under Title IX is limited to locations, events, or circumstances over which it substantially controls both the respondent accused of violating this Policy and the context in which the alleged harassment occurs, as well as any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the College, such as a fraternity or sorority. The College’s scope under Title IX is also limited to conduct against a person that occurs in the United States.
Any person may file a complaint alleging sexual harassment against a student or employee of the College. If a report or complaint falls under the College’s scope under Title IX, the College will utilize this Policy and the related procedures to respond to claims of sexual harassment and will not proceed under any other College policy or procedure if doing so would interfere with any right or privilege provided to a party under Title IX. If the College determines that a report or complaint does not fall under the College’s scope under Title IX, the College may still take action for such alleged conduct, as herein provided and/or consistent with applicable law and policy (such as the Discriminatory Harassment Policy or Student Code of Conduct) and based on the nature of the alleged conduct. The parties will be notified of this decision.
The College’s Title IX Coordinators coordinate the College’s response to reports of sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinators do not serve as an advocate for either the Complainant or the Respondent. The Title IX Coordinators will explain to both parties the informal and formal processes and the provisions of confidentiality. The Title IX Coordinators will coordinate with other campus officials to implement and coordinate appropriate supportive measures such as mutual no-contact orders and academic accommodations. The Title IX Coordinators are trained and knowledgeable about enforcement, compliance, communication, and implementation of the College’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy.
Iowa Lakes Title IX Coordinators’ Contact Information
Executive Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator
email@example.com new email
Executive Director of Students/Title IX Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org new email
A party may also contact the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome behavior (verbal, written, physical) that is directed at someone because of that person’s sex or gender, and that meets any of the following definitions:
A college employee, agent, or other individual under the college’s control or authority explicitly or implicitly conditions a decision or benefit on submission to sexual conduct (e.g., sexual favors for a better grade or promotion; implicitly or explicitly threatening negative consequences if the student or employee rejects sexual advances).
Unwelcome conduct that creates a hostile, intimidating or demeaning environment that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to participation in the College’s educational program or activity. This can include persistent and unwelcome efforts to develop a sexual relationship; bullying or cyber-bullying of a sexual nature or for a sexual purpose; sexual exploitation; unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities; unwanted sexual attention; repeated and unwelcome sexually-oriented teasing, joking or flirting; or verbal abuse of a sexual nature. Behavior could be verbal, non-verbal (e.g., gestures, touching), written or electronic.
Sexual Assault or Abuse
This definition include all acts constituting “sexual abuse” under Iowa law and is defined as one of the following offenses in which one has or attempts to have sexual contact or sexual penetration with another individual without their consent:
Rape is defined as 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 consent of the victim.
Fondling is defined as the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without consent of the victim.
Incest is defined as sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
- Statutory Rape
Statutory Rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
- Dating Violence
Dating Violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic, sexual, or intimate nature with the individual. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:
- A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim
- A person with home the victim shares a child in common
- A person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner
- Person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the laws of the State of Iowa or the jurisdiction in which the incident reported occurred.
- Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s act under the laws of the State of Iowa or the jurisdiction in which the incident reported occurred.
Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct toward another person under circumstances that would reasonably cause a person to fear bodily injury to themselves or others or to experience substantial emotional distress.
Determination as to whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment should take into consideration all of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incidents occurred. These definitions of terms used in this Policy are intended to track those in Title IX and the Clery Act. An act that might not fall within these definitions may still constitute misconduct, Discriminatory Harassment, and/or violate other College policy and/or codes of conduct.
Consent is not defined in Iowa Code, but Iowa Lakes Community College defines consent as it relates to sexual harassment/violence in the following manner:
- Consent is knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Consent to a specific sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for another specific sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred. Individuals can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that they no longer want the act to continue, and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately. A person cannot consent if he or she is incapacitated.
Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint, and/or from taking of an incapacitating substance. Under Iowa law, a person is incapacitated if the person is temporarily incapable of apprising or controlling the person’s own conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic or intoxicating substance; if a person is unable to communicate an unwillingness to act because the person is unconscious, asleep or is otherwise physically limited; or if the person has a bodily impairment or handicap that substantially limits the person’s ability to resist or flee. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. It is not an excuse that the respondent to a claim of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the other person’s incapacity.
Complainant means any person who alleges that they have been subjected to sexual harassment as defined by this Policy. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the College’s educational programs or activities, including employment.
Respondent means any person who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment under this Policy, and over whom the College is able to exercise substantial control.
Employees include full-time and part-time faculty and staff employed on campus or through a College program, activity, or event, including visiting faculty or adjunct instructors.
Students include admitted students, as well as students who may not be on campus but are nonetheless considered an active or enrolled student at the College.
Reporting to Law Enforcement and Evidence Preservation
If an instance of sexual harassment also constitutes a crime, College personnel can assist the victim with notifying local law enforcement authorities. The victim may also decline to notify such law enforcement authorities.
After an occurrence of sexual harassment or other violence, a victim should also consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Prompt medical attention is important both for physical/mental well-being and to preserve medical and physical evidence. Contact information for local law enforcement and medical providers is as follows:
Kossuth Regional Health Center
Algona Police Department
Kossuth County Sheriff
Palo Alto County Health System
Emmetsburg Police Department
Palo Alto County Sheriff's Office
Avera Holy Family - Estherville
Estherville Police Department
Emmet County Sheriff's Office
City of Spencer Police Department
Clay County Sherriff's Office
Lakes Regional Healthcare
Spirit Lake Police Department
Dickinson County Sheriff's Office
Additionally, a free, confidential medical examination from a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) can be obtained. The SANE can conduct a sexual assault evidence collection kit to preserve forensic evidence of the assault within 120 hours after its occurrence. Bathing, douching, smoking, changing clothing and cleaning the scene of the assault is discouraged before seeking medical attention.
Preserving evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents is encouraged. This evidence could be useful to the College if you choose to pursue the matter within the College, or to law enforcement in a criminal case.
Referral and advocacy services are available for any member of the Iowa Lakes student body, staff, or faculty, who believes he/she has been the victim of sexual harassment or violence. Some of the referral and advocacy services are:
CENTERS AGAINST ABUSE & SEXUAL ASSAULT (CAASA) AND CRISIS INTERVENTION SERVICES (CIS)
Services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
CENTERS AGAINST ABUSE & SEXUAL ASSAULT:
Serves the Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer and Spirit Lake area you may call their 24-hour crisis line for sexual assault and domestic violence services at 877-362-4612.
CRISIS INTERVENTION SERVICES:
- Outreach office serves Algona their 24-hour crisis line for Sexual Assault services is: 800-479-9071 and they also have a 24-hour crisis line for Domestic Violence services at 855-424-9133
- Family Violence Center, Fort Dodge: 515-955-5456
- National Victim Center’s Info Link: 800-FYI-CALL
- Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Abuse: 800-942-0333
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-333-SAFE(7233)
- Iowa Victim Service Call Center: 800-770-1650 or text ‘IOWAHELP’ to 20121
Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
THE PHONE LINES BELOW ARE AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR.
Family Violence Center, Fort Dodge
National Victim Center’s Info Link
Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Abuse
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Iowa Lakes Community College does not have the authority to offer civil or criminal protective orders, but victims may be able to obtain information on how to do so from law enforcement or local courts.
If an individual obtains an order of protection from a court in Iowa, the Title IX Coordinator should receive a copy to be aware of any limitations or restrictions and to develop a plan to abide by the court order. The College cannot enforce a violation of a court order, but can assist an individual in contacting law enforcement to report a violation. If any terms of a court order are unclear in their application to the campus environment, it is up to the parties to seek clarification through the court – the College cannot render a legal opinion or give advice other than to develop a plan to reasonably prevent violations of the order.
