What is Title IX?

Although Title IX is commonly associated with sex-based discrimination in athletics, the law is much broader.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that provides: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in all college programs and activities, including, but not limited to, admissions, recruiting, financial aid, academic programs, student services, counseling and guidance, discipline, class assignment, grading, recreation, athletics, housing, and employment.

Sexual harassment and sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against people for making or participating in complaints of sex discrimination. For more information about Title IX, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.

Statements on Title IX and Non-Retaliation

Bluefield College Title IX Statement

It is the policy of Bluefield College to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) based on sex in the College's educational programs and activities. Title IX also prohibits retaliation for asserting or otherwise participating in claims of sex discrimination. Bluefield College has designated a Title IX Coordinator and Deputies to coordinate Bluefield's compliance with and response to inquiries concerning Title IX. A person may also file a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by visiting the U.S. Department of Education's website or calling 1.800.421.3481.

Bluefield College's Statement on Non-Retaliation

Bluefield College strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual for reporting, providing information, exercising one’s rights or responsibilities, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating, or addressing allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Therefore, any retaliation, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any such individual, undertaken or attempted either directly or by someone acting on behalf of another, will be addressed in the most serious way by Bluefield College, and individuals who engage in such actions are subject to discipline up to and including suspension or exclusion from the College, consistent with the disciplinary procedure. Anyone who is aware of possible retaliation or has other concerns regarding the response to a complaint of sexual misconduct should report such concerns to the Title IX Coordinator or to any Deputy Coordinator, who shall take appropriate actions to address such conduct in a prompt and equitable manner.

Membership in a college community carries with it the responsibility for mutual trust and respect and adherence to the standards of conduct established by the community. Standards for conduct at the College are set forth in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, Community Living Standards, and other policy documents. Accordingly, this statement sets forth the College's policy on student sexual misconduct as applicable to all Bluefield College students. For purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct includes non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and stalking, each as more fully defined in this document under the Definitions Section.

Bluefield College prohibits sexual misconduct by students. As a recipient of federal funds, the College is required to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual misconduct, as defined in this policy, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. The College is obligated under Title IX to investigate reports of sexual misconduct, to take action to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault, prevent its reoccurrence and its adverse effects.

Complaints, as well as policy information, regarding equity in institutional academic and athletic affairs, and obligations under Title IX when dealing with pregnant and parenting students are addressed by the Human Resources office.

Application

This policy addresses complaints of sexual misconduct where the accused is a student of Bluefield College. See Student Handbook and Community Living Standards for definition of a BC student.

This policy sets forth resources available to students, describes prohibited conduct, and establishes procedures for responding to reports and adjudicating complaints of sexual misconduct.

Complaints relating to sexual misconduct by a member of the College faculty or staff may be reported to the Office of Campus Safety and/or Human Resources. Please see College Guidelines on Sexual Harassment for details regarding the College’s policy directed at sexual harassment by employees on file in the HR office.


Title IX Coordinators and Deputy Coordinators

Anyone with a complaint involving sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence, or if you have questions about Bluefield College policies or procedures in these areas, please contact one of the Title IX Coordinators or Deputy Coordinators.

Please note that Title IX Coordinators and Deputy Coordinators are not a confidential source of support. While they will address your complaint with sensitivity and will keep your information as private as possible, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. For confidential resources, please contact a Confidential Counselor.

Bluefield’s designated Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators oversee Bluefield’s compliance with Title IX, including coordinating the investigation of and response to sex discrimination complaints, responding to inquiries concerning Title IX, tracking incidents and trends involving sexual misconduct, coordinating equity in athletics compliance, publicizing Bluefield’s policies, and providing training on preventing sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence.

Contact Coordinators


Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure

Policy

Because sexual misconduct may constitute both a violation of College policy and criminal activity, the College encourages persons to report alleged sexual misconduct promptly to Campus Safety or local law enforcement agencies. Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual misconduct has occurred under the College’s policy. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct under the College policy even if it is not a crime or law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and therefore decline to prosecute. The filing of a report of sexual misconduct with the College is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding, and (except that the College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while the criminal investigators are gathering evidence) the College will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and take interim measures to protect the reporting party and the College community, if necessary.

Geographic Jurisdiction

This policy applies regardless of where the alleged sexual misconduct occurred (on or off campus).

