Does my complaint have to be based on on-campus behavior?
PPCC has jurisdiction over behaviors that take place on a PPCC campus, at PPCC sponsored events, and may also apply to off-campus and online behavior when the Title IX/EO Coordinator determines that the off-campus or online behavior affects a substantial PPCC interest.
The Title IX/EO Coordinator will also evaluate the complaint to determine if it alleges Sexual Harassment under Title IX and if that harassment occurred within one if PPCC's programs or activities in the United States.
Does my complaint have to be about the conduct of a PPCC student or employee?
For purposes of SP 19-60, a Respondent can be a PPCC employee, authorized volunteer, guest, visitor, or student.
Do I have to be a student to make a complaint?
A Complainant is a person who is subject to alleged inappropriate or unlawful civil rights behavior. For purposes of SP 19-60, a Complainant can be a PPCC employee, student, authorized volunteer, guest, or visitor.
Do I have to report this to the police?
No. Reporting sexual misconduct to the police is an option available to you, but you are not required to notify the police. Students are, however, encouraged to reach out to the appropriate police department through Safety & Security or on their own to report sexual violence.
How many people am I going to have to talk to?
If you are a reporting party, we understand you may not want to have to tell your story to multiple sources. The Title IX Investigator will ask you to provide a written account of what happened in order to determine if there is sufficient information to determine a civil rights violation has occurred, especially if you want to make a Formal Complaint. If the College determines there is reasonable cause to believe a civil rights violation occurred and the Title IX Investigator needs to conduct an investigation, you may be asked to provide further details than what may have been originally shared at the original time of reporting.
What if I don’t know who did this?
You should still report the misconduct and share any relevant information with the College and/or Campus Police. The Title IX Investigator will follow up with you, make sure that you are aware of appropriate on and off-campus resources, and may be able to investigate based on the information you have provided.
What if I don’t want the person to get in trouble?
Our goal is not to get someone in trouble, but to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, conduct an impartial investigation, eliminate the behavior, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. Part of this may include disciplinary action taken against another individual, which will involve holding the individual accountable for his/her behavior and taking steps to prevent this from happening again.
Who is going to find out?
Confidential resources are available, such as mental health counselors, either on or off campus, campus health service providers, and off-campus rape crisis resources.
Except in rare circumstances, such as the existence of an immediate threat of harm, these individuals can offer options and advice without any obligation to report internally or externally unless the Complainant has requested information be shared.
Any person who reports concerns of civil rights violations should also be aware that PPCC must issue immediate emergency notifications and/or timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. PPCC will make every effort to ensure that a Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing adequate information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
If Supportive Measures are requested by either party, PPCC will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of PPCC to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX/EO Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.
Why can’t you guarantee confidentiality?
If the Complainant does not wish to proceed, the Title IX/EO Coordinator will give consideration to the Complainant’s preference, but reserves the right, when necessary to protect the PPCC community, to initiate an informal resolution or formal investigation of the complaint. The Title IX/EO Coordinator also reserves the right to initiate an investigation and resolve a complaint without a participating or identifiable Complainant.
These instances will be limited and the information will be maintained in a secure manner and will only be shared with individuals who are responsible for handling the College’s response to the incident of sexual misconduct.
What about my privacy as a student?
The outcome of a PPCC investigation is an educational record of a student Respondent, and is subject to privacy protections under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
However, PPCC observes the legal requirements to disclose the records as follows:
- Complainants in non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and/or relationship violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed in writing of the outcome, essential findings, and sanctions without condition or limitation.
- PPCC may release publicly the name, nature of the violation, and the sanction imposed for any individual who is found to have committed a “crime of violence,” including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property, and kidnapping/abduction. PPCC will release this information to the Complainant in any of these offenses regardless of the outcome.
- PPCC reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, and/or change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. PPCC may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, PPCC will contact the appropriate next of kin to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. PPCC also reserves the right to designate which PPCC officials have a need to know about individual conduct complaints pursuant to FERPA.
What are some examples of sexual misconduct?
Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, interpersonal (dating/domestic) violence, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, stalking, sexual harassment, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature, (when behavior is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating or hostile environment) , threatening to sexually assault someone, cyber-stalking, indecent exposure, sexual exploitation (which includes taking non-consensual or abusive advantage of others, i.e. taking sexual photos).
See the Definitions page for more detailed explanations.
Who will explain the College’s response?
The Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX coordinator, or Title IX Investigator will sit down with a reporting party to talk about options, requests for accommodations, available resources on and off campus, the college’s response and any other questions that may be asked. Reporting parties are strongly encouraged to meet with the above listed individuals to get their questions answered.
What if I decide not to make a formal complaint or the College decides not to conduct a formal investigation?
The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the parties, may determine that an informal resolution is appropriate to resolve the reported concerns. The primary focus during an informal resolution remains the welfare of the parties and the safety of the PPCC community, but it does not involve a written investigation report or an opportunity to appeal. An informal resolution may include but is not limited to:
- The provision of interim or long-term remedial measures;
- Referral to other resolution processes;
- Training or educational programming for the parties;
- The Title IX Coordinator or a designee serving as a facilitator to discuss the reported concerns with the Complainant and Respondent (either separately or together) and to identify possible resolutions and/or appropriate future conduct; and/or
- Referral to a Disciplinary Authority to further address the reported behavior, as deemed appropriate
Notice of the allegations and specific Informal Resolution process will be provided to both parties.
At any time during the informal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator may elect to initiate a formal investigation as deemed appropriate to resolve the matter. The parties can elect to cease the informal resolution process at any time before it concludes and proceed with a formal investigation. The informal resolution process is not available in Sexual Harassment cases involving a student Complainant and an employee Respondent.
What does the investigation process look like?
PPCC's Civil Rights Investigation Process and Sexual Misconduct Investigation Process are non-adversarial, impartial processes. If a formal investigation is initiated, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall provide written notice (Notice of Investigation) to the Complainant and Respondent notifying them of the investigation and will assign one or more impartial investigators to conduct an investigation into the complaint. The investigation will include an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, both inculpatory (incriminating or tending to show responsibility for a violation) and exculpatory (exonerating or tending to negate responsibility for a violation). The investigator(s) may request an interview with the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses, including expert witnesses for Sexual Harassment cases, deemed relevant by the investigator(s). The parties will be provided with sufficient details of the allegations (such as identity of parties, nature of the conduct, and date/location of the incident, if known). All parties and other witness or participants in the investigation process will be provided written notice of the date, time, location, participants and purpose of any interview or meeting with sufficient time to prepare to participate.
Throughout the investigation, all questions will go through the assigned investigators. The Complainant and Respondent may offer any documentation, witnesses, or other materials in support of their position as it relates to the complaint. There will be a presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility has been made at the conclusion of the resolution process. Any credibility determinations made by investigators will not be based upon a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
Should the Complainant or Respondent decide to withdraw from courses or resign employment while a complaint is pending, the process may proceed in that party’s absence and sanctions may still be imposed affecting the party’s ability to return to PPCC. Additionally, the Title IX/EO Coordinator may dismiss the formal complaint if the Complainant requests such dismissal in writing, if the Respondent is no longer enrolled/employed at PPCC, or other specific circumstances prevent the investigators from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination. Notice regarding the dismissal will be provided in writing simultaneously to the parties.
The above process to address complaints is based on SP 19-60, Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct Resolution Process.
What are my rights in the investigation process?
Throughout the civil rights and sexual misconduct resolution process, Complainants and Respondents shall be entitled to the following:
- To be treated with respect by PPCC employees;
- To take advantage of Supportive Measures and other resources, such as counseling, psychological services, and health services;
- To experience a safe living, educational, and work environment;
- To have an advisor of their choice present at any meeting;
- To have access to a Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), hearing officers/decision-maker(s) for Title IX cases, and/or other individuals assisting with the resolution process who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party;
- To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct (such as alcohol or drug violations) that is ancillary to the incident;
- To be free from retaliation;
- To be informed of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, and the sanctions and rationale for the outcome where permissible;
- To have assistance in contacting law enforcement, if desired;
- To request employment, and/or educational modifications, as deemed appropriate and reasonable; and
- To request no further contact with the opposite party, as deemed appropriate, allowable and reasonable.
Can I have an advisor throughout the process?
The Complainant and the Respondent have the opportunity to be advised and accompanied by an advisor of their choice, at their expense, at any stage of the process. In the event of a live hearing, if either party does not have an advisor, the College will provide one to that party at no cost. An advisor may consult and advise their advisee, but may not speak on behalf of their advisee. These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings. The investigator(s) may end a meeting or remove or dismiss an advisor who becomes disruptive or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation as explained above.