Iowa Lakes Community College is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of its students, staff, and visitors. Reports of sexual harassment can be made at the following online locations, in addition to directly to the Title IX Coordinator:
To make a report with your identity known, please select the option below that fits your current status:
Executive Director of Human Resources & Title IX Coordinator
It is important that those reporting sexual harassment understand the limits on confidentiality of the individual who they may contact for such assistance. Under Iowa law, communications with some individuals are confidential. Those who want to maintain confidentiality should always confirm whether confidentiality applies to the communication before they make the communication.
Information received by the Title IX Coordinator in connection with the filing, investigation, and resolution of allegations will be treated as private. The Title IX Coordinator and College will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sexual harassment, or has been identified as the respondent to any such report or complaint, or is a witness to any complaint or investigation, except as required to carry out the purposes of this Policy (including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding), applicable law, or as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g. The College must balance the needs of individual students with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large.
The Clery Act requires the College to report certain crime statistics and disclose security-related information, as well as issue notices to the campus community regarding certain crimes or emergencies. The annual security report issued by the College in compliance with the Clery Act will include, in addition to other required information, statistics regarding any incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking that have occurred within the locations governed by the Clery Act and that have been reported to a local law enforcement agency or a campus security authority. In both its emergency notifications and crime statistics, the College will keep personally identifiable information out of public information.
The College encourages individuals to come forward as soon as possible to share concerns of sexual harassment. There is no time limit for reports or complaints under the Policy, although the College’s ability to investigate and respond fully may be limited with the passage of time.
In all cases, the College will conduct a fair, prompt, and impartial investigation of allegations of sexual harassment. Generally, the College will attempt to complete the process within 60 days. However, this timeframe, and those set forth in these procedures are meant to provide guidance, and the College may, as appropriate, alter or extend time frames for good cause, with written notice to the parties. The time it takes to complete the resolution of a sexual harassment complaint may vary based on the complexity of the investigation and the severity and extent of the alleged conduct, or if school breaks occur during the process.
Supportive or Protective Measures
After receiving a report or complaint of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures and consider the Complainant’s wishes, whether or not law enforcement is contacted or a formal complaint is filed. The College will also implement interim or supportive action for both parties during an investigation, or when requested by the Complainant (when reasonably available). Such supportive measures may include:
- Referral to counseling and health resources;
- Changing class or work assignments so that the parties do not share the same classes or workspace;
- Changing of on campus residential housing
- Providing academic support services including modifications to course or assignment deadlines or tutoring, and/or
- Mutual no-contact orders.
The College will keep any supportive measures confidential, to the extent confidentiality does not impair the College’s ability to provide the measures. Supportive measures will be individualized, provided without fee or charge, are non-disciplinary in nature, and will not unreasonably burden either party. When putting supportive measures in place, the College will consider individually each situation and the circumstances presented.
Interim Suspension or Administrative Leave
The College may make a non-disciplinary interim suspension of a student Respondent on an emergency basis. Prior to suspending a student, the College will conduct an individualized safety and risk analysis and determine whether there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any individual. Any student so suspended on an interim basis will be provided with notice and an opportunity to challenge this action immediately following the removal.
The College may, in its discretion and consistent with applicable policies, procedures, and/or agreements, place an employee Respondent on administrative leave pending the outcome of a resolution process.
Initiating a Formal Complaint
When the College learns of potential sexual harassment, in most cases outreach will be done with the Complainant to identify reporting options (discussed earlier) within and outside the College and to offer supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator is available to meet to discuss those reporting options with the Complainant or answer questions from the Respondent.
A Complainant who proceeds with a formal complaint must do so in writing, and by filing a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator by using the student reporting form (link above), by hard copy, email, or any other writing evidencing a physical or digital signature, or otherwise verifying the Complainant is filing the complaint. If the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will not become a party or Complainant for purposes of the processes below.
