Student Rights

Student Grievance Procedure

If you have a grievance because of a grade received, academic related problem, or other grievable situation, you may follow a step-by-step process that could include the instructor, Program Director, Academic Dean, a Vice President and the President. The President shall serve as the final arbiter.  Definition—working day: any day when the Administrative Offices are open.

LEVEL I—Instructor

A student with a grievance should first discuss it with his/her instructor in an effort to resolve the problem.

LEVEL II—Program Director

When the grievance is not resolved at Level I, the student should discuss it with the Program Director (where applicable) with the objective of resolving the grievance informally.

LEVEL III—Academic Dean

When the grievance is not resolved at Level II, the student should discuss it with his/her Academic Dean with the objective of resolving the grievance informally.

LEVEL IV—Vice President

When the grievance is not resolved at Level III and the student wishes to pursue the grievance, the student shall file a formal complaint in writing and submit the written grievance to the appropriate Vice President. Grievances concerning grades, or other academic-related issues, shall be submitted to the Vice President of Student & Academic Services. Grievances concerning billing or other financial arrangements shall be submitted to the Vice President of College Operations and Finance.

The filing of the formal, written complaint at Level IV must be within fifteen (15) working days from date of the event giving rise to the grievance or from the date the grievant could reasonably become aware of such occurrence. The grievant may request that a meeting concerning the complaint be held with the Vice President. A minor student may be accompanied at the meeting by a parent or guardian.

The Vice President shall investigate the grievance and attempt to resolve it. A written report from the Vice President regarding action taken will be sent within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the formal complaint.

LEVEL V—President

When the grievance is not resolved at Level IV, the grievant may process it to Level V by presenting a written appeal to the President of the College within ten (10) working days from the date the grievant receives the report from the Vice President. Within fifteen (15) working days after receiving the written grievance, the President will render a written decision. The decision of the President is final.

This procedure in no way denies the right of the grievant to file formal complaints with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, other agencies available for mediation or recertification of affirmative action grievances, or to seek private counsel for complaints alleging discrimination.

Sexual harassment Procedures

The following procedures and processes shall be followed in cases of Sexual Harassment, as defined under Board Policies 477 and 577.

Confidentiality

The College is committed to creating an environment in which those who have experienced Sexual Harassment are encouraged to come forward, while also protecting the privacy of all involved in an investigation. It is important that those reporting Sexual Harassment understand the limits on confidentiality of the individual who they may contact for such assistance. Different people, depending on their positions, have different obligations with regard to confidentiality. Under Iowa law, communications with some individuals are confidential. Those who want to maintain confidentiality should always confirm whether confidentiality applies to the communication before they make the communication. Generally, confidentiality applies when seeking outside services from the following persons:

• Trained and statutorily certified victim’s advocates;
• Licensed psychological counselors or health care providers;
• A personal attorney representing the victim; and/or a
• Religious/spiritual counselor.

The College will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sexual harassment, or has been identified as the perpetrator or respondent to any such report or complaint, or is a witness to any complaint or investigation, except as required to carry out the purposes of this Policy (including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding), applicable law, or as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g.

However, complaints about violations of this Policy will be handled in strict confidence, with personally identifiable information protected and information made available only to those who need to know in order for the College to promptly and thoroughly investigate and resolve the matter. The College must balance the needs of individual students with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large.   

The College will also keep personally identifiable information out of public recordkeeping, including the College’s Annual Security Report of Crime Statistics under the Clery Act.

Medical Attention and Evidence Preservation

After an occurrence of Sexual Assault/Abuse or other violence, a victim should consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible. Prompt medical attention is important both for physical/mental well-being and to preserve medical and physical evidence. Local medical attention is available at any of the following hospitals or clinics:

Sanford Sheldon Medical Center
118 N. 7th Avenue
Sheldon, IA 51201
1-712-324-5041 or toll-free 1-800-568-4320

Sanford Sheldon Clinic
800 Oak Street
Sheldon, IA 51201
1-712-24-5356 or toll-free 1-800-568-4332

Additionally, a free, confidential medical examination from a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) can be obtained. The SANE can conduct a sexual assault evidence collection kit to preserve forensic evidence of the assault within 120 hours after its occurrence. Bathing, douching, smoking, changing clothing and cleaning the scene of the assault is discouraged before seeking medical attention.

Preserve other evidence by saving text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, other communications, and keeping pictures, logs or other copies of documents. This evidence could be useful to the College and/or law enforcement if you choose to pursue the matter within the College and/or in court.

