A compromised living/working environment is one that can be difficult to remain successful in. Reaching out for help is a positive step to help restore some level of normalcy and healing in that environment. It is the aim of Toccoa Falls College to help provide support and resolution to an accusation of sexual misconduct in a manner that is just and fair for all parties. If you are the victim of sexual misconduct, several remedies exist to help you understand the reporting and investigation processes. The following action steps are available:
- Reporting the incident is a supported and positive first step. Seek law enforcement or medical treatment immediately, if needed.
- An investigation/inquiry is conducted by law enforcement and/or Toccoa Falls College. Both could happen concurrently and are not dependent upon each other regarding outcome.
- Interim measures could be provided to ensure the safety and security or those involved. Possible actions include, but are not limited to a no contact order, housing relocation, academic course accommodation, transportation modification, employment assignment alterations, and/or other remedies or measures deemed necessary by the College. Violations of interim measures and/or directives by College officials could be viewed as a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and result in disciplinary action.
- Depending on the the investigation outcome, an impact statement could be provided by the victim to the accused.
- Final disposition of the investigation is intended to either result determining if enough evidence exists to proceed to a formal disciplinary hearing in which responsibility of the accused is determined and/or a determination is made as to any changes that would need to be recommended for employment.
- Resources and care are available throughout the process.
For the Accused
An accusation of any kind of misconduct can be very unsettling. An accusation of sexual misconduct can bring a variety of emotions. The following guidance is intended to help provide clarity for those accused of an incident involving sexual misconduct:
- Toccoa Falls College handles all alleged cases of sexual misconduct in both student and employment situations with a fair and just mindset so that the victims AND accused are treated fairly and with dignity. Simply because a report is filed against another person, it is not an automatic assumption of guilt or responsibility of the person(s) accused.
- For any accusation, it is taken seriously and with a prompt, caring and informed approach.
- Questions will need to be asked and meetings will need to be held to help understand the complaint better.
- Accommodations for those involved may have to be made depending on the circumstances of the situation, such as adjustments in employment, academic schedules, housing assignments.
- Be reassured that prescribed steps are being followed and it is intended by the College to be fair and just to all parties involved.
- In any circumstance, retaliation in any form is not acceptable and would be considered an additional violation. It is in the utmost best interest of the accused to remain distant from the victim and cease or limit communication in any form.
- Campus/community resources and care are available throughout the process.
Standard of Evidence and Disciplinary Process (student conduct only)
The conduct/discipline proceedings are not restricted by the rules of evidence governing criminal and civil proceedings. The standard of proof used in College conduct proceedings is the preponderance of evidence or “more likely than not.”
The disciplinary process at TFC, including reporting, list of conduct allegations, the hearing process, disciplinary sanctions, conditions, and restrictions, notification, as well as appeal procedures are detailed in length in the TFC Code Student of Conduct. Please see this document for a greater understanding of what to expect.
To help understand terms, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women defines domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the following ways. An “*” is an indication that the definition is being defined by the College. Violence and hostile behavior is gender neutral and can be committed against those of the same and opposite sex.
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Dating violence is defined as 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:
- The length of the relationship.
- The type of relationship.
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Sexual assault can be defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or without consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity. Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape, or rape. Rape is defined as sexual penetration or intercourse, however slight and with any object, without consent. Penetration can be oral, anal, or vaginal. It includes sexual acts against people who are unable to consent either due to age or lack of capacity. The above definition of rape is in accordance with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Summary Reporting System (December 2014).
Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
When a person in power seeks to pressure someone to meet his or her sexual demands.
Hostile Environment Harassment
An environment becomes unpleasant due to repeated offensive behavior or comments made that threaten someone from receiving their education. This may involve sexual comments (even by phone, email, or instant messenger) or inappropriate touching even if on a one-time basis.
Consent is an active understanding that is clear between all involved parties who are of sound mind without impairment to engage in an activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
A program or activity that increases awareness to a group or individual and can be considered short term.
These are initiatives aimed at providing a sustained effort to educate the campus community on various topics/themes. The goal for these are to additionally demonstrate the importance of the specified topic due to a prolonged effort. The time frame for these typically are 1 or more semesters.
These initiatives involve efforts given to areas of risk that result in compromising the health, safety, and wellness of a student’s environment and potentially victimization.
A decrease in the area of risk or harm that could come to an individual or group by the way of investigating and diminishing the factors associated with identified risks.
A formal and stated process to address areas of misconduct. Proceedings can take varied forms and structures.
The outcome or end result associated with a disciplinary proceeding.
An Administrative Hearing is the process of adjudicating allegations of violations of the Code of Student Conduct by an Administrative Hearing Officer. The assigned administrative Hearing Officer makes the decision of responsibility and assigns sanctions, conditions, and restrictions as appropriate.
A College Discipline Committee Hearing panel consists of five (5) committee members including faculty, staff and students. Availability may determine a different composition for the Hearing Panel, and in complaints involving discrimination, sexual misconduct, or other sensitive issues, students may be removed from the panel.