Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
In accordance with the college policy on campus environment, Midlands Technical College intends to provide a safe and supportive learning and working environment for its students, faculty, and staff. The college affirms the principle that students, faculty, and staff have the right to be free from any forms of harassment, including sexual discrimination, sexual assault/violence, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. These actions are violations of the Midlands Technical College Student Code and the Employee Harassment Policy, as well as violations of state and federal law. The college has developed educational awareness and prevention programs, policies, procedures, and training addressing harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence/assault, dating violence, and stalking to inform students, faculty, and staff of their rights and the services available. Ms. Debbie M. Walker has been designated to coordinate compliance with sexual harassment, sexual assault/ violence, and the nondiscrimination requirements contained in section 35.107 of the Department of Justice regulations, section 504, and Title IX regulations. Chief Compliance Officer/ Title IX Coordinator Debbie M. Walker can be reached at Midlands Technical College, P.O. Box 2408, Columbia, SC 29202, 803.822.3261 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Faculty and staff complaints should be directed to Alexea Ray, Employee Relations Manager/Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer, at 803.822.3251 or email@example.com. For more information on Title IX visit WWW.MIDLANDSTECH.EDU/title-ix-discrimination-sexual-assault. See also Appendix II.
Detailed definitions of sexual assault are provided in the South Carolina Code of Laws 816 -3- 600. Harassment and stalking definitions are provided in 16 -3-1700. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.
“Sexual assault” is an extreme form of sexual harassment. It can be defined as a situation in which an individual is forced, threatened or coerced into sexual contact against his/her free will, or without his/her consent. Sexual assault may include, but is not limited to, sexual violence, date or acquaintance rape, sexual battery, sexual coercion, domestic violence, sexual molestation, unwanted sexual touching or having sexual contact with a person while knowing or having reason to know that the person is incapacitated in some way (i. e., due to drugs or alcohol.)
“Domestic violence” is a felony misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of jurisdiction; or any person against whom an adult or youth victim who is protected under that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of this jurisdiction.
“Dating Violence” refers to violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the consideration of the length of the relationship; type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Detailed definitions of sexual assault are provided in the South Carolina Code of Laws 816 -3 - 600. Harassment and stalking definitions are provided in 16 -3 -1700. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.
“Sexual harassment” is unwelcome attention directed toward a person’s sexuality, sexual identity, or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited by law as well as by the Student Code for the South Carolina Technical College System, and the Student Code for Midlands Technical College. Sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Sexual harassment includes any advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual violence and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s programs or services. It may include such conduct as offensive jokes, slurs, name calling, physical assaults, threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put downs, and/or offensive objects or pictures. Sexual harassment also includes verbal, written, electronic or other, stalking behaviors, or engaging in conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Sexual harassment may include demands for sexual favors in exchange for benefits or the creation of a hostile environment. A hostile environment occurs when sexually offensive conduct creates an intimidating, abusive or unpleasant learning or working environment that unreasonably interferes with a student receiving an education or an employee doing their work. Other forms of harassment can include disparaging personal remarks, intimidating, threatening and abusive behaviors directed toward another person or group of individuals.
The college provides programming to enhance the awareness and prevention of sexual harassment, sexual assault/violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and throughout the year. Designated staff members and community experts give presentations and provide resources on request. In addition, pamphlets, brochures and other literature are distributed throughout the campus via newsstands; bulletin boards; activity fairs; the student newspaper; and the employee newsletter, the College News, on the MTC intranet site. Regular training on sexual harassment and sexual assault is conducted for college employees, and college authorities who are responsible for investigating sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints and conducting disciplinary hearing on these complaints undergo annual training related to sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Sexual-Offense Reporting Procedures
In cases of sexual assault/violence, victims should not change clothes or bathe before seeking medical attention or reporting the crime. This action will ensure the evidence is preserved.
If a sexual offense happens off campus, victims are encouraged to report the incident to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction, such as the local Police or Sheriff's Department, in the location where the assault occurred immediately. The law enforcement agency will provide guidance concerning evidence collection, legal procedures and other support resources.
When a sexual offense occurs on campus, members of the college community should immediately contact and report it to the Campus Police. Bystanders who witness an assault, harassment, or a potentially harmful situation may provide anonymous reports. The Chief Compliance Officer/ Title IX Coordinator investigates allegations involving students, faculty, and staff.
Complaints of sexual assault will be responded to promptly and equitably. The right to confidentiality of all members of the college community will be protected to the extent possible under law. Retaliation against individuals filing sexual assault and/or sexual harassment charges is prohibited.
The Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, which went into effect in October 2002, requires all campuses to keep a registry of convicted sex offenders who enroll in classes or work on campus. Convicted sexual offenders enrolled or working at the Midlands Technical College are required to register with the Sheriff's Department in the county of their residence. The student or employee must inform the Sheriff's Department they are enrolled or working at MTC. They must also register with the MTC Police Department.
The form for registering with the MTC Police Department can be found at WWW.MIDLANDSTECH.EDU/sites/default/files/discrimination_harrassment_form.pdf
Campus Police and the investigating party will advise victims of their option to file criminal charges with local law enforcement authorities. They will also assist victims with transportation to the nearest designated sexual assault treatment center. The college will provide victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment with counseling and information about victim support services, such as the nearest sexual assault treatment center. Counseling and Career Services will provide students counseling and referral assistance and Human Resource Management will assist employees in seeking counseling through the Employee Assistance Program.
The college will grant victims’ requests for reasonable and appropriate alternative accommodations to allay their security and safety concerns. Possible accommodations may include alternative classes, campus relocation, work reassignments and/or schedule changes.
The victim may choose to exercise the option to file formal disciplinary actions against the alleged assailant under the Student Code Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment procedure, the Student Grievance Procedure, or the Employee Disciplinary Actions Policy.
Midlands Technical College strictly prohibits hazing, as defined in the South Carolina Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act. Any act in which a student or employee treats another student or college employee in a tyrannical, abusive, shameful, insulting or humiliating nature, with intent of bodily or psychological harm, is a violation of the Midlands Technical College Student Code and college employee policy. If an investigation reveals that an individual is guilty of hazing after being accorded appropriate due process, that individual will be subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with college disciplinary procedures.
Victims may initiate the college disciplinary process by filing a complaint with the Chief Compliance Officer/ Title IX Coordinator. Victims of sexual assault/violence and/or sexual harassment should provide a detailed written statement to the investigating party. If evidence is sufficient, charges will be filed against the accused. Due process under established college disciplinary procedures will be accorded all parties.
Disciplinary actions imposed for sexual assault and sexual harassment offenses will vary according to the severity of the conduct and may include expulsion of a student from the college or termination of employment of a staff or faculty member. Other possible disciplinary actions include those cited in the Student Code and the Employee Disciplinary Actions Policy.
Both the complainant and the accused have the rights to due process and counsel during the disciplinary proceedings; however, counsel is solely to advise. Both parties will be notified in writing of the resolution of any college disciplinary proceeding resulting from a sexual violence and/or sexual harassment charge and of their right to appeal findings through all stages, up to the review by the hearing committee.
As with any crime, if charges of sexual assault/violence and/or sexual harassment are prosecuted, criminal penalties could result in addition to disciplinary actions taken by the college.