Sexual Misconduct

Effective Date: 
July 2016
Last Revised: 
July 2016
Review Date: 
July 2017
Policy Owner: 
Compliance Programs
Contact Name: 
Burns Newsome
Contact Title: 
Director of Compliance Programs
Contact Email: 
burnsnewsome@gatech.edu
Reason for Policy: 

The Georgia Institute of Technology is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is safe and fosters the dignity, respect, and worth of students, faculty, and staff. Each member of the community has the responsibility to practice the highest ethical principles and standards of conduct. Persons who do not adhere to these principles and standards by the commission of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct damage the community and its members.

This policy addresses the process and procedures for addressing complaints of sexual misconduct by students

Policy Statement: 

Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by the Georgia Institute of Technology. This prohibition applies to students, faculty, staff, and all other members of the Institute community.

Complaints of sex discrimination, including but not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and retaliation, shall be addressed as provided in Policy 4.1.7 (Sexual Misconduct Policy) of The Policy Manual of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

Scope: 

The Board of Regents Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to the entire Institute community, including students, faculty and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors, and guests. This policy statement sets forth the process and procedures for claims of sexual misconduct by students. The process and procedures for claims of sexual misconduct by employees are addressed in the Anti-Harassment Policy for employees.

Definitions:

Complainants

An individual lodging a complaint. The complainant may not always be the alleged victim.

Consent

Words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, intimidation or coercion, by ignoring or acting in spite of objections of another, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given. Past consent does not imply present or future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent.  Minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent under Georgia law.

Nonconsensual Sexual Contact

An intentional sexual touching upon a person, without consent or where the person is incapacitated, and/or by force, by another person or with any object. Sexual contact includes but is not limited to, intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching another with these body parts, or making another touch the alleged victim or themselves with or on any of these body parts.

Sexual Assault

An umbrella term referring to a range of nonconsensual sexual contact, which can occur in many forms including but not limited to rape and sexual battery.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, based on sex or gender stereotypes, that: is implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program, or activity; is a basis for employment/educational decisions; or has the purpose or effect of interfering with one’s work or educational performance creating  an  intimidating,  hostile,  or  offensive  work  or  learning  environment,  or interfering with or limiting one’s ability to participate in or benefit from an institutional program or activity.

Stalking

Engaging in a course of conduct directed toward another person based upon sex that would cause a reasonable person (i) to fear for his or her safety or the safety of immediate family members or close acquaintances, or (ii) to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Procedures: 

 

Reporting Options

To file a confidential report

A student Victim may file a confidential report with the Institute's Victim-Survivor Advocates.

Faculty and staff may report violations of this Policy to the Title IX Coordinator, any Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Human Resources, or the Office of Academic Affairs.  In doing so, faculty and staff may or may not choose to include their names or other identifying information in the report.

In this case, general information is collected for campus safety statistics and the case is referred for investigation to the extent possible given the information provided.

If information is provided that would identify the Respondent, the Institute will use that information to investigate the case. Examples of identifying information include, but are not limited to: name, email account, apartment or room number, job title (e.g., TA for particular class, etc.), and/or a specific description.

To pursue a Sexual Misconduct Investigation

If the Respondent is a student, the Victim may report the violation in writing or in person to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators to begin the investigation. A Victim may also report a violation to any other Responsible Employee of the Institute, as defined in this Policy. Upon the report of a violation, the Responsible Employee will inform the Victim of:

  • the Responsible Employee’s obligation to report the alleged violation to the Title IX Coordinator; and
  • the Victim’s option to request confidentiality from the Title IX Coordinator after the information has been reported and available confidential advocacy, counseling, and other support services; and
  • the Victim’s right to file a complaint with the Institute and to report a crime to Georgia Tech and/or local police.

To prepare for the official conduct process, students are encouraged to meet with a Victims’ Advocate prior to making the official complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.

Victims are encouraged to report as soon as possible. However, the Institute will review all complaints of sexual misconduct.

To pursue an Institute investigation of a non-student

If the Respondent is not a student, the Victim may report the violation in writing or in person to the Office of Human Resources or to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators to begin the investigation. A Victim may also report a violation to any other Responsible Employee of the Institute, as defined in this policy.  Upon the report of a violation, the Responsible Employee will inform the Victim of:

  • the Responsible Employee’s obligation to report the alleged violation to the Title IX Coordinator; and
  • the Victim’s option to request confidentiality and available confidential advocacy, counseling, and other support services; and
  • the Victim’s right to file a complaint with the Institute and to report a crime to Georgia Tech and/or local police.

If the Respondent is a faculty or staff member and the Victim is a student, the Victim may file a report with a Victim-Survivor Advocate to be investigated by the Office of Human Resources and the Institute’s Title IX Coordinator.

Victims are encouraged to report as soon as possible. However, the Institute will review all complaints of Prohibited Conduct.

To seek a criminal investigation

The Victim may file a report with Georgia Tech Police Department or local police for a criminal investigation, which may be sought in conjunction with a Georgia Tech investigation.

Reports to Georgia Tech Police Department of misconduct by students will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator and the Office of Student Integrity and will be investigated for violation of this Policy or violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

Reports to the Georgia Tech Police Department of misconduct by non-students will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator and the Office of Human Resources for appropriate action.

The Office of the Dean of Students (including the Women's Resource Center) can provide to a student victim a Victim-Survivor Advocate in the Office of Health Promotion who can assist students with reporting to Georgia Tech Police Department or local police Advocates are confidential and available 24 hours per day.

 

A Victim may also choose not to file any report. In that case, a Victim can still receive support services. Contact a confidential Victim-Survior Advocate in the Office of Health Promotion for assistance.

