Resolving Sexual Harassment Grievances Under Title IX (Procedure 1.0601)

Authority:Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Date Adopted:10/2020
Date of Review:
Related Policies:

1.060; 3.090

Related Procedures: 1.0600; 2.1900

 To provide a grievance procedure addressing sexual harassment, a form of sex discrimination, as prohibited under Title IX. Seminole State College responds promptly and supportively to individuals alleged to be a target of sexual harassment, resolves allegations of sexual harassment promptly under a predictable, fair grievance process that provides due process protections to complainant and respondent regarding sexual harassment, and effectively implements remedies addressing the conduct.


  • Advisor: the individual chosen by the complainant or respondent to support them, to accompany them as permitted by Title IX and its regulations, and/or to pose questions to the other party during the cross-examination phase of a hearing following an investigation.  An advisor under this procedure is not the same person or role as a student’s academic advisor.  
  • Complainant: an individual who alleges conduct that could constitute sexual harassment. The complainant may be a student, employee, or individual attempting to participate, such as an applicant.
  • Complaint; formal complaint: a document presented by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment by a respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation. On the date of filing a complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the College. 
  • Cross-examination: presentation of questions by the advisor of the complainant to the respondent, and by the advisor of the respondent to the complainant, during the cross-examination phase of a hearing following an investigation.
  • Days: within all timelines, “days” are defined as business days. A business day is a day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, day of College closure to the public (spring break, winter break, Convocation, certain Fridays in the months of May, June and July, etc.), or legal holiday.  Additionally, any period specified in notification to both parties by the College as supported by good cause shall not be considered a business day.
  