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Title IX Policy

Sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harassment, and stalking are prohibited by North Central Michigan College. The College is committed to preventing incidents thereof through educational programming, prompt and fair investigations of allegations and compliance with applicable laws. This policy applies to students, employees and visitors, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, height, weight, marital status or familial status or disability as protected by relevant law. It applies to incidents occurring on the main campus as well as at off-campus locations, such as college-sponsored field-trips, off-campus classes and college-sponsored events. 

 

Reporting and Confidentially Disclosing Sexual Violence: Know the Options

The College encourages victims of sexual violence to talk to somebody about what happened so victims can get the support they need, and so the College can respond appropriately. This policy is intended to make students aware of the various reporting and confidential disclosure options available to them so they can make informed choices about where to turn should they become a victim of sexual violence. The College encourages victims to talk to someone identified in one or more of these groups.    

  1. North Central Counselor may talk to a complaining student in confidence, and generally only report to the College that an incident occurred without revealing any personally-identifying information. Disclosures to these employees will not trigger a College investigation into an incident against the complaining student’s wishes. Available options: 
  • College Counselor, 231-348-6605  
  • Learning Support Services Director, 231-348-6817
  • The Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) is available on campus for confidential counseling and/or advocacy.

To schedule an on-campus appointment for counseling please call 231-347-0067.

To speak with the WRCNM Education and Employment Services Coordinator located in the Learning Support Services Center please, call 231-348-6699.

For 24-hour support please, call 231-347-0082

A complaining student who speaks to a professional counselor or advocate must understand that, if the complaining student wants to maintain confidentiality, the College will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged responding student. 

Even so, these individuals will still assist the complaining student in receiving other necessary protection and support, such as complaining student advocacy, academic support or accommodations, disability, health or mental health services, and changes to living, working or course schedules. A complaining student who at first requests confidentiality may later decide to file a complaint with the school or report the incident to local law enforcement, and thus have the incident fully investigated.

  1. Some employees are required to report all the details of an incident (including the identities of both the complaining student and the alleged responding student) to the Title IX Coordinator. A report to these employees (called “responsible employees”) constitutes a report to the College and generally obligates the College to investigate and take appropriate steps to address the situation. The following employees are considered responsible employees for this purpose:  

  • Vice President of Student Affairs
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs & Student Success
  • Vice President of Finance and Facilities
  • Dean of Liberal Arts
  • Dean of Business, Manufacturing and Technology Programs
  • Dean of Nursing, Allied Health and Science Faculty
  • Associate Dean of Adjunct Faculty and Off Campus Programs
  • Director of Campus Housing
  • Director of Student Outreach & Engagement
  • Director of Food Service and Conference Center
  • Director of Student and Community Resource Center
  • Associate Dean of Public Service
  • Director of Physical Plant
  • Librarian
  • Resident Assistants

Please note, if the College determines that the alleged responding student(s) poses a serious and immediate threat to the College community, Campus Security Authorities or the President may be called upon to issue a timely warning to the college community. Any such warning would not include any information that identifies the complaining student. 

A “responsible employee” is a College employee who has the authority to redress sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. When a complaining student tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual violence, the complaining student has the right to expect the College to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.

A responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence shared by the complaining student including the names of the complaining student and alleged responding student(s), any witnesses, if available and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.  To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report. Because the College works closely with local law enforcement to provide a safe campus, it is likely that this report will be shared with local law enforcement. This does not constitute an official police report, unless the victim wishes to file one. 

Before a complaining student reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure that the complaining student understands the employee’s reporting obligations and, if the complaining student wants to maintain confidentiality, directs the complaining student to confidential resources. If the complaining student wants to tell the responsible employee what happened but also maintain confidentiality, the employee should tell the complaining student that the College will consider the request but cannot guarantee that the College will be able to honor it. In reporting the details of the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, the responsible employee will also inform the Coordinator of the complaining student’s request for confidentiality. Responsible employees will not pressure a complaining student to request confidentiality, but will honor and support the complaining student’s wishes, including for the College to fully investigate an incident. By the same token, responsible employees will not pressure a complaining student to make a full report if the complaining student is not ready to. 

  1. All other employees of the College are expected to file an Incident Report Form with as much information about the alleged incident as possible. An incident report form will trigger an investigation to the fullest extent possible by the Title IX Coordinator.  If the student requests confidentiality, the employee should explain confidential reporting options. The employee cannot guarantee confidentiality, as this will be determined by the Title IX Coordinator. 

