Pearl River Community College has adopted a policy that prohibits sexual misconduct in any form, including sexual assault or sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and other forms of nonconsensual sexual conduct.
The college is committed to fostering an academic, work, and living environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and sexual misconduct including sexual harassment and sexual assault. Additionally, federal law prohibits all forms of sexual harassment under Title IV, Title VII, and Title IX. This procedure implements the college’s commitment to comply with federal and state legal mandates and college policies in relation to such conduct and behavior. Compliance with these provisions does not constitute a violation of Section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C.123g), commonly known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. (FERPA)
- All students and or employees should report any acts of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment immediately to one of the following offices: (1) The appropriate Campus Vice President, (2) The College Police, (3) The Title IX Coordinator.
- The President has appointed a Title IX Coordinator for the college. The identity of the college’s Title IX Coordinator may be determined by visiting the college website. Among the duties and responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator are the following:
- The college Title IX Coordinator oversees policies and procedures that apply to complaints or reports of sexual misconduct, including sexual discrimination, sexual assault, sexual violence, or sexual harassment by employees, students, or third parties, and for advising victims of sexual misconduct of their right to file a complaint or to seek informal resolution and the process for each.
- The Title IX Coordinator, with the concurrence of the President, may appoint a Deputy Title IX Coordinator and may direct individuals to serve as members of the College Sexual Misconduct Investigation Team (SMITT).
- The Title IX Coordinator shall designate and appoint a sufficient number of individuals to serve as members of the College Sexual Misconduct Investigative Team (SMIT).
- The Title IX Coordinator supervises the training and functional operation of SMIT members which includes the investigation and hearing of sexual misconduct complaints and reports.
The Sexual Misconduct Investigative Team shall consist of employees of the College and shall represent various segments of the College, including staff, faculty and campuses. Members shall receive specific training related to their responsibilities to assist them in all aspects of their duties, which include investigations and hearings relating to complaints or reports of sexual misconduct. Members shall be assigned to serve as investigators or hearing officers on a rotating basis by the Title IX Coordinator.
- Informal Resolution of Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Harassment
Employees or students who believe they are victims of sexual harassment or misconduct may have the option of proceeding informally or formally. The employee or student may find informal resolution particularly appropriate if the conduct is isolated and of the following nature: sexual innuendo; display or distribution of drawings, pictures or other materials with a sexual content; sexual or “dirty” jokes; or comments with sexual content. Pictures, drawings, diagrams, or other materials and discussion which are of an academic nature related to the course syllabus and instructional outcomes are, by necessity, excluded from being considered as sexual misconduct. Please note that the formal complaint process is available for sexual harassment or misconduct of any nature, and that these examples are not intended to discourage use of the formal complaint process.
Informal resolution is not an option for cases of sexual assault, including sexual or inappropriate touching of any kind. Information on how to formally report sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct is contained below.
If one chooses to proceed informally, the employee or student should contact the Title IX Coordinator or the appropriate campus Vice President to report the sexual harassment or misconduct and specify that they wish to proceed informally. Resolution at the informal complaint process level will be mediated by the Title IX Coordinator, or the appropriate campus Vice President and may include an agreement in which one or more of the parties involved agrees to accept discipline in the form of a warning, censure, probation, or other such disciplinary action as may be warranted by the circumstances of each case.
To the extent the parties are able to achieve a satisfactory resolution of the complaint through the informal resolution process; the complaint will be considered resolved. The accused and the accuser will receive written notification of the outcome and disposition of the complaint. The fact that a complaint of sexual harassment or misconduct may be concluded at the request of the accusing party does not preclude the filing of a formal complaint by others, including appropriate College officials.
In those cases in which a mutually satisfactory resolution of an informal complaint of sexual harassment or misconduct cannot be achieved, either the accused or the accuser may request in writing to advance the complaint to the formal complaint process. This request should be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within seven (7) working days of the proposed informal resolution.
- Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, or Sexual Harassment –Formal Complaint Process
Every College employee is responsible for immediately reporting incidents of sexual misconduct which come to his/her attention to the Title IX Coordinator, the appropriate campus Vice President, or his/her designee, or campus police. Students or other third parties who witness, or are aware of, suspected incidents of sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to report the incident.
Complaints may be made in writing by completing a Sexual Misconduct Complaint Form which may be obtained from the Title IX Coordinator, the Website, or the Campus Police Department.
