For The Reporting Party
A compromised living/working environment is one that can be difficult to remain successful in. Reaching out for help is a positive step to help restore some level of normalcy and healing in that environment. It is the aim of Toccoa Falls College to help provide support and resolution to an accusation of sexual misconduct in a manner that is just and fair for all parties. If you are the victim of sexual misconduct, several remedies exist to help you understand the reporting and investigation processes. The following action steps are available:
- Reporting the incident is a supported and positive first step. Seek law enforcement or medical treatment immediately, if needed.
- An investigation/inquiry is conducted by Toccoa Falls College employees who are trained in Title IX investigations and/or by local law enforcement. Both could happen concurrently and are not dependent upon each other regarding outcome.
- Interim measures could be provided to ensure the safety and security of those involved. Possible action includes, but is not limited to, a no contact order, housing relocation, academic course accommodation, transportation modification, employment assignment alterations, and/or other remedies or measures deemed necessary by the College. Violations of interim measures and/or directives by College officials could be viewed as a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and result in disciplinary action.
- A right to choose to resolve the investigation through a formal or informal process. For the informal process to occur, all parties must agree to it.
- Resources and care are available throughout the process.
For the Responding Party
An accusation of any kind of misconduct can be very unsettling. An accusation of sexual misconduct can bring a variety of emotions. The following guidance is intended to help provide clarity for those accused of an incident involving sexual misconduct:
- Toccoa Falls College handles all alleged cases of sexual misconduct in both student and employment situations with a fair and just mindset so that all parties are treated fairly and with dignity.
- For any accusation, it is taken seriously and with a prompt and informed approach.
- Questions will be asked and meetings will be held to help understand the complaint better.
- Accommodations may have to be made depending on the circumstances of the situation.
- Be reassured that prescribed steps are being followed and it is intended by the College to be fair and just to all parties involved.
- In any circumstance, retaliation in any form is not acceptable and would be considered an additional violation. It is in the utmost best interest for all parties to remain distant and cease or limit communication in any form.
- Resources and care are available throughout the process.
STANDARD OF EVIDENCE AND DISCIPLINARY PROCESS (STUDENT CONDUCT ONLY)
The conduct/discipline proceedings are not restricted by the rules of evidence governing criminal and civil proceedings. The standard of proof used in College conduct proceedings is the preponderance of evidence or “more likely than not.”
The disciplinary process at TFC, including reporting, list of conduct allegations, the hearing process, disciplinary sanctions, conditions, and restrictions, notification, as well as appeal procedures are detailed in length in the Please see this document for a greater understanding of what to expect.
To help understand terms, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women and the Department of Education provides definitions that guide our investigation when an individual reports an incident of sexual misconduct. Defining violence is gender neutral and not just acts men commit against women, but also committed on those of the same sex and those acts women commit against men.
Dating Violence/Domestic Violence
Domestic violence and dating violence are defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Domestic violence and dating violence are defined as violence committed by a person who is a family member or who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The length of the relationship.
- The type of relationship.
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Nonconsensual Sexual Contact
Intentional sexual touching, however slight and with any object or part of one’s body, of another’s private areas without consent. Private area includes inner thighs, buttocks, breasts, mouth, genitals, groin area, or other bodily orifice.
Nonconsensual Sexual Intercourse
Sexual penetration or intercourse, however slight and with any object, without consent. Penetration can be oral, anal, or vagina.
Under Georgia law, sexual assault is
- Sexual contact
- Between two people
- Involving either person’s genital area, groin, inner thighs, buttocks or breasts
- For the purpose of sexual gratification
- With or without the person’s ‘consent.’
Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively interferes with a quality, hostile-free educational environment. It is an illegal form of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and Title IX of the Educational Amendments (1972). Sexual harassment occurs in two forms:
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment: When a person in power seeks to pressure someone to meet his or her sexual demands.
- Hostile Environment Harassment: An environment becomes unpleasant due to repeated offensive behavior or comments made that threaten someone from receiving their education. This may involve sexual comments (even by phone, email, or instant messenger) or inappropriate touching even if on a one-time basis.
Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit. Harassing behavior that includes, but is not limited to, invasion of sexual privacy, sexual voyeurism, recording another person engaged in a sexual act or other private activity, inducing another to expose his/her genitals or private areas, prostituting another student, and engaging in sexual activity while knowingly infected with an STD/STI.
Stalking means to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, and causes this reaction on the part of the victim regardless of the relationship between the actor and victim. Stalking behavior includes, but is not limited to a person who:
- follows, monitors, or pursues another, whether in person or through any available technological or other means;
- repeatedly makes telephone calls, sends text messages, or induces a victim to make telephone calls to the actor, whether or not conversation ensues;
- makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring;
- repeatedly mails or delivers or causes the delivery by any means, including electronically, of letters, messages, packages, through assistive devices for people with vision impairments or hearing loss, or any communication made through any available technologies; or
- broadcasts or publishes (electronically or otherwise) the picture, name, address or telephone number of a person protected by a restraining order knowing the person is likely to be harassed or intimidated by others.
Statement on Consent
Toccoa Falls College promotes the belief that sex is reserved for marriage. However, consent is not just reserved for intercourse or other sexual activity. Individuals must seek consent for any and all physical activities that involve touching someone else. Georgia laws on sexual offenses do not define the term ‘consent.’ However, the State of Georgia defines “without consent” as a circumstance in which “a person whose concurrence is required has not, with knowledge of the essential facts, voluntarily yielded to the proposal of the accused or of another.” O.C.G.A § 16-1-3(19).
At Toccoa Falls College, consent is defined as affirmative, knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in each stage of the activity. For consent to be valid there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct.
A person cannot consent if he or she is unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy. It is not an excuse that the individual responding party of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the other.
Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint, and/or from the taking of incapacitating drugs.
Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). It is the responsibility of each person to obtain affirmative consent for each act of sexual contact. A current or previous sexual relationship or encounter is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent.
A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that he or she no longer wants the act to continue and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately. A minor below the age of consent according to state law cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact by an adult with a person below the age of consent is a crime as well as a violation of this policy, even if the minor appeared to have wanted to engage in the act.