Moraine Valley Community College || Code of Conduct Office || Sexual Assault/Harassment Policies

Sexual Assault/Harassment Policies

I. Statement of Purpose

Moraine Valley Community College is committed to providing a learning atmosphere that is free from intimidation or harassment; therefore, sex discrimination will not be tolerated. Moraine Valley Community College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and employment policies in conformance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. In accordance with Title IX, upon receipt of a complaint, the college will take immediate action and appropriate steps to investigate what occurred, to take prompt and effective action to end the harassment, to remedy the effects, and to prevent the harassment from occurring again.

The college has designated the Vice President of Student Development as the Title IX Coordinator.

Dr. Normah Salleh-Barone
Vice President of Student Development
Phone: (708) 974-5209
Office Location: D201
Email: salleh-barone@morainevalley.edu

Responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator include:

  • Promoting an institutional environment that is free of gender bias and sexual harassment;
  • Participating in the development, implementation and evaluation of the college’s Title IX policies and procedures;
  • Monitoring and evaluating the college’s Title IX compliance efforts;
  • Providing in-service training to college community on Title IX policies and procedures;
  • Reviewing all Title IX complaints;
  • Meeting with students and employees as needed; and
  • Designating other officials to conduct investigations or to meet with students and employees as needed.

II. Definitions

Sex discrimination includes any behavior or communication that improperly singles out, stigmatizes, victimizes, or otherwise subjects an individual to unequal treatment to his or her detriment on the basis of his/her sex. Sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, sexual violence and other acts of sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with a student’s right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime.

Verbal abuse constitutes harassment when, on the basis of sex, it:

  1. is intended to insult or stigmatize an individual;
  2. is addressed directly to the individual(s) whom it insults or stigmatizes;
  3. makes use of “fighting” words (“fighting” words are those commonly understood to convey direct and visceral hatred or contempt for human beings); or
  4. conveys a threat of violence or is likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or acts that an individual did not request or invite and that are regarded as undesirable or offensive constitute sexual harassment when:

  1. submission to such conduct is deemed to be either explicitly or implicitly a term of condition of a student’s education or employment;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct is deemed to be used as the basis for an educational or personnel decision affecting the student;
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a student’s educational or work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or working environment; or
  4. such conduct denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services or opportunities of the school’s programs or activities.

Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  1. sexual intercourse (oral, anal, or vaginal penetration) or penetration by a foreign object, including a finger, by force and/or without consent; or
  2. the touching of a non-consenting person’s intimate parts, such as genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks or the clothing covering these parts, or forcing a non-consenting person to touch another’s intimate parts.
  3. physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.
  4. sexual violence, which includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.

The harassing conduct creates a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently serious enough that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. A single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. For example, a single instance of rape is sufficiently severe to create a hostile environment.

Consent is an informed, affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity that is freely and actually given. Consent may not be inferred from silence or passivity. Similarly, consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, advanced age or some other condition, nor can it be obtained by threat, coercion, or force.

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III. Process to Report and Resolve Allegations of Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, and Discrimination

Any student who believes he, she or another has been subjected to harassment is encouraged to File a Complaint or Report identifying the accused individual and describing the conduct, incident(s) or occurrence(s) that form the basis for the harassment claim. These grievance procedures apply to sex discrimination complaints filed by students against school employees, other students and third parties.

It is preferred that the complaint be in writing, signed by the student alleging the harassment (“the complainant”) and include the contact information for the complainant.

The complainant is encouraged to file the complaint as soon as possible after the incident to ensure a prompt and effective remedy.

Complaints may be submitted to:

  • Vice President of Student Development (Title IX Coordinator), D201
  • Dean of Student Services, S221
  • Assistant Dean, Code of Conduct and Student Life, U115
  • Moraine Valley Police Department, Building P*

*Note: Incidents that occur at the college or college sponsored events should be reported to the Moraine Valley Police Department. Incidents that occur off-campus should be reported to the local law enforcement agency in addition to a college official.

