Prohibition Policy Statement & Key Definitions
It is the policy of the Central Texas College (“College”) to provide an educational and work climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. In accordance with state and federal laws, Central Texas College prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. Therefore, the College will not tolerate sexual misconduct of any form, to include but not limited to: dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Students, faculty, staff, vendors, contractors, and third parties should be aware that these unacceptable behaviors (“prohibited conduct”) are a flagrant violation of the values and behavioral expectations of Central Texas College and individuals who engage in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action by the College as provided in this policy, notwithstanding any action that may or may not be taken by the civil or criminal authorities. Central Texas College strongly encourages prompt reporting of any incident related to these offenses.
It is expected that all interpersonal relationships and interactions – especially those of an intimate nature – be grounded upon mutual respect, open communicate, and clear consent. Responsible Employees of Central Texas College (as defined below) are required to promptly report incidents of prohibited conduct as provided in this policy. All reported violations within the jurisdiction of the College, including sexual assault, harassment, and retaliation, will be investigated promptly, fairly, and impartially and, as warranted, will be resolved through appropriate college disciplinary and grievance processes and/or criminal proceedings in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. Central Texas College is committed to addressing and ultimately reducing or eliminating sexual violence by providing resources for prevention, education, support, investigations, and a fair disciplinary process.
Bystander Intervention: As defined in the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act Amended (VAWA), bystander intervention is the “safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Bystander intervention includes recognizing situations of potential harm, understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, overcoming barriers to intervening, identifying safe and effective intervention options, and taking action to intervene.”
Coercion: Coercion transpires when sexual activity occurs devoid of legal and appropriate consent. Sexual coercion is defined as the use of manipulation, intimidation or threat to force someone to have sex.
Complaint: A signed document or other report, including verbal reports (if appropriately acknowledged), alleging a violation of this policy.
Complainant: A person who submits a complaint alleging a violation of this policy.
Consent: According to Texas state law, there is no “implied” consent. Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, voluntary and conscious decision by each involved participant engaging in a specific agreed-upon sexual activity. The consent has to be “ongoing” throughout the sexual contact and can be revoked at any time and for any reason. Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent is active, not passive and silence or the absence of resistance – in and of itself – cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions generate mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of the sexual activity. Instances involving intoxication, lack of consciousness, or drug use of any of the involved participants does not render consent null and void. Incapacity to provide effective consent may also result from mental disability, intellectual disability, unconsciousness or sleep. A person giving consent must be of legal age (17 in the state of Texas), sound mind, and fully cognizant of their surroundings and the situation. Examples of when a person should know the other is incapacitated include, but are not limited to: • the amount of alcohol, medication or drugs consumed, or • imbalance or stumbling, or • slurred speech, or • lack of consciousness or inability to control bodily functions or movements, or • vomiting. Sexual activity and intimacy must be consensual, otherwise, it is sexual assault!
Dating Violence: Under Title 4, Chapter 71 of the Texas Family Code, “dating violence” means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that is committed against a victim (1) with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or (2) because of the victim’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; AND the act is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. “Dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature and the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of: • the length of the relationship; • the type of the relationship; and • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior that one person in an intimate partner relationship uses to maintain power and control over the other. This is a violent misdemeanor and felony crime and is committed by: • a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; • a person with whom the victim shares a child in common without being married; • a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; • a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Texas; or • 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 Texas. Acts may include any behaviors that intimidate, isolate, manipulate, humiliate, coerce, frighten, blame or hurt someone. There is often a pattern or repeated cycle of violence.
Respondent: The person designated to respond to a complaint. Generally, the respondent is the person alleged to be responsible for the prohibited conduct alleged in a complaint.
Responsible Employee: Pursuant to Title IX, a “responsible employee” is a College official, administrator or supervisor (this designation is currently under review for possible modifications). A responsible employee has the duty to promptly report incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking to the Central Texas College Title IX Compliance Officer or other appropriate College designee. Responsible employees are not confidential reporting resources.
Retaliation: Any attempt to penalize or take adverse actions against a person for reporting and/or participating in a complaint or the investigation, proceeding, or litigation of any act of sexual misconduct/violence. Texas strictly prohibits and will not tolerate reprisals or retaliation for reporting a violation of law.
Sex Offenses (Sexual Violence): Any physical sex acts perpetrated against an individual without consent, to include when a person is incapable of giving consent due to alcohol, drugs or disability. A number of acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion: • Rape (Forcible) – Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This definition includes rape and sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence. • Fondling (Forcible Sexual Contact) – Intentional touching, no matter how slight, whether clothed or unclothed, of another person’s private body parts (primarily genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast) with any object or body part of the perpetrator, without consent and/or by force. It also includes forcing the victim to touch the intimate areas of the perpetrator or any contact in a sexual manner even if not involving contact of or by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice. The victim may also be incapable of giving consent due to age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity. This definition includes sexual battery and sexual misconduct. • Incest (Non-Forcible) – Unlawful sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law. • Statutory Rape (Non-Forcible) – Unlawful sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent which is 17 in the state of Texas.
Sexual Assault: A sex offense that meets the definition rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape.
Sexual Harassment: Includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual factors, and other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual violence when it meets any of the following criteria: • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status. • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual – “Quid Pro Quo.” • 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 environment for working, learning, or living on campus. Sexual harassment can occur between any individuals associated with the College, e.g., an employee and a supervisor; coworkers; faculty members; a faculty, staff member, or student and a customer, vendor, or contractor; students; or a student and a faculty member – “Hostile Environment.” Each situation must be considered in context to determine if sexual harassment has occurred. Conduct must be severe or pervasive in order to create a hostile environment; conduct may be inappropriate, unprofessional, offensive, or hurtful, yet not be harassment under this policy. The more severe the harassment, the less a pattern of harassment must be present. Conduct alleged to constitute harassment is evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable pattern. Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same sex or members of different sexes.
Unwelcome Conduct: Conduct that is not requested or invited and is reasonably regarded as undesirable or offensive. “Sexual violence” includes, but is not limited to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. Sexual violence is a form of unwelcome conduct. Examples of unwelcome sexual contact can be verbal, nonverbal, or physical in nature and can include, but are not limited to: • Making sexual propositions or pressuring students for sexual favors; • Touching of a sexual nature; • Inappropriately displaying or distributing sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; • Performing sexual gestures or touching oneself sexually in front of others; • Telling sexual or dirty jokes; • Name calling and slurs; • Spreading sexual rumors or rating other students as to sexual activity or performance; • Circulating or showing emails or Web sites of a sexual nature; or • Intentionally interfering with or physically restricting the movement of another individual.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another’s will or at the expense of another, including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is unprofessional and/or inappropriate for the educational and/or working environment, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed.
Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (1) fear for his/her own safety or the safety of others and/or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.