Non-Discrimination and Title IX

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Lees-McRae College does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, age, religion, national and ethnic origin, disability, or other individual distinctions in its programs, procedures or hiring and employment practices. The College will take affirmative action to ensure this policy is enforced.

Statement of Title IX Compliance

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. It reads: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (Title IX).

Lees-McRae College is committed to providing a safe and discrimination-free environment for all members of the College community. The College does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities. The College will respond to complaints or reports about prohibited conduct with measures designed to stop the behavior, eliminate any such discrimination, prevent the recurrence of the prohibited conduct, and remediate any adverse effects of such conduct on campus or in college-related programs or activities. This may include the implementation of interim restriction(s).

The College has an obligation to make reasonable efforts to promptly and equitably investigate and address complaints or reports of sex discrimination, including but not limited to, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating/domestic violence, retaliation, and other related forms of sex discrimination or sexual misconduct, whenever it becomes aware of such a complaint or report. Collectively, these terms are referred to in this policy as “Sexual Misconduct.”

Once made aware, the College must conduct an investigation regardless of how the information was brought to the College’s attention or the extent to which the Complainant wishes to participate or be involved. This policy refers to the individual who is the alleged victim of the behavior(s) in question as the “Complainant” and the alleged to have committed the violation of the policy as the “Respondent.”

Students, staff, faculty, and third parties who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of Title IX should follow the procedures outlined in this policy to report these concerns immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or any Deputy Title IX Coordinator identified below. Title IX prohibits retaliation by any student and/or employee against anyone who reports an alleged Title IX violation.

Who to Contact

Inquiries, regarding the application of Title IX and other laws, regulations and policies prohibiting discrimination may be directed to:

Ms. Mary Furst
Title IX Coordinator
Business Affairs Office
furstm@lmc.edu
828-898-8743

Mr. Jon Kokos
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for College Employees and Third Parties
Business Affairs Office
kokosj@lmc.edu
828-898-8809

Mr. Josh Gaisser
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students and Resident Life
Cannon Student Center, Student Development Office
gaisserj@lmc.edu
828-898-3311

Mr. Jeffery Merrill
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics
Williams Gym, Athletics Office
merrillj@lmc.edu
828-898-8783

Mr. H.D. Stewart
Title IX Investigator
Office of Campus Safety and Security
stewarth@lmc.edu
828-898-8700

Inquiries may also be directed to:
United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education, District of Columbia Office
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202
ocr.dc@ed.gov
202-453-6020

 

This Title IX policy governs the conduct of Lees-McRae College students, regardless of enrollment status; faculty; staff; and third parties (non-members of the College community, such as vendors, alumni, visitors, or local residents).

This Title IX policy applies to all College programs and activities. All campus community members are responsible for their actions and behavior, whether the conduct in question occurs on campus or in another location if it involves a program or activity of the recipient. Members of the campus community have a responsibility to adhere to College policies and local, state and federal law.

Third parties are both protected by and subject to this policy. A third party may report or file a complaint concerning a violation of this policy committed by a member of the College community. A third party may also be permanently barred from the College or subject to other restrictions for failing to comply with this policy. This policy applies to conduct that occurs on college property, and in certain circumstances, off college property or off campus. This policy applies to conduct that occurs off campus when the conduct is associated with a College-sponsored program or activity, such as travel, distance learning, research, or internship programs. Judgments about these matters will depend upon the facts of an individual case.

 

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    Campus Life Policies and Practices

    Lees-McRae College prohibits the crimes of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking as later defined herein. The College’s approach to addressing this problem is to (a) educate the campus community as a means of prevention; (b) deter such acts through prompt reporting and investigation of alleged violations of this policy, and the imposition of sanctions where a violation is found by a preponderance of the evidence; (c) provide assistance to Complainants; and (d) place Complainants in contact with local law enforcement to investigate possible legal prosecution.

    Educational programs on Title IX including Lees-McRae policies, consent, sexual harassment and assault, and bystander intervention are conducted through appointed Title IX Coordinators. The Title IX Coordinators partner with the Student Development Office and Campus Safety Committee to provide education and services. Counseling options are available through the Student Development Office.

    If a student, staff, or faculty member believes someone they know has experienced sexual misconduct, they should promptly report incidents to the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator. All faculty and staff (including all Resident Assistants and Resident Directors) who observe or aware of sexual misconduct are required to immediately report to the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The faculty or staff member should not and are not permitted to investigate or try and resolve or mediate the situation.

