Oct 28, 2020  
2020-2021 College Catalog 
    
2020-2021 College Catalog

HVCC Title IX Grievance Process


I. TIME LIMITS

II. DEFINITIONS

III. COLLEGE RESPONSE TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT

IV. RESPONSE TO FORMAL COMPLAINTS

V. THE INFORMAL RESOLUTION

VI. THE HEARING PROCESS

VII. APPEALS

Hudson Valley Community College and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits any discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal assistance.  This prohibition bars any form of sexual harassment or sexual violence that interferes with a student’s ability to equally access our educational programs and opportunities.

If you feel you are the victim of a crime, you have the right to make a report to Public Safety, local law enforcement, and/or state police or choose not to report; to report the incident to the college; to be protected by the college from retaliation for reporting the incident and to receive assistance and resources from the college.

If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of sex at Hudson Valley Community College due to any incident of sexual harassment, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault, please take advantage of our grievance process.  This grievance process is applicable regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other protected classes covered by federal or state law of the Complainant, Respondent, or any Witness.  If your situation does not fit the definitions of this process, please consult the Judicial System in the online catalog as many acts that do not technically meet the definitions below will still be violations of our Campus Regulations at Hudson Valley Community College or contact the Title IX Coordinator.

TITLE IX COORDINATOR:                                                      

Sandra J. McCarthy, JD

24 hour hotline: (518) 257-2089
24 hour email:   s.mccarthy@hvcc.edu
Office Hours:     M-Th 1:30-5:30; F: 9-12
Office phone:    (518) 629-4816 
Office location:  CTR 293
* Reports may also be received by email or phone anonymously.

I. TIME LIMITS

All days shall be counted as days the college is in session and shall exclude Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and both the winter and summer recess.  However, every effort will be made to expedite disputes even over the winter or summer recess if evidence is available and this grievance procedure can be followed without prejudice to either the complainant or the respondent.

Any time frames articulated in this grievance process may be extended for good cause upon written notice to both the complainant and the respondent.  Brief good cause adjournments will most like be afforded in cases where a party, a party’s advisor or a witness is unavailable, if requested by law enforcement or if necessary to accommodate a party’s disability.  However, time frames will generally only be extended for 10 days.

II. DEFINITIONS

  1. Actual knowledge of sexual harassment on the part of the college means actual notice to the Title IX Coordinator or another official of the college who has the authority to institute corrective measures on the part of the college.
  2. Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.  This individual may also be referred to as the reporting student.
  3. Consent is defined by Hudson Valley Community College using the NYS definition of consent found in EDU 129B.

Affirmative Consent is defined by Hudson Valley Community College as a knowing, informed, voluntary and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity.  Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent.  The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. 

Affirmative consent must be clear and unambiguous. Seeking and having consent accepted is the responsibility of the person(s) initiating each specific sexual act regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not constitute consent to any other sexual act. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or cannot be given, sexual activity must stop. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated and thus cannot knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to fully and knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation includes impairment due to drugs or alcohol (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary), the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily retrained, if any of the parties are under the age of 17, or if and individual otherwise cannot sent.Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

  1. Sexual Activity is defined in 18 USC 2246 (2) and 18 USC 2246 (3).

(2) the term “sexual act” means—

  1. contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus, and for purposes of this subparagraph contact involving the penis occurs upon penetration, however slight;
  2. contact between the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or the mouth and the anus;
  3. the penetration, however slight, of the anal or genital opening of another by a hand or finger or by any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or
  4. the intentional touching, not through the clothing, of the genitalia of another person who has not attained the age of 16 years with an intent to abuse, humiliate,    harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person;

(3) the term “sexual contact” means the intentional touching, either directly or through the       clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of         any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

