Title IX and Sexual Harassment

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Title IX is a federal law intended to end sex discrimination in all areas of education. Title IX:

  • requires that all educational institutions that receive federal funds or financial assistance must prohibit sex discrimination in their education programs and activities.
  • applies to sexual harassment and sexual assault. According to the Office for Civil Rights, “sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.”

What is Sexual Harassment?

“Sexual Harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following: (1) an employee of WCC conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (commonly referred to quid pro quo harassment); (2) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to WCC’s Education Program or Activity; or (3) Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking as those terms are defined under other federal laws, including the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

Your Rights Under Title IX

When WCC has Actual Knowledge of Sexual Harassment (or allegations thereof) against a person in the United States in its Education Program or Activity, WCC is obligated to respond and to follow Title IX’s specific requirements, which are addressed and incorporated in the Title IX Grievance Procedure.

Promptly upon receiving allegations of Sexual Harassment against a person in the United States in WCC’s Education Program or Activity, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint and to explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint.

I. NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION

Wilkes Community College (WCC), in compliance with and as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations (“Title IX”) and other civil rights laws, as well as in furtherance of its own values as a higher education institution, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law in admission, treatment, or access to, or employment in, its programs and activities.

Discrimination and harassment are antithetical to the values and standards of the WCC community and are incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the WCC community expects and deserves and will not be tolerated. WCC is committed to providing programs, activities, and an education and work environment free from discrimination and harassment. WCC is also committed fostering a community that promotes prompt reporting and fair and timely resolution of those behaviors.

Inquiries concerning discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex may be referred to WCC’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Exhibit A (found at the end of Title IX Sex Discrimination and Harassment Procedure 5.3.4.1) provides their contact information.

Inquiries concerning discrimination or harassment based on a protected characteristic or status other than sex may be referred to the Deputy Title IX Coordinators (for students) or Title IX Coordinator (for employees). Exhibit A (found at the end of Title IX Sex Discrimination and Harassment Procedure 5.3.4.1) provides their contact information.

Individuals may also make inquiries regarding discrimination or harassment to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights by contacting the District of Columbia Office, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-1475; phone: 800-421-3481; email: OCR@ed.gov.

II. PROHIBITION ON SEX DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT, RETALIATION, AND PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION OR INTERFERING WITH A GRIEVANCE PROCESS

This Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex. WCC strongly encourages the prompt reporting of, and is committed to timely and fair resolution of, complaints of sex discrimination and harassment. Sexual Harassment, as defined by Title IX and herein, is a specific type of sex discrimination / harassment that includes Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking and that WCC addresses using its Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures, as required by Title IX.

This Policy also prohibits Retaliation, as defined by Title IX and herein. Complaints alleging Retaliation may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators and, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators, may be addressed under WCC ’s Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures or other grievance procedures adopted by WCC.

Additionally, any individual who knowingly files a false Formal Complaint or who interferes with a WCC grievance process may be subject to disciplinary action. Interference with a grievance process may include, but is not limited to, attempting to coerce, compel, or prevent an individual from providing testimony or relevant information; removing, destroying, or altering documentation relevant to an investigation; or providing false or misleading information to WCC officials who are involved in the investigation and/or resolution of a Formal Complaint, or encouraging others to do so.

III. REPORTING AND PERIOD OF LIMITATIONS

Any person (whether or not alleged to be the victim) may report sex discrimination or harassment, including Sexual Harassment, in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information for the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators listed in Exhibit A (found at the end of Title IX Sex Discrimination and Harassment Procedure 5.3.4.1), or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours).

In addition to the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinators, WCC has designated the following employees as individuals with the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of WCC: President, Vice Presidents, Deans. Accordingly, these employees are required to report discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

WCC strongly encourages all employees and other members of the WCC community to promptly report concerns regarding suspected or known discrimination / harassment on the basis of sex to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Additionally, WCC has designated the following employees as confidential resources for students.

Image of Lynda Black
Lynda Black, PhD, LCMHC
Director, Counseling, Career Services and Student Life
Phone: 336-838-6148
lkblack932@wilkescc.edu
Image of Mike Roope
Mike Roope, EdS, LCMHC
Coordinator, Career Services
Phone: 336-838-6147
msroope085@wilkescc.edu

Information about sex discrimination or harassment shared with these confidential resources typically will not be reported to other WCC personnel (including the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators), to the Respondent, or to others, unless the disclosing individual gives their consent to the disclosure or the law requires it (as may be the case with abuse involving a minor or under conditions involving imminent physical harm, for example). (Confidential resources may report non-identifying statistical information to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for recordkeeping and compliance purposes.)

