Title IX Information
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that protects all students attending or accessing services at an educational institution that receives federal funding. It allows all students to attend school in an environment free of harassment and gender based violence. Violations of your rights under Title IX would be sexual assault, sexual harassment, sex discrimination or gender discrimination. Here at Housatonic Community College we take our responsibility to address and protect these rights very seriously. If you would like to report a Title IX violation or if you would like more information please do not hesitate to contact our Title IX Coordinator.
Sexual Misconduct Policy
The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) in conjunction with the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) is committed to insuring that each member of every BOR governed college or university community has the opportunity to participate fully in the process of education and development. The BOR and CSCU strive to maintain a safe and welcoming environment free from acts of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. It is the intent of the BOR and each of its colleges or universities to provide safety, privacy and support to victims of sexual misconduct and relationship violence.
The BOR strongly encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence, as an effective means of taking action by reporting such acts to the appropriate officials and pursuing criminal or disciplinary remedies, or both. The only way that action can be taken against anyone who violates another in such a manner is through reporting. Each and every BOR governed college or university shall provide those who report sexual misconduct with many supportive options, including referral to agencies that provide medical attention, counseling, legal services, advocacy, referrals and general information regarding sexual assault. Each and every BOR governed college or university will preserve the confidentiality of those who report sexual misconduct to the fullest extent possible and allowed by law. All BOR and CSCU employees, victim advocates or community victim advocates being consulted will make any limits of confidentiality clear before any disclosure of facts takes place.
Sexual intimacy is permissible only if it is agreed to by all participants and all activity is affirmatively consensual at all times. Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and intimate partner violence, against anyone is unacceptable and is both a crime under State law and a violation of BOR policies. The BOR and each of its governed colleges and universities are committed to providing an environment free of personal offenses. Consensual sexual relationships between staff, faculty and students are discouraged pursuant to BOR policy.
Policy against Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is illegal under state and federal law and is also prohibited by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education Non-Discrimination Policy. In accordance with the Board policy sexual harassment may be described as:
Any unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting the individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or educational environment.
For the complete description of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment see the Connecticut Board of Regents Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Intimate Partner Violence Policy and the Connecticut Board of Regents Student Code of Conduct in Appendix I.
Should you find yourself in a situation which you suspect may be a type of sexual harassment, you are urged to speak with the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students’ office, or the Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer. Any of these individuals will advise you of appropriate channels available to you and will respect the confidentiality of the situation.
Domestic Violence knows no gender, class, religion, education, or economic standing. Housatonic is a community, and domestic violence needs to be addressed by the community. Knowledge and understanding are important and effective tools that faculty, students and staff can call upon to help a victim stay safe. Resource material is available for viewing or loan in the Women’s Center, room BH-371 in Beacon Hall. If you would like to report a violation of the Domestic violence policy please contact the Title IX coordinator’s office, the Dean of students’ office, or the Director of Human Resources/Affirmative Action Officer.
Housatonic Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religious creed, age, sex, national origin, marital status, ancestry, present or past history of mental disorder, learning disability or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or genetic information in its programs and activities. In addition, the College does not discriminate in employment on the additional basis of veteran status or criminal record.
Housatonic Community College no discrimina con base en la raza, color, creencias religiosas, edad, sexo, origen nacional, estado civil, descendencia, historia de enfermedades mentales presentes o pasadas, discapacitación física o mental, orientación sexual, identidad y expresión de género o información genética en sus programas y actividades. Además, Housatonic Community College no discrimina en el empleo con base adicional en el estatus de veterano o antecedentes criminales.
All programs are open to students. These programs are described in the Degree and Certificate Programs section of the HCC College Catalog and Student Handbook. There is selective admission criteria for the following Career and Technical Education Programs: Nursing and Occupational Therapy Assistant. Refer to the programs for special admission requirements.
The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of Human Resources/Equal Employment Opportunity Officer/Title IX, Mrs. Theresa Eisenbach Room LH-A203, phone (203) 332-5013; Federal and State Regulations Coordinator/Title IX Coordinator Marilyn Albrecht Room LH-A202, phone (203) 332-8521; and Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Dean of Students Office, Room LH-A110, phone (203) 332-5183; Housatonic Community College, 900 Lafayette Boulevard, Bridgeport, CT 06604.
1. What is sexual misconduct?
- Sexual misconduct includes a range of offenses, which may include engaging in one of more behaviors: sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or other nonconsensual acts. All such acts are forms of harassment and are covered under Title IX.
2. How do I know if I have been sexually harassed?
- Sexual harassment, which can include any unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education; submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment. Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment include but are not limited to:
- sexual flirtation, touching, advances or propositions
- verbal abuse of a sexual nature
- pressure to engage in sexual activity
- graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or appearance
- use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual
- display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures or photographs
- sexual jokes
- stereotypic comments based upon gender
- threats, demands or suggestions that retention of one’s educational status is contingent upon toleration of or acquiescence in sexual advances.
3. How do I know if I have been sexually assaulted?
- Sexual assault shall include but is not limited to a sexual act directed against another person when that person either cannot or does not give consent, which shall mean the voluntary agreement by a person in the possession and exercise of sufficient mental capacity to make a deliberate choice to do something proposed by another.
- Sexual assault is further defined in sections 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b and 53a-73a of the Connecticut General Statutes.
4. How is consent relevant to sexual assault?
- A person who initially consents to sexual activity shall be deemed not to have consented to any such activity which occurs after that consent is withdrawn. Consent cannot be assumed because there is no physical resistance or other negative response. A lack of consent may result from mental incapacity (e.g., ingestion of alcohol or drugs which significantly impair awareness or judgment) or physical incapacity (e.g., the person is unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate consent).
