Process

Alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy are handled as a top priority by HCC Administration. 

Students and employees are offered full protections of due process when they are accused of a violation. Because of the nature of these offenses, HCC’s President and Board of Trustees reserve the discretion to review any decisions made by HCC Boards or Committees and to reach an independent conclusion based upon evidence that will be final.

Processes for a Complaint Against a Student

Complaints against students are processed in accordance with the Student Code Procedures outlined in the HCC Code for Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, Section VI. If a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy is alleged to have occurred, the Student Conduct Official includes the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator (see Contacts and Resources) in the investigation and decision making process. Members of the Student Conduct Review Board (SCRB) receive training in handling sexual misconduct complaints.

In the event of a hearing, both the complainant and the respondent are notified, in writing, of the date, time, and place of the hearing. The burden of proof is on the complainant to establish that it is more likely than not that the respondent is responsible for the alleged violation. HCC does not permit either party to personally question the other during a hearing about alleged sexual misconduct. Both parties have the right to present witnesses and/or evidence that is appropriate or relevant to the case. Questions or statements regarding the prior sexual history of the complainant with anyone other than the respondent are prohibited. Evidence of a current or prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the parties alone does not imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct.

Both the complainant and the respondent may be accompanied by an advisor, who is there for consultation and support. Any advisors invited by either the complainant or the respondent are informed that hearings are held using a civil (not a criminal) process and, therefore, are not conducted in strict accord with legal rules of evidence, but to accomplish substantial justice. The respondent is not allowed to have any more advisors than the complainant. HCC expects to conclude all proceedings within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the complaint. Possible sanctions for violation of this Policy are contained in the HCC Code for Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct, Section VIII. HCC reserves the right to create and impose additional or different sanctions that HCC concludes are necessary or appropriate to meet the requirements of this Policy and the law.

Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal a decision to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee on the grounds that: (a) procedural error or previously unavailable, relevant evidence could significantly impact the outcome of the case; and/or (b) a sanction is substantially disproportionate to the finding. The appeal must be in writing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee, and received within ten (10) work days of the issuance of the decision. Both parties will be notified, in writing, of the outcome of the complaint and any appeal.

The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator may also present an appeal directly to the President of HCC, whether or not either party appeals the decision. The President may gather evidence, may afford each side a chance to present a case, and may reach an independent decision in the case, either in support of or contrary to the decision of the SCRB. The President’s decision shall be final.

Processes for a Complaint Against an Employee

Alleged violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy are handled as a top priority by HCC Administration. Students and employees are offered full protections of due process when they are accused of a violation. Because of the nature of these offenses, HCC’s President and Board of Trustees reserve the discretion to review any decisions made by HCC Boards or Committees and to reach an independent conclusion based upon evidence that will be final.

Complaints against an HCC employee are handled and investigated as a sexual misconduct complaint, in accordance with the HCC Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Procedure.

The Director for Human Resources and Employee Development (DHRED) leads the investigation into the sexual misconduct complaint in coordination with the Title IX Coordinator. In cases involving students, the DHRED also coordinates with the Associate Vice President for Student Development.

Immediate action is taken to eliminate contact between the complainant and the respondent. The DHRED, or his/her designee, first interviews the complainant and also informs him/her about HCC’s investigative process. The DHRED also interviews any witnesses to the alleged misconduct as well as the respondent. Both the complainant and the respondent are notified, in writing, of the results of the investigation as soon as possible, but no longer than sixty (60) calendar days following the complaint. Corrective action, up to and including discharge from HCC, may result from an investigation which confirms sexual misconduct by an employee.

The confidentiality of all parties is a priority and investigations are conducted in as discreet and confidential a manner as possible.

In the event a hearing is held in any case involving sexual misconduct, regardless of any other policy or statement, HCC does not permit either party to personally question the other during a hearing about alleged sexual misconduct. Questions or statements regarding the prior sexual history of the complainant with anyone other than the respondent are prohibited. Evidence of a current or prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the parties alone does not imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct.

Processes for a Complaint Against a Third Party

Complaints against a third party, who is neither a student nor an employee, are handled and investigated as a sexual misconduct complaint in accordance with the HCC Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Procedure. The Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator lead the investigation, in cooperation with the DHRED, the Associate Vice President for Student Development, and the HCC Department of Public Safety, as appropriate. The Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and Public Safety also provide the complainant with appropriate resources and/or referrals and may assist the member in referring the matter to local law enforcement as a criminal matter, if s/he so chooses.

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