Executive Summary

Austin Community College (ACC) District is committed to providing timely support and assistance to victims/survivors1 of sexual misconduct. This policy provides detailed descriptions of how the institution identifies and responds to such complaints. This executive summary is intended to provide a short summary of essential information for persons who need immediate assistance so they do not have to navigate the entire document. This information is also included within the document in more detail.

“Sexual misconduct” is an umbrella term that refers collectively to the below offenses that are prohibited. Those offenses are the following:

  • Sexual Harassment/Discrimination
  • Sexual Assault, which includes Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration and Sexual Touching
  • Intimate Partner Violence which includes Dating Violence and Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Stalking
  • Gender-based harassment and discrimination that is non-sexual

Students or employees who experience an incident of sexual misconduct should consider the information and resources provided below. Full definitions of the above offenses are found later in this document.


1 The words “victim” and “survivor” are both used in the literature and research on this topic. ACC respects the decision of those who have experienced sexual misconduct to identify as a victim or a survivor. We recognize that choosing to identify as a survivor is an important part of the healing process for some who have experienced sexual misconduct. In this document, we will refer to the complaining party as “victim/survivor” or as the “Complainant.”


Emergency Information

For Immediate Assistance

  1. Confidential Support: Any student in need of immediate emotional support should contact an ACC Campus Counseling Office (find your campus contact by visiting www.austincc.edu/counseling) and request to speak with a confidential counselor.
  2. For employees, Austin Community College’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides free and confidential assessment, short-term counseling, prevention, education, and referral services for employees and their dependents. Trained counselors are available 24/7, 365 days of the year and employees have access to a number of confidential sessions with a counselor at no cost. More information on accessing the EAP may be accessed at: www.austincc.edu/eap.  Employees may also speak with the College’s Ombudsperson who can be reached at 512-223-1070. ACC faculty and staff may also make an appointment online at calendly.com/acc-ombuds
  3. Victims/survivors (employees or students) may also contact Safe (an off-campus non-profit sexual violence resource center) to speak with a confidential advocate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (512) 267-SAFE (7233).  Access SAFE’s website at www.safeaustin.org/learn-more/sexualassault
  4. Reporting: Students and employees who experience sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to report this to College authorities and to the police in order to protect themselves and others. A victim/survivor is not required to make a formal incident report or file charges. Support and safety measures will be available regardless of whether a formal incident report is made or charge filed. To file a report, any person can contact any of the following:
    1. District Title IX Officer: (available during regular business hours) Charlene Buckley, District Title IX Officer, 5930 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin, TX 78752 E-mail: charlene.buckley@austincc.edu or compliance@austincc.edu. Phone: (512) 223-7964.  (Deputy Coordinators are also assigned to each campus.  For a listing of Deputy Title IX Coordinators by campus, please see Page 17 of this documentReporting to the District Title IX Officer will not result in a criminal investigation but will result in an administrative investigation to determine if this policy was violated. If the incident occurred on campus, limited information will be shared with the District Police for purposes of determining if a Timely Warning Notice should be sent out to the community and for purposes of capturing and counting crime data.)
    2. The ACC District Police Department (ACCPD): www.austincc.edu/police (Visit their website to access the correct address and/or telephone number for the appropriate campus or see contact information for each campus referenced in this policy on Pages 8-10.) Reporting to the ACC District Police may initiate a criminal investigation into your complaint. The District Chief of Police will also determine if a Timely Warning Notice should be sent out to the community and will capture and count crime data if the offense was reported to have occurred on campus or on a property owned or controlled by the institution. The District Police will report your complaint to the District Title IX Officer.
    3. The (City of) Austin Police Department: (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) Call 911 for emergencies, 311 for non-emergencies, or (512) 974-2000. Visit Austin PD’s website for more information or to obtain the address or contact information for a specific division within the PD ( www.austintexas.gov/department/police). Important note: The City of Austin may not share the details of your report with ACC (however, the District Police must notify the District Title IX Officer of a report made to their office.) If you report to the city police, you should also report to the District Title IX Officer so on campus interim protective measures and resources may be provided.

Medical Treatment and Evidence Preservation

As of January 2009, victims/survivors of sexual assault may have a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) without reporting it to law enforcement.2 A victim/survivor will not be required to pay for the cost of a sexual assault forensic exam. Payment is required for the forensic portion of the exam and does not include medical costs. If a report to law enforcement is made, a victim/survivor may be eligible for reimbursement of expenses through the state’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund. For information about Crime Victim’s Compensation visit www.oag.state.tx.us/victims/about_comp.shtml or call 1-800-983-9933. The forensic exam does not include medical treatment, or costs associated with that treatment. Listed below are the facilities in Central Texas that will provide such examinations. If a facility is not considered a SAFE-ready facility, the facility must either transfer the victim/survivor to a SAFE-ready facility or receive consent to provide the required care.


2 Violence Against Women Act, 2005.


Hospitals in and around ACC Campuses offering forensic (SAFE) exams and evidence collection:

Ascension Seton Northwest
11113 Research Boulevard, Austin, TX 78759
512-324-6000
www.seton.net/locations/northwest

Ascension Seton Williamson
201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock, TX 78665
512-324-4000
www.seton.net/locations/seton-medical-center-williamson

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple
2401 S. 31st Street, Temple, TX 76508
254-724-2111
www.bswhealth.com/locations/temple

Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas
1500 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-324-7000
www.seton.net/locations/dell-seton

St. David’s Medical Center
919 E. 32nd Street, Austin, TX 78705
512-476-7111
stdavids.com

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center
901 W. Ben White Boulevard., Austin, TX 78704
512-447-2211
stdavids.com

State law allows an individual to have the sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) up to 120 hours (5 days) after the sexual assault.  An individual can report to law enforcement, if the person chooses to do so.  In Texas, you have ten years (statute of limitations on sexual assault) to make the report. Having a sexual assault forensic exam conducted allows an individual to preserve evidence that will be lost over time before you decide how to proceed.

ACC District police officers and City of Austin police officers encourage victims/survivors to report the sexual assault even if it is past the statute of limitations.  The case cannot go forward with prosecution, but it is important to document the assault and the perpetrators who commit them (in addition to allowing ACC to prevent recurrence of similar crimes, if applicable.)

In circumstances of sexual assault, if a victim/survivor does not opt for forensic evidence collection, health care providers still can treat injuries and take steps to address concerns of pregnancy and/or sexually-transmitted infection. It is important that a victim/survivor of sexual assault not bathe, douche, smoke, change clothing or clean the bed/linen/area where she or he was assaulted within 120 hours after the incident occurred so that evidence may be preserved.

Victim/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking also are encouraged to preserve evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents, if any exist that may be useful to College investigators, ACC District Police Department, or local police.

Investigations

Victims/survivors who wish to pursue an investigation may choose to:

  1. Contact the ACC District Police Department to pursue a criminal investigation if the reported conduct occurred on property owned or controlled by ACC.
  2. Contact the local police department or sheriff’s department to pursue a criminal investigation.
  3. File a civil complaint in a civil court. (This action may require you to obtain your own attorney.)
  4. Report to the ACC District Title IX Officer or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for your campus (see contact information on this page). An investigation of a campus policy violation is independent from criminal or civil investigations and the District Title IX Officer accepts complaints of all kinds of conduct (criminal and non-criminal) as well as conduct that occurred on and off campus.
  5. Decide not to file charges or make a report for investigation. Victims/Survivors are strongly encouraged but not required to report the incident. Victims/Survivors have the right to be free from any suggestion that victims/survivors must report the crime to be assured of any other rights or resources. Campus personnel will not pressure victims/survivors to report a crime if the victim/survivor does not wish to report but will assist any person in filing a report with law enforcement no matter where the misconduct occurred.
  6. Report anonymously online through the link below, which is provided on the College’s homepage: austincc.edu/titleix.
  7. A victim/survivor may report to all of the above and have concurrent criminal and administrative investigations. ACC will not wait for the completion of a criminal investigation to begin or conduct its administrative investigation.

Support and Safety Measures

A victim/survivor may make a request for support and/or safety measures to the District Title IX Officer (or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators). The victim/survivor does not need to participate in an investigation or file charges in order to request support and/or safety measures. The District Title IX Officer will work in conjunction with relevant parties to determine which measures are appropriate to ensure the victim’s safety and equal access to educational programs and activities. Support and/or safety measures include:

  • Support measures related to academics, transportation, and working environment. If an alleged perpetrator and alleged victim/survivor are enrolled in the same class, a request to drop the class without any academic penalty will be granted.
  • Relocation in their on-campus job if either will bring them into proximity with the perpetrator. Survivors may also request changes to their class schedule if they have classes in common with the perpetrator.
  • A “no-contact” order may be put in place between the victim/survivor and the accused party3 or if the accused party is a non-ACC member, the institution should work with law enforcement to prohibit the party from entering campus property.
  • For information about loan repayment, including financial aid student success workshops and potential emergency loans, please visit www.austincc.edu/tuition-and-financial-aid/obtain-financial-aid. Contact Jason Briseno, 512-223-7221 or jbrisen2@austincc.edu.
  • Resources regarding adjustment of the work schedule or leave for employees who are victims/survivors are available through the Human Resources Department.

3 The words “accused party”, “Respondent” and “perpetrator” will be used in this document to refer to the person who is alleged to have engaged in the harm or misconduct depending on which process (administrative policy violation or criminal process.)


I. Policy Statement

It is the policy of the Austin Community College District (“ACC” or the “College”) to maintain an environment for students, employees, and visitors that is free of all forms of discrimination and harassment, including sexual misconduct.  The College has enacted this Prohibition of Sexual Discrimination or Sexual Violence or Sexual Harassment Policy (the “Sexual Misconduct Policy” or “the Policy”) to reflect and maintain its institutional values and community expectations, to provide for fair and equitable procedures for determining when this Policy has been violated, and to provide recourse for individuals and the community in response to violations of this Policy.

So that the College may continue to foster a climate of respect and security on its campuses and ACC owned or operated sites as it relates to preventing and responding to acts of sexual misconduct, this policy has been created and serves to demonstrate the College’s commitment to:

  • Prohibiting all forms of gender and sex-based harassment and discrimination, defined as “sexual misconduct” by ACC, to include sexual harassment, sexual assault (including non-consensual sexual penetration (rape) and contact (fondling), incest, and statutory rape), sexual exploitation, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence as well as gender-based harassment and discrimination that is non-sexual;
  • Disseminating clear policies and procedures for responding to sexual misconduct reported to the College;
  • Responding to and addressing reports of sexual misconduct that may not rise to the level of unlawful discrimination or harassment in order to prevent a hostile environment from occurring;
  • Delivering primary prevention and awareness programs and ongoing training and education campaigns to students and employees so they may identify what behavior constitutes sexual misconduct; understand how to report such misconduct; recognize warning signs of potentially abusive behavior and ways to reduce risks; and learn about safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than such individual;
  • Engaging in investigative inquiry and resolution of reports that are prompt, fair, equitable, and independent of other investigations that may occur;
  • Supporting and protecting the rights of victims/survivors and accused parties, as well as holding persons accountable for established violations of this policy;
  • Providing a written explanation of the rights and options available to every student or employee that has been the victim/survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, regardless of whether the offense occurred on or off campus; and
  • Addressing the policy’s impact on contractors and visitors to ACC facilities.
  • In addition, this policy:
  • Identifies the College’s District Title IX Officer, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, and Title IX Investigators, and describes their roles.
  • Identifies how students and employees can report sexual misconduct to the College confidentially and what resources are available both on and off campus to aid them, including employees’ and students’ rights to notify local law enforcement and their right also to decline to notify such authorities.
  • Provides information about how reports are assessed, investigated, and resolved.
  • Provides the College with a means to take all reasonable steps to identify harassment, prevent recurrence of any harassment, and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.

A.   ACC’s Prohibition Against Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

ACC does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational, extracurricular, or other programs or in the context of employment.  Sex discrimination-including pregnancy and related conditions- is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that provides:

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.

This Policy prohibits all forms of sex and gender-based discrimination, harassment, and misconduct, including non-consensual sexual penetration (rape), non-consensual sexual contact (fondling), intimate partner violence (dating violence and domestic violence), sexual exploitation, incest and statutory rape, and stalking.  This Policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who reports, complains about, or who otherwise participates in good faith in, any matter related to this Policy.  All of the foregoing sexual misconduct shall be referred to as “Prohibited Conduct”, even if the behavior does not rise to the level of unlawful conduct. Engaging in any conduct as defined in Section V can be a violation of this Policy even if the behavior does not rise to the level of unlawful conduct.

Sexual harassment is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Texas Penal Code, and other applicable statutes.  This Policy prohibits sexual harassment against ACC community members, defined in Section II (A.) below, of any sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression in the context of education or employment.  This Policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

ACC also prohibits other forms of discrimination and harassment, including discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, age, religious belief, marital status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Such prohibited conduct is addressed in other Board Policy and College Administrative Rules prohibiting discrimination, harassment and retaliation based on protected status (other than sex or gender).

B.   Commitment to Address Sexual Misconduct

Upon receipt of a complaint or a report, the College will take prompt and equitable action to eliminate the Prohibited Conduct (if any), prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  In addition, the College will fulfill its obligations under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”) amendments to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”) in response to reported Prohibited Conduct.  The College’s process for investigating and responding to reported Prohibited Conduct is contained in the following Section VI. Students or employees who are found to have violated this Policy may face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion (students) or termination of employment (faculty, staff, or other employees).

II. Scope of the Policy

This Policy applies to all reports of Prohibited Conduct occurring on or after the effective date of this Policy.  Where the date of the reported Prohibited Conduct precedes the effective date of this Policy, the definitions of misconduct in existence at the time of the report will be used.  The Investigation Process under this Policy, however, will be used to investigate and resolve all reports made on or after the effective date of this Policy, regardless of when the incident(s) occurred.

When used in this Policy, “Complainant” usually refers to the individual who is identified as the subject alleging to have been harmed by the Prohibited Conduct.  In limited circumstances the College may serve as the Complainant. In the case of dual credit or early college high school students, a Third Party may serve as the Complainant when reporting on behalf of minor students.  “Respondent” refers to the individual alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct.  A “Third-Party” refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness or an individual who makes a report on behalf of a Complainant. The roles of administrators are explained in greater detail later in this document.

A.   Persons Covered   

This Policy applies to all ACC community members, including students4, faculty, administrators, staff, volunteers, vendors, contractors, visitors, and individuals regularly or temporarily employed, conducting business, studying, visiting, or having any official capacity with the College or on its property.

The College strongly encourages reports of Prohibited Conduct regardless of who engaged in the conduct.  Even if the College does not have jurisdiction over the Respondent, the College will take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of the Complainant and the broader campus community and prevent recurrence, if possible.


4 Dual credit students are subject to this Policy.  For purposes of this Policy, a student is someone who is not currently enrolled but is registered for classes in the future, was previously enrolled and is able to enroll in the future, or withdraws any time after notification of the allegation. Students who also serve in the capacity of an employee of the College will be subject to the procedures determined by the District Title IX Officer to be most appropriate.


B.   Locations Covered 

This Policy applies to all on-campus conduct and some off-campus conduct, described below.  The College strongly encourages reports of Prohibited Conduct regardless of location.  Even if the Policy does not apply to the conduct because of its location, the College will take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of the Complainant and the broader campus community and to prevent recurrence, if applicable.

On-Campus Conduct.  This Policy applies to conduct that occurs on-campus, including conduct which occurs on property owned or controlled by the College.

College Programs.  This Policy applies to conduct that occurs in the context of College employment or education programs or activities.

Off-Campus Conduct.  This Policy also applies to conduct that occurs off-campus and has continuing adverse effects on, or creates a hostile environment for, any member of the ACC community as defined in Section II(A.) above, on-campus or in any College employment or education program or activity.

C.   Confidentiality and Privacy

i.  Privacy and Confidentiality: Understanding the Differences

The College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of reports under this Policy.  The College also is committed to assisting students, employees, and Third-Parties in making informed choices.  With respect to any report under this Policy, the College will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to take steps to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  All College employees who are involved in the College’s Title IX response receive specific instruction about respecting and safeguarding private information.

Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this Policy.

ii.  Privacy

“Privacy” generally means that information related to a report of Prohibited Conduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, or resolution of the report.  While not bound by confidentiality, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.

The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the Administrative Rule 3.03.015, which details the College’s regarding the confidentiality of student records.

The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records may be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), excepting health records protected by FERPA and by Texas state law.  Access to an employee’s personnel records may be restricted by applicable Texas and federal law.

While there are certain limitations on privacy, the College generally will not release the names of the Complainant or Respondent to the general public without express written consent or absent another exception consistent with the law.  The release of names will be guided by applicable law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Clery Act, and the Texas Public Information Act.

ACC’s employment policies set forth disciplinary consequences for an employee who releases confidential student information.

iii.  Confidentiality

“Confidentiality” generally means that information shared by an individual with designated authority on a campus or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other individual without the express permission of the individual.

The confidentiality of information shared by an individual with designated campus or community professionals generally is governed by Texas law, including restrictions on disclosure of information by mental health providers, ordained clergy, rape crisis counselors, and attorneys, all of whom have legally protected confidentiality.  An individual who seeks confidential assistance may do so by speaking with professionals who have legally protected confidentiality.  These confidential professional resources are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless required by law, including in response to subpoena or court orders, or when there is an imminent threat of harm to self, others, or College property; or when the individual has given written consent to disclose his/her information; or when the confidential resource is required to notify the Department of Family Protective Services  and/or local law enforcement of any report that involves suspected or known abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18, or an adult who by law is considered to think like a child, or a person over 65 years of age.

ACC’s confidential resources available to individuals on campus are listed in Section III below.

iv.  Employee Requirement to Report, Responsible Employees and Requests for Confidentiality

A College District employee who, in the course and scope of employment, witnesses or receives information regarding the occurrence of an incident that the employee reasonably believes constitutes discrimination, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation and is alleged to have been committed by or against a person who was a student enrolled at or an employee of the institution at the time of the incident shall promptly report the incident to the Title IX Officer or Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

Employees who receive reports or become aware of conduct in the course and scope of their employment, are required to report such incidents described above that involve a student or an employee, regardless of when or where the incident occurred.

An employee is not required to report an incident in which they were a victim, or when information is received due to a student or employee’s disclosure at a public awareness event sponsored by the College or a student organization affiliated with the institution.

A “Responsible Employee” includes any employee who: (1) has the authority to take action to redress the harassment; (2) has the duty to report to appropriate College officials sexual harassment or any other misconduct by students or employees; or (3) a student could reasonably believe has the authority or responsibility to take action.

Certain employees have been designated by the College as Responsible Employees. This includes supervisors, faculty members (including professors, adjuncts, lecturers, and associate/assistant instructors) and all staff in the ACC District Police.  Any other ACC employee who receives such information shall immediately report it to a supervisor for handling in accordance with this policy.

The College requires that all Responsible Employees share a report of sexual misconduct with the District Title IX Officer or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, even if a request for confidentiality has been made.  The purpose of this requirement is to permit the College to take immediate and corrective action to respond to allegations of Prohibited Conduct.

A person may desire to report Prohibited Conduct to the College but to maintain confidentiality; if so, the District Title IX Officer will evaluate such requests.  Where a Complainant requests that the Complainant’s name or other identifiable information not be shared with the Respondent or that no formal action be taken, the  District Title IX Officer will balance the Complainant’s request with the College’s dual obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all College community members and to remain true to principles of fundamental fairness that ordinarily provide for notice and an opportunity to respond before action is taken against a Respondent.  In making this determination, the College may consider a number of factors including the seriousness of the conduct, the respective ages and roles of the Complainant and Respondent, whether there have been other complaints or reports of harassment or misconduct against the Respondent, and the rights of the Respondent to receive notice and relevant information before disciplinary action is sought.

The College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation, but its ability to do so may be limited based on the nature of the request by the Complainant.  Where the College is unable to take action consistent with the request of the Complainant, the District Title IX Officer will inform the Complainant about the chosen course of action, which may include the College seeking disciplinary action against a Respondent.  Alternatively, the course of action may also include steps to limit the effects of the alleged harassment and prevent its recurrence that do not involve formal disciplinary action against a Respondent or revealing the identity of the Complainant.

v.  Disclosures Required by the Clery Act

      1. Timely Warnings
        A “Timely Warning” or “Crime Alert” is a District-wide notification of a Clery crime that poses a serious or continuing threat to the ACC community.  The Timely Warning does not include identifying information about the Complainant.  If a report of misconduct discloses a serious or continuing threat to the ACC community, the College will issue a District-wide timely warning or crime alert (which will take the form of an email and text message sent to the entire ACC community) to protect the health or safety of the community.
      2. Emergency Notification
        An “Emergency Notification” is a District-wide notification upon the confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees occurring on the campus.
      3. Annual Reporting Responsibilities
        The College receives federal funding, and therefore is obligated to issue publicly an Annual Security Report (“ASR”) which identifies the number of particular types of reported crimes on campus or campus owned or controlled property, or adjacent to campus.  The ASR does not include identifying information about the Complainant or Respondent.
      4. Crime Log
        The College must maintain a daily crime log that includes entries for all crimes that occur within both the Clery geography and the ACC District Police Department’s patrol jurisdiction.  The crime log does not include identifying information about the Complainant or Respondent.