    Lees-McRae College encourages the reporting of possible violations of Title IX policy by those subject to the violation or witnesses. Students may be reluctant to make such reports or participate in a grievance proceeding because they themselves may be accused of a conduct violation. However, it is in the best interests for those subject to sexual misconduct or witnesses of possible violations to report to the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Thus, a student who reports sexual misconduct by another will not be subject to conduct violations or disciplinary proceedings for her/his own actions, provided that the reporting student’s actions did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk or violate Title IX or other College policies. Only those who are subject to the violation or a witness may receive amnesty, not the alleged Respondent.

    All Lees-McRae College employees shall refrain from any inappropriate relationship with students to the extent that the relationship may compromise any policies and/or expectations of the College as a quality institution of higher education. Inappropriate relationships include any romantic or physically intimate liaison with a student. College employees are not to engage in a dating or inappropriate relationship with an individual that they have direct supervisory authority over.


    Definitions

    Awareness Programs: Community-wide or audience-specific programming, initiatives, and strategies that increase audience knowledge and share information and resources to prevent violence, promote safety, and reduce perpetration.

    Bystander intervention: Safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Bystander intervention includes recognizing situations of potential harm, understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, overcoming barriers to intervening, identifying safe and effective intervention options, and taking action to intervene. Bystanders may report possible misconduct and all faculty and staff (including all Resident Assistants, Resident Directors) who observe or aware of sexual misconduct are required to immediately report to the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

    Complainant: The individual who has experienced alleged sexual misconduct.

    Consent: The explicit approval and permission to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions, words, or writings. Consent is informed, freely given and mutually understood by all parties involved. If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force are used, there is no consent. If the Complainant was mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the Complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious, or under the age of legal consent, or unable to give consent under current law. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent, and past consent of sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. Whether the Respondent has taken advantage of a position of influence over the Complainant may be a factor in determining whether consent was freely given. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

    Dating Violence: Violence that is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.

    The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

    For the purposes of this definition dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

    Domestic Violence: A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant; By a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common; By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner; By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

    Discrimination: Any distinction, preference, advantage for or detriment to an individual compared to others that is based upon an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ethnicity or national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status and any other characteristic protected by law.

    Discriminatory Harassment: Detrimental action based on an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ethnicity or national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status and any other characteristic protected by law that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or activities.

    Gender-based Harassment: This is another form of sex-based harassment and refers to unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including harassment based on gender identity or nonconformity with sex stereotypes, and not necessarily involving conduct of a sexual nature.

    Hostile Environment: Harassing that was conduct sufficiently serious-that is sufficiently severe or pervasive-to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s program based on sex.

    Ongoing Prevention and Awareness Campaigns: Programming, initiatives, and strategies that are sustained over time and focus on increasing understanding of topics relevant to and skills for addressing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, using a range of strategies with audiences throughout the institution and including information described in paragraph 34 CFR 668.46, paragraph (j)(1)(i) (A)-(F).

    Pregnant and Parenting Students: The college may not (a) apply any rule concerning parental, family, or marital status that treats persons differently on the basis of sex; (b) discriminate against or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom; or (c) make pre-admission inquiries as to the marital status of an applicant for admission.

    Primary Prevention Programs: Programming, initiatives, and strategies informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome that are intended to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking before they occur through the promotion of positive and healthy behaviors that foster healthy, mutually respectful relationships and sexuality, encourage safe bystander intervention, and seek to change behavior and social norms in healthy and safe directions.

    Proceeding: All activities related to a non-criminal resolution of an institutional disciplinary complaint, including, but not limited to, fact finding investigations, formal or informal meetings, and hearings. Proceeding does not include communications and meetings between officials and the Complainants concerning accommodations or protective measures to be provided to the Complainants.

    Respondent: The individual who has been accused of committing sexual misconduct.

    Result: Any initial, interim, and final decision by any official or entity authorized to resolve disciplinary matters within the institution. The result must include any sanctions assigned by the institution. Notwithstanding section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g), commonly referred to as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the result must also include the rationale for the result and the sanctions.

