The College will investigate complaints of sexual violence initiated by College employees and students, as provided herein, pursuant to the following procedures:
Informal Consultation and Counseling: The Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources, on an informal basis, may receive initial inquiries, reports and requests for consultation and counseling. Assistance will be available whether or not a formal complaint is contemplated or even possible. It is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources to respond to all such inquiries, reports and requests as promptly as possible and in a manner appropriate to the particular circumstances. An employee or student making an inquiry or seeking assistance need not have personally experienced the incident of sexual violence, witnesses or other parties who receive notice that an incident of sexual violence has occurred can also access assistance or make an inquiry or complaint through the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources.
Students and employees are advised that the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources may determine that it is necessary to initiate an investigation and take action to address incidents of sexual violence based solely on information obtained through an inquiry or informal counseling, even in the absence of a formal complaint.
Confidentiality: The College understands the confidential and private nature of reports of sexual violence. Upon receiving notice of an incident, or a complaint, the College will take all steps necessary to protect the privacy of the parties, but may, at some point, be required to disclose matters to certain College employees, outside parties or agencies. This section describes for students and employees, the extent to which confidentiality can be maintained.
Responsible College Employees: For the purposes of this policy, the College classifies the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources, faculty members, academic department Chairs, Deans, Vice Presidents, all Administrators with supervisory authority, and members of campus security and police as “responsible employees.” Any of these College employees who receive or become aware of an incident of sexual violence occurring to a College student or employee are considered to have received notice on behalf of the College and are required to report such information to the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources. As such, the incidents will be investigated and properly resolved through complaint and appeal procedures delineated herein. Once an investigation is commenced, however, the information will be tightly controlled and only people with a need to know will be told, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, adjudicatory decision makers, witnesses and the accused individual (Respondent).
In cases where a Complainant specifically requests that his or her name not be disclosed to the Respondent, or that the College not investigate or seek action against the alleged Respondent, the school will honor the request after discussion with the Complainant and a determination that a safe environment can still be provided for all students, including the Complainant. In these cases, the College will take steps such as increased monitoring and supervision, additional security at the locations or activities where the alleged sexual violence occurred; additional training and disbursement of educational materials to students and employees. Specific steps will be taken to protect the student or employee, including but not limited to, on campus escorts, revised work or classroom schedules, counseling services or referral to counseling services.
Confidential Counseling and Medical Providers: Students and employees who wish to maintain incidents as confidential should speak with off-campus private mental health therapists and counselors, private attorneys, physicians, and members of the clergy.
These individuals cannot be required or compelled to disclose confidential information provided to them by students or employees who have been subjected to sexual violence.
Service Providers: Students and employees who seek assistance through domestic violence shelters, sexual assault crisis agencies and similar services, whose functions are to support and protect survivors and actively promote the creation of safe environments, can expect information to be kept confidential under most circumstances.
Pursuant to federal and state law, information regarding incidents of sexual violence will be kept confidential except for use in a criminal investigation or proceeding in response to a lawfully issued subpoena. However, these service providers are especially adept and trained to protect survivors even in the event that certain information must be provided as part of a criminal investigation.
Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations: Federal law requires that certain campus officials report incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking solely for federal statistical reporting purposes. However, all personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be forwarded to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and the general location where it occurred for publication in the Campus Security Report.
Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations: Employees and students who have been subjected to acts of sexual violence should also be aware that federal law requires College administrators issue immediate timely warnings for incidents that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. Under these circumstances, the Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, but the campus community will still be provided with enough information so that individuals can make safety decisions in light of the immediate danger posed.
Initiating a Formal Complaint of Sexual Violence: Complainants should contact the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources, as soon as possible following the alleged incident of sexual violence, or the date on which the Complainant first knew or reasonably should have known of such act.1 All such complaints may be submitted on the form provided by the College or in a personal memorandum or letter. However, the complaint need not be put in writing, it is enough for the Complainant to meet with the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources who can draft a complaint for the Complainant’s review and approval. Any written documentation describing the incident will be attached to the College’s Complaint of Sexual Violence form and will be used for the initiation of a complaint.