Dismissal and Consolidation of Formal Complaints
If, at any point of the resolution process, it becomes apparent that the allegations contained within a formal complaint of sexual harassment, even if true, would not meet the scope and/or definitions in the Policy and under Title IX, the College will dismiss the complaint for purposes of processing under these procedures, but may proceed under a different policy or process for adjudication as the circumstances warrant.
Additionally, the College may, in its sole discretion, elect to dismiss any formal complaint of sexual harassment under the following circumstances:
- The complainant requests, in writing, the withdrawal of the formal complaint,
- The respondent is no longer employed or enrolled as a student at the institution, or
- Specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination or satisfy its own burden of proof in investigating and adjudicating a formal complaint of sexual harassment.
If the College elects to dismiss a formal complaint, all parties will be notified in writing of the decision, and will be given the opportunity to appeal the decision under subsection M below.
The College may choose, at its sole discretion, to consolidate formal complaints where more than one Complainant and/or more than one Respondent is involved so long as the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts/circumstances. In such cases, the College may also choose to issue a single investigation report.
Notice of Investigation
Upon the filing of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide a written Notice of Investigation simultaneously to both parties notifying the parties of:
- the identities of the parties involved in the incident;
- the conduct alleged;
- the date and location of the incident;
- Respondent’s entitlement to a presumption of innocence;
- The parties’ rights to have an advisor of their choice at the party’s expense, who may be an attorney; and
- The parties’ rights to review and comment on investigative evidence.
The written notice of investigation shall notify the parties that making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process is prohibited by the College and may constitute an independent basis for disciplinary sanctions, up to and including suspension or expulsion of a student or termination of an employee’s employment.
The notice shall be provided prior to the initial interview of any party, and within a sufficient amount of time to prepare. Parties will be also be provided advance notice in writing of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of any interview, hearing, or meeting in the investigation and resolution process.
If, during the course of investigation, the College determines that additional allegations will be investigated as part of the pending complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide written notice of the additional allegations to any identified Complainant(s) or Respondent(s).
Right to an Advisor
Both a Complainant and a Respondent are given the opportunity to have support or advice through the reporting and if applicable, investigative and disciplinary processes. Either the Complainant or the Respondent may have an individual accompany them at their own expense to any meetings, interviews, or hearings related to the matter – these individuals are called “advisors.” The advisor may be a friend, victim advocate, lawyer, employee, family member, or other person chosen by the Complainant or Respondent. The roles and expectations of a person serving as an advisor are explained as follows:
- The advisor will keep private the information shared during meetings and throughout the investigation and adjudication process and will not disclose in any manner information shared or learned in the College process.
- It is up to the Complainant and Respondent to present their information in meetings, interviews, or hearings. Advisors cannot speak for an individual and do not have an active role during any meetings, interviews, or hearings, with the exception of conducting cross-examination on behalf of a party in a live hearing.
- The College’s communication during the process will be primarily with the Complainant and Respondent, not with the advisor directly.
- A Complainant or Respondent may use a different advisor at various stages in the process, especially if their chosen individual cannot be available for a scheduled meeting, interview, or hearing. The College will work to reasonably accommodate the advisors’ schedules, but will not unnecessarily delay the process due to the advisors’ conflicts.
- The College may remove an advisor if they unreasonably delay the process, or their presence is disruptive, obstructive, or otherwise interferes with the College’s handling of the matter. In such a case, the College will notify the Complainant or Respondent, who may seek another advisor.
- College policy prohibits retaliation against any individuals for filing a complaint or participating in the investigation of the complaint. An advisor is also protected by and subject to this retaliation prohibition. This means an advisor may not retaliate against any person participating in this process, nor may anyone retaliate against an advisor.
- The College will provide any party who does not have an advisor present to assist with cross-examination during any hearing during which the party has the right to engage in cross-examination with a College appointed advisor for the duration of that hearing, the selection of which is in the College’s sole discretion.
