Sexual Misconduct

Blackhawk Technical College is bound by and supports all applicable laws related to sexual misconduct. The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SAVE) of 2013 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) ensures that colleges and universities implement policies and programs to prevent sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Blackhawk strives to provide a safe and welcoming campus environment. In order to attain this goal, the College seeks to provide safety, privacy, and confidentiality where possible, to support victims of sexual assault and violence at all College Campuses and Centers. The College offers educational programming to promote the awareness and prevention of rape, acquaintance rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

Blackhawk prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct and violence including, but not limited to, rape, acquaintance rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and hate crimes between or against members of its college community. This policy will apply regardless of whether a criminal proceeding has been initiated, the conduct occurred on campus, or involved a College-sponsored activity. The College will respond appropriately to address violations of this policy in a manner that is reasonable to prevent such conduct from recurring and to minimize the effects on victims and the College community. Retaliation for filing a report or complaint or for participating in a related investigation or disciplinary proceeding is also a violation of this policy.

The Title IX Coordinator position oversees all sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault and relationship violence complaints at the College, and was created to promote an environment that is free of gender bias and misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for conducting an annual report and review of complaints to ensure compliance with Title IX, make improvements, and identify any patterns or systemic problems within the College community. The Title IX Coordinator serves as a neutral administrator and resource to employees and students to answer questions, to coordinate reporting and handling of complaints, to review internal disciplinary proceedings and remedies, to provide education, training, and guidance to public safety, student development, human resources, and other personnel involved with investigations and disciplinary proceedings.

Title IX Coordinator:
Lynn Neitzel, Director of Teaching Support Services
Central Campus, Student Success Center
(608) 743-4508
lneitzel@blackhawk.edu

The College has designated a Deputy Title IX Coordinator to assist the Title IX Coordinator. A Title IX Deputy Coordinator is responsible for assisting the Title IX Coordinator to conduct training, climate assessments, and facilitate communications on behalf of the College with the student or employee who reports a violation, the respondent, and with any administrators responsible for administering this policy.

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Alicia Acker, Career Services and Leadership Development Coordinator
Central Campus, Student Services
(608) 743-4423
aacker@blackhawk.edu

Please see the Gender Discrimination & Sexual Misconduct Addendum for information on procedures and detailed definitions related to sexual misconduct.

Alleged sexual misconduct violations will be investigated through the process and procedures outlined in the Gender Discrimination & Sexual Misconduct Addendum. Any violations of sexual misconduct are sanctioned by the Title IX Coordinator and through the Student Code of Conduct Procedures.

Student Complaint Procedure Notice

Any student who believes he/she or another student has been the victim of any form of sexual misconduct is encouraged to file a complaint identifying the alleged individual and describing the conduct, incident(s) or occurrence(s) that form the basis for the complaint. Students may file complaints with any College employee, who will then notify the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator for students. If the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students is alleged to be the person who engaged in discrimination or sexual misconduct, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees will investigate the incident.

Any College staff member can help with filling out the incident report. It is preferred that the complaint be submitted via an electronic incident report. Incident reports can be found at https://blackhawk.edu/About/Safety-Security/Title-IX .

If, due to a disability, accommodations are needed to assist the student in filing a complaint, please contact Access and Accommodation Services at (608) 757-7796. The complainant is encouraged to file the complaint as soon as possible after the incident to ensure a prompt and effective due process for all the parties involved in the situation.

If the complainant requests confidentiality or requests that the complaint not be pursued, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students (or other trained investigators) will take all reasonable steps to investigate the complaint and respond consistently with the complainant's request. If the College determines that an investigation needs to continue, the alleged respondent will be told that the complainant requested the College to not proceed. Information will only be shared with individuals responsible for addressing incidents of sexual violence. Prior to disclosing information, the complainant will be notified of the information to be disclosed, whom it will be disclosed to, and why the information needs to be disclosed. Honoring a request for confidentiality may limit the College's ability to respond to the allegation, including pursuing sanctions and remedies against the respondent(s). In addition, the College will need to determine if the confidentiality request can be honored while providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.

The College will take steps to maintain the confidentiality of persons reporting incidents of sexual misconduct and relationship violence in records available for public inspection by using alternative means of identification and not including personally identifiable information in the annual campus security report, campus crime log, and emergency warning notices required under the Clery Act. Requests for confidentiality will be evaluated in the context of the College's responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students.