III. Options for Assistance Following an Incident of Sexual Assault

A.   Immediate Assistance

The College is committed to treating all members of the ACC community with dignity, care, and respect.  Any community member who experiences or is affected by violations under this Policy, whether as a Complainant or a Respondent, will have equal access to support and counseling services through the College.

The College strongly encourages individuals to report Prohibited Conduct.  The College recognizes, however, that the decision to report Prohibited Conduct (to the College and/or law enforcement) can be difficult.  The College strongly encourages individuals who are considering whether to report Prohibited Conduct to seek the support of confidential campus and community resources, listed in this policy, in particular the licensed professional counselors located on each campus.  These trained professionals can provide guidance in making decisions, information about available resources and procedural options, and assistance to either the Complainant or Respondent in the event that a report and/or resolution under this Policy is pursued.  These resources are available regardless of when or where the incident occurred.

There are many resources available on campus and in the surrounding community.  As noted below, there are Confidential Resources which by law cannot share information without the consent of the individual seeking assistance (in most circumstances).  There are also a variety of College resources that will be discreet and private but are not considered confidential.  These resources will maintain the privacy of an individual’s information within the limited circle of those involved in the resolution of a complaint under this Policy.

i. Confidential Resources (Non-Medical)

The College strongly encourages all victims/survivors to make a prompt report of any incident of Prohibited Conduct to local law enforcement and the College.  For individuals who are not prepared to make a report, or who may be unsure how to proceed, but are still seeking information and support, there are several resources available as designated below.

ii. College Ombudsperson

Employees may also utilize the College’s Ombudsperson as a confidential resource.  If an employee has experienced Prohibited Conduct but is not ready to, or does not wish to make a report, the College’s Ombudsperson provides a neutral, informal, and independent forum to listen to faculty and staff concerns, help identify options and next steps, facilitate communication between parties, clarify policies and procedures, and discuss resources.  Ombudsperson: 512-223-1070.  ACC faculty and staff may make an appointment online at calendly.com/acc-ombuds .

iii. On-Campus Confidential Mental Health and Counseling Resources

Each ACC Campus has clinical counselors available to meet with students.  To schedule a meeting with a clinical counselor, please call the centralized confidential reporting line at: (512) 223-2616. To schedule online:  www.austincc.edu/students/counseling

iv. Online & Off-Campus Confidential Resources

2-1-1 Texas
www.211texas.org
877-541-7905
State and local resources for life issues, food, shelter, rent assistance, childcare, counseling and more.

Austin Child Guidance
www.austinchildguidance.org
512-451-2242
Provides parents with information and resources.

Ulifeline
www.ulifeline.org
Text “START” to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
A resource for suicide prevention, drugs and mental health.

Guide to College Student Mental Health
www.LearnPsychology.org
A comprehensive guide to help college students identify common mental health disorders, their own warning signs, when to seek treatment and how to manage them.

v. ACC District Police and Law Enforcement

1. On-Campus ACC District Police

For non-emergency ACC District Police call 512-223-1231.

Cypress Creek
Building: 2000, Room: 2101
512-223-2008

Eastview
Building: 2000, Room: 2103
512-223-5120

Elgin
Building: 1000, Room: 1114
512-223-9405

Hays
Building: 1000, Room: 1102.00
512-223-1511

Highland
Building: HLC1, Room: 1461 & 2338
512-223-7307

Highland Business Center
HBC Lobby 512-223-7002

Northridge
Building: 1000, Room: 1103
512-223-4718

Rio Grande
Building: Main, Room: 102
512-223-3101

Riverside
Building: A, Room: 2238
512-223-6044

Round Rock
Building: 1000, Room: 1133
512-223-0050

San Gabriel
Building: 1000, Room: 1124
512-223-2510

Service Center
512-223-1231

South Austin Campus
Building: 1000, Room: 1102
512-223-9142

Veterans Resource Center
512-223-1231

2. Off-Campus law enforcement

Cypress Creek
Cedar Park Police Department
911 Quest Parkway, Cedar Park, TX 78613
512-260-4600 (non-emergency)
512-260-4656 (Victim Services)

Eastview
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Elgin
Elgin Police Department
202 Depot Street, Elgin, TX 78621
512-285-5757 (non-emergency)

Hays
Kyle Police Department
111 N. Front Street, Kyle, TX 78640
512-268-3232 (non-emergency)
512-268-0859 (Victim Services)

Highland
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Highland Business Center
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Northridge
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Rio Grande
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Riverside
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Round Rock
Round Rock Police Department
221 E. Main Street, Round Rock, TX 78664
512-218-5500 (non-emergency)
512-341-3124 (victim assistance)

San Gabriel
Leander Police Department
705 Leander Drive, TX 78641
512-528-2800 (non-emergency)
512-528-2872 (Victim Services)

Service Center
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

South Austin Campus
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

Veterans Resource Center
Austin Police Department
715 E. 8th Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-974-5000 (non-emergency)
512-974-5037 (Victim Services)

vi. Austin/Travis County Sexual Assault Response & Resource Team (SARRT)

SARRT is the Austin/Travis County Sexual Assault Response & Resource Team.  The SARRT is a Coordinated Community Response, an established working body and multi-sectoral approach comprising all the agencies involved in the response to post-pubescent adolescent and adult sexual assault victims, including law enforcement, prosecutors, Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners, hospitals and SAFE, the local rape crisis center. The local Child Protection Team is also represented on the SARRT for coordination purposes.  The SARRT meets monthly to coordinate services, problem solve and work for improved community and systematic response to sexual assault victims/survivors.  ACC is a member of the Austin Sexual Assault Response & Resource Team.

Contact: traviscountysarrt@gmail.com
www.safeaustin.org

vii. Confidential Medical Resources  

Victims/survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence have medical needs regardless of if they plan to engage with the criminal justice system (or this administrative process.)  A medical provider can provide emergency and/or follow-up medical services.  The medical exam has two goals: first, to diagnose and treat the full extent of any injury or physical effect (including prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses and pregnancy) and second, to properly collect and preserve evidence.  There is a limited window of time (within 120 hours) following an incident of sexual assault to preserve physical and other forms of evidence, although it may be possible to obtain evidence from towels, sheets, clothes, and other items for longer periods of time.  Victims/survivors are encouraged to have evidence collected in the event that they want to cooperate right away with law enforcement OR have not yet made a decision regarding making a police report, but want to have the evidence collected and saved in the event they do opt to make such a report in the future.  It is best to gather evidence prior to washing a person’s body or changing clothing.  If clothes have been changed, the clothes worn at the time of the incident should be brought to the examination in a clean, sanitary container such as a paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe and may render evidence useless).  A change of clothing should also be brought to the hospital, as the clothes worn at the time of the incident will likely be kept as evidence.

Taking the steps to gather evidence immediately does not commit an individual to any particular course of action.  The decision to seek timely medical attention and gather any evidence, however, will preserve the full range of options to seek resolution under this Policy or through the pursuit of criminal prosecution, and may be helpful in obtaining protective orders and/or proving that a crime of violence occurred.

ACC does not have on-campus Student Health facilities.  Victims/survivors of any of the offenses in this policy should seek help by visiting an area hospital. A victim/survivor will not be required to pay for the cost of a sexual assault forensic exam.  Payment of the forensic exam does not include the costs associated with any medical treatment provided outside the forensic portion of a medical exam.

Ascension Seton Hays
6001 Kyle Parkway, Kyle, TX 78640
512-504-5000
www.seton.net/locations/seton-medical-center-hays

Ascension Seton Northwest
11113 Research Boulevard, Austin, TX 78759
512-324-6000
www.seton.net/locations/northwest

Ascension Seton Williamson
201 Seton Parkway, Round Rock, TX 78665
512-324-4000
www.seton.net/locations/seton-medical-center-williamson

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock
300 University Boulevard, Round Rock, TX, 78665
512-509-0100
www.bswhealth.com/locations/round-rock

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple
2401 S. 31st Street, Temple, TX 76508
254-724-2111
www.bswhealth.com/locations/temple

Cedar Park Regional Medical Center
1401 Medical Parkway, Cedar Park, TX 78613
512-528-7000
www.cedarparkregional.com

Cornerstone
4207 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756
512-706-1900
chghospitals.com/location/cornerstone-specialty-hospitals-austin

Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas
1500 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701
512-324-7000
www.seton.net/locations/dell-seton

St. David’s Medical Center
919 E. 32nd Street, Austin, TX 78705
512-544-7111
stdavids.com

St. David’s Medical Center Round Rock
2400 Round Rock Avenue Round Rock, TX 78681
512-341-1000
stdavids.com

St. David’s South Austin Medical Center
901 W Ben White Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704
512-447-2211
stdavids.com

viii. Additional On-Campus & Off-Campus Resources 

In addition to the confidential resources listed in this document, there is access to a variety of resources provided by the College and in the local communities surrounding the District’s campuses and other locations the College owns or controls.  All of the on-campus reporting options listed above have staff members trained to support individuals affected by Prohibited Conduct and to coordinate with the Title IX Officer (and Deputies) consistent with the College’s commitment to a safe and healthy educational environment. While not bound by confidentiality, those resources will maintain the privacy of an individual’s information within the limited circle of those involved in the Title IX resolution process and those persons that have a “need to know”.

Students, faculty and staff may also access resources located in the local community in addition to those confidential resources.  These organizations can provide crisis intervention services, legal assistance, victim advocacy and assistance in dealing with the criminal justice system.  It may be helpful for victims/survivors to have someone who can help them explore their off-campus options and guide them through legal processes; an advocate can provide assistance in this area.