 

Requesting Confidentiality from the College: How the College Will Weigh the Request and Respond

If a complaining student discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into an incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, the College must weigh that request against the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the complaining student.  If the College honors the request for confidentiality, a complaining student must understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged responding student(s) may be limited. There are times when the College may not be able to honor a complaining student's request in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students. 

The College has designated the following individual to evaluate requests for confidentiality once a responsible employee is on notice of alleged sexual violence:

  • Vice President of Student Affairs/Title IX Coordinator 

When weighing a complaining student’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or discipline be pursued, the Vice President of Student Affairs (with the Behavioral Intervention Team, if appropriate) will consider a range of factors, including the following:

  • The increased risk that the alleged responding student will commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:

Whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged responding student;

Whether the alleged responding student has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence;

Whether the alleged responding student threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the complaining student or others;

Whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;

Whether the complaining student is a minor;

Whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras, physical evidence)

The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the College to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary action. If none of these factors is present, the College may respect the complaining student’s request for confidentiality. If the College determines that it cannot maintain a complaining student confidentiality, the College will inform the complaining student's prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the College’s response. 

The College will remain ever mindful of the complaining student’s well-being and will take ongoing steps to protect the complaining student from retaliation or harm and work with the complaining student to create a safety plan. Retaliation against the complaining student, whether by students or College employees, will not be tolerated. The College will also:

Assist the complaining student in accessing other available complaining student advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability, health or mental health services, and legal assistance both on and off-campus

Provide other security and support, which could include issuing a no-contact order, helping arrange a change of living or working arrangements or course schedules (including for the alleged responding student pending the outcome of an investigation) or adjustments for assignments or tests; and

Inform the victim of the right to report a crime to local law enforcement – and provide the complaining student with assistance if the complaining student wishes to do so.

The College may not require a complaining student to participate in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding. Because the College is under a continuing obligation to address the issue of sexual violence campus-wide, reports of sexual violence (including non-identifying reports) will also prompt the College to consider broader remedial action, such as increased monitoring, increased security cameras at locations where the reported sexual violence occurred, increasing education and prevention efforts, conducting climate assessments/victimization surveys, and/or revisiting its policies/practices. 

 

Definitions 

Sexual assault – any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained using force, threat of force, intimidation or coercion.

Domestic violence – a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; 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 the jurisdiction receiving grant monies (under VAWA), 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 the jurisdiction.

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; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: length of the relationship; type of the relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking –engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Sexual Harassment – Any Form of harassment toward an individual or group of individuals.  NOTE:  The Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of sexual nature” when such “conduct or communication has the purpose of effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s education or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment."

Consent – sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as voluntary, positive agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant at every stage of a sexual encounter. The absence of “no” should not be understood to mean that there is consent. A person who is asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, is not capable of giving valid consent. The use of alcohol or drugs may seriously interfere with the participants’ judgment about whether consent has been sought and given. Consent must meet all the following standards:

Active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. There is no requirement that an individual resist a sexual act or advance, but resistance is a clear demonstration of not consenting.

Given freely. A person cannot give consent under force, threats, or unreasonable pressure (coercion). Coercion includes continued pressure after an individual has made it clear that s/he does not want to engage in the behavior.

Provided knowingly. Legally valid consent to sexual activity cannot be given by:

A person under the legal age to consent (16 years old in Michigan), or​

An individual who is known to be (or based on the circumstances should reasonably be known to be) mentally or physically incapacitated. An incapacitated person is someone who cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because s/he lacks the capacity to understand the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of a sexual interaction. This includes a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, unconsciousness, use of alcohol or other drugs.

​​​Specific. Permission to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply permission for another activity. In addition, previous relationships or prior consent do not imply consent to future sexual acts. It is the responsibility of the initiator of the act to receive permission for the specific act. As a result, consent may be requested and given several times by multiple parties during a sexual encounter involving multiple acts.

 

Education and Prevention

North Central promotes the awareness of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harassment and stalking through educational programming for new students and employees throughout the year in collaboration with the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan. Materials are in the on-campus Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan office (SCRC #535G), the Student Services Office and the Residence Hall. Educational programs are also regularly conducted for staff and students.