WCC will address allegations of sex discrimination and harassment appropriately no matter the length of time that has passed since the alleged conduct. However, WCC strongly encourages prompt reporting to preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding. Delay may compromise the ability to investigate, particularly if the individuals involved in the alleged conduct are no longer WCC students or employees.

IV. APPLICABILITY OF POLICY AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

This Policy applies to any allegation of sex discrimination or harassment made by or against a student or an employee of WCC or a third party, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender expression, or gender identity.

The Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures apply only to allegations of Sexual Harassment in WCC’s Education Program or Activity (as defined herein).

WCC will address allegations of other types of sexual harassment (i.e., that do not meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment) by: (1) using other student and employee conduct disciplinary procedures deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators in consultation with other WCC administrators; and/or (2) Supportive Measures, which are defined and discussed in more detail herein.

V. RIGHTS OF PARENTS

When a student Complainant or Respondent is a minor or has a guardian appointed and their parent or guardian has the legal right to act on the student’s behalf, then the parent or guardian may file a Formal Complaint on behalf of the student, although the student would be the “Complainant.” In such a situation, the parent or guardian may exercise the rights granted to the student under this Policy, including requesting Supportive Measures and participating in a grievance process. Similarly, the parent or guardian may accompany the student to meetings, interviews, and hearings during a grievance process to exercise rights on behalf of the student, while the student’s Advisor of choice may be a different person from the parent or guardian. Whether or not a parent or guardian has the legal right to act on behalf of an individual would be determined by state law, court orders, child custody arrangements, or other sources granting legal rights to parents or guardians.

Additionally, FERPA and its implementing regulations address the circumstances under which a parent or guardian is permitted to inspect and review a student’s education records. However, in circumstances in which FERPA would not grant a party the opportunity to inspect and review evidence in connection with a grievance process, pursuant to Title IX and its implementing regulations, the student has an opportunity to do so, and a parent or guardian who has a legal right to act on behalf of the student has the same opportunity.

VI. DEFINITIONS APPLICABLE OF POLICY AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES:

Capitalized terms used herein are defined as follows.

“Actual Knowledge” means notice of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment to WCC’s Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, President, Vice Presidents, or Deans.

“Notice” as used in this paragraph includes, but is not limited to, a report of Sexual Harassment to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. [Note: This standard is not met through imputation of knowledge based solely on vicarious liability or constructive notice. This standard also is not met when the only individual with Actual Knowledge is the Respondent. The mere ability or obligation to report Sexual Harassment or to inform a student about how to report Sexual Harassment, or having been trained to do so, does not qualify an individual as one to whom notice of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment constitutes Actual Knowledge.]

“Clery Act” refers to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, which is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 668.46. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses.

“Complainant” means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment, irrespective of whether a Formal Complaint has been filed.

“Consent” is informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness and readiness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested a clear and unambiguous agreement between them to engage in certain conduct with each other. Consent cannot be gained by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another.

Consent cannot be inferred from: silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone; a current or previous dating or sexual relationship alone (or the existence of such a relationship with anyone else); attire; the buying of dinner or the spending of money on a date; or Consent previously given (i.e., Consenting to one sexual act does not imply Consent to another sexual act).

Consent is not effective if it is obtained through the use of physical force, violence, duress, deception, intimidation, coercion, or the threat, expressed or implied, of bodily injury. Whether a party used any of these means to obtain Consent will be determined by reference to the perception of a reasonable person found in the same or similar circumstances.

Consent may never be given by the following individuals: minors, even if the other participant did not know the minor’s age; persons with mental disabilities, if their disability was reasonably knowable to a person who is not mentally disabled; or persons who are Incapacitated. The use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain Consent and does not excuse conduct that constitutes Sexual Harassment.

If at any time during a sexual act any confusion or ambiguity is or should reasonably be apparent on the issue of Consent, it is incumbent upon each individual involved in the activity to stop and clarify the other’s willingness and readiness to continue and capacity to Consent. Neither party should make assumptions about the other’s willingness and readiness to continue.

“Day” means a business day, unless otherwise specified.

“Education Program or Activity” means all of WCC’s operations and includes (1) locations, events, or circumstances over which WCC exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the alleged Sexual Harassment occurred; and (2) any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by WCC.