  1. Formal Complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that      the college investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.  At the time of the filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to                participate in the education program or activity of the college.  A formal complaint must be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail or by electronic mail, by    using the contact information above.  The complaint must contain the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicate that the complaint is the person      filing the formal complaint.  The Title IX Coordinator is not the complainant at any time, even if s/he files the compliant on behalf of the complainant. 
  2. Respondent is an individual who has been purported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.  This individual may also be referred to as    the responding student.
  3. Sexual harassment is conduct perpetrated on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
    1. An employee of the college conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the college on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
    2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the college’s educational program or activity; or
    3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking:
      1. Dating Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse by persons who are dating.
      2. Domestic Violence includes a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:
        1. A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; or
        2. A person with whom the victim shares a child in common; or
        3. A person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; or
        4. A person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the New York State, or
        5. Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of New York State.
      3. Sexual Assault is rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape or any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent as defined above.
        1. Rape:  The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
        2. Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim as defined above, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
        3. Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
        4. Statutory Rape:  Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent in the State of New York.
      4. Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to-
        1. Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of other; or
        2. Suffer substantial emotional distress.
  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through other parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, 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 identifiers to the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  1. Supportive Measures means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.  Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the college’s educational program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the college’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.  Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modification of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.  The college will endeavor to maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or the respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the college to provide the supporting measures.  All supportive measures shall be provided free of charge.
  2. Decision Maker is the individual or Review Board that hears the evidence and makes the decision.  The Decision Maker may be single individual or a Review Board.
  3. Relevant evidence and questions are evidence and questions that tend to make an allegation more or less likely to be true and cannot include evidence and questions about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior unless (1) they are offered to show that someone other than the respondent committed the act or (2) they include only activities between the complainant and the respondent and are introduced regarding the element of consent.  Evidence that seeks the disclosure of information protected by any legally-recognized privilege without the consent of the protected party is not relevant.   Evidence or material that is repetitive, prejudicial or incendiary may also be deemed irrelevant.
  4. Educational Program or Activity is an activity that occurs on campus premises or on any off campus premises if the buildings or property are owned or controlled by the college or a recognized student organization.  Activity can also include use of the computers, internet networks, digital platforms and computer hardware or software owned or operated by the college.

III. COLLEGE RESPONSE TO SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Anytime the college has actual knowledge of sexual harassment, the college will promptly respond.  The college will advise the complainant of this grievance process and offer the complainant and the respondent appropriate supportive measures.  If the complainant chooses not to file a formal complaint, supportive measures will still be offered.

Retaliation for the filing of a Title IX grievance is strictly prohibited.  The college, nor any other person, may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.  Such actions will result in further conduct charges either under this part or under the Judicial System.

GOOD SAMARITAN POLICY: The health and safety of every Student at Hudson Valley Community College is of utmost importance. Hudson Valley Community College recognizes that Students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that violence occurs, including but not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct.  The College strongly encourages Students to report any act of violence, including domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, to College Officials.  A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith who discloses any incident of violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault to College Officials or law enforcement will not be subject to College Code of Conduct disciplinary action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the act of violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault.

Hudson Valley Community College supports Students who reach out for assistance in the case of a medical emergency and supports the Student who is helped. Therefore, a Student or Student Organization will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions related to their own violation of College Code of Conduct alcohol and/or drug use or possession policies, on or off campus, when seeking medical treatment for:

  • Themselves or;
  • Any other Student who is in immediate medical need or;
  • Any Student who is the recipient of the emergency medical help, particularly if the Student is seeking medical help for any Student who is the victim of a crime.

The College strongly encourages bystanders to respond to potentially dangerous situations by reporting the incident promptly, without fear of reprisal. However, if the circumstances dictate, the College reserves the right to notify parents of Students under the age of 21, or to encourage counseling for Students at any time if the well-being of the Student is at risk.

IV. RESPONSE TO FORMAL COMPLAINTS

The filing of a formal complaint is a prerequisite to the college’s formal response as articulated below.  However, if a formal complaint is not filed the college may still proceed against an individual if another appropriate disciplinary process is applicable.  The college will generally proceed on any Title IX Grievance if the alleged behavior occurred in the last calendar year but reserves the right to proceed on older allegations, particularly if the alleged behavior could be construed as an ongoing situation or a course of conduct.

Emergency Removal:  The College may remove a respondent from its educational program or activity on an emergency basis provided that an individualized safety and risk analysis determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of a student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal.  A respondent who has been removed on an emergency basis may challenge that emergency removal.

Administrative Leave:  The College may place any non-student employee on administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process.

Service: Service of any documents or notices under these provisions shall be made by HVCC email even if it is also made by another method.  The date of service shall be the date of personal service or the date of email transmission.

