Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures

Introduction

Montgomery College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (31001) contains greater detail than what is presented here. The information on this page is intended to provide a statement on the College’s policy, an overview of available resources, guidance on how to make a report, and helpful information on what to expect during an investigation. Those with specific questions are encouraged to view the policy and procedure in its entirety. View the Montgomery College Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

 

What Happens When a Report is Made? What does an investigation look like?

a. Refer to the Sexual Misconduct P&P (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) for a detailed description of the process.

b. Upon receipt of a report of an alleged violation, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct a Title IX Assessment with the person bringing the complaint, the Reporting Party, to explain the sexual misconduct procedures and interim measures, including criminal reporting, no-contact orders, other remedial action, and confidentiality and privacy.
Generally, the next step will be for the Title IX Coordinator to meet with the accused, Responding Party, (at a different time) to notify him or her of the allegations and possible remedial actions. The College has an obligation to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct as provided for in this Policy.

At the conclusion of the Initial Title IX Assessment, the Title IX Coordinator will determine the appropriate resolution route, including:

  • An Informal Resolution is a remedies-based, non-judicial style approach designed to address allegations of sexual misconduct without taking disciplinary action against a Responding Party. Informal Resolution is not appropriate for resolving allegations of all types of sexual misconduct, and will not be used for allegations of sexual assault.  Participation in Informal Resolution is voluntary, and either the Reporting Party or the Responding Party may request to terminate Informal Resolution and pursue Investigation/ Formal Resolution at any time, including if Informal Resolution is unsuccessful at resolving the report. The process may be used at any point prior to reaching a determination of responsibility as long as a formal complaint has been filed and an employee is not the respondent. This could take the form of mediation or restorative justice.

The Formal Investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable means of gathering relevant information. All investigations will be conducted by officials who receive annual training on issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.

The following are key elements in the process

  • Hearings will be conducted in private.

  • Participants will include the Hearing Officer, investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, the Complainant and Respondent (organizational representatives when an organization is the respondent), advisors and support person to the parties (the parties may have up to two people present, one advisor and one support person), and any called witnesses.

  • The Complainant and Respondent have the right to be present at the hearing.

  • Neither party is required to participate in the hearing in order for the hearing to proceed.

  • Questioning will be permitted of investigators, parties, and witnesses by the advisors to each party and the Hearing Officer, including cross examination contesting a party’s or witness’s credibility.

  • Direct cross examination by the parties is prohibited.

  • Hearings (except for deliberations) are recorded for purposes of review in the event of an appeal. The parties may not record the proceedings and no other unauthorized recordings are permitted.

  • Hearings will be conducted in person or through technology.

  • The Investigator shall meet separately with the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and any Third-Party Witness to gather facts.

  • The Reporting Party and the Responding Party may be accompanied at any such meeting by a Support Person and/or an Attorney or Non-Attorney Advisor.

  • The Investigator will gather any available physical or documentary evidence (e.g., communications between the Reporting Party and Responding Party such as e-mail messages or text messages).

  • The College strives to investigate and resolve all complaints within sixty (60) days after the filing of a complaint. Actual resolution time may vary depending on many factors, including but not limited to, the complexity of the investigation and the severity and extent of the alleged misconduct.
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  •  If the allegations in a formal complaint do not meet the definition of sexual harassment, or did not occur in the College's education progarm or activity against a person in the United States, the College may dismiss such allegations for purposes of this policy. The College may still address the allegations in any manner it deems appropriate under other applicable policies, such as the Student Code of Conduct. For allegations that are dismissed, Complainant(s) will be sent formal notice of the decision by the TItle IX Coordinator and afforded an appeal of the decision through the appropriate deisgnated Senior Vice President. In all cases, students will be provided with guidance, resources and support. 

In the event of an alleged incident of sexual harassment (that does not also constitute another type of sexual misconduct) by an employee against an employee, a referral will be made to the Director of Employee and Labor Relations to investigate the incident under Procedure 31006CP (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) , relating to alleged violations of the College’s equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination policy.

Sanction Statement

  • In keeping with the College’s commitment to being a learning and working environment free from sexual misconduct, the College may impose sanctions tailored to the facts and circumstances of each case, the impact of the misconduct on the Reporting Party and the College community, and the accountability of the Responding Party. The imposition of sanctions is designed to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, while supporting the College’s mission.
  • Student Code of Conduct Sanctions: The following sanctions may be imposed on any student or student organization found to have violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy (31001) (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) :
    • Dismissal
    • Emergency Suspension
    • Suspension
    • Disciplinary Probation
    • Restitution
    • Community Service
    • Warning
    • Permanent Record
    • Administrative Hold
    • Organizational Sanctions

Appeals

The Reporting Party or the Responding Party may appeal the findings of the investigation within ten (10) working days after receiving notice of final outcome. The grounds for appeal are limited to:
1. A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly affected the Investigative Findings and/or Determination (e.g., substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
2. To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the original Investigation, that could substantially impact the Investigative Findings and/or Determination; and
3. The recommended Corrective Actions are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation or fall outside the range of sanctions the College has designated for purposes of its 31001 - Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) . For specific information about Appeals procedures, see  31001 - Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.)

Definitions

Consent – a knowing, voluntary, and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in a particular sexual activity or behavior. Only a person who has the ability and capacity to exercise free will and make rational, reasonable judgment can give Consent. Consent may be expressed either by words and/or by actions as long as those words and/or actions create a mutually understandable agreement to engage in specific sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to ensure that they have consent from the other party, and that the other party is capable of providing consent.

  1. Lack of protest or resistance is not consent, nor may silence, in and of itself, be interpreted as consent. For that reason, relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstanding.
  2. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  3. Previous relationships, including past sexual relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
  4. Consent must be present throughout sexual activity and may be withdrawn at any time. If there is confusion as to whether there is consent or whether prior consent has been withdrawn, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion is resolved.
  5. In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age, as defined by applicable Maryland law.

Sexual activity that is forced or coerced is by definition non-consensual. Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent. There is no requirement that a party resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure used to obtain consent. Frequency, intensity, isolation, and duration of the behavior will be considered in making a determination of whether coercion occurred. When a party makes clear that they do not want to engage in sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this Policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex.

It is a violation of Policy 31001 (PDF, Get Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader.-Link opens in new window.) to engage in sexual activity with someone whom one should know to be ─ or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be ─ mentally or physically incapacitated. To be incapacitated means that a person’s decision-making ability is impaired such that they lack capacity to understand the “who, what, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction. Incapacitation may result from sleep or unconsciousness, temporary or permanent mental or physical disability, involuntary physical restraint, or the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.  
Encompasses a broad range of behaviors, including Sexual Assault, physical abuse and other forms of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant protected from those acts by domestic or family violence laws of Maryland. 

Includes the following: Instructional Faculty an Faculty Departmetn Chairs, Coaches, Athletic Trainers, Administrators, Supervisors, and Public Safety Officers. Mandated reporters do not have the authority to implement corrective measures or resolve allegations of sexual misconduct.

An offense that meets the defintion of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape as used in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system. A sex offense is any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. 

  • Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without the consent of the victim.
     
  • Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratificaiton, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
     
  • Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

  • Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:  

  • Quid Pro Quo - An employee conditiong the provision of an aid, benefit or service of the College on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

  • unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access;

  • or any instance of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking. 
An umbrella term that encompasses Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Stalking. Sexual Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquanintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by any person, regardless of gender identify, and can occur between people of the same or different sex, sexual orientation, or gender expression.
Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cuase a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
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