“Education Record” has the meaning assigned to it under FERPA.

“FERPA” is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, with implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 99. FERPA protects the privacy of student Education Records. FERPA grants to eligible students the right to access, inspect, and review Education Records, the right to challenge the content of Education Records, and the right to consent to the disclosure of Education Records.

“Formal Complaint” means a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator a Deputy Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting that WCC investigate the allegation of Sexual Harassment. At the time of filing a Formal Complaint, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in WCC’s Education Program or Activity. A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail by using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Coordinators in Exhibit A (found at the end of Title IX Sex Discrimination and Harassment Procedure 5.3.4.1). As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint.

“Incapacitated” means lacking the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments. A person may be Incapacitated for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to being asleep or unconscious, having consumed alcohol or taken drugs, or experiencing blackouts or flashbacks.

“Respondent” means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct alleged to constitute Sexual Harassment.

“Retaliation” means (1) any adverse action (including direct and indirect intimidation, threats, coercion, discrimination, or harassment (including charges for conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or harassment or Sexual Harassment but that arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination or harassment or a report or Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment) that is (2) threatened or taken against a person (a) for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX; or (b) because the person has made a report or Formal Complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to Title IX. [Note: Retaliation does not include (1) the exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment; (2) charging an individual with making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding (provided, however, that a determination regarding responsibility alone is not sufficient to conclude that an individual made a materially false statement in bad faith); or (3) good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of prohibited conduct.]

“Sexual Harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. an employee of WCC conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. (commonly referred to quid pro quo harassment);
  2. unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to WCC’s Education Program or Activity; or
  3. “Sexual Assault,” as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v): an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
  4. “Dating Violence,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(10): violence committed by a person—(A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship;
  5. “Domestic Violence,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(8): felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction; or
  6. “Stalking,” as defined in 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(30): engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

“Supportive Measures” are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to a Complainant and/or a 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 WCC’s Education Program or Activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or WCC’s educational environment or deter Sexual Harassment.

Supportive Measures may include, but are not limited to, counseling, 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. WCC will maintain as confidential any Supportive Measures provided to a Complainant or a Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair WCC’s ability to provide the Supportive Measures. The Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinators are responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of Supportive Measures.

Adopted: 08/10/2020

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO MAY BE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, DATING VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, OR STALKING:

If you or someone you know may have been a victim of the behaviors listed above or any other type of violence, you are strongly encouraged to seek immediate assistance.

ASSISTANCE CAN BE OBTAINED 24 HOURS A DAY, 7 DAYS A WEEK, FROM THE WCC POLICE DEPARTMENT (LOCATED IN/AT CLASSROOM BUILDING #7 AND AVAILABLE BY PHONE AT 336-838-6275).

During business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friday), you are also strongly encouraged to contact one of the following individuals:

Faculty/Staff:
Image of Sherry Cox
Sherry Cox, MS
Executive Director of Human Resources/ Title IX Coordinator
Phone: 336-838-6422
Fax: 336-903-3218
spcox072@wilkescc.edu
Curriculum and Workforce Development & Community Education Students:
Image of Scott Johnson
Scott Johnson, EdS
Dean of Student Services
Phone: 336-838-6141
sajohnson366@wilkescc.edu
College Readiness and Workforce Development & Community Education Students:
Image of Debbie Woodard
Debbie Woodard, MA
Dean of College Readiness and Basic Skills
Phone: 336-903-3231
drwoodard792@wilkescc.edu

For additional information about seeking medical assistance and emotional support, as well as important contact information for local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and other resources, see Exhibit A at the end of this document.

I. APPLICABILITY, COMPLAINT INTAKE, AND OVERARCHING PROVISIONS

A. APPLICABILITY OF GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES

As noted above, these Grievance Procedures apply to allegations of Sexual Harassment in WCC’s Education Program or Activity (and to related Retaliation, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator). WCC treats Complainants and Respondents equitably by providing remedies to a Complainant where WCC makes a determination of responsibility for Sexual Harassment against a Respondent under these Grievance Procedures and also by following these Grievance Procedures before imposing any disciplinary sanctions against a Respondent for Sexual Harassment.

B. OBLIGATION TO RESPOND AND INITIAL OUTREACH TO COMPLAINANT

When WCC has Actual Knowledge of Sexual Harassment (or allegations thereof) against a person in the United States in its Education Program or Activity, WCC is obligated to respond and to follow Title IX’s specific requirements, which are addressed and incorporated in these Grievance Procedures.

