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

 

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

a. Refer to the Sexual Misconduct P&P 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 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
    • 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
  • In some cases, after the Initial Assessment, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that the allegation does not include behavior that would be a possible violation of the Sexual Misconduct policy. In such cases, the matter may be referred to the Student Code of Conduct Policy and Procedure 42001. 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, 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):
    • 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. For specific information about Appeals procedures, see 31001 - Sexual Misconduct Policy

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 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. 

Encompasses and broad range of behaviors, including Sexual Assault, physical abuse, and other forms of violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Reporting Party, considering the length of the relationships, the type of relationships, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved.  
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 Reporting Party, by a person with whom the Reporting Party shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the Reporting Party as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Reporting Party, or by any other person against an adult or youth Reporting Party protected from those acts by domestic or family violence laws of Maryland. 
When unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently serious that it affects a student's or employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational or working environment. A hostile environment can be created by a school employee, another student, or even someone visiting the school, such as a student or employee from another school.

Any type of actual or attempted sexual contact with another individual without that person’s Consent, including sexual intercourse (rape) and attempted sexual intercourse (attempted rape).

Sexual Assault I

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse – is any act of sexual intercourse with another individual without Consent (rape). This includes penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s Consent.

Sexual Assault II

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact – is any unwanted intentional touching of the intimate body parts of another person, causing another to touch the intimate parts of oneself or another, or disrobing or exposure of another without Consent. Intimate parts may include genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks, or clothing covering them, or any other body part (including one’s own) that is touched in a sexual manner. Non-consensual sexual contact includes attempted sexual intercourse without Consent (attempted rape).

When an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other behavior of a sexual or gender-based nature where:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, or participation in a College-sponsored educational program or activity;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an academic, employment, activity, or program participation decision affecting that individual; or
  3. Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance, denying or limiting a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or working environment.
Is an umbrella term that encompasses Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Intimidation, Relationship Violence, and Stalking. Sexual Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by any person, regardless of gender identity, and can occur between people of the same or different sex, sexual orientation, or gender expression.
Repeated, unwanted attention; physical, verbal, or electronic contact; or any other course of contact directed at an individual that is sufficiently serious to cause physical, emotional, or psychological fear or to create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment for a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities. Stalking may involve individuals who are known to one another or who have a current or previous relationship or may involve individuals who are strangers.
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