1 Complainants who may have been unconscious during an act of sexual violence may not learn about the incident until days, weeks or months after the incident occurred. Under these circumstances, Complainants should not hesitate to make a complaint upon learning of the incident.
Elements of a Complaint: The written complaint shall contain:
a) The name, local and permanent address(es), and telephone number(s) of the Complainant.
b) A statement of facts explaining what happened and what the Complainant believes constituted the act(s) of sexual violence in sufficient detail to give each Respondent reasonable notice of what is claimed against him/her. The statement should include the date, approximate time and place where the alleged acts of unlawful sexual violence occurred. If the acts occurred on more than one date, the statement should also include the last date on which the acts occurred as well as detailed information about the prior acts.
c) The names of any potential witnesses should be provided.
d) The name(s), and address(es) and telephone number(s) (if known) of the Respondent(s), i.e., the person(s) claimed to have committed the act(s) sexual violence.
e) Identification of the title and/or status of the persons charged whether student, administration, faculty, or staff.
Procedures for Investigation of a Complaint of Sexual Violence
a) Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources, will provide an initialed, signed, date-stamped copy of the complaint to the Complainant. The complaint, together with a statement, shall be documented in a complaint file.
b) The Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources, or their designee, shall begin a review and investigation of the complaint within 3 working days from the filing of the complaint. Steps will be taken immediately to insure the safety and wellbeing of a Complainant where necessary.
c) Within 3 working days after the date of filing of the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources will provide notice that a complaint has been filed, as well as an explanation of the nature of the complaint to the Respondent(s). Alternatively, such notice of the complaint may be given by email or personal delivery,
provided such delivery is made by the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources, and that proper proof of such delivery, including the date, time and place where such delivery occurred is documented.
d) The Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources shall review all relevant information and interview pertinent witnesses. Both the Complainant and the Respondent(s) shall be entitled to submit oral, recorded, and transcribed statements or other relevant and material evidence to the written record compiled by the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources. Evidence and, or testimony regarding the Complainant’s sexual history with anyone except the Respondent will not be considered.
e) Victoria College reserves the right to protect individual or community safety and to act as needed on an interim manner pending the resolution of a complaint. This may include but is not limited to the interim suspension of a Respondent, the alteration of a Respondent’s or Complainant’s course schedule or work schedule, the alteration of a Respondent’s or Complainant’s work assignment, on-campus escort services by Campus Safety as deemed appropriate or the establishment of no contact/stay away orders.
f) No later than 30 working days, from the acceptance of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources shall prepare a summary of findings and recommendation(s), and, where necessary, for further action to be taken with regard to the Respondent. In assessing and resolving the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources shall utilize a preponderance of the evidence standard of review, i.e., it shall be determined whether it is more likely than not that sexual violence occurred.
g) If the Respondent is an employee of the College, the Respondent’s supervisor shall be provided with the summary of findings and recommendations for further action to be taken by the supervisor(s) of the Respondent. If the Respondent is the President, the findings and recommendations of the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees for review and action. Where findings are made against the Respondent, sanctions, up to and including termination, shall be assessed by the supervisor or, where applicable, the Board of Trustees at this stage no later than 10 working days of receipt of the summary of findings.
h) If the Respondent is a student of the College, the Interim Dean of Student Services shall be provided with the summary of findings and recommendations. Where findings are made against the student, the Interim Dean of Student Services may take such disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, against the student as deemed appropriate. Any determination as to the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken with regard to a student Respondent shall be made within 10 working days of the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources completion of the summary of findings.
i) No later than 5 working days following the determination of appropriate disciplinary action to be taken, a letter shall be issued by the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources to the Complainant and the Respondent(s) advising them of the findings of the investigation and the disciplinary action to be taken by the College, if necessary. The letters shall be personally delivered or mailed to the last known address of the Complainant and Respondent. For the purposes of establishing receipt by mail, receipt will be assumed to have occurred within 3 working days of the date the letter
j) Recommended disciplinary actions shall be executed within one working day of a Respondent’s failure to file a timely notice of appeal as established by this policy.
k) In the case of appealing student Respondents whose recommended sanction is expulsion, no final action of expulsion shall be executed until completion of the appeal process where the original recommendation is affirmed. Employee Respondents, whose contracts have not yet expired and are appealing an adverse finding, where dismissal is the recommended sanction, shall not be dismissed until after completion of the appeal process where the original recommendation is affirmed. In those cases, where employee
Respondents are at will or have contracts that are non-renewed and expire during the pendency of the appeal process, these employee Respondents will not be retained pending the outcome of the appeal, but may seek to be reinstated where an original adverse finding is reversed. Any such reinstatement will be in the discretion of the College.