Promptly upon receiving allegations of Sexual Harassment against a person in the United States in WCC’s Education Program or Activity, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint and to explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint.

C. FILING OF A FORMAL COMPLAINT

As noted in the Definitions section above, a Formal Complaint means a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting that WCC investigate the allegation(s) of Sexual Harassment. At the time of filing a Formal Complaint, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in WCC’s Education Program or Activity. A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information listed in Exhibit A. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint.

When the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator believes that, with or without the Complainant’s desire to participate in a grievance process, a non-deliberately indifferent response to the allegations requires an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator has the discretion to initiate the grievance process by signing a Formal Complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title IX Coordinator is not a Complainant or otherwise a party under these Grievance Procedures. Furthermore, initiation of a Formal Complaint by the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title Coordinator is not sufficient alone to imply bias or that the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title IX Coordinator is taking a position adverse to the Respondent.

Once a Formal Complaint is initiated, an alleged victim will be referred to as a “Complainant,” and an alleged perpetrator will be referred to as a “Respondent.”

D. NOTICE OF ALLEGATIONS

Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant and any known Respondent written notice of these Grievance Procedures and of the allegations of conduct potentially constituting Sexual Harassment, including sufficient details known at the time and with at least five days to prepare a response before any initial interview. Sufficient details include the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known.

The written notice will include a statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The written notice also will inform the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney and that at appropriate junctures the parties and their advisors may review and inspect evidence collected during the investigation. Additionally, the written notice will inform the parties of WCC’s prohibition on knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.

If, in the course of an investigation, WCC decides to investigate allegations of Sexual Harassment involving the Complainant or Respondent that are not included in the original written notice of allegations, WCC will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.

E. DISMISSAL

WCC will investigate the allegations in a Formal Complaint; however, WCC will dismiss a Formal Complaint or a portion of the allegations therein if (1) the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint, even if substantiated, would not constitute Sexual Harassment; (2) at the time of filing the Formal Complaint the Complainant was not participating in or attempting to participate in WCC’s Education Program or Activity; (3) the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint did not occur in WCC ’s Education Program or Activity; or (4) the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint did not occur against an individual in the United States. Such a dismissal may take place at the conclusion of the investigation or at any time prior to the conclusion of the investigation.

Additionally, WCC may dismiss a Formal Complaint or a portion of the allegations therein if (1) the Complainant notifies the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein; (2) the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed at WCC; or (3) despite efforts to do so, WCC is unable to gather evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations therein.

In the event the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator determines that dismissal of a Formal Complaint or a portion of the allegations is appropriate, the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will promptly notify the parties in writing of the dismissal and the reasons for it. Dismissal does not impair WCC’s ability to proceed with any appropriate investigatory or disciplinary actions under the Sex Discrimination and Harassment Policy or another WCC policy or procedure and/or to provide Supportive Measures to the parties.

Either party may appeal a decision to dismiss a Formal Complaint or a portion of the allegations on the following grounds by submitting a written appeal to the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator five days of the issuance of the written notice of the dismissal: (1) procedural irregularity that affected the decision to dismiss; (2) new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of dismissal and that could affect the outcome of the matter; or (3) the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator or other participant in the dismissal having a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the decision to dismiss.

The investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will promptly notify the other party of the appeal, and the non-appealing party may submit a response to the appeal within three days of notification of the appeal.

The Title IX Coordinator will appoint an appeal officer and will contemporaneously share the appeal officer’s name and contact information with the Complainant and the Respondent.

Within two days of being provided the contact information for the appeal officer, the Complainant, or the Respondent may identify to the Title IX Coordinator in writing alleged conflicts of interest or bias on the part of the appeal officer. The Title IX Coordinator will consider such statements and will promptly assign a different appeal officer if the Title IX Coordinator determines that a material conflict of interest or material bias exists.

The Title IX Coordinator will forward the Formal Complaint and any documents upon which the dismissal decision was based, as well as the appeal and any response to the appeal to the appeal officer.

Within seven days of receipt of those materials, the appeal officer will determine whether any of the grounds for appeal warrant overturning or modifying the dismissal. The decision by the appeal officer is final.

F. ADVISORS

The Complainant and the Respondent may be accompanied to any meeting or proceeding under these Grievance Procedures by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. WCC will not limit the choice or presence of the advisor for either the Complainant or the Respondent in any meeting or grievance proceeding. Advisors, however, are not allowed to disrupt any such meeting or proceeding or to speak on behalf of the Complainant or the Respondent, with the exception of cross-examination during any hearing conducted under these Grievance Procedures, which must be conducted by an advisor and never personally by the Complainant or the Respondent.