The College will select an investigator or investigators who have received annual training to investigate campus matters of sexual harassment and on how to conduct an investigation that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability. The investigator or investigation team may be composed of internal College employees, external professionals, or a combination of both.
The College will endeavor to assign investigator(s) without bias or a conflict of interest. Either the Complainant or Respondent may request, in writing, that an investigator be replaced because of a conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if a conflict exists following a parties’ request.
The burden of proof and the burden of gathering sufficient evidence to reach a determination of responsibility rests with the College and not with the parties. The order of the interviews and any investigation plan will be determined by the investigator(s) based on the circumstances of each complaint, and will include the following:
- The investigator(s) will interview the Complainant and Respondents separately. Each party will be asked to participate in an initial interview and may be asked to participate in a follow-up interview(s) as needed.
- Each party may offer witnesses and other information, documents or other evidence relevant to the complaint, both inculpatory and exculpatory. Information, documents or other evidence provided by the parties and witnesses may be shared with both parties during the investigation.
- The investigator(s) will make a good faith effort to contact and interview relevant witnesses.
- In the event Complainant or Respondent request reasonable accommodations during the investigation process due to a disability, the investigator(s) will consult with the Title IX Coordinator.
Neither party will be restricted in their ability to discuss the allegations or to gather and present relevant evidence; provided, however, that such communications shall not constitute harassment of or retaliation against any party.
The investigator(s) will evaluate all relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory. The investigator(s) will only access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s treatment records made or maintained by a health care provider, or other records protected under a legally recognized privilege, if the party provides the investigator(s) with voluntary, written consent to do so.
Inspection and Review of Evidence Directly Related to Allegations and the Investigation Report
Complainant and Respondent and, unless directed otherwise by the respective parties, their advisors, will be provided the opportunity to inspect all evidence directly related to the allegations of the formal complaint, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, and evidence that the College does not intend to rely on in reaching a determination. The College may require both parties and their advisors to enter into a written agreement prohibiting the use or dissemination of evidence for any purpose other than those directly related to the parties’ participation in resolution process.
Complainant and Respondent will be given at least ten (10) calendar days to inspect and review the evidence collected during the College’s investigation and to submit a written response the investigator(s) will consider in preparing a final investigation report. The final investigation report will summarize the information and include any documents gathered. The investigative report will not include determination of responsibility for the complaint itself.
Additionally, Complainant and Respondent will be given at least an additional ten (10) calendar days after receiving a copy of the College’s final investigation report to respond to the investigation report, in writing. In their written response to the investigation report, Complainant and Respondent may provide written comments regarding the relevance of the evidence included in or excluded from the investigation report, provide factual or other corrections to the report, and otherwise provide context for the report.
The final investigation report will be distributed, concurrently, to both of the parties and the Title IX Coordinator at least ten (10) calendar days prior to a hearing to determine responsibility.
Live Hearing and Cross-Examination
For purposes of adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment under the Policy and procedures’ scope under Title IX, regardless of the identity of the parties involved, the College will conduct a live hearing prior to the issuance of a written decision report in accordance with the procedures below:
- Appointment of Decision-Maker(s)
The College shall appoint one or more Decision-Maker(s) who are either internal or external to the College and have been trained on the matters set forth in the Policy and procedures. The College will endeavor to appoint Decision-Maker(s) without bias or a conflict of interest. If there is more than one Decision-Maker, one of the Decision-Makers shall be designated to serve as Hearing Officer during the hearing. The Hearing Officer will preside over the hearing and determine whether information or questions of parties is relevant. All procedural questions, including the decision to accept evidence and/or statements, will be made by the sole Decision-Maker or Hearing Officer, in their sole discretion.
- Notice of Hearing
No less than ten (10) calendar days before the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare and send the parties a written notice of the time and date of the hearing, as well as the identities of the Decision-Maker(s). Within five (5) calendar days either the Complainant or Respondent may request, in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, that the Decision-Maker(s) be replaced because of an identified conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if a conflict exists.