    Retaliatory Harassment: Intentional action taken by an accused individual, allied third party, or a Title IX Coordinator, absent legitimate non-discriminatory purposes, that harms an individual as reprisal for filing or participating in a proceeding under this policy or any other grievance or disciplinary proceeding, or advocating for others’ Title IX rights. Any such action is strictly prohibited and may be investigated and reviewed as a separate violation of these Title IX Policies and Procedures.

    Risk Reduction: Options designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for the Complainant in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.

    Sex Offenses: Any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the Complainant including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent.

    Rape: the carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against the person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of his/her youth).

    Sodomy: oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against the person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

    Sexual Assault with an Object: the use of an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of his/her youth).

    Forcible Fondling: the touching of private body parts of another person for sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (or because of his/her youth).

    Sex Offenses: Non-Forcible: Unlawful, non-forcible sexual intercourse.

    Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

    Statutory Rape: Non-forcible intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

     

    Sexual Harassment: Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as assault or acts of sexual violence.

    Examples of sexually harassing conduct include, but are not limited to:

    • making sexual propositions or pressuring students for sexual favors;
    • touching of a sexual nature;
    • writing graffiti of a sexual nature;
    • making via electronic means, displaying, or distributing sexually explicit
    • drawings, videos, pictures, or written materials, in any manner or through social media;
    • performing sexual gestures or touching oneself sexually in front of others;
    • telling sexual or dirty jokes;
    • Spreading sexual rumors or rating other students as to sexual activity or performance; or circulating or showing e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature.

    Sexual Harassment of a Student by another Student: Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a student toward another student that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or activities.

    Sexual Harassment of a Student by a Faculty/Staff Member: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a faculty or staff member toward a student are held to constitute sexual harassment when: Submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating an individual’s educational development or performance; or such conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or activities.

    Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving 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). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.

    Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person too far of the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition, course of conduct means two or more acts including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveys, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.

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    Procedures

    When a complaint is filed alleging discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX as defined herein, or such alleged conduct is brought to the attention of the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the process involves an immediate initial inquiry by the Title IX Coordinator to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the conduct or discrimination occurred. If the Title IX Coordinator determines there is reasonable cause to believe the conduct or discrimination as alleged has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will initiate a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation.  This investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable determination about whether the conduct or discrimination has occurred.  If so, the college will implement a prompt and effective remedy designed to end the conduct or discrimination, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

    If deemed necessary by the Title IX Coordinator or applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator, interim remedial measures to avoid contact between the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator (the “Respondent”) may be taken prior to completion of the investigation to change academic and extracurricular activities including living, transportation, dining, and working situations. The Complainant will be referred to the Vice President of Student Development and/or Director of Human Resources, to make him/her aware of all available resources such as victim advocacy, housing assistance, academic support, counseling, disability services, and health and mental health services, and the right to report a crime to Campus Safety or the Town of Banner Elk Police Department.

    This procedure is intended to apply to alleged discrimination or harassment in violation of this Title IX Policy. All other misconduct or grievances by students against students or employees against students will be addressed through the student academic/misconduct procedures or non-academic/non-misconduct grievance procedures located elsewhere in this Code which is administered by the Vice President of Student Development.

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    Informal Process

    Before pursuing the formal complaint process, every reasonable effort should be made to constructively resolve the issues. Whenever possible and safe, the problem or complaint should first be discussed with the Respondent who is the subject of the complaint. If the parties believe the issue has been resolved, they should nevertheless report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator for approval of the resolution.

    If satisfactory resolution is not reached after discussion with the Respondent, the Complainant should contact the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator immediately. The college does not require a student to contact the Respondent or the Respondent’s supervisor if doing so is impracticable or unsafe, or if the student believes that the conduct cannot be effectively addressed through informal means.

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    Formal Process

    If the informal process does not resolve the complaint, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Title IX Investigator (the “Investigator”), who will be designated to formally investigate the complaint. The Investigator will be someone who is regularly trained on dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of the Complainant and promotes accountability. Notice of a formal student complaint can be made in person or orally to an appropriate official, but the college strongly encourages submission of the complaint in writing, by email, or other written form to the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator immediately, as identified above.

    The Complainant should clearly and concisely describe the alleged incident(s), when and where it occurred, and the desired remedy sought. The complaint should be signed by the Complainant or, in the case of an email submission, sent as an email attachment, in letter format and should contain the name and all contact information for the Complainant. Any supporting documentation and evidence should be referenced within the body of the complaint. Additionally, the Complainant should submit any supporting materials in writing as quickly as is practicable.