Victim Advocacy and Counseling

Victims of Sexual Misconduct may also want to contact an advocacy group for information and assistance, or seek mental health counseling. The following is a list of such resources on or accessible in the area:

On Campus:

The Director of Secondary Programs and Student Development coordinates counseling for students, and makes referrals to outside agencies when needed. To request a counseling referral, please contact Sarah Breems-Diekevers, sbreems-diekevers@nwicc.edu,
712-324-5061, Ext. 137.

Off-Campus:

Iowa Domestic Violence Hotline*
1-800-942-0333
www.cfiowa.org

National Domestic Violence Hotline*
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
http://www.thehotline.org

For counseling services, please contact Sarah Breems-Diekevers at 1-800-352-4907, ext. 137.

*Denotes confidential resource.

As required under Title IX, the College, through its investigations and/or Title IX/Equity Coordinator, will offer its internal counseling services to any complainant who has begun the complaint process. It is ultimately complainant’s decision whether or not to accept the counseling service offered by the College.

Interim Protective Measures/Accommodations:

After receiving a report or complaint of Sexual Harassment, reasonable interim protective measures/accommodations may be offered or requested, whether or not law enforcement is contacted. The College will also implement interim or protective action for both parties during an investigation, or when requested by the victim (when reasonably available). Such protective measures/accommodations may include:

• Transfer of class sections;
• Assistance in exploring incompletes, leave or withdrawal;
• Changes in living, transportation, or working arrangements;
• Referral to counseling and health resources, and assistance with notifying law enforcement;
• Providing a campus no-contact agreement or order.

The College will keep any protective measures/accommodations confidential, to the extent confidentiality does not impair the College’s ability to provide the measures.

Supportive measures will be individualized, provided without fee or charge, are non-disciplinary in nature, and will not unreasonably burden either party. When putting supportive measures in place, the College will consider individually each situation and the circumstances presented.

Individuals may also pursue other civil or criminal no-contact/ protective orders through the court system. Additional information regarding such legal protections can be obtained through the Family Crisis Center in Sioux Center, Iowa, or the Clerk of Court of the Iowa District Court for Sioux County in Orange City, Iowa, or another court in your county of residence. 

If an individual obtains an order of protection from a court in Iowa, the Title IX Coordinator should receive a copy to be aware of any limitations or restrictions and to develop a plan to abide by the court order. This plan may include, for example: escorts, special parking arrangements, changing classroom location, allowing a student to complete assignments from home, etc. The College cannot enforce a violation of a court order, but can assist an individual in contacting law enforcement to report a violation.If any terms of a court order are unclear in their application to the campus environment, it is up to the parties to seek clarification through the court—the College cannot render a legal opinion or give advice other than to develop a plan to reasonably prevent violations of the order. 

Student Rights

In compliance with Iowa law, the College recognizes both criminal no-contact orders and civil protective orders. If
an individual obtains an order of protection from a court in Iowa, the individual should provide a copy to the Title
IX/Equity Coordinator.

Interim Suspension or Administrative Leave

The College may make a non-disciplinary interim suspension of a student Respondent on an emergency basis. Prior to suspending a student, the College will conduct an individualized safety and risk analysis and determine whether there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any individual. Any student so suspended will be provided with notice and an opportunity to challenge this action immediately following the removal. The College may, in its discretion and consistent with applicable policies, procedures, and/or agreements, place an employee Respondent on administrative leave pending the outcome of a resolution process.

Amnesty for Complainants and Participants in Investigations

The College will not pursue disciplinary action for improper use of alcohol or other drugs against a student who reports or makes a complaint, in good faith, concerning an incident of Sexual Harassment, or who participates, in good faith, in an investigation into an incident of Sexual Harassment.

Reporting Violations

To the College:   

A victim, the College, or a member of the College community may report or file an institutional complaint of Sexual Harassment, whether or not it occurred on campus. To make a report and/or receive information regarding filinga complaint or to do so, contact:

Title IX/Equity Coordinator (for employees)
Renee Carlson

Phone:712-324-5061, Ext. 113   
Email: rcarlson@nwicc.edu

Title IX/Equity Coordinator (for students)
Sarah Breems-Diekevers
Phone: 712-324-5061, Ext. 137
Email: sbreems-diekevers@nwicc.edu

Any nonconfidential employee of the College who has the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the College must immediately report any known instances of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator. Otherwise, the College strongly encourages all students, employees, or anyone with knowledge to report incidents of sexual harassment. 
 

Law Enforcement:

The College encourages victims to report instances of Sexual Harassment which constitute a crime to local law enforcement, but it is a victim’s right to choose whether to make a report or decline law enforcement involvement. In any emergency situation, law enforcement can always be reached by dialing 911. The Sheldon Police Department can also be reached at their non-emergency phone number, 712-324-2525. The College’s Title IX/Equity Coordinator can assist a victim with making a report to law enforcement.

