Title IX Grievance Procedures for Gender-Based Misconduct

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Title IX - Grievance Procedures for Gender-Based Misconduct
Notice of Nondiscrimination

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. To ensure compliance with Title IX and other federal and state civil rights laws, Louisiana Delta Community College has developed internal policies that prohibit discrimination and sexual misconduct on the basis of gender (Refer to LA Delta’s Nondiscrimination Policy Notice on page 3 of the Student Handbook and LA Delta’s Sexual Harassment Policy on p. 41 of the Student Handbook).

Louisiana Delta Community College is committed to providing an environment free from gender-based discrimination or harassment which includes sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence.

Because LA Delta recognizes all students and employees should be able to learn and work in a safe and dignified environment, all complaints of illegal discrimination and harassment are taken very seriously and are investigated promptly, equitably, and thoroughly. Individuals found participating in any form of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation against another student or LA Delta employee for filing a complaint or cooperating with an investigation shall be subject to disciplinary action. LA Delta will take steps to prevent recurrence of any harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the Complainant and others, if appropriate.


Definitions and Examples

Gender-based misconduct comprises a broad range of behaviors focused on sex and/or gender discrimination that may or may not be sexual in nature. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender-based harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence are forms of gender-based misconduct under this policy. Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Gender-based misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Examples of gender-based misconduct

  • Pressure for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship
  • Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging
  • Pressure for or forced sexual activity
  • Unnecessary and unwelcome references to various parts of the body
  • Belittling remarks about a person's gender or belittling remarks about a person's sexual orientation based in gender-stereotyping.
  • Inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor
  • Videotaping and photographing someone or people without consent.
  • Obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature.
  • Offensive sexual graffiti, pictures, or posters.
  • Sexually explicit profanity.
  • Use of email, the Internet, or other forms of digital media to engage in gender misconduct

Gender-based harassment: Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping constitute gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. In order to constitute harassment, the conduct must be such that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive academic or living environment.

Intimate partner violence: The use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship constitute intimate partner violence. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Intimate partner violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships. Intimate partner relationships are defined as short or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional/romantic and/or physical intimacy.

Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking involves repeated and continued harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes the targeted individual to feel emotional distress, including fear and apprehension. Stalking behaviors may include: pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communication or contact - including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, electronic messages, text messages, unwanted gifts, etc.; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation.

Sexual assault: Sexual assault is defined as any non-consensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, buttocks, or breasts. Sexual assault occurs when the act is committed by: a) physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation; b) ignoring the objections of another person; c) causing another's intoxication or impairment through the use of alcohol or other drugs; and/or d) taking advantage of another person's incapacitation, helplessness, or other inability to consent.

Consent: The presence of consent involves explicit communication and mutual approval for the act in which the parties are/were involved. A sexual encounter is considered consensual when individuals willingly and knowingly engage in sexual activity. The use of coercion in instances of sexual assault involves the use of pressure, manipulation, substances, and/or force. The absence of "No" is not a "Yes."

The use of alcohol and other drugs: The use of alcohol and other drugs can have unintended consequences. Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and affirmatively given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of alcohol and other drugs on another person’s ability to give consent. The use of alcohol and other drugs never makes someone at fault for being sexually assaulted.


Reporting Discrimination or Harassment

Louisiana Delta Community College has designated one employee to coordinate the recipient's Title IX responsibilities. These responsibilities include implementation of grievance procedures, including notification, investigation and disposition of complaints; provision of educational materials and training for the campus community; conducting and/or coordinating investigations of complaints received pursuant to Title IX; ensuring a fair and neutral process for all parties; and monitoring all other aspects of the College’s Title IX compliance.

Any person who believes he or she has been harassed or subjected to discriminatory treatment is strongly encouraged to report the misconduct to either the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Student Services, both of whom are obligated to act on any report.