    Upon receipt of a complaint, the Investigator will direct the investigation and confer with the Title IX Coordinator and the Vice President for Student Development on interim action, accommodations for the alleged Complainant, or other necessary remedial short-term actions.

    The Investigator will then take the following steps:

    • In coordination with the Title IX Coordinator, initiate any necessary remedial actions to include preventing any contact between the Complainant and the alleged violator if necessary;
    • Determine the identity and contact information of the Complainant (whether that be the initiator, the alleged Complainant, or a College proxy or representative);
    • In coordination with the campus Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator, identify the policies allegedly violated;
    • Conduct an immediate initial investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to charge the Respondent , and what policy violations should be alleged as part of the complaint;
    • If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the complaint should be closed with no further action;
    • Meet with the Complainant to finalize the complaint;
    • Prepare the notice of charges on the basis of the initial investigation;
    • Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation;
    • Complete the investigation promptly, and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;
    • Have both the Complainant and the Respondent review their statements made to the Investigator and sign off on them either in person or electronically as their full and complete statement;
    • Submit all investigation documentation and support to the Title IX Coordinator

     
    The Title IX Coordinator will then take the following steps:

    • Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not)
    • Inform the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator of the finding, which may include a recommended sanction;
    • The decision of the Title IX Coordinator is final, and not subject to modification except through the appeals process set forth below.
    • Either party may appeal the findings pursuant to the procedures set forth below.

     
    The appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator will then take the following steps:

    • Present the findings and recommended sanction to the Respondent, who may it, accept it in part and reject them in part, or may reject all; and
    • Simultaneously share the findings and update the Complainant on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
    • Notify the Title IX Coordinator that these actions have been completed.

    These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings. During the meeting with the Investigator or any subsequent proceedings, the Complainant or the Respondent may have an advisor or advocate accompany and assist him/her at their expense. This advisor can be anyone. If the case is reviewed by the Hearing Committee (see section below), then the advisor may not take part directly in the hearing itself, though they may communicate with the Complainant or Respondent they represent as necessary as long as it does not disrupt the proceedings.

    The Complainant and the Respondent will not be allowed to use electronic devices during the meeting with the Investigator, subsequent investigation meetings, reviewing documents, and in any Hearings; except to reveal evidence to the Investigator that is on the electronic device.

    Interim Measures and Remedies for the Complainant: The Complainant may seek the assistance, in confidence, of the college’s counseling services. Additionally, depending on the specific nature of the problem, the Vice President for Student Development, in conjunction with the Title IX Coordinator, may direct remedies for the Complainant which may include, but are not limited to:

    • Providing an effective escort to ensure that the Complainant can move safely between classes and activities
    • Ensuring the Complainant and Respondent do not share classes or extracurricular activities
    • Moving the Respondent or Complainant (if the Complainant requests to be moved) to a different residence hall
    • Providing comprehensive, holistic victim services including medical, counseling and academic support services, such as tutoring
    • Arranging for the Complainant to have extra time to complete or re-take a class or withdraw from a class without an academic or financial penalty
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    The Title IX Hearing Committee Procedures

    When the Respondent accepts the finding that he/she violated the Title IX Policy, the findings cannot be appealed by the Respondent.

    If the Complainant or Respondent is not satisfied with the Title IX Coordinator’s findings and/or the remedies/sanctions that the Title IX Coordinator assigned, the Complainant or Respondent may request a hearing before the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee. The hearing request must be made in writing within 3 school days to Office of the Vice President for Student Development. If the request is timely filed, the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee shall conduct a hearing in accordance with this policy within ten school (10) days, after notice to the Complainant or Respondent. For purposes of this decision, the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee will be provided all relevant documents and statements of witnesses, the Respondent, and the Complainant gathered by the Investigator. The Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee may consult with the Investigator at any time about conflicts in testimony if it will not unduly prejudice the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee decision making process.

    At any hearing conducted by the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee both the Complainant and the Respondent will be requested to appear, as well as any witnesses they wish to call. If requested, the Complainant and Respondent will not be present at the same time during the hearing, nor is the presence of the Complainant a prerequisite for the hearing to proceed. The failure of either or both parties to appear when properly notified will not prevent the hearing from taking place as scheduled or preclude a decision from being reached. The decision of the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee shall be based on a preponderance of the evidence.