Timeframe for Reporting

The College encourages individuals to come forward as soon as possible to share concerns of sexual harassment so that a timely and effective review and response can occur. There is no time limit for a reports or complaints under the Policy, although the College’s ability to investigate and respond fully may be limited with the passage of time. However, formal complaints of sexual harassment will only be adjudicated under the procedure below when the misconduct is reported to the institution while the Complainant is actively affiliated with the College.

If at the time of the report a Respondent is no longer affiliated with the College (e.g., a report is made after a student has left or graduated or an employee no longer works for the College), the College can still provide reasonably available supportive measures, assist the Complainant in identifying external reporting options, and may take other appropriate action depending on the circumstances presented. In all cases, the College will conduct a fair, prompt, and equitable investigation of allegations of sexual harassment. Generally, the College will attempt to complete the process within 60 days. However, the time frames set forth in these procedures are meant to provide guidance, and the College may, as appropriate, alter or extend time frames for good cause, with written notice to the parties. The time it takes to complete the resolution of a sexual harassment complaint may vary based on the complexity of the investigation and the severity and extent of the alleged conduct, as well as on whether there is a parallel criminal investigation, or if school breaks occur during the process.

PROCEDURES FOR RESPONDING TO REPORTS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Initiating a Formal Complaint
When the College learns of potential sexual harassment, in most cases outreach will be done with the Complainant to identify reporting options (discussed earlier) within and outside the College and to offer supportive measures.  The Title IX Coordinator is available to meet to discuss those reporting options with the Complainant or answer questions from the Respondent.  

A Complainant who proceeds with a formal complaint must do so in writing, and by filing a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator by hard copy, email, or any other writing evidencing a physical or digital signature, or otherwise verifying the Complainant is filing the complaint. If the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will not become a party or Complainant for purposes of the processes below.

Dismissal and Consolidation of Formal Complaints
If, at any point of the resolution process, it becomes apparent that the allegations contained within a formal complaint of sexual harassment, even if true, would not meet the scope and/or definitions in the Policy, the College will dismiss the complaint for purposes of processing under these procedures, but may proceed under a different policy or process for adjudication as the circumstances warrant. Additionally, the College may, in its sole discretion, elect to dismiss any formal complaint of sexual harassment under the following circumstances:
• The complainant requests, in writing, the withdrawal of the formal complaint,
• The respondent is no longer employed or enrolled as a student at the institution, or
• Specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination or satisfy its own burden of proof in investigating and adjudicating a formal complaint of sexual harassment.

If the College elects to dismiss a formal complaint, all parties will be notified in writing of the decision, and will be given the opportunity to appeal the decision under Section I(10) below.The College may choose, at its sole discretion, to consolidate formal complaints where more than one Complainant and/or more than one Respondent is involved so long as the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts/circumstances. In such cases, the College may also choose to issue a single investigation report.

Notice of Investigation
Upon the filing of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide a written Notice of Investigation simultaneously to both parties notifying the parties of:
• the identities of the parties involved in the incident;
• the conduct alleged;
• the date and location of the incident;
• Respondent’s entitlement to a presumption of innocence;
• The parties’ rights to have an advisor of their choice at the party’s expense, who may be an attorney; and
• The parties’ rights to review and comment on investigative evidence.

The written notice of investigation shall notify the parties that making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process is prohibited by the College and may constitute an independent basis for disciplinary sanctions, up to and including suspension or expulsion of a student or termination of an employee’s employment. The Notice will also include, if available, the name of the investigator(s) and a copy or link to the applicable Policy.  

The notice shall be provided prior to the initial interview of any party, and within a sufficient amount of time to prepare. Parties will be also be provided advance notice in writing of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of any interview, hearing, or meeting in the investigation and resolution process.

If, during the course of investigation, the College determines that additional allegations will be investigated as part of the pending complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide written notice of the additional allegations to any identified Complainant(s) or Respondent(s).  

Right to an Advisor
Both a Complainant and a Respondent are given the opportunity to have support or advice through the reporting and if applicable, investigative and disciplinary processes. Either the Complainant or the Respondent may have an individual accompany them at their own expense to any meetings, interviews, or hearings related to the matter – these individuals are called “advisors.”  