Prior to initiating an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will encourage the complainant to participate fully in the investigation and hearing processes.

If the complainant requests confidentiality or requests that the complaint not be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will take all reasonable steps to investigate the complaint and respond consistently with the complainant’s request as long as doing so does not prevent the college from responding effectively. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant that confidentiality cannot be assured.

If a complainant insists that he/she remains anonymous in the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant that such a request will limit the college’s ability to respond to the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the complainant’s request for confidentiality in the context of the college’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students.

Preliminary Investigation
The Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Student Services, the Assistant Dean of Code of Conduct and Student Life, and/or a Human Resources designee will promptly investigate the allegation(s) and provide appropriate support and consultation for the complainant. Complainants will be informed about campus and community resources, including counseling and other health services and will be notified of their right to File a Complaint or Report with the Moraine Valley Police Department or local law enforcement agencies.

If no reasonable grounds for the complaint are found, the Title IX Coordinator will dismiss the case. The complainant will be informed why the act does not constitute harassment.

Formal Investigation when the Accused is an Employee
When a student accuses a faculty or staff member of sexual harassment, the investigation and resolution procedures outlined in Human Resources Sexual Harassment Procedure referencing Board Policy 7242.1 will apply:

Investigation/Disposition of Complaint

  • Generally

    The Human Resources Office shall investigate complaints alleging violations of this policy. Upon receiving a complaint, the Human Resources Office will conduct a fact-finding investigation, which will include, at a minimum, a review of the complaint and interviews with the complainant, respondent, and other appropriate individuals. The investigation shall be prompt, thorough, and impartial. Upon completion of the investigation, the Human Resources Office will submit its findings and recommendations to the president, if appropriate. The president will accept, reject, or modify the recommendations and notify the Human Resources Office as such. The Human Resources Office will then provide a written response to the complainant.

    If the investigation confirms the allegation, appropriate corrective action will be taken. Evidence that is collateral to the allegations of sexual harassment and that is obtained during an investigation may be used in subsequent grievance or disciplinary procedures.

  • Specific Steps
    1. The Human Resources Office shall conduct an interview with the student registering the complaint. The intent of the interview is to determine a true and complete account of the complaint. The following information should be sought during the interview process:
      • The severity of the conduct;
      • The number and frequency of acts of alleged harassment;
      • The apparent intent of the person alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment;
      • The relationship of the parties;
      • The response of the complainant at the time of the incident(s); and
      • The relevant work environment.
    2. To the extent practicable, the Human Resources Office shall interview all other individuals who witnessed or may have witnessed the incident or who may have knowledge of the incident.
    3. The Human Resources Office shall interview the person alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment and inform the individual that a complaint has been made against him or her, and allow the person to respond to the complaint. The person alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment shall be informed that the incident is not to be discussed with coworkers and that retaliatory action against the complainant will not be tolerated.
    4. To the extent practicable, the Human Resources Office shall review any other relevant information or evidence and/or interview any other relevant witnesses.
    5. A written record of the investigation shall be made, inclusive of all notes made of interviews, conversations or verbal responses to questions posed by the Human Resources Office to the complainant, witnesses or respondent, and any other aspects of the investigation. The entire written record and report, including a written summary of the findings of the investigation, shall be provided to the president within twenty (20) working days from the date the allegations were first reported. Where appropriate, the written report shall include any recommendations for discipline.
    6. The president shall, based upon the investigative report, evidence and all known circumstances, make a determination as to whether the individual(s) charged committed sexual harassment.
    7. If the determination is that sexual harassment has occurred, the president shall take immediate and appropriate disciplinary actions consistent with the nature and severity of the offense.
      1. Disciplinary action shall be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the college and any other applicable law, regulation or rule.
      2. The discipline imposed shall reflect the severity of the improper conduct, taking into consideration the nature of the conduct, the frequency of the conduct, the relationship of the parties involved, the intent of the offending party, and any other relevant matters.
      3. Available discipline for sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal reprimand, written reprimand, transfer, reassignment of duties, demotion, suspension, or termination, including immediate termination if the case of sexual harassment is sufficiently severe and blatant to make it in the best interests of the college that the employee be immediately terminated.
    8. In all circumstances, whether a violation of this policy is determined to have occurred or not to have occurred, both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator shall be notified in writing of the results of the investigation and the discipline imposed, if any. A person alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment shall not retaliate in any way against the complainant, witnesses or any other person involved in the investigation.
    9. Complaints alleging violations of this policy by:
      • An elected official of the college.

