Sexual Misconduct Information
Members of the Orange Coast College (OCC) community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from sexual violence. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. OCC does not tolerate sexual misconduct. When an allegation of misconduct is brought to an appropriate employee's attention and a respondent is found to have violated any sexual misconduct district policy, serious sanctions will be used to reasonably ensure that such actions are never repeated. The following is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.
Overview of Expectations with Respect to Consensual Relationships
There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of the faculty/staff handbooks. The college does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the college’s goals or district policies. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) are generally discouraged. Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party is in violation of district policy (CCCD BP 7310). This includes student assistants over whom they have direct responsibility.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE -- Risk Reduction Tips
Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act. Below, suggestions to avoid committing a non-consensual sexual act are also offered:
If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
Find someone nearby and ask for help.
Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:
Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
Understand and respect personal boundaries.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.
Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.
Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
In campus hearings, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burdens of proof” are not applicable, but the college never assumes a student is in violation of district policy. Campus hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available, from all relevant sources.
The college reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, interim suspension from campus pending a hearing and reporting the matter to the local police. Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and the college reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. The college will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the person accused of sexual misconduct.
SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OFFENSES INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
Sexual Harassment is unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is, sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it, unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment5, or retaliation.
Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.
NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT:
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force.
The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include:
the frequency of the conduct;
the nature and severity of the conduct;
whether the conduct was physically threatening;
whether the conduct was humiliating;
the effect of the conduct on the alleged victim’s mental or emotional state;
whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim’s educational or work performance;
whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness
whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom or the 1st Amendment.
Sexual Contact includes:
Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE:
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
Occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
Invasion of sexual privacy;
prostituting another student;
non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
engaging in voyeurism;
knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation
ADDITIONAL APPLICABLE DEFINITIONS:
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me. I’ll do what you want.”).
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
Cases will be investigated regardless of whether the accuser resisted the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age (18 years or older).
Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be -- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be -- mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation.
Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
District policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including but not limited to Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation. More information on these drugs can be found at 911 Rape Information.
Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense to a violation of district policy.
The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations. For reference to the pertinent state statutes on sex offenses, please see CA Penal Code Section 261-269.
Any student found responsible for violating the CCCD policy on Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Contact (where no intercourse has occurred) will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.
Any student found responsible for violating the CCCD policy on Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Intercourse will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion.
Any student found responsible for violating the CCCD policy on sexual exploitation or sexual harassment will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.
The Title IX investigative team reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing officers nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.
OTHER MISCONDUCT OFFENSES (Will fall under TITLE IX when gender-based)
Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the college community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Student Code of Conduct);
Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment).
Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other;
Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.
PRIVACY AND REPORTING:
The Vice President of Student Services, Kristin Clark, is the college’s designated Title IX Officer. The Title IX Officer is responsible for the purposes of initiating notice and/or investigation of sexual misconduct excluding cases involving personnel (not related to a student). The Title IX Officer will assign deputy investigators, who are members of the Investigative Team, to investigate allegations of gender-based discrimination and/or sexual misconduct. The deputy investigators will use discretion on how they act in response to notice of gender-based discrimination. Understanding that different people on campus have different reporting responsibilities and varied abilities to maintain confidentiality, the Title IX Officer will assign deputy investigators depending on the situation and the parties involved.
Members of the Investigative Team include: An Instructional Representative (usually a dean), the Health Center Director, the Athletics Dean, the Director of Human Resources, the Student Discipline Officer, the Director of Campus Safety, and the Sexual Harassment Officer (see chart below). The Title IX Officer and the deputy investigators should be aware of confidentiality, privacy and mandatory reporting.
To Report Gender-Based Discrimination, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, or sexual exploitation:
Sexual Harassment Officer--Sylvia Worden
Associate Dean, Health Center (714) 432-5026
Gender-based discrimination, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, or sexual exploitation:
Title IX Officer--Kristin Clark, Ed.D.
Vice President, Student Services (714) 432-5897
To Report Confidentially:
If you want the details of the incident be kept confidential, you should speak with on-campus mental health counselors (located in the Student Health Center) or off-campus rape crisis resources who can maintain confidentiality.
Reporting to those who can maintain the privacy of what you share--You can seek advice from certain individuals who are not required to tell anyone else your private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear for your safety, or the safety of others. These are individuals who the college has not specifically designated as “responsible employees” for purposes of putting the institution on notice and for whom mandatory reporting is required, other than in the stated limited circumstances. Generally, these would be medical personnel or mental health professionals in the Student Health Center. If you are unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain your privacy, ask them before you talk to them.
NON-CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING OPTIONS--You are encouraged to speak to officials of the institution to make formal reports of incidents (deans, vice presidents, or other administrators with supervisory responsibilities, campus security, and human resources). The college considers these people to be “responsible employees.” Notice to them is official notice to the institution. You have the right and can expect to have incidents of sexual misconduct to be taken seriously by the institution when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be informed of the report, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual.
Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations--Certain campus officials have a duty to report sexual misconduct for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student/conduct affairs, campus law enforcement, coaches, athletic directors, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.
Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations--Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that college administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The college will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger. The reporters for timely warning purposes are exactly the same as detailed above.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding sexual misconduct.
Does information about a complaint remain private?
The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the college’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused student may lead to conduct action by the college district. In all complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. Certain college administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g., the President of the college, Dean of Students, Director of Campus Safety, the Title IX Officer). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the college, and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The institution also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
Will my parents or other family members find out?
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the college’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents and/or next of kin. College officials may directly speak with parents and/or next of kin when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation, [or if an accused student has signed a release of records in the Enrollment Center to allow such communication].
Will the accused student know my identity?
Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim. If there is a hearing, the college does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.
Do I have to name the perpetrator?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the complete confidentiality procedure above to better understand the college’s legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials). Victims should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the Dean of Student Services’ Office, for an explanation of the college’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor in the Student Health Center or seek other community assistance. See below regarding legal representation.
Will I (as a victim) have to pay for counseling/or medical care?
Not typically, if the institution provides these services already. If a victim is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will usually be at the cost of the student and will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc.
What about legal advice?
Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney’s *Prosecutor’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are the accused student or are considering filing a civil action. The accused student may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution and/or the campus conduct proceeding.
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim’s person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should call the police in the town the assault took place. The police will accompany you to the ER at Anaheim Regional Medical Center. In order to preserve evidence, you should not wash yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained nurse) at the hospital is usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you). A victim advocate can also accompany you to Hospital and law enforcement or Security can provide transportation. If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called, but s/he is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a victim, but will not obligation him or her to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the victim decide later to exercise it.
For the Victim: the hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene—leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct complaint?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused student’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove his/her complaint. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused student.
Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?
Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the CCCD sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Dean of Student Services’ Office or the Student Health Center. They can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.