Non-Discrimination and Title IX

Policy of Non-Discrimination

Lees-McRae College prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, age, religion, national and ethnic origin, disability, genetic information, protected veteran status or other individual distinctions in its programs and activities (collectively, “protected status”). This prohibition includes discrimination or harassment based upon the perception of an individual’s protected status, even if the perception is mistaken. Relatedly, this Policy prohibits related misconduct, such as sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. The College will take affirmative action to ensure this Policy is enforced. This Policy should be read consistently with all applicable federal and state laws addressing discrimination, harassment, and related misconduct. This Policy also prohibits retaliation against any individual: who complains of or reports discrimination, harassment, or related misconduct; against whom a complaint is filed; who participates in reporting, investigation, or adjudication of possible violations of this Policy or exercises any right provided under this Policy; or engages in good-faith opposition to what the individual reasonably believes to be discrimination under this Policy.

The College’s Title IX Coordinator is:

Ms. Mary Furst
Title IX Coordinator
Business Affairs Building
P.O. Box 128
191 Main Street West
Banner Elk, NC 28604
furstm@lmc.edu
828.898.8743

The College’s Title IX Coordinator is responsible for administering the College’s Title IX Policies and Procedures and is designated as the Coordinator for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Inquiries regarding Lees-McRae College’s Title IX Policies and Procedures or the application of Title IX and other laws, regulations and policies prohibiting discrimination may be directed to the College’s Title IX Coordinator.

Lees-McRae College is committed to providing a safe and discrimination-free learning, living and working environment for all members of the College community. Students, staff, faculty, and third parties who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this Policy should follow the procedures outlined in this Policy to report these concerns immediately to the Title IX Coordinator.

Inquiries regarding the College’s application of this Policy 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@ed.gov
Telephone: 202.453.6020
Toll-Free: 800.421.3481 

Scope of the College's Title IX Policy and Procedures

This Title IX policy governs the conduct of Lees-McRae College students; faculty; staff; and third parties (non-members of the College community, such as vendors, alumni, visitors, or local residents) who come on campus and/or participate in the College’s programs and activities (collectively, the “campus community”). For the purposes of this Policy, status as a “student” begins with initial application to a College program and does not conclude until a degree is awarded or the student permanently withdraws or is dismissed.

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 College. This Policy applies to conduct that occurs on College property, and in certain circumstances, off college property or off campus, especially if the conduct involves another member of the campus community. This Policy applies to conduct 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. In particular, off-campus behaviors that have an actual or potential adverse impact on any member of the campus community or College fall under this Policy. The College retains the discretion to determine whether conduct that occurs off-campus or that is allegedly not within a College program or activity, such as online conduct, falls under this Policy. At all times, 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.

Anyone can consult directly with the Title IX Coordinator for guidance by calling 828.898.8743.

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    Policies and Practices Addressing and Preventing Sexual Discrimination and Harassment

    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 concerning consent, sexual harassment and assault, and bystander intervention are managed by the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator partners with the Office of Student Affairs and Campus Safety Committee to provide education and services. Counseling options are available through the Office of Student Affairs.

    Along with other groups at the College, the Title IX Coordinator coordinates and promotes ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns, primary prevention programs, and risk reduction.  Ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns involve 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). Primary prevention programs are 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. Risk reduction refers to options designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for individual members of the campus community in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.

    If a student, staff, or faculty member believes someone they know has experienced a violation of this Policy they should promptly report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator. The sooner a report is made, the more effectively it can be investigated. All faculty and staff (including all Residence Life staff) who observe or receive a Report of sexual misconduct are required to promptly report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator. The faculty or staff member is not permitted to investigate or try and resolve or mediate the situation and is expected to be discreet. A faculty or staff member’s receipt of information will not automatically trigger an obligation by the College to respond to an allegation of Title IX Sexual Harassment. Only a report to the Title IX Coordinator or an Agent of Actual Notice will trigger the College’s obligation to respond to an allegation of Title IX Sexual Harassment. There is no time limitation for reporting conduct prohibited under this Policy.