Risk Reduction and Prevention Safety 

Common sense, situational awareness and trusting your instincts will reduce the risk of sexual assault. The tips below may help decrease the potential chance of sexual assault:

  • If you choose to consume alcohol, use moderation.
  • Do not leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
  • When you are with someone, communicate clearly to ensure he or she knows your limits and/or expectations from the beginning. Both verbal and nonverbal (body language) communication can be used to ensure the message is understood.
  • You have the right to say "No" even if you:
  • First say “Yes,” and then change your mind
  • Have had sex with this partner before
  • Have a plan for someone you can call if you need help.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, scared or pressured, say, "Stop it", or leave and call for help.
  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other and leave together.
  • Be aware of your surroundings always.
  • Do not allow yourself to be isolated with a person you do not know or trust.
  • Travel with a friend or in a group.
  • Walk only in lighted areas after dark.
  • Keep the doors to homes, residence hall rooms and cars locked.

 

Active Bystander Intervention

One of the most effective methods of preventing sexual assault is active bystander intervention.

What is Active Bystander Intervention?

This approach encourages people to identify situations that might lead to a sexual assault and then safely intervene to prevent an assault from occurring.

Active Bystander Intervention discourages complaining student blaming by switching the focus of prevention to what a community of people can do collectively.

The approach also allows for a change in cultural expectations by empowering everyone to say or do something when they see inappropriate or harmful behavior.

This method of intervention places the responsibility of sexual assault prevention on both men and women.

 Information on Active Bystander Intervention was provided by the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office from: www.sapr.mil

 

How to Intervene

There are three components to Active Bystander Intervention:

  • Recognizing when to intervene
  • Considering whether the situation needs attention
  • Deciding if there is a responsibility to act

 

Help Someone You Know

There are a variety of ways to intervene. Some of them are direct, and some of them are less obvious to the responding student:

  • Making up an excuse to get him/her out of a potentially dangerous situation
  • Letting a friend or co-worker know that his or her actions may lead to serious consequences
  • Staying near someone who is being targeted, despite the efforts of someone to get him/her alone or away from you
  • Using a group of friends to remind someone behaving inappropriately that his or her behavior should be respectful
  • Discouraging the overuse of alcohol
  • Calling the authorities when the situation warrants

 

Understanding How to Safely Implement the Choice

Safety is paramount in active bystander intervention. Usually, intervening in a group is safer than intervening individually. Also, choosing a method of intervention that de-escalates the situation is safer than attempting a confrontation. However, there is no single rule that can account for every situation.

Sexual assault is a very traumatic and invasive crime, and many complaining students may be too embarrassed or ashamed to report the offense to police. Fear of investigative, medical, and prosecutorial procedures adds to a complaining students reluctance to make a report. A complaining student’s distress (trauma) may also create an unwillingness or inability to assist in the investigation. It is important that complaining students understand that federal law mandates that the North Central Michigan College Title IX Coordinator be notified of any incidents of sexual violence or harassment. A student who has filed a report with North Central will be given the option but will not be obligated to file a police report. The college will cooperate with the victim and law enforcement in enforcing restraining orders or similar lawful orders issued by a criminal, civil or tribal court, as they relate to sexual assault crimes.

 

Sanctions

Sanctions for rape or other sex offenses (forcible or nonforcible) occurring on campus or at a College-sponsored activity may include warning, probation, termination, no-contact orders, removal from a course/College, suspension, interim suspension and expulsion. Sanctions will follow on-campus disciplinary procedures as outlined in the Procedure for Student Code of Conduct Violations.

 

Procedures

In the event of a sex offense occurring on campus, call 911 immediately. We also encourage students to contact the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan, which offers counseling, and advocacy services with the police, and hospital. An advocate can be immediately dispatched to assist any victim. These services can be accessed by calling the 24-hour support line at 231-347-0082. Medical assistance is available at McLaren-Northern Michigan Emergency Room (416 Connable Ave., Petoskey; 231-348-4520).

Complaining students are reminded of the importance of preserving evidence which may be necessary for the proof of sexual assault. Any offense should be reported to the Vice President of Student Affairs (348-6618) as soon as possible.

 

Community Services/Counseling

Counseling is available on and off-campus to victims of sexual assault. Counselors on campus are located in Student Services, Student and Community Resource Center (348-6605).