Appeals: The Complainant or Respondent may appeal the findings of a complaint
of sexual violence, including, where applicable, the determined disciplinary action
a) Within five (5) working days of receiving such notice of findings and, where applicable, disciplinary action, the Complainant or Respondent may appeal the supervisor’s and, or Interim Dean of Student Services’ decision. The appeal shall be in writing and provided to the President of Victoria College, notifying the President of the Complainant’s or Respondent’s request for a hearing. In those cases where the Respondent is the President, or an employee directly supervised by the President, the Board of Trustees decision as to the President, or the President’s decision and adoption of findings as to that employee Respondent, shall be appealed to the Board of Trustees in writing, notifying the Board of Trustees of the Complainant’s or Respondent’s request for a hearing. The request to the Board of Trustees may be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources for effectuation of service.
b) Where the President receives the notice, the President will give prompt notice to the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources that the Complainant or Respondent has taken an appeal to the President. Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources shall promptly forward to the President the complete record of the matter, including the investigative file, findings, and recommendations.
c) Where the decision is appealed to the Board of Trustees, the Board of Trustees will give prompt notice to the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources that the Complainant or Respondent has taken an appeal to the Board of Trustees. The Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources shall promptly forward to the Board of Trustees the complete record of the matter, including the investigative file, findings, and recommendations.
d) Within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal, the President or the Board of Trustees shall appoint an independent arbitrator, licensed to practice law within the State of Texas, to review the case and conduct such hearing as specified herein. The investigative file, findings, recommendations and notices of appeal shall be forwarded to the independent arbitrator.
e) The hearing shall be held within fifteen (15) working days after appointment of the independent arbitrator, unless the parties mutually agree to a delay for good cause. Notice of the appointment, and the date, time and location of the hearing shall be provided to the Complainant and Respondent by the independent arbitrator.
f) Documents and identity of witnesses to be relied upon by the Complainant and Respondent(s), during the hearing, shall be provided to the independent arbitrator no later than 10 working days prior to the hearing. The independent arbitrator will forward the documents and list of witnesses of each respective party to the other party on the same day of receipt.
g) The Complainant and Respondent may each be represented by a person designated in writing to act for them. Notice, at least five (5) working days in advance of the hearing, shall be given by each party intending to be represented, including the name of the representative, to the independent arbitrator in writing.
h) The hearing shall be conducted privately. Only the independent arbitrator, Complainant, Respondent, their representatives and a testifying witness may be present. Witnesses shall be excluded from the hearing until it is their turn to present evidence. In the event witnesses, the Complainant and, or the Respondent feel uncomfortable being physically present in the room, accommodation shall be provided by allowing the party or witness to participate by video conferencing.
i) The independent arbitrator shall control the conduct of the hearing, the general order of which shall be as follows:
1) The Complainant or Respondent appealing the matter shall present such proof by documents and witness testimony that the appealing Complainant or Respondent desires to offer to challenge the findings and, or disciplinary action determined by the College through the investigatory process.
2) Upon such offer of proof, the non-appealing Complainant or Respondent, or their representative, may cross-examine any witnesses presented by the appealing party.
3) Once the Complainant or Respondent who appealed the matter has presented his or her witnesses and documentary evidence, the non-appealing Complainant or Respondent may then rebut the appealing party’s arguments, documents and testimony through the presentation of witnesses and documentation of their own.
4) Upon such offer of proof on rebuttal, the appealing Complainant or Respondent, or their representative, may crossexamine any witnesses presented by the non-appealing Complainant or Respondent.