Victim Advocacy – No cost:

SAFE – Stop Abuse For Everyone
24/7 hotline. Confidential and free resources. Crisis support, safety planning, local resources, medical care (including medical forensic exams at Eloise House, free of charge), legal advocacy and counseling.
512-267-7233 (SAFE)
Text: 737-888-7233
www.safeaustin.org

Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center
Non-profit sexual violence resource center, confidential advocates, 24 hours/7 days hotline.
512-396-HELP (4357)
www.hcwc.org

Hope Alliance Crisis Center
24/7 hotline. Confidential and free services provided including emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy (not attorneys), crisis intervention, and case management.
800-460-SAFE
www.hopealliancetx.org

Legal Assistance:

Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault (LASSA) – Texas Legal Services Center
Staffed by attorneys seven days a week who provide sexual assault survivors with legal information and advice.
1-844-303-SAFE (7233)
www.legalaidforsurvivors.org

Sexual Assault Legal Services & Assistance (SALSA) – Texas Legal Services Center
Free confidential legal hotline for victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Weekdays, 8–5.
512-477-6000
www.tlsc.org

Texas Advocacy Project
The Hope Line addresses legal concerns related to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Staffed by attorneys M–F, 9–5.
800-374-HOPE (4673)
www.texasadvocacyproject.org

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid
Non-profit organization offering free legal services to low income residents of 68 counties of SW Texas.
1-888-988-9996
www.trla.org

Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
Volunteer attorneys provide free legal advice and representation for low income clients.
Mon–Thurs, 8–5; Fri 8–2.
512-476-5550
www.vlsoct.org

Please refer to the resources listed above for additional information about victim advocacy resources in jurisdictions near ACC campuses.

Other Assistance:

Community Mental Health Resources, by location
www.austincc.edu/students/counseling/community-mental-health-resources

Trevor Project
24/7 crisis hotline for LGBTQ youth between 13 and 24 years old.
1-866-488-7386
www.thetrevorproject.org

Out Youth
For youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
512-419-1233
909 East 49 ½ Street, Austin, TX 78751
www.outyouth.org
hello@outyouth.org

B.   Ongoing Assistance

The Deputy Title IX Coordinators at each campus site are available to assist any student, employee or individual impacted by Prohibited Conduct as a Complainant or Respondent.  Contact the nearest campus or site’s Deputy Coordinator using the information listed in Section IV of this policy.

C.   Interim Academic and Protective Measures  

i.   Overview

Upon receipt of a report, the College will provide reasonable and appropriate protective and interim measures designed to eliminate the reported hostile environment and protect the Parties involved.  The College will make reasonable efforts to communicate with the Parties to ensure that all safety, emotional and physical well-being concerns are being addressed.  Interim measures may be imposed regardless of whether formal disciplinary action is sought by the Complainant or the College, and regardless of whether the crime is reported to ACC District Police or local law enforcement.

A Complainant or Respondent may request a No Contact Order or other protection, or the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of all Parties, the broader College community, and/or the integrity of the process.

The College will maintain the privacy of any remedial and protective measures provided under this Policy to the extent practicable and will promptly address any violation of the protective measures.  All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure.  The College will take immediate and responsive action to enforce a previously implemented restriction if such restriction was violated.

ii.   Range of Measures

After careful consideration, interim measures will be implemented at the discretion of the College. Potential remedies, which may be applied include:

      • Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up an initial appointment;
      • Imposition of campus “No Contact Order;”
      • Rescheduling of exams and assignments;
      • Providing alternative course completion options;
      • Change in class schedule, including the ability to take an “incomplete,” drop a course without penalty or transfer sections;
      • Change in work schedule or job assignment;
      • Limiting an individual or organization’s access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter;
      • Voluntary leave of absence;
      • Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities;
      • Assisting with access to medical services;
      • Providing academic support services;
      • Interim suspension (students) or /administrative leave (employees);
      • Any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to reasonably achieve the goals of this Policy.

iii.   Interim Suspension or Administrative Leave

Interim Suspension for Students: 

Where the reported conduct poses a substantial and immediate threat of harm to the safety or well-being of an individual, members of the campus community, or the performance of normal College functions, the College may place a student on interim suspension. The District Title IX Officer, or designee, has the discretion to place a student on interim suspension for the reasons stated above.  A student Respondent who has been put on interim suspension has the right to a meeting within three (3) business days5 with the appropriate Deputy Coordinator/Executive Dean to appeal the interim suspension.  The Deputy Coordinator reviews the appeal to determine whether the decision to put a student on interim suspension was arbitrary or capricious. A decision is arbitrary and capricious where there is no rational connection between the facts presented and the decision made.


5 College business days are Monday through Friday, except when the College is closed on dates noted in the Academic calendar for holidays and breaks, or due to weather related closure if closed for a full business day.


Suspension/Administrative Leave for Employees:

At any time after the receipt of the reported conduct, the College at its discretion may suspend a College organization or place an employee on suspension/administrative leave pending resolution of the report.  Provisions for suspension of faculty members are contained in Board Policy DMAA (Local) and the Employee Handbook.  Suspensions of other College employees shall be made in accordance with the Employee Handbook and Administrative Rules.

Pending resolution of the report, the student, employee, or organization may be denied access to campus, campus facilities, and/or all other College activities or privileges for which the student or employee might otherwise be eligible, as the College determines appropriate.  When interim suspension or administrative leave is imposed, the College will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and resolution within an expedited time frame.

IV. The Title IX Officer and Deputy Coordinators

The Austin Community College District is a system of campuses and other locations that are owned or controlled by the College.  As such, it has a large number of employees and students and is spread across part of the state of Texas.  In order to fulfill the duties associated with this policy and resolution procedures and to ensure that students and employees impacted by Prohibited Conduct have access to administrators with responsibility for this policy and resolution procedures, the District has appointed a District Title IX Officer to oversee compliance with Title IX, but has also appointed three Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinators who serve specific campus(es).

The District Title IX Officer is supported and assisted by the three Regional Deputy Coordinators.  Collectively, the District Title IX Officer, the Deputy Coordinators, Investigators, and other ACC representatives, are the “Title IX Team.”  The Title IX Team is a circle of individuals who have a “need to know” of any alleged Prohibited Conduct to effectuate this Policy.  The foregoing individuals receive appropriate and annual training as required by the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 to discharge their responsibilities.

The District Title IX Officer monitors the College’s overall compliance with Title IX, ensures appropriate training and education, and oversees the College’s investigation, response, and resolution of reports made under this Policy by working closely with the Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinators across the District.  Upon receiving reports of Prohibited Conduct, the District Title IX Officer ensures that appropriate action is taken to eliminate that conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.  The District Title IX Officer is available to inform all individuals, including individuals who have experienced misconduct, individuals who are alleged to be responsible for misconduct, and third-parties, on this Policy and the appended Investigation Processes.

The College has designated Charlene Buckley to serve as the College’s District level Title IX Officer.  The three Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinators have responsibility for specific campuses. The District Title IX Officer and Regional Deputy Coordinators can be contacted by telephone, email, or in person during regular office hours.  Please see the chart below for information on how to contact the Title IX Team.

To contact the District Title IX Officer:
Charlene Buckley
Highland Business Center
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd.
Austin, TX 78752
Direct Phone: (512) 223-7964
Email: charlene.buckley@austincc.edu; or compliance@austincc.edu

To contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for a campus, use the contact information provided below. If someone is uncertain about who to contact or have a conflict or perceive bias from the Deputy Coordinator assigned to the campus, contact the District Title IX Officer.  Any person may contact the District Title IX Officer in lieu of their Deputy Coordinator.

Regional Deputy Title IX Coordinator Contact Information and Assigned Campuses

Amber Kelley, North Region Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Email: amberk@austincc.edu
Telephone: 512-223-0178
Address: 4400 College Park Dr.
Round Rock, TX 78665

If you are reporting sexual misconduct by or against any person at any of the following campuses, you would report to Amber Kelly, whose contact information appears above.

      • Cypress Creek
      • Northridge
      • Round Rock
      • San Gabriel

Dorado Kinney, Central Region Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Email: dkinney@austincc.edu
Telephone: 512-223-7398
Address: 6101 Highland Campus Dr.
Austin, TX 78752

If you are reporting sexual misconduct by or against any person at any of the following campuses, you would report to Dorado Kinney, whose contact information appears above.

      • Eastview
      • Elgin
      • Highland
      • Rio Grande

Wade Bradfute, South Region Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Email: rbradfut@austincc.edu
Telephone: 512-223-1575
Address: 1200 Kohler’s Crossing
Kyle, TX 78640

If you are reporting sexual misconduct by or against any person at any of the following campuses, you would report to Wade Bradfute, whose contact information appears above.

      • Hays
      • Riverside
      • South Austin

For incidents associated with the Highland Business Center or the Service Center, report to the District Title IX Officer:

Charlene Buckley
Highland Business Center
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd.
Austin, TX 78752
Direct Phone: 512-223-7964
Email: charlene.buckley@austincc.edu; or compliance@austincc.edu

For complaints involving an employee as the Respondent, the matter will be addressed by the District Title IX Officer, in conjunction with the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees, Geraldine Tucker, or her designee.

To contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees:
Geraldine Tucker, Vice President, Human Resources
Highland Business Center
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd.
Austin, TX 78752
Direct Phone: 512-223-7572
Email: gtucker@austincc.edu

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for overseeing institutional noncompliance with Title IX.  To file a report directly with the U.S. Department of Education, use the contact information below.

The OCR office for Texas is located at:
Dallas Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, Texas 75201-6810
Telephone: 214-661-9600
FAX: 214-661-9587; TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR.Dallas@ed.gov

The OCR National Headquarters is located at:
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg.
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: 800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR@ed.gov

V.   Prohibited Conduct & Definitions

A.   Sex or Gender-Based Harassment and Discrimination

Sex or gender-based discrimination refers to the disparate treatment of a person or group because of that person’s or group’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

i. Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment   

“Sexual Harassment” means unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct that:

•  In the employment context, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or

• In the education context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities as the College6.

Sexual Harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise. Sexual harassment that does not rise to the level of unlawful harassment may be considered a violation of this Policy.

“Unwelcome Conduct” is conduct that is unwelcome if the conduct was not requested or invited by the individual or others, and the conduct was regarded as undesirable or offensive7. Unwelcome sexual conduct that is mildly offensive or involves isolated incidents that are not pervasive or severe and have not deprived an individual of access to employment or educational programs, is not considered unlawful sexual harassment. However, conduct or behavior of this nature may still be considered a violation of this policy. The College has zero tolerance for any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and will take appropriate corrective action if the alleged conduct is substantiated.

Administrators or supervisors should take corrective action when inappropriate incidents occur in order to address the behavior, or prevent similar conduct from occurring so that the behavior does not become unlawful harassment.  Reports of conduct as alleged that do not rise to the level of unlawful Prohibited Conduct may still considered a violation of this Policy and may be addressed through the Policy. If the alleged conduct rises to the level of unlawful harassment, the conduct must be addressed through the Policy.

