5.17.  Sexual Misconduct

Board of Trustee Approval: August 6, 2007
Revised: October 1, 2015; February 6, 2017

Sandhills Community College fosters an environment of respect for the dignity and worth of all members of the College community and therefore has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct in any form, including cyber forms.

Members of the college community, guests, and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of gender and sex-based discrimination, examples of which can include acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The College believes in a zero-tolerance policy for gender-based misconduct. When an allegation of sexual misconduct is brought to an appropriate administration’s attention, and a responding party is found to have violated this policy, serious sanctions will be used to reasonably ensure that such actions are never repeated. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.

The College recognizes and endorses the federal guidelines in defining sexual misconduct or discrimination as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” when:

  1. submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment/enrollment, or
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment/enrollment decisions affecting such individuals, or conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or study performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or study environment.

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OFFENSES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:

  1. Sexual Harassment
  2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same)
  3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
  4. Sexual Exploitation
  5. Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment
  6. Interpersonal Violence
  7. Stalking

1. Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is:

  • unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
  • sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
  • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program and/or activities, and is,
  • based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment,

2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is:

  •  any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, of a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force.

Sexual Contact includes:

  • Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or
  • touching another with any of these body parts, or
  • making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.

3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is:

    • any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, of a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force.

Intercourse includes:

  • vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and
  • oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

4. Sexual Exploitation
Occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another student;
  • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
  • Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  • Engaging in voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals.

Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation

5. Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment
Sexual and gender-based harassment is verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostile conduct based on sex, sex-stereotyping, sexual orientation or gender identity, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s education or work programs or activities. For example, persistent disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity or exclusion from an activity based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

6. Interpersonal Violence
Includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that a reasonable person in similar circumstances and with similar identities would find intimidating, frightening, terrorizing, or threatening. Such behaviors may include threats of violence to one’s self, one’s family member, or one’s pet.

7. Stalking
Stalking includes, but is not limited to, a pattern of following, observing, or monitoring the victim, or committing violent or intimidating acts against the victim, regardless of the means. This includes incidents of cyber-stalking.

Additional Applicable Definitions:

Consent: Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent).

Other Misconduct Offenses Will Fall Under Title IX When Sex- or Gender-Based:

  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
    • Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
  • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the College community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy);
  • Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to
    intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment).
  • Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other.

The College also, in accordance with the U.S. Department of Education requirements of Section 485 of the Higher Education Act (also known as the Jeanne Cleary Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 U.S.C. Section 1092), the Student Right-to-Know, the Violence Against Women Act, and the SaVE Act of 2014, exhibits zero tolerance toward violence on campus, including sexual assault, sexual violence, interpersonal violence, and stalking. SCC will support this policy and increase awareness through educational prevention training, special literature, and counseling. Services and resources for victims will be provided both on campus and through the College website.

SANCTIONING FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

  • Any person found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Contact (where no intercourse has occurred) will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations.*
  • Any person found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Intercourse will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion (student) or suspension or termination (employee).*
  • Any person found responsible for violating the policy on sexual exploitation or sexual harassment will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion or termination, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations.*

*The decision-making body reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial investigators nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.

SANCTIONS
The following sanctions may be imposed upon any member of the community found to have violated the Gender-based Misconduct Policy. The following are the typical sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:

Student Sanctions (listed below and defined in [Student Handbook])

  • Warning
  • Probation
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Organizational Sanctions
  • Other Actions  

Employee Sanctions (listed below and defined in the Policy and Procedures Manual)

  • Warning – Written or Verbal
  • Performance Improvement Plan
  • Required Counseling
  • Required Training or Education
  • Suspension with Pay
  • Suspension without Pay
  • Termination