The advisor may be a friend, victim advocate, lawyer, employee, family member, or other person
chosen by the Complainant or Respondent. The roles and expectations of a person serving as an
advisor are explained as follows:
• The advisor will keep private the information shared during meetings and throughout the investigation and adjudication process and will not disclose in any manner information shared or learned in the College process.
• It is up to the Complainant and Respondent to present their information in meetings, interviews, or hearings. Advisors cannot speak for an individual and do not have an active role during any meetings, interviews, or hearings, with the exception of conducting cross-examination on behalf of a party in a live hearing.
• The College’s communication during the process will be primarily with the Complainant and Respondent, not with the advisor directly.
• A Complainant or Respondent may use different a different advisor at various stages in the process, especially if their chosen individual cannot be available for a scheduled meeting, interview, or hearing. The College will work to reasonably accommodate the advisors’ schedules, but will not unnecessarily delay the process due to the advisors’ conflicts.
• The College may remove an advisor if they unreasonably delay the process, or their presence is disruptive, obstructive, or otherwise interferes with the College’s handling of the matter. In such a case, the College will notify the Complainant or Respondent, who may seek another advisor.
• College policy prohibits retaliation against any individuals for filing a complaint or participating in the investigation of the complaint. An advisor is also protected by and subject to this retaliation prohibition. This means an advisor may not retaliate against any person participating in this process, nor may anyone retaliate against an advisor.
• The College will provide any party who does not have an advisor present to assist with cross-examination during any hearing during which the party has the right to engage in cross-examination with a College appointed advisor for the duration of that hearing, the selection of which is in the College’s sole discretion.  

The Investigation
The College will select an investigator or investigators who have received annual training to investigate campus matters of sexual harassment and in conducting a prompt, equitable, and fair investigation. The investigation team may be composed of internal College employees, external professionals, or a combination of both. Either the Complainant or Respondent may request in writing that an investigator be recused because of an identified conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if a conflict exists.

The burden of proof and the burden of gathering sufficient evidence to reach a determination of responsibility rests with the College and not with the parties. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, any witnesses identified by the parties or by the investigator as having information relevant to the complaint, and collecting and reviewing any relevant documents, communications, or physical evidence if possible.
• The investigator(s) will interview the Complainant and Respondents separately. Each party will be asked to
participate in an initial interview and may be asked to participate in a follow-up interview(s) as needed.
• Each party may offer witnesses and other information, documents or other evidence relevant to the complaint, both inculpatory and exculpatory. Information, documents or other evidence provided by the parties and witnesses may be shared with both parties during the investigation.
• The order of the interviews will be determined by the investigator(s) based on the circumstances of each
complaint.
• The investigator(s) will make a good faith effort to contact and interview relevant witnesses.
• In the event Complainant or Respondent request reasonable accommodations during the investigation process due to a disability, the investigator(s) will consult with the Title IX Coordinator.

Neither party will be restricted in their ability to discuss the allegations or to gather and present relevant evidence; provided, however, that such communications shall not constitute harassment of or retaliation against any party.  

The investigator(s) will evaluate all relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory. The investigator(s) will only access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s treatment records made or maintained by a health care provider, or other records protected under a legally recognized privilege, if the party provides the investigator(s) with voluntary, written consent to do so.

Inspection and Review of Evidence Directly Related to Allegations and the Investigation Report

Complainant and Respondent and, unless directed otherwise by the respective parties, their advisor, will be provided the opportunity to inspect all evidence directly related to the allegations of the formal complaint, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, and evidence that the College does not intend to rely on in reaching a determination. This evidence will not include  privileged medical information (unless the institution has the voluntary, written consent of the party concerned to use that information in the investigation) and prior sexual history (with the limited exception of evidence offered to prove someone other than the respondent committed the alleged misconduct or evidence of prior sexual behavior between the parties offered to prove consent). The College may require both parties and their advisors to enter into a written agreement prohibiting the use or dissemination of evidence for any purpose other than those directly related to the parties’ participation in resolution process.

Complainant and Respondent will be given at least ten days to inspect and review the evidence collected during the College’s investigation and to submit a written response the investigator(s) will consider in preparing a final investigation report. The final investigation report will summarize the information and include any documents gathered. The investigative report will not include determination of responsibility for the complaint itself.

Additionally, Complainant and Respondent will be given at least an additional ten days after receiving a copy of the College’s final investigation report to respond to the investigation report, in writing. In their written response to the investigation report, Complainant and Respondent may provide written comments regarding the relevance of the evidence included in or excluded from the investigation report, provide factual or other corrections to the report, and otherwiseprovide context for the report.

The final investigation report will be distributed, concurrently, to both of the parties and the Title IX Coordinator at least ten (10) calendar days prior to a hearing to determine responsibility.

Live Hearing and Cross-Examination
For purposes of adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment under the Policy’s scope, regardless of the identity of the parties involved, the College will conduct a live hearing prior to the issuance of a written decision report in accordance with the procedures below:

Appointment of Decision-Maker(s)
The College shall appoint one or more Decision-Maker(s) who are either internal or external to the College, but have been trained on the matters set forth in the Policy and procedures. If there is more than one Decision-Maker, one of the Decision-Makers shall be designated to serve as Hearing Officer during the hearing. The Hearing Officer will preside over the hearing and determine whether information or questions of parties is relevant. All procedural questions, including the decision to accept evidence and/or statements, will be made by the sole Decision-Maker or Hearing Officer, in their sole discretion.