Off-campus resources include:

Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan 347-0067

The licensed, Master’s level therapists at the Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan (WRCNM) have specialized training and experience in providing services to current and past survivors of crimes such as domestic/dating abuse, sexual assault, child abuse and child sexual assault. These counseling services are provided at no cost to all survivors. Non-victim related counseling is also available for issues such as depression, parenting challenges, grief/loss and life transitions on a fee-based, sliding scale; no one is turned away if unable to pay. Call the WRCNM administrative/counseling office for more information or appointments, at (231) 347-0067 or the 24-hour crisis line at 347-0082.

24-hour Crisis and Intervention (WRCNM) 347-0082 or 1-800-275-1995

McLaren Northern Michigan 348-4000

 

Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures

  1. Reporting
    The incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harassment or stalking should be reported by speaking to a North Central employee.  An incident report will be filed by the employee, triggering an investigation.
     
  2. Investigation
    The vice President or designee (Investigative Hearing officer) shall conduct a prompt, fair and impartial investigation.  The Investigative Hearing Officer receives annual training on the issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking and how to conduct an investigation.  Following the investigation, the Investigative Hearing Officer shall determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the Code of Student Conduct has been violated with respect to an allegation of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual harassment or stalking.  The Investigative Hearing Officer shall issue written notice to the complaining and responding students regarding the findings of investigation and whether reasonable cause exists to believe that the code of student conduct has been violated.  If reasonable cause is found, the Investigative Hearing Officer shall issue written notice to the responding student regarding the nature of any and all charges of misconduct.
     
  3. Hearing
    Investigative Hearing Officer may convene a formal administrative hearing at which the complaining student and the responding student may submit sworn testimony and evidence relevant to the case.  All parties shall be advised of an entitled to the assistance of legal counsel at all times during the process and strict rules of evidence shall not apply.  Counsel’s role is limited to an advisory capacity with no active participation of counsel.  The parties will have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence at the administrative hearing.  The Investigative Hearing Officer may also call upon and interview persons the Officer believes may have knowledge bearing on the situation and may require any party, at any time during the process, to provide additional documentation, information or evidence that the Officer may deem appropriate.  The complaining and responding students must be given the opportunity, directly or through the Officer, to cross-examine one another and, potentially, other witnesses.  The preponderance of evidence standard hall apply in making the decision regarding the outcome of the hearing.  The investigation and formal hearing shall be completed within a reasonable time to allow full and fair examination and adjudication of the allegations of misconduct.
     
  4. Findings and Determination
    Within a reasonable time following the hearing, the Investigative Officer shall issue a Determination, which shall include written findings as to the validity of the complaint and any possible sanctions against the responding student.  Sanctions for students found responsible for sexual violence may include warning, probation, termination, no-contact orders, removal, suspension, interim suspension and expulsion.  Sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, dating violence, and stalking will not be tolerated at North Central.  Both parties will be informed of the outcome of the proceedings in writing at the same time, including any change to the results that occurs prior to the time that such results become final.
     
  5. Appeal
    Either party may appeal the Investigative Hearing Officer’s Determination by filing a Notice of Appeal with the Vice President of Finance and Facilities within five (5) days after receipt of the determination.  The Notice shall include a copy of the Determination and state the basis for the Appeal, provide any supplemental information or evidence which may support the appeal.  The Vice President of Finance and Facilities shall review the record of the hearing officer’s investigation and any further information that may come to his/her attention.  After appropriate consideration, the Vice President of Finance and Facilities may take any suitable action, including, but not limited to, affirming, modifying or reversing the Determination or requiring additional investigation.  The Vice President shall provide a written decision on the Appeal to all parties.  There shall be no further levels of review or appeal beyond this.

Retaliation

Title IX prohibits retaliation against any student who participates in a disciplinary proceeding under the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  North Central will take steps to prevent retaliation and will respond to any retaliatory acts with due diligence and discipline.

Title IX Compliance

As the College is concerned about discrimination based on gender or sex, the Title IX Coordinators oversee the College’s investigation and response to these kinds of situations. Students who wish to report a concern or complaint relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concern online through the Student and Community Portal (Student Complaint Form) or by phone to:

Students:

Renee DeYoung, Vice President of Student Affairs, Title IX Coordinator
North Central Michigan College, 1515 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
231-348-6618

Employees:

Tom Zeidel, Interim Vice President of Finance and Facilities
North Central Michigan College, 1515 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
231-348-6603

 

Students with complaints of this nature also have the right to file a formal complaint with the United States Department of Education:


Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
400 Maryland Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100

Customer Service Hotline: 800-421-3481 TDD: 877-521-2172 Fax: 202-453-60123
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: www.ed.gov/oc