    If the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee finds, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, that there has been a violation of the Title IX Policy, Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee may support the remedies/sanctions assigned by the Deputy Title IX Coordinator or assign further remedies/ sanctions in accordance with the section below.

    The Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee is authorized to assign sanctions as outlined in Student Handbook up to suspension. Based on the severity of the violation, the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee may recommend expulsion for the Respondent to the Vice President for Student Development.
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    Appeal to the Executive Appeals Committee

    The Complainant and the Respondent will both be notified of the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee decision and will both have the option, if dissatisfied, to make written appeals to the Executive Appeals Committee through the Office of the Vice President for Student Development. Notice of such appeals must be provided to the Office of the Vice President for Student Development within three (3) school days of the decision of the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee.

    The only permitted grounds for appeal are as follows:

    • A procedural [or substantive error] occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.)
    • To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included
    • The sanctions assigned are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.


    If the Executive Appeals Committee determines that new evidence should be considered, it will return the complaint to the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee to reconsider in light of the new evidence, only. The reconsideration of the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee is not appealable.

    If the Executive Appeals Committee determines that a material procedural [or substantive] error occurred, it may return the complaint to the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee with instructions to reconvene to cure the error. In rare cases, where the procedural [or substantive] error cannot be cured by the Title IX Appeals Hearing Committee (as in cases of bias), the Executive Appeals Committee may request a new hearing of the complaint with a new body of hearing officers. The results of a reconvened hearing cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on the three applicable grounds for appeals.

    If the Executive Appeals Committee determines that the sanctions assigned are disproportionate to the severity of the violation, Executive Appeals Committee may then increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions. The decision of Executive Appeals Committee is final.

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    Criminal Process

    Victims of sexual assault, rape and/or date rape are encouraged to seek the criminal prosecution of their assailants. The Office of Campus Safety and Security will assist victims who choose to prosecute by transporting them to the Town of Banner Elk Police Department and providing information in support of the charges being preferred. However, the college will continue to investigate the report in compliance with Title IX.

    The College views rape, date rape, and sexual assault as grievous violations of criminal law and the Student Code of Conduct. As such, these offenses will be addressed by the Executive Student Conduct Committee. A student who is proven to have committed or been involved in the commission of such an offense can expect to be suspended or expelled from the College.

    Should a student be raped or sexually assaulted on the campus or in the vicinity of the school, the victim is urged to report the matter to Campus Safety and Security without delay and preserve all evidence of criminal action. As unpleasant as it may be, the victim should not wash, shower, or change clothes. To a large extent, the victim is the evidence of the crime. The longer the delay between the incident and the time it is reported, the less likely it is that the criminal prosecution will be successful. It should also be noted that state laws dealing with victim compensation and aid limit eligibility for benefits to cases of rape and sexual assault reported within five (5) days.

    By contacting the Town of Banner Elk Police Department at the Campus Security office, Campus Security will arrange for proper care and assistance to be provided and for a victim’s advocate to be appointed, if the student wishes. Furthermore, the members of the Office of Campus Safety and Security pledge that:

    • They will meet with the victim privately, at a place of the victim’s choice in the local area, to take a complaint report.
    • They will not release the victim’s name to the public or to the press.
    • Their officers will not prejudge or blame the victim for what has occurred.
    • They will treat the victim and the particular case with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, understanding and professionalism.
    • If the victim feels more comfortable talking with a female rather than a male officer, they will do their best to accommodate the victim’s request.
    • They will assist the victim in arranging for any hospital treatment or medical needs.
    • They will assist the victim in privately contacting counseling services and other available resources.
    • They will fully investigate the victim’s case and will help the victim achieve the best outcome. This may involve the arrest and full prosecution of the suspect responsible. The victim will be kept up-to-date on the progress of the investigation and/or prosecution.
    • They will continue to be available to the victim to answer questions, explain the systems and processes involved, and be willing listeners.
    • They will consider the victim’s case seriously, regardless of the victim’s gender.


    The investigation into the rape or sexual assault will be handled by the Town of Banner Elk Police Department. Refer to the NC General Statute § 143B-480.2 regarding victim assistance. The College will assist victims of rape and/or sexual assault in coping with the after-effects of their experience.

    The College is prepared to accommodate reasonable requests for academic schedule and housing changes by victims of rape and sexual assault. Such requests should be directed to the Residence Life Office.