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CAMPUS SAFETY & COMPLIANCE FAQ

Campus Safety & Compliance FAQ

Q?

Does Hutchinson Community College have an official Nondiscrimination Statement or Notice of Nondiscrimination?

A:

Yes, HCC has an official nondiscrimination statement. This statement is part of the College’s more comprehensive Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures, which can be accessed online.

Q?

Who is Hutchinson Community College’s designated Title IX Coordinator/Affirmative Action Officer/EEO?

A:

At HCC the Coordinator of Equity and Compliance (Title IX Coord.) oversees institutional efforts to comply with federal and state legislation--as well as college policy and procedures--regarding issues of discrimination, harassment, and equal opportunity. Jacob Gunden currently serves in this position. His office is located on the main floor of the Parker Student Union. He may be reached at (620) 665-3512 or gundenj@hutchcc.edu.

Q?

What is Title IX and how does it apply to me?

A:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination--which includes sexual harassment and sexual violence--in educational programs and activities. All public and private schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds must comply with Title IX. If you have experienced sexual discrimination (such as sexual harassment or sexual violence), here are some things you should know about your Title IX rights:

  • HCC must respond promptly and effectively to sexual harassment and sexual violence
  • HCC must provide interim measures as necessary
  • HCC should make known where you can find confidential services
  • HCC must conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation
  • HCC must provide remedies as necessary

[For a more detailed explanations of your rights and HCC’s responsibilities under Title IX, visit the various “HCC Know Your Rights” handouts under the Documents option on HCC’s Campus Safety & Compliance webpage]

Q?

What role or responsibilities do HCC employees have in reporting incidents of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence to College officials?

A:

Most HCC Faculty, staff, and student employees—unless specifically exempted by HCC Policy—have been designated as Responsible Employees and are obligated to report information about potential incidents to the College’s Coordinator of Equity and Compliance (Title IX Coordinator). Such mandatory reporting is required of Responsible Employees regardless of the wishes or desires of the person that originally disclosed the information to them. If you are unclear about an individual’s reporting obligation, ask them or consult HCC’s Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedure.

Q?

Can I make a report anonymously?

A:

An anonymous report may be submitted through HCC’s TIPS reporting system. TIPS is NOT a 911 or emergency reporting site. Reports submitted through this service may not receive an immediate response. If you are seeing an incident in progress, or have been a victim of a safety or security incident, call 911 or Campus Security immediately.

TIPS expands the methods by which any member of the campus community can share matters they feel need to be elevated or addressed—including incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination. It is not intended to replace direct contact with campus officials, but instead provides an avenue for reporting campus incidents and an added mechanism for the campus community to work together to ensure HCC maintains a welcoming environment. While anonymous reporting is an option, please be aware that should you wish to remain anonymous in your TIPS report we cannot provide you a follow-up. Anonymous reporting may limit the College’s ability and options for addressing reported incidents. Therefore, some form of contact information is beneficial.

Q?

If I file a complaint, can it remain confidential?

A:

When it comes to requests for confidentiality, we’ll be up front with you. But if you are still unsure about an individual’s ability to maintain confidentiality or their role as a mandated reporter, ask them or consult HCC’s Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedure.

HCC’s Office of Equity & Compliance will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond in a manner consistent with a student’s confidentiality request and we’ll let you know if we can’t ensure confidentiality. If a student requests confidentiality and decides not to file a formal complaint with HCC or press charges in a sexual violence case with law enforcement, an anonymous report of the incident must still be made to comply with the Clery Act (federal campus crime reporting legislation). If the safety of others in the community could be at risk, the good of the whole may need to outweigh one student’s confidentiality request.

Q?

Does information about a complaint remain private?

A:

The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the College’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused individual may lead to conduct action by the College.

In all complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. Certain college administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g., the President of the College, Vice President of Student Services, Campus Security Officer). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the College and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The institution also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.

Q?

Who can I speak with confidentially about personal experiences regarding sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence?

A:

Persons wishing to confidentially discuss their experiences regarding sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence may to do so with one of the College’s licensed professional counselors. Individuals authorized to provide such service on our campus include:

  • Christopher Lau, Coord. of Advising, Career Development, & Counseling
  • Debra Graber, College Counselor
  • Mike Shirkey, College Counselor
  • Debbie Gieselman, College Counselor (HCC-McPherson)
  • Bev Wiebe, College Counselor (HCC-Newton)

[Additional information regarding Counseling services at HCC may be found here.]

Q?

If I seek mental health or personal counseling through HCC’s Student Success Center, are my records confidential or can they be shared with instructors or others at the College?

