Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy
It is the purpose of this procedure to ensure that all students within the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and its colleges are provided access to a safe educational environment free from any discrimination on the basis of sex. To that end, this procedure prohibits sex discrimination of any kind, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct (“prohibited conduct”). Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, domestic violence, sexual violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and stalking.
All students and employees are expressly prohibited from engaging in any form of prohibited conduct in all interactions with each other, whether or not the interaction occurs during class or on or off campus. Visitors to campuses also shall not engage in prohibited conduct, and may be barred from campus.
Any student or employee who has engaged in prohibited conduct will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or dismissal. Nothing in this procedure shall be interpreted to interfere with any person’s right to free speech as provided by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
TCSG strongly encourages all students and requires employees to report any instances of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct promptly and accurately. TCSG will not tolerate retaliation for having filed a good faith complaint or for having provided any information in an investigation. Any individual who retaliates against a complainant or witness in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or dismissal.
Employee complaints of unlawful harassment or discrimination shall be conducted pursuant to the process outlined in the procedure governing Unlawful Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation in Employment.
20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5
Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013
Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE)
Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972
All work units and technical colleges associated with the Technical College System of Georgia.
Advisor: the person who will attend the Hearing with a Party and conduct the oral cross-examination of the other Party and Witnesses. This person may also offer advice and support from the time the Notice of Formal Complaint is issued and may attend any meetings involved in the investigatory process, but may not speak on behalf of the party during such meetings. The Advisor may be chosen by the Party and is permitted to be, but need not be, an attorney. If either Party is unable to select an Advisor, TCSG will furnish an Advisor to the Party. The Advisors are intended to maintain Privacy and confidentiality to the extent permitted by law.
Affirmative Consent: affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the Affirmative Consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean Affirmative Consent, nor does silence or incapacitation mean Affirmative Consent. Affirmative Consent also cannot be procured by duress or intimidation, or by the use of anesthetizing or intoxicating substances. Affirmative Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. Affirmative Consent may be based on a condition(s), e.g., the use of a condom, and that condition(s) must continue to be met throughout an activity, unless there is mutual agreement to forego or change the condition. When there is no Affirmative Consent present during sexual activity, the activity at issue necessarily occurred “against the person’s will.”
Appeal Officer: the Commissioner of TCSG or his designee, who will review the Parties’ appeals and issue the Notice of Outcome of Appeal.
Clinical Site: any off-campus location to which students or faculty are assigned for completion of program requirements including labs, internships, or practicums.
Complainant: the Party to the process who has allegedly experienced the alleged Title IX Prohibited Conduct at issue.
Confidential Resource: a person who, by law, is exempted from the obligation to report an allegation of conduct that could constitute Title IX Prohibited Conduct to any entity, including the College’s Title IX Coordinator or law enforcement in circumstances in which the reported conduct could be a crime (except, as to law enforcement, if the Complainant is a minor or if there is a belief that there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others).
Confidentiality: exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including those who provide services related to medical and clinical care, mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy. The law creates a privilege between certain health care providers, mental health care providers, attorneys, clergy, spouses, and others, with their patients, clients, parishioners, and spouses.
Court Order: any formal order issued by a state or federal court or authorized police officer that restricts a person’s access to another TCSG community member, such as an emergency, temporary or permanent restraining order.
Dating Violence: violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant, including sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse, but excluding acts covered under the definition of Domestic Violence.
Decision-Maker: a professional appointed by the TCSG Commissioner experienced and trained in adjudicating matters of civil rights, sexual harassment and/or sexual violence and trained on this Title IX Procedure who will preside over the Hearing and will issue the Written Determination Regarding Responsibility
Domestic Violence: a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed: (i) by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant; (ii) by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common; (iii) by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner; (iv) by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Georgia; (v) by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Georgia. To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.