5) In the case where either the Complainant or Respondent is providing testimony, only the independent arbitrator may crossexamine and ask additional questions. The representatives for the Complainant or Respondent may provide the independent arbitrator with areas of knowledge or questions they believe relevant to the disposition of the matter.
6) At any time during the examination or cross-examination of any witness, the independent arbitrator may ask his or her own questions in order to obtain additional information he or she believes is relevant to disposition of the case.
7) In those cases where the parties have failed to identify the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources as a witness, the independent arbitrator may ask that the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources provide testimony regarding their investigation and findings.
8) Questioning or evidence about the Complainant’s sexual history with anyone except the Respondent shall not be permitted.
9) Closing arguments may be made by each party or their representatives.
j) A transcription of the hearing shall be made.
k) The independent arbitrator shall render a decision within ten calendar (10) days after completion of the hearing and deliver a copy to the Complainant, Respondent and either the President or Board of Trustees who appointed him or her as independent arbitrator. In rendering his or her decision, the independent arbitrator shall utilize a preponderance of the evidence standard of review, i.e., it shall be determined whether it is more likely than not that sexual violence occurred. The independent arbitrator shall deliver the decision by U.S. Mail and receipt will be assumed to have occurred three working days
after the date the decision was mailed.
l) Within 3 working days of receipt of the independent arbitrator’s decision, the Complainant or Respondent may appeal the matter to the Board of Trustees who will schedule the matter for presentation at the next scheduled Board of Trustees meeting. The Board of Trustees shall be provided the record on appeal by the independent arbitrator. The presentations shall be heard in closed session and only the Board of Trustees, their attorney, and the Complainant and the Respondent, as well as their attorneys or representatives shall be present.
m) The Board of Trustees shall issue its decision no later than 5 working days after presentation of the appeal. The Board’s decision shall be final.
Timely Notice of Appeal: If at any time during the appeal process the Complainant or Respondent fails to provide timely notice of appeal; the decision of the supervisor, the Interim Dean of Student Services, or the Board of Trustees shall be final.
Other Policies Not Applicable: Unless expressly referenced in this policy, the requirements of any other policy or provision relating to rights or procedures for filing and hearing of a grievance or an appeal, or specifying a time within which a grievance or appeal must be filed or heard, are overruled as inapplicable to sexual violence complaints.
Extension of Time Limits: During the pendency of the investigation and appeal process, any party may request an extension of time limits stated herein to deal with emergent exigencies. A request for an extension of time limits shall submitted to and approved by the College President during the investigation stage, or the independent arbitrator during the appeal stage. If the President is the Respondent, any such request must be made to the Board of Trustees. All parties must be advised of any approved request by the party granting the request.
Filing Externally: The Complainant is free to access assistance through appropriate state or federal agencies at any point during a complaint, investigation or appeal process. The Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources will provide general information on state and federal guidelines and laws, as well as names and addresses of such agencies who can assist with such matters as filing criminal charges and obtaining protective orders.
Freedom from Reprisal or Retaliation: Complaints involve sensitive student and personnel matters. All parties involved in a complaint shall take the process seriously and respect the rights of privacy of the Complainant, the Respondent, the reviewer(s), and any witnesses or parties engaged in the complaint process. There will be no retaliation, interference, or harassment toward any party to a complaint. Should a Complainant, Respondent or witness experience any reprisal or retaliation during the pendency of a complaint pursuant to this section, the party should immediately report the retaliatory action to the Title IX Coordinator/Director of Human Resources. The complaint will be investigated and action will be taken pursuant to the complaint, investigation and appeal procedures in the Victoria College Policy Prohibiting Sexual Violence.
Victoria College Educational Programs and Resources: In addition to assisting students and employees with complaints, the College continues to take steps aimed at reducing or eliminating sexual violence by offering or making available the following resources and educational program to students and employees:
Sexual Violence Awareness Prevention Workshops/Trainings (including rape,
acquaintance rape, or other sex offenses, forcible or non-forcible)
Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Workshop/Trainings
Title IX Workshops/Trainings
Students and employees may also obtain written information on the topics listed
above, as well as published crime statistics. Students have the opportunity for oncampus confidential counseling, and referral for treatment to off-campus,
community-based counseling services.