A:

HCC is committed to providing free, confidential counseling services to currently enrolled students of the college. HCC believes strongly in the need for confidentiality and follows Kansas statutes and professional ethical requirements on privilege of mental health records which govern the manner in which they are released. HCC wants to assure students that counseling records are secure, maintained confidentially, and separate from a student’s education record; therefore, the general standard for sharing private information under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is not applicable for sharing mental health treatments records internally.” For information about counseling services at HCC, please call (620) 665-3377 or visit our website.

Q?

Will the accused individual know my identity?

A:

Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused individual has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim. If there is a hearing, the College does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.

Q?

Do I have to name the perpetrator?

A:

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the reporting policy above to better understand the college’s legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials). Victims should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.

Q?

If I file a complaint, I’m afraid of retaliation. What protection can HCC give me?

A:

HCC’s Equal Opportunity, Harassment, & Nondiscrimination Policy and Procedures strictly prohibits retaliation against any party, including witnesses, who pursue a complaint in good faith. If the alleged respondent (aka alleged perpetrator) or his/her friends take action against you in any way, report the conduct immediately. The Coordinator of Equity & Compliance and other staff are available as resources to take strong, responsive action if any relation or new incidents of harassment occur.

Q?

How do I file a complaint with HCC?

A:

If you believe you are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination, sexual violence, stalking, or hazing, we encourage you to immediately contact HCC’s Coordinator of Equity & Compliance (Title IX Coordinator).

Q?

Will my parents be told?

A:

No, not unless you tell them or unless you are a minor. Whether you are the complainant or the accused individual, the College’s primary relationship is to the student and not the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are encouraged to inform their parents. College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation, or if an accused individual has signed the permission form at registration which allows such communication.

Q?

What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?

A:

Answer: Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim’s person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room before washing yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specifically trained nurse) at the hospital is usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you). A victim advocate from the institution can also accompany you to the hospital and law enforcement or campus security can provide transportation. If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called, but s/he is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a victim but will not obligate him or her to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the victim decide later to exercise it.

 

For the Victim: the hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breath, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene—leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.

Q?

What should I do if one of my friends has been sexually assaulted?

A:

Whether the assault occurred recently, or a long time ago, it is helpful if you can do the following:

  • Believe them
  • Maintain a calm manner
  • Listen without interrupting
  • Allow for tears and expression of feelings. (But don’t be alarmed if they instead appear emotionless).
  • Convey genuine concern
  • Provide accurate information
  • Allow them to make his/her own choices
  • Set judgement aside (Avoid asking ‘Why….” questions)
  • Let them know that it’s not their fault (You cannot say this enough!)
  • Let them know that there are people who can help and that they don’t have to go through this alone.
  • Refer your friend to help and encourage them to go. They trust you and that is why they are talking to you. You can use that influence to help them reach out for help.
Q?

What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

A:

DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone who can act as your advocate (advisor); anyone may serve as your advocate. You may also contact the Student Services Office or the Coordinator of Equity & Compliance (Title IX Coordinator), which can explain the college’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to one of the college’s confidential counselors or seek other community assistance.

Q?

Will I (as a victim) have to pay for counseling/or medical care?

A:

Not typically, if the institution provides these services already. If a victim is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc. In this state, victims may be ineligible for state-based assistance if they were engaged in any illegal activity during the assault or if they fail to cooperate with criminal prosecution.

Q?

What about legal advice?

A:

Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney’s (Prosecutor’s) office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are the accused individual or are considering filing a civil action. The accused individual may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution.

Q?

What about changing residence hall rooms?

A:

If you want to move, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is typically institutional policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you want the accused individual to move and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue a formal or informal college complaint. No contact orders can be imposed and room changes for the accused individual can usually be arranged quickly. Other accommodations available to you might include

  • Assistance from college support staff in completing the relocation;
  • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
  • Assistance with or rescheduling an academic assignment (paper, exams, etc.);
  • Taking an incomplete in a class;
  • Assistance with transferring class sections;
  • Temporary withdrawal;
  • Assistance with alternative course completion options;
  • Other accommodations for safety as necessary.
Q?

Will a victim be sanctioned when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if s/he has illegally used drugs or alcohol?

A:

No. The severity of the infraction will determine the nature of the College’s response, but whenever possible the College will respond educationally rather than punitively to the illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and the College does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.

Q?

Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct complaint?

A:

The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused individual’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence, and/or witnesses to prove her/his complaint. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused individual.

Q?

Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?

A:

Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.

Q?

What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?

A:

If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the institution’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the College’s Coordinator of Equity & Compliance (Title IX Coordinator) or the College’s counseling office. The College provides non-legal advocates (advisors) who can help you to define and clarify the event(s) and advise you of your options.

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