If a party requests, the entire hearing will be conducted with the parties in separate rooms with technology enabling the Decision-Maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the witness answering questions, live and in real-time.
- Notice of Witnesses
At least five (5) business days before the hearing, the Decision-Maker(s) will notify the parties in advance which witnesses (including Complainant or Respondent) they would like to be present at the hearing. The Decision-Maker(s) or designee will notify these witnesses of the hearing date and time and that their presence has been requested. Any witness called by the Decision-Maker(s) will also be expected to answer questions from the parties.
- When notifying the parties of these witnesses, the Decision-Maker(s) will also request the parties identify any additional witnesses they wish to have present at the hearing for cross-examination
- The Decision-Maker(s) or designee will notify relevant witnesses of the hearing date and time and that their presence has been requested by the party for cross-examination.
- The Complainant and Respondent are permitted and encouraged to attend and participate in the hearing with an advisor of their choice.
- The hearing is closed to the general public. The parties and their advisor will be allowed to attend the entire portion of the hearing at which information is received (excluding deliberations). Admission of any other person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the Decision-Maker(s).
- There shall be no formal pleadings, legal memorandum, or motions filed in the hearing process.
- The Decision-Maker(s) will advise the parties if opening statement or closing statements are permissible.
- The College will record and/or create a transcript of all live hearings and will make that recording and/or transcript available to all parties for inspection or review.
- The College will make all evidence subject to inspection by all parties available at any hearing and will give each party equal opportunity to refer to that evidence at the hearing, including as part of cross-examination.
- Presentation of Evidence:
- The hearing is not a second investigation of the allegations. In the hearing, the parties will be asked if they have any additional evidence for the Decision-Maker(s) to consider, and if the parties wish to comment on the Investigation Report and evidence. Any new evidence presented by a party, if admitted as relevant, will be provided to the other party to review and provide comment;
- Parties will be allowed, through their advisors, to cross-examine all other parties and any witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and to ask all relevant questions and follow-up questions including those challenging party or witness credibility, directly, orally and in-real time. Any party without an advisor will be appointed an advisor by the College, with selection of the advisor being at the sole discretion of the College;
- Only relevant questions may be asked of a party or witness. The Decision-Maker(s) will explain the decision to exclude any question as irrelevant. Questions about prior sexual history will generally be deemed irrelevant with limited exceptions.
- The Decision-Maker(s) may ask questions, at any time, of the parties and of the witnesses.
The Decision-Maker(s) will not draw an inference about responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Standard of Proof
The determination of whether or not sexual harassment occurred will be based on the “preponderance of evidence” standard. This standard generally means whether it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred.
The College Decision-Maker(s) will independently evaluate the evidence gathered. Written decisions will be provided simultaneously to the parties and include the following information:
- allegations of sexual harassment,
- procedural history (including specifics about notifications of hearings, meetings and interviews, methods used to gather evidence and hearings held),
- findings of fact supporting the decision,
- conclusions regarding application of policy to the facts,
- rationale for the decision/finding of responsibility as it applies to each allegation,
- disciplinary sanctions imposed on respondent, if any,
- whether (but not the nature of) remedies designed to restore/preserve equal access to any or all education programs or activities that will be provided to the Complainant, and
- procedure and permissible bases for appeal.
Decisions, including the imposition of any sanctions, will become final upon written notification to the parties of the outcome of an appeal or, if there is no appeal, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.
The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of remedies, as well as any non-punitive or non-disciplinary supportive measures imposed.
The written decision of the Decision-Maker(s) shall be subject to appeal by both Complainant and Respondent. All parties have an equal right to appeal any final decision on the following bases so long as the bases of the appeal is significant enough to be reasonably expected to affect the outcome of the decision:
- A procedural irregularity within the investigation or adjudication process;
- New evidence not reasonably available when determination of responsibility was made;
- A conflict of interest or the bias of the Title IX Coordinator, investigator or a Decision-Maker.