“Gender-Based Harassment” is harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise.  To qualify as Gender-Based Harassment, the conduct need not involve conduct of a sexual nature. Gender-based harassment that does not rise to the level of unlawful harassment is considered a violation of this Policy.

“Unlawful Harassment” is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment or that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected status, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


6 Texas Education Code Section 51.251(5)

7 Office for Civil Rights, Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance (66 Fed. Reg. 5512, Jan. 19, 2001)


Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment:

      • May be blatant and intentional and involve an overt action, a threat or reprisal, or may be subtle and indirect, with a coercive aspect that is unstated.
      • May be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, position or authority. While there is often a power differential between two persons, perhaps due to differences in age, social, educational or employment relationships, harassment can occur in any context.
      • May be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, or someone with whom the Complainant has an intimate or sexual relationship.
      • May be committed by or against an individual or may be a result of the actions of an organization or group.
      • May occur by or against an individual of any sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
      • May occur in the classroom, in the workplace, in residential settings, or in any other setting.
      • May be a one-time event or can be part of a pattern of behavior.
      • May be committed in the presence of others or when the Parties are alone.
      • May affect the Complainant and/or third Parties who witness or observe harassment and are affected by it.

Examples of conduct that may constitute Sexual Harassment as defined above may include one or more of the following:

      • Physical conduct, including unwelcome touching, sexual/physical assault, impeding, restraining, or blocking movements, or unwanted sexual advances;
      • Verbal conduct, including making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs or humor; verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations; or objectively offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes;
      • Visual conduct, including leering, making sexual gestures, displaying of suggestive objects, pictures, videos, cartoons, or posters in a public space or forum; or severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading sexually oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate;
      • Written conduct, including letters, notes, text messages, direct messages, emails and any other form of electronic communications containing comments, words, or images described above;
      • Quid pro quo conduct, including direct propositions of a sexual nature between those for whom a power imbalance or supervisory or other authority relationship exists; offering educational or employment benefits in exchange for sexual favors; making submission to sexual advances an actual or implied condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation, including subtle pressure for sexual activity, an element of which may be repeated requests for private meetings with no academic or work purpose; or making or threatening reprisals after a negative response to sexual advances.

Generally speaking, unlawful harassment can be divided into two types of conduct:

    1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment.  Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any aspect of a College program or activity or is used as the basis for the College’s decisions affecting the individual.
    2. Hostile Environment.  A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the College’s education or employment programs and/or activities.  Whether conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent is determined both from a subjective and objective perspective.

Harassing conduct can take many forms.  The determination of whether an environment is hostile is based on the totality of the circumstances, including but not limited to:  (1) the frequency of the conduct; (2) the nature and severity of the conduct; (3) whether the conduct was physically threatening; (4) the effect of the conduct on the Complainant’s mental or emotional state, with consideration of whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the Complainant’s educational or work performance and/or College programs or activities; (5) whether the conduct was directed at more than one person; (6) whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct; and (7) whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech.

A single isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, particularly if the conduct is physical.  A single incident of Sexual Assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment.  In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment, but may still be considered Prohibited Conduct that violates this Policy.

This Policy is consistent with the College’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech.  This commitment requires that the College protect community members’ expression of ideas in their teaching and learning including topics that may be controversial, provocative, or unpopular.  This protection extends to the expression of ideas, however controversial, in the classroom, and other campus-related activities.

It must be recognized, however, that this protection has its limits.  This Policy defines those limits, and conduct which is found to be “harassing” is not consistent with the College’s commitment to academic freedom and free speech.  No member of the College community may escape responsibility for engaging in harassing conduct merely by labeling the conduct as “speech” or other expressive activity.

B.  Sexual Assault: Forms  

i. Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (Rape)

 “Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration” is having or attempting to sexually penetrate another individual:

      • By force or threat of force;
      • Without consent; or
      • Where that individual is incapacitated and could not have provided consent.

Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact.

ii. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (Fondling)

 “Non-Consensual Sexual Contact” is having sexual contact with another individual:

      • By force or threat of force;
      • Without consent; or
      • Where that individual is incapacitated and could not have provided consent.

Sexual Contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing an individual to touch their own intimate body parts, or disrobing or exposure of another’s private parts without permission.  Intimate body parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.

Examples of behavior that would constitute non-consensual sexual penetration or contact include the following:

      • Engaging in sexual activity with an unconscious or semi-conscious person;
      • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is asleep or passed out;
      • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who has said “no”;
      • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is not reciprocating by body movement;
      • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is vomiting, unable to stand without assistance, or has to be carried to bed;
      • Allowing another person to engage in sexual activity with your partner without his or her consent;
      • Requiring any person to perform any sexual activity as a condition of acceptance into any organization affiliated with the College;
      • Telling someone you will “out” them if they don’t engage in sexual activity (e.g., threatening to disclose the person’s sexual orientation without their consent);
      • Having sexual contact or penetration with someone under the statutory age of consent;
      • Telling someone you will fail them or give them a grade different from what they deserve if they don’t agree to engage in sexual activity; or
      • Facilitating or assisting in a sexual assault including purchasing or providing alcohol or drugs to further a sexual assault.

iii. Non-Forcible – Unlawful, non-forcible sexual intercourse.

      1. Incest–Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
      2. Statutory Rape–Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

C.   Sexual Exploitation

“Sexual Exploitation” occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited.  Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

      • Prostituting another;
      • Surreptitiously observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all Parties involved;
      • Non-consensual sharing or streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity of the person being exploited, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all Parties involved or possession or distribution of any of the above when they depict a person under the age of 18 regardless of the Parties consent (possession or distribution of child pornography);
      • Exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in nonconsensual circumstances;
      • Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without their knowledge; and
      • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

D.   Stalking

“Stalking” occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

A course of conduct consists of two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third Parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property.

Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Cyber-stalking is a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.

Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to:

      • Non-consensual communication including in-person communication, telephone calls, voice messages, text messages, email messages, social networking site postings, instant messages, postings of pictures or information on web sites, written letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear;
      • Following, pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom, or other locations frequented by a person;
      • Surveillance and other types of observation, whether by physical proximity or electronic means; and
      • Gathering of information about a person from family, friends, co-workers, and/or classmates.

To qualify as stalking, the conduct is not required to be sexual in nature.

E.   Intimate Partner Violence: Forms

“Intimate Partner Violence” includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship with the Respondent.  The College will not tolerate Intimate Partner Violence of any form.

Intimate Partner Violence is often referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, or relationship violence. Intimate Partner Violence can encompass a broad range of behavior including, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual violence, psychological and/or emotional violence, and economic abuse.  It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate Partner Violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner.  Intimate Partner Violence affects individuals of all sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, races and social and economic backgrounds.

i.  Dating Violence

“Dating Violence” is physical acts of assault or threats of assault, detainment, or unwanted touching committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person subjected to such violence.  Whether there was such a relationship will be determined based on, among other factors, the Complainant’s and Respondent’s statements, and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the Parties involved in the relationship.

ii.  Domestic Violence

“Domestic Violence” is physical acts of assault or threats of assault, detainment, or unwanted touching committed by:  (1) a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; (2) a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; (3) a person who is cohabiting with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; (4) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Texas; 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 in the State of Texas.

F.   Definitions of Key Terms; Other Considerations

To provide clarity to all individuals as to the kinds of behavior which constitute Sexual Misconduct, the College further defines key terms which the College will use in evaluating whether Prohibited Conduct has occurred.

i.  Affirmative Consent

“Affirmative Consent” means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.  Affirmative consent is required for any sexual activity to occur between two or more individuals.  It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the affirmative consent of the other(s) to engage in the sexual activity.

It shall not be a valid excuse to alleged lack of affirmative consent that the Respondent believed that the Complainant consented to the sexual activity under either of the following circumstances: (a) The Respondent’s belief in affirmative consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the Respondent, or (b) the Respondent did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the Respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the Complainant affirmatively consented.

The following are essential elements of affirmative consent:

      • Informed and reciprocal: All Parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.
      • Freely and actively given: Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, coercion, threats, intimidation or pressuring, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual.
      • Mutually understandable: Communication regarding consent consists of mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate a mutually unambiguous willingness to engage in sexual activity. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance, or lack of active response.  An individual who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.  Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to a false conclusion as to whether consent was sought or given.
      • Not indefinite: Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout the activity. Consent may be withdrawn by any Party at any time.  Recognizing the dynamic nature of sexual activity, individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity.  Withdrawal of consent can be an expressed “no” or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain, or is no longer a mutual participant.  Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately and all Parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.
      • Not unlimited: Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person. Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant.  Even in the context of a current or previous intimate relationship, each Party must consent to each instance of sexual contact each time.  The consent must be based on mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity.  The mere fact that there has been prior intimacy or sexual activity does not, by itself, imply consent to future acts.
      • Age: The State of Texas considers sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17 to be unlawful. A person who engages in “unlawful” sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or indecency with a child as described in the Texas Penal Code does so without effective consent as defined by the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.  Specifically, there is no effective consent under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy where one Party (the “minor”) is under the age of seventeen, and the other Party is more than three years older than the minor.   Reports received that allege sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or sexual indecency with a person under the age of 17 will be reported to the City of Austin Police Department (or appropriate law enforcement agency if the act occurred outside of the City of Austin) as this conduct could constitute sexual abuse of children.

ii.  Force

“Force” is the use or threat of physical violence to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide consent.  Consent obtained by force is not valid.

For the use of force to be demonstrated, there is no requirement that a Complainant resist the sexual advance or request.  However, evidence of resistance by the Complainant will be viewed as a clear demonstration of a lack of consent.

iii.  Intimidation

“Intimidation” is the use of implied threats to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity or provide consent.  Consent obtained by intimidation is not valid.

iv.  Coercion

“Coercion” is the improper use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against that individual’s will.  Consent obtained through coercion is not valid.

Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats, and blackmail.  A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.  Examples of coercion include threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and threatening to harm oneself if the other Party does not engage in the sexual activity.  When someone indicates, verbally or physically, that they do not want to engage in a particular sexual activity, that they want to stop a particular activity, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued activity or pressure to continue beyond that point can be coercive.  The College will evaluate the following in determining whether coercion was used:  (a) the frequency of the application of pressure, (b) the intensity of the pressure, (c) the degree of isolation of the person being pressured, and (4) the duration of the pressure.

v. Incapacitation

“Incapacitation” is a state where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because of a lack of conscious understanding of the fact, nature, or extent of the act (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of the sexual interaction) and/or is physically helpless.  For example, an individual is incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent, if the individual is asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring.  An individual will also be considered incapacitated if the person cannot understand the nature of the activity or communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol, drugs, or other medication.  Consumption of alcohol or other drugs alone is insufficient to establish incapacitation.

The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person, and evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs impacts an individual’s:  (1) decision-making ability; (2) awareness of consequences; (3) ability to make informed judgments; or (4) capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act.

It shall not be a valid excuse that the Respondent believed that the Complainant affirmatively consented to the sexual activity if the Respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances: (a) the Complainant was asleep or unconscious; (b) the Complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the Complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; (c) the Complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

Whether the Respondent reasonably should have known that the Complainant was incapacitated will be evaluated using an objective reasonable person standard.  The fact that the Respondent was actually unaware of the Complainant’s incapacity is irrelevant to this analysis, particularly where the Respondent’s failure to appreciate the Complainant’s incapacitation resulted from the Respondent’s failure to take reasonable steps to determine the Complainant’s incapacitation or where the Respondent’s own incapacitation (from alcohol or drugs) caused the Respondent to misjudge the Complainant’s incapacity.

It is the responsibility of each Party to be aware of the intoxication level of the other Party before engaging in sexual activity.  In general, sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all Parties.  If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication, it is safest to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity.

Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is no defense to any violation of this Policy and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

vi.  Prohibited Relationships by Persons in Authority

Sexual, romantic, or intimate relationships in which one party engages in a supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are prohibited. In general, this includes all sexual, romantic, or intimate relationships between students and their professors, coaches, advisors, employers, supervisors, or other College employees.

Similarly, College employees (faculty and staff) who supervise or otherwise hold positions of authority over others are prohibited from having a sexual, romantic, or intimate relationship with an individual under the employee’s supervision.

Faculty, administrators, and others who educate, supervise, evaluate, employ, counsel, coach, or otherwise guide students should understand the fundamentally asymmetrical nature of the relationship they have with students, employees (as applicable), or subordinates.

Sexual, romantic, or intimate relationships where there is a differential in power or authority produce risks for every member of our community and undermine the professionalism of faculty and employees. In either context, the unequal position of the parties presents an inherent element of risk and may raise sexual harassment concerns if one person in the relationship has the actual or apparent authority to supervise, evaluate, counsel, coach, or otherwise make decisions or recommendations as to the other person in connection with their employment or education at the College.

Sexual relations between persons occupying asymmetrical positions of power, even when both consent, raise suspicions that the person in authority has violated standards of professional conduct and potentially subject the person in authority to charges of sexual harassment based on changes in the perspective of the individuals as to the consensual nature of the relationship. Similarly, these relationships may impact third-parties based on perceived or actual favoritism or special treatment based on the relationship.

Any evidence that demonstrates that a person in a position of authority over another, or in an evaluative role, is engaging in a sexual, romantic, or intimate relationship with someone whom they are teaching, mentoring, evaluating, supervising, counseling, advising, or the like shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this policy regardless of whether the conduct is or continues to be wanted or reciprocated.

Employees who may not have the requisite supervisory or evaluative role over the students, but otherwise provide guidance or direct services to a student while serving in their professional capacity are prohibited from engaging in conduct that displays a sexual, romantic, or intimate relationship with a student they serve while working, regardless of whether the conduct is, or continues to be wanted or reciprocated.  Conduct such as this may be addressed through this policy in consultation with the appropriate supervisory personnel, as needed.

Evidence that such prohibited relationships occurred in the past will also be considered prima facie evidence of a violation of this policy.

vii.  Retaliation  

Retaliation for reporting in good faith Prohibited Conduct or cooperating with an investigation or disciplinary process related to this Policy is prohibited.  Retaliation includes adverse action taken against a person for making a good faith complaint or report of Prohibited Conduct or participating in any proceeding under this Policy.  Adverse action includes conduct that threatens, intimidates, harasses, coerces or in any other way seeks to discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this Policy.  Retaliation can be committed by or against any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant.  Retaliation does not include good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of Prohibited Conduct.  Retaliation may be present even where there is a finding of “no responsibility” on the allegations of Prohibited Conduct.

The College will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and will pursue disciplinary action as appropriate.  An individual reporting Prohibited Conduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not proven.

As explained below, any employee may pursue any charge of discrimination or harassment with the Texas Workforce Commission (“TWC”) or the federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”).  It is unlawful to retaliate against any employee for opposing the practices prohibited by the State of Texas or comparable federal law or for filing a complaint with, or for otherwise participating in, an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted by the TWC or EEOC.

The TWC’s Civil Rights Division’s programs provide an avenue for current and former employees (or people who applied for employment) to file a complaint if they believe they have been discriminated against in an employment transaction. TWC accepts complaints if you believe the treatment you received from the employer was because of your race, color, national origin, age, religion, sex, disability, or because of retaliation for participating and/or filing another discrimination complaint and occurred within 180 days of the filing of the complaint.

Employees who believe they may have been discriminated against may get more information on filing a complaint through TWC by visiting: www.twc.state.tx.us/jobseekers/how-submit-employment-discrimination-complaint.

VI. Reporting Policies and Protocols

The College strongly encourages all victims/survivors to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or law enforcement immediately after an incident of sexual or intimate partner violence.  This is the best option to ensure preservation of evidence and to begin a timely investigative and remedial response.

The College also strongly encourages all victims/survivors to make a report to the College and to law enforcement, although neither is required.  These reporting options are not mutually exclusive.  Both internal and criminal reports may be made simultaneously. Reports can also be made anonymously online through a link provided on the College’s homepage.

The College has a strong interest in maintaining a safe environment and will not tolerate the occurrence of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence and strongly encourages all affected individuals or Third-Parties to report any incident to the College.

Making a report means telling a Responsible Employee what happened — in person, by telephone, in writing, or by email.  At the time a report is made, a Complainant does not have to request any particular course of action, nor does a Complainant need to know how to label what happened.  Choosing to make a report, and deciding how to proceed after making the report, can be a process that unfolds over time. The College provides support that can assist each individual in making these important decisions, and will respect an individual’s autonomy in deciding how to proceed to the extent legally possible.  In this process, the College will balance the individual’s interest with its obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the College community.

The College will investigate and resolve all reports of Prohibited Conduct in a fair and impartial manner.  A Complainant, a Respondent and all individuals involved will be treated with dignity and respect.  In response to all reports of Prohibited Conduct, the College will make an immediate assessment of any risk of harm to the Complainant, Respondent, or to the broader campus community and will take steps necessary to address those risks.  These steps may include interim measures to provide for the safety of the individual and the campus community.

A.   Amnesty for Alcohol or Other Drug Use or Other Conduct Violations

The College strongly encourages the reporting of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy.  It is in the best interest of this community that as many Complainants as possible choose to report to college officials and that participants in the investigation process are forthright in sharing information.

To guard against discouraging reporting, a student who reports Prohibited Conduct in good faith, either as a victim or a witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for personal consumption or possession of alcohol or drugs or other violations of the student standards of conduct policy (not including this Policy) at or near the time of the incident. The College may investigate to determine whether a report of Prohibited Conduct outlined in this policy was made in good faith.

The College may always initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies with the student regarding alcohol or other drugs.  Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is no defense to any violation of this Policy and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.


8 Alcoholic Beverage Code Sections 106.04 and 106.05.


B.   Coordination with Law Enforcement

The College strongly encourages Complainants to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, and intimate partner violence that may also be crimes under Texas law.  The Title IX Team will assist a Complainant in making a criminal report with law enforcement agencies if a Complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law.

The College’s Policy, definitions, and burden of proof differ from Texas criminal law.  A Complainant may seek recourse under this Policy and/or pursue criminal action.  Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to prosecute a Respondent, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, are determinative of whether a violation of this Policy has occurred.  Proceedings under this Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus.

The College may not delay conducting its own investigation unless specifically requested by law enforcement. In the event of such specific request, the College shall defer its investigation only during the time that law enforcement is conducting preliminary fact-finding, which should not exceed ten (10) business days absent extenuating circumstances. The College will nevertheless communicate with the Complainant and Respondent (if appropriate) regarding Title IX rights, procedural options, and the implementation of interim measures to assure safety and well-being.  The College will promptly resume fact-gathering as soon as it is informed that law enforcement has completed its initial investigation.

C.   False Reports

The College takes the accuracy of information very seriously, as a report of Prohibited Conduct may have severe consequences.  A good-faith complaint that results in a finding of not responsible is not considered a false or fabricated report of Prohibited Conduct.  However, when a Complainant or Third-Party witness is found to have fabricated allegations or given false information with malicious intent or in bad faith, the Complainant may be subject to disciplinary action.  It is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any Policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

D.   Reports Involving Minors or Suspected Child Abuse

Under Texas law, an individual must make a mandatory report of suspected child abuse and neglect, including sexual assault when that individual, in their professional capacity or within the scope of their employment, has knowledge of, or observes, a minor under the age of 18 whom the individual knows or reasonably suspects has been the survivor of child abuse or neglect.

All College employees are required to immediately report any suspected child abuse and neglect to the District Title IX Officer and the Chief of the ACC District Police.  The source of abuse does not need to be known in order to file a report.

The College will report all suspected child abuse and neglect, including sexual assault, to law enforcement and/or the Texas Child Protective Services.  The College must act quickly regarding all reasonable suspicions of sexual or physical abuse.  It is not the responsibility of any employee, student, or volunteer to investigate suspected child abuse.  This is the role of Child Protective Services and law enforcement authorities.

In addition to notifying the District Title IX Officer and Chief of the ACC District Police, any individual may make a direct report as follows:

      • If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.
      • If there is no immediate danger, contact the Texas Child Protective Services by calling 1-800-252-5400.

