Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy

South College is committed to fostering an environment that is free from all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, retaliation, and intimidation. The institution takes steps to increase awareness of such misconduct, to thoroughly investigate reports of sexual misconduct, and to take fair and appropriate actions as warranted.  Creating a safe and non-discriminatory campus environment is the shared responsibility of all members of the South College community.

Consistent with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, South College does not discriminate against students, faculty, staff, or third parties based on sex in any of its programs or activities, including but not limited to educational programs, employment, and admission. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a kind of sex discrimination and is prohibited by Title IX and by the institution. Individuals who engage in such conduct are subject to disciplinary action.

This policy applies to all students, faculty, staff, and third parties regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  Further, this policy applies to both on-campus and off-campus conduct if (a) the conduct occurred in connection with an institutional program or activity, or (b) the conduct may have the effect of creating a hostile environment for a member of the South College community.

Definition of Consent

Voluntary acquiescence refers to the act or result of reaching an accord; a concurrence of minds; actual willingness that an act or an infringement of an interest shall occur (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, ed.2, 2008).  In the context of sexual misconduct, submission due to apprehension or terror is not real consent; there must be a choice between resistance and acquiescence.  Consent can be withdrawn at any time.  If a person resists to the point where additional resistance would be futile or until his/her resistance is forcibly overcome, submission thereafter is not consent.  An individual who is incapacitated cannot consent.  Past consent does not imply future consent by an individual.

Conduct Prohibited

  1. Domestic violence includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim's current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.
  2. Dating violence means violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
  3. Sexual Assault/Sex Offenses means any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim in incapable.
  4. Stalking means a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
  5. Sexual Exploitationmeans taking advantage of an individual for his/her sexuality and attractiveness to make a personal gain or profit.
  6. Sexual Harassment means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
    • Gender-Based Harassment is a form of sexual harassment andmeans unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including harassment based on gender identity or nonconformity with sex stereotypes; it does not necessarily involve conduct of a sexual nature.
  7. Intimidation means to make an individual fearful or to put into fear.
  8. Retaliation refers to the act of seeking revenge upon another individual.

Source: Title IX Resource Guide (April, 2015), http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-title-ix-coordinators-guide-201504.pdf.

Reporting Policies and Protocols

South College is committed to responding promptly and effectively when it learns of any form of possible discrimination based on sex on the College campus or at any clinical/student teaching/practicum/internship site.  South College’s Title IX Coordinators are responsible for overseeing all Title IX incidents reported to the institution and for implementation of this policy, including but not limited to, identifying and addressing any systemic gender-based harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. 

Allegations should be reported to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator using the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident Form immediately following the alleged incident of sexual misconduct. All employees, students, and third parties can access the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident Form on the South College website. 

Title IX Coordinator for student issues at the Main Campus and Parkside Learning Site:

Ms. Carolyn Hillegas
Dean of Student Services
3904 Lonas Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909
chillegas@southcollegetn.edu
865-293-4539

Title IX Coordinator for student issues at the Asheville Learning Site:

Dr. Vickie Samuels
Dean of Academic and Student Services
140 Sweeten Creek Road, Asheville, NC 28803
vsamuels@southcollegenc.edu
828-398-2566

Title IX Coordinator for student issues at the Nashville Learning Site:

Dr. Connie Porter
Dean of Academic and Student Services
616 Marriott Dr., Suite 550
Nashville, TN 37214
cporter@southcollegetn.edu
629-802-3080

Title IX Coordinator for faculty and staff issues:

Dr. Stacy Waddell
Vice President of Academic Support and Student Services
3904 Lonas Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909
swaddell@southcollegetn.edu
865-251-1816

Confidentiality

South College encourages victims of sexual violence to talk to somebody about what happened so victims can get the support they need, and so South College can respond appropriately.  Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a victim’s confidentiality.

Professional Counselors

Professional, licensed counselors who provide mental-health counseling to members of the school community (and including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX coordinator without a victim’s permission.  The contact information for South College’s counselor at the Main Campus and the Parkside Learning Site is counselor@southcollegetn.edu. South College-Asheville and Nashville do not provide health services and referrals will be made upon request. Please contact the Dean of Academic and Student Services or Executive Director for more information.

Responsible Employees

Responsible employees are required to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct using the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident Form.  The allegation should be reported as soon as possible after the alleged misconduct, preferably within (7) business days  When reporting to responsible employees about an incident of sexual violence, the victim can expect South College to take immediate steps to investigate and resolve the situation promptly and equitably.  The issue will immediately be reported to the South College Tile IX Coordinator using the Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Incident form.  To the extent possible, the information reported will only be shared with the employees responsible for handling the College’s response to the report.  It is the responsibility of the responsible employee to inform the victim prior to making the report that he/she has reporting obligations. 

The following employees (or categories of employees) are the College’s responsible employees:

  • All faculty
  • All Clinical Site Preceptors/Instructors
  • All staff

Determining Confidentiality

If a victim discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, the College will weigh that request against the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the victim.  If the College honors the request for confidentiality, a victim must understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited. Although rare, there are times when the College may not be able to honor a victim’s request in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students.

The College has designated the following individual(s) to evaluate requests for confidentiality once an incident has been reported:

  • Executive Vice President & Provost      

If the College determines that it cannot maintain a victim’s confidentiality, the College will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the College’s response. If the College determines that it can respect a victim’s request for confidentiality, the College will also take immediate action as necessary to protect and assist the victim.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation against any person who alleges a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy or who reports or assists South College in the investigation of a complaint under this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or dismissal by South College. Retaliation against any person who is a respondent to an alleged sexual misconduct violation is prohibited as well.  South College will take steps to protect all parties from retaliation or harm and will work with the victim to create a safety plan.  Any alleged retaliation should be reported to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator.

Assistance for Reported Victims of Sexual Misconduct

South College will provide immediate and on-going assistance to reported victims of sexual misconduct. 

The College will:

  • institute a no contact directive in writing by the appropriate Title IX Coordinator to all persons involved in the incident once a report has been made.  Failure of a complainant or a respondent to abide by this directive may be subject to disciplinary action.
  • assist the victim(s) in accessing other available victim advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability, health or mental health services, and legal assistance both on and off campus
  • provide other security and support, which could include helping arrange course schedules (including for the alleged perpetrator pending the outcome of an investigation) or adjustments for assignments or tests; and
  • inform the victim(s) of the right to report a crime to campus or local law enforcement and provide the victim with assistance if the victim wishes to do so.

Investigation Procedures and Protocols

Once South College is aware of a reported incident of sexual misconduct, the appropriate Title IX Coordinator, in collaboration with the Executive Vice President & Provost, will conduct an investigation to determine if the allegation(s) have merit, as well as determine if the allegations should be pursued through a hearing by the Title IX Conduct Committee.  Title IX investigations should be concluded within (60) days of receipt of a report, unless there are extraordinary circumstance in which a longer period will be permitted.  Both the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) will be notified in writing should an extension be required.

If the investigation results indicate that the complaint does not have merit and a violation did not occur, both parties (complainant and respondent) will be informed in writing that the complaint was dismissed without further proceedings.  Should the complainant wish to appeal this decision, he/she should follow the Appeal Process listed in the last section of this policy.  If the investigation is determined to have merit and a violation occurred, both parties (complainant and respondent) will be informed in writing as to the investigative determination.  The sexual misconduct charges shall be presented to the complainant and respondent in written form within (7) business days after the investigation is conducted.  Resolution will be pursued through a formal hearing by the Title IX Conduct Committee within (14) business days of issuance of the sexual misconduct charges.

In preparation for a formal hearing, both the complainant and the respondent will schedule a pre-hearing consultation with the appropriate Title IX Coordinator to discuss the issues and facts that will likely be presented at the hearing, to provide witness information, ask procedural questions, and to submit a written statement and any evidence to be presented during the hearing. 

The following guidelines will govern the Title IX Conduct Committee:

  • The Title IX Conduct Committee will be composed of a minimum of three trained College officials.
  • The determination of the merit of the violation will be based on evidence that shows that a violation more than likely occurred than not.
  • In all cases, whether the respondent is present or not, the evidence in support of the allegations shall be presented and considered.  Should the respondent fail to appear for the hearing, a plea of “not in violation” shall be recorded for the respondent’s behalf and the hearing will proceed.
  • The complainant and the respondent have the right to obtain legal counsel at their own expense. However, legal counsel is not permitted to speak for or on behalf of the complainant or respondent. The complainant and respondent are responsible for presenting their respective cases at the hearing.
  • The complainant and the respondent have the right to hear all evidence, present evidence, testify, and hear and question witnesses.
  • The complainant and respondent have the right to inspect documents and a list of witnesses for the hearing no less than (2) business days prior to the hearing.
  • Direct questioning of witnesses by the respondent or complainant may be limited.  All questions for witnesses must be submitted by the complainant and respondent prior to the hearing; the Title IX Conduct Committee members determine if the questions are appropriate and control the questioning.

After the hearing, the Committee will determine by majority vote whether a violation of the Title IX policy has occurred and what disciplinary actions may be appropriate.   Within (7) business days following the conclusion of the hearing procedures, the complainant and respondent will receive written notice of the committee’s findings and sanctions imposed, if any.

Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct

The following sanction(s) may be imposed upon any individual student found to be in violation of the Student Conduct Standards and Regulations:

  • Issuance of a formal, written warning and reprimand (status of probation may be imposed)
  • Issuance of a suspension or a required leave of absence for a period of time, contingent upon the student meeting specified conditions
  • Dismissal from the college without possibility of re-admission

In cases of third parties and employee sanctions, South College will take prompt and effective action to stop the harassment and prevent its recurrence upon notice of the harassment.  The sanctions taken by South College will differ depending on the level of control that the College has over the third party.  For employees, the following sanction(s) may be imposed upon any individual employee found to be in violation of the South College Employee Handbook/Title IX rules:

  • Issuance of a verbal warning
  • Requirement of training
  • Issuance of a suspension (with or without pay), contingent upon the employee meeting specified conditions for returning
  • Issuance of a written warning with formal counseling (status of probation may be imposed)
  • Termination of employment

Appeal Process

Should the respondent or complainant wish to appeal the decision, an appeal must be submitted within (7) business days of delivery of the decision.  The appeal must be in writing and submitted to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator.  The appeal may be filed only to determine whether the hearing was conducted fairly and in conformity of the procedures or to determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate.  An appeal received that does not address one of these areas will be dismissed without further consideration.  A complete review of the appeal will be made by the President within (14) business days after receipt of the appeal and additional information. In the event an extension is needed for this review, the individual making the appeal will be notified.  A written decision will be issued to the respondent, complainant, and the Chair of the Title IX Conduct Committee.