  1. Complainants and Respondents shall be treated equitably.  Remedies that that are designed to restore or preserve equal access to education at the college will be imposed and/or sanctions will be imposed on a respondent only after a determination has been made that the respondent is responsible for the sexual harassment alleged.  This does not prohibit the college from offering supportive measures to either the complainant or the respondent regardless of the outcome of any disciplinary action. 
  2. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the college will provide written notice of the allegation and the commencement of an investigation to the parties who are known.  The notice must include a copy of this grievance procedure, the date, time, and location of the alleged sexual harassment and sufficient detail as to the conduct alleged and the identities of the parties for the respondent to understand the allegation.
  3. Complainants and Respondents are entitled to have advisors.  Advisors can be anyone of the student’s choice and can be present at any meeting or hearing. 
  4. All complaints shall be thoroughly investigated by an impartial investigator.  All evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory, will be evaluated and credibility determinations will be made regardless of the person’s status as complainant, respondent or witness.
  5. All investigators, Title IX Coordinators, and Decision Makers shall be free of bias and conflicts of interest and shall be trained on the definition of sexual harassment, how to conduct an investigation, this grievance procedure and how to maintain impartiality and make decisions free of prejudgment or bias.
  6. All Decision Makers will be trained on all relevant issues including but not limited to technological issues and the relevance of questions and answers including that evidence regarding a complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior is not relevant unless such questions and evidence are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct or to prove consent.
  7. All investigators will be trained on how to conduct impartial investigations and how to weigh the relevance of evidence and how to create a report that fairly summarizes the evidence.
  8. Any respondent in the grievance process is entitled to the presumption of ‘not responsible’ until found responsible in this grievance process.
  9. The burden of collecting evidence will rest with the college.  The college may not access, consider, disclose or otherwise use a party’s records retained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist or other professional subject to privilege without the express consent of the party.
  10. Either party has an equal opportunity to present witnesses, experts and any other evidence they wish to have considered by the investigator.
  11. Investigations should be concluded within 90 days of the receipt of the formal grievance except in unusual circumstances.  Once an investigation is complete, the investigator will provide the report to each party and each party’s advisor.  The report will contain all evidence in the possession of the college, whether inculpatory or exculpatory.  Each party shall have 10 days to inspect the report and the evidence in the possession of the college.  Each party may file a written response to the report within those 10 days and may submit any additional proof.  No party shall be allowed to duplicate, photograph, post, publish, remove or otherwise preserve evidence provided in this report or the report itself.   Any documents provided to the parties or their advisors shall be returned without duplication, preservation, photography posting or publication or any other manner of maintenance by the party, witness, advisor, decision maker, investigator or any other individual.  Violations of this policy will most likely result in the removal of the advisor from the process and/or further disciplinary actions against the sharing or duplicating party which could include expulsion from the college. The college will maintain the only record of the contents of the investigative file.  Either party, advisor or third person may add additional materials to the investigative packet during this 10 day review.  It is expected that absent extraordinary circumstances, all evidence either party will submit at the hearing will be contained in the investigative packet.
  12. Pursuant to statute, a complaint must be dismissed if it does not meet the definition of sexual harassment as articulated in Section II, Paragraph 6, if it did not occur within the United States or on college grounds or if did not occur within the college’s educational program or activity.  However, that conduct may still constitute a violation of Campus Regulations and may be pursued by the college under the Judicial System.  The college may dismiss a complaint if the complainant formally withdraws or becomes so uncooperative that the college is prevented from meaningfully gathering evidence or if the respondent is no longer employed at the college or is no longer a student* (Please refer to Section V, Paragraph 22 for an explanation of mandatory transcript notations for students who withdraw with conduct actions pending).  The dismissal of a complaint may be appealed as articulated below.
  13. An investigative report may include conclusions and/or recommendations of the investigator or others relevant to the case.

V. THE INFORMAL RESOLUTION

At any time, upon the written consent of both parties, the parties may engage in an informal resolution process with the assistance of the Title IX Coordinator, the investigator and/or other relevant members of the college community.  At any time during the informal resolution process either party may request the matter be restored to the formal grievance process provided a formal written agreement has not yet been executed to resolve the matter.  An informal resolution is not available when a student has filed a Title IX grievance against any employee.

VI. THE HEARING PROCESS

The college adopts the SUNY model decorum policy for Title IX hearings.