Notice of Hearing
No less than ten (10) calendar days before the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare and send the parties
a written notice of the time and date of the hearing, as well as the identities of the Decision-Maker(s). Within five (5) calendar days either the Complainant or Respondent may request, in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, that the Decision-Maker(s) be recused because of an identified conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if a conflict exists. If a party requests, the entire hearing will be conducted with the parties in separate rooms with technology enabling the Decision-maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the witness answering questions.

Notice of Witnesses
At least five (5) calendar days before the hearing, the Decision-Maker(s) will notify the parties in advance which witnesses (including Complainant or Respondent) they would like to be present at the hearing. The Decision-Maker(s) or designee will notify these witnesses of the hearing date and time and that their presence has been requested. Any witness called by the Decision-Maker(s) will also be expected to answer questions from the parties. When notifying the parties of these witnesses, the Decision-Maker(s) will also request the parties identify
any additional witnesses they wish to have present at the hearing for cross-examination.  

The Decision-Maker(s) or designee will notify relevant witnesses of the hearing date and time and that their presence has been requested by the party for cross-examination.

Proceedings
The hearing is closed to the general public. The parties and their advisor will be allowed to attend the entire portion of the hearing at which information is received (excluding deliberations). Admission of any other person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the Decision-Maker(s). There shall be no formal pleadings, legal memorandum, or motions filed in the hearing process. The Decision-Maker(s) will advise the parties if opening statement or closing statements are permissible.

The College will record and/or create a transcript of all live hearings and will make that recording and/or transcript available to all parties for inspection or review.

The Complainant and Respondent are permitted and encouraged to attend and participate in the hearing with
an advisor of their choice.

The College will make all evidence subject to inspection by all parties available at any hearing and will give each party equal opportunity to refer to that evidence at the hearing, including as part of cross-examination.

Presentation of Evidence:
The hearing is not a second investigation of the allegations. In the hearing, the parties will be asked if they have any additional evidence they wish the Decision-Maker(s) consider, and if the parties wish to comment on the Investigation Report and evidence. Any new evidence presented by a party, if admitted as relevant, will be provided to the other party to provide comment on; Parties will be allowed, through their advisors, to cross-exam all other parties and any witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and to ask all relevant questions and follow-up questions including those challenging party or witness credibility, directly, orally and in-real time. Any party without an advisor will be appointed an advisor by the College, with selection of the advisor being at the sole discretion of the College; Only relevant questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a party or witness answers a question the decision-maker will articulate whether the question is relevant and will explain the decision to exclude any question as irrelevant. Questions about prior sexual history will generally be deemed irrelevant with limited exceptions.

The Decision-Maker(s) may ask questions, at any time, of the parties and of the witnesses.

The College will not allow Decision-Maker(s) to rely on any statements made by a party or witness in reaching his or her determination if that party or witness does not submit to cross-examination during a live hearing.

The Decision-Maker(s) will not draw an inference about responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.

Standard of Proof
The determination of whether or not sexual harassment occurred will be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy. This standard is more formally referred to as the “preponderance of evidence” standard.

In making its determination, the Decision-Maker(s) will carefully consider all of the evidence presented and follow the procedures stated in the Policy and any other applicable policies, procedures, rules, or handbook provisions in order to ensure as fair a hearing as possible for all parties.

Written Decisions
The College Decision-Maker(s) will independently evaluate the evidence gathered. Written decisions will be provided simultaneously to the parties and include the following information:
1. allegations of sexual harassment,
2. procedural history (including specifics about notifications of hearings, meetings and interviews, methods used to gather evidence and hearings held),
3. findings of fact supporting the decision,
4. conclusions regarding application of policy to the facts,
5. rationale for the decision/finding of responsibility as it applies to each allegation,
6. disciplinary sanctions imposed on respondent, if any,
7. whether (but not the nature of) remedies designed to restore/preserve equal access to any or all education programs or activities that will be provided to the Complainant, and
8. procedure and permissible bases for appeal.

Decisions, including the imposition of any sanctions, will become final upon written notification to the parties of the outcome of an appeal or, if there is no appeal, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely. The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of remedies, as well as any non-punitive or non-disciplinary supportive measures imposed.

Appeals
The written decision of the Decision-Maker(s) shall be subject to appeal by both Complainant and Respondent. All parties have an equal right to appeal any final decision on the following bases so long as the bases of the appeal is significant enough to be reasonably expected to affect the outcome of the decision:
• A procedural irregularity within the investigation or adjudication process;
• New evidence not reasonably available when determination of responsibility was made;
• A conflict of interest or the bias of the Title IX Coordinator, investigator or a decision-maker.