        If any elected official of the college is found to have violated this policy, the investigative report and findings shall be presented to the President and Board of Trustees, excluding the member alleged to have violated this policy. If members concur with the findings, they shall impose appropriate discipline.

Appeals

If either party (complainant or the person alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment) is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation and/or the discipline imposed, that party may notify the Human Resources Office within seven (7) days of being informed of the results of the investigation and the discipline, if any was imposed. The Human Resources Office shall forward the timely request for appeal to the president for further review. Both parties shall be notified in writing about the outcome of the appeal.

Retaliation
Retaliating against a person who has in good faith filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of any type of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to, ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint, or adversely altering that person's educational, living, or work environment. Students accused of retaliation will be subjected to the procedures of the Code of Student Conduct, and employees accused of retaliation will be subjected to Human Resources procedures.

Formal Investigation when the Accused is a Student

When a student accuses another student of sexual harassment and if reasonable grounds appear to exist, the Assistant Dean, Code of Conduct and Student Life will first determine if any preliminary actions are needed to stop the sexual harassment and to prevent it from reoccurring. Remedies might include, but are not limited to:

  • Imposing an interim suspension or interim removal from a class of the accused student;
  • Issuing a no contact order between the accused student and the complainant;
  • Providing an escort to ensure that the complainant can move safely between classes and activities;
  • Ensuring that the complainant and accused student do not attend the same classes; and
  • Arranging for the complainant to re-take a course or withdraw from a class without penalty, including ensuring that any changes do not adversely affect the complainant’s academic record.

Next, the Assistant Dean will complete an investigation, which will be conducted as promptly and equitably as possible without compromising thoroughness. Absent extenuating circumstances, the college’s investigation of a complaint will ordinarily be completed within 45 calendar days from the time a complaint is submitted. This time period may be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances including, but not limited to, the complexity of the case and the availability of witnesses. The Assistant Dean will regularly update the complainant and if appropriate the accused student on the status of the investigation. The following procedures outlined in the Code of Student Conduct will apply:

VIII. Student Conduct Procedures

  • Charges and Hearings
  • Sanctions
  • Interim Sanctions
  • Appeals

Special Rights of Students in Cases of Sexual Harassment, Misconduct and Discrimination

In cases of student-on-student harassment, both the student complainant and the accused student have the following rights, and in cases of employee-on-student harassment, the student complainant has the following rights:

  • To receive relevant investigation materials and/or to be present during the entire hearing (except during deliberations of a board, if applicable);
  • To not have irrelevant sexual history discussed during the hearing;
  • To submit an impact statement or character reference letters for review at the discretion of the student conduct body after the determination of responsibility but before sanctioning;
  • To be informed concurrently of the outcome of the hearing upon its conclusion by the hearing body; and
  • To appeal any decision reached or sanction imposed within five college days of receipt of the decision.

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IV. Resources and Support Services

The following on campus and off campus resources are available for students seeking support:

On Campus

Off Campus

Recommendations for Assistance

If you are raped or sexually assaulted:

  • Get to a safe place as soon as you can.
  • If considering reporting the incident to the police
    • Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not wash, use the toilet, or change clothing if you can avoid it. If you do change clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a paper, not plastic, bag.
    • Get medical attention as soon as possible to make sure you are physically well and to collect important evidence in the event you may later wish to take legal action.
    • Contact the MVPD at (708) 974-5555 immediately (or extension 5555 on campus phones).
  • Talk with a counselor who will maintain confidentiality, help explain your options, give you information, and provide emotional support. (708) 974-5722