The College will notify all parties upon receipt of an appeal by any party alleging one of the bases for appeal above. Both parties will be given an opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the written determination. Written statements must be submitted to within five (5) business days.
The Appeal Decision-Maker(s) will determine if the decision and/or sanctions imposed will be stayed pending the outcome of the appellate decision. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal will be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the hearing and supporting documents.
The Appeal Decision-Maker(s) may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision regarding the violation and/or sanctions imposed. A written decision will be issued simultaneously to the parties describing the result of the appeal and the rationale therefor. The written appeal decision is the final decision of the College, and no further appeals are permitted under the policy or these procedures.
The penalties for a violation of this Policy are as follows:
For students, sanctions can include the following. The severity of the penalty will be in proportion to the gravity of the violation. A student’s record of previous violations may be considered when determining the student’s penalties.
- Official Reprimand is a written censure by the College. The reprimand serves to remind the student that further violations may result in more serious sanctions.
- Disciplinary Probation informs the student that he/she has been found guilty of a more serious violation or repeated violation of College policies.
- Disciplinary Probation with Conditions informs the student who is placed on disciplinary probation with conditions that he/she is subject to specified conditions including but not limited to:
- Educational Sanctions/Referral: A requirement to participate in a project, class, counseling or other college/community sponsored activity that is relevant to the nature of the offense and appropriate for the violation at the student’s expense.
- Suspension or Termination of the Use of College Property, Resources or Activities: A student loses the privilege of using college property or resources associated with the offense or a student’s participation in activities associated with the offense may be temporarily suspended or permanently terminated.
- Disciplinary Suspension can be from a class, specific number of classes, program or a campus. The privilege of re-admission may depend on the fulfillment of certain conditions imposed by the college and/or the program. A suspended student may be prohibited from appearing on the campus, at off campus classes at cooperating agencies or any activity sponsored by the college.
- Disciplinary Expulsion informs the student that he/she has lost his/her student status and that he/she can never again be a student at the college. The decision to expel a student must be confirmed by the Board of Trustees of Iowa Lakes Community College and is considered final.
For faculty and staff, sanctions could range from warning, reprimand, suspension with or without pay, demotion, or termination of employment, and may include such other forms of disciplinary action as appropriate under applicable College procedures, handbooks/manuals, or contracts. If a final decision imposes disciplinary action which constitutes termination of college personnel entitled to the hearing/judicial review procedures of Iowa Code chapter 279, such procedures shall be followed as required by law.
Sanctions may also include supportive measures regarding the complainant. The College will also consider providing remedies for the broader campus community, as may be necessary to remedy the effects of sexual harassment.
After the filing of a formal complaint, the College may facilitate an informal resolution between the parties, and at any time prior to the Decision-Maker(s’) determination of responsibility via the issuance of a written decision.
The Title IX Coordinator will assess the severity of the alleged sexual harassment and the potential risk of a hostile environment for others in the campus community to determine whether informal resolution may be appropriate. Informal Resolution will not be available to resolve allegations involving an employee sexually harassing a student.
The College will not require the parties to participate in the Informal Resolution process as a condition of enrollment, continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or of any other right conferred by the College.
The Title IX Coordinator will provide the parties with a written notice setting forth the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process set forth in this policy, the right of any party to withdraw from the informal process and proceed with the formal complaint resolution process above, at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution; and any consequences resulting from the participation in the informal process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared by the College. Both parties must voluntarily consent in writing to participation in the informal resolution process.
The Title IX Coordinator will attempt to aid the parties in finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the complaint. This resolution will be reduced to writing and must be signed by the Complainant and the Respondent. Once both parties have voluntarily signed the written resolution, the written resolution becomes final and neither party can initiate the formal complaint resolution process above to resolve the allegations in the formal complaint. The written resolution is not subject to appeal.
