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Title IX / Sexual Harassment

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) and its regulations dictate that no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of sex in any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment of students is a form of prohibited sex discrimination.

Title IX covers:

  1. Gender equality with access to higher education
  2. Gender equality in athletics
  3. Gender equality in career paths (i.e. women cannot be excluded from shop class)
  4. Pregnant women and women with children cannot be denied an education
  5. Equal opportunity in employment – especially in educational environments
  6. Gender equality in the educational environment, eliminating stereotypes
  7. Gender equality in access to upper level math and science
  8. Freedom from sexual harassment *
  9. Standardized tests must be valid predictors for both genders
  10. Gender equality in the exposure and instruction of technology

*Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX. Darton State College is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which all persons can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination and harassment. We follow the University System of Georgia’s Policy to Prohibit Discrimination & Harassment. USG Policy to Prohibit Discrimination & Harassment

If you have been the victim of or have witnessed sexual discrimination or harassment, you should notify a campus official as soon as possible. Any of the following individuals will assist you:

Campus Police 229-317-6316
Claudia Lyerly, Title IX Coordinator 229-317-6719
Darton Health Center 229-317-6584
Ryan Tindell, Counseling Coordinator 229-317-6734
Residence Hall Staff 229-317-6321
Office of Student Affairs 229-317-6728
Any faculty advisor or trusted member of the Darton State College faculty, staff, or administration.

Defining Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct as defined by this policy is a violation of federal, state, Darton State College, and Board of Regents policy and may also be subject to criminal prosecution. Federal law prohibits discrimination based on gender; this includes Sexual Misconduct. Specific laws and/or acts include but are not limited to Section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, The Jeanne Clery Act of 1990, and The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 (reauthorized 2000, 2005, 2013) and the Campus Sexual Violence Act amendments to Clery (SaVE Act). Sexual harassment is prohibited under the Policies of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, which can be found at: http://www.usg.edu/policymanual/section8/

Sexual misconduct is a broad term which includes a number of related categories, terms and behaviors, including but not limited to sexual assault, sexual contact, stalking, intimate partner violence, voyeurism, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person. Also included in this category is sex-based harassment and discrimination, which encompasses an individual being treated differently and adversely on the basis of his/her sex or gender. Sexual Harassment means unwelcome conduct, based on sex or on gender stereotypes, which is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with a person's employment, academic performance, or participation in & Darton programs or activities and creates a working, learning, program, or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive. The conduct in question must be both subjectively and objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive, and interfere with a person's right to equally participate in programs and activities of Darton. Every student is entitled to the equal treatment relative to educational, social and/or athletic opportunities regardless of sex or gender.

While certain types of speech which may be deemed by some as sexually perverse might be entitled to First Amendment free speech protection, speech determined to be threatening and that is sufficiently severe and/or pervasive enough to constitute sexual harassment will violate this sexual misconduct policy. Similarly, taking photos, videos, and auditory recordings of a sexual nature of another person without consent constitutes sexual misconduct. Sharing such items with others physically or via electronic media such as e-mail and via social media outlets without consent is a form of sexual misconduct. Both men and women are protected from sexual misconduct, and sexual misconduct is prohibited regardless of the sex of the harasser.

Note that while some sexual conduct and activity may initially be consensual, a person may freely withdraw consent at any moment. As soon as consent is withdrawn, any further unwelcome conduct violates this sexual misconduct policy. Consent is a positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity and cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. It also cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, blackouts, or some other condition. A person under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not need to be intoxicated to me considered incapacitated. Engaging in sexual activity with a person whom you know -- or reasonably should know -- to be incapacitated constitutes sexual misconduct. Intentional and unwanted sexual contact, defined as the deliberate touching of a person's intimate parts (or clothing covering any of those areas), or causing a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts, also constitutes sexual misconduct.

A sexual relationship between a student and a faculty or staff member is a violation of this policy when the faculty/staff member is in a position to supervise, influence, or evaluate the work product, or the grading of same, of the student presently or at some foreseeable point in the future. This conduct also violates the University System of Georgia Board of Regent’s Amorous Relationships policy, which can be found at: http://www.usg.edu/hr/manual/amorous_relationships

Protection Against Sexual Misconduct

Students have the right of protection from sexual misconduct. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic standing or employment; or
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic decisions or employment; or
  3. Such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic performance or work or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
  4. The policy applies not only to academics, athletics and employment, but also housing, financial aid, recruitment, clubs and organizations, and all programs and activities associated with Darton. Off campus conduct is also included in this policy if it is in any way related to Darton programs.