    Lees-McRae College encourages the reporting of possible violations of Title IX policy by those subject to the violation or witnesses. In some cases, 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 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 a Complainant 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

    Advisors: The Complainant and the Respondent may consult with anyone they wish (including an attorney) during any stage of the Formal Grievance Process.  The Advisor’s role in any meeting is limited to quietly conferring with the Complainant or Respondent through written correspondence or whisper, and the Advisor may not address any other participant.  An Advisor may not also be a witness. If the Complainant or Respondent has not selected an Advisor prior to a hearing conducted through the Formal Grievance Process, the College will make a trained Advisor available to the party. Only an Advisor may conduct cross-examination of any witness or party on behalf of Complainant or Respondent during a hearing.

    Agent of Actual Notice: An official of the College with the authority to institute corrective action on behalf of the College, and notice to whom causes the College to respond to Title IX Sexual Harassment.

    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 Residence Life staff) who observe or aware of sexual misconduct are required to immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator.

    Complainant: The individual who has reported alleged misconduct under this Policy.

    Consent: The explicit approval and permission to engage in sexual activity demonstrated by clear actions, words, or writings, considered from the perspective of a reasonable person. 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, and once withdrawn, sexual activity must cease.

    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 education program or activities.

    Education Program or Activity: Includes all operations of the College, including locations, events, and circumstances where the College exercises substantial control and any building owned or controlled by a student organization officially recognized by the College.

    Formal Complaint: A document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX Sexual Harassment or Retaliation by a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the alleged conduct. A Formal Complaint must 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. A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail. A Formal Complaint is not required for the College to pursue more information about a Report of conduct in violation of this Policy generally, but a Formal Complaint is required for the College to investigate Title IX Sexual Harassment. When the Title IX Coordinator receives a Formal Complaint alleging conduct that would, if the allegations are true, constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the alleged conduct: (i) was perpetrated against a person in the United States; took place within the College’s education program and activities; and was reported by a Complainant who, at the time of filing or signing the Formal Complaint, was participating or attempting to participate in the College’s education program and activities. If these conditions are satisfied, the Title IX Coordinator will address the Formal Complaint using the Title IX Formal Grievance Process. If those conditions are not satisfied, or subsequent investigation reveals that not all of the conditions are satisfied, the Title IX Coordinator will dismiss the Formal Complaint from the Title IX Formal Grievance Process. This decision may be appealed by either party. Such allegations of misconduct that do not satisfy these conditions will be addressed under the misconduct provisions of the appropriate policy governing students, faculty, or staff.

    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.

    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.

    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, hearings, and appeals. Proceeding does not include communications and meetings between officials and the Complainant or officials and the Respondent concerning Supportive Measures to be provided to the Complainant and/or Respondent.

    Relevance: During any Proceeding, the representative of the College conducting the Proceeding may exclude and/or redact:

    • Information that has no bearing on a fact at issue in the case, is more prejudicial than probative, or is duplicative
    • Information regarding prior or subsequent sexual behavior by the Complainant unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent
    • Medical or mental health information treatment and/or diagnosis, unless relevant to the facts at issue and provided during an investigation of a formal complaint under this Policy;
    • Medical records of the Complainant or Respondent, unless the party gives voluntary, written consent to use the records as part of the investigation or adjudication of a formal complaint made under this Policy. If a party gives consent to the College to use his or her medical records in Proceedings under this Policy and the records are directly related to the allegations made in the formal complaint, the other party will be allowed to inspect and review the records. Any information or records that is not directly related to the allegations made in a formal complaint under this Policy will be withheld or redacted.
    • Sensitive personally identifying information (e.g. social security numbers, contact information, etc.)
    • Information relating to Supportive Measures, except to the extent necessary to implement the Supportive Measures.

    Report: Notification, orally or in writing, that conduct in violation of this Policy is alleged to have occurred.

