Institutional Equity

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) was established in 2009 to ensure that all individuals have an opportunity to have full participation in the life of Houston Community College. Our office exists to advance HCC’s diversity and inclusion goals. This extends to employment, admissions and all programs and activities supported by the College.

We foster transparency in an effort to keep interested parties informed as to the activities of our office. Our goals and accomplishments are reflected in both written and chart format.

Our services range from investigating complaints initiated by students, faculty, staff and the community as well as the development of training that meet the ever changing needs of those we serve.

What We Do

Our services range from investigating complaints initiated by students, faculty, staff and the community as well as the development of training that meet the ever changing needs of those we serve.

The services provided by the department include:

  • Ensure compliance of HCC’s policies and law concerning Employment and Higher Education including (but not limited to) Title VI and Title IX of the Education Amendment Act, ads well as Title VII which includes Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Harassment based on Race, Gender Identity and Gender Expression, National Origin, Religion, Age, Disability, Sexual Orientation and Color.
  • Investigate all complaints of discrimination initiated by students, faculty, staff and the community promptly and impartially.
  • Monitor and maintain HCC’s EEO program
  • Provide training and educational materials regarding EEO/Diversity compliance issues
  • Develop new programs and metrics to advance diversity and multiculturism at HCC.

Title IX Procedures

G.l.2 Title IX

Procedure: G. l .2 Title IX
Date Approved/Updated:
Approval Body:
Applicable Board Policy: G. I

APPLICABLE BOARD POLICY

The Board supports and the College is committed to providing a learning and working environment that promotes personal integrity, civility and mutual respect in an environment free of discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity and gender expression, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

Sex discrimination includes all forms of sexual and gender-based misconduct. Sex discrimination violates an individual's fundamental rights and personal dignity. HCC is committed to the principle that the working environment of its employees and the classroom environment for students should be free from inappropriate conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature including sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual violence by employees, students or third parties. Sexual and gender-based misconduct is unprofessional and will not be tolerated and is expressly prohibited. Individuals who engage in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.

PURPOSE

The purpose of this procedure is to provide information regarding HCC's prevention and education related efforts related to sexual and gender-based misconduct by and against students.  This procedure also defines how the College must proceed once it is made aware of alleged student sexual or gender-based misconduct in order to comply with the College's legal obligations under Title IX and other applicable law.

APPLICABILITY

This policy and procedure applies to all students, including prospective students, or pru1icipants in HCC programs whenever sexual or gender-based misconduct occurs.

DEFINITIONS

Complainant. A student who reportedly experienced sexual or gender-based misconduct, regardless of whether that student participates in the disclosure or review of that report by HCC at any point.

Consent. Clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed in mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular activity. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any point.  Consent must be voluntarily given and may not be valid if a person is subjected to actions or behaviors that elicit emotional or psychological pressure, intimidation, or fear. Consent to engage in sexual activity, or past agreement to engage in a particular sexual activity, cannot be presumed to constitute consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage again in a sexual activity. Consent cannot be validly given by a person who is incapacitated.

Discrimination. Treating an individual or members of a Protected Class less favorably because of their membership in that class or having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on Protected Class members.

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:

  • the length of the relationship
  • the type of relationship
  • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

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 of family violence law of Texas
  • any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence of the state of Texas.

Incapacitated. Lacking the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments.  This may have a variety of causes, including, but not limited to, being asleep or unconscious, having consumed alcohol or taken drugs, or experiencing blackouts or flashbacks.

Sexual or Gender-based Misconduct.Includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Umbrella term used to encompass unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is committed without valid consent, including sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual violence and sexual harassment. Sexual or gender-based misconduct may occur between people of the same sex or between people of different sexes. Sexual or gender-based misconduct can include both intentional conduct and conduct that results in negative effects, even if those negative effects were unintended. Sexual misconduct can also include retaliation in connection with a complainant's or reporter's allegations under this policy.

Sexual Assault. Unwanted or unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, including hugging, kissing, fondling, oral sex, anal or vaginal intercourse, or other physical sexual activity that occurs without valid consent.

Sexual Harassment. Includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when 1) submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, as a term or condition of employment or student status; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for evaluation in making personnel decisions affecting an individual; and/or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's performance as an employee or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Examples may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • unwanted sexual statements, including comments of a sexual nature including sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes
  • unwanted personal attention including stalking and cyber-stalking
  • unwanted physical or sexual advances that would constitute sexual assault, as defined in this policy
  • electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved
  • touching oneself sexually for others to view; and voyeurism (spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations)
  • physical contact of a sexual nature including touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person's body;
  • explicit or implicit propositions or offers to engage in sexual activity;
  • remarks of a sexual nature about a person's clothing or body;
  • remarks about sexual activity;
  • speculation about sexual experience;
  • exposure to sexually oriented graffiti, pictures, posters, or materials; and/or
  • physical interference with or restriction of an individual's movements.

Reporter. An individual who reports to HCC a concern regarding possible sexual misconduct. A Reporter need not be a Complainant

Respondent.An HCC student or participant in an HCC program, faculty or staff member, or member of the community who is reported to have engaged in sexual misconduct. This term also includes individuals whose identities are unknown if (a) there is reason to believe that they may be an HCC student or participant in an HCC program or (b) the Complainant or Reporter is a student.

Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a breasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or, suffer substantial emotional distress.

PROCEDURES

I. PROCESS FOR REPORTING SEXUAL AND GENDER BASED MISCONDUCT
For purposes of this procedure, sexual misconduct shall collectively include all acts of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking as defined above.

Offices and Roles. The Title IX Coordinator ("Coordinator") is responsible for ensuring Title IX compliance across HCC. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) (20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.; 34 C.F.R. Part 106) (as amended) is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, in education programs that receive federal financial assistance. The Title IX Coordinator manages coordination between all relevant HCC offices to ensure a fair, thorough, timely, and appropriate response to reported concerns of sexual misconduct. The Office for Institutional Equity (OlE) serves as an entry point for those who report sexual misconduct involving students. OlE provides support information to students and works closely with the Vice Chancellor for Student Services and Dean(s) of Student Services, Campus Police, and other offices to ensure that interim steps, if appropriate, are taken to address reported concerns. OlE staff members, working closely with the Title IX Coordinator, provide the investigative function regarding reported concerns of sexual and gender-based misconduct. The Dean of Students Services as well as counseling staff provides direct support to students who are involved in the review of possible sexual misconduct reported under this policy. The Dean of Students Services also coordinates interim separation issues when necessary.

Timeliness.There is no time limit to invoking this Policy. Students are encouraged to report sexual and gender-based misconduct immediately in order to maximize HCC ability to obtain information, and conduct a thorough investigation. Failure to promptly report sexual misconduct may result in the loss of relevant evidence which may impair HCC's ability to enforce this policy. Where the accused student is a degree candidate, it is the responsibility of the complainant to consult with the Title IX Coordinator's Office concerning the accused student's intended date of graduation and to file a complaint in a timely manner where jurisdiction over the accused student would otherwise be lost when the accused ceases to be an HCC student. The conferral of a degree may be deferred until proper resolution of any sexual misconduct charges, provided that a hearing opportunity will be scheduled for the earliest practicable date that may reasonably accommodate the parties and their witnesses.

Upon receipt of a report or sexual misconduct, HCC strives to complete its investigation within sixty (60) calendar days, its sanction or intervention process within fifteen (15) calendar days after HCC' s findings are shared with the participating Complainant and Respondent, and its appellate process within fifteen (15) days of the Student Code of Conduct Appeal Committee receipt of the appeal. There are, however, many factors that may affect the length of time needed to complete various portions of the resolution process fairly and equitably. As such, some matters will be resolved before the designated time frames and some may be resolved afterward.

Retaliation. It is a violation of HCC policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint of Sexual Misconduct or against any person cooperating in the investigation of (including testifying as a witness to) any allegation of sexual misconduct. For these purposes, "retaliation" includes intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action threatened or taken against any such complainant or third party. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the HCC Title IX Coordinator and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed inresponse to the underlying allegations of sexual misconduct.

Law Enforcement and Criminal Proceedings. Because sexual and gender-based misconduct may constitute both a violation of policy and a violation of law, HCC encourages students to report allegations of sexual misconduct promptly to local law enforcement agencies. Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of this Policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual misconduct as violation under this policy has occurred. Designated HCC staff, including Counselors and Student Services Deans, will, upon request, assist an individual in making a report to law enforcement. For reports relating to off-campus assaults, HCC can assist in identifying the appropriate law enforcement agency to which to make the report. Filing a complaint under this policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding, and HCC will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and take interim measures to protect the complainant and the HCC community, if necessary, as described within this procedure.

A. Resolution Process

HCC provides an informal resolution process and a formal resolution process that students may use to address possible violations.

  1. Initial Steps
    a.  Intake Meeting with Complainant. Upon receipt of notice of any allegation of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will frrst schedule an individual intake meeting with the complainant in order to provide to the complainant a general understanding of this policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the complainant. The intake meeting may also involve a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate concerning the complainant's academic, and/or HCC employment arrangements.

    b.  Complainant Wishes to Pursue Formal or Informal Resolution. At the initial intake meeting with the complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the complainant wishes to proceed with either a Formal Resolution, Informal Resolution or does not wish to pursue resolution of any kind. If the complainant wishes to proceed with the Formal or Informal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will determine: I) the name of the accused student, 2) the date, location and nature of the alleged sexual misconduct, and 3) will schedule an individual intake meeting with the accused student in order to provide to the accused student a general understanding of this policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the accused student.

      i.  If the complainant wishes to proceed with Formal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly prepare and forward a formal complaint to the Investigators for investigation, in accordance with Section 2.
      ii. If the complainant wishes to proceed with Informal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly initiate Informal Resolution proceedings, in accordance with Section 3.

    c.  Complainant Does Not Wish to Pursue Resolution or Requests Confidentiality. If the complainant does not wish to pursue Formal or Informal Resolution and/or requests that his or her complaint remain confidential, Title IX nevertheless requires HCC to investigate and take reasonable action in response to the complainant's information. The Title IX Coordinator, however, will inform the complainant, that HCC's ability to respond may be limited. The Title IX Coordinator may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct and may weigh the complainant's request(s) against the following factors: 1) the seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct; 2) whether there have been other complaints of sexual misconduct against the same accused student; 3) and the accused student's right to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by HCC as an "education record" under FERPA. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant if HCC cannot ensure confidentiality and can only maintain confidentiality to the extent permitted by law. Even if HCC cannot take disciplinary action against the accused student because the complainant insists on confidentiality or that the complaint not be resolved, the Title IX Coordinator will recommend to the President to issue a "no contact" order, and take other reasonably necessary measures, including the interim measures described in Section 1d.

    d.  Interim Measures and Interventions. In all complaints, HCC will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such prompt and effective action as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances to support and protect the complainant, including taking appropriate interim steps before the final outcome of the investigation and hearing, if any. Accordingly, at or after the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator may impose a "no contact" order, which includes a directive that the parties refrain all contact with one another, directly or through proxies, in person or via electronic means, pending the investigation and, if applicable, the hearing. Measures may also include directing HCC officials to alter the students' academic or employment arrangements.
  2. Formal Resolution
    a.  Information. Once a complaint of sexual misconduct is made, an investigation of the report shall be pursued within seven (7) calendar days by the Title IX Coordinator or designated EEO Investigator. To ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, the complainant should provide as much of the following information as possible:
         1)  The name, department, and position of the person or persons allegedly causing the sexual misconduct or retaliation;
         2)  a description of the incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence of any witnesses;
         3) if the complainant is an employee: the alleged effect of the incident(s) on the complainant's position, salary, benefits, promotional opportunities, or other terms or conditions of employment;
         4)  the names of other students or employees who might have been subject to the same or similar sexual misconduct or retaliation;
         5)  any steps the complainant has taken to try to stop the sex misconduct or retaliation;
         6)  any other information the complainant believes to be relevant to the sexual misconduct or retaliation.

    b.  Investigation. An investigation into the report shall be conducted by the Title IX Coordinator or the designated EEO Investigator. For reports involving College employees and/or third parties, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the Director of Human Resources and provide a summary report regarding the outcome of the investigation. The investigation shall be concluded as quickly as possible or within a reasonable amount of time required to complete the investigation. The investigation will be conducted in a manner so that it is adequate, reliable and impartial. The investigation may include any of the following: interviews of the parties involved, including witnesses, and the gathering of other relevant information. Parties to the complaint may present witnesses and other evidence. At any time during the investigation, the investigator may recommend that interim protections or remedies for the parties involved or witnesses be provided by appropriate College officials. These protections or remedies may include separating the parties, placing limitations on contact between the parties, suspension, or making alternative workplace or academic arrangements. Failure to comply with the terms of interim protections may be considered a separate violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

    c.  Standard of Proof. The findings will be made using the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard requires that the information supporting a finding of responsibility be more convincing than the information in opposition to it. Under this standard, individuals are presumed not to have engaged in sexual misconduct unless a preponderance of the evidence supports a finding that sexual misconduct occurred.

    d.  Cooperation with Law Enforcement. The College will comply with law enforcement request for cooperation and such cooperation may require the College to temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of a Title IX investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. The College will promptly resume its Title IX investigation as soon as notified by the law enforcement agency that it has completed the evidence gathering process. The College will implement appropriate interim steps during the law enforcement agency's investigation period to provide for the safety of the victim(s) and the campus community and the avoidance of retaliation.

    e.  Investigation Findings and Notification. A resolution shall be determined at the conclusion of the investigation. Parties involved will be given notice of the outcome in writing within three (3) business days of the determination. The Investigator will prepare a written report at the conclusion of an investigation. Before the report is finalized, the participating Complainant and Respondent will be given the opportunity to review their own statement. A Complainant or Respondent must submit any comments about their own statement to the Investigator within seven (7) business days after that statement was sent to them for review. The investigative report will be given to the Dean of Students.

    Following the receipt of any comments submitted, or after the seven (7) day comment period has lapsed without comment, the Title IX Coordinator will address any identified factual inaccuracies or misunderstandings, as appropriate, and then make a determination.

    The Title IX Coordinator's final written report will generally contain, at a minimum: 1) a summary of the investigation; 2) the Coordinator's findings; and 3) a summary of the Coordinator's rationale in support of the fmdings

    HCC's written determination will then be provided simultaneously to the Complainant and Respondent. HCC neither encourages nor discourages the subsequent disclosure or sharing of the written notification by either person.

    If a Complainant has chosen not to participate in HCC's review of the sexual misconduct report but desires to be notified of the outcome, HCC will notify the Complainant. If a Complainant has expressed a desire, in writing, not to be notified of the outcome, HCC will honor that decision. In such cases, HCC will not send the notification itself to the Complainant, but may proceed with any necessary follow-up.

    f.  Sanctioning. The Coordinator is required to consider in its recommendation to either suspend or expel any student found responsible for sexual misconduct; however, the Coordinator may recommend to the Dean of Students any sanction that it finds to be fair and proportionate to the violation. In determining an appropriate sanction, the Coordinator may consider any record of past violations of the Student Code of Conduct, as well as the nature and severity of such past violation(s). The Coordinator will also consider, as part of its deliberations, whether the sanction will (a) bring an end to the violation in question, (b) reasonably prevent a reoccurrence of a similar violation, and remedy the effects of the violation on the complainant and the HCC community. Any sanction imposed will be explained or supported in the written report of findings.

    • Sanctions or interventions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: (Note: If the violation under this procedure is by an HCC employee, then the sanctions will follow the disciplinary actions protocol for employees.)
    • Warning: A written notice informing the respondent that they have violated HCC policy and that any future misconduct may lead to further disciplinary action.
    • Disciplinary Probation: A designated period of time during which the student is not in good standing with the College. The terms of probation may involve restrictions of student privileges and/or set specific behavioral expectations.
    • Restitution: Reasonable and limited compensation for loss, damage, or injury to the appropriate party in the form of money or material replacement.
    • Restriction: Prohibition of or limitation of presence at specified location for a specified time period. - Referral: Referral to another office or third party.
    • Loss of Rights/Privileges: Loss of specific privilege(s) for a specified time frame.
    • Removal from Specific Courses or Activities: Suspension or transfer from courses or activities at HCC for a specified period of time.
    • No Contact: Restriction from entering specific HCC areas and/or from all forms of contact with certain persons.
    • Counseling: Referral for mandated confidential counseling. - Suspension: Separation from HCC for a specified period of time or until certain conditions are met.
    • Expulsion: Permanent separation from HCC.
    • Involuntary Leave of Absence: Placement on an involuntary leave of absence with the opportunity to return on a specified date. Respondent is not permitted on any HCC campus during this time
    • Hold on student account: A hold is placed on the student 's account

    g.  Appeal of Findings and Investigation. Either party may appeal the outcome of the matter except where a Respond ent has accepted or agreed to a sanction under the sanctioning process outlined above. A review of the matter will be efficient and narrowly tailored. A party may seek review only on the following grounds:
         1)  Procedures were not properly followed as outlined in Student Rights and Responsibilities.
         2)  New or newly discovered information which substantially affects the outcome of the hearing has been discovered . Under this criterion, the case may be referred to the hearing body.
         3)  The imposed sanction was inconsistent or too severe for the gravity of the violation(s).

    Appeals under this procedure shall be conducted in accordance with the guideline s set forth in the Student Code of Conduct and Discipline Procedures : http://www.hccs.edu/district/about-us/procedures/student-rights-policies--procedures/student-procedures/

    After necessary consideration and consultation with others, as appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator and the College President may accept or modify the recommendations made by the Appeals Board. The College Presidents ' final and unreviewable decision willbe made available to the participating parties, in writing, simultaneously.

    h. Prevention of Reoccurrence. The College shall take reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of sexual misconduct or retaliation in any form. If the reoccurrence takes place, those responsible for such behavior may be subject to disciplinary action under theStudent Code of Conduct or Employee Handbook if the person is an employee or third party.
  3. Informal Resolution Process
    A complainant who wishes to file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator but who does not wish to pursue Formal Resolution may request a less formal proceeding, known as "Informal Resolution," as more particularly described in this Section. Although less formal than Formal Resolution, Informal Resolution is an appropriate resolution process; it is not mediation. The accused student is expected to attend the Informal Resolution proceeding, but is not required to participate.
    a.  Purpose of Informal Resolution. Informal Resolution provides an opportunity for the complainant to confront the accused student, in the presence of, and facilitated by the Coordinator, and to communicate his or her feelings and perceptions regarding the incident, the impact of the incident, and his or her wishes and expectations regarding protection in the future. The accused student will have an opportunity to respond.
    b.  Informal Resolution Where Accused Student Acknowledges Responsibility.  If, during the course of the Informal Resolution, the accused student elects to acknowledge his or her actions and take responsibility for the alleged sexual misconduct, the Informal Resolution will be concluded and the Coordinator will propose a sanction. If both the complainant and the accused student agree to such proposed sanction, the complaint will be resolved without any further rights of appeal by either patty. If either the complainant or the accused student objects to such proposed sanction, an investigation will be conducted by the Coordinator for the exclusive purpose of determining a sanction, which determination is subject to appeal pursuant to Section 2.g hereof.
    c.  Informal Resolution Where Accused Student Contests Responsibility. If the accused student contests the complaint of alleged sexual misconduct, the Coordinator may nevertheless impose a sanction agreed upon by the patties, or (with or without such agreement) based on information derived from the Info 1mal Resolution proceedings, taken together with any other relevant information known to HCC at the time of the Informal Resolution.
    d.  Election of Formal Resolution. HCC or the complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the Informal Resolution, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Resolution instead. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the Informal Resolution may be considered in the subsequent Formal Resolution
    e. Privacy of Informal Resolution. In order to promote honest, direct communication , information disclosed during Informal Resolution must remain private while the Informal Resolution is pending , except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized in connection with duties on behalf of HCC.

.B. HCC Obligations and Rights

  1. Federal Statistical Reporting and Timely Warning Obligations
    Victims of sexual or gender based misconduct should be aware that College administrator s must issue timely warnings for certain types of incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodil y harm or danger to members of the campus community under the Clery Act (as amended ), a federal law that requires higher education institution s to report crime statistics and disclose security related information. The College will make every effort to ensure that a victim's name and other identifying informati on is not disclosed , whilestill providing enough information for community member s to make safety decisions in light of the danger. In addition, campus security officials, HCCPD, have a duty to report violations of this policy for the same federal statistical reporting purposes. All personallyidentifiable information is kept private , 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 annualCampus 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. For more information on HCC's Annual Security Report, please visit:  http://www.hccs.edu/district/departments/police/crime-statistics--information/clery-report/
  2. Parental Notification
    The College reserves the right to notify par ents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety emergency, change in student status or conduct situation, particul arly alcohol and other drug violations. The College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug pol icy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, the College will contact parent s/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a health and/or safety risk. The College also reserve s the right to designate which College officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
  3. Notification of Outcomes
    The outcome of a Title IX investigation involving students is part of the education record of the student parties involved, and is protected from release under the Family Education Right to Privacy Act ("FERPA"). However, the College observes the legal exceptions that allow for notification of the parties involved and others whom the College determines to inform based on the law and this policy.
  4. Sex Offense Educational Programming
    The College recognizes sexual and gender based misconduct as an important issue and therefore offers educational programming, which may address matters such as: a definition of what constitutes sex discrimination and misconduct, the causes of sex discrimination, myths involved with sex discrimination and misconduct, the relationship between sex discrimination and alcohol use, what to do if you are assaulted, an explanation of the College discrimination policy, how to file complaints within the College, and/or charge with the local police department, men's issues and sexual assault, and campus community resources to assist both the survivor and the accused.

C.  Student Expectations and Rights

  1. Respect for Privacy.
    Information regarding sexual and gender based misconduct reports, and any investigation or review of those reports, including any sanctioning determinations, will be shared among College employees with a legitimate educational interest or with external individuals or entities only on a need-to-know basis and only as permitted under HCC policy and applicable law.
  2. Information and Choice on Participation
    Complainants, Respondents, or persons serving as Reporters or witnesses may choose to participate or decline to participate in the process. However, even if a Complainant or Respondent declines to participate, as described in this policy, the College may continue to investigate the matter and issue findings based on available information.
  3. Access to Confidential Assistance, Counseling, and Resources
    Before, during, or after any review or investigation process, students may find it helpful to consult with a counselor or seek other forms of assistance. Students who wish to seek information or support in a confidential manner may contact the following campus and community resources. All information shared with these offices will remain confidential to the extent permitted by law and HCC policy. Discussions with representatives of these offices will not be considered a report to the College regarding the problematic behavior and therefore will not, without additional action by the Complainant or a Reporter, result in further action by the College.
    List of community and campus resources
    • United Way Service Center of Greater Houston
    • Houston Area Women's Center
    • Family Service Center of Greater Houston
    • Houston Depeche Family Center
    • The Council for Alcohol and Drugs Houston
    • Youth and Family Counseling Center Inc.
    • Interfaith -Samaritan Family Counseling Center Inc.
  4. Protection from Retaliation and Assurance of Fair Treatment
    HCC will take appropriate steps to ensure that a person who in good faith reports, complains about, or participates in a sexual misconduct investigation will not be subjected to retaliation by the Respondent or by others with knowledge of the underlying report. Anyone who believes they are experiencing retaliation is strongly encouraged to report that concern using the same procedure for reporting possible misconduct under this policy. A retaliation concern will be reviewed as a separate offense under this policy; that is, a person can be found responsible for retaliation even if not found to be responsible for the underlying reported sexual misconduct. HCC will take appropriate steps to ensure that Respondents accused of sexual misconduct or retaliation are treated fairly throughout the College's review

 OFFICE OF RESPONSIBILITY Office of Institutional Equity