Pursuant to the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 (Public Law 102-325), generally referred to as the Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights, it is important to promote the reporting of all sex-crime violations as well as to outline the procedures to facilitate the reporting of all alleged violations. Therefore, students, faculty, and staff are hereby informed of the following:
Sexual assault is generally defined as attempted or actual unwanted sexual activity (Sandler, 1993).
“Forcible” and “No forcible” Sex Offenses
A forcible sex offense is “any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent, and includes forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object and forcible fondling. No forcible sex offenses are acts of “unlawful, no forcible sexual intercourse,” and include incest and statutory rape. Depending on the circumstance, rape could be in either category.
Various programs addressing sexual assault, date rape and related issues are presented throughout each academic year. These programs are conducted primarily by the EPCC Police Department and Staff Development, and other departments and agencies.
Procedures for Reporting an Offense
In those instances where sexual assault is alleged, the victim is strongly encouraged to report the incident. The campus offices authorized to deal with sex-crime are the Vice President of Student Services, the Counseling Department, and the EPCC Police Department. By contacting one of these offices, the victim will be given specific information as to how to proceed to file formal charges against the accused. The procedures for on-campus disciplinary action would be the same as those outline in the Student Handbook for any alleged violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
If, after conferring with the student, it is decided that a given incident is to be referred to the civil authorities, this action would then be pursued by the EPCC Police Department. It should be stressed that the preservation of evidence is critical for criminal prosecution.
Students, faculty and staff are hereby advised that they have the option of pursuing their allegations either through the Vice President of Student Services under the Student Code of Conduct, or the EPCC Police Department in light of certain criminal and/or civil laws and requirements, or both. This does not constitute double jeopardy. Ultimately, it is the individual’s option as to whether or not he/she wishes to pursue allegations by both authorities.
Depending upon the severity of the incident, those persons found guilty of a sex crime would be subject to a range of penalties; e.g., suspension or dismissal from the College, as well as other sanctions outlined in the Student Handbook. In addition, if a given incident is found guilty, the typical range of sanctions available to a criminal court may also be imposed. Both the accused and the accuser are entitled to have others present during the campus disciplinary hearing. The outcome of the hearing will be made available to the accused and the accuser.
Changing Academic Arrangement
When appropriate, academic arrangements may be modified as the direct result of a sexual assault. This action may be taken when requested by the victim and if such modifications are reasonably available. These arrangements would be coordinated by the office of the Vice President of Student Services with appropriate instructional staff.
Those students who have become victims of a sex-crime are eligible for and encouraged to take advantage of the counseling services offered by the Counseling Department at each campus. Referrals to other community support services will be made when appropriate.
The El Paso County Community College District shall not tolerate any behavior, verbal or physical contact, by an administrator, supervisor, faculty, staff member, or student which constitutes sexual harassment of any employee or student as outlined in the EEOC Sex Discrimination Guidelines. Section 703, Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964 (EPCC Board Policy 3.01.09).
Advising the El Paso Community College Community about Sex Offenders
In accordance with the “Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act” of 2000, which amends the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, the Jeanne Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, the El Paso Community College Police Department is providing a link to the Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry site. This act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement information provided by a State concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in a State to provide notice of each institution of higher education in that State at which the person is employed, carries a vocation, or is a student.
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is responsible for maintaining this registry.