The College will notify all parties upon receipt of an appeal by any party alleging one of the bases for appeal above. Both parties will be given an opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the written determination. Written statements must be submitted to within five (5) business days.

The Appeal Decision-Maker(s) will determine if the decision and/or sanctions imposed will be stayed pending the outcome of the appellate decision. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal will be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the hearing and supporting documents.

The Appeal Decision-Maker(s) may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision regarding theviolation and/or sanctions imposed. A written decision will be issued simultaneously to the parties describing the result of the appeal and the rationale therefor. The written appeal decision is the final decision of the College, and no further appeals are permitted under the Policy or these procedures.

Sanctions
For students, sanctions include, but are not limited to, an educational sanction, reprimand, probation, restitution, fine, denial of privileges, no-contact order, housing transfer or removal, suspension, and/or expulsion or termination, as set forth in the College’s Student Conduct Code.

For faculty and staff, sanctions could range from warning, reprimand, suspension with or without pay, demotion, or termination of employment, and may include such other forms of disciplinary action as appropriate under applicable College procedures, handbooks/manuals, or contracts. If a final decision imposes disciplinary action which constitutes termination of college personnel entitled to the hearing/judicial review procedures of Iowa Code chapter 279, such procedures shall be followed as required by law.

Sanctions may also include supportive measures regarding the complainant. The College will also consider providing remedies for the broader campus community, as may be necessary to remedy the effects of Sexual Harassment.

Informal Resolution
After the filing of a formal complaint, the College may facilitate an informal resolution between the parties, and at any time prior to the Decision-Maker’s determination of responsibility via the issuance of a written decision.

The Title IX Coordinator will assess the severity of the alleged harassment and the potential risk of a hostile
environment for others in the community to determine whether informal resolution may be appropriate. Informal Resolution will not be available to resolve allegations involving an employee sexually harassing a student.

The College will not require the parties to participate in the Informal Resolution process as a condition of enrollment, continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or of any other right conferred by the College.

The Title IX Coordinator will provide the parties with a written notice setting for the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process set forth in this Policy, the right of any party to withdraw from the informal process and proceed with the formal complaint resolution process above, at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution; and any consequences resulting from the participation in the informal process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared by the College. Both parties must voluntarily consent in writing to participation in the informal resolution process.

The Title IX Coordinator will attempt to aid the parties in finding a mutually acceptable resolution to the complaint.  This resolution will be reduced to writing and must be signed by the Complainant and the Respondent. Once both parties have voluntarily signed the written resolution, the written resolution becomes final and neither party can initiate the formal complaint resolution process above to resolve the allegations in the formal complaint. The written resolution is not subject to appeal.

Advisors
The Complainant and the Respondent each may be assisted by an advisor throughout the Informal Resolution process. Advisors are assigned and subject to the same restrictions set forth for advisors as set forth above.

Election of Formal Resolution
Either party may, at any time prior to signing an informal resolution agreement, elect to end the informal resolution process and initiate formal resolution instead. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the informal resolution will not be considered in the subsequent formal resolution.

Privacy of Informal Resolution
In order to promote honest, direct, communication, information disclosed during informal resolution must remain private while the informal resolution is pending, except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized
in connection with duties on behalf of the College.

Complainant Does Not Wish to Pursue Resolution or Requests Confidentiality
If the Complainant does not wish to pursue formal or informal resolution and/or requests that their report remain confidential, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant that the College’s ability to respond may be limited. The Title IX Coordinator or designee may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged sexual harassment and may weigh the Complainant’s request against the following factors:
• The seriousness of the alleged sexual harassment,
• Whether there have been other complainants of sexual harassment against the same Respondent, and
• The Respondent’s right to receive information about the allegations, including the name of the complainant.

The Title IX Coordinator will only initiate a formal complaint against the wishes of the Complainant where doing so is not clearly unreasonable based on known circumstances, based on the potential impact to the College community if the allegations were true.

The Title IX Coordinator or designee will inform the Complainant if the College cannot ensure confidentiality. Even if the College cannot take disciplinary action against the Respondent because the Complainant insists on confidentiality or that the complaint not be resolved, the College reserves the authority to undertake an appropriate inquiry, and/or take other reasonably necessary supportive measures to promote a safe learning environment for the Complainant and/or the entire College community.

Sexual Harassment Outside the Policy’s Scope and Definitions
If a formal complaint is filed which alleges sexual harassment which falls outside the scope of the Policy and is dismissed, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the complaint as appropriate for adjudication under another policy or process, such as the Discriminatory Harassment Policy or Student Conduct Code, as long doing so would not interfere with any right or privilege provided to a party under Title IX. To the extent the complaint alleges dating violence, domestic violence, domestic violence, or sexual assault which fall outside the scope of the Policy (e.g., the alleged conduct occurred outside the United States or without substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the conduct occurred), the College shall nonetheless provide the following procedural rights to the parties in the applicable adjudication process:
1. The parties will each have the opportunity to participate in the investigatory and disciplinary process which is overseen by properly trained individuals;
2. The parties will each have the opportunity to be advised by a personal advisor of their choice, at their expense, at any stage of the process and to be accompanied by that advisor at any meeting or hearing. An advisor may only consult and advise his or her advisee, but not speak for the advisee at any meeting or hearing, except as expressly provided for in applicable procedures;
3. Decisions will be based on the preponderance of evidence standard. In other words, the investigator or adjudicator will determine if it more likely than not that the respondent violated the applicable policy;
4. The parties will be notified simultaneously in writing of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding, as well as any changes to those results or disciplinary actions prior to the time that such results become final; and
5. If there is a right to appeal, the right is granted co-equally to the parties and the right will be explained in the
applicable procedures. The parties will be notifiedsimultaneously in writing of the final outcome of an appeal, if applicable.  

College sanctions for such misconduct could include the range of sanctions detailed above.

Interplay with Criminal Proceedings
College disciplinary proceedings may be instituted against an individual charged with Sexual Harassment that potentially violates both the criminal law and the College’s Sexual Harassment Policy (that is, if both possible violations result from the same factual situation) without regard to the pendency of civil or criminal litigation in court or criminal arrest and prosecution. College proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

Determinations made or sanctions imposed under this Policy will not be subject to change because criminal
charges arising out of the same facts giving rise to violation of college rules were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of or against the criminal law defendant. College conduct proceedings are separate from criminal or civil litigation. Formal rules of process, procedure, and/or technical rules of evidence, such as those applied in criminal or civil court, are not used by the College.

Title IX/Equity Coordinator
The College’s Title IX/Equity Coordinator or his/her designee (“Title IX Coordinator”) coordinates the College’s response to reports of Sexual Harassment under this policy. The Title IX Coordinator does not serve as an advocate for either the complainant or the respondent. The Title IX Coordinator will explain to both parties the informal and formal processes and the provisions of confidentiality. Where appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will provide to both parties information on options for obtaining advocacy, medical and counseling services, and making criminal reports, and will assist with providing information on other resources. The Title IX Coordinator will coordinate with other campus officials to take appropriate interim actions such as no contact orders and academic accommodations. The Title IX Coordinator is trained and knowledgeable about enforcement, compliance, communication, and implementation of the College’s anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policy.

The Title IX Coordinators’ contact information is as follows:

Title IX/Equity Coordinator (for employees)
Renee Carlson
Phone: 712-324-5061, Ext. 113   
Email: rcarlson@nwicc.edu

Title IX/Equity Coordinator (for students)
Sarah Breems-Diekevers
Phone: 712-324-5061, Ext. 137
Email: sbreems-diekevers@nwicc.edu 

College Reporting Requirements  
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”) requires the College to report certain crime statistics and disclose security-related information. The annual security report issued by the College in compliance with the Clery Act will include, in addition to other required information, statistics regarding any incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking that have occurred within the locations governed by the Clery Act and that have been reported to a local law enforcement agency or a campus security authority. For purposes of these reporting requirements, the foregoing crimes shall be defined as stated herein (however, if the definitions in this Policy and the definitions in the Clery Act are ever in conflict, the definitions in the Clery Act control). The annual security report will also include, under the “hate crimes” category of reportable offenses, statistics regarding incidents motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived national origin or gender identity. For all annual and interim reports, the College will withhold as confidential, to the extent permitted by law, the names of all victims.

Written Notification
The College will provide written notification to College students, faculty, and staff about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services available for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, both within the institution and in the community. The College will also provide written notification to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking about options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations or protective measures by providing them a copy of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy (Board Policies 477 and 577) and these Procedures. The College will also provide a copy of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy (Board Policies 477 and 577) and these Procedures to a student or employee who reports to the College that the student or employee has been a victim of Title IX Sexual Harassment (whether the offense occurred on or off campus), as a written explanation of the student or employee’s rights and options.

Education and Training
The College will offer all new students and new employees primary prevention and awareness programs that promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. These programs will include the following:

a. A statement that the College prohibits rape, acquaintance rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
b. The definition of the above-listed offenses pursuant to Iowa law.
c. The definition of consent in the context of sexual offenses pursuant to Iowa law.
d. Safe and positive options for bystander intervention an individual may take to prevent harm or to intervene if
he or she witnesses or is confronted with potential rape, acquaintance rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
e. Recognition of signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks.
In addition to the above-discussed programs for new students and new employees, the College will also offer all students and employees ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns that address the foregoing five items. All such programs and campaigns will be reported and described in the annual security report issued by the College in compliance with the Clery Act.

Investigators, adjudicators and other personnel involved in the process of investigating, responding, coordinating
or otherwise assisting in the adjudication of complaints of sexual harassment will receive training as required on the topics of 1) impartiality, 2) avoiding prejudgment of facts at issue, 3) conflicts of interest and bias, 4) the College’s resolution processes, 5) issues of relevance and evidence, 6) the scope of the College’s educational programs and activities, and 7) types of sexual harassment. College investigators will also be trained in writing investigation reports and decision-makers will be trained in conducting hearings, writing decisions and the technology used in hearings. The training materials used to perform these trainings will be published on the College’s website and will ensure that relevant personnel are trained on issues related to sexual harassment and are taught how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the rights, well-being, and safety of the parties, provides an equitable process for all parties involved, and promotes accountability.

Discriminatory Harassment Procedures

The following procedures and processes shall be followed in cases of Discriminatory Harassment, as defined under Board Policies 478 and 578.

Reporting Violations

Any member of the College faculty, staff or student body who believes he/she may have been subjected to discriminatory harassment or knows someone who may have been subjected to discriminatory harassment may report a violation to the College.

Individuals who feel that they have been harassed should first communicate to the harasser that the individual expects the behavior to stop, if the individual is comfortable doing so. Offensive conduct may have been thoughtless or based on a mistaken belief that it was welcome. If the individual wants assistance communicating with the harasser, the individual can contact the College’s Equity Coordinator for assistance.

Complaints

If the harassment does not stop, or the individual does not feel comfortable confronting the harasser, the individual should promptly report the behavior to an Equity Coordinator, Director of Human Resources, or other College administrator. The College is committed to preventing discriminatory harassment, but cannot do anything to remedy the problem if it is unaware that a problem exists.

Investigation

If an individual complains of discriminatory harassment, the complaint will be investigated. An investigation may be commenced in the absence of a written complaint. If any of the parties feel that the assigned investigator has a conflict of interest, they should inform an Equity Coordinator, Director of Human Resources, or other College administrator, as early as possible. If the investigator is a witness to the incident, an alternate investigator shall investigate.

For complaints against students or student organizations, the College’s Student Conduct Code will govern the investigation and adjudication process.

For complaints against faculty or staff, the following procedures will govern the investigation and adjudicatory process:

The investigator will reasonably and promptly commence the investigation upon receipt of the complaint. The investigator will interview the complainant and the respondent. The respondent may file a written statement in response to the complaint. The investigator may also interview witnesses as deemed appropriate.

Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will make written findings and conclusions as to each allegation of harassment and report the findings and conclusions to the Director of Human Resources or designee. The investigator will provide a copy of the findings of the investigation to the Director of Human Resources or designee.

Following receipt of the investigator’s report, the Director of Human Resources or designee may investigate further, if deemed necessary, including interviewing the complainant and the respondent. The Director of Human Resources or designee will make a determination of any appropriate additional steps, which may include discipline. The Director of Human Resources or designee will file a written report and documenting any disciplinary action taken, or any other action taken, in response to the complaint. The complainant, respondent, and the investigator will receive notice as to the conclusion of the investigation.

The Director of Human Resources or designee’s decision may be appealed to the President within five (5) business days of receiving notice of the determination. Such appeals will be in writing and delivered to the President’s Office. If an appeal is timely filed, the President’s Office will send written notification to the parties stating the appeal has been filed and that they have the opportunity to submit additional relevant information and/or statements for review within five (5) business days. The President or designee will then review the record on appeal, and may affirm, reverse, or modify the decision regarding the violation and/or discipline imposed. A written decision of the President or designee shall be provided to the parties and the Director of Human Resources. The written appeals decision shall be completed within twenty (20) days of the date of appeal, or longer for good cause. The decision of the President or designee shall be final.

Evidence uncovered in the investigation will be treated as confidential, subject to applicable law.

Information received during the investigation is kept confidential to the extent possible. Absent extenuating circumstances, the investigation and resolution of the complaint will generally be concluded within sixty (60) days.

If the results of an investigation show that the complainant knowingly filed false accusations of discriminatory harassment, or that a witness gave false statements, such individuals will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. A finding for the respondent does not constitute a finding that the complaint was made in bad faith.

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation of any kind against anyone seeking guidance, filing a complaint or participating in an investigation for discriminatory harassment is prohibited. Examples of retaliation include, but are not limited to, any action that has an adverse impact on employment, compensation or work assignments, or, in the case of students, grades, class selection or any other matter pertaining to student status.