Duress: a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution that is enough to cause a reasonable person of ordinary sensitivity to do or submit to something that they would not otherwise do or submit to. When deciding whether the act was accomplished by duress, all the circumstances, including the age of the Complainant and their relationship to the Respondent, are relevant factors.
Employee: any individual employed in a full or part time capacity in any TCSG work unit or technical college.
Expert Witness: a Witness identified by a Party or the Title IX Office that has special expertise in a technical matter, such as forensic evidence.
Force: an act is accomplished by force if a person overcomes the other person’s will by use of physical force or induces reasonable fear of immediate bodily injury.
Formal Complaint: a document filed and signed by a Complainant or filed and signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX Prohibited Conduct against a Respondent and requesting that TCSG investigate the allegations.
Hearing: a live hearing conducted with all Parties physically present in the same geographic location or with participants appearing virtually with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. During the Hearing, the Decision-Maker permits each Party’s Advisor to ask the other Party and Witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. A recording or transcript of the hearing will be made.
Hearing Coordinator: the person who manages Hearings under this Title IX Procedure.
Hearing File: the information collected during the Investigation that is deemed relevant to be considered by the Decision-Maker.
Hearing Schedule: a time-table specific to each matter that schedules key dates for the matter after it has been charged.
Human Resources Director: the highest ranking employee responsible for the human resources function at a technical college or TCSG work unit.
Incapacitation: a state where a person lacks the ability to voluntarily agree (that is, to give Affirmative Consent) to sexual activity because the person is asleep, unconscious, under the influence of an anesthetizing or intoxicating substance such that the person does not have control over their body, is otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring, or is unable to appreciate the nature and quality of the act. Incapacitation is not necessarily the same as legal intoxication.
Informal Resolution: a voluntary process that the Parties may consent to participate in, as described in Section IV.F.
Initial Report: a report of conduct that may constitute Title IX Prohibited Conduct, which may be made by any individual, even if not the person alleged to have experienced the conduct. An Initial Report is made prior to a Formal Complaint, and triggers the Title IX Coordinator’s obligation to contact the Complainant and inform the Complainant of Supportive Measures, as described in Section IV.A.1.
Intimidation: includes any threatening statement or conduct made with the intent to prevent or dissuade any Party or Witness from reporting or participating in the Title IX Procedure. Intimidation also includes the use of implied threats to overcome a person’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide affirmative consent.
Investigation: the phase of the Title IX Procedure when the Parties are invited to provide evidence and identify Witnesses to the Investigator related to the allegations in the Notice of Formal Complaint.
Investigative Report: a formal written document that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence gathered during the Investigation, including the parties’ responses to the preliminary report.
Investigator: the person assigned by TCSG to investigate Formal Complaints under this Title IX Procedure. The Investigator shall have been trained on all elements of an Investigation as required by federal and state law.
Menace: a threat, statement, or act showing intent to injure someone.
New Evidence: evidence that was not available at the time of the charge decision, could not have been available based on reasonable and diligent inquiry, and is relevant to the matter.
Nonforcible Sexual Violations: Any of the following acts:
Notice of Charge: the formal notification issued by the Title IX Coordinator following an Investigation that the matter will be charged and will proceed to a Hearing.
Notice of Dismissal: the formal notification issued by the Title IX Coordinator following a determination that the matter does not meet the definitional or jurisdictional standards of Title IX and stating the reasons for dismissal.
Notice of Formal Complaint: the formal notification issued by the Title IX Coordinator that a Formal Complaint has been filed and including the details set forth in Section IV.C.1.
Notice of Outcome of Appeal: a written determination describing the Appeal Officer’s final decision of a matter brought forward on appeal.
Party/Parties: the generic or collective term used to refer to Complainant(s) and Respondent(s).
Preponderance of the Evidence: the standard of proof used by the Investigator and the Decision- Maker. A finding by the Preponderance of the Evidence means that the credible evidence on one side outweighs the credible evidence on the other side, such that, as a whole, it is more likely than not that the alleged fact or conduct occurred. It does not mean that a greater number of Witnesses or documents is offered on one side or the other, but that the quality or significance of the evidence offered in support of one side is more convincing than the evidence in opposition.