A complainant has the option to file a criminal report with a local law enforcement agency. The College Title IX Investigator/Security Department will offer to provide assistance if the individual elects to contact the police. Declining to speak with an investigator or the police at the time of the initial report does not prevent the individual from filing a criminal report or a Title IX complaint later. The College Safety and Security Office may seek the assistance of local law enforcement agencies in the investigation.

The College will not condone false reporting. Any person who makes a report that is later found to have been intentionally given falsely or made maliciously without respect for the truth may be subject to suspension or expulsion.

Initial Remedies

Prior to initiating an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator will meet with the complainant to explain the investigation process and the eventual resolution process to the student. The College Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator will encourage him/her to participate fully in the investigation and hearing processes as well as provide a list of resources. Students will also be notified of their rights and the process to file a complaint with local law enforcement.

If necessary, initial remedial actions will be discussed such as:

  • No contact agreement between complainant and respondent
  • Change in academic and office assignment situations if requested by complainant or respondent and reasonably available, for the complainant and respondent
  • Absence and assignment requirements
  • Request for leave of absence or withdrawal
  • Plan to address safety concerns

Preliminary Investigation

Throughout the investigation, appropriate support for the complainant and respondent will be provided. Complainants and respondents will be informed of campus and community resources, including counseling and other health services. These options will be made available to the individual regardless of whether he or she proceeds with a formal complaint under BTC College policy or files a criminal report or complaint with the police. In compliance with guidelines distributed by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), in their 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, BTC uses a "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not) standard for determining responsibility. This is different from the standard used in a criminal investigation.
A preliminary investigation will be conducted to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe a policy was violated. If no reasonable grounds for the complaint are found, the Title IX Coordinator will dismiss the case. The complainant will be informed of why the act does not constitute sexual misconduct and voluntary, informal methods may be used to resolve the complaint. If it is determined by the College Title IX Coordinator that there may be some validity to the allegation, a formal investigation will begin immediately.

Sanction Statement

The College reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct to protect students' rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, class schedule modifications, interim suspension from campus pending a hearing, and reporting the matter to the local police.
Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed equally serious offenses and the College reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from a verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. Previous conduct code violations will be considered in determining the appropriate sanction. The College will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the respondent of sexual misconduct.

The Title IX Coordinator has the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. The initial investigative team, appeals body, or designee may not deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless there is a compelling justification to support a deviation.

Formal Investigation Process

The following process will be used to further investigate allegations:

Upon receiving a complaint, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students will facilitate a fact-finding investigation which will include assigning a trained Title IX investigator to review the complaint. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students and/or Staff and/or a trained Title IX investigator will conduct interviews with the complainant, respondent, and other appropriate individuals. The investigation will be prompt, thorough and impartial.

The intent of the interview with the complainant, respondent and potential witnesses is to determine a true and complete account of the complaint. The following information will be sought during the interview process:

  • The severity of the conduct
  • The number and frequency of acts of alleged harassment
  • The apparent intent of the person alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct
  • The relationship of the parties
  • The response of the complainant at the time of the incident(s)
  • The relevant educational/work environment

Periodic updates to the complainant and the respondent will be provided during the entire process.

All persons involved in a sexual misconduct investigation will be reminded that the incident is not to be discussed and that retaliatory action against the complainant, respondent or witnesses will not be tolerated.

The Deputy Title IX Coordinator will submit a report to the College Title IX Coordinator detailing the allegations, evidence collected, and statements from the complainant, respondent and any relevant witnesses to the conduct. The report will include the Deputy Title IX Coordinator findings as well as any recommendations for sanctions if warranted.

A written record of the investigation will be made, including all notes made of interviews, conversations, or verbal responses to questions posed by the Title IX Investigator(s) to the complainant, witnesses or respondent, and any other aspects of the investigation.

The College Title IX Coordinator will review the investigative report, evidence and all known circumstances from the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students and make a final determination. The preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred) will be used to investigate allegations of sexual harassment or violence.

Potential sanctions for students who are found responsible for acts of sexual misconduct could be, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Disciplinary action, up to and including, the expulsion of a person found responsible for violating these policies
  • Referral to law enforcement when there is danger or threat to the community and/or when requested by the victim
  • Referral to counseling, mental health, and student services both on campus and in the community

Communication from the Title IX Coordinator regarding the outcome is communicated to the complainant and the respondent.