5. What should I do if I have been sexually assaulted?
- It is hard to give a uniform answer to this answer to this question because everyone response to an assault differently. Know that you are not alone and there are resources to support you both on and off campus. Here are some options for you to consider. Your safety is important so get somewhere where you feel safe and if you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, call 911. If you are not feeling safe but don’t require 911 consider reaching out to someone you trust. You do not have to go through this alone. Also remember that this is not your fault. What happened to you was not something you wanted and that is not okay. If you want to speak to someone to better understand you options consider calling the national hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673). The person on the other end of the call will be trained staff member from an agency in your area. They will be able to discuss options with you and be able to listen to you. They can provide you with information about receiving medical attention, reporting options, and preserving evidence.
6. Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?
- Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Title IX prohibits this type of conduct regardless of gender.
7. If an incident of sexual violence occurs off-campus, can the College investigate?
- Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to HCC (if it occurs at an HCC event, if it involves an HCC student, staff member, or faculty member, etc.) then the Title IX Coordinator can investigate and provide a resolution.
8. What do I do if I need help, but want my situation to remain confidential?
- The privacy of the parties is a priority for the Title IX office. However, limited information must be disclosed in order to fully investigate a complaint. Student complainants may make a request for confidentiality directly to the Title IX Coordinator, in accordance with the stipulations in the Student Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Process. To access confidential services you can reach out to local confidential service providers. Most of these agencies have websites with locations and contact information. Here is a list of someservice providers around the state. (linked attachment)
9. What if I want to remain anonymous?
- Your privacy will be protected to the maximum extent possible, but total anonymity may hinder an investigation into your complaint. The Title IX Coordinator’s office will do everything possible to protect the privacy of the parties involved throughout the process.
10. What do I do if I want to file a report with the college, the police, or both?
- To report sexual misconduct at Housatonic Community College you can contact the title IX coordinator, the Dean of students’ office, or public safety. You can then meet with the Title IX coordinator and they will do an investigation in the conduct and take steps to address the conduct and remedy future conduct.
11. How can I help a friend who has experience sexual misconduct?
- It is not easy to share or discuss an experience with sexual misconduct. Having an awareness about that difficulty can allow you to be more supportive and helpful to your friend. and knowing that consider the following ways of showing support:
- Listen. Be there. Communicate without judgment.
- If they need medical attention or plan to report, offer to be there. Your presence can offer the support they need.
- Encourage the survivor to get support. Offer to help them find what they need, but realize that only they can make a decision about what is best for them.
- Be patient. There is no timetable for recovering from trauma. Avoid putting pressure on them to engage in activities they aren’t ready to do yet.
12. I’m concerned that reporting might make matters worse. Should I still file a complaint?
- Housatonic Community College has a strong stance against retailing against someone who reports a Title IX violation in good faith. This policy is aggressively enforced if a complainant or a witness is retaliated against for participating in a Title IX investigation. When you are interviewed by the Title IX office, please inform us if you feel threatened in any way, so we can take steps to address it for you.
13. Who has the duty to report sexual misconduct?
- If you are an HCC employee you have a duty to report violations of sexual misconduct. This includes faculty, administrators, staff, and student employees who have supervisory, evaluative, grading, or advisory responsibility over other members of the community. Any employee who receives a complaint of sexual misconduct, learns of what may be potential sexual misconduct, or observes conduct that may constitute a violation of the policy is required to report the alleged conduct immediately to the Title IX Coordinator.
14. Someone has filed a complaint against me, what do I do?
- Do not contact the alleged victim through any means – in person, by phone, by mail, by social media or electronic communication or through someone else. Familiarize yourself with the HCC’s internal Title IX grievance procedure for so that you know what to expect.
15. What is a Title IX Coordinator?
- The Title IX Coordinator is the HCC official responsible for ensuring that Housatonic Community College complies with Title IX, including responding to and investigating all complaints of gender discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) at Housatonic Community College.
16. Who is the Title IX Coordinator?
The Clothesline Project is a visual display of t-shirts that have been designed by survivors of violence or by someone who loves someone who has been a victim of violence. The purpose of the Project is to increase awareness of the impact of interpersonal violence and break the silence around the issue. Survivors are given the opportunity to tell their story, make a t-shirt and hang it on the line, as well as make connections with other survivors. The line is a visual representation that they are not alone and the line is a tribute to survivors. It shows the magnitude of the problem. This project happens all over the United States and Housatonic is joining the movement. HCC students will be given the opportunity to make shirts for the clothesline the shirts will be collected and then be displayed on campus.
During the Silent Witness Exhibit there will be silhouettes with facts, statistics, common myths and stories about domestic violence all around the Housatonic Community College Campus. Students will be encouraged to read the information and learn from the stories. Silent Witness is a multi-day event, taking place in both Housatonic Community College Buildings. There will be nine silhouettes in various locations around the campus.
Title IX Information Sign
8.5x11 signs were created and posted in every bathroom on the HCC campus. The signs had information about the Title IX statute as well as information about HCC policy and the identity, office location, and contact information for the title IX coordinator.
Empty Chair Campaign
The Empty Chair campaign is a week-long event held here at Housatonic Community College. The campaign raises awareness and seeks to prevent incidents of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of interpersonal violence on campus.
During the event nine purple folding chairs will be assembled in different spots around the campus, each containing a sheet with several accounts of these forms of violence under the banner "I am not on campus today because…" as well as brochures in order to highlight the fact that this sort of violence impacts many facets of a person's life and can impede their participation in various activities.
A play about acquaintance rape within a campus community. The play has a substantial amount of audience participation as the viewers can play roles and some of them are selected to be members of the jury. While the jury deliberates on the decision of guilt or innocence a facilitator leads a discussion with the remaining members of the audience. The play is co-sponsored by the Women’s Center, The title IX coordinator, and the Theater Arts Department.