Complaints Against Faculty, Staff, Administrators, and/or Third Parties

Kathy Green
HR Coordinator
(318) 362-5518
kathygreen@ladelta.edu

Complaints Against Students

Alvina Thomas
Dean of Student Success Services
athomas@ladelta.edu
(318) 345-9145 
 

Students attending the Bastrop, Lake Providence, Ruston, Tallulah, West Monroe, and Winnsboro campuses who wish to report gender-based misconduct will do so through each campus’ Coordinator of Student Affairs. The Coordinator of Student Affairs will then collaborate directly with the Office of Student Services, located on the Monroe campus, to assess and/or investigate the alleged harassment by a student and they will work directly with the Title IX Coordinator, who is also based on the Monroe campus, to review and address matters associated with employee gender-based misconduct.

A complaint submitted to LA Delta should be presented as promptly as possible after the alleged misconduct occurs. LA Delta does not limit the timeframe for filing a report of gender-based misconduct. Reports can be submitted at any time following an incident, although the College’s ability to take any action may be limited by the matriculation status of the alleged respondent.

Students may also choose to file a legal report with Campus Security and/or the Monroe Police Department. The College system and the police/legal system work independently from one another. Students can file reports with Louisiana Delta Community College, with the Monroe Police Department, or with both systems.

In cases where gender-based misconduct is reported by a third party, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant and will schedule a meeting to discuss his or her options, and resources at the College and in the community.

All LA Delta faculty, staff, and administrators informed of an allegation of gender-based misconduct involving students are required to file a report with Student Services. Certain College personnel who are serving in a privileged professional capacity (i.e. mental health counselors) are not bound by this expectation except as required by law. 

 Resources for Anyone Experiencing Discrimination or Harassment=

 Additional Resources

  • LA Delta Student Counseling and Disability Services (318) 345-9152
  • LA Delta Campus Security (318) 345-9105
  • The Wellspring Alliance 24/7 Phone Lines (318) 323-1505
  • Family Justice Center (318) 998-6030
  • St. Francis Medical Center (318) 996-4000
  • Monroe Police Department Emergency: 911 or (318) 329-2600

Assessment/Investigation of a Report

The Title IX Coordinator will acknowledge receipt of a report of misconduct within five (5) business days of their receipt of the complaint. The complaint may have been made directly to them or may have been forwarded to them by the Office of Student Services. The time it will take to reach an outcome from the College’s investigation will vary depending on the complexity of the incident(s). However, a typical resolution should be determined within sixty (60) days of the first filing of the report.

If at any point the Complainant requests privacy, LA Delta will make all reasonable attempts to comply with this request. In these situations, LA Delta’s ability to investigate and respond may be limited. Title IX requires that colleges weigh the Complainant’s request for privacy with the college’s commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment. If it is determined that the Complainant’s privacy cannot be maintained, they will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator.

The following steps will be taken during an investigation:

  • The Complainant will initiate a complaint by submitting to the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Student Services a completed Student Grievance/Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form.
  • Interim measures to prevent continued discrimination or harassment will be considered and implemented during the investigation period as deemed appropriate. Examples include but are not limited to: restrictions on contact between the Complainant and the alleged harasser, bans from areas of campus, provision of an escort to ensure safety in class and during activities, and/or appropriate changes in academic schedule. Failure to adhere to the parameters of any interim measures is a violation of policy and may lead to additional disciplinary action.
  • Provision of mental health counseling services and/or academic support services such as tutoring will be offered to the Complainant.
  • The Title IX Coordinator will conduct a preliminary review of the matter in order to determine whether a formal investigation should occur. If the decision is made to proceed in a formal manner, a determination will be made as to whether to utilize a sole investigator or an investigative team.
  • Relevant witnesses, including the alleged harasser, Complainant, and all first-hand witnesses will be identified and separately interviewed. The Complainant and the Respondent may each have a “support person” present at all interviews. The supporter’s function in the process is to provide support to the student. The supporter may talk quietly with the student or pass notes in a non-disruptive manner. The supporter may not, in any way, intervene on the student’s behalf.
  • Confidentiality concerns and the LA Delta’s policy on retaliation will be discussed with all witnesses.
  • All witnesses will be asked to put their statements in writing.
  • Both parties will receive periodic status updates.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the college representative(s) shall set forth their findings and recommendations in writing. The representative shall send a copy of the findings and recommendations to the Complainant, the Respondent and the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator shall consider the findings and recommendations of the representative(s) and shall determine whether disciplinary action is appropriate. The Title IX Coordinator shall advise the complainant and respondent of his or her decision in a detailed written summary/report which contains statement of allegation, reply to the allegation by the individual who has allegedly engaged in misconduct, statement of evidence, and a conclusion as to whether the Nondiscrimination Policy and/or Sexual Harassment Policy has been violated.

If the Title IX Coordinator determines that disciplinary action is not appropriate and the Complainant disagrees, the Complainant may appeal, in writing, to the Chancellor. The Chancellor shall respond within ten (10) working days of receipt of the appeal. The request for appeal must be a signed, written document stating why the decision to dismiss the complaint is believed to be in error. If the decision to dismiss is upheld, that decision is final. If the decision is overturned, the complaint is sent back to the Office of Student Services for investigation in accordance with the formal resolution procedures. 

Resolution Options:

Administrative Resolution: Administrative resolution resolves all concerns at the earliest stage possible with the cooperation of all parties involved and typically does not involve a formal investigation. If no resolution can be reached that is acceptable to both parties and to the College, the Title IX Coordinator may institute a formal investigation. The goal of administrative resolution is to resolve all concerns at the earliest stage possible. Means of resolution shall be flexible and encompass a full range of possible appropriate outcomes. Options include:

  • Mediation, when deemed an option, does not allow parties wishing to engage in this type of resolution to have contact with one another to discuss mediation. Mediation will only be pursued with the consent of both parties. If a resolution is reached during this process, the formal disciplinary procedure will be concluded and the case will be closed. If a resolution is not met, the disciplinary process will proceed. Mediation is not an option in cases involving allegations of sexual assault. In other cases involving alleged gender-based misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator and/or Director of Student Services will determine whether mediation is an appropriate method of resolution based on the information provided about the incident. Separating the parties
  • Referring the parties to counseling programs
  • Negotiating an agreement for disciplinary action
  • Conducting targeted educational and training programs
  • Remedies for the individual harmed by the harassment
  • Discussions with the parties, making recommendations for resolution and conducting follow-up after a period of time to assure that the resolution has been implemented effectively

The Complainant may, at any time, request to end the informal process and begin the formal stage of the complaint process.


Formal Resolution Procedures:

If the Title IX Officer determines that disciplinary action should be instituted against a student, the Office of Student Services shall address the issue by following due process procedures as described in Section Two of the Louisiana Delta Community College Code of Student Conduct.

If the Title IX Coordinator determines that disciplinary actions should be instituted against an employee, the applicable provisions of employee rights and responsibilities and discipline procedures should be followed. These provisions include but are not limited to policies and procedures as set forth by LA Delta and LCTCS Office of Human Resources under the Division of Finance and Administration as well as state and federal constitutional and statutory provisions.


Notice of Outcome:

Both parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of the complaint and if an appeal has been filed by either party at any point in the outcome phase. The written report will include one of two determinations 1) that the facts do not support the allegations and the complaint should be dismissed; 2) there is a preponderance of evidence that a violation of the Nondiscrimination Policy and/or Sexual Harassment Policy has occurred. The respondent will be informed of the imposed sanctions.

The complainant and the respondent may appeal the decision and sanctions rendered if any of the following apply: insufficient evidence to support the charge(s); sanctions imposed were inappropriate; information discovered that indicates that the administrator or committee members were not impartial. The appeal should be submitted in writing to the Director of Student Services within ten (10) business days following the date of the outcome letter in order to request a hearing with the Chancellor. Within ten (10) days, a hearing with the Chancellor is scheduled. The Chancellor issues a decision within ten (10) days following the hearing.

If the complainant and/or respondent remain dissatisfied with the decision, he or she must notify the Director of Student Services within ten (10) days and must request a hearing with the Governing Board. Within ten (10) days after receiving the request, the Director of Student Services notifies the Governing Board to establish a hearing date. The hearing is to be conducted within thirty (30) days within date of notification to the Governing Board.

Board of Supervisors
Louisiana Community & Technical College System
265 S. Foster Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806- 4104
Phone (225)922-2800