Parties must provide the name and contact of their advisor to the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator in writing as soon as reasonably possible and must provide updated information if their advisor changes. All advisors will be required to assent to WCC’s Expectations for Advisors.

If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing, WCC will provide, without any charge to that party, an advisor of WCC’s choice who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.

Absent accommodation for a disability, the Complainant and the Respondent may not be accompanied by more than one advisor or by other individuals during meetings or proceedings under these Grievance Procedures.

G. AMNESTY

WCC considers the reporting and adjudication of Sexual Harassment to be of paramount importance. WCC does not condone underage drinking or the use of illegal drugs; however, WCC may extend amnesty to Complainants, Respondents, witnesses, and others involved in a grievance process from punitive sanctioning for illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol when evidence of such use is discovered or submitted in the course of a grievance process. Similarly, WCC may, in its discretion, provide amnesty for other conduct code violations that are discovered in the course of a grievance process.

H. TIMING

WCC will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the investigation and resolution of a Formal Complaint occurs in as timely and efficient a manner as possible. The timelines set forth in these Grievance Procedures are guidelines and may be altered for good cause with written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent of any delay or extension and the reasons for the action. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; natural disasters, pandemic restrictions, and similar occurrences; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.

WCC will strive to complete its investigation and resolution of a Formal Complaint (not including an appeal, if applicable) within 90 days of the receipt of the Formal Complaint, absent extenuating circumstances. Hearings generally will take place within 20 days of the conclusion of the investigation. Within seven days of the conclusion of the hearing, both the Complainant and the Respondent will receive a final outcome letter.

Either party may request an extension of any deadline by providing the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator with a written request for an extension that includes reference to the duration of the proposed extension and the basis for the request. The investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will review the request and will make a determination with regard to the request within three days.

I. WRITTEN NOTICE OF MEETINGS

WCC will provide, to a party whose participation is invited or expected, written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.

J. EFFECT OF COROLLARY CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

WCC’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while criminal investigators are gathering evidence. In the event of such a delay, WCC will implement any appropriate Supportive Measures and will evaluate the need for other actions necessary to assist or protect the Complainant, the Respondent, and/or the WCC community.

Neither the results of a criminal investigation nor the decision of law enforcement to investigate or decline to investigate a matter is determinative of whether Sexual Harassment has occurred in the eyes of WCC.

K. EMERGENCY REMOVAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE

WCC may remove a Respondent from WCC’s Education Program or Activity on an emergency basis, provided that WCC first undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of Sexual Harassment justifies removal, provides the Respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal, and does so in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, as applicable.

Additionally, WCC may place a non-student employee Respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of WCC’s response to allegations of Sexual Harassment provided that it does so in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

L. EFFECT OF RESPONDENT WITHDRAWAL, GRADUATION, OR RESIGNATION DURING GRIEVANCE PROCESS

At the discretion of WCC, a Respondent who withdraws or resigns from WCC during the pendency of a grievance process under these Grievance Procedures may be barred from WCC property and WCC activities and events and may be ineligible for re-enrollment or to be re-hired. If a Respondent completes all requirements to graduate during the grievance process, WCC may hold the Respondent’s diploma until full resolution of the Formal Complaint.

M. PRIVACY AND DISCLOSURE

Except as may be permitted by FERPA or as required by law or to carry out any investigation or resolution of sex discrimination or harassment allegations, WCC will keep private the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination or harassment (including any individual who has made a report or filed a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment,), any Complainant, any Respondent, and any witness.

WCC may report alleged Sexual Harassment to local law enforcement if warranted by the nature of the allegations at issue, and WCC administrators will share information regarding alleged Sexual Harassment, as appropriate and necessary, in order to address and resolve the allegation(s) at issue, prevent the recurrence of similar Sexual Harassment, and address the effects of the Sexual Harassment. Additionally, information regarding alleged Sexual Harassment may be used as a statistical, anonymous report for data collection purposes under the Clery Act.

To comply with FERPA, Title IX, and other applicable laws and to provide an orderly process for the presentation and consideration of relevant information without undue intimidation or pressure, grievance processes carried out under these Grievance Procedures are not open to the general public. Accordingly, documents prepared in connection with such processes; documents, statements, or other information introduced in interviews, meetings, and proceedings; and the final outcome letter may not be disclosed outside of those processes except as may be required or authorized by law.

