Valley Forge Military Academy and College

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Student Grievance Procedures

Reporting

Any person who believes they have been a victim of, have witnessed, or otherwise wishes to report an incident of sexual misconduct, may do so to the Title IX Coordinator or any other Mandatory Reporter. An individual does not have to be a member of the VFMAC community to file a report under this policy. Reporting prohibited behaviors to VFMAC empowers Complainants to obtain support they may need and enables VFMAC to respond appropriately; (including, but not limited to, also offering supportive measures to the Respondent, conducting an investigation, and pursuing disciplinary action against a Respondent). Reporting helps keep the Title IX Coordinator informed of the general extent and nature of prohibited behavior so that the Title IX Coordinator can track patterns, evaluate the scope of behavior, and formulate appropriate campus-wide responses.

Mandatory reporters are required to report all information pertaining to instances of prohibited behavior to the Title IX Coordinator. Complainants are not required to report prohibited behavior if they do not want VFMAC to respond to the incident or assist with supportive measures.

Reports can be submitted by way of the following methods:

● Online reporting forms: TitleIX Student Grievance Form      Non-TitleIX Student Grievance Form

● In person: Medenbach Hall

● Phone: 610-989-1467

● Email: titleix@VFMAC.edu

● Mail: 1001 Eagle Road Wayne, PA 19087

Anonymous reports are accepted. VFMAC will respond promptly and equitably to anonymous reports, but the response may be limited if the report does not include identifying information and/or an adequate description of the facts and circumstances. Individuals who report are encouraged to include identifying information to the Title IX Coordinator and can request anonymity following the assessment of the case. Any person who wishes to submit an anonymous report may do so through the online Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form (https://www.VFMAC.edu/titleix). The form can be filled out anonymously by omitting any identifying information.

VFMAC encourages timely reporting of prohibited behavior so that VFMAC can respond promptly and equitably; however, VFMAC does not limit the timeframe for reporting. If the Respondent is not affiliated with VFMAC at the time the report is made, VFMAC will provide reasonably appropriate supportive measures to the Complainant, assist the Complainant in identifying external reporting options, and take other reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of such behavior and remedy the effects, if appropriate.

Complainants may simultaneously file reports with VFMAC and a law enforcement agency. VFMAC will support Complainants in understanding and assessing their reporting options. It is the Complainant’s choice whether to make such a report and they have the right to decline involvement with the police. VFMAC’s Office of Campus Safety will assist any Complainant in notifying the appropriate law enforcement agency if they so desire.

Request for Limited Action

In the event a Complainant requests limited action from VFMAC, VFMAC must balance the Complainant’s requests with VFMAC’s requirement to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all VFMAC members. A request for limited action may include the following:

● Request that the report of prohibited behavior or the Complainant’s contact with a Title IX Coordinator not be disclosed to the Respondent;

● Decline to personally identify the Respondent;

● Decline to respond to communications from the Title IX Coordinator; or

● Request that VFMAC not investigate the incident or stop an ongoing investigation that is not substantially complete. By granting a request for limited action, VFMAC may limit its options for responding. Thus the following information is considered when weighing whether to grant a request for limited action:

● The seriousness of the behavior;

● The respective ages and roles of the involved parties;

● Whether VFMAC has received multiple reports of prohibited behavior under this policy involving the Respondent;

● Whether the circumstances suggest there is a risk of the Respondent committing additional acts of prohibited behavior;

● Whether the Respondent has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence;

● Whether the Respondent threatened further violence against the Complainant and other individuals involved;

● Whether the reported behavior was committed by multiple individuals;

● Whether the reported behavior was perpetrated with a weapon; and

● Whether VFMAC possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence).

Where VFMAC is unable to accommodate requests for limited action, VFMAC may seek disciplinary action against a Respondent or a course of action that eliminates or mitigates the effects of the prohibited behavior and prevents its recurrence but does not involve formal disciplinary action.

VFMAC will notify the Complainant of its action, and their options for participation.

Intake and Assessment

Upon receipt of a report of prohibited behavior, the Title IX Coordinator will arrange to meet with the Complainant in an intake meeting as soon as possible and within five (5) business days of receiving the report. At this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss and explain:

● Title IX process and procedures;

● Complainant resources;

● Complainant rights and responsibilities;

● Supportive measures and how to access them;

● Confidentiality and privacy considerations; and

● Retaliation.

At the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the Complainant wishes to proceed, which may include, but is not limited to:

● A request for resources or supportive measures;

● Assistance with reporting to law enforcement;

● No further action;

● Informal resolution; and

● Initiation of a Formal Complaint.

At the time a report is made, a Complainant need not decide whether to file a Formal Complaint. VFMAC recognizes that not every individual will be prepared to file a complaint, and individuals are not expected or required to pursue a specific course of action. In instances where the Complainant does not wish any action to be taken, the Title IX Coordinator must assess and make a determination in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Complainant and VFMAC community.

If the report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also implicates other potential violations of VFMAC’s Code of Student Conduct (in the case of students) or potential violations of other VFMAC policies, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with other appropriate VFMAC personnel, will evaluate all reported allegations to determine whether the allegations may be investigated together without unduly delaying resolution. When the Title IX Coordinator determines that a single investigation is appropriate, the investigation and adjudication will be done in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Any multi-charge complaint that includes a violation of Title IX will be adjudicated using the Title IX-specific procedures below. A determination of responsibility for the violation of the Student Code of Conduct or violation of VFMAC policy will be evaluated by the Hearing Officer using the applicable policies.

In instances where VFMAC determines the Sexual Misconduct Policy is not applicable, the Title IX Coordinator may refer the report to an alternate office (e.g. Commandants Office, Human Resources).

Supportive Measures

The Title IX Coordinator, in conjunction with the Deputy Title IX Coordinators, has the discretion to identify, impose, or modify any supportive measure based on available information. VFMAC may implement supportive measures at any point during the Formal Complaint, investigation, or adjudication of the case. A Complainant is not required to submit a Formal Complaint in order to receive supportive measures and supportive measure can be made available to the Complainant and Respondent. VFMAC will maintain the privacy of the parties when implementing supportive measures to the extent practicable and will promptly address any violation of supportive measures.

Supportive Measures may include, but are not limited to:

● Mutual no contact orders;

● Changes in housing assignment for one or both parties;

● Academic accommodations;

● Changes in supervisor or work location;

● Removal from campus housing or grounds;

● Social restrictions;

● Changes in parking locations;

● Walking escorts;

● Counseling; and

● Emergency Removal.

Emergency Removal

An emergency removal includes an involuntary removal or suspension of a student or employee. Prior to an emergency removal, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an individualized analysis for health and safety, and determine the presence of an immediate threat to the physical health or safety.

Once the Respondent is notified, the Respondent is banned from all property and buildings, owned and controlled by VFMAC, and from participating in any VFMAC program or activity until the emergency removal is terminated.

At any point, either party can request a review to have the emergency removal amended or removed. The emergency removal remains in place during the review process. A review of an emergency removal does not delay the investigation or resolution process and can occur concurrently. A review must be made in writing directed to the Title IX Coordinator addressing the appropriateness of the measure.

The decision regarding the review is made within three (3) business days by a member of the Title IX team. The Title IX team member is able to seek additional information from the non-appealing party, Title IX Coordinator, and campus or community stakeholders.

Termination of an emergency removal can occur

● At the conclusion of an appeal;

● As a result of a dismissal of sexual misconduct allegation; or

● At the conclusion of the adjudication procedures.

Formal Complaint

After the Complainant is provided their Rights and Responsibilities, a Complainant may file a Formal Complaint. A Formal Complaint is a signed (including electronic signature) document submitted to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by way of mail, or by email. The Formal Complaint notifies VFMAC of the Complainant’s wishes to proceed with adjudication or an alternative resolution process. In the event VFMAC determines that it is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the community, the Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to sign the Formal Complaint. If VFMAC receives more than one report arising out of the same set of facts or circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator may consolidate reports for the Formal Complaint. VFMAC will notify the Complainant of the prohibited behavior as defined by the Policy, including if the prohibited behavior falls within Title IX.

VFMAC will resolve formal complaints in a prompt time frame. However, with good cause, VFMAC may temporarily delay adjudication. In that event, written notification will be provided to the parties with rationale. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; need for language assistance; or accommodations of a disability.

Respondent Intake

Within five (5) business days of receiving the Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Respondent. VFMAC’s stance is the Respondent is not responsible for the allegation until a determination of responsibility is reached at the conclusion of the adjudicative process. During the Respondent intake, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss and explain:

● Title IX process and procedures;

● Sufficient details of the alleged prohibited behavior;

o Identity of involved parties;

o Date and location of alleged incident; and

o Identify the prohibited behavior as defined by the Policy, including if the prohibited behavior is defined by Title IX.

● Respondent resources;

● Respondent rights and responsibilities;

● Interim and supportive measures and how to access them;

● Confidentiality and privacy considerations; and

● Retaliation.

Dismissal of a Report

VFMAC is required to investigate each Formal Complaint with the following exceptions.

● the Title IX Coordinator determines that the allegation, if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy; or

● The behavior did not occur within the United States. VFMAC may dismiss a report in the following circumstances:

● A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing requesting to withdraw the Formal Complaint;

● The Respondent is not enrolled or employed by VFMAC; or

● Circumstances are presented that prevent VFMAC from conducting an investigation.

Within one (1) business day of VFMAC’s decision to dismiss a case, the Title IX Coordinator will notify all parties in writing, including a rationale. The dismissal of a case is subject to an appeal.

Alternative Resolution

After receiving a formal complaint and up until a determination of responsibility is made, the prohibited behavior may be resolved through alternative resolution. Under this process, the Complainant and Respondent waive the right to an investigation and adjudication, and the outcome reached may not be described in sanctions. Examples of alternative resolution processes include, but are not limited to, mediation, facilitated dialogue, conflict coaching, and restorative justice. The process of trying to reach an alternative resolution is voluntary and cannot be required by VFMAC as a condition of enrollment or employment. The Alternative Resolution process is not available for an incident where the prohibited behavior is sexual harassment, the Respondent is an employee, and the Complainant is a student. At any time during an alternative resolution process, any of the parties may request that the process cease, and the investigation and adjudication process will continue.

Notification of an Alternative Resolution is a written document that confirms participation in this specific process. Included in the Notification of an Alternative Resolution is information clarifying the procedures, allegations, description of when an alternative resolution can be withdrawn, clarification of expectation on consequences, and record retention and privacy. The Notification of Alternative Resolution must be signed by the Complainant and Respondent.

An Alternative Resolution Agreement is a written agreement that executes the agreement to resolve the allegations developed through an alternative resolution. For a case to be considered closed, an

Alternative Resolution Agreement must be signed by the Respondent and Complainant. Neither party may revoke or appeal an Alternative Resolution Agreement after it is fully executed. If an Alternative Resolution Agreement is not reached, then the formal resolution process will proceed.

Investigation

VFMAC will investigate each Formal Complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator to the complaint. The burden of proof refers to who has the responsibility of showing a violation has occurred. It is the responsibility of VFMAC to satisfy the burden of proof. The parties do not have the burden to prove that a violation did or did not occur. The investigator will review all evidence discovered and/or presented. VFMAC prohibits knowingly making a false statement or knowingly submitting false information.

Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue of a potential conflict of interest or bias within two business days of being advised of the identity of the investigator. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest or bias exists. If conflict of interest or bias is determined to exist, the case will be assigned to a new investigator.

The investigator will request individual interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, and other witnesses, as appropriate. Written notification will be provided of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of the interview. Parties have the right to be accompanied by an Advisor and an Advocate of their choosing. Throughout the investigation an Advisor and Advocate may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, and suggest questions to their advisee.

The Advisor and Advocate may not make a presentation or otherwise represent either party during the interview. The initial interviews with the Complainant and the Respondent should be in person, when possible.  The purpose of the interviews is to gather and assess information about the incident(s) at issue in the complaint, not to solicit general evidence about either party’s character. The investigator may wait to hold the initial interview with the Respondent until after the first meeting with the Complainant. The investigator will interview witnesses provided by both the Complainant and Respondent. Witnesses may be individuals identified by the Complainant, Respondent, a VFMAC representative, other witnesses, and any other persons the investigator considers it beneficial to interview. During the course of the investigation, the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses can provide supporting evidence, including but not limited to emails, social media posts, direct messages, photographs, and voicemails.

VFMAC cannot access, consider, disclose or use any privileged communication or document (i.e., medical records and mental health records) unless the party voluntarily provides such evidence.

After the collection of additional evidence is complete but prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator may request individual follow-up interviews with the Complainant and Respondent to give each the opportunity to respond to the additional evidence.

In the event an individual has voluntarily or involuntarily consumed drugs or alcohol near the time the alleged sexual misconduct occurred, that individual may be hesitant to report due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. When an individual discloses any incident of sexual misconduct to VFMAC or law enforcement, they will not receive VFMAC sanctions for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the incident(s).

Amnesty does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities pursuant to relevant state or federal criminal statutes. In the case where a law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence and at the request of law enforcement or VFMAC general counsel, VFMAC will temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of VFMAC investigation. Investigation will proceed again upon notification of the Title IX Coordinator or Investigator by VFMAC general counsel.

After each party has had the opportunity to share evidence with the investigator and to identify witnesses and other potential evidence, the investigator will prepare a preliminary report. The investigator will make the preliminary report available to the parties, which will include an interview summary from each party and witnesses, and supplemental evidence collected. The parties will have ten (10) business days to review the preliminary report and provide a response.

Responses can include comments, feedback, additional evidence, request for additional investigation, new witnesses to interview, or any other evidence they deem relevant. Parties can also pose relevant questions for the other party and witness. The parties’ responses will be attached to the final investigative report.

After receiving responses submitted by either party, or after the ten (10) business days has lapsed without comment, the investigator will address any relevant issues identified by the parties. If the investigator anticipates follow up will exceed five (5) business days, the investigator will notify the parties.

The investigator will issue a final investigative report. The investigator’s final written report will contain all evidence from the preliminary report, any additional evidence gathered (both relevant and irrelevant), and an analysis of evidence. The investigator’s report must be reviewed and approved by the Title IX Coordinator before it is issued. The investigator will provide a notification of the final investigative report to the parties simultaneously. The parties will have a minimum of ten (10) business days to review prior to a hearing date.

Hearing for Prohibited Behavior Defined by Title IX Regardless of Geography

The following Hearing Process applies to the adjudication of all behaviors prohibited by Title IX as well as those occurring outside of the geographic limitations imposed by Title IX but still meeting the Title IX definition of sexual harassment.

Hearings are a live process to seek clarifying information in order to make determinations of responsibilities and sanctions, if appropriate. Parties are notified in writing of the date, time and location of the hearing concurrent to notification of the final investigative report. Separate spaces can be requested by either party. In that event, VFMAC will ensure the hearing occurs in a manner that all parties are able to see and hear the information simultaneously with the use of appropriate synchronous technology. The hearing will be audio or video recorded. The recording will remain the property of VFMAC. After the hearing, parties can request to view or listen to the recording but will not be provided a copy of the media file.

Prior to a hearing, parties are invited to participate in a pre-hearing meeting. A pre-hearing is a separate meeting to learn of hearing expectations, to have questions answered, and to learn the identity of the Hearing Officer. Parties will be notified simultaneously to schedule a pre-hearing which should occur at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. Pre-hearings are not required. If any party does not attend a pre-hearing, that party will receive expectations and the Hearing Officer in writing. Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue, through written communication, of a potential conflict of interest within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the Hearing Officer. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. A Hearing Officer with a conflict of interest will not make determinations in a case and will be replaced by another individual that meets the qualifications to serve.

Hearing attendance is limited to only those individuals playing a role in the process including: Respondents, Complainants, Advisors, Advocates, witnesses, Hearing Officer. Throughout the hearing an Advisor and Advocate may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, and suggest questions to their advisee. The Advisor and Advocate may not make a presentation or otherwise represent either party during the hearing. The Advisor has an active role in seeking clarifying information and questioning the other party and witnesses. If a party has not obtained an Advisor, one will be provided by VFMAC at no cost to the party.

During the hearing, the Hearing Officer opens with comments and instructions. Each party, if they so choose, has an opportunity to make opening remarks. Ideal content for opening remarks includes a brief summary of the incident, highlighting support or disagreement with the final investigative report. The Complainant and the Respondent do not hold a burden of proof that a violation did or did not occur. Following each opening remark, the Hearing Officer has an opportunity to ask questions of Complainant and Respondent. The parties’ Advisors will have an opportunity to ask questions of the other party. The Complainant and the Respondent are prohibited from directly questioning the other party. Witnesses will then be permitted to join the hearing, allowing the Hearing Officer, Advisor of the Complainant and Advisor of the Respondent to ask questions. Once all information has been presented and questions asked, the Complainant and the Respondent will have an opportunity to make a closing statement. Ideal information for a closing statement includes the impact of the incident and, in the event of a responsible finding, sanction and remedy requests.

All parties, including witnesses, are required to participate in order to have their evidence considered in determination of responsibility. Questioning during a hearing is conducted directly, orally, and in real time. All questions must be relevant to the incident. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent. The Hearing Officer cannot access, consider, disclose or use any privileged communication or document (i.e. medical records and mental health records) unless the party voluntarily provides such evidence.

Before the Complainant, the Respondent or a witness answers any question, the Hearing Officer must first determine if the question is relevant. If a question is determined to be irrelevant or must be reworded, the rationale for such determination will be recorded by the Hearing Officer. If a party, including Complainant, Respondent, or witness, is not available or does not participate in questioning, the Hearing Officer cannot rely on any statement presented by that individual to make a determination of responsibility.

The Hearing Officer cannot draw inference about responsibility based solely on a party’s or witnesses’ absence from the hearing or refusal to answer questions. The Hearing Officer will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not), and will determine based on those findings of fact whether a violation of this policy occurred. If the Hearing Officer determines that a violation has occurred, the Hearing Officer shall review a written confidential report regarding the background of the Respondent, any prior incidents of misconduct in which the Respondent has been involved, and a report of sanctions/supportive measures previously applied for offenses of a nature similar to the current case.

The Hearing Officer has five (5) business days from the date of the hearing to issue a written letter to the Title IX Coordinator with the following:

● Summary of allegation;

● Identification of prohibited behavior;

● Procedural steps from receipt of Formal Complaint to hearing;

● Findings of fact;

● Conclusion summarizing how the behavior is applied to the policy;

● Determination of responsibility for each allegation including a rationale;

● Disciplinary sanctions including a rationale;

● Restorative remedies including a rationale; and

● Appeal procedures.

If the report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also implicates other potential violations of VFMAC’s Code of Student Conduct (in the case of students) or potential violations of other VFMAC policies and the decision has been made to address them as one case (see Intake and Assessment), and the Respondent is found to be not in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, but that violations of other VFMAC policies may have occurred, the Hearing Officer will make determinations of responsibility and sanctions for the remaining policies.

If the Respondent is found to be responsible for both the Sexual Misconduct Policy and violations of other VFMAC policies, the Hearing Officer will make determinations for sanctions. The Title IX Coordinator will then relay the information simultaneously to the Complainant and to the Respondent, along with the procedures to appeal the decisions.

Hearings For All Other Sexual Misconduct

Hearings are a live process to seek clarifying information in order to make determinations of responsibilities and sanctions, if appropriate. Parties are notified in writing of the date, time and location of hearing concurrent to notification of the final investigative report. Separate spaces can be requested by either party. In that event, VFMAC will ensure the hearing occurs in a manner that all parties to see and hear the information simultaneously with the use of appropriate synchronous technology. The hearing will be audio or video recorded. The recording will remain the property of VFMAC. After the hearing, parties can request to view or listen to the recording but will not be provided a copy of the media file.

Prior to a hearing, parties are invited to participate in a pre-hearing meeting. A pre-hearing is a separate meeting to learn of hearing expectations, to have questions answered and to learn the identity of the Hearing Officer. Initial cross-examination questions of the other party and witnesses must be submitted during the pre-hearing. Parties will be notified simultaneously to schedule a pre-hearing which must occur at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue, through written communication, of a potential conflict of interest within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the Hearing Officer.

The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. A Hearing Officer with a conflict of interest will not make determinations in a case and will be replaced by another individual that meets the qualifications to serve.

Hearing attendance is limited to only those individuals playing a role in the process including: Respondents, Complainants, Advisors, Advocates, witnesses, Hearing Officer.

Throughout the hearing an Advisor and Advocate may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, and suggest questions to their advisee. The Advisor and Advocate may not make a presentation or otherwise represent either party during the hearing. During the hearing, the Hearing Officer opens with comments and instructions. Each party, if they so choose, has an opportunity to make an opening remark. Ideal information for opening remarks includes a brief summary of the incident highlighting support or disagreement with the final investigative report. Parties do not hold a burden of proof that a violation did or did not occur.

Following each opening remark, the Hearing Officer has an opportunity to ask questions of Complainant and Respondent. The parties’ will have an opportunity to ask follow-up cross examination questions of the other party or witnesses, not initially submitted during pre-hearing. All follow-up cross examination questions by the parties must be in writing and are submitted to the Hearing Officer to ask. Witnesses will then be permitted to join the hearing allowing the Hearing Officer, Advisor of the Complainant and Advisor of the Respondent to ask questions.

Once all information has been presented and questions asked, the Complainant and Respondent will have an opportunity to make a closing statement. Ideal information for a closing statement includes, the impact of the incident, and in the event of a responsible finding, sanction and remedy recommendations.

Questioning during a hearing is conducted directly, orally and in real time by the Hearing Officer. All questions must be relevant to the incident. Before the Complainant, Respondent or witness answer any question, the Hearing Officer must first determine if the question is relevant. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.

The Hearing Officer cannot access, consider, disclose or use any privileged communication or document (i.e. medical records and mental health records) unless the party voluntarily provides such evidence. If a question is determined to be irrelevant or must be reworded, the rationale for such determination will be recorded by the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer cannot draw inference about responsibility based solely on a party’s or witnesses’ absence from the hearing or refusal to answer questions.

The Hearing Officer will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not), and will determine based on those findings of fact whether a violation of this policy occurred. If the Hearing Officer determines that a violation has occurred, the Hearing Officer shall review a written confidential report regarding the background of the Respondent, any prior incidents of misconduct in which the Respondent has been involved, and a report of sanctions/supportive measures previously applied for offenses of a nature similar to the current case.

The Hearing Officer has five (5) business days from the date of the hearing to issue a written letter to the Title IX Coordinator with the following:

● Summary of allegation;

● Identification of prohibited behavior;

● Procedural steps from receipt of Formal Complaint to hearing;

● Findings of fact;

● Conclusion summarizing how the behavior is applied to the policy;

● Determination of responsibility for each allegation including a rationale;

● Disciplinary sanctions including a rationale;

● Restorative remedies including a rationale; and

● Appeal procedures.

If the report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also implicates other potential violations of VFMAC’s Code of Student Conduct (in the case of students) or potential violations of other VFMAC policies, and the decision has been made address them as one case (see Intake and Assessment), and the Respondent is found to be not in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, but violations of other VFMAC policies may have occurred, the Hearing Officer will make determinations of responsibility and sanctions for the remaining policies. If the Respondent is found to be responsible for both the Sexual Misconduct Policy and violations of VFMAC policies, the Hearing Officer will make determinations for sanctions.

The Title IX Coordinator will then relay the information simultaneously to the Complainant and to the Respondent, along with the procedures to appeal the decisions.

Appeals

Following the dismissal of a case or at the conclusion of a hearing, an appeal may be made by any party based only on the following criteria:

● A substantive violation of the procedures set forth in this policy has occurred which, in the context of the case, is likely to have the effect of changing the outcome; or

● The appellant has substantive and relevant new information that was not available at the time of the dismissal or hearing that may change the outcome; or

● Any person in the resolution of the incident had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome; or

● The appellant believes the sanctions are not commensurate with the violation.

An appeal will be accepted by the Title IX Coordinator in writing for five (5) business days following the notification of dismal or Hearing Officer’s findings. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the other parties in writing. Upon request, all parties may review appeals submitted by any party.

The Title IX Coordinator, having received the appeal, will convene an Administrative Panel for

Appeals, a 3-person panel of appropriately trained faculty and staff, for review of the appeal. Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue of a potential conflict of interest or bias within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the Administrative Panel. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest or bias exists. The Administrative Panel member will not make determinations in a case in which they have a conflict of interest or bias.

The Title IX Coordinator will forward the final investigative report, any evidence submitted during the hearing, and the hearing letter to the Appeals Panel. The Appeal Panel will have access to the documents a minimum of five (5) business days prior to issuing a finding on the appeal. The Administrative Panel must make a determination regarding the appeal within fifteen (15) days of notification of dismissal or notification of hearing outcome.

The Appeals Panel may request clarification on the facts from the Hearing Officer, investigator, Title IX Coordinator or any party. The Appeals Panel will first make a determination of merit for the appeal.

If no merit is found, the Appeals Panel will notify the Title IX Coordinator that the appeal will not move forward.

If merit is found for the appeal, the Appeals Panel will make a determination on the next course of action:

● Modify the outcome;

● Remand for rehearing;

● Affirm the original findings and sanctions imposed.

Upon determination by the Appeals Panel, the Title IX Coordinator will immediately be notified. Both parties will simultaneously be sent written notification of the appeal decision including a rationale for the decision. Any change made by the Administrative Panel for Appeals as a result of a hearing is final, and not subject to further appeal. If appeal is as a result of a dismissal and the Administrative Panel for Appeals modifies the outcome, the parties maintain the right to appeal at the conclusion of a hearing. Findings and/or sanctions of this Policy cannot be grieved through the applicable Grievance Policy.

All materials including supportive measures, investigative report, audio recording, appeals and official correspondence will be maintained for a period of seven (7) years.

V. SANCTIONS

Student Sanctions

Detailed descriptions are available in the Student Handbook under the Student Conduct Policy.

● Written reprimand

● Completion of educational program(s)/workshop(s)

● Participation in psychological, physical, or substance abuse evaluations and/or counseling

● Conduct probation: Loss of ability to participate in co-curricular activities

● Educational reflection paper

● Fines and restitution

● Housing Probation

● Housing Reassignment

● Housing Suspension (deferred)

● Housing Suspension

● Housing Termination

● Loss of Privileges

● Parental Notification

● Revocation of admission and/or degree

● Service requirement

● VFMAC Suspension (deferred)

● VFMAC Suspension (up to two years)

● Expulsion.

Employee Sanctions

Detailed descriptions are available in the Employee Progressive Discipline Policy. In addition to the Sanctions identified in the Employee Progressive Discipline Policy, the following may also apply:

● Required participation in non-credit educational programs

● Required participation in psychological, physical, or substance abuse evaluations

● Restitution.

VI. RELATED DOCUMENTS

● Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

● Employee Handbook

● Faculty Service Information

● Formal Complaint Form

● Mandatory Training Policy/Matrix

● Notification of Complainant’s Rights

● Notification of Respondent’s Rights

● Student Handbook

● Employee Progressive Discipline Policy

● Administrative Leave Policy.

Policy Evaluation

This policy will be evaluated by the Title IX coordinator each year to ensure compliance with federal regulations and guidelines.  Also, the policy will be reviewed each year by the VFMAC Policy Committee to measure institutional effectiveness.  Any changes or updates will be implemented as needed by the Title IX Coordinator.     

APPENDIX A – List of Title IX Team

APPENDIX B – List of Confidential Employees

APPENDIX C– List of Mandatory Reporters

APPENDIX D – Rights & Responsibilities

APPENDIX E – Resources

APPENDIX F – Third Party Vendors

VII. SIGNATURE OF APPROVAL

VFMC Provost: Dr. Robert Smith

Approval Date: December 29, 2020 (Revised Policy)

APPENDIX A

TITLE IX TEAM

Title IX Coordinator for VFMAC:

Dr. Jesse Phillips

Dean of College Services, Medenbach Hall

Phone: (610) 989-1467; Email: jphillips@vfmac.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator for VFMAC:

Mr. Aaron Barkley

Associate Dean of the Academy

Shannon Hall

Phone: (610) 989-1382

Email: abarkley@vfmac.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator for VFMAC:

Ms. Lauren Guardino

Human Resources Specialist

Mellon Hall

Phone: (610) 989-1240

Email: lguardino@vfmac.edu

APPENDIX B

CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCES

Resource

Responsible Employee

Contact Number

Cadet Health Center

(Nursing Staff)

Ms. Debbie Hammer

610-989-1518

Cadet Counseling Staff

 

Dr. Dorothy Lowery

610-971-9959

APPENDIX C

MANDATORY REPORTERS

Department Position

All Academic Deans

Associate Deans

Assistant Directors

Dean of Students

Human Resources Director

Senior Managers

International & Non-Traditional Students -All

President

Provost

Campus Safety – All

Commandant

TAC Officers – All

Student Conduct & Grievances – All

Student Life – All

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Operating Officer

APPENDIX D

Reporting

Any person who believes they have been a victim of, have witnessed, or otherwise wishes to report an incident of sexual misconduct, may do so to the Title IX Coordinator or any other Mandatory Reporter. An individual does not have to be a member of the VFMAC community to file a report under this policy. Reporting prohibited behaviors to VFMAC empowers Complainants to obtain support they may need and enables VFMAC to respond appropriately; (including, but not limited to, also offering supportive measures to the Respondent, conducting an investigation, and pursuing disciplinary action against a Respondent). Reporting helps keep the Title IX Coordinator informed of the general extent and nature of prohibited behavior so that the Title IX Coordinator can track patterns, evaluate the scope of behavior, and formulate appropriate campus-wide responses.

Mandatory reporters are required to report all information pertaining to instances of prohibited behavior to the Title IX Coordinator. Complainants are not required to report prohibited behavior if they do not want VFMAC to respond to the incident or assist with supportive measures.

Reports can be submitted by way of the following methods:

● Online reporting form: https://www.VFMAC.edu/titleix

● In person: Medenbach Hall

● Phone: 610-989-1467

● Email: titleix@VFMAC.edu

● Mail: 1001 Eagle Road Wayne, PA 19087

Anonymous reports are accepted. VFMAC will respond promptly and equitably to anonymous reports, but the response may be limited if the report does not include identifying information and/or an adequate description of the facts and circumstances. Individuals who report are encouraged to include identifying information to the Title IX Coordinator and can request anonymity following the assessment of the case. Any person who wishes to submit an anonymous report may do so through the online Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form (https://www.VFMAC.edu/titleix). The form can be filled out anonymously by omitting any identifying information.

VFMAC encourages timely reporting of prohibited behavior so that VFMAC can respond promptly and equitably; however, VFMAC does not limit the timeframe for reporting. If the Respondent is not affiliated with VFMAC at the time the report is made, VFMAC will provide reasonably appropriate supportive measures to the Complainant, assist the Complainant in identifying external reporting options, and take other reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of such behavior and remedy the effects, if appropriate.

Complainants may simultaneously file reports with VFMAC and a law enforcement agency. VFMAC will support Complainants in understanding and assessing their reporting options. It is the Complainant’s choice whether to make such a report and they have the right to decline involvement with the police. VFMAC’s Office of Campus Safety will assist any Complainant in notifying the appropriate law enforcement agency if they so desire.

Request for Limited Action

In the event a Complainant requests limited action from VFMAC, VFMAC must balance the Complainant’s requests with VFMAC’s requirement to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all VFMAC members. A request for limited action may include the following:

● Request that the report of prohibited behavior or the Complainant’s contact with a Title IX Coordinator not be disclosed to the Respondent;

● Decline to personally identify the Respondent;

● Decline to respond to communications from the Title IX Coordinator; or

● Request that VFMAC not investigate the incident or stop an ongoing investigation that is not substantially complete. By granting a request for limited action, VFMAC may limit its options for responding. Thus the following information is considered when weighing whether to grant a request for limited action:

● The seriousness of the behavior;

● The respective ages and roles of the involved parties;

● Whether VFMAC has received multiple reports of prohibited behavior under this policy involving the Respondent;

● Whether the circumstances suggest there is a risk of the Respondent committing additional acts of prohibited behavior;

● Whether the Respondent has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence;

● Whether the Respondent threatened further violence against the Complainant and other individuals involved;

● Whether the reported behavior was committed by multiple individuals;

● Whether the reported behavior was perpetrated with a weapon; and

● Whether VFMAC possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence).

Where VFMAC is unable to accommodate requests for limited action, VFMAC may seek disciplinary action against a Respondent or a course of action that eliminates or mitigates the effects of the prohibited behavior and prevents its recurrence but does not involve formal disciplinary action.

VFMAC will notify the Complainant of its action, and their options for participation.

Intake and Assessment

Upon receipt of a report of prohibited behavior, the Title IX Coordinator will arrange to meet with the Complainant in an intake meeting as soon as possible and within five (5) business days of receiving the report. At this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss and explain:

● Title IX process and procedures;

● Complainant resources;

● Complainant rights and responsibilities;

● Supportive measures and how to access them;

● Confidentiality and privacy considerations; and

● Retaliation.

At the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the Complainant wishes to proceed, which may include, but is not limited to:

● A request for resources or supportive measures;

● Assistance with reporting to law enforcement;

● No further action;

● Informal resolution; and

● Initiation of a Formal Complaint.

At the time a report is made, a Complainant need not decide whether to file a Formal Complaint. VFMAC recognizes that not every individual will be prepared to file a complaint, and individuals are not expected or required to pursue a specific course of action. In instances where the Complainant does not wish any action to be taken, the Title IX Coordinator must assess and make a determination in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Complainant and VFMAC community.

If the report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also implicates other potential violations of VFMAC’s Code of Student Conduct (in the case of students) or potential violations of other VFMAC policies, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with other appropriate VFMAC personnel, will evaluate all reported allegations to determine whether the allegations may be investigated together without unduly delaying resolution. When the Title IX Coordinator determines that a single investigation is appropriate, the investigation and adjudication will be done in accordance with the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Any multi-charge complaint that includes a violation of Title IX will be adjudicated using the Title IX-specific procedures below. A determination of responsibility for the violation of the Student Code of Conduct or violation of VFMAC policy will be evaluated by the Hearing Officer using the applicable policies.

In instances where VFMAC determines the Sexual Misconduct Policy is not applicable, the Title IX Coordinator may refer the report to an alternate office (e.g. Commandants Office, Human Resources).

Supportive Measures

The Title IX Coordinator, in conjunction with the Deputy Title IX Coordinators, has the discretion to identify, impose, or modify any supportive measure based on available information. VFMAC may implement supportive measures at any point during the Formal Complaint, investigation, or adjudication of the case. A Complainant is not required to submit a Formal Complaint in order to receive supportive measures and supportive measure can be made available to the Complainant and Respondent. VFMAC will maintain the privacy of the parties when implementing supportive measures to the extent practicable and will promptly address any violation of supportive measures.

Supportive Measures may include, but are not limited to:

● Mutual no contact orders;

● Changes in housing assignment for one or both parties;

● Academic accommodations;

● Changes in supervisor or work location;

● Removal from campus housing or grounds;

● Social restrictions;

● Changes in parking locations;

● Walking escorts;

● Counseling; and

● Emergency Removal.

Emergency Removal

An emergency removal includes an involuntary removal or suspension of a student or employee. Prior to an emergency removal, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an individualized analysis for health and safety, and determine the presence of an immediate threat to the physical health or safety.

Once the Respondent is notified, the Respondent is banned from all property and buildings, owned and controlled by VFMAC, and from participating in any VFMAC program or activity until the emergency removal is terminated.

At any point, either party can request a review to have the emergency removal amended or removed. The emergency removal remains in place during the review process. A review of an emergency removal does not delay the investigation or resolution process and can occur concurrently. A review must be made in writing directed to the Title IX Coordinator addressing the appropriateness of the measure.

The decision regarding the review is made within three (3) business days by a member of the Title IX team. The Title IX team member is able to seek additional information from the non-appealing party, Title IX Coordinator, and campus or community stakeholders.

Termination of an emergency removal can occur

● At the conclusion of an appeal;

● As a result of a dismissal of sexual misconduct allegation; or

● At the conclusion of the adjudication procedures.

Formal Complaint

After the Complainant is provided their Rights and Responsibilities, a Complainant may file a Formal Complaint. A Formal Complaint is a signed (including electronic signature) document submitted to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by way of mail, or by email. The Formal Complaint notifies VFMAC of the Complainant’s wishes to proceed with adjudication or an alternative resolution process. In the event VFMAC determines that it is necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the community, the Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to sign the Formal Complaint. If VFMAC receives more than one report arising out of the same set of facts or circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator may consolidate reports for the Formal Complaint. VFMAC will notify the Complainant of the prohibited behavior as defined by the Policy, including if the prohibited behavior falls within Title IX.

VFMAC will resolve formal complaints in a prompt time frame. However, with good cause, VFMAC may temporarily delay adjudication. In that event, written notification will be provided to the parties with rationale. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; need for language assistance; or accommodations of a disability.

Respondent Intake

Within five (5) business days of receiving the Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Respondent. VFMAC’s stance is the Respondent is not responsible for the allegation until a determination of responsibility is reached at the conclusion of the adjudicative process. During the Respondent intake, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss and explain:

● Title IX process and procedures;

● Sufficient details of the alleged prohibited behavior;

o Identity of involved parties;

o Date and location of alleged incident; and

o Identify the prohibited behavior as defined by the Policy, including if the prohibited behavior is defined by Title IX.

● Respondent resources;

● Respondent rights and responsibilities;

● Interim and supportive measures and how to access them;

● Confidentiality and privacy considerations; and

● Retaliation.

Dismissal of a Report

VFMAC is required to investigate each Formal Complaint with the following exceptions.

● the Title IX Coordinator determines that the allegation, if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy; or

● The behavior did not occur within the United States. VFMAC may dismiss a report in the following circumstances:

● A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing requesting to withdraw the Formal Complaint;

● The Respondent is not enrolled or employed by VFMAC; or

● Circumstances are presented that prevent VFMAC from conducting an investigation.

Within one (1) business day of VFMAC’s decision to dismiss a case, the Title IX Coordinator will notify all parties in writing, including a rationale. The dismissal of a case is subject to an appeal.

Alternative Resolution

After receiving a formal complaint and up until a determination of responsibility is made, the prohibited behavior may be resolved through alternative resolution. Under this process, the Complainant and Respondent waive the right to an investigation and adjudication, and the outcome reached may not be described in sanctions. Examples of alternative resolution processes include, but are not limited to, mediation, facilitated dialogue, conflict coaching, and restorative justice. The process of trying to reach an alternative resolution is voluntary and cannot be required by VFMAC as a condition of enrollment or employment. The Alternative Resolution process is not available for an incident where the prohibited behavior is sexual harassment, the Respondent is an employee, and the Complainant is a student. At any time during an alternative resolution process, any of the parties may request that the process cease, and the investigation and adjudication process will continue.

Notification of an Alternative Resolution is a written document that confirms participation in this specific process. Included in the Notification of an Alternative Resolution is information clarifying the procedures, allegations, description of when an alternative resolution can be withdrawn, clarification of expectation on consequences, and record retention and privacy. The Notification of Alternative Resolution must be signed by the Complainant and Respondent.

An Alternative Resolution Agreement is a written agreement that executes the agreement to resolve the allegations developed through an alternative resolution. For a case to be considered closed, an

Alternative Resolution Agreement must be signed by the Respondent and Complainant. Neither party may revoke or appeal an Alternative Resolution Agreement after it is fully executed. If an Alternative Resolution Agreement is not reached, then the formal resolution process will proceed.

Investigation

VFMAC will investigate each Formal Complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator to the complaint. The burden of proof refers to who has the responsibility of showing a violation has occurred. It is the responsibility of VFMAC to satisfy the burden of proof. The parties do not have the burden to prove that a violation did or did not occur. The investigator will review all evidence discovered and/or presented. VFMAC prohibits knowingly making a false statement or knowingly submitting false information.

Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue of a potential conflict of interest or bias within two business days of being advised of the identity of the investigator. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest or bias exists. If conflict of interest or bias is determined to exist, the case will be assigned to a new investigator.

The investigator will request individual interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, and other witnesses, as appropriate. Written notification will be provided of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of the interview. Parties have the right to be accompanied by an Advisor and an Advocate of their choosing. Throughout the investigation an Advisor and Advocate may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, and suggest questions to their advisee.

The Advisor and Advocate may not make a presentation or otherwise represent either party during the interview. The initial interviews with the Complainant and the Respondent should be in person, when possible.  The purpose of the interviews is to gather and assess information about the incident(s) at issue in the complaint, not to solicit general evidence about either party’s character. The investigator may wait to hold the initial interview with the Respondent until after the first meeting with the Complainant. The investigator will interview witnesses provided by both the Complainant and Respondent. Witnesses may be individuals identified by the Complainant, Respondent, a VFMAC representative, other witnesses, and any other persons the investigator considers it beneficial to interview. During the course of the investigation, the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses can provide supporting evidence, including but not limited to emails, social media posts, direct messages, photographs, and voicemails.

VFMAC cannot access, consider, disclose or use any privileged communication or document (i.e., medical records and mental health records) unless the party voluntarily provides such evidence.

After the collection of additional evidence is complete but prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator may request individual follow-up interviews with the Complainant and Respondent to give each the opportunity to respond to the additional evidence.

In the event an individual has voluntarily or involuntarily consumed drugs or alcohol near the time the alleged sexual misconduct occurred, that individual may be hesitant to report due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. When an individual discloses any incident of sexual misconduct to VFMAC or law enforcement, they will not receive VFMAC sanctions for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the incident(s).

Amnesty does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities pursuant to relevant state or federal criminal statutes. In the case where a law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence and at the request of law enforcement or VFMAC general counsel, VFMAC will temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of VFMAC investigation. Investigation will proceed again upon notification of the Title IX Coordinator or Investigator by VFMAC general counsel.

After each party has had the opportunity to share evidence with the investigator and to identify witnesses and other potential evidence, the investigator will prepare a preliminary report. The investigator will make the preliminary report available to the parties, which will include an interview summary from each party and witnesses, and supplemental evidence collected. The parties will have ten (10) business days to review the preliminary report and provide a response.

Responses can include comments, feedback, additional evidence, request for additional investigation, new witnesses to interview, or any other evidence they deem relevant. Parties can also pose relevant questions for the other party and witness. The parties’ responses will be attached to the final investigative report.

After receiving responses submitted by either party, or after the ten (10) business days has lapsed without comment, the investigator will address any relevant issues identified by the parties. If the investigator anticipates follow up will exceed five (5) business days, the investigator will notify the parties.

The investigator will issue a final investigative report. The investigator’s final written report will contain all evidence from the preliminary report, any additional evidence gathered (both relevant and irrelevant), and an analysis of evidence. The investigator’s report must be reviewed and approved by the Title IX Coordinator before it is issued. The investigator will provide a notification of the final investigative report to the parties simultaneously. The parties will have a minimum of ten (10) business days to review prior to a hearing date.

Hearing for Prohibited Behavior Defined by Title IX Regardless of Geography

The following Hearing Process applies to the adjudication of all behaviors prohibited by Title IX as well as those occurring outside of the geographic limitations imposed by Title IX but still meeting the Title IX definition of sexual harassment.

Hearings are a live process to seek clarifying information in order to make determinations of responsibilities and sanctions, if appropriate. Parties are notified in writing of the date, time and location of the hearing concurrent to notification of the final investigative report. Separate spaces can be requested by either party. In that event, VFMAC will ensure the hearing occurs in a manner that all parties are able to see and hear the information simultaneously with the use of appropriate synchronous technology. The hearing will be audio or video recorded. The recording will remain the property of VFMAC. After the hearing, parties can request to view or listen to the recording but will not be provided a copy of the media file.

Prior to a hearing, parties are invited to participate in a pre-hearing meeting. A pre-hearing is a separate meeting to learn of hearing expectations, to have questions answered, and to learn the identity of the Hearing Officer. Parties will be notified simultaneously to schedule a pre-hearing which should occur at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. Pre-hearings are not required. If any party does not attend a pre-hearing, that party will receive expectations and the Hearing Officer in writing. Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue, through written communication, of a potential conflict of interest within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the Hearing Officer. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. A Hearing Officer with a conflict of interest will not make determinations in a case and will be replaced by another individual that meets the qualifications to serve.

Hearing attendance is limited to only those individuals playing a role in the process including: Respondents, Complainants, Advisors, Advocates, witnesses, Hearing Officer. Throughout the hearing an Advisor and Advocate may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, and suggest questions to their advisee. The Advisor and Advocate may not make a presentation or otherwise represent either party during the hearing. The Advisor has an active role in seeking clarifying information and questioning the other party and witnesses. If a party has not obtained an Advisor, one will be provided by VFMAC at no cost to the party.

During the hearing, the Hearing Officer opens with comments and instructions. Each party, if they so choose, has an opportunity to make opening remarks. Ideal content for opening remarks includes a brief summary of the incident, highlighting support or disagreement with the final investigative report. The Complainant and the Respondent do not hold a burden of proof that a violation did or did not occur. Following each opening remark, the Hearing Officer has an opportunity to ask questions of Complainant and Respondent. The parties’ Advisors will have an opportunity to ask questions of the other party. The Complainant and the Respondent are prohibited from directly questioning the other party. Witnesses will then be permitted to join the hearing, allowing the Hearing Officer, Advisor of the Complainant and Advisor of the Respondent to ask questions. Once all information has been presented and questions asked, the Complainant and the Respondent will have an opportunity to make a closing statement. Ideal information for a closing statement includes the impact of the incident and, in the event of a responsible finding, sanction and remedy requests.

All parties, including witnesses, are required to participate in order to have their evidence considered in determination of responsibility. Questioning during a hearing is conducted directly, orally, and in real time. All questions must be relevant to the incident. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent. The Hearing Officer cannot access, consider, disclose or use any privileged communication or document (i.e. medical records and mental health records) unless the party voluntarily provides such evidence.

Before the Complainant, the Respondent or a witness answers any question, the Hearing Officer must first determine if the question is relevant. If a question is determined to be irrelevant or must be reworded, the rationale for such determination will be recorded by the Hearing Officer. If a party, including Complainant, Respondent, or witness, is not available or does not participate in questioning, the Hearing Officer cannot rely on any statement presented by that individual to make a determination of responsibility.

The Hearing Officer cannot draw inference about responsibility based solely on a party’s or witnesses’ absence from the hearing or refusal to answer questions. The Hearing Officer will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not), and will determine based on those findings of fact whether a violation of this policy occurred. If the Hearing Officer determines that a violation has occurred, the Hearing Officer shall review a written confidential report regarding the background of the Respondent, any prior incidents of misconduct in which the Respondent has been involved, and a report of sanctions/supportive measures previously applied for offenses of a nature similar to the current case.

The Hearing Officer has five (5) business days from the date of the hearing to issue a written letter to the Title IX Coordinator with the following:

● Summary of allegation;

● Identification of prohibited behavior;

● Procedural steps from receipt of Formal Complaint to hearing;

● Findings of fact;

● Conclusion summarizing how the behavior is applied to the policy;

● Determination of responsibility for each allegation including a rationale;

● Disciplinary sanctions including a rationale;

● Restorative remedies including a rationale; and

● Appeal procedures.

If the report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also implicates other potential violations of VFMAC’s Code of Student Conduct (in the case of students) or potential violations of other VFMAC policies and the decision has been made to address them as one case (see Intake and Assessment), and the Respondent is found to be not in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, but that violations of other VFMAC policies may have occurred, the Hearing Officer will make determinations of responsibility and sanctions for the remaining policies.

If the Respondent is found to be responsible for both the Sexual Misconduct Policy and violations of other VFMAC policies, the Hearing Officer will make determinations for sanctions. The Title IX Coordinator will then relay the information simultaneously to the Complainant and to the Respondent, along with the procedures to appeal the decisions.

Hearings For All Other Sexual Misconduct

Hearings are a live process to seek clarifying information in order to make determinations of responsibilities and sanctions, if appropriate. Parties are notified in writing of the date, time and location of hearing concurrent to notification of the final investigative report. Separate spaces can be requested by either party. In that event, VFMAC will ensure the hearing occurs in a manner that all parties to see and hear the information simultaneously with the use of appropriate synchronous technology. The hearing will be audio or video recorded. The recording will remain the property of VFMAC. After the hearing, parties can request to view or listen to the recording but will not be provided a copy of the media file.

Prior to a hearing, parties are invited to participate in a pre-hearing meeting. A pre-hearing is a separate meeting to learn of hearing expectations, to have questions answered and to learn the identity of the Hearing Officer. Initial cross-examination questions of the other party and witnesses must be submitted during the pre-hearing. Parties will be notified simultaneously to schedule a pre-hearing which must occur at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue, through written communication, of a potential conflict of interest within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the Hearing Officer.

The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. A Hearing Officer with a conflict of interest will not make determinations in a case and will be replaced by another individual that meets the qualifications to serve.

Hearing attendance is limited to only those individuals playing a role in the process including: Respondents, Complainants, Advisors, Advocates, witnesses, Hearing Officer.

Throughout the hearing an Advisor and Advocate may confer quietly with their advisee, exchange notes, and suggest questions to their advisee. The Advisor and Advocate may not make a presentation or otherwise represent either party during the hearing. During the hearing, the Hearing Officer opens with comments and instructions. Each party, if they so choose, has an opportunity to make an opening remark. Ideal information for opening remarks includes a brief summary of the incident highlighting support or disagreement with the final investigative report. Parties do not hold a burden of proof that a violation did or did not occur.

Following each opening remark, the Hearing Officer has an opportunity to ask questions of Complainant and Respondent. The parties’ will have an opportunity to ask follow-up cross examination questions of the other party or witnesses, not initially submitted during pre-hearing. All follow-up cross examination questions by the parties must be in writing and are submitted to the Hearing Officer to ask. Witnesses will then be permitted to join the hearing allowing the Hearing Officer, Advisor of the Complainant and Advisor of the Respondent to ask questions.

Once all information has been presented and questions asked, the Complainant and Respondent will have an opportunity to make a closing statement. Ideal information for a closing statement includes, the impact of the incident, and in the event of a responsible finding, sanction and remedy recommendations.

Questioning during a hearing is conducted directly, orally and in real time by the Hearing Officer. All questions must be relevant to the incident. Before the Complainant, Respondent or witness answer any question, the Hearing Officer must first determine if the question is relevant. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.

The Hearing Officer cannot access, consider, disclose or use any privileged communication or document (i.e. medical records and mental health records) unless the party voluntarily provides such evidence. If a question is determined to be irrelevant or must be reworded, the rationale for such determination will be recorded by the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer cannot draw inference about responsibility based solely on a party’s or witnesses’ absence from the hearing or refusal to answer questions.

The Hearing Officer will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not), and will determine based on those findings of fact whether a violation of this policy occurred. If the Hearing Officer determines that a violation has occurred, the Hearing Officer shall review a written confidential report regarding the background of the Respondent, any prior incidents of misconduct in which the Respondent has been involved, and a report of sanctions/supportive measures previously applied for offenses of a nature similar to the current case.

The Hearing Officer has five (5) business days from the date of the hearing to issue a written letter to the Title IX Coordinator with the following:

● Summary of allegation;

● Identification of prohibited behavior;

● Procedural steps from receipt of Formal Complaint to hearing;

● Findings of fact;

● Conclusion summarizing how the behavior is applied to the policy;

● Determination of responsibility for each allegation including a rationale;

● Disciplinary sanctions including a rationale;

● Restorative remedies including a rationale; and

● Appeal procedures.

If the report of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy also implicates other potential violations of VFMAC’s Code of Student Conduct (in the case of students) or potential violations of other VFMAC policies, and the decision has been made address them as one case (see Intake and Assessment), and the Respondent is found to be not in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, but violations of other VFMAC policies may have occurred, the Hearing Officer will make determinations of responsibility and sanctions for the remaining policies. If the Respondent is found to be responsible for both the Sexual Misconduct Policy and violations of VFMAC policies, the Hearing Officer will make determinations for sanctions.

The Title IX Coordinator will then relay the information simultaneously to the Complainant and to the Respondent, along with the procedures to appeal the decisions.

Appeals

Following the dismissal of a case or at the conclusion of a hearing, an appeal may be made by any party based only on the following criteria:

● A substantive violation of the procedures set forth in this policy has occurred which, in the context of the case, is likely to have the effect of changing the outcome; or

● The appellant has substantive and relevant new information that was not available at the time of the dismissal or hearing that may change the outcome; or

● Any person in the resolution of the incident had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome; or

● The appellant believes the sanctions are not commensurate with the violation.

An appeal will be accepted by the Title IX Coordinator in writing for five (5) business days following the notification of dismal or Hearing Officer’s findings. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the other parties in writing. Upon request, all parties may review appeals submitted by any party.

The Title IX Coordinator, having received the appeal, will convene an Administrative Panel for

Appeals, a 3-person panel of appropriately trained faculty and staff, for review of the appeal. Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue of a potential conflict of interest or bias within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the Administrative Panel. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest or bias exists. The Administrative Panel member will not make determinations in a case in which they have a conflict of interest or bias.

The Title IX Coordinator will forward the final investigative report, any evidence submitted during the hearing, and the hearing letter to the Appeals Panel. The Appeal Panel will have access to the documents a minimum of five (5) business days prior to issuing a finding on the appeal. The Administrative Panel must make a determination regarding the appeal within fifteen (15) days of notification of dismissal or notification of hearing outcome.

The Appeals Panel may request clarification on the facts from the Hearing Officer, investigator, Title IX Coordinator or any party. The Appeals Panel will first make a determination of merit for the appeal.

If no merit is found, the Appeals Panel will notify the Title IX Coordinator that the appeal will not move forward.

If merit is found for the appeal, the Appeals Panel will make a determination on the next course of action:

● Modify the outcome;

● Remand for rehearing;

● Affirm the original findings and sanctions imposed.

Upon determination by the Appeals Panel, the Title IX Coordinator will immediately be notified. Both parties will simultaneously be sent written notification of the appeal decision including a rationale for the decision. Any change made by the Administrative Panel for Appeals as a result of a hearing is final, and not subject to further appeal. If appeal is as a result of a dismissal and the Administrative Panel for Appeals modifies the outcome, the parties maintain the right to appeal at the conclusion of a hearing. Findings and/or sanctions of this Policy cannot be grieved through the applicable Grievance Policy.

All materials including supportive measures, investigative report, audio recording, appeals and official correspondence will be maintained for a period of seven (7) years.

V. SANCTIONS

Student Sanctions

Detailed descriptions are available in the Student Handbook under the Student Conduct Policy.

● Written reprimand

● Completion of educational program(s)/workshop(s)

● Participation in psychological, physical, or substance abuse evaluations and/or counseling

● Conduct probation: Loss of ability to participate in co-curricular activities

● Educational reflection paper

● Fines and restitution

● Housing Probation

● Housing Reassignment

● Housing Suspension (deferred)

● Housing Suspension

● Housing Termination

● Loss of Privileges

● Parental Notification

● Revocation of admission and/or degree

● Service requirement

● VFMAC Suspension (deferred)

● VFMAC Suspension (up to two years)

● Expulsion.

Employee Sanctions

Detailed descriptions are available in the Employee Progressive Discipline Policy. In addition to the Sanctions identified in the Employee Progressive Discipline Policy, the following may also apply:

● Required participation in non-credit educational programs

● Required participation in psychological, physical, or substance abuse evaluations

● Restitution.

VI. RELATED DOCUMENTS

● Annual Security and Fire Safety Report

● Employee Handbook

● Faculty Service Information

● Formal Complaint Form

● Mandatory Training Policy/Matrix

● Notification of Complainant’s Rights

● Notification of Respondent’s Rights

● Student Handbook

● Employee Progressive Discipline Policy

● Administrative Leave Policy.

Policy Evaluation

This policy will be evaluated by the Title IX coordinator each year to ensure compliance with federal regulations and guidelines.  Also, the policy will be reviewed each year by the VFMAC Policy Committee to measure institutional effectiveness.  Any changes or updates will be implemented as needed by the Title IX Coordinator.     

APPENDIX A – List of Title IX Team

APPENDIX B – List of Confidential Employees

APPENDIX C– List of Mandatory Reporters

APPENDIX D – Rights & Responsibilities

APPENDIX E – Resources

APPENDIX F – Third Party Vendors

VII. SIGNATURE OF APPROVAL

VFMC Provost: Dr. Robert Smith

Approval Date: December 29, 2020 (Revised Policy)

APPENDIX A

TITLE IX TEAM

Title IX Coordinator for VFMAC:

Dr. Jesse Phillips

Dean of College Services, Medenbach Hall

Phone: (610) 989-1467; Email: jphillips@vfmac.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator for VFMAC:

Mr. Aaron Barkley

Associate Dean of the Academy

Shannon Hall

Phone: (610) 989-1382

Email: abarkley@vfmac.edu

Title IX Deputy Coordinator for VFMAC:

Ms. Lauren Guardino

Human Resources Specialist

Mellon Hall

Phone: (610) 989-1240

Email: lguardino@vfmac.edu

APPENDIX B

CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCES

Resource

Responsible Employee

Contact Number

Cadet Health Center

(Nursing Staff)

Ms. Debbie Hammer

610-989-1518

Cadet Counseling Staff

 

Dr. Dorothy Lowery

610-971-9959

APPENDIX C

MANDATORY REPORTERS

Department Position

All Academic Deans

Associate Deans

Assistant Directors

Dean of Students

Human Resources Director

Senior Managers

International & Non-Traditional Students -All

President

Provost

Campus Safety – All

Commandant

TAC Officers – All

Student Conduct & Grievances – All

Student Life – All

Chief Financial Officer

Chief Operating Officer

APPENDIX D

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