VI. Procedure:

  1. Administration and Implementation
    1. Each college president shall designate one or more officials to serve as the Title IX Coordinator and the Section 504 Coordinator and ensure the designated officials have received appropriate training.
    2. Contact information for the Title IX and Section 504 Coordinators and the Statement of Equal Opportunity should be permanently displayed on official bulletin boards and included in electronic or written college publications and academic materials as described in the TCSG Usage Statement for Equal Opportunity.
    3. Instructors/administrators must take ongoing proactive steps to ensure educational opportunities (to include classrooms, clinics, labs, programs, etc.) and student activities (clubs, sports, etc.) are accessible and free from any type of unlawful discrimination or harassment.
    4. The Compliance Officer will conduct training programs and monitor the colleges to ensure the correct administration and implementation of this procedure, and will ensure that proactive or corrective measures have been taken to prevent unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
  2. Reporting and Management Action
    1. All students are encouraged to report events of unlawful harassment, discrimination, sexual violence and/or retaliation ("prohibited conduct") against themselves or others, regardless of where the incident occurred.
    2. Students have the right to file (or not to file) a criminal complaint for sexual violence with the local law enforcement authorities before, during, or after filing a complaint with the college. The technical college shall not unreasonably delay investigation under this procedure to await the outcome of any criminal investigation.
    3. If a student filing a complaint requests anonymity or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the college must inform the student that its ability to respond may be limited, that retaliation for filing a complaint is prohibited and steps to prevent harassment and retaliation will be taken. The college should take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request and pursue other steps to limit the effects of the alleged harassment and prevent recurrence.
    4. Colleges may weigh a request to not pursue a complaint considering the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the complainant’s age, whether there have been other harassment complaints about the same individual, and the alleged harasser’s rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained as an “education record” under FERPA. The college must inform the student if the request cannot be ensured.
    5. Reports concerning all prohibited conduct referenced in this procedure will be processed confidentially to the extent permitted by law; communications regarding complaints will be disseminated to others on a need-to-know basis to ensure that necessary steps are taken to protect the community as a whole and that appropriate disciplinary measures or corrective actions are considered and taken.
    6. Allegations or suspicions of unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence or unlawful retaliation may be reported to the technical college’s Title IX and Section 504 Coordinators, the president, the Commissioner, or the Human Resources Director (should the complaint involve employees). Complaints may also be emailed to unlawfulharassment@tcsg.edu.
    7. Complaints under this procedure can expressed in writing, by telephone, or in person; individuals are, however, encouraged to express complaints in writing to ensure all concerns are addressed.
    8. If an allegation of unlawful harassment, , sexual harassment, sexual violence discrimination or retaliation is made to an employee not designated to receive such reports, the employee receiving the complaint must report the allegation as provided in section 6 above.
    9. Allegations of any sexual conduct involving individuals under the age of 18 must also be reported as an allegation of child abuse as outlined in O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5.
    10. The Commissioner or president may suspend, transfer or reassign employees or students in order to prevent possible further harassment, discrimination, sexual violence or retaliation,; to facilitate the investigation , or to implement preventive or corrective actions under this procedure.
    11. Any allegation of unlawful harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence or retaliation against employees must be reported to the Human Resources Director who may elect to conduct the investigation in conjunction with other local investigators.
  3. Investigations
    1. All complaints of prohibited conduct under this procedure shall be investigated by local investigators thoroughly and should be completed within 45 business days of the receipt of the complaint. The parties will be notified if extraordinary circumstances exist requiring additional time.
    2. A complaining party will be notified within 5 business days of receipt of the complaint if the complaint does not specify facts sufficient to allege unlawful discrimination, harassment, sexual violence or retaliation and that a formal investigation will not be conducted pursuant to this procedure. The complaining party may appeal the decision in writing to the president within 5 business days of receiving the notice. The president’s decision will be final.
    3. Individuals designated to investigate, review or recommend corrective actions in response to allegations will be trained to conduct investigations in a manner that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability. Individuals assigned as the investigator for a particular incident shall disclose to the president any relationship with the parties that could call into question their ability to be objective prior to taking any action with respect to the investigation. The president will reassign alternate individuals if necessary.
    4. Investigations will be conducted by gathering relevant information and interviewing appropriate witnesses. Both the complaining party and the respondent (the parties) will be given equal opportunity to identify witnesses and offer evidence in person or in writing. Best efforts will be made to interview all witnesses identified by the parties. Both the complaining party and the respondent may be accompanied by an advisor of his or her choice. However, the advisor may not speak on behalf of the party.
    5. The college will evaluate the information collected during the investigation and determine whether a preponderance of the evidence substantiates that unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment sexual violence and/or unlawful retaliation has occurred.
    6. Investigations and summary findings will be documented appropriately.
    7. No later than 10 business days after completion of an investigation, both of the parties will be simultaneously provided a summary of the results of the investigation in writing.
    8. Any information prohibited from disclosure by law or policy will be redacted from any documents prior to distribution.
  4. Corrective Actions
    1. Colleges will take all reasonable steps to prevent unlawful retaliation against complainants and any other individuals participating in investigations under this procedure.
    2. If prohibited conduct is determined to have occurred following the investigation, the college, through the appropriate officials, shall implement steps to prevent a recurrence and to correct the discriminatory effects on the complaining party and others as appropriate. Steps may include, but are not limited to, mandating training or evaluation, disciplinary sanctions, policy implementation or reassignment of students or employees.
    3. Should recommended disciplinary sanctions involve academic suspension, expulsion or dismissal from employment, the matter must be referred to either the Vice President for Student Affairs for students or the Human Resources Director for employees. Allegations regarding students shall be considered and sanctions assigned as provided by the college's Student code of Concuct and Disciplinary Procedure. Sanctions for employees shall be considered as provided by the Positive Discipline Procedure.
    4. Individuals who are responsible for conducting or reviewing investigations or proposing sanctions under this procedure should not also serve as reviewing officials or hearing officers in the appeal of sanctions arising from an investigation.
    5. Even in the absence of sufficient evidence to substantiate a finding that unlawful discrimination, unlawful harassment, sexual violence or retaliation has occurred, colleges are expected to address any inappropriate conduct and take all reasonable steps to prevent any future unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
  5. Reviews and Dispositions
    1. Any of the parties to a complaint under this procedure may request a review of the investigative findings within 5 business days of receiving notice of the investigative results by submitting a written request to the president.
    2. The president shall review all investigations conducted under this procedure and ensure that the appropriate corrective actions have been implemented.
    3. Within 10 business days of receiving a request for a review of the investigative findings, the president of the college will notify the parties in writing of his/her final determination, including any change in the result of the findings. The notice will inform the parties they have a right to appeal the determination to the Technical College System of Georgia’s Legal Services Office by submitting a written request within 3 business days by regular mail or email to one of the following:

      Technical College System of Georgia
      Office of Legal Services
      1800 Century Place, N.E. Suite 400
      Atlanta, Georgia 30345
      OR
      Unlawfulharassment@tcsg.edu

  6. The Office of Legal Services will convene a panel of at least 3 individuals not employed by the requestor’s college to review the investigative findings. The panel’s decision is final and will conclude the processing of the complaint. Both parties will be notified in writing simultaneously of the results of the review and any changes in the results of the investigative findings under appeal.