As permitted by and subject to the limitations of FERPA, WCC reserves the right to notify parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student Respondent of the outcome of any investigation involving that Respondent, redacting names of any other students who do not consent to the disclosure of their information. At the written request of a party, WCC may include a party’s advisor on communications and share access to documents, including the investigation report. This access is subject to the advisor’s acknowledgment and agreement to maintain the confidentiality of the documents.

While WCC strongly encourages parties to maintain privacy in connection with a grievance process, WCC does not prohibit parties from discussing the allegations under investigation or in any way inhibit the parties from gathering or presenting relevant evidence. In addition, WCC’s policy does not prohibit disclosure of the final outcome letter by either the Complainant or the Respondent.

N. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, BIAS, AND TRAINING

WCC will ensure that any individual designated by WCC as a Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or decision-maker under these Grievance Procedures does not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent.

If any employee designated to participate in the investigation or resolution of a Formal Complaint is the Respondent or a relevant witness, then the Title IX Coordinator will appoint another employee to perform their duties. (If the Title IX Coordinator is the Respondent, then the President will appoint another qualified person to perform their duties.)

WCC also ensures that the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and advisors receive training, as applicable, on the definition of Sexual Harassment; the scope of WCC’s Education Program or Activity; how to conduct an investigation and grievance process, including hearings, and appeals; and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.

WCC further ensures that decision-makers receive training on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, and that investigators receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. Additionally, WCC ensures that decision-makers receive training on any technology to be used at live hearings. Materials used to train the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and advisors will not rely on sex stereotypes and promote impartial investigations and adjudications of Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment.

O. BURDEN OF PROOF

At all times, the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on WCC, not on either of the parties.

P. PRESUMPTION OF NO RESPONSIBILITY UNTIL DETERMINATION

Respondents are presumed to be not responsible for alleged Sexual Harassment until WCC makes a determination regarding responsibility pursuant to these Grievance Procedures.

R. OBJECTIVE EVALUATION OF ALL RELEVANT EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY DETERMINATIONS

The investigators and decision-makers under these Grievance Procedures will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, and will not make any credibility determinations based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.

S. ACADEMIC FREEDOM

WCC affirms its commitment to academic freedom but notes that academic freedom does not allow any form of Sexual Harassment. WCC recognizes that an essential function of education is a probing of opinions and an exploration of ideas, some of which, because they are controversial, may cause students and others discomfort. This discomfort, as a product of free academic inquiry within a faculty member’s area(s) of expertise, shall in no way be considered or construed to constitute Sexual Harassment. Academic inquiry may involve teaching, research and extramural speech. Furthermore, nothing in this document shall be interpreted to prohibit bona fide academic requirements for a specific WCC program or activity. When investigating complaints that a party or the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title IX Coordinator believes may involve issues of academic freedom, the investigating Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will consult with the Vice President of Instruction with respect to contemporary academic practices and standards.

T. DOCUMENTATION

WCC will retain documentation (including but not limited to any Formal Complaint, notifications, recording or transcripts of interviews, investigative report, written findings of fact, petitions for appeal, notifications of decisions (including the final outcome letter), audio recordings of hearings, and written communication with the Complainant and Respondent), for no less than seven years.

U. CONSOLIDATION OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS

WCC may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of Sexual Harassment against more than one Respondent, by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party where the allegations of Sexual Harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where a grievance process involves more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references in these Grievance Procedures to the singular “party,” “Complainant,” or “Respondent” include the plural, as applicable.

V. INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

WCC will make arrangements to ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided appropriate accommodations, to the extent necessary and available, to participate in WCC’s grievance processes. Student requests for accommodation must be made to the Director of Disability, Inclusion, & Diversity. All other requests for accommodation must be made to the Executive Director of Human Resources.

II. THE INVESTIGATION

A. APPOINTMENT OF INVESTIGATORS AND CHALLENGING OF THE SAME

Unless a Formal Complaint is dismissed, one or more members of the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title IX Coordinator team will initiate the investigation. The lead investigator will contemporaneously share their names and contact information with the Complainant and Respondent.

Within two days of receiving notification from the lead investigator, the Complainant or the Respondent may identify to the lead investigator in writing any alleged conflicts of interest or bias on the part of the assigned investigators. The lead investigator will review this information with the Title IX Coordinator / Deputy Title IX Coordinator team and will pr