Title IX and Sexual Harassment: What You Need to Know
If you believe you may be a victim of any kind of sex discrimination, you should promptly contact the Title IX coordinator, the VTIH Director/Chief Academic Officer, at 713-629-1500, firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 4669 Southwest Freeway. There also is a form at the bottom of this page to submit a report.
Applicable Policies and Statements
Vet Tech Institute of Houston follows the “Nondiscrimination in Education Programs and Activities” statement of policy in its academic catalog (www.vettechinstitute.edu/catalog.pdf). This policy prohibits discrimination on many bases, including: gender, including sexual harassment and sexual violence; sexual orientation; genetic information; race; color; religion; age; veteran status; national origin; and disability. This statement also identifies and provides contact information for the Title IX coordinator, as well as information on how to bring any complaints or reports of discrimination to the coordinator’s attention. This statement also identifies protection against retaliation.
Vet Tech Institute of Houston follows the “Policy on Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking” in its academic catalog (www. vettechinstitute.edu/catalog.pdf). This policy includes the definitions of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This policy also includes the definition of consent, encouragement for bystander intervention, and procedures for reporting incidents. This policy states that officials will use the clear and convincing standard of evidence during all proceedings, which means that decision makers must reach a firm belief or conviction that the evidence presented is factual and it is substantially more likely than not that the alleged misconduct occurred.
Vet Tech Institute of Houston follows personnel policies and the “Student Conduct” policy in its academic catalog (www.vettechinstitute.edu/catalog.pdf). These policies address conduct offenses that apply in many situations. Under these policies and the other policies on this page, sanctions that may be imposed are 1) warning, 2) suspension, or 3) expulsion; depending on the offense, a warning may or may not be issued.
Vet Tech Institute of Houston is implementing the Title IX regulations regarding sexual harassment effective as of August 14, 2020. These regulations are intended to include due process principles for a fundamentally fair discipline process for everyone involved. Some key provisions of these regulations and the related policies and procedures include:
Definition of Sexual Harassment.
Sexual harassment of a student is defined as any one of three events, occurring during a school-controlled education program or activity:
· any instance of a school employee conditioning any aid, benefit, or service on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
· any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe and so pervasive and so objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access; or
· any instance of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.
Highlights of Grievance Process
· The Title IX coordinator must be notified as the school official with authority to take corrective measures. The Title IX coordinator will respond seriously to all reports, including describing and/or offering supportive measures to the “complainant” (the alleged victim).
o Supportive measures may include but are not limited to transportation for health care, counseling, schedule adjustments, mutual no-contact orders, emergency removal with appeal rights of an respondent who poses a safety threat, increased security, and monitoring.
o As much as possible, supportive measures are intended to be individualized, maintain optimum confidentiality, and provide everyone continued access to the institution’s education, programs, and activities.
o The Title IX coordinator also may assess the situation and provide to the complainant information on both informal resolution processes and the formal complaint processes described below.
· If a written formal complaint is filed and the complainant desires an investigation and hearing, formal procedures will be followed.
o If a student is the respondent and the parties consent in writing, informal resolution processes may be pursued in a reasonably prompt timeframe. Such a process will be individualized and will depend on an assessment of the specific circumstances. Without informal resolution being reached, formal processes will be followed.
o A designated, trained investigator will conduct a fair, objective, and impartial formal investigation of available, relevant evidence in a reasonably prompt timeframe.
§ The “respondent” (the accused perpetrator) will be provided with a written statement including: detailed allegations; the identity of the complainant; the presumption, until the end of the process, of non-responsibility; the right to an qualified advisor; consequences for false statements; and the right to gather, submit, review, cross-examine, and challenge evidence and witnesses throughout the process.
§ The complainant will be provided with a written statement including: detailed allegations; the presumption, until the end of the process, of the respondent’s non-responsibility; the right to an qualified advisor; consequences for false statements; and the right to gather, submit, review, cross-examine, and challenge evidence and witnesses throughout the process.
§ The investigator will be responsible for gathering and reviewing evidence, and will provide both parties the opportunity to review relevant evidence with sufficient time to prepare before any initial interview. The investigator will afford both parties equal opportunity to review and inspect directly-related evidence. The investigator also will provide both parties sufficient time to review and challenge evidence before finalizing the investigative report.
§ In certain circumstances, the complaint may be dismissed. Such circumstances will be described in writing and may include the respondent being no longer enrolled or employed, the allegations themselves not meeting the definition of sexual harassment, the complainant’s request, the complainant’s status as a student, and/or a situation where reasonably sufficient evidence cannot be gathered. In some circumstances, other codes of conduct may still apply.
§ Following the investigation, the Investigator will send to both parties an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence and provide at least 10 days for the parties to respond and/or prepare for a live hearing.
o A recorded, live hearing then will be held in a reasonably prompt timeframe and will be conducted by an unbiased, decision-maker who has been trained to be fair, objective, and impartial and to hold live hearings.
§ The hearing will include statements and questioning of the complainant, the respondent, and other relevant witnesses. There will be an opportunity for each qualified advisor to cross-examine the complainant, the respondent, and each other witness. A decision-maker cannot rely in either or any way on statements by a party or witness who will not submit to cross-examination.
§ All evidence and questions must be determined to be relevant in real time by the decision-maker. Objections will be adjudicated in real time by the decision-maker. Hearsay statements are not permitted. The hearing will include privileged information protections and rape shield protections, and it will employ separation by technology and other appropriate measures to strive to prevent further trauma.
§ Additional rules, such as rules of decorum or nondisclosure, will apply equally to the parties.
o Following the live hearing, the decision-maker will provide to all parties a written decision including the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment, a description of the procedural steps taken by the school, findings of fact, conclusions, a statement of result for each allegation, sanctions, whether remedies will be provided, and the procedures and bases for any appeal.
o Following the hearing, either party may appeal the decision regarding responsibility based on specific grounds, such as procedural irregularities, new evidence, or conflicts of interest. The appeal will be decided by someone not involved earlier in the process.
· The Title IX coordinator and at least one designated investigator have, at a minimum, completed the training series available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ogn0q7RF0X8&list=PLYrJQ3qn6Pn15VmKJDQ0lCDJeNLXhL4bm. Upon request, the Title IX coordinator will provide these training materials in an offline, electronic format. Vet Tech Institute of Houston plans to use trained third parties for other roles.
Incident Report Submission