Who Should Know This Policy

BC students, faculty, and staff are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions. Title IX Student Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Anti-Discrimination Policy – Approved: 01/26/2015

Definitions

  1. Sexual Misconduct – Offenses include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same), non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same), and/or sexual exploitation. See also College Guidelines on Prohibition of Sexual Harassment.
  2. Sexual Harassment – Unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct, including sexual violence, when:
    1. Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment, education, or participation in a College activity, or
    2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is a factor in a decision affecting employment, education, or participation in a College activity.
  3. Sex-based harassment – Unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct based on sex or sex-stereotyping, that is sufficiently serious (severe, persistent, or pervasive) to deny or limit education benefits or opportunities. Examples of sex-based conduct may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping. Thus, it can be sex discrimination if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.
  4. Gender-based harassment – Acts of verbal, non-verbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
  5. Non-consensual sexual intercourse – Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object by an individual upon another individual without consent. Intercourse, however slight, means vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital or genital to mouth contact).
  6. Non-consensual sexual contact – Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object by an individual upon another individual without consent. Sexual touching means intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch a person or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other orifice.
  7. Consent – Consent is informed, knowing, and voluntary. It is active, not passive. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words and actions create mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot imply consent to other forms of sexual activity and previous relationships or consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent cannot be obtained by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. Consent cannot be given by someone known to be—or who a reasonable person would know to be—mentally or physically incapacitated. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired to the extent that he or she cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there can be no consent. Impairment or incapacitation may be due to alcohol or drug consumption or being asleep or unconscious. In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.
  8. Coercion – When someone makes it clear that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
  9. Incapacitation – Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand who, what, when, where, why, or how of their sexual interaction. Incapacitation can result from alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, blackout, mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from being drugged. Consent cannot be given by someone known to be – or should be known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated.
  10. Sexual exploitation – Occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
  11. Stalking – A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear death, sexual assault, or bodily injury to self or another, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
  12. Dating Violence – Violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places an individual in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury when committed against a current or former partner in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the individuals involved in the relationship.

Procedures

College Response

The College encourages students and others to report all incidents of sexual misconduct. The College is obligated under federal law to investigate reports of sexual misconduct, to take action to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault, prevent its re-occurrence and address its effects. The College reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to allegations of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements and/or academic schedules, interim suspension of the accused student from campus pending a hearing, and issuing a “no contact order.” Upon a finding that sexual misconduct that creates a hostile environment has occurred, the College shall take reasonable steps to prevent its recurrence and to remedy the discriminatory effects on the victim(s) and others.

Reporting Obligations/Responsible Employees

The following Bluefield College employees are deemed "responsible employees" under federal law and are obligated to report any information regarding sexual harassment or sexual violence to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators:

  • President, vice presidents, assistant or associate vice presidents, deans, associate deans, department chairs, and administrative supervisors.
  • Professors and instructors.
  • Advisors for academic matters and student organizations.
  • Staff in student resource and advocacy offices.
  • Coaches, trainers, and athletics staff.
  • Campus Safety officers.

Before a complainant/student reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure that the student understands the employee's reporting obligations – and, if the student wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the student to confidential resources. The employee should tell the student that the College will consider confidentiality requests, but cannot guarantee that the College will be able to honor it. The Title IX Coordinator, in conjunction with the Threat Assessment Team, will determine if the request for confidentiality will be honored after weighing that request against the College's obligation to provide a safe environment for all students.

Reports are to be made by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, a Deputy Coordinator, or the Campus Safety Investigator by phone, email, or in person. Title IX Coordinator will receive all reports made and, along with the Investigator, determine if the report involves behavior constituting any form of Title IX sexual discrimination and file the official complaint form for the incident as soon as it is received to facilitate the initial investigation prior to a Threat Assessment Team meeting.

Anonymous Reporting

A victim of sexual misconduct who does not want to pursue action within the College’s conduct system or the criminal justice system may still consider making an anonymous report to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators via the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Form. With such information, the Title IX Coordinators can keep an accurate record of sexual misconduct incidents involving students, determine where there are patterns, and address systemic issues. Please use this form to submit an anonymous report.

  1. To report crimes by telephone to Campus Safety, anonymously call 276.326.4313 (non-emergency) or 304.887.1795 (emergency).
  2. For confidential online reporting, follow the link above.

Amnesty from Student Conduct for the Reporting Party

It is not the practice of the College to pursue disciplinary action against an accuser or witness for his or her improper use of alcohol or drugs (e.g., underage drinking), provided that such student is acting in good faith as a complainant or witness to the events of the alleged sexual misconduct.

Procedure

The College's response to a report of possible violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy is based on multiple critical considerations, including:

  • The rights of both the complainant and the accused;
  • The safety of the complainant and of other campus community members;
  • The welfare of the campus community as a whole;
  • The safety and welfare of other institutions in the event an accused transfers while under investigation;
  • The complainant's wish for confidentiality, if expressed;
  • Medical concerns of the complainant; and/or
  • Counseling needs of both the complainant and the accused.

In addition to resources and assistance provided to the complainant, responsive action taken by the College may include:

  • Disciplinary action addressing possible violation of the Honor and Student Conduct Codes by the accused;
  • Increased monitoring, supervision, or security at reported locations or activities; and/or
  • Increased education, training, or prevention efforts.