Can I record my interview with the Investigator?
No unauthorized recording will be allowed, and all parties must request permission to record in advance. PPCC, at its discretion, may grant authorization for recording of an interview, and in that case, PPCC will also record to ensure there is an accurate record.
How will I know what is happening with my complaint?
Throughout the formal investigation process, the Title IX/EO Coordinator will provide regular written updates on the status of the investigation to the Complainant and the Respondent through the conclusion of the investigation.
What are Interim Actions and when are they available?
The Title IX Coordinator may implement interim actions, including Supportive Measures, intended to protect the safety and security of the campus community, address the effects of the reported behavior, and prevent further violations, while the complaint is under review or investigation.
These remedies may include, but are not limited to
- placing an employee on administrative leave;
- interim actions outlined in the SP 4-30 Student Disciplinary Procedure;
- campus bans/emergency removals;
- referral to counseling and health services or to the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (CSEAP);
- education to the community;
- altering work arrangements;
- providing campus escorts;
- implementing contact limitations between the parties (e.g., no contact orders);
- offering adjustments to academic deadlines or course schedules; and/or
- suspending privileges such as attendance at College activities or participation in College-sponsored organizations.
Any campus ban/emergency removal will be implemented only after a determination that the person poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of another.
Following the completion of the investigation or resolution process, interim actions may be continued or made permanent as deemed necessary.
What are Supportive Measures and when are they available?
Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.
Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to educational and employment programs and/or activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the educational/employment environment, or deter sexual harassment.
Supportive measures may include:
- extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments;
- modifications of work or class schedules;
- campus escort services;
- mutual restrictions on contact between the parties;
- changes in work location;
- leaves of absence
- increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus; and
- other similar measures.
PPCC will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of PPCC to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX/EO Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.
Why am I being punished before the investigation is complete?
In all cases in which an interim action is imposed, the individual will be given the opportunity to meet with the Title IX/EO Coordinator prior to such action being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the interim action should not be implemented. The Title IX/EO Coordinator shall have sole discretion to implement or stay an interim action, and to determine its conditions and duration. Violation of an interim action may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, termination, a “Cease Communications” directive, or issuance of a “No Trespass” order, also known as a persona non grata.
Any campus ban/emergency removal will be implemented only after a determination that the person poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of another.
What prevents retaliation against Complainants?
The College will take action against any individual or group of individuals who retaliate against a reporting party or any other party involved in a report of sexual misconduct. Often times, no-contact orders are issued to responding parties that inform them that they are to have no contact with the reporting party. This includes, but is not limited to, in-person, via telephone, email, social media, or having others contact the reporting party or other parties on his/her behalf.
Will I find out what happens?
Both the reporting party and responding party will be notified concurrently of the decision of the disciplinary process, any interim action that is being taken, and the final outcome of the process, including the status of any appeal.
What if I am not happy with the outcome?
Both the reporting party and responding party may appeal the outcome of a Title IX process as per the appeal process listed in SP 19-60.
In the event of an appeal, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall perform an initial review to determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds listed below and is timely (filed within 10 calendar days). If the appeal is found to meet these criteria, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall forward the appeal to a designated appellate officer, who shall give written notice to the opposing party and provide a suitable time frame for the opposing party to submit a written response to the appeal. The appeal and any responses shall be reviewed by the appellate officer. The party requesting an appeal must show error, as the original finding is presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The only grounds for appeal are as follows:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the decision (e.g., substantiated bias, conflict of interest, or material deviation from established procedures). The written appeal shall specify the procedural error and how it impacted the outcome of the decision;
- The findings are not supported by substantial evidence in the investigation report or the report does not articulate a rational connection between the facts found and the decision made. The written appeal shall specify the finding(s) not supported by substantial evidence or for which the report does not articulate a rational connection between the facts found and the decision made; or
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding(s). Any new evidence and its impact must be included in the written appeal.
If the appellate officer determines a procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the decision, the appellate officer shall return the complaint to the Title IX/EO Coordinator with instructions to convene a new investigation or the appellate officer shall otherwise cure the procedural error.
If the appellate officer determines the findings were not supported by substantial evidence in the investigation report, the report does not articulate a rational connection between the facts found and the decision made, or new evidence substantially impacts the original finding(s), the appellate officer shall conduct or request appropriate additional steps (such as requesting additional investigation by the investigators) and/or modify the findings accordingly.