President: the chief executive officer responsible for the management and operation of the technical college where the complainant and/or accused violator are enrolled or employed.
Privacy: means that information related to a complaint will be shared with only a limited number of TCSG employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, Investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are responsible for TCSG’s response to Title IX Prohibited Conduct receive specific training and guidance about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law. The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), and the privacy of employee records will be protected in accordance with Georgia law and TCSG policy.
Rebuttal Evidence: evidence presented to contradict other evidence in the Hearing File, which could not have been reasonably anticipated by a Party to be relevant information at the time of the Investigation.
Remedies: individualized measures implemented after a Hearing or as part of an Informal Resolution that are designed to restore or preserve equal access to College Programs or Activities, and may include Supportive Measures, but need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the Respondent.
Respondent: the person alleged to have engaged in Title IX Prohibited Conduct.
Retaliation: includes, but is not limited to, adverse action related to employment, academic opportunities, participation in TCSG and/or College programs or activities, or similar punitive action taken against an individual because that person has made an Initial Report or Formal Complaint, responded to a Formal Complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an Investigation, proceeding, or Hearing.
Sanctions: individualized measures implemented after a Hearing that may be disciplinary in nature.
Sexual Assault: any of the following acts:
Stalking: engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (i) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or (ii) suffer substantial emotional distress. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Supportive Measures: non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to TCSG Programs or Activities without unreasonably burdening the other Party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all Parties or the TCSG educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.
Title IX Prohibited Conduct: the collective term used in this Title IX Procedure to refer to the conduct described in the definitions for Title IX Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking.
Title IX Sexual Harassment: conduct, on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
TCSG Compliance Officer: the individual designated by the Deputy Commissioner to coordinate TCSG compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and other state and federal laws governing unlawful discrimination and harassment and educational access by disabled individuals.
TCSG Program or Activity: locations, events, or circumstances over which TCSG and/or the College exercised substantial control over both the alleged Respondent and the context in which the Title IX Prohibited Conduct occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by TCSG and/or the College.
Technical College System of Georgia: all work units and technical colleges under the governance of the State Board of the Technical College System of Georgia.
Title IX Coordinator: an individual designated by the president of the college to ensure compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq., and related federal regulations. The Title IX Coordinator may also be assigned the responsibility for compliance with other state and federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education.
Violence: the use of physical force to cause harm or injury.
Visitor: any third party (e.g. volunteer, vendor, contractor, member of the general public etc.) who conducts business or regularly interacts with a work unit or technical college.
Witness: a person asked to give information or a statement under this Title IX Procedure.
Written Determination Regarding Responsibility: the formal written notification issued by the Decision-Maker after a Hearing that includes: (i) identification of the allegations potentially constituting Title IX Prohibited Conduct; (ii) a description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the Formal Complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the Parties, interviews with Parties and Witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and Hearing held; (iii) findings of fact; (iv) conclusions about whether the alleged Title IX Prohibited Conduct occurred, applying the definitions set forth in this Title IX Procedure to the facts; (v) the rationale for the result as to each allegation; (vi) any disciplinary Sanctions imposed on the Respondent; (vii) whether Remedies or Supportive Measures will be provided to the Complainant; and (viii) information about how to file an appeal.
Documents relating to formal complaints including investigations, the investigatory report, witness statements, evidence, dispositions and the complaint itself shall be held for 7 years after the graduation of the student or the date of the student’s last attendance. Any of the documents containing confidential information shall be held in a secure location under the custody and control of the Investigator, Vice President of Student Affairs or the President’s designee. Documents pertaining to employees that are maintained by the Office of Human Resources shall be maintained in a secure location and in accordance with the Georgia Archives records retention schedule, but in no case fewer than 7 years.