TITLE IX: Information and Grievance Procedure for Reporting Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

Instructor and students studying on the same table in the library


Passaic County Community College affirms its commitment to ensuring an environment for all students and employees that is fair, humane, and respectful. Every person is entitled to learn and work in an environment free from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.  It is the policy of Passaic County Community College that sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct in any form will not be tolerated.  Charges of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct will be treated seriously and pursued in accordance with established College procedures.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex against any person in education programs and activities receiving federal funding.  Programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance include virtually all public and private colleges and universities, and all public elementary and secondary schools.  Sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and sexual misconduct are prohibited under the
Passaic County Community College “TITLE IX POLICY: SEX DISCRIMINATION, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND SEXUAL MISCONDUCT”, Board Policy B108 (Appendix A of this document).

  1. Title IX Compliance Team

    For Complaints Against Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors
    If you have a complaint against a Passaic County Community College student, employee (faculty or staff member) or visitor to the College for sexual harassment, sex discrimination, or sexual assault, you should contact:
    Jose A. Fernandez
    Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer
    (Associate Vice President for Human Resources)
    Room E305
    Telephone: 973-684-6705
    Email: jfernandez@pccc.edu 
    For Public Safety Issues or Emergency Situations
    If your complaint includes a Public Safety issue or emergency situation, you should  contact:
    Glenn Brown
    Title IX Designee
    (Director of Security)
    Room E100
    Telephone: 973-684-5402
    Email: gbrown@pccc.edu

    Inquiries or complaints that involve potential violations of Title IX may also be referred  to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which can be reached  at:
    New York Office
    Office for Civil Rights
    U.S. Department of Education
    32 Old Slip, 26th Floor
    New York, NY 10005-2500
    Telephone: 646-428-3900
    FAX: 646-428-3843; TDD: 800-877-8339
    Email: OCR.NewYork@ed.gov
  2. Title IX: Information for Students and Employees

    Passaic County Community College is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination and in which all PCCC community members are treated with the respect and dignity necessary to realize their full potential. Sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination by anyone is unacceptable and will be addressed in a timely fashion and with serious consequences by the College, up to and including termination of employment or dismissal from the College.

    Passaic County Community College is committed to responding promptly and effectively to all reports of sexual misconduct, harassment or other discrimination. The College will take appropriate action to eliminate sexual misconduct and harassment, prevent its recurrence, remedy its effects on the PCCC community and, if necessary, discipline behavior that violates Colleges policy.

    As used in this statement, “sexual misconduct” is an umbrella term that includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, all of which are defined within this document.
    1. Reporting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and/or Stalking

      Students and employees should contact the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Designee, to:
      • seek information or training about your rights and courses of action available to resolve reports or complaints that involve potential sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct,
      • file a complaint or make a report of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct,  notify the College of an incident that may raise potential Title IX concerns,
      • get information about available resources (including confidential resources) and support services relating to sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct, and  ask questions about the College’s policies and procedures related to sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct.
    2. The College’s Responsibilities under Title IX to Address Sexual Violence, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and/or Stalking
      • A college has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual misconduct.
      • If a college knows (or reasonably should know) about possible sexual misconduct it must quickly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
      • A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct does not relieve a college of its duty under Title IX to resolve reports promptly and effectively.
      • A college must ensure that the person who experienced the sexual misconduct is safe, even while an investigation is ongoing.
    3. Reporting and Disclosing Sexual Misconduct

      A “responsible employee” is a College employee who has the authority to address sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. 

      A complete list of “Responsible Employees” at Passaic County Community College is contained on Appendix B of this statement.
      When a victim tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking, the victim has the right to expect the College to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.  Before a victim reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure that the victim understands the employee’s reporting obligations – and, if the victim wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the victim to the Passaic County Women’s Center at 973-881-1450.

      A responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking, shared by the victim and that the College will need to determine what happened – including the names of the victim and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident. 

      To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report.  A responsible employee will provide support to the victim; they cannot encourage or decide that a victim should get confidential services or file a complaint with law enforcement.

      If the College determines that the alleged perpetrator(s) pose a serious and immediate threat to the College community, the Director of Security or Designee, who is designated as a Campus Security Authority under the Clery Act, may be called upon to issue a timely warning to the community.  Any such warning will not include any information that identifies the victim.

      A victim who wants to maintain confidentiality, needs to understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited, however, when appropriate, designated individuals will assist the victim in accessing College and/or Community Resources that can provide specialized, individual support.

      A victim who at first requests confidentiality may later decide to file a complaint with the College or report the incident to local law enforcement, and thus have the incident fully investigated. 
  3. Title IX Grievance Process for Students, Employees and Visitors

    Because sexual misconduct may involve a wide range of behaviors, the way in which a given case is best handled will vary. The grievance process below describes how the College will proceed with a complaint of sexual misconduct:
    1. Students and employees should report complaints and incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct to any of the Responsible Employees identified in Appendix B of this document.  Complainants should complete a Title IX Complaint Form (Appendix C of this document) to assist in providing information necessary for a thorough investigation of the complaint.
    2. All grievances and complaints will be investigated.  The Title IX Coordinator and/or appropriate designee will conduct an initial intake interview to obtain information about the complaint.  The preliminary inquiry will take place to determine if there is reasonable cause to charge the accused individual(s) with a violation. 
    3. If reasonable cause is determined, a comprehensive investigation will then be conducted, including the gathering of information, documents, and relevant facts, as well as interviews of the complainant, accused individual, witnesses, and other persons relevant to the complaint.
    4. In addition to filing a complaint with the College, complainants have the right to file a criminal complaint with law enforcement authorities.  A College complaint and a criminal complaint may be filed simultaneously.
    5. The Title IX Coordinator may attempt to arrive at a mediated resolution of the grievance, but not for allegations of sexual assault or violence.
    6. The evidentiary standard used in determining the outcome of the complaint is “the preponderance of evidence,” meaning that it is more likely than not that that a violation of the Title IX policy occurred.
    7. The due process rights of both the complainant and the respondent will be protected. Both parties will receive written notification of their rights and options to accessing services both within the institution and in the community, interim measures, and an explanation of the procedures for institutional disciplinary actions.
    8. The complainant and accused individual may present evidence and witnesses related to the complaint.  Both the complainant and the accused may have an emotional support person present at interviews during any stage of the grievance process, but that individual may not participate in the proceeding.
    9. A determination of the outcome of the complaint will be issued by the Title IX Coordinator and communicated in writing to both the complainant and accused.  Any individual found to be in violation of the College’s Title IX policy will be subject to sanctions up to, and including, discharge or expulsion from the College.
    10. Unless exceptional circumstances are present, the grievance process, including the determination and communication of the outcome, will be completed within 60 days of the filing of the complaint.
    11. The outcome of the grievance may include sanctions up to, and including, the following actions.
      1. A. For students: verbal warning, written warning, written reprimand, suspension from the
            College, and/or expulsion from the College.  In addition, mandatory counseling,
            mandatory training, and/or a “no contact” directive may be imposed.
      2. B. For employees: verbal warning, written warning, written reprimand, suspension
            without pay, and/or termination from employment.  In addition, mandatory counseling,
            mandatory training, and/or a “no contact” directive may be imposed.
    12. The complainant or accused individual may appeal the determination of the complaint to a committee of the Board of Trustees of Passaic County Community College if it is reasonably believed that:
      1. a) a procedural error occurred; or
      2. b) new information sufficient to alter a decision because such information was not known to the person appealing at the time of the original interview; or
      3. c) a sanction is substantially disproportionate to the findings.
      A written appeal must be submitted to the Director of Board Affairs / Assistant to the
      President within 5 business days of the communication of the outcome of the complaint.  The Board of Trustees committee will consider the appeal and render a decision within 15 business days of the receipt of the appeal by the Director of Board Affairs / Assistant to the President.  A determination of the outcome of the appeal will be issued in writing to both the complainant and accused individual. The decision of the Board of Trustees will be final and conclude the grievance process.
  4. Prohibition against Retaliation
    Any person who participates in the Title IX reporting and investigation process, either as a complainant, witness, or other party, may do so without fear of retaliation.  Retaliation by any College employee or student is prohibited and grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including discharge or expulsion from the College.
  5. Prevention and Education

    In addition to online Title IX training for student and staff, the College hosts a number of public awareness events including information on safe and positive options for bystander intervention and information on risk prevention. During these events, if students or employees disclose incidents of sexual violence or misconduct, these expressions are not considered notice to the College of sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking for purposes of triggering its obligation to investigate any particular incident(s). Such events may, however, inform the need for additional campus-wide education and prevention efforts, and the College will provide information about students’ Title IX rights at these events.
  6. Amnesty

    The College encourages reporting and seeks to remove any barriers to reporting by making the reporting procedure transparent and straightforward. PCCC recognizes that an individual, particularly a student, who has been drinking or using drugs at the time of the incident, may be reluctant to make a report of sexual misconduct or harassment for fear of being charged with other college policy violations.   An individual who reports sexual misconduct either as a complainant or a third party witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for his/her own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk.  The College may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.
  7. Requesting Confidentiality from the College: How the College Will Weigh the Request and Respond
    If a victim discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, the College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request of confidentiality.

    If the College honors the request for confidentiality, a victim must understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited.  Although rare, there are times when the College may not be able to honor a victim’s request in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees.  The College will weigh any request for confidentiality against the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees, including the victim.

    The College has designated the Title IX Coordinator to evaluate requests for confidentiality once a responsible employee is on notice of alleged sexual misconduct.

    When weighing a victim’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or discipline be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will consider a range of factors, including the following:

    • The increased risk that the alleged perpetrator will commit additional acts of sexual nature or other violence against the victim or others, such as:
    • whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged perpetrator;
    • whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
    • whether the alleged perpetrator threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the victim or others;
    • whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple perpetrators;
    • whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
    • whether the victim is a minor;
    • whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
    • whether the victim’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.

    The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the College to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary action even though the victim has requested confidentiality. 

    If the College determines that it cannot maintain a victim’s confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the victim as soon as practical after making that determination and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the College’s response.

    The College will remain ever mindful of the victim’s well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the victim from retaliation or harm and work with the victim to create a safety plan. Retaliation against the victim will not be tolerated.
  8. Options for Assistance Following an Incident of Sexual Misconduct
    1. Immediate Assistance

      An individual who has been the victim of a crime, such as sexual assault or violence, is encouraged to get to a safe place and contact call 911 or Public Safety (973-684-5403) immediately. Even if the individual does not wish to report the criminal conduct to the College or to local law enforcement, he or she should still consider going to a hospital, both for his/her own health and well-being and so that evidence can be collected and preserved. 

      A victim should not shower, bathe, douche, brush his/her teeth, drink or change clothing, as evidence may be destroyed that will be needed in the event the crime is prosecuted.  Medical providers may also facilitate and provide the following: (1) Emergency or follow-up medical services. The medical examination has two goals: first, to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma and to consider the possibilities of sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy; and second, to collect and preserve evidence as part of a “rape kit” or sexual assault examination for potential use in a criminal prosecution (provided only by a trained professional in a hospital) (2) HIV and STD testing and (3) Pregnancy testing.  Any evidence collected will be critically important should the individual decide to make an official report at a later time.

      Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, the College will provide the victim with a list of local community resources:
      • Passaic County Women’s Center:  973-881-1450;
      • Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): 973- 881-4800; 
      • New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline:  800-572-SAFE or
      • National Domestic Violence Hotline:  800-799-SAFE
    2. Interim Measures

      Interim measures are those services, accommodations, or other assistance that the College puts in place for victims after receiving notice of alleged sexual misconduct but before any final outcomes – investigatory, disciplinary, or remedial – have been determined. We want students, employees and visitors to be safe, to receive appropriate medical attention, and to get the help they need to heal and to continue to access their educational and employment opportunities. We also want students and employees to understand their reporting options and how to access available interim measures. The College encourages victims of sexual misconduct to report those incidents to the Title IX Coordinator. The College recognizes that sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking is traumatic and may leave victims feeling overwhelmed and confused. This document seeks to provide clear guidance regarding available resources and who can help in securing them.

      The College shall also ask victims what measures are sought. The College determines which measures are appropriate for a particular victim on a case-by-case basis. Not all of the measures listed below will be necessary in every case to keep victims safe and ensure their equal access to educational and employment opportunities. If the victim or advocate identifies an interim measure that is not already provided by the College, the College will consider whether the request can be granted. In those instances where interim measures affect both a victim and the alleged perpetrator, the College will minimize the burden on the victim wherever appropriate.

      The following list of possible interim measures will be considered by the College when appropriate:

      • Academic accommodations to address the possible adverse effects of sexual misconduct on a victim’s academics, it may be possible to secure time-limited academic accommodations, such as rescheduling an exam or an assignment or transferring to another section of the lecture or lab or more long term academic accommodations, such as incompletes for the course, withdrawing the campus or taking a leave of absence. 
      • Assistance in arranging for alternative College employment arrangements and/or changing work schedules
      • A “No Contact” directive pending the outcome of an investigation. Such a directive serves as notice to both parties that they must not have verbal, electronic, written, or third party communication with one another
      • Referral to on-campus and community resources

      The College will work with victims to identify what interim measures are appropriate in the short term, and will continue to work collaboratively throughout the College’s process and as needed thereafter to assess whether the instituted measures are effective, and if not, what additional or different measures are necessary to keep the victim safe.
  9. Definitions
    • Accused: a person against whom a complaint is brought, or who is alleged to have committed a violation
    • Complainant: a person that makes a complaint or alleges that a violation has occurred.
    • Consent must be informed, voluntary, and mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or when coercion, intimidation, threats, or duress is used. Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Past consent to sexual activity with another person does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to that same sexual activity with another person. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption that meets this standard, or being asleep or unconscious.
    • Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who (A) is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of the relationship, (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
    • Domestic Violence: Offenses of violence, harassment, terroristic threats, stalking, and burglary committed by a current or former spouse of the victim; a person with whom the victim shares a child in common or where one of the parties is pregnant or anticipates having a child in common; any person who is a present or former household member, or any person with whom the victim has had a dating relationship.
    • Gender-Based Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a student’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.
    • Hostile Environment exists when sex-based harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit the student’s or employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a College’s program or activity (e.g., administrators, faculty members, students, and campus visitors). In determining whether sex-based harassment has created a hostile environment, the College considers the conduct in question from both a subjective and objective perspective. It will be necessary, but not enough, that the conduct was unwelcome to the student or employee who was harassed. But the College will also need to find that a reasonable person in the student’s or employee’s position would have perceived the conduct as undesirable or offensive in order for that conduct to create or contribute to a hostile environment. To make the ultimate determination of whether a hostile environment exists for a student/employee or students/employees, the College considers a variety of factors related to the severity persistence, or pervasiveness of the sex-based harassment, including: (1) the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; (2) the identity and relationships of persons involved; (3) the number of individuals involved; (4) the location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred; and, (5) the degree to which the conduct affected one or more individual’s ability to participate in work or education related activities and programs.
    • Incapacitation is when an individual, whether due to alcohol, drugs or physical or mental disability or is unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless is incapable of giving effective consent. For example, an individual who is mentally impaired, passed out or asleep cannot give consent to sexual contact. An individual is considered incapacitated when he or she lacks the physical and/or mental ability to make informed rational judgments.   Some indicators of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings or the inability to communicate for any reason.
    • Retaliation: acts or attempts to seek retribution including, but not limited to, any form of intimidation, reprisal, harassment or intent to prevent participation in PCCC’s reporting or adjudication procedures under this policy. Retaliation may include continued abuse or violence, other harassment, slander or libel acts committed by a complainant, accused or third party and acts committed at the direction of a complainant, accused or third party.
    • Sex-Based Harassment includes sexual harassment and gender-based harassment. The more severe the sex-based harassment, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to find a hostile environment. Indeed, a single instance of sexual assault may be sufficient to create a hostile environment. Likewise, a series of incidents may be sufficient even if the sex-based harassment is not particularly severe.
    • Sexual Assault is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent.
      • Non Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual Contact includes but is not limited to intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
      • Non Consensual Sexual Intercourse any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes but is not limited to vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).
      • Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent.
    • Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include: Prostituting another person; Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent; Distributing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and, Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
    • Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature, including rape, sexual assault, unwelcome touching, patting or other physical contact, and sexual exploitation when submission is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of employment, the basis of employment decision, the basis of academic determinations, or has the purpose or effect of interfering with the victim’s work performance or academic performance. In addition, depending on the facts, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking may also be forms of sexual harassment.
    • Sexual Misconduct: As used in this policy, sexual misconduct is an umbrella term that includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, all of which are defined within this document.
    • Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol or an intellectual or other disability that prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent). Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
    • Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.
    • Unwelcome Conduct is conduct that is considered “unwelcome” if the student or College employee did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.  Unwelcome conduct may take various forms, including, name-calling, graphic or written statements (including ones communicated via cell phones or the Internet), or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful or humiliating. Unwelcome conduct does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target or involve repeated incidents. Unwelcome conduct can involve persons of the same or opposite sex.
       Participation in the conduct or the failure to complain does not always mean that the  conduct was welcome. The fact that a student or employee may have welcomed some  conduct does not necessarily mean that a student or employee welcomed other conduct.  Also, the fact that a student or employee requested or invited conduct on one occasion  does not mean that the conduct is welcome on a subsequent occasion.