Written notice of the outcome of the appeal shall be provided simultaneously to the parties.
Do I get a live hearing?
Upon receipt of the Final Investigation Report, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall proceed as follows:
- For cases involving Sexual Harassment within the United States, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall initiate a live hearing as described below.
- If a live hearing cannot be held due to refusal of parties to participate, PPCC reserves the right to address the conduct through the procedures applicable to non-Sexual Harassment/Title IX cases.
Following the hearing, the Hearing Officer will issue a Determination Report to the Title IX/EO Coordinator as to whether or not, based on a preponderance of the evidence, the alleged behavior took place and whether that behavior constitutes a civil rights violation.
Once a Determination Report is received (either from the investigator(s) or the Hearing Officer following a live hearing), the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall provide written notice (Notice of Findings) simultaneously to the Complainant and Respondent (and their advisors, if applicable) notifying them of the findings. A copy of the Final Investigation Report and Determination Report, if applicable, shall be attached to the Notice of Findings.
What if I have been accused?
Responding parties should review the information included in SP 19-60, which describes the procedures for sexual misconduct cases. You will be offered an opportunity to meet with the Title IX coordinator/deputy coordinator to discuss the process, have your questions answered, and be able to provide information regarding the allegations.
Why can’t my lawyer represent me in the process?
Ultimately, the College’s disciplinary process is an educational process and responding parties are not entitled to representation by an attorney or another party. Attorneys can serve as “advisors” (see definition in SP 19-60) who can advise their client but do not play active roles in the college’s process.
Where can I obtain a forensic medical exam?
The College has an agreement with the following provider for the exam:
Memorial Hospital UC Health
1400 East Boulder Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
719.365.8544 / 719.365.8666
Emergency Department: 719.365.5221
Hours of Operation: 24/7
If you do not have transportation to the facility, you may contact a friend or family member, taxi service, public transportation, or PPCC Human Resource Services (during normal business hours at 719-502-2600). Any cost for transportation is the responsibility of the student.
While no one is required to get this exam, we encourage reporting parties to be seen by a health professional if they have been the victim of sexual assault or other forms of violence.
What if the court or police dismiss my case?
The College’s disciplinary process is separate from any concurrent or pending charges through the court system. The final results of a police investigation and/or a criminal proceeding do not impact the College’s process.
What if I have a pending court case?
Responding parties with pending court cases should contact their attorney to discuss their individual situation. The College’s process will proceed independently of a criminal court case and is not dependent on the decision from the court with regards to cases of sexual misconduct.
What happens after the appeals process has been exhausted?
If the Respondent is found not in violation of policies or procedures outlined herein, the complaint shall be closed with no further disciplinary action. If additional concerns, outside the scope of this procedure, are identified during the course of the investigation, the findings may be shared with appropriate administrative personnel to further address, as deemed appropriate.
If the Respondent is found in violation of policies or procedures outlined herein, the findings shall be provided to the Disciplinary Authority to proceed in accordance with applicable policies:
For faculty, disciplinary action will be in compliance with BP 3-20, Due Process for Faculty.
For classified employees, disciplinary action will be taken pursuant to the applicable State Personnel Rules and Regulations.
For students, disciplinary action will be taken pursuant to BP 4-30 and SP 4-30, Student Discipline.
Instructors and Administrative, Professional-Technical (APT) employees are at-will under BP 3-10, and may not be subject to additional procedures when issuing sanctions.
Disciplinary Authorities may consider a number of factors when determining a sanction. These factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation;
- An individual’s disciplinary history;
- Previous complaints or allegations involving similar conduct; and/or
- Any other information deemed relevant by the Disciplinary Authority.
What sanctions are available?
- For students: warning, probation, fines, restitution, denial of privileges, assignment to perform services for the benefit of the PPCC community, re-assignment to another class section (including the option for an on-line section), suspension, expulsion, a “Cease Communications” directive, or a “No Trespass” directive.
- For PPCC employees: warning, corrective action, probation, restitution, denial of privileges, suspension, demotion, reduction of pay, termination of employment, a “Cease Communications” directive, or a “No Trespass” directive.
- For authorized volunteers, guests, or visitors: warning, probation, denial of privileges, removal from PPCC property, a “Cease Communications” directive, or a “No Trespass” directive.
- Other Action may be taken as deemed appropriate to put an end of the violation, prevent future recurrence, and to remedy the effects of the violation.