  1. During the hearing process and the investigative process, supportive measures to the complainant and the respondent may continue.
  2. Until a finding is made by the decision maker, the respondent is entitled to a presumption of ‘not responsible’.
  3. In any allegation against a staff or faculty member, the Decision Maker shall be a single individual or board of up to three qualified members appointed by the Director of Human Resources.
  4. In any allegation against a student, the Decision Maker shall be a Review Board.  The Review Board will be composed of up to 3 members of the college community who have been trained pursuant to statute.  A Review Board may also contain a trained professional from an outside agency.
  5. Hearings will be attended by the Campus Judicial Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator and the Title IX Investigator. The roles of Campus Judicial Coordinator and Title IX Coordinator may be absorbed by the same individual provided they remain impartial and free of bias or conflicts of interest. At certain times, the roles of Campus Judicial Coordinator, Title IX Coordinator and Title IX Investigator may be absorbed by the same individual provided they remain impartial, and free of bias or conflicts of interest. The Review Board Members or other Decision Maker, the parties, their advisors and a stenographer, when appropriate, will also be present during the entire hearing. Decision Makers and any college appointed advisors shall be free of bias and shall receive proper training.  Witnesses will be called individually and cannot be present during the entire hearing.   Hearings cannot have any other spectators present pursuant to 20 USC 1232g and 34 CFR part 99.  Neither the Title IX Coordinator nor the investigator can act as Decision Maker in the same case but will be present at any hearing.
  6. A Review Board presentation or a presentation to another Decision Maker will occur with 10 days of the expiration of the inspection period.  Decisions will be rendered within 10 days of the presentation.   All parties and their advisors will be advised of the time, date and location of the hearing.
  7. Any witnesses or evidence that the Investigator will not be presenting but which either party feels may be relevant to the finding, shall be the responsibility of the party to present and should have been included in the investigative packet during the review period.
  8. All hearings should be recorded by a stenographer or electronic recording.  Technical difficulties may result in an alternative record of the hearing.
  9. All evidence in the possession of the college will be available to the parties for the hearing.
  10. If a Complainant or a Respondent cannot afford an advisor at the hearing, the college shall provide an advisor free of charge.
  11. Any party or witness may appear in a separate room or separate location using available technology provided they are subject to simultaneous cross-examination.

CONDUCT OF THE HEARING:

  1. The complainant and the respondent may each make an opening statement.
  2. The investigator will present the investigative report which may include documents, statements and other physical, testimonial or demonstrative evidence.  It may also include treatise evidence and other expert testimony when relevant.  The investigator may be asked questions by either advisor or the Decision Maker(s).  The investigator may make conclusions or recommendations to the Decision Maker or share the recommendations or conclusions of other relevant individuals.  However, ultimately, conclusions are made by the Decision Maker.
  3. The investigator may call witnesses. 
  4. The investigator will ask the witnesses questions.  Each of the advisors and the Decision Maker(s) may ask the witnesses questions.
  5. The complainant may testify.  The complainant will be cross-examined by the advisor to the respondent and by the Decision Maker(s).  Decision Maker(s) will determine the relevance of any questions including whether the questioning is prohibited by Section IV, paragraph 6 or if it is subject to privilege or other legal protection and other issues of relevance before any question is answered by a complainant.
  6. The complainant may introduce any other documents or call other witnesses that were not introduced by the Investigator.  These witnesses will be questioned by the advisors and by the Decision Maker(s).
  7. The respondent may also testify.  The respondent will be cross-examined by the advisor to the complainant and by the Decision Maker(s).  Decision Maker(s) will determine the relevance of any questions including whether the questioning is subject to privilege or other legal protection and other issues of relevance before any question is answered by the respondent.
  8. The Decision Maker may also call witnesses if it feels the witness is necessary to understand the issues presented in the case.
  9. Though statements made by parties or witnesses cannot be relied on by the Decision Maker if the party or witness will not submit to cross-examination, no adverse inference will be drawn from the party or witnesses’ refusal to submit to cross-examination.
  10. If, after a review of the evidence the Decision Maker finds that a preponderance of the evidence does show that the respondent committed an act of sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault within the college’s definitions of those terms, they will proceed to impose a sanction.  The Decision Maker may take into consideration any sanction recommended by the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, the complainant, an expert or any other relevant person or witness in determining the sanction.  If the Decision Maker finds that a preponderance of the evidence does not show that the respondent committed an act of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault within the college’s definitions of those terms, the Title IX grievance will be dismissed.  If the Decision Maker dismisses the grievance but finds another violation of the Code of Conduct (Campus Regulation, Computer Ethics Violation or Academic Ethics Violation) occurred, they may proceed to impose a sanction in keeping with the Judicial System.
  11. Sanctions imposed in a Title IX proceeding may be punitive but also must be primarily fashioned to restore the complainant’s ability to access their education, free of sexual harassment.
  12. Such remedies or sanctions could include:
    1. Dismissal from the college*; and/or
    2. Suspension from the college for 10 days, 20 days, 30 days or 60 days or 1 semester, 2 semesters, 3 semesters, 4 semesters or 5 semesters*; and/or
    3. Removal from a course, course of study or major; and/or
    4. Removal from a club or organization; and/or
    5. Removal from a work study or other employment position at the college; and/or
    6. Complete denial of access to college buildings, locations, or areas for a period of 1 day through 4 years; and/or
    7. Complete denial of access to college sponsored activities or programs for a period of 1 day through 4 years; and/or
    8. The writing of essays; and/or
    9. Community Service; and/or
    10. Letters of Apology; and/or
    11. Financial Restitution.