    Respondent: The individual who has been accused of a violation of this Policy.

    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.

    Retaliation: 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.

    Title IX Sexual Harassment: Any conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

    • An employee of the College conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit or service of the College on an individual’s participation in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature;
    • Unwelcome conduct that is so severe, persistent or pervasive, from the perspective of a reasonable person, that it denies a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s education program or activities.
    • Sexual Assault: Any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the Complainant including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent. Sexual assault can occur between individuals of the same or different sexes and/or genders. This includes the following:
      • Rape – the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by the sex organ of another person, without the consent of the Complainant.
      • 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).
      • Fondling – the touching of private body parts of Complainant 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).
      • 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 sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
    • Dating Violence: Any act of 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 consideration of the length, the type, and the frequency of interactions 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.
    • Title IX Stalking: A course of conduct on the basis of sex directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of another, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

    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 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.

    Supportive Measures: Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered free of charge to the Complainant or Respondent, or both, coordinated by the Title IX Coordinator before or after the filing of a formal complaint, or after receipt of an informal report by the Title IX Coordinator, if no formal complaint is filed, designed to restore or preserve access to the College’s education programs and activities, protect the safety of all parties and the College’s educational environment, or deter conduct prohibited by this Policy, while not unreasonably burdening any party. Supportive Measures may include measures to avoid contact between the Complainant and the Respondent; changes to academic and extracurricular activities including living, transportation, dining, and working situations; and access to resources such as victim advocacy, housing assistance, academic support, counseling, disability services, and health and mental health services, and assistance with reporting a crime to Campus Safety or the Town of Banner Elk Police Department.

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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 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 and whether the conduct is in violation of this Policy. 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.

    Initial Response

    After receiving a report of any misconduct in violation of this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss and provide a written notification of the Complainant’s rights and options. In cases of Title IX Sexual Harassment or Stalking, written notification will include: existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services available for victims, both within the College and locally and in the community; assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations or protective measures that are reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement; and an explanation of the procedures for disciplinary action under this Policy or other applicable misconduct policies.

    Upon receipt of a Report, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures, explain that Supportive Measures will be made available with or without filing a Formal Complaint, inform Complainant of the process for filing a Formal Complaint, and inform the Complainant that even if they do not wish to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may do so on the Complainant’s behalf.  The Complainant will also be advised of their right to an Advisor of their choosing, the College’s policy prohibiting retaliation, and the requirements of the Formal Grievance Process.

    With or without a Formal Complaint, Supportive Measures will be offered to the Complainant and the Complainant’s wishes and preferences regarding the Supportive Measures will be considered. . Supportive Measures will also be made available to the Respondent, witnesses, and other impacted campus community members, if applicable and as appropriate.

    Where there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any students or other individuals arising from a Report of Title IX Sexual Harassment or a Formal Complaint, the College can remove a student Respondent from part or all of the College’s education programs or activities and issue any necessary related no-trespass and no-contact orders. In consultation with the Dean of Students and/or Office of Student Affairs, the Title IX Coordinator will make the decision to remove a student Respondent from some or all of the College’s education programs and activities based on an individualized assessment and risk analysis. If the College makes such a decision, the student Respondent will be provided with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.

    The College may place a staff or faculty Respondent on administrative leave (or student employee on leave from their employment) upon receiving a Report and/or while a Formal Complaint is pending. An employee alleged to have committed Title IX Sexual Harassment will not be placed on administrative leave unless and until a Formal Complaint has been filed. The College, in its discretion and based upon the circumstances, will determine whether any administrative leave is imposed with or without pay or benefits.

    This procedure is intended to apply to alleged discrimination or harassment in violation of this Title IX Policy. All other misconduct or grievances by members of the campus community will be addressed through the misconduct procedures in the Lees-McRae College Student Handbook, Lees-McRae College Faculty Handbook, and As discussed below, the procedures and processes contained in this Policy are in addition to a Complainant’s rights and options to make a report to law enforcement and to seek redress through the civil or criminal court systems.