Any student who feels he/she has been sexually harassed should contact his/her faculty advisor, a faculty member of his/her choosing or a member of Darton administration for further details on the Darton Sexual Harassment Policy and for assistance in the procedures for filing grievances. While this faculty member may provide you with generalized information, s/he should certainly connect you with a Title IX Coordinator/Committee Member in order to assess your situation

Darton State College will not allow retaliation for reporting sexual discrimination or harassment. Any retaliatory harassment should be reported to a Title IX Coordinator and will result in prompt action. Be advised that the behavior and conduct of those who are supporters of a person perceived as either the victim of or perpetrator of sexual misconduct will be imputed to the respective victim or perpetrator.

Amnesty Policy

Students sometimes fear coming forward with complaints out of concern for receiving academic sanctions when drugs and/or alcohol is involved. Darton State College is sensitive to this concern and, whenever practical, will not pursue Code of Conduct violation/academic sanctions against a student who is the victim of sexual misconduct due in whole or in part to the consumption of alcohol. For example, a victim who had been an underage drinker would not typically face charges of violating alcohol policies. Likewise, parents of students will not be notified unless the situation amounts to a severe threat to safety, is of sufficient severity to necessitate communication with the parents, or if the student requests that his/her parents be notified.

This amnesty policy is intended to remove a potential barrier for students pursuing the medical attention they need. As such, students who seek emergency medical attention for themselves related to consumption of drugs or alcohol will not be charged with violations of the Georgia College Code of Conduct related to that consumption, provided that the student subsequently completes a screening from University Counseling Services and any recommended treatment within a reasonable time frame to be determined by the Office of Student Affairs. In cases where repeated violations of the Darton Code of Conduct occur, the College reserves the right to take judicial action on a case-by-case basis.

Note that this policy does not necessarily grant amnesty for criminal, civil or legal consequences for violations of Federal, State or Local laws. Darton Public Safety Officers are sworn police officers with full arrest authority and they have the autonomy to use that authority as circumstances dictate according to their professional experience. However, they do attempt to balance a concern for student educational outcomes with their powers of arrest. In circumstances in which they choose to arrest students rather than refer them to the Student Judicial Board on campus, their decision is typically a result of evidence of gross irresponsibility on the part of the student, the presence of an apparent safety risk or complications due to the student's non-compliance or belligerence.

Title IX Coordinators

Anyone who has been the victim of or have witnessed sexual discrimination, harassment or retaliation should notify a campus official as soon as possible. Any of the following Title IX Coordinators will assist you:

Claudia Lyerly, Lead Title IX Coordinator: 229-317-6719
Kimberly Carter, Title IX Committee Member: 229-317-6247
Michael Kiefer, Title IX Committee Member: 229-317-6796

You can also receive assistance from any of the following:

Ryan Tindell, Student Counseling: 229-317-6734
Rocco Cappello, Campus Housing: 229-317-6260
Campus Police: 229-317-6316
Darton Health Center: 229-317-6584
Office of Student Affairs:: 229-317-6728
Any trusted faculty advisor or member of Darton State College administration.

Note that all faculty members and staff administrators are considered “responsible people” who are obligated to report any violations of this policy to a Title IX Coordinator.

Investigation and Grievance Procedures

Darton State College recognizes the importance of providing a prompt and efficient procedure for fair and equitable resolution of grievances. A student, faculty or staff member may present a grievance against a fellow student, faculty or staff member, and against 3rd parties. Resolution of grievances should be achieved at the lowest administrative level and in the most equitable way possible. The burden of proof rests with the person who claims a grievance (complainant). S/he must meet a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ standard, which means that it is more likely than not that a violation of the Sexual Misconduct policy occurred. Everyone is encouraged to use the grievance process without fear of prejudice or reprisal for initiating the process or participating in its resolution. If a student wishes to have a purely confidential discussion and does not wish for the matter to be investigated, the student should contact the Student Counseling department. It is important to know that a known assault and threats to a person’s safety must be investigated, and the accused has a right to know the identity of his/her accuser if the accused will be disciplined under the Sexual Misconduct policy.

  1. Grievance Procedures

    A person who has a grievance should first contact a trusted faculty or administration member at Darton. If the situation warrants elevation for investigation into the matter, the person should promptly notify a Title IX Committee member. The faculty / administration member who becomes aware of the situation must notify a Title IX committee member. When in doubt about what to do, always notify a Title IX Committee member. Note that a serious issue might also necessitate that Campus Police be notified. Notifying Campus Police is not the same as notifying a Title IX Committee member. The police investigate potential criminal matters and the Title IX Committee investigates potential policy violations, which may warrant Darton-imposed sanctions against the offender. In some instances, campus police and the Title IX Committee conduct concurrent investigations and it is possible that they may reach different results (especially considering a criminal investigation has a higher ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ or ‘clear and convincing’ standard of proof). Once the Title IX Committee member receives notice of the issue, s/he will request that the complainant provide a formal grievance, preferably in writing.