E.   Investigation Procedures

i.  Modification of Investigation Process

The College will follow the Investigation Process described herein barring exceptional circumstances.  In rare instances, however, the College may be required to adapt or modify the Investigation Process (including timelines) to ensure prompt and equitable resolution of a report of Prohibited Conduct.  The College reserves this right. In such instances, the College will notify both Parties of the modification of the Investigation Process and, if appropriate, the exceptional circumstances requiring the College to adapt or modify the Investigation Process.

ii.  Consolidation of Investigations

The District Title IX Officer has the discretion to consolidate into one Investigation multiple reports against a Respondent and/or cross-complaints between a Complainant and a Respondent, if the evidence related to each incident would be relevant and probative in reaching a determination on the other incident.  Matters may be consolidated where they involve multiple Complainants, multiple Respondents, or related conduct that would regularly have been heard under the Student Standards of Conduct investigation and disciplinary process.

iii.  Integrity of Proceeding

These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings, but rather procedures designed to address policy violations.

While either Party may bring a legal representative or other advisor to the proceeding, the role of the lawyer or advisor is limited to providing advice and counsel to that Party.  The lawyer or other advisor is not permitted to speak on behalf of the Party, to make arguments to the tribunal, to cross-examine individuals, or otherwise to act in a representational capacity or as a proxy for the Party.   If a Party intends to bring a lawyer or advisor, they are to provide notice of this decision in writing no less than 3 days before the proceeding.  The process will not be delayed due to the unavailability of an advisor or lawyer. An advisor or lawyer may be dismissed from any part of this process for unnecessary disruption of a meeting or proceeding or if they are deemed to have intimidated or otherwise harassed a Party through verbal, nonverbal, or physical actions.

The College reserves the right to serve as a Complainant in any complaint and to bring complaints against a Respondent(s).  This is unusual but can occur when the College feels there is sufficient information to proceed, but an actual Complainant either cannot or will not cooperate in this process.

iv.  Initial Report, Preliminary Inquiry, and Determination of Jurisdiction

      • Upon receiving a report (either verbally or in writing) of a potential violation of this Policy, the District Title IX Officer will assess the report independently, or in concert with the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s), Responsible Employee, or Third Party (depending on who the report was made to and depending on the facts and circumstances being alleged).
      • If necessary, the District Title IX Officer may conduct a preliminary inquiry to gather information to determine if this Policy has jurisdiction over the alleged prohibited conduct reported.
      • To ensure ACC community members are safe and are able to continue in their educational programs or employment, a preliminary inquiry9 may be necessary under the following circumstances:
      • A report received from a Third Party does not include enough information to proceed with an investigation, such as the identity of the parties or witnesses, but the report alleges prohibited conduct.
      • A Complainant makes a report but does not want the College to take any action after reporting or requests confidentiality.
      • In response to the receipt of an anonymous report.
      • If the District Title IX Officer determines that this Policy has jurisdiction over the conduct being alleged, the District Officer will inform the appropriate Deputy Coordinator about the case.
      • The District Title IX Officer will provide the Complainant with a “Written Notice of Rights & Options” in response to any alleged conduct that includes dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
      • If an employee resigns or a student withdraws, completes the semester/course, or graduates from the College pending a disciplinary charge alleging that the student/employee violated this Policy, the College will not end the disciplinary process. Under these circumstances, the College District shall expedite the process as necessary to accommodate the parties’ interests in a speedy resolution. The College will not issue a transcript to a student until the College makes a final determination of responsibility.  The College will not be able to make a determination whether an employee is eligible for rehire until the College makes a final determination of responsibility.

9 See Office for Civil Rights, Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance at (VII)(A)-(C).


v.  Immediate Safety Concerns and Interim Measures

      • The District Title IX Officer will assess any immediate safety concerns, need for medical attention, and interim protective measures the Complainant may require based on the report. The District Title IX Officer will discuss these with the Complainant, preferably in person depending on the Complainant’s availability. The District Title IX Officer will implement such protective measures in concert with appropriate resources and stakeholders.
      • The District Title IX Officer will offer the Complainant access to law enforcement, if applicable, and shall assist the Complainant in contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency if the Complainant so desires.

vi.  Formal Resolution: Assignment of Case to Investigator

      • The District Title IX Officer will then assign the case for investigation by an ACC employee (or employees) trained in conducting Title IX investigations, or in certain circumstances by an outside person (or persons) who is trained in conducting Title IX investigations. The pool of investigators may include trained administrators and faculty members.  If an employee is the Respondent, confidential information may also be disclosed with appropriate personnel by the investigator assigned or the District Title IX Officer. Employee College email may be searched with the approval of the Vice President, Human Resources.
      • The District Title IX Officer will meet separately with the Parties if possible to provide written notice that an investigation will ensue. Both Parties will receive a copy of this Policy and will be advised on the offense being alleged, the date and time that the incident is alleged to have occurred, and the name of the Investigator (if known at that time). The Parties will also be provided with information on all on and off campus resources available to support them through the process as well as their right to have an advisor of choice10 accompany them to any meeting or disciplinary proceeding in which they are required to be present.  The letter will outline the major timeframes of the process and explain where the Parties are in the process currently. The District Title IX Officer will also advise the Parties that they have the right to present any evidence and/or witnesses that they would like included in the fact-finding.  Both Parties will also receive notice of the following:

Complainant’s and Respondent’s Joint Rights

      1. The complainant and the respondent each have the opportunity to meet with a trained investigator
        and provide supporting evidence.
      2. The complainant and the respondent each have the opportunity to be advised by a personal advisor of their choice, at their expense, at any stage of the process and to be accompanied by that advisor at any meeting. An advisor may only consult and advise his or her advisee, but not speak for the advisee at any meeting;
      3. A decision is based on the preponderance of evidence standard, i.e. “more likely than not to have occurred” standard. In other words, the investigation process asks: “is it more likely than not that the respondent engaged in Prohibited Conduct in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy?”
      4. The complainant and the respondent will be notified simultaneously in writing of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding, as well as any changes to those result or disciplinary actions prior to the time that such results become final; and
      5. The complainant and the respondent each have the right to appeal the outcome of the investigation and will be notified simultaneously in writing of the final outcome after the appeal is resolved.
        • A written complaint is not required when reporting alleged Sexual Misconduct. Should a Complainant submit a written complaint, the Respondent will be provided with a copy to review. The Complainant will be informed that this information will be shared. If a report11 of alleged sexual misconduct is received verbally, the District Title IX Officer will reduce to writing a summary of the allegations and provide them to the Respondent prior to the initial interview of the allegations.

10 ACC employees may serve as advisors only if they voluntarily agree and their presence does not present a conflict of interest with regard to their job responsibilities or this investigations process.

11 This report which summarizes the complaint does not represent the College’s position or opinion in response to the allegation(s).  It is only a way to document verbal reports in order to provide the Respondent with sufficient information to respond to the alleged misconduct.


vii.  Investigation Phase

      • The District Title IX Officer will contact the Parties and set a date and time for the initial interview with the Investigator with each party (separately.)
      • During the initial interview the Investigator will restate the investigation process.
      • The Investigator will conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the facts of the case and additionally interview any witnesses relevant to the fact-finding and inspect and collect evidence submitted or uncovered. Mere character witnesses are not considered witnesses that have information related to the allegation and will not be interviewed.
      • If the investigation is conducted by an outside person, the District Title IX Officer shall provide the investigator with any relevant ACC policies and procedures or any materials that the investigator will need to conduct a thorough investigation.
      • If, during the course of the investigation, other violations of ACC policies or procedures or statutes are discovered, the violations should be communicated to the District Title IX Officer. The District Title IX Officer will consult with the appropriate College personnel to determine the best course of action to respond to such violations. This may include management of those violations in accordance with the related policies and procedures, or the District Title IX Officer will address such violations in this process subject to the approval of the appropriate personnel with the requisite authority.  An individual will be provided with the required amount of due process afforded to them depending on the facts and circumstances of the violation and corresponding sanctions, if applicable.  Sanctions issued for these violations may be issued within this process, as well as appealed in accordance with the provisions outlined in Section F.

viii.   Preliminary Investigative Report

      • At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will draft a Preliminary Report and provide the report to the District Title IX Officer who will review with the appropriate Deputy Coordinator. The District Title IX Officer and the Deputy Coordinator will determine if the investigation is in fact complete, or will re-direct the Investigator to conduct further fact-finding.
      • Once fact-finding is complete, the District Title IX Officer will review the Preliminary Report submitted by the Investigator with the Deputy Coordinator. The District Title IX Officer will then meet with the Complainant and Respondent separately to discuss the major facts that will be used to reach an outcome and to allow the parties the opportunity to present any information, evidence or witnesses that were not included in the investigation but are substantively relevant.
      • The parties will have five (5) business days from the date of this meeting to provide a written response to the District Title IX Officer citing any further information, evidence or witnesses that they would like to be considered.
      • If one or both of the parties provides a written response, the District Title IX Officer in consultation with the Deputy Coordinator, will determine if there is a need for further investigation, and if so, the District Title IX Officer will direct the Investigator to conduct further investigation until the Investigator determines the fact-finding is complete.
      • Information that is not substantively relevant to the investigation may not be considered or result in additional fact finding. Any new information that is relevant to the investigation will be revealed to the Complainant and the Respondent.
      • If neither party provides a written response fact finding will be determined to be complete.

ix.  Final Report of Investigator

      • Once fact finding has been completed, the Investigator will provide a Final Report to the District Title IX Officer and Deputy Coordinator including a finding(s) of responsibility and recommendation as to whether or not, using the preponderance of the evidence standard, misconduct (as defined in this policy) occurred.

x.  Determination of Misconduct and Sanctions & Remedial Measures

      • The District Title IX Officer and the Deputy Coordinator will review the findings, and together will determine whether misconduct as defined by this Policy occurred.
      • If the findings determine misconduct occurred, applicable sanctions and permanent protective measures will be issued. Sanctions are administered in accordance with the provisions outlined in Section I.
      • If the findings do not determine misconduct as defined by this policy occurred, remedial measures may be issued to achieve the goals of this Policy. (See Section I below.)
      • If the investigation determines the conduct violates any other College policy, sanctions may be issued in this process. (See Section I below.)
      • The District Title IX Officer will communicate decisions regarding responsibility, the reason for the determination of responsibility, permanent protective measures (if any) and sanction(s) (if any) to the Complainant and Respondent simultaneously and in writing by College email and U.S. Mail. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator shall be copied on all outcome notices. Outcome notices may also be shared with personnel who are tasked with the responsibility of monitoring or enforcing remedial measures or sanctions to ensure compliance, or because of any other educational purpose related to the safety and security of the ACC community.

F.   Appeals

All determinations, including “not responsible findings”, may be appealed to an Appeal Panel of three ACC administrators who will be appointed to consider the appeal by the Executive Vice President, Finance & Administration, when the Respondent is an employee, or the Provost/Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs, in cases when the Respondent is a student.  For purposes of the appellate panel, ACC administrator is defined as Executive Director, Dean, Executive Dean, Associate Vice President, or Vice President. Either Party may file a request for appeal in writing. The appeal should state reasons and grounds for the appeal.

Appeals are not heard in person; instead all requests for appeal must be submitted in writing to the Executive Vice President within five (5) business days from the date on the letter notifying the Respondent or the Complainant of the original finding. Failure to appeal within the allotted time will render the original finding final.

Appeals shall be granted only on one or more of the following grounds:

1. If there was a specified procedural error (or errors) in the interpretation of the College regulations that were so substantial as to effectively deny the party appealing a fair investigation or resolution process;

2. If new and significant evidence has become available which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person during the original investigation; or

3. If the sanction(s) is/are disproportionate to the offense for which the respondent was found responsible.

The Executive Vice President will forward the written request for the appeal to the Appeal Panel. The non-appealing party will be notified of the request for appeal.  A written response may be voluntarily submitted to the Appeal Panel by the non-appealing party to the issues raised in the written request for an appeal, or the Appeal Panel may request such a response. At this time, the parties may also submit impact/mitigation statements to the Appeals Panel for review and consideration. The Appeals Panel shall review the record of the final report, the written request for appeal, the non-appealing parties written response to the request for appeal if submitted, and any submitted impact/mitigation statements to determine if grounds for an appeal are met.  The fact that one of the parties disagrees with the finding or sanction does not in and of itself constitute grounds for appeal. If the Appeal Panel finds no grounds for an appeal, then the decision will become final. There is no further appeal within the College.

If the Appeal Panel finds grounds for appeal, shall consider the issues raised and information presented in the appeal.  The Appeal Panel has authority to dismiss the case, change the sanction, modify the findings, or uphold the findings and sanctions.  The appeal panel must base its decision on the information presented in the appeal and a review of the record in the case.  The scope of the Appeal Panel’s review is limited to the grounds for appeal identified in the appeal letter. The Appeal Panel shall send written final decision to the Executive Vice President and the District Title IX Officer.

The decision of the Appeal Panel is final and there is no further appeal within the College. The District Title IX Officer will communicate decisions regarding the appeal to the Complainant and Respondent simultaneously via College email and U.S. Mail.

The imposition of sanctions is not normally deferred during the appeal process and sanctions may go into effect immediately if the District Title IX Officer deems it necessary. Interim measures will remain in place during the appeal process.

G.  Exceptions to Formal Resolution

At the discretion of the District Title IX Officer, the following exceptions may apply to proceeding with Formal Resolution:

1.  If the College lacks jurisdiction over a party to the complaint;

2.  If the report is being addressed through Informal Resolution;

3.  If a Complainant stops participating in either the Formal or Informal Resolution process, the College will either serve as the Complainant moving forward or the District Title IX Officer will resolve the complaint, if appropriate, and modify procedures where necessary;

4. If a Respondent admits responsibility for the alleged conduct, the District Title IX Officer shall have discretion to resolve the complaint outside the Formal Resolution process or to provide modified procedures and appropriate sanctions/remedies to prevent the reoccurrence of the conduct. This includes reports of consensual prohibited relationships that violate this Policy; or

5. If a report of alleged prohibited conduct is made by a Third Party, and the alleged victim(s) does not wish to participate, does not want the College take any action, or wants to remain confidential, the District Title IX Officer shall have the discretion to resolve the complaint outside the Formal Resolution process or modify procedures, if appropriate and this does not result in a violation of a Respondent’s due process rights.  The College also has the option of serving as the Complainant if deemed necessary.

6.  If the report of conduct as alleged does not rise to the level of unlawful Prohibited Conduct, it may be addressed administratively, in consultation with the appropriate personnel.

H.  Informal Resolution

As an alternative to Formal Resolution, and only if the District Title IX Officer determines that it is appropriate, the Parties may choose to resolve complaints through Informal Resolution.  Informal Resolution may be appropriate for alleged conduct that has not created a hostile environment or deprived an individual of participation in the College’s educational programming or employment.  Less serious, yet inappropriate behaviors can be addressed through informal resolution as an alternative to formal resolution.

The Parties may proceed to Informal Resolution only if the following occurs:  first, the District Title IX Officer determines that the complaint may be resolved appropriately through Informal Resolution; second, the Complainant agrees to Informal Resolution; and third, the Respondent agrees to Informal Resolution.  If any of the three conditions is not met, the case will proceed to Formal Resolution.  If all three conditions are met, the District Title IX Officer will notify the Parties within five (5) business days after all parties have agreed to Informal Resolution, and proceed through the Informal Resolution Process.

The nature of Informal Resolution is flexible, and not all complaints resolved through Informal Resolution will proceed in uniform fashion.  Typically, however, the District Title IX Officer will ask the Complainant to prepare a written report, which sets out the factual basis for the complaint and any proposed resolution.  The Complainant will be asked to provide the written report to the District Title IX Officer within five (5) business days of conclusion of the initial meeting between the Complainant and the District Title IX Officer.

The District Title IX Officer will share the Complainant’s written report with the Respondent, and will ask the Respondent to provide a written response to the report within five (5) business days of reviewing the Complainant’s report.  The District Title IX Officer will then meet separately or together with both Parties to discuss potential alternative resolutions based on the Parties’ statements and (if applicable) other information available.  The District Title IX Officer will not serve as a fact finder, but rather, aid in identifying possible alternative resolution(s) to the complaint.  Possible alternative resolution(s) may include, but are not limited to:

      •  Permanent no-contact order between the Parties
      • Specific personal boundaries if a no-contact order is unwanted by both parties
      • Academic or work location reassignment
      • Written apology and/or explanation of the circumstances surrounding the investigation
      • Verbal apology
      • Educational remedies
      • Return personal belongings
      • Agreed upon sanctions or remedial measures
      • Other appropriate measures

If the Parties reach agreement, the matter is closed.  If not, the Formal Resolution will commence, provided that none of the exceptions to Formal Resolution outlined in Section G above are applicable.  Any Party (including the District Title IX Officer) may terminate the Informal Resolution process at any time.  In that event, the District Title IX Officer will so notify the Parties in writing and will describe the next steps to resolve the report.

I.   Sanctions & Remedial Measures

If the report proceeds through Formal Resolution and the Respondent is found responsible for one or more violations of this policy, the College will issue sanctions commensurate with the violation(s).  Sanctions may also be issued if agreed upon during Informal Resolution.  Absent a finding of responsibility, remedial and protective measures may be issued if warranted to address inappropriate behavior that does not rise to the level of a violation of this Policy. Remedial measures may include counseling, monitoring, training or other preventative measures intended to educate an individual as to appropriate behaviors and boundaries. If during an investigation under this Policy, conduct is found to be in violation of other ACC policies or procedures or statutes, sanctions may be issued within this process after consultation with the appropriate personnel with the requisite authority.

The District Title IX Officer will determine and issue any sanctions and permanent protective measures for students who are found responsible for a violation(s) of this Policy.

A variety of sanctions consistent with the Sanctioning Guidelines may be employed.  Sanctions may deviate from the guidelines on a case-by-case basis when circumstances merit deviation.

Sanctions are effective immediately.  If the Respondent appeals the findings contained in the Final Report, the sanctions will continue in effect during the appeal.

Possible sanctions for students include, but are not limited to:

1.  Warning:  Notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of Prohibited Conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action.

2.  Censure:  A written reprimand for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  This conduct status specifies a period of time during which the student’s good standing with the College may be in jeopardy.  The student is officially warned that continuation or repetition of Prohibited Conduct may be cause for additional conduct action including probation, suspension, or expulsion from the College.

3.  Disciplinary Probation:  Exclusion from participation in privileged activities for a specified period of time (privileged activities may include, but are not limited to, elected or appointed offices, student research, clubs/student organizations, intramural sports and recreation, study abroad, and some student employment).  Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed.  Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation or any other College policy violations may result in further disciplinary action.

4.  Restitution:  Repayment to the College or to an affected Party for damages (amount to be determined by the College) resulting from a violation of this Policy.  To enforce this sanction, the College reserves the right to withhold its transcripts and degrees or to deny a student participation in graduation ceremonies and privileged events.

5.  Suspension:  Exclusion from College premises, attending classes, and other privileges or activities for a specified period of time, as set forth in the suspension notice.  Conditions for readmission may be specified in the suspension notice.

6.  Expulsion:  Permanent termination of student status and exclusion from College premises, privileges, and activities.

7.  Criminal Trespass Warning:  If appropriate, students and employees may be prohibited from entering any ACC campus or property.

8.   Revocation of Admission and/or Degree/Certificate/Award:  Admission to, or a degree/certificate/award issued by, the College may be revoked for violating this Policy, or for other serious violations of any other College Policy found to be committed by a student during an investigation under this Policy. If a student is ineligible to reenroll for a reason other than an academic or financial reason, the College District will include a notation on the student’s transcript stating that the student is ineligible to reenroll for a reason other than an academic or financial reason.

9.  Withholding Degree/Certificate/Award:  The College may withhold awarding a degree/certificate/award otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this Policy, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.

10.  Other:  Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified here.  Sanctions may include remedial measures. Service, education or research projects may also be assigned.

11.  Multiple Sanctions:  More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.

VII.  Records

The Title IX Office will retain records related to the investigation and resolution of reports of Prohibited Conduct for seven (7) years. Affirmative findings of responsibility in matters resolved through Formal Resolution are part of a student’s conduct record and an employee’s employment file.  Such records shall be used in reviewing any further conduct, or developing sanctions, and shall remain a part of a formal record. Discipline resulting in expulsion or extended suspension shall be maintained permanently in a student’s record.

VIII.  Prevention and Education

The College is committed to the prevention of Prohibited Conduct through regular and ongoing education and awareness programs.  Incoming students and new employees receive primary prevention and awareness programming as part of their orientation, and returning students and current employees receive ongoing training and related education.  Visit the Office of Student Life for information about bystander intervention programs and other educational opportunities related to preventing sexual violence at ACC: sites.austincc.edu/sl/ .

IX.  Training

The College provides annual training to all individuals within the community who are involved in responding to, investigating, or resolving reports of Prohibited Conduct as required by the Clery Act as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.  If the College retains an individual outside the community to respond to, investigate, or resolve reports of Prohibited Conduct, the College requires the retained individual has received adequate training consistent with the College’s standards.

The College provides training to students and employees to ensure they understand this Policy and the topics and issues related to maintaining an educational and employment environment free from all forms of Prohibited Conduct.