When a student reports sexual misconduct to any responsible employee and the Title IX Coordinator, he or she is informed of available support services including counseling, medical, victim advocacy, police, disciplinary, and other assistance offered on and off campus. If the complainant wants legal advice about criminal and/or civil charges, he/she is referred to the Office of Commonwealth's Attorney or the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney. Bluefield College is a member of the Tazewell County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and maintains a cooperative working agreement and memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth's Attorney, Clinch Valley Community Action, Tazewell County Victim Witness Assistance Program, Clinch Valley Medical Center, Tazewell Community Hospital, Tazewell County Sheriff's Office, Tazewell Police Department, Richlands Police Department, Bluefield (Virginia and West Virginia) Police Departments, Cedar Bluff Police Department, and Pocahontas Police Department. This agreement is on file in the Title IX Coordinator's office.

Bluefield College has an active agreement with Family Crisis Services through Clinch Valley Community Action as our local sexual assault services provider, and is also a member of CCRT, Coordinated Community Response Team, a multidisciplinary team of professionals and citizens who gather regularly to examine the response of community systems to victims and offenders of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking within the Tazewell County area.

Once a sexual misconduct report has been received by the Title IX Coordinator, the procedures listed below will be followed:

  1. Campus Safety and/or the Title IX Coordinator will conduct standard investigative procedures.
    1. Inform the complainant and accused of their rights.
    2. Share available resources both on and off campus.
  2. Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will call a meeting of the Threat Assessment Team which must be attended by the Campus Safety Coordinator, a member of the Student Development staff, Title IX Coordinator, and a college official. The meeting must take place within 72 hours of receipt of the report.
    1. Information will be collected from the preliminary investigation by Campus Safety, from the Registrar's Office if necessary, and Student Development incident records.
    2. Consider involving local law enforcement.
    3. Consider notifying the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney.
  3. Upon conclusion of the above, the Threat Assessment Team will determine the need to continue the case through the College's student disciplinary process. The campus safety investigator can decide to report an incident to authorities independent of and without the consent of the rest of the Title IX team.

Because Bluefield College is concerned with the interests and welfare of both the complainant and of the campus community as a whole, the College may elect to address reported sexual misconduct on campus and/or through criminal processes off campus, even if the complainant elects not to pursue these options. Upon receipt of a report of possible sexual misconduct and prior to completion of investigation and/or disciplinary proceedings related to the report, the College may take interim action in efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, to remedy effects of the reported misconduct, and/or to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for the complainant and all students. Such interim action may impact the accused prior to completion of disciplinary proceedings.

Upon request from the complainant, the College will change academic schedules, living arrangements, transportation, and working situations for a complainant, when reasonable, available, and regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the incident to Campus Safety or to a local Police Department. Options could include re-assignment to a different section of a course, work assignment, and/or on-campus residential facility. The College will endeavor to identify additional options to respond to the complainant's specific request and circumstances.

Student Misconduct Disciplinary Process

Once a sexual misconduct complaint has been filed and the Threat Assessment Team has forwarded the case to the disciplinary process, the following student misconduct disciplinary procedures apply.

Student Sexual Misconduct Policy Authority

The Vice President for Student Development or designee together with the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall determine the composition of the Disciplinary Council and will determine which administrator or board shall be authorized to hear each matter. The Vice President for Student Development or designee may develop procedures for the administration of the student conduct system and procedural rules for the Disciplinary Council Hearings that are not inconsistent with the provisions of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Decisions made by a Disciplinary Council shall be final, pending the normal appeal process.

Rights and Responsibilities

All accusers and accused students are provided the following rights and responsibilities throughout the College student conduct process:

  1. The right to receive written notification of any alleged violation.
  2. The right to know the source of any allegation.
  3. The right to know the specific alleged violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  4. The right to know any sanctions that may be imposed by the College if found responsible for specific violations of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  5. The right to be accompanied by an advisor and/or advocate of their choice and at their own expense during the College student conduct process (for advisory purposes only, not for legal representation).
  6. The right to present his or her own information. Advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in the College student conduct process unless authorized by the Chair of the Disciplinary Council. When selecting an advisor, students should be cognizant of any scheduled meetings or hearings; delays in the College student conduct process will not be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor.
  7. The right to have the opportunity to respond to any allegation and provide witnesses and/or pertinent additional information.
  8. The right to refrain from making any statement concerning alleged violations of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  9. The right to know that any statements made by the accuser and/or accused student can be used during the College student conduct process.
  10. The right to protective interim measures, including no contact adjustments in disciplinary hearings.
  11. The right to an appeal. (Appeals of sexual misconduct cases are decided by the Title IX Coordinator and the President of the College.)

For information about disciplinary council hearings, please refer to the Disciplinary Program section of the Student Handbook.

Advocacy Resources

Confidential

The National Sexual Assault Hotline coordinates services and provides advocacy support for students (and their friends or family) who have experienced sexual assault, stalking, harassment, and/or intimate partner violence. Call 1.800.656.HOPE.

You may also confidentially contact Clinch Valley Sexual Assault Services at 276.988.5583.

Campus Resources

The following advocacy resources (with reporting obligations) are available at Bluefield Colege.

  • Campus Safety – 304.887.1795
  • Title IX Coordinator – 276.326.4224
  • Not Alone Student Advocacy Group – 276.326.4207