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    Alternative/Informal Resolution Process

    After a Formal Complaint has been filed and prior to any determination regarding responsibility, either party may request, or the Office of Student Affairs or other representative of the College may offer, the parties the opportunity to resolve a report using alternative/informal resolution through mediation or another process that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication of the Formal Complaint. Prior to undertaking an Alternative/Informal Resolution Process, the College will: (i) provide written notice disclosing the allegations made in the complaint, the requirements of the Alternative/Informal Resolution Process, the circumstances under which the parties would be considered to have agreed to a resolution and would not be permitted to resume the Formal Grievance Process, and any consequences, including recordkeeping requirements, that may result from participating in the College’s Alternative/Informal Resolution Process; (ii) obtain the parties’ voluntary, written consent to using the Alternative/Informal Resolution Process; and (iii) will not offer or allow use of the Alternative/Informal Resolution Process to resolve allegations that an employee of the College sexually harassed a student.    

    If the parties have voluntarily undertaken informal discussion of the alleged misconduct before the Complainant follows any of the reporting procedures under this Policy and both parties believe the issues have been resolved, the Complainant should nevertheless report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator for approval of the resolution and implementation of any relevant Supportive Measures.

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    Formal Grievance Process

    After a Report is received or a Formal Complaint is made, and if the parties do not elect to proceed through the Alternative/Informal Resolution Process, 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.

    The procedures used to formally adjudicate alleged misconduct in violation of this Policy may vary depending upon the identities of the Complainant and Respondent and the nature of the alleged misconduct. Where more than one procedure may apply based upon the identities of the parties and/or the alleged misconduct, the College has the discretion to apply the procedure that it determines is the most appropriate based on the unique facts and circumstances presented by the allegations, as well as to consolidate multiple sets of allegations into a single investigation and/or formal grievance process.

    For Formal Complaints alleging conduct against a student that is prohibited under this Policy, but does not constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, the Student Conduct Process conducted according to the Code of Student Conduct and the procedures in the Lees McRae College Student Handbook will apply.

    For Formal Complaints alleging conduct against a faculty member that is prohibited under this Policy, but does not constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, the misconduct procedures conducted according to the Lees-McRae College Faculty Handbook will apply.

    For Formal Complaints alleging conduct against a staff member that is prohibited under this Policy, but does not constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, the appropriate disciplinary procedures in Part 7.00, Performance and Discipline of the Lees-McRae College Employee Handbook will apply.

    For Formal Complaints alleging Title IX Sexual Harassment by a student or any faculty or staff member, the Lees-McRae College Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures will apply. 

    View the institution's Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedures

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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 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 criminal investigative process. However, the College will continue to investigate the report in compliance with Title IX.

    This Title IX Policy does not replace civil or criminal justice systems. Should a student be raped, sexually assaulted, or experience any potentially criminal harassment or misconduct on the campus or in the vicinity of the school, the victim is urged to consider reporting the matter to Campus Safety 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 compensation for medical expenses and economic losses to cases of rape and sexual assault reported seventy-two (72) hours, in most cases. Whether a student chooses to make a report to Campus Safety will not affect the College’s decisions to respond to the student’s informal or formal Complaint, offer remedies to the complainant, or investigate the reported misconduct.

    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 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 criminal investigation into the rape or sexual assault will be handled by the Town of Banner Elk Police Department and victim assistance may be available through the procedures authorized by NC General Statute § 143B-480.2. These are separate from the measures provided by the College, which will provide Supportive Measures to victims of rape and/or sexual assault in coping with the after-effects of their experience through the Title IX Coordinator, as described above.

    To reach the Office of Campus Safety, you can:

    • Call 911, in an emergency; or
    • Call the Campus Security Office at 828.898.8756.

    Other local law enforcement agencies may be called using following telephone numbers:

    • Banner Elk Police Department: 828.898.4300
    • Avery County Sheriff’s Office: 828.733.3858
Revised and effective as of February 26, 2021.