*Transcript Notation.  Pursuant to statute, HVCC must note the transcript of any individual found to have committed any act of homicide, sexual offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle thefts, arson, possession or use of weapons, drug abuse violations or liquor law violations as well as any acts of larceny, simple assault, intimidation, destruction or vandalism of property that is designated at as Hate Crime.  Definitions used for these acts can be found in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook. If a student is suspended for any of the aforementioned acts, the transcript will be noted, “Suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation” and shall remain noted for a minimum of 1 year after the conclusion of the suspension.  If a student is expelled for any of the aforementioned acts, the transcript will be noted, “Expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation” and that notation cannot be removed. If a student withdraws from classes during the disciplinary process, the transcript will be noted, “Withdrew with conduct charges pending.”

  1. Within 10 days of the close of all proof, the Decision Maker will publish its written decision to the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will disseminate the decision simultaneously to each of the parties and to their advisors.  The Title IX Coordinator shall be responsible to ensure that any disciplinary sanctions are imposed on the respondent.  Supportive measures continue to be available to the respondent and the complainant regardless of the outcome of any hearing when possible.
  2. The decision shall be in writing and shall contain:
    1. A statement of the conduct committed that was alleged to have been sexual harassment.
    2. A brief description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held.
    3. Findings of fact supporting the determination.
    4. Conclusions regarding whether a preponderance of the evidence demonstrated the respondent did or did not commit the act(s) of sexual harassment or any other violations of the Code of Conduct (either Campus Regulations, Computer Ethics or Academic Ethics).
    5. A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed and how the remedies are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the college for the complainant.
    6. The decision need not be unanimous but the minority may write its own decision.
    7. The decision of the Decision Maker is final only after the time to file an appeal is exhausted or the parties have completed the college’s appeal process.

VII. APPEALS

  1. Both parties have an equal opportunity to appeal a determination of a Decision Maker or the dismissal of a Title IX grievance.
  2. An appeal may be filed on any of the following grounds:
    1. A procedural irregularity affected the outcome of the matter; and/or
    2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and/or
    3. The Title IX Coordinator, investigator or Decision Maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; and/or
    4. The finding was against the clear weight of the evidence; and/or
    5. The sanction was disproportionate to the seriousness of the infraction.
  3. Once an appeal is filed, the other party shall be notified.  Appeals shall be in writing and shall specifically state the grounds.  Appeals may be dismissed if they do not state grounds.  The other party may file objections to the appeal.  Appeals must be received by the Title IX Coordinator within 7 days of the delivery of the decision.  Objections must be filed within 7 days of the service of the appeal on the opposing party.
  4. Appeal Decision Makers shall be comprised of a board of up to 3 individuals if the respondent is a student and a board of up to 3 individuals or a single individual if the respondent is an employee.  No Appeal Decision Maker shall have a conflict of interest or bias and cannot be the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator, or any of the original Decision Maker(s).  Decision Maker(s) for appeals will receive training as described in Section IV, Paragraphs 5 and 6 and may include members from inside or outside the HVCC community..
  5. A written decision will be rendered by an Appeal Decision Maker within 10 days of receiving the appeal and objections.  The written decision will state whether the appellant has shown by clear and convincing evidence that one of the criteria in Paragraph 2 of this Section exists.  The Decision should state the appeal ground or grounds that was considered and the rationale for granting or denying the appeal based on each of the grounds considered.  The Appeal Decision Maker should remit the matter for the error to be corrected whenever possible.  If a sanction is modified or if any other determination is made by the Appeal Decision Maker, that rationale shall be stated in the written opinion and shall be based on substantial evidence in the record.   If it is found that the sanction was disproportionate to the seriousness of the infraction, the Appeal Decision Maker may impose a greater or lesser sanction.  The written decision will be provided to the Title IX Coordinator who will simultaneously distribute it to both parties and the advisors of the parties.
  6. There are no further remedies available at the college for the resolution of this complaint.