Complaints of sexual misconduct may be made or reported to any faculty, staff, or college employee who shall then, immediately report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, appropriate campus Vice President, or campus police.
While an investigation may begin on the basis of an oral complaint or report, the Complainant is strongly encouraged to file a written complaint. The complainant should submit a written and signed statement setting out the details of the conduct which is the subject of the complaint, including the complainant’s name, signature, and contact information; the name of the person directly responsible for the alleged violation; a detailed description of the conduct or event that is the basis of the alleged violation; the date(s) and location(s) of the occurrences (s); the names of any witness(es) to the occurrence(s); the resolution sought; and any documents or information that are relevant to the complaint.
Persons who have been victims of either sexual assault or sexual violence are encouraged to immediately contact Campus Police at 601-403-1300 for the Poplarville campus, 601-554-5513 for the Forrest County Center, or 228-252-7000 for the Hancock Center or by dialing 911 and seeking immediate medical attention even if they do not wish to pursue criminal charges or otherwise pursue a complaint against their attacker.
- Immediate Actions and Protective Measures
The Title IX Coordinator, Campus Vice President’s Office, and the Campus Police Department working in coordination with other necessary College Administrators, may take immediate interim actions to protect the safety of the College community, to enable students or employees with complaints, witnesses, to continue studies or duties of employment, and to ensure the integrity of an investigation. These actions may include:
- Interim suspension of an accused student or employee
- No-contact orders
- Modifying class or work schedules as necessary
- Making alternate housing or workplace arrangements
- Addressing other academic or workplace concerns
- Involving law enforcement to assist in maintaining order or safety
- Any other appropriate action warranted by the circumstances
Violations of these protective actions will constitute related offenses which may lead to additional disciplinary action.
- Formal Investigation
Upon a determination to initiate a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will set the target date for the completion of the formal investigation and the tentative date for the hearing, if necessary, as set forth above.
The Title IX Coordinator shall notify the Complainant that the investigation is proceeding. The notice will include tentative dates for the completion of the investigation and a hearing, if necessary.
During the investigation, SMIT members will collect all evidence relating to the complaint or report of sexual misconduct from all available sources and conduct interviews when appropriate. Upon completion of the formal investigation, they shall reach a finding by majority vote, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether or not a violation of the College’s sexual misconduct policy occurred and will prepare a written report in conformity with College policies which will be presented to the Title IX Coordinator.
If there is a finding of a violation of the College Sexual Misconduct Policy, the process is concluded. The Title IX Coordinator will be given written notice of the findings and termination of the proceedings to the Complainant, Respondent, and Appropriate College administrators.
If there is a finding of a violation of the College Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will give written notice of the findings and initiate the hearing process.
- Hearing and Appeal Process
When a formal investigation finds that a violation of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy has, more likely than not, occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will advise the Complainant and Respondent (the accused) of the exact date, time, and location of the disciplinary hearing. The hearing will be conducted according to the College Judicial Process and Appeal Process.
The Title IX Coordinator will maintain statistics about the number of violations and prepare a report to be made available to incoming students and new employees.
- Resources and Services
Campus and community services are available, even if the College or criminal reports are not made. The College strongly encourages anyone who feels he or she is, or has been, the victim of sexual misconduct to seek assistance to care for himself or herself emotionally and physically through confidential crisis intervention, healthcare, and counseling. As you tend to your health, you should keep in mind that medical examinations are time-sensitive and are critical in preserving evidence of sexual assault so that options can be considered at a later time.
VICTIM REPORTING OPTIONS
Office of Student Services:
- Maghan James: 601-403-1253; or Administrator On-Call (outside of normal business hours) through PRCC Campus Police.
- Offers information to students about options through the internal disciplinary system as well as guidance and support regarding academic and housing concerns.
- Provides students details for no contact orders and other immediate concerns.
Title IX Coordinator:
- Tonia Moody: 601-403-4068
- Oversees the college’s response to sexual violence complaints.
- Ensures that appropriate measures are taken to address complaints.
PRCC Campus Police:
- Provides assistance with medical treatment and assistance in pursuing legal action both on and off campus.
- Will take a report from a student and a specifically trained officer will conduct an
investigation which involves asking the student to describe the assailant and what
happened. An officer may ask questions about the scene of the crime, any witnesses, and
what happened before and after.
COUNSELING AND SUPPORT
PRCC Counseling Center:
- Rachel Harris 601-403-1239
- Provides available options/next steps to survivors of friends of survivors