If your friend was raped or sexually assaulted*:

  • Listen to what the person is saying. Believe them when they say that they have experienced something awful.
  • Express sincere empathy. Expressing empathy can be a powerful validation of a survivor's experience.
  • Provide referrals to on and off campus resources (see above)
  • Validate feelings. It's not uncommon for people to feel angry when something like this happens.
  • Don't make assumptions about the gender of the people involved. Sexual assault occurs among all genders and sexual orientations.
  • Don't tell the person what to do. It's important to empower survivors to make decisions for themselves and to have those decisions respected.
  • Don't tell the person how to feel. Survivors may feel numb or experience shame, anger, depression, and/or many other feelings.
  • Remember, everyone reacts differently to trauma.
  • Educate yourself about the myths of rape. Remember-rape is never the fault of the survivor, but the fault of the rapist. While this may seem simple and obvious, much of the misinformation that exists points to the victim as being responsible for the rape. To truly be supportive, one must believe the survivor while disbelieving and challenging the myths that surround rape.
  • Relax. Try not to worry much about "saying the right thing." Being available to listen is far more important. Let the survivor know that you care.
  • Your friend may or may not also be experiencing Rape Trauma Syndrome. The symptoms of Rape Trauma Syndrome can last long after the assault. More information on Rape Trauma Syndrome can be found at the website of Rape Victim Advocates (see above).

*From The University of Chicago – Office of Campus and Student Life

Past Abuse
Many individuals experience sexual assault and never tell anyone about it at the time of the incident. If you were victimized weeks or years ago, assistance is still available to you. Talking with someone now may help you cope better with abuse from the past, whether it was rape, child sexual abuse, incest, or sexual harassment. Refer to “On Campus Resources” and/or “Off Campus Resources” in this document for more information.

Male and Female Victims
Both men and women who are victims of sexual assault may receive services. Emotional support, counseling options, and medical treatment are available to assist all those recovering from sexual assault.

Medical Treatment
It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons: first, to assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained; second, to determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and take preventive measures; and third, to gather evidence that could aid criminal prosecution. Physical evidence should be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. It may be collected later than this, but the quality and quantity of the evidence may be diminished.

Immediate Emergency Services
An exam should be conducted as soon as possible following an assault to make sure of your physical wellbeing and to collect evidence that may be useful in criminal proceedings. Even if you have not been physically hurt, this special exam is strongly recommended to maintain all your legal options. A nurse is present throughout the procedure, and a support person of your choice can also be present.

Note: Ordinarily the police will be contacted by hospital personnel whenever they provide treatment for injuries resulting from a crime. If you seek treatment at a local hospital and the police are contacted, this does not mean that you have to proceed with criminal charges.

Non-Emergency Medical Procedures
Even if you do not have evidence collected at the hospital, it is still important to get medical attention. An exam in this case should include treatment of any physical problems and various lab tests for sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This non-emergency treatment can be arranged with your family doctor.

Education/Prevention

  • Training for faculty and staff on Title IX policies and reporting procedures will be offered regularly each semester through the Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • Faculty, staff, and students who serve on the Community Standards Board will have specific training for adjudicating cases of sexual misconduct to comply with Title IX and college policies.
  • Preventative education programs and training on sexual assault and harassment will be offered on an annual basis to:
    • Student athletes and coaches
    • Student organization leaders
  • These policies and procedures, in full or summary form, will appear on the college’s website, in the college catalog, and in hardcopy available upon request from the Code of Conduct Office.
  • All first-time, full-time students who attend the mandatory orientation will receive information about sexual harassment and assault from the Counseling and Career Development Center faculty.
  • The Counseling Center offers sexual assault awareness and prevention programming during the month of April in conjunction with Pillars Community Services. Programming includes workshops, activities, and guest speakers.
  • The Counseling Center offers a 2-credit course HDV-100 “Healthy Romantic Relationships” which addresses the concepts of love, communication, and personal values within relationships, including lessons on intimate partner violence, sexual violence and more.

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