Hearing Procedures

Hearing Panel

The panel of any hearing conducted pursuant to this policy shall consist of three members. The chair of the panel shall be the Institute’s Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee. All other members shall be assigned to the panel by the panel chair in alphabetical order from a list of appropriately trained and available Institute employees. The names and titles of persons available to serve as hearing panelists shall be publicly available and posted on the website of the Title IX Coordinator.

Request for Recusal

If a party to any hearing conducted pursuant to this policy wishes to challenge the impartiality of any proposed (non-chair) panelist, the party may do so by making a written request for recusal to the chair of the panel prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. All such requests for recusal shall specifically identify the alleged bias and include evidence in support of the request. The chair of the panel shall rule on the request for recusal in writing within a reasonable time. If the chair grants the request for recusal, the recused panelist shall be excused and the next (in alphabetical order) available panelist shall be assigned to the hearing panel.

To challenge hearing panel impartiality

If a party to any hearing conducted pursuant to this policy wishes to challenge the impartiality of the chair of the hearing, the party may do so by making a written request for recusal to the Vice President, Legal Affairs and Risk Management (VP LA&RM) prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. All such requests for recusal shall specifically identify the alleged bias and include evidence in support of the request. The VP, LA&RM shall rule on the request for recusal in writing within a reasonable time. If the VP, LA&RM grants the request for recusal, the chair shall be excused and the VP, LA&RM shall name a new chair of the panel. The new chair need not be a member of the pool of available panelists, but the substituted chair shall in every case be an Institute employee who has received training in the investigation and resolution of complaints of sex discrimination and misconduct.

Recordkeeping and Release of Information:

10.1 Student Information

Maintenance of Disciplinary Files

Disciplinary records of students found responsible of any charges against them will be retained for five (5) years after graduation or date of last attendance. Disciplinary records containing records of Suspension and Expulsion will be permanently retained. A case referral results in the creation of a disciplinary file in the name of the Respondent. This file shall be voided if the student is found not responsible for the charges.

Release of Information

Student disciplinary records shall be governed by the Family Educational Rights of Privacy Act 20 U.S.C. § 1232g.

  • Misconduct resulting in expulsion is released to third parties indefinitely.
  • Any misconduct that resulted in suspension where a potential threat to the campus community exists (including but not limited to illegal drug distribution, endangering or harming any person, or jeopardizing the safety of any person) is released to third parties for five years after sanction completion. In instances of suspension where no threat to the community is identified, the suspension is reported until the sanction is complete.
  • Any misconduct that did not result in suspension or expulsion is not released to third parties.
  • The Institute requires a specific written request from the student to release the entire disciplinary record to third parties.

Resources:

When a sexual assault has occurred, it is important for the Victim to receive medical attention within the first 120 hours. This timeframe allows more options for medical assistance and a greater likelihood of collecting evidence if the Victim chooses to report the assault. Medical care is still encouraged after 120 hours if the Victim has not yet sought care.

The Georgia Tech Stamps Health Services (including the Primary Care Clinic and Women's Clinic) is available during regular hours for medical assistance and follow-up care. Local rape crisis centers are available for medical and counseling assistance 24 hours a day.

Health Promotion (including the Institute's Victim-Survivor Advocates), Counseling Center, Health Services (including Women's Health), and the Women's Resource Center. Victim-Survivor Advocates are available 24 hours per day including weekends and holidays. Additional campus resources for students includes the Office of the Dean of Students. Campus resources for faculty and staff are available through the Institute’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program and through other programs in the Office of Human Resources. Numerous off-campus services are also available.

In addition, a counselor and a member of the Office of the Dean of Students staff are on call 24 hours a day. After hours, staff members are available through the Georgia Tech Police Department (404-894-2500); their assistance may be requested without making a police report. Counseling resources are available for all persons involved in an incident of sexual misconduct.

The aftermath of sexual violence can be devastating to the individuals involved as well as the community. Given the impact on members of the Georgia Tech community, the Institute takes sex harassment seriously and actively works to end it on campus through prevention, advocacy, and educational programs for all incoming students and new employees, as well as ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for current students and employees. One such coordinated effort is called VOICE, a campus-wide prevention program housed in Health Promotion, a unit of the Georgia Tech Center for Community Health and Wellbeing.

The most up-to-date campus and community resource information is available at VOICE, www.healthpromotion.gatech.edu/voice or by contacting the Women's Resource Center at (404) 894-0230 or www.womenscenter.gatech.edu or Health Promotion at (404) 894-9980.

Victim-Survivor Advocates

404-385-4464

http://healthpromotion.gatech.edu/contact-voice

Voice Initiative

 

www.healthpromotion.gatech.edu/voice

Health Promotion

404-894-9980

www.health.gatech.edu

Georgia Tech Counseling Center

 

www.counseling.gatech.edu

Office of the Dean of Students

404-894-6367

www.deanofstudents.gatech.edu

Title IX Coordinator

404-385-5151

titleix.gatech.edu

Georgia Tech Police

404-894-2500

www.police.gatech.edu

Women’s Health

404-894-1434

http://health.gatech.edu/services/womens

Women’s Resource Center

404-894-0230

www.womenscenter.gatech.edu

Student may additionally file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). To file a complaint of discrimination:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Region IV
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404) 974-9450
Fax: (404) 974-9459

 

Enforcement: 

To report suspected instances of noncompliance with this policy, please visit Georgia Tech’s EthicsPoint, a secure and confidential reporting system, at: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=7508

Policy History: 
Revision Date Author Description
July 1, 2016 Compliance Programs New Policy