The Complainant and the Respondent each may be assisted by an advisor throughout the Informal Resolution process. Advisors are must be silent support persons for the parties and cannot participate directly in the informal resolution process.
- Election of Formal Resolution
Either party may, at any time prior to signing an informal resolution agreement, elect to end the informal resolution process and initiate formal resolution instead. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the informal resolution will not be considered in the subsequent formal resolution.
- Privacy of Informal Resolution
In order to promote honest, direct, communication, information disclosed during informal resolution must remain private while the informal resolution is pending, except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized in connection with duties on behalf of the College.
Complainant Does Not Wish to Pursue Resolution or Requests Confidentiality
If the Complainant does not wish to pursue formal or informal resolution and/or requests their report remain confidential, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant that the College’s ability to respond may be limited. The Title IX Coordinator will only initiate a formal complaint against the wishes of the Complainant where doing so is not clearly unreasonable based on known circumstances, based on the potential impact to the College community if the allegations were true.
Even if the College cannot take disciplinary action against the Respondent because the Complainant insists on confidentiality or that the complaint not be resolved, the College reserves the authority to undertake an appropriate inquiry, and/or take other reasonably necessary supportive measures to promote a safe learning environment for the Complainant and/or the entire College community.
Sexual Harassment Outside the Policy’s Scope and Definitions
If a formal complaint is filed which alleges sexual harassment which falls outside the scope and definitions of this Policy and is dismissed, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the complaint as appropriate for adjudication under another policy or process, such as the Discriminatory Harassment Policy or other conduct policies, as long doing so would not interfere with any right or privilege provided to a party under Title IX.
To the extent the complaint alleges dating violence, domestic violence, domestic violence, or sexual assault which fall outside the scope of the Policy (e.g., the alleged conduct occurred outside the United States or without substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the conduct occurred), the College shall nonetheless provide the
following procedural rights to the parties in the applicable adjudication process:
- The parties will each have the opportunity to participate in the investigatory and disciplinary process which is overseen by properly trained individuals;
- The parties will each have the opportunity to be advised by a personal advisor of their choice, at their expense, at any stage of the process and to be accompanied by that advisor at any meeting or hearing. An advisor may only consult and advise his or her advisee, but not speak for the advisee at any meeting or hearing, except as expressly provided for in applicable procedures;
- Decisions will be based on the preponderance of evidence standard. In other words, the investigator or adjudicator will determine if it more likely than not that the respondent violated the applicable policy;
- The parties will be notified simultaneously in writing of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding, as well as any changes to those results or disciplinary actions prior to the time that such results become final; and
- If there is a right to appeal, the right is granted co-equally to the parties and the right will be explained in the applicable procedures. The parties will be notified simultaneously in writing of the final outcome of an appeal, if applicable.
College sanctions for such misconduct could include the range of sanctions detailed above.
No student or employee will suffer retaliation for reporting alleged instances of sexual harassment at Iowa Lakes Community College. Any individual who believes they have experienced retaliation should immediately report it to the Title IX Coordinator or another College official.
Investigators, Decision-Maker(s) and other personnel involved in the process of investigating, responding, coordinating or otherwise assisting in the adjudication of complaints of sexual harassment will receive training as required on the topics of 1) impartiality, 2) conflicts of interest and bias, 3) the College’s resolution processes, 4) issues of relevance and evidence, 5) the scope of the College’s educational programs and activities, and 6) types of sexual harassment.
College investigators will also be trained in writing investigation reports and Decision-Makers will be trained in conducting hearings, writing decisions and the technology used in hearings. The training materials used to perform these trainings will be published on the College’s website and will ensure that relevant personnel are trained annually on issues related to sexual harassment and are taught how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the rights, well-being, and safety of the parties, provides an equitable process for all parties involved, and promotes accountability.