    Level I – Upon receiving a grievance, a Title IX Committee member will meet with the complainant and make a determination if there are grounds for a grievance. If grounds for a grievance exist, the Title IX Committee member will offer a solution to both the complainant and the individual involved (respondent). If the solution is satisfactory to both parties, no further action will be required. If the solution is not acceptable to either party, an appeal to Level II can be made within ten (10) days of the end of the Level I process. The Title IX Committee member will forward a written summation of the grievance and reply to the Lead Title IX Coordinator (note that it is possible that the Title IX Committee member involved in Level II might also be the Lead Title IX Coordinator. In this instance, the Lead Title IX Coordinator may initiate the Level II investigation or s/he may recuse him/herself and assign one of the Title IX Committee members to conduct the investigation).

    Level II – Upon receipt of the timely-filed appeal, the investigator will meet with the complainant to determine the nature of the grievance and conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation to determine the merit of the case. If the investigation is concurrent with a police criminal investigation, there are times when a need to preserve the evidence warrants a temporary halt of the Title IX Investigation. Typically, this temporary halt will not last more than ten (10) days before the Title IX investigation resumes. If it is determined that the grievance has merit, a solution will be provided to both the complainant and the respondent. The investigator is empowered to implement interim action until a final decision is reached, such as no-contact orders, temporary suspensions, etc. If the solution is satisfactory, no further action will be required. If a party is not satisfied at Level II, an appeal to Level III can be made within ten (10) days of the end of the Level II process. The Investigator will forward a written summation of the grievance and reply to the Vice President of Student Affairs (Level III).

    Level III – Within ten (10) days of receiving the appeal, the Vice President of Student Affairs will refer the grievance to the Judicial Committee. The Committee may, in its discretion, schedule an oral hearing. The committee will review the case and make a recommendation, forwarding this recommendation to the Vice President of Student Affairs, who will either affirm or reject the decision of the Committee and inform the parties of this decision.

    Level IV – If a party is not satisfied with the decision, the party can submit a written request, within five (5) days of receiving the decision of the Vice President of Student Affairs, that the President of Darton State College conduct a non-oral review the record and issue a written opinion either affirming or rejecting the decision of the Vice President of Student Affairs. The decision of the President will become the final campus decision on the grievance.

  2. Procedure for Grievance Hearings

    1. The Judicial Committee shall establish its own procedures in accordance with the following stipulations:

      (1) Only committee members, parties to the action and their advisors (advisors can attend but cannot participate in the hearing except to advise his/her client) and witnesses testifying before the Committee shall be permitted in the hearing. No character witnesses will be allowed to testify. No discussion about prior sexual behavior will be tolerated. Prior to the hearing, all involved parties will receive a written summary of the evidence to be presented at the hearing.

      (2) At the hearing the complainant, respondent, and witnesses for each party may testify, and may be questioned by committee members. The complainant and respondent are not permitted to cross-examine each other, but they are permitted to provide a list of questions to the Committee and the Committee, within its sole discretion, will present the questions to the opposing party for a response. If the situation warrants, the parties may be separated and provide their position from a separate room, locale, or on a separate date.

      (3) A tape recording or other record of the hearing shall be preserved for reference and review until the case has been finally resolved. All documents and recordings from the hearing must be forwarded to the Lead Title IX Coordinator at the conclusion of the case.

      (4) A transcript or summary of the proceedings will be furnished if the appeal is taken to the President of Darton State College.

      a. The Committee shall arrive at a decision after all evidence has been heard and the parties have been dismissed.

      b. Only committee members who have been present for the entire hearing may vote on the case.

      c. A majority vote of qualified members shall constitute a judgment.

      d. Upon receipt of the Committee’s recommendation, the Vice President of Student Affairs shall render a decision on the grievance according to his/her best judgment. If this decision is timely appealed to the President of the College, he/she will render a final decision either affirming or rejecting the decision of the Vice President of Student Affairs.

While the complexity of cases can cause great fluctuation in the amount of time it takes to conduct an investigation, a hearing, and render a final decision, it is the goal of Darton State College to provide students with a final decision on cases within sixty (60) days from the date the student notifies the Title IX Committee about the issue (Level II).;

All parties involved in a Level II, III or IV grievance will receive written notification of the outcome of the case and any sanctions imposed against the person violating the Sexual Misconduct policy. Only information and sanctions directly related to the case-at-hand will be disclosed to the victim of the misconduct. Such disclosure is not a violation of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Potential remedies to validated grievances can include but is not limited to providing a tutor, providing a campus escort, changing class schedules, living arrangements, work schedules or job departments to minimize contact between the parties, recommending or providing medical or counseling services, withdrawal from classes with or without a penalty to the student’s academic record, and suspension or expulsion/termination from school or work.

Darton State College will not allow retaliation for reporting sexual discrimination or harassment. Any retaliatory harassment should be reported to college officials and will result in judicial action.

For further information, please visit the following link:

Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights The Federal Campus Sexual Assault Victims’ Bill of Rights

Revised: September 21, 2015

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Last Update: July 27, 2016 2:44 PM

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