A student who disagrees with the findings of responsibility or the sanctions levied may choose to request an appeal to the Vice President, Student Services. The request for an appeal must be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator and the Executive Director of Student Services within ten academic days of the Title IX Coordinator's decision.

Appeal Process

All students have the right to appeal disciplinary decisions. Appeal requests must be made in writing to the Student Services Department within five (5) academic days after verbal or written notification of the decision or sanction. A student may appeal for two reasons which include:

  • Procedural error/ failure to uphold the student's rights that may substantially alter the outcome of the decision
  • New evidence that was unknown or unknowable at the time of the investigation and decision. An appeal must include the following information:
    • The name, address and telephone number of the part
    • A clear statement explaining the nature and circumstances of the appeal, citing the new evidence and/or the explanation with specifics of the alleged lack of fairness in the prior hearing.

The Student Services Department will render and cause a decision to be sent to the student within three (3) academic days after receipt of the appeal. The appeal decision shall be considered final.

Rights

The preponderance of evidence standard (more likely than not) is used to evaluate complaints.

The complainant and the respondent are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a campus disciplinary proceeding. All parties are permitted to have representatives in all stages of the process. Notice of representation should be made to the Title IX Coordinator. Both the complainant and the respondent will be informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding alleging sexual misconduct.

A trained Title IX investigator and/or the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will investigate complaints. BTC will respond promptly, equitably and thoroughly to all incident reports following the written receipt of the complaint, barring any unusual circumstances.

The decision of the Title IX Coordinator may be appealed to the Student Services Department, whose decision is final. If the complaint is against the key decision-maker within the Student Services Department, the decision may be appealed to the President. If the complaint is against the President, the decision may be appealed to the Board of Trustees, whose decision is final. Complaints against one of the Title IX Coordinators will be investigated and decided by a person appointed within the Student Services Department. The appeal must be made, in writing, within ten (10) business days after the decision has been made.

The College recognizes the right of all parties involved in a complaint to a fair and equitable resolution of complaints.

Falsification, distortion or misrepresentation of information during the course of a complaint resolution process may be grounds for disciplinary action.

Disclosures – FERPA Exemptions

The final results of a disciplinary proceeding will be disclosed to the alleged victim. This includes the charges, the finding, the sanction(s) related to the victim and the rationale for the decision. BTC may not disclose the name of any other student, including the complainant or witness, without the prior written consent of the student. More information on disclosure and re-disclosure limitations can be found in the College Catalog.

The results of a disciplinary proceeding can be disclosed to anyone if the College determines that the student is an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence or non-forcible sex offense; and with respect to the allegations made against him or her, the student has committed a violation of the institution's rules or policies.

However, the College may not disclose the name of any other student, including a victim or witness, without the prior written consent of the other student. This disclosure is not subject to the re-disclosure limitation and notice requirements otherwise identified in FERPA.

The Act

The Campus SaVE Act (the "SaVE Act" or "Act") applies to almost all institutions of higher education since it is directed toward those that participate in financial aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It became effective on March 7, 2013 as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) and amends the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (known as the Clery Act).

The Act requires higher education institutes to report crime statistics and disclose security-related information in several ways:

It adds offenses involving domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to the crimes that institutions must report and include in their annual security reports (ASR).

It expands the categories of reportable "hate crimes" to include those based on bias against gender identity or national origin.

The policy statements filed as part of the ASR must now include detailed descriptions of the institution's internal procedures in cases of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, as well as descriptions of its education and prevention programs.

Key Definitions

When reporting offenses under the Clery Act, use the following definitions:

Domestic Violence 

"Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction… or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction."

Dating violence

"Violence committed by a person – 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"

Stalking

"Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to – fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress"

Sexual Assault

The Campus SaVE Act defines sexual assault, which – unlike domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking – was previously included as a Clery-reportable crime, as "an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

The definitions of these terms used for reporting criminal offenses in Wisconsin and training students and employees are not necessarily identical. The College should keep in mind that to satisfy the separate training mandates of the SaVE Act (see Education and Training section in the Checklist), training programs must also incorporate the definitions of domestic violence [domestic abuse Wis. Stats. §813.12; § 968.075], dating violence [§ 813.12, Wis. Stat.], sexual assault [Wis. Stat. § 940.225], and stalking [Wis. Stat. § 940.32] which are used under Wisconsin Law.