Sexual Respect & Title IX

Sexual Respect & Title IX

College of Alameda recognizes that sexual assault, dating & domestic violence, and stalking are serious issues. The College seeks to ensure that members of its campus community are aware that such behavior is prohibited by law and by College policy, and that the College will not tolerate acts of sexual assault, dating & domestic violence, or stalking in any form, including rape, on its campus.

 

Policies and Procedures

The Peralta Community College Board of Trustees has established policies concerning sexual assault, nondiscrimination, and harassment.

These policies are indicated below:

The Peralta Community College District (PCCD), of which College of Alameda is a part, has adopted Board Policy 3540 and Administrative Procedure 3540, Sexual and Other Assaults on Campus (www.peralta.edu).  The policy is a statement of the District/College’s commitment to educate the college community in order to prevent occurrences of sexual violence. The District/College will provide assistance and support to victims of sexual assault, dating & domestic violence, sexual harassment, and stalking and take appropriate actions to correct and discipline behavior that is found to violate the District/College policy or state regulations regarding these offenses.

Under this policy, sexual harassment includes but is not limited to sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, cyber-stalking, bullying and cyber-bullying, aiding or facilitating the commission of a violation, and retaliation.

Consistent with the values of an educational and employment environment free from harassment based on sex, the College also prohibits gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

We encourage all members of our campus community to seek support for and report all sexual harassment and sexual misconduct directly to the College of Alameda Sheriff or the Title IX Coordinator.  These individuals will assist in eliminating the misconduct, preventing its recurrence and addressing the effects.

 

How To Report An Incident

Please see options for immediate actions, options for reporting the incident and getting support and the Frequently Asked Questions section below.  Regardless of where it is reported, all complaints will be vetted by the Title IX Coordinator.  If you need immediate confidential counseling, the Highland Hospital Sexual Assault Center provides confidential rape crisis counseling to men and women, 24 hours a day, at 510-534-9290.

How to Reach the Title IX Coordinator

Dr. William Watson
Interim VP of Student Services
(510) 748-2205
wwatson@peralta.edu

He is available during regular office hours.

His responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring prompt and equitable resolutions of complaints
  • Overseeing a centralized reporting process for all sexual harassment and misconduct allegations on campus
  • Tracking and monitoring these allegations
  • Coordinating training, education and prevention efforts

Not Anymore

Campus Sexual Assault Awareness Program

ACCESS CODE: 15252

9 Things To Know About Title IX

Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination, and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.

Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Female, male, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.

 You are protected under Title IX even if you do not experience sex discrimination directly. Schools must take immediate steps to address any sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus to prevent it from affecting students further. If a school knows or reasonably should know about discrimination, harassment or violence that is creating a “hostile environment” for any student, it must act to eliminate it, remedy the harm caused and prevent its recurrence. Schools may not discourage survivors from continuing their education, such as telling them to “take time off” or forcing them to quit a team, club or class. You have the right to remain on campus and have every educational program and opportunity available to you.

 Every school must have a Title IX Coordinator who manages complaints. The Coordinator’s contact information should be publicly accessible on the school’s website. If you decide to file a complaint, your school must promptly investigate it regardless of whether you report to the police (though a police investigation may very briefly delay the school’s investigation if law enforcement is gathering evidence). A school may not wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding and should conclude its own investigation within a semester’s time (the 2011 Office for Civil Rights Title IX guidance proposes 60 days as an appropriate time-frame). The school should use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine the outcome of a complaint, meaning discipline should result if it is more likely than not that discrimination, harassment and/or violence occurred. The final decision should be provided to you and the accused in writing. Both of you have the right to appeal the decision.

Along with issuing a no contact directive to the accused, a schools must ensure that any reasonable changes to your housing, class or sports schedule, campus job, or extracurricular activity and clubs are made to ensure you can continue your education free from ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. These arrangements can occur BEFORE a formal complaint, investigation, hearing, or final decision is made regarding your complaint. It also can CONTINUE after the entire process since you have a right to an education free of sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence. Additionally, these accommodations should not over-burden complainant-victims or limit your educational opportunities; instead, schools can require the accused to likewise change some school activities or classes to ensure there is not ongoing hostile educational environment.

Schools must address complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. As part of this obligation they can issue a no contact directive or make other accommodations to ensure the accused or a third party does not retaliate for any complaint. Additionally, the school may not take adverse action against the complainant-victim for their complaint. Any retaliation can and should be reported in a formal Title IX complaint to the U.S. Department of Education since it is your right to be free from a hostile educational environment.

When necessary for student safety, schools can issue a no contact directive preventing an accused student from directly or indirectly contacting or interacting with you. Campus security or police can and should enforce such directives. This is not a court-issued restraining order, but a school should provide you with information on how to obtain such an order and facilitate that process if you choose to pursue it.

The 2011 Title IX Guidance clearly prohibits schools from allowing mediation between an accused student and a complainant-victim in sexual violence cases. However, they may still offer such an alternative process for other types of complaints, such as sexual harassment. Realize it is your choice and you can and should seek a disciplinary hearing if you desire such a formal process. Schools are discouraged from allowing the accused to question you during a hearing. If your school allows that, consider getting a nonprofit attorney or other legal advocate to help you through the process and/or file a Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education about that schools hearing process.

 If you need counseling, tutoring, changes to your campus housing, or other remedies in order to continue your education, your school should provide these at no cost to you. Similarly, you should not suffer the financial burden of your school’s mistakes. If your school fails to take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the violence and prevent its recurrence, your school may be required to reimburse lost tuition and related expenses. More information is available here.

FAQs

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call Peralta Sheriff’s Department at 510-465-3514 and they will help you or your friend get the care you need. A member of the counseling center is available during most days and can be reached at 510-748-2320. For a reference guide on how to get the support you need, and what options are available to you, click here.

If you wish to pursue a complaint against the alleged perpetrator, or if you wish to discuss your options, you should consult with the College’s Title IX Coordinator.

Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim’s person within 72 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time.  If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing.  The Dean on call or another support person should accompany you to the hospital.  Having the evidence collected in this manner will help keep all options available, but will not obligate you to any course of action.  Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should you decide later to exercise it.  If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless).  If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence.

If you believe that you have experienced a non-consensual sexual contact, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the College’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Counseling Center on campus or another trusted administrator who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.

The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be strictly observed, except insofar as it interferes with the College’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.  Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis.  Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted.  Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused student may lead to conduct action by the College.

If you report an act of alleged sexual misconduct local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but that the College is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities.  The College also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics.  This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.

Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual misconduct. An individual may report the incident without disclosing his/her name, identifying the Respondent or requesting any action. Depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, however, the College’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited.  Anonymous reports may be made to the Mental Health Counseling Center. All reports will anonymously go to the Title IX Coordinator.

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged assailant.  No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint.  Survivors should be aware that not identifying the assailant may limit the College’s ability to respond comprehensively.

Yes, if you file a formal complaint.  Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim.  If there is a hearing, the College does provide options for questioning without confrontation.  The answer is only no if no specific name or identity is provided.  In this situation the issue is counted in the College’s reporting data, but no formal investigation or confrontation can be conducted.

It is a violation of College policy to retaliate in any way against an individual or a group because the individual or group of individuals reported an allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct.

The College recognizes that retaliation can take many forms and may be committed by an individual or a group against an individual or a group, and that a Respondent can also be the subject of retaliation by the Complainant or a third party.  The College will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and may pursue disciplinary action as appropriate.  An individual reporting sexual harassment or misconduct 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.

Whether you are the Complainant or the accused student, the College’s primary relationship is to the student and not the parent.  However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents.  College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in certain instances where a health or safety emergency exist, or if the College determines such communication is necessary.

Do not contact the alleged victim.  You must contact the Vice President of Student Services, who will explain the College’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints, explain the rights and responsibilities of the Complainant and Respondent, explain the prohibition against retaliation, and explain the Hearing Board process.

If your assailant attends one of your classes, you may change classes. If you request such a change and it is determined necessary, a Title IX Coordinator will work with your class Dean and/or the Registrar’s Office to help switch your classes and assist in getting extensions on course work if necessary.

College of Alameda’s primary concern is the health and safety of its students.  When conducting an investigation of an alleged sexual assault, the College’s focus will be on addressing the sexual assault and not the lesser policy violations that may be discovered or disclosed.  The College may, however, provide referrals to counseling or require other educational options.

The use of alcohol or drugs by either party will not diminish the responsibility of the accused.  However, alcohol or other drugs are likely to affect memories and may affect the outcome of a case.

Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.

Yes. It is against the College’s Sexual Misconduct policy to engage in any sexual activity with someone who is mentally or physically incapacitated, and therefore incapable of giving consent.  Alcohol may cause such a state of incapacitation. When one or both parties is intoxicated, people can misinterpret another’s sexual intentions and often proceed before the issue of consent has been clarified. For such reasons it is unwise to engage in sexual activity while intoxicated.  When one or both parties are intoxicated.

Yes. You may take action through both the campus disciplinary system and the criminal justice system. The College encourages Complainants to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual harassment or misconduct that may also be crimes under California law. In every case of sexual violence, the College, will notify the Police Department of the allegations.  The College will also assist a Complainant in making a criminal report and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a Complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law.  However, a Complainant may also choose not to pursue criminal action, and under most circumstances, the Peralta Sheriff’s Department will not force a Complainant to pursue charges if he/she is not willing to do so.

A person, who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, as defined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, may file a complaint against the College of Alameda student responsible for that conduct.  “Person” may include any member of College of Alameda, including students, faculty, administrators, and staff members, or visitors.  You will make the complaint with the Title IX coordinator.

The Vice President of Student Services or designee will designate an Investigator of its choosing to conduct a thorough, impartial and fair investigation.  The Investigator chosen will have specific training and experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.  The Investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the Complainant, Respondent, and other individuals or entities with relevant information regarding the complaint using any of the following processes.  The Investigator will share with the Complainant and Respondent for comment or rebuttal information and documentation considered material to the findings related to the complaint.  In addition to reviewing any documents submitted by the Complainant and Respondent, the Investigator will try to obtain such other physical or medical evidence relevant to the investigation as the Investigator determines, in his or her judgment, to be necessary, including but not limited to documents, police records, electronic or other record of communications between the parties or witnesses, records or other relevant information.  In obtaining such evidence, the Investigator will comply with applicable laws and College policies.  The Investigator may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written or photographic documentation.  The Investigator will interview the Complainant and the Respondent separately and may interview one or both more than once as necessary.  The Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied by their respective Advisors.  The Investigator will make a good faith effort to contact and interview any witnesses identified by the parties or in the documentation, including those no longer at the College.  The Investigator may also interview any other individual he or she finds to be potentially relevant to the allegations of the complaint.  The Investigator will inform each witness or other individual interviewed that they are prohibited from retaliating against the Complainant and Respondent or other witnesses.  The Investigator may contact any expert the Investigator determines is necessary to ascertain the facts related to the complaint.  An expert witness may be contacted for an informal consult or for a professional opinion regarding information learned from the investigation.  The Investigator will prepare an Investigative Report summarizing and analyzing the relevant facts determined through the Investigation, referencing any supporting documentation or statements.  The Investigative Report may include summaries of interviews with the Complainant, Respondent, third-party witnesses, experts, and any other individuals with relevant information, photographs of relevant sites or physical evidence, electronic records and forensic evidence.  The Investigator may provide a summary of his/her impressions including context for the evidence, but will not make a determination as to whether a violation occurred, reserving that decision for the Hearing Board.  The Vice President of Student Services or designee will provide the Complainant and the Respondent with a copy of the Investigative Report before the Hearing.

Those who may be present at the hearing are the Complainant, the Respondent, their respective Advisors, Investigator, witnesses and other College officials.  The Investigator and witnesses may only be present in the hearing room when they are providing information to the Hearing Board. The Complainant and Respondent will be present in the hearing room; however, a Complainant or Respondent may also request participation in the hearing by other suitable means that would not require physical proximity to the other. This can include, but is not limited to, partitioning a hearing room or using technology to facilitate participation.  The Hearing Board may also allow for witnesses to appear through other technological means.  All requests to participate in the hearing other than in person must be reviewed in advance by the Vice President of Student Services or designee as Chair to ensure compliance with a fair and equitable process.

The investigation and resolution (including appeal) of all reports will generally be completed within 60 to 90 days.  Extenuating circumstances including the complexity and severity of a complaint may arise that require the complaint process to extend beyond 60 to 90 days. In general, a Complainant and Respondent can expect to receive periodic updates as to the status of the review or investigation.  In the event that the investigation and resolution exceed this time frame, the College will notify all parties of the need for additional time and best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner.