Title IX Policy
Addressing Discrimination and Harassment (to Include Sexual Assault, Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking)
Our PolicyThe commitment of Rend Lake College to the most fundamental principles of academic freedom, equality of opportunity, and human dignity requires that decisions involving students and employees be based on merit and be free from discrimination in all its forms. Rend Lake College does not engage in discrimination or harassment, or tolerate discrimination or harassment against any person because of the following protected categories: race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, age, order of protection status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation including gender identity, arrest record status, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service.
In furtherance of Rend Lake College’s commitment to the principles of equality and equal opportunity for applicants, students, faculty, staff, and visitors, this policy and the associated procedures are established to provide a means to address complaints of discrimination or harassment based on the protected categories described herein. The College will comply with all federal, state, and applicable local nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action laws, orders and regulations.
Rend Lake College is committed to providing prompt and effective resolution of alleged or suspected incidents of discrimination or harassment. If disciplinary action is warranted, discipline will be imposed in accordance with applicable established College rules and regulations. Retaliation against any person for coming forward with a complaint or a concern, or for otherwise participating in this process, will not be tolerated. Additionally, the College can unilaterally initiate any and all steps under this policy and procedure when it learns, either directly or indirectly, that discrimination, sexual harassment or retaliation is alleged to be taking place.
This policy is designed to promote a safe and healthy learning and work environment and to comply with multiple laws that prohibit discrimination, including: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Age Discrimination Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act, the Veterans’ Readjustment Act of 1974, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act.
For purposes of this policy, the following definitions will apply. In the event of a conflict with federal or state definitions, the federal or state definition, in order of supremacy, shall apply.
Campus Security Authorities: Campus security authorities (CSAs) are defined as: the RLC Police Department; any individual or individuals who have responsibility for campus security but who do not constitute the RLC Police Department; any individual or organization specified in RLC’s statement of campus security policy as an individual or organization to which students and employees should report criminal offenses; and RLC officials who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities. These individuals are normally required to fully document all operative facts of an incident that are reported or that are developed throughout the course of a criminal investigation.
Consent: voluntary, positive agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. This definition includes the following parameters:
- consent is a freely given agreement to sexual activity
- a person's lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force does not constitute consent
- a person's manner of dress does not constitute consent
- a person's consent to past sexual activity does not constitute consent to future sexual activity
- a person's consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another
- a person can withdraw consent at any time
- a person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances, including without limitation the following:
(a) the person is incapacitated due to the use or influence of alcohol or drugs;
(b) the person is asleep or unconscious;
(c) the person is under age; or
(d) the person is incapacitated due to a mental disability.
See 720 ILCS 5/11-1.70 for the Illinois definition of consent.
Dating Violence: violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence: a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed: by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
Harassment: unwelcome conduct based on (actual or as perceived by the alleged offender) race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, age, order of protection status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation including gender identity, arrest record status, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service. Harassment becomes unlawful when:
- the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work or learning environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive; and
- enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment or participating in an educational program or activity.
Mandated Reporters: All faculty and staff are mandated reporters of violations of this comprehensive policy. They must report alleged violations of this comprehensive policy to a Title IX compliance officer.
Responsible Employees: Any employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence, who has been given the duty to report to appropriate school officials about incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students, or who a person could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility. At RLC, all those designated as “mandated reporters” are also “responsible employees”.
Retaliation: any acts, threats, or attempts to discourage a person from reporting prohibited conduct or participating in the investigation or hearing process.
Sexual Abuse: any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent. Sexual abuse occurs when a person 1) commits an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or the threat of force, or 2) commits an act of sexual conduct and knows that the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or is unable to give knowing consent.
See 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50 for additional definitions related to the ages of the offender and the victim.
Sexual Assault: is defined as any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal or State law, including acts committed by force or the threat of force and acts in which the victim lacks capacity to consent.
Sexual Harassment: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual acts or favors, and other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (including sexual assault, sexual abuse, and other forms of sexual misconduct) when:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or education status in an academic course or program, or participation in an activity; or
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or a decision affecting an individual’s education, status in an academic course or program, or participation in an activity; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment. Generally, a pattern of unwelcome behavior is required; however, if sufficiently severe, one incident may constitute a hostile environment.
Sexual Misconduct: includes but is not limited to: intentional and undesired physical contact, stalking, attempted or actual kissing or fondling, intimate partner violence, coerced sexual activity, indecent exposure, repeated unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual relations, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing (physically or psychologically) a person or persons.
Stalking: a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Title IX Advisory Committee: This group convenes biannually (or more frequently as needed) to review and discuss reported incidents of sexual harassment (including sexual assault and sexual violence) undergo training, identify educational opportunities for the campus, and make policy recommendations. The committee is chaired by the Title IX Lead Compliance Officer and is comprised of the Title IX Deputy Compliance Officers and individuals from select College departments and the community. A regional advisory committee or task force also may perform this function.
Title IX Compliance Officers: The Title IX Lead Compliance Officer is responsible for overseeing all of Rend Lake College’s Title IX compliance efforts, including gender discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, sexual assault, and athletics. The Title IX Compliance Officer coordinates College’s efforts to end the alleged discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the College community. Title IX Deputy Compliance Officers are College employees who have been trained and designated by the Title IX Lead Compliance Officer to receive and investigate allegations of sexual harassment.
Discrimination:No Rend Lake College student, faculty, staff, applicant, or visitor shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in connection with any College service, program or activity on the basis of any of the following protected categories (actual or as perceived by the alleged offender): race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability, national origin, citizenship status, ancestry, age, order of protection status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation including gender identity, arrest record status, military status, and unfavorable discharge from military service.
Discrimination is prohibited in all contexts at Rend Lake College, including but not limited to the following matters: recruitment, testing, hiring, compensation, assignments and promotions, training and development opportunities, leave, performance evaluations and access to services or facilities, and access to educational programs and activities, including career technical programs / courses. Information about CTE program offerings and admission requirements is available at www.rlc.edu/programs-degrees.
Harassment:Harassment, including sexual harassment, is a form of discrimination. Rend Lake College does not tolerate any form of harassment in work or study. The College considers such behavior – whether physical or verbal – to be a breach of its standards of conduct. It will seek to prevent such incidents and will investigate and take corrective actions in response to alleged or suspected violations of this policy. Sexual abuse, sexual assault, dating violence and domestic violence are severe forms of sexual harassment and are violations of this policy as well as the State Criminal Code.
Title IX:Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX states as follows:
“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.”
Discrimination on the basis of sex (i.e., sex discrimination) includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. Title IX also prohibits gender-based harassment, which includes 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.
Title IX also applies to admissions, employment, financial aid, athletics, academic matters, career services, and all other Rend Lake College programs and activities.
Retaliation:It is unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing practices that discriminate based on a protected class or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation. Rend Lake College strictly prohibits and will not tolerate reprisals or retaliation against persons due to their assertion of their protected civil rights.
ReportingIndividuals alleging violation of the policies herein are encouraged to report the alleged violation immediately upon experiencing the alleged misconduct or learning of the alleged misconduct. Individuals reporting alleged or suspected violations of this policy should contact the Rend Lake College Police Department by visiting their office in the Student Center on campus, by calling them at 618-525-1911, or by email at (non-emergencies only). In the event of a report of a Title IX violation, the Rend Lake College Police Department will notify a Title IX Compliance Officer immediately and the College will begin to take immediate and appropriate steps to initiate an investigation into the complaint. The Title IX Compliance Officer shall confer with and/or seek guidance from the President on matters that he/she deems appropriate.
College employees to whom misconduct is reported are required to report the alleged misconduct to the Rend Lake College Police Department immediately. Reports of sexual misconduct shall be promptly investigated by the College’s Police Department &/or designated campus individuals. Employees who fail to report alleged or suspected violations of this policy to the appropriate campus office in a timely manner may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Persons visiting the campus who believe that he/she is subject to conduct that would constitute a violation of the policies herein as perpetrated by a Rend Lake College employee or student should contact the Rend Lake College Police Department on campus or at 618-525-1911.
A student, employee or visitor who has experienced a sexual assault or other act of sexual violence may also contact proper law enforcement authorities (e.g., by calling 911), including Rend Lake College police or local police, about possibly filing a criminal complaint. The Title IX Compliance Officer is available to assist students in making contact with appropriate law enforcement authorities upon request. Any pending criminal investigation or criminal proceeding may have some impact on the timing of the College’s investigation, but the College will commence its own investigation as soon as is practicable under the circumstances. Rend Lake College reserves the right to commence and/or complete its own investigation prior to the completion of any criminal investigation or criminal proceeding.
Victims of sexual violence are strongly encouraged to report this in a timely manner to the Rend Lake College Police Department. Filing a police report with the Rend Lake College Police Department will not obligate the victim to prosecute, but it will: ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests, at no expense to the victim; provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later; and ensure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.
Upon receiving a report of an alleged violation of the comprehensive policy, the college will provide survivors with concise information, written in plain language, concerning their rights and options.
- Anonymous & Confidential Reporting
Crime victims who do not want to pursue action with the College or the Illinois criminal justice system still have the option of making a confidential report. With the reporting person’s permission, the Rend Lake College Chief of Police can file a report concerning the details of the incident without revealing that person’s identity. The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with the victim’s wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the future safety of the victim and others. Those wishing to file a confidential report will be referred to the Rend Lake College Chief of Police or any of the Campus Security Authorities. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the Rend Lake College Annual Security Report crime statistics for the institution. Those who wish to pursue action within the college or the Illinois criminal justice system should be aware that police reports are public record and thus cannot be held in confidence.
- Third-Party & Bystander Reporting
Third parties and bystanders who wish to report violations of these policies may use the same reporting procedures outlined above.
Campus Police Department & Local Law Enforcement
Main Campus (Ina)
Rend Lake College Police Department: 618-525-1911 or 618-437-5321, Ext. 1911, , 468 N. Ken Gray Pkwy, Ina, IL 62846. Confidential reporting is available through the RLC Police Department.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office: 618-244-8004, 911 E. Casey Ave., Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
RLC MarketPlace (Mt. Vernon)
MarketPlace Security: 618-237-1911
Mt. Vernon Police Department: Call 911 for emergencies. 618-242-2131, 211 North 10th St., Mt. Vernon, IL 62864
RLC Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus
Pinckneyville Police Department: Call 911 for emergencies. 618-357-8231, 104 South Walnut Street, Pinckneyville, IL 62274
RLC Police Department (non-emergencies): 618-437-5321, Ext. 1911, 468 N. Ken Gray Pkwy, Ina, IL 62846
Community-Based Sexual Assault Crisis Centers
S.A.F.E. (Sexual Assault & Family Emergency)
24-hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-625-1414
NOTE: Rend Lake College has partnered with S.A.F.E. for their services. They can provide a referral to an agency closer to the alleged victim if they wish.
The Women’s Center
24-hour Hotline: 1-800-334-2094
Confidential Advisors & Resources
Rend Lake College does not employ pastoral counselors or professionally licensed or certified counselors to provide any counseling services to crime victims. However, confidential advisors are available through S.A.F.E. (see contact information above), which provides confidential counseling, crisis intervention and referrals along with information to victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse. Victims of crime will be provided a copy of the Illinois Attorney General’s Crime Victim Rights in Illinois brochure. This brochure explains victims’ rights under Illinois law and also provides some resources available to victims.
Crossroads Community Hospital
#8 Doctors Park Road
Mt. Vernon, Illinois 62864
201 Bailey Lane
Benton IL 62812
Pinckneyville Community Hospital
5383 State Route 154
Pinckneyville, IL 62274
SSM Health Good Samaritan Hospital
1 Good Samaritan Way
Mt. Vernon, IL
Title IX Compliance Officers
Title IX Lead Compliance Officer – Chad Copple, 618-437-5321, Ext. 1237 •
Title IX Deputy Compliance Officer – Angie Kistner, 618-437-5321, Ext. 1221 •
Title IX Deputy Compliance Officer – Henry Leeck, 618-437-5321, Ext. 1790 •
Procedures for Addressing Violations of this PolicyRend Lake College is committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of all alleged or suspected violations of this policy about which the College knows or reasonably should know, regardless of whether a complaint alleging a violation of this policy has been filed and regardless of where the conduct at issue occurred. Complainants alleging violation of the comprehensive policy shall have the opportunity to request that the complaint resolution procedure begin promptly and proceed in a timely manner. The College’s ability to investigate in a particular situation, or the extent of the investigation in any given situation, may be affected by any number of factors, including whether the complainant is willing to file a complaint or to consent to an investigation, the location where the alleged conduct occurred, and the College’s access to information relevant to the alleged or suspected violation of this policy. Rend Lake College is nonetheless committed to investigating all alleged and suspected violations of this policy to the fullest extent possible under the circumstances. The College may, upon finding good cause, modify these procedures in the interests of promoting full and fair resolution of suspected or alleged violations of this policy in accordance with applicable law.
- Informal Resolution
To the extent they feel comfortable, individuals are encouraged to first discuss and seek resolution with the individual(s) against whom the complaint is alleged. Any member of the campus community may consult with the Rend Lake College Police Department or the Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services about conduct that they believe may violate this policy. At any point, an individual may choose to engage the resolution procedures outlined below.Informal resolutions are designed to operate in an expeditious manner and to empower the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the assistance of a neutral third party. The investigator does not make a determination of fact as to whether College policy has been violated as part of the informal resolution process. Instead, the investigator will use conflict resolution techniques to attempt to resolve the concern(s) brought forward in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties. Informal resolution is flexible and invites active participation of all the parties in order to resolve the matter. Moreover, the investigator will only speak to the individuals whose involvement is necessary to facilitate a resolution. In some instances, this might include only the parties directly involved.
Informal resolution techniques will not be employed in instances in which sexual misconduct that constitutes sexual assault or sexual violence, or conduct constituting dating violence, domestic violence or stalking, is alleged.
- Informal Resolution Request
The investigator who receives a complaint or request for informal resolution will attempt to resolve concerns by informal or collegial processes, including mediation if the complaining party seeks such assistance. To request resolution via informal means, individuals must (1) contact the Rend Lake College Police Department or Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services within 60 days following the last occurrence of the behavior or incident of discrimination that is the subject of the informal resolution, and (2) complete a Complaint Form. This form is available on the RLC website at www.rlc.edu and at the RLC Student Services Office and the RLC Police Department Office. The Complaint Form must provide details sufficient to inform the investigator about the behavior or incident of discrimination. The investigator will review the request for resolution and determine if the matter is appropriate for informal resolution and whether the allegations set forth in the request form, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of this policy. If not, the investigator will make a referral to an appropriate office.
If the individual declines to complete the Complaint Form, the investigator will either (1) close the matter; or (2) invoke the formal investigation process below if the alleged or suspected misconduct would constitute prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in violation of this policy.
- Informal Resolution Disposition
If the investigator determines that the allegations are sufficient to establish a claim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, he/she shall initiate the informal resolution process. The investigator will attempt to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution within 15 days from the receipt of the Complaint Form. Any party may pursue a formal investigation if he or she is dissatisfied with a proposed informal resolution.
Informal efforts to address the allegations will conclude with one of the following: (1) a resolution of the complaint by agreement of the parties; or (2) a decision to stop further action. Possible resolutions by agreement of the parties may include, but are not limited to: an apology to the initiating party; assisting the responding party to better understand the effects of his or her conduct and ways in which this behavior could be changed; participation in educational programs about equal opportunity or harassment; verbal or written reprimands; or other interventions or actions aimed at ending the alleged misconduct.
In concluding the informal resolution phase, the investigator shall submit a report to the parties involved in the allegation and the appropriate Title IX Compliance Officer if necessary, but not normally to any other campus-level office. Informal resolution reports will usually be brief. Reports prepared by an investigator, and all records collected during the investigation, shall be kept separate from the official personnel files of the parties.
- Informal Resolution Request
- Formal Investigation
If a complaint proceeds to a formal investigation or the matter is not appropriate for informal resolution, a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation is conducted to determine if a violation of this policy occurred. A formal investigation includes interviewing the parties and relevant witnesses, and reviewing written statements, documents, records, and other communications. At the conclusion of the investigation, a determination based on all of the evidence is provided to the President and Title IX Lead Compliance Officer along with a recommendation for further action if warranted.
- Investigation Request
If there is no mutually acceptable informal resolution, a request for a formal investigation must be submitted within 14 days of the informal resolution disposition, or the College may invoke the formal investigation process on its own. A request for a formal investigation should be submitted in writing. Individuals are encouraged to provide as much information as possible, including a description of the discriminatory decisions and/or alleged incident(s) of harassment or other actions that form the basis of the complaint, together with relevant date(s) and the name(s) of the individual alleged to have violated the policy, i.e. Respondent. The complainant should also include the name(s) of any witnesses, if applicable. Even absent a complaint or investigation request, Rend Lake College will nonetheless investigate suspected violations of this policy to the extent possible and to the extent necessary to comply with applicable law. The complainant and respondent shall (i) receive notice of the individual or individuals with authority to make a finding or impose a sanction in their proceeding before the individual or individuals initiate contact with either party and (ii) have the opportunity to request a substitution if the participation of an individual with authority to make a finding or impose a sanction poses a conflict of interest.
- Investigation Notification
Prompt notification of a complaint will be provided by the Rend Lake College Police Department to the Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services and to the Title IX Compliance Officer by delivery of a copy of the written complaint. The notification to the Respondent(s) will include a copy of any written complaint or a description of any complaint submitted orally, the identity of the Complainant(s), and these procedures. Delivery by electronic means is appropriate.The Respondent(s) will be requested to respond in writing to the complaint within a reasonable time, not to exceed 14 days from the date of delivery of the notification of the complaint. Any extension of time must be approved by the Title IX Compliance Officer. A copy of the Respondent(s)’s response will be provided to the Complainant.
- Investigation Assurances
Both the Complainant and Respondent will be provided with the following in connection with the investigation of alleged or suspected violations of this policy:
- The opportunity to speak on their own behalf.
- The opportunity to identify witnesses who can provide information about the alleged conduct at issue.
- The opportunity to submit other evidence on their behalf.
- The opportunity to review any information that will be offered by the other party in support of the other party’s position (to the greatest extent possible and consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) or other applicable law).
- The right to be informed of the outcome of the investigation (to the greatest extent possible and consistent with FERPA or other applicable law).
- The opportunity to appeal the outcome of the investigation.
- Any proceeding, meeting, or hearing held to resolve complaints of alleged student violations of the comprehensive policy shall protect the privacy of the participating parties and witnesses.
- Investigation Disposition
All employees and students have an obligation to cooperate in the conduct of these procedures. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. In the event that a Complainant does not cooperate by failing to furnish information requested by the investigator or failing to make himself or herself available for interview by the investigator, that may affect the College’s ability to investigate the matter and may result in the complaint being dismissed. The investigator shall provide written notice of the outcome of the investigation to the Complainant(s) and the Respondent(s). In the event that a Respondent does not cooperate by failing to furnish information requested by the investigator or to make himself or herself available for interview by the investigator, the investigator may conclude that such information or interview, if provided or conducted, would be adverse to the Respondent.
A disciplinary committee chosen by the College President will preside over hearings. The alleged victim and accused will either be notified in person or by certified return receipt mail of the date, time, and location for the disciplinary hearing which will be conducted by the Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services. Both the alleged victim and the accused are afforded the same opportunity to be accompanied by one advisor for a disciplinary hearing if so desired. The advisor may attend the disciplinary hearing to counsel the student. In no event may the advisor participate directly by speaking or questioning either party. At any time during the disciplinary hearing, the advisor may be asked to leave should they not adhere to their role of acting in an advisory capacity only. The complainant and the respondent may not be compelled to testify in the presence of the other party. If a party invokes this right, the college will make arrangements by which each party can, at a minimum, hear the other party’s testimony. The complainant and the respondent may not directly cross-examine one another, but may, at the discretion and direction of the committee, suggest questions to be posed by the committee and respond to the other party. If either the alleged victim or the accused do not attend the scheduled hearing, it may still be conducted in absentia and the verdict rendered regardless of their attendance or participation in the disciplinary hearing.Within 7 days following the disciplinary hearing, the Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services will prepare a report to include (1) the Complainant’s allegations or a summary of any other suspected violations; (2) the Respondent’s replies to the allegations or suspected violations; (3) information provided by witnesses, documents, or other information obtained during the investigation; (4) a description of the investigation process; (5) the investigator’s analysis of evidence and findings of fact on each element of the complaint; and (6) any recommendation(s) disciplinary committee members may consider pertinent to the disposition of the complaint.
The Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Service’s findings of fact shall be made using the preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not). Individuals are presumed innocent unless a preponderance of the evidence supports a finding of misconduct. The preponderance of the evidence standard requires that the evidence supporting each finding is more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition to it. If there is evidence that the complaint was filed without a reasonable basis in fact and honest belief, the investigator shall include that evidence in his or her report. Such conduct could constitute a violation of this policy.
The Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services shall submit his or her conclusion and recommendation to the Complainant, the Respondent, and the President. The Vice President of Student Services, in consultation with legal counsel, the President, and his/her designee(s) deemed to be relevant to the decision-making process, shall make his or her decision as to the disposition of the case as soon as possible, but no later than 7 days of the disciplinary hearing (or as soon as feasible when extensions are necessary). This decision shall be in writing and shall include an explanation of the decision, any and all sanctions imposed, and appeal rights. Copies of the decision will be sent to the Complainant, the Respondent, and other appropriate executive officers. The Complainant and Respondent shall be informed of the decision contemporaneously to the greatest extent possible. The College also may disclose to the Complainant information about any sanctions or corrective actions taken that relate directly to the complainant (e.g., a “no contact” order).
Imposed sanctions can include:
- Dismissal of charges
- Oral reprimand of the accused
- Censure stating further misconduct by the accused will bring additional sanctions
- Disciplinary probation of the accused
- Community service of the accused
- College-imposed order of protection limiting the accused’s contact with the victim
- Restitution by the accused to the victim
- Suspension of the accused
- Expulsion of the accused
- Referral for charges within the state of Illinois criminal justice system
- Investigation Request
This part of the procedure allows either the Complainant or the Respondent to appeal the Associate Vice President’s disposition to the college President.
- Appeal filing
The Complainant and the Respondent each have the right to appeal the Vice President’s decision within 14 days of his/her written decision from the formal investigation. This appeal may be based on either substantive or procedural grounds. The appeal must be submitted in writing with all supporting materials attached.
- Appeal resolution
The President shall decide the appeal as soon as possible, but no later than 15 days after the final submission of appeal materials (or as soon as feasible when extensions are necessary). The President’s decision shall be in writing, shall include an explanation, and shall be submitted to the Complainant, the Respondent, the Associate Vice President of Academic and Student Services, and the Title IX Compliance Officer. This written decision on the appeal shall constitute the final administrative action of the College.
- Appeal filing
“Employee” is any individual who performs services for the campus or the College in exchange for pay and/or benefits, or designated College volunteer.
“Student” includes any person enrolled in a course or program of study at Rend Lake College.
“Campus visitor” includes any person who is not affiliated with the college as either a student or employee.
“Complainant” is the individual(s) alleging a violation of the policies herein.
“Respondent” is the individual(s)/entity (i.e., department, unit, agency) against whom a complaint is filed and/or is the designee for responding to the charge of discrimination or harassment.
“Deputy Title IX Compliance Officer(s)” are college employees who have been trained and designated by the Title IX Compliance Officer to receive and investigate allegations of sexual harassment.
- Administrative Responsibility
The Title IX Compliance Officer will have the lead responsibility for overseeing all aspects of this policy. The President and his designees will share the responsibility for the effective functioning of these procedures within their units.
When a complaint concerns a College Administrative employee, the Office of the President shall be responsible for implementing the procedures described in this policy, and the final decision or concurrence shall rest with the President, or his or her designee.
- Alteration of Procedure
The College can unilaterally initiate any and all steps under this policy and procedures when it learns, either directly or indirectly, that discrimination, harassment or retaliation is alleged to be taking or has taken place. The Title IX Compliance Officer may alter any of the requirements of these procedures, including extending timelines, provided that the alteration does not impair the ability of the complainant to bring a complaint or the respondent to defend himself or herself. Any substantive alterations of these procedures will be communicated to the pertinent parties.
- Bystander Intervention
In instances of sexual assault, a bystander may be able to intervene and prevent harm to others. A bystander should notice and recognize the event as a risky situation, take responsibility for helping the situation, ask for assistance from other bystanders, call 911, record any details as soon as possible, and intervene in a safe and sensitive manner.
Rend Lake College strives to maintain confidentiality to the greatest extent possible and may require those involved to maintain confidentiality, particularly when confidentiality is required to protect witnesses, prevent evidence from being destroyed, avert a threat that subsequent testimony would be fabricated, or prevent a cover-up. Information will be protected to the extent permitted by law. Complainants are advised, however, that confidentiality can only be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the College’s obligation to investigate alleged or suspected violations of this policy and to take corrective action.
- Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest may arise if a participant, administrator, or investigator has a significant professional or personal involvement with the facts or the parties to a dispute. Any participant, administrator, or investigator, who has a conflict of interest in a dispute covered by these procedures, or a concern about a conflict on the part of another, shall report it to the President. The President shall decide how to address the situation. If there is a conflict of interest involving the President, the Chair of the Board of Trustees shall decide how to address the situation.
- Interim Corrective Administrative Action
At any time after informal resolution or a complaint has been filed, and before final disposition of the dispute, the Title IX Compliance Officer may authorize corrective/interim administrative action to protect the best interests of the College. For example, Rend Lake College reserves the right to suspend any member of the campus community suspected or accused of violating this policy or to take any other interim measures deemed appropriate, pending the outcome of an investigation or grievance, so long as such action is permitted by and taken in accordance with any other applicable disciplinary procedures. Other interim measures can include, but are not limited to, removing a student from campus or an employee from a particular work environment, modifying work or course schedules, and issuing a “no contact” order. In situations involving suspected or alleged sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the College also reserves the right to take steps to protect the complainant as deemed necessary during the pendency of the investigation and resolution process (e.g., allowing for a change in academic situation, issuing a “no contact” order to the accused, etc.). Any such interim steps will be taken in a manner that minimizes the burden on the complainant to the extent possible and in accordance with any other applicable disciplinary procedures.
All references to days mean calendar days unless specified otherwise.
- Education and Awareness Programs
Rend Lake College is committed to continually educating and training the campus community about the various forms of discrimination and harassment and the procedures available to address complaints of discrimination and harassment. During new student orientations and as part of the First Year Experience (FYE) courses, students will be provided with Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention training, safety tips and resources. Verbiage will be included on all College syllabi stating that sexual assault is not tolerated on campus and will provide the necessary contact information to report complaints. The College will utilize an email campaign each semester to remind students of the forms of prohibited conduct, consent, bystander intervention, and other resources available. Informational flyers will be placed in common student and staff areas.
The College will publish its policy and procedures on its website, and also will publish summarized versions in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook and in the employee handbook, with reference to the complete policy and procedures on the website. New employees will be informed of the College’s policies and procedures as part of the New Employee Orientation and subsequent trainings held in conjunction with Faculty/Staff In-Service programs.
Except as otherwise noted above, these procedures are intended to be the exclusive procedures used for all complaints alleging violations of this policy. However, these procedures shall not deprive students or employees of access to other appeal or problem-solving processes on campus, including those negotiated grievance procedures in collective bargaining agreements.
These procedures may be implemented irrespective of any criminal proceeding or administrative action pursued in accordance with applicable College policies.
Investigators and Title IX Compliance Officer(s) do not function as advocates for complainants or respondents. Rather, they are designated to serve as problem solvers, fact finders or investigators as appropriate. Investigators and Title IX Compliance Officer(s) will inform complainants and respondents about other campus offices where they may seek support or advocacy.
In cases in which a complainant files his/her complaint with a federal or state agency while his/her complaint is pending with the Title IX Compliance Officer, the internal complaint may be terminated if it is determined that the College’s ability to continue its inquiry or investigation in an impartial manner is compromised.
- Imposition of Sanctions
The imposition of sanctions or discipline, if recommended, will proceed in accordance with state and federal statutes and relevant campus policy, rules and regulations.
The reports and other records created or compiled under these procedures are to be generated, distributed and maintained as specified at the different steps. Records are not intended to become part of the official personnel files of the Complainant or the Respondent, although there are circumstances where this may be appropriate. Access to records is to be limited to the disputants and, on a need-to-know basis, to appropriate unit-level or campus-level administrators.
Any party to a dispute may be accompanied by an advisor of choice at any meeting that occurs under these procedures. If any party’s advisor of choice at a meeting is to be an attorney, all participants must be informed at least three working days prior to the meeting. The investigator may request the advice of legal counsel at any time. An advisor or support person may not, however, stand in place of either the Complainant or the Respondent, or otherwise participate in the process.
If an employee leaves the College, the employee is encouraged to file a complaint relating to alleged discrimination and/or harassment occurring during that individual’s employment with the College within 30 days following the employee’s termination of employment from the College.
The procedures described in this document will apply to complaints against any and all Rend Lake College employees engaging in his/her professional capacity.