Life at VMCAD

Sexual Assault, Stalking, And Domestic And Intimate Partner Violence Prevention And Response Policy

Statement

VMCAD strives to create a safe learning and working environment for all its students, faculty, staff and visitors. VMCAD prohibits sexual violence from its students, faculty and staff. VMCAD will take prompt measures to investigate allegations or charges of sexual violence against a member of the VMCAD community. Sexual violence covered in this policy includes sexual assault, stalking and domestic and intimate partner violence. VMC offers training to prevent sexual violence from occurring in our community. VMCAD prohibits sexual harassment and has policies to that effect. This policy has the information for members of the VMCAD community or someone they know has been a victim of sexual violence, and the steps to follow and the resources available. Included is the support services provided by the college as well as the appropriate disciplinary procedures.

Reason for the policy

Sexual Violence is an impact on the victim and the VMCAD community as a whole. VMCAD wants all victims to be aware of the support and services it provides in regard to sexual violence which includes assault, stalking, and intimate and domestic partner violence. It’s also important to know that those individuals found to have committed these acts will be disciplined up to expulsion for students and termination for employees. The training that VMCAD makes available is intended to prevent sexual violence as well as educate on how to deal with its occurrence.

Who should read this policy

All members of the VMCAD community
VMCAD students
VMCAD employees

Who is responsible for this policy

Title IX Coordinator (Director of Student Affairs)
College Counselor
Director of Operations

Policy Text

DEFINITION

Affirmative Consent: a clear, unambiguous, knowing, informed, and voluntary agreement between all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Silence or lack of resistance cannot be interpreted as consent. Seeking and having consent accepted is the responsibility of the person initiating each specific sexual act regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not constitute consent to any other sexual act. The definition of consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn or cannot be given, sexual activity must stop. Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to fully, knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation occurs due to a disability that limits informed sexual decision-making, and includes impairment due to voluntary or involuntary use of drugs or alcohol, the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, if any of the parties are under the age of 18, or if an individual otherwise cannot give consent. Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.

Bystander: a person who observes a crime, impending crime, conflict or unacceptable behavior.

Dating Violence: any act of violence committed by a person who is or has been in a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of a relationship shall be determined based on the victim’s statement and considering the length and frequency of interaction between the individuals involved in the relationship. A relationship can be considered intimate or romantic regardless of whether it is sexual in nature. This definition does not include acts covered under domestic violence.

Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence: Any violent crime whether felony or misdemeanor, committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim. This also includes an individual who is sharing a child or cohabiting with the victim.

Preponderance of the Evidence: In cases of sexual violence, the standard of proof asks whether it is “more likely than not” that the incident occurred. When the evidence presented in a case meets this standard, the accused individual should be held responsible.

Retaliation: Unfavorable action toward another individual for reporting a violation or participating in the investigation process in any way. Various forms of retaliation can include harassment and intimidation as well as threats of bodily harm or destruction to property and bullying.

Sexual Assault: any non-consensual, intentional physical contact of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome physical contact with a person’s genitals, lips, buttocks or breasts. Sexual assault occurs when the act is committed by: a) physical force, violence, threat or intimidation; b) ignoring the objections of another person; c) causing another’s intoxication or impairment through the use of alcohol or other drugs; and/or d) taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation, helplessness, or other inability to consent. Sexual assault includes what is commonly known as “rape” (including what is commonly called “date rape” and “acquaintance rape”), fondling, statutory rape and incest. For statutory rape, the age of consent in the state of Ohio is 16 years old.

Stalking: a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking involves repeated and continued harassment made against the expressed wishes of another individual, which causes the targeted individual to feel emotional distress, including fear and apprehension. Stalking behaviors may include: pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communications or contact – including face-to-face, telephone calls, voice messages, electronic messages, text messages, unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation. Cyber-stalking involves using the Internet or other electronic means as a way to harass someone.

Use of Alcohol and Other Drugs: Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and affirmatively given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of alcohol or other drugs on another person’s ability to give consent. The use of alcohol and other drugs never makes someone at fault for being sexually assaulted (see Affirmative Consent).

SUPPORT SERVICES

VMCAD’s primary concern is to make sure that victims of sexual violence seek medical attention for physical and mental health. VMCAD will ensure that those who come forward are advised of all the support resources available on and off campus.

Students: Students have available to them the services of trained counseling professionals in the Department of Student Affairs. See contact information section below.

Employees: Faculty, administrators and staff may use the services of the Employee Assistance Program available within the office of the College Director of Operations. See contact information section below.


OPTIONS FOR CONFIDENTIALITY DISCLOSING SEXUAL VIOLENCE

VMCAD recognizes that confidentiality is particularly important to victims of sexual violence. A victim who has made a report may make a request for confidentiality or privacy at any point. This may include a request to remain anonymous to the alleged perpetrator or witnesses. VMCAD will make all reasonable efforts to honor such a request limiting information to those who need to know for an investigation to commence. VMCAD understands that it may be difficult for a victim to come forward, and there are several options available for students who wish to maintain confidentiality while getting the support they need. However, requests for confidentiality may limit VMCAD’s ability to investigate and respond to the allegations. VMCAD cannot guarantee complete confidentiality because of its responsibility to safeguard all members of the community and its obligations under the law, including Title IX. Certain employees on campus have different abilities to maintain confidentiality.

  • Some employees are required to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to them is sometimes called a “privileged communication.” This includes campus counselors. Non-professional counselors and advocates may talk to a victim in confidence, and generally only report to the College that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifiable information. These individuals are required to report aggregate data to the Title IX Coordinator, including nature, date, time, and general location of the incident. These resources should consult with victim/survivors about what information to withhold to protect the individual’s identity.
  • Non-professional counselors and advocates may include front desk staff, students, and volunteers.
  • All other employees are required to report the details of an incident (including the identities of both the victim and accused) to the Title IX Coordinator. A report to these employees, including professors and chairpersons, constitutes a report to the College. The College is obligated to investigate and take appropriate steps to address the situation.


ALCOHOL AND/OR DRUG USE AMNESTY IN SEXUAL VIOLENCE CASES

The health and safety of every student at VMCAD is of utmost importance. The College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs, whether such use is voluntary or involuntary, at the time a sexual violence incident occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. VMCAD strongly encourages students to report incidents of sexual violence to campus officials. A bystander reporting in good faith or a victim/survivor reporting sexual violence to VMCAD officials or law enforcement will not be subject to campus conduct action for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the sexual violence.

FALSE COMPLAINTS

Members of the VMCAD community who make false reports, with the exception of reports which even if flawed, are made in good faith, will be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

NON-RETALIATION

It is illegal to retaliate against any individual who in good faith files a report, participates in an investigation of a report, or is accused of violating this policy and after investigation has been found not to have violated this policy. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. Individuals who experience or witness retaliation should contact the Director of Student Affairs immediately.


EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING PROGRAMS

VMCAD provides on-line training to all members of the College community on preventing sexual violence, how to report it, and what resources and remedies are available for victims/survivors. This online training is mandatory for all VMCAD students and employees. The campaign is consistence with the requirements in the Violence Against Women Act. In addition, educational information to raise awareness of sexual violence is presented during Student Orientation.

CLIMATE ASSESSMENT SURVEY

The College will conduct a climate assessment survey every two years. The survey will be sent to all students and employees.

Procedures

SEXUAL VIOLENCE RESPONSE

Victims/survivors have the right to pursue more than one of the options below at the same time or may choose not to participate in any of the options below:

  • To report confidentially the incident to one of the following college officials, who by law may maintain confidentiality and can assist in obtaining services:
    • Counseling Service
      • College Counselor (Request contact info via Office of Student Affairs)
  • Reporting Obligations of Confidential, Semi-Confidential, and Private Resources On and Off-Campus are as follows;
    • Confidential: Cannot re-disclose any information provided by a reporting individual.
      • Who are they:
          • Medical providers
          • Licensed mental health counselors
          • Clergy
          • Off-campus counselors and advocates
    • Semi-Confidential (Non-Professional Counselors and Advocates): Do not disclose any personally identifiable information to police or campus officials, but provide aggregate data to the Title IX Coordinator as required by law.
      • Who are they:
        • Counselors without licenses
    • Private: Will limit disclosure as much as possible while complying with the law and College policy, which requires notifying the Title IX Coordinator or designee of all known details.
      • Who are they:
        • All College employees besides confidential resources and nonprofessional counselors and advocates
        • Including academic advisors and mentors.
  • To disclose confidentially the incident and obtain services, victims/survivors can contact the following resources. Note that these hotlines are for crisis intervention, resources, and referrals, and are not reporting mechanisms, meaning that disclosure on a call to a hotline does not provide any information to the campus. Victims/survivors are encouraged to additionally contact a campus confidential or private resource so that the campus can take appropriate action in these case:
  • There are four hospital emergency rooms in Cuyahoga County that maintain specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) which are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These hospitals are as follows;
    • Fairview Hospital
      18101 Lorain Road
      Cleveland, Ohio 44111
      216-476-7080
      (also sees pediatric patients)
    • Hillcrest Hospital
      6780 Mayfield Road, North Campus
      Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124
      440-312-7890
      (also sees pediatric patients)
    • MetroHealth Hospital
      2500 MetroHealth Drive
      Cleveland, Ohio 44109
      216-778-7800
    • University Hospitals
      11100 Euclid Avenue
      Cleveland, Ohio 44106
      216-844-3722
  • To report the incident to one of the following college officials who can offer privacy and can assist in obtaining resources (note that an official who can offer privacy may still be required by law and college policy to inform one or more college officials about the incident, including but not limited to the Title IX Coordinator):
    • Title IX Coordinator (Director of Student Affairs)
    • College Counselor
    • Assistant Director of Admissions
    • Director of Operations
  • To file a criminal complaint with local law enforcement:
    • Lakewood Police Department
      12650 Detroit Avenue
      Lakewood, Ohio 44107
      216-521-1234
  • To file a report of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking, talk to the Title IX Coordinator for information and assistance. Reports will be investigated in accordance with VMCAD policy listed below. If a victim/survivor wishes to keep his/her identity private, he or she may contact the Title IX Coordinator anonymously to discuss the situation and available options:
    • Title IX Coordinator, (Director of Student Affairs)
      Department of Student Affairs
      216-221-8584 ext 102
      titleix@vmcad.edu
  • You may withdraw your complaint or involvement from the VMCAD process at any time.


VMCAD INVESTIGATION AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES

When a report of sexual violence is made, the victim and the alleged perpetrator will be given the same rights throughout the investigation and disciplinary proceedings with respect to having the assistance or support of an advocate, access to evidence, presentation of witnesses, other evidence, arguments, appeal, and being informed of the outcome of the proceedings. The burden of proof in all cases is “the preponderance of the evidence” – whether it is “more likely than not” that the dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking occurred. If the evidence presented meets this standard, then the college will take action, which may include suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees.

  1. The complaint proceeding is commenced by the filing of the Complaint Intake and Information Sheet.
  2. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the accuser with a copy of his/her completed Complaint Intake and Information Sheet.
  3. Supporting documentation will be reviewed and interviews of witnesses will be conducted to determine the validity of the complaint.
  4. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the accused that a complaint has been made against him/her, giving the accused the opportunity to respond to the allegations.
  5. Within 30 calendar days from the filing of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator shall submit a summary of the findings to the President of VMCAD.
        1. If the findings result in a determination that the complaint was substantiated:
          • For employees (including student employees): The President may take such administrative action as he/she deems appropriate under his/her authority as the chief administrative officer of the College, including but not limited to dismissal, demotion, reassignment, suspension, reprimand, removal of privileges, or training.
          • For students: The President may determine that sufficient information exists to take appropriate action under the appropriate student conduct code.Within 5 calendar days of submission of the findings, the Title IX Coordinator shall issue a written notification to the accuser and accused which will state that the complaint was:
            • substantiated and that it has been referred for further action.
            • The action of the President shall be final.
        2. If the findings result in a determination that the complaint was not substantiated, the Title IX Coordinator shall close the case, sending a written notice to that effect to the accuser and the accused.
  6. If the accuser is dissatisfied with the decision, the accuser may elect to file a complaint with one or more local, state and federal agencies. The disciplinary actions taken by VMCAD does not shield from any civil or criminal charges that may be taken against the accused.

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

It is extremely important that victims of physical assault receive comprehensive medical attention promptly. In the case of sexual assault, victims should go immediately to a hospital emergency room. Treatment and preservation of evidence are crucial to a criminal investigation. A person who believes he/she is a victim of date rape as a consequence of alcohol and/or drugs, should have a toxicology examination at the hospital as quickly as possible as drugs may remain in a person’s system for only a short time. Most hospitals have rape victim protocols that are supportive of victims.

  • To obtain effective intervention services:
    • Sexual contact can transmit Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and may result in pregnancy. Testing for STIs and emergency contraception is available here:
      https://www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/services
    • Within 96 hours of an assault, you can get a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (commonly referred to as a rape kit) at a hospital. While there should be no charge for a rape kit, there may be a charge for medical or counseling services off campus and, in some cases, insurance may be billed for services. You are encouraged to let hospital personnel know if you do not want your insurance policyholder to be notified about your access to these services. Further info on rape kits is available here:
      https://www.clevelandrapecrisis.org/resources/hospital-medical-resources/what-to-expect-in-a-rape-kit-examination

PROTECTION AND ACCOMMODATIONS

The following protection and accommodations are provided by the College: 

  • When the accused is a student, to have the college issue a “No Contact Order,” meaning that continuing to contact the protected individual is a violation of College Policy subject to additional conduct charges; if the accused and a protected person observe each other in a public place, it is the responsibility of the accused to leave the area immediately and without directly contacting the protected person.
  • To have assistance from College officials in obtaining an Order of Protection against
    the accused.
  • To receive a copy of the Order of Protection or equivalent and have an opportunity to meet or speak with a College official who can explain the order and answer questions about it, including information from the Order about the accused individual’s responsibility to stay away from the protected individual; that burden does not rest on the protected individual.
  • To an explanation of the consequences for violating these orders, including but not limited to arrest, additional conduct charges, and interim suspension.
  • To have assistance from College officials in effecting an arrest when an individual violates an Order of Protection by calling on and assisting local law enforcement.
  • When the accused is a student and presents a continuing threat to the health and safety of the community, to have the accused subject to interim suspension pending the outcome of a conduct process.
  • To obtain reasonable and available interim measures and accommodations that effect a change in academic, housing, employment, transportation, or other applicable arrangements in order to ensure safety, prevent retaliation, and avoid an ongoing hostile environment. While victims/survivors may request accommodations through any of the offices within the College, the following office can serve as a point office to assist with these measures: Director of Student Affairs, Department of Student Affairs 216-221-8584 ext 102

ORDERS OF PROTECTION

  • VMCAD shall comply and assist with enforcement of all known Orders of Protection, particularly orders in which abusers have been ordered to stay away from the VMCAD campus. If requested by the victim of domestic violence or law enforcement, the College shall provide information in its possession concerning an alleged violation of an Order of Protection.
  • Students are encouraged to bring their Orders of Protection to the attention of the Director of Student Affairs.
  • Employees are encouraged to bring their Orders of Protection to the attention of the College Director of Operations.
  • Once the Order of Protection has been brought forward, it will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the office of the College Director of Operations.
  • In the case of a campus emergency requiring the presentation of the Order of Protection to law enforcement, if the College Director of Operations is unavailable to obtain the document, the Director of Student Affairs will have access to the Order.
  • A trained VMCAD professional will discuss with the student or employee a plan on how to best proceed to ensure the safest possible College environment for the student, employee and all other affected VMCAD related individuals. With the student or employee’s permission, this plan may include options such as providing a copy of the Order of Protection and/or photo of the perpetrator to front desk personnel and creating a personal campus or workplace safety plan.
  • A student is responsible to notify the Director of Student Affairs if there are any changes to the Order of Protection.
  • An employee is responsible to notify the College Director of Operations if there are any changes to the Order of Protection.

STUDENT CONDUCT PROCESS

Throughout conduct proceedings, the accused and the victim/survivor
will have:

  • The same opportunity to have access to an advisor of their choice. Participation of the advisor in any proceeding is governed by federal law and the Student Code of Conduct;
  • The right to a prompt response to any complaint and to have their complaint investigated and adjudicated in an impartial and thorough manner by individuals who receive annual training in conducting investigations of sexual violence, the effects of trauma, and other issues related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
  • The right to an investigation and process conducted in a manner that recognizes the legal and policy requirements of due process and is not conducted by individuals with a conflict of interest.
  • The right to receive written or electronic notice of any meeting or hearing they are required to or are eligible to attend.
  • The right to have a conduct process run concurrently with a criminal justice investigation and proceeding, except for temporary delays as requested by external municipal entities while law enforcement gathers evidence. Temporary delays should not last more than 10 days except when law enforcement specifically requests and justifies a longer delay.
  • The right to review available evidence in the case file.
  • The right to a range of options for providing testimony via alternative arrangements, including telephone/videoconferencing or testifying with a room partition.
  • The right to exclude prior sexual history or past mental health history from admittance in college disciplinary stage that determines responsibility. Past sexual violence findings may be admissible in the disciplinary stage that determines sanction.
  • The right to ask questions of the decision maker and via the decision maker indirectly request responses from other parties and any other witnesses present.
  • The right to make an impact statement during the point of the proceeding where the decision maker is deliberating on appropriate sanctions.
  • The right to simultaneous (among the parties) written or electronic notification of the outcome of a conduct proceeding, including the sanction(s).
  • The right to know the sanction(s) that may be imposed on the accused based upon the outcome of the conduct proceeding and the reason for the actual sanction imposed. For students found responsible for sexual assault, the available sanctions are suspension with additional requirements and expulsion/dismissal.
  • The right to choose whether to disclose or discuss the outcome of a conduct hearing.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

CONTACT

Student Affairs
Director of Student Affairs
Office of Student Affairs
216-221-8584 ext 102
studentaffairs@vmcad.edu

Counseling
College Counselor
Office of Student Affairs
216-221-8584 ext 102

Employee Assistance Program
College Director of Operations
Office of the College Director
216-221-8584 ext 101

Title IX Coordinator (Affirmative Action Officer and Director of Compliance)
Office of Student Affairs
216-221-8584 ext 102
titleix@vmcad.edu

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. section 1681 is a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

Because VMCAD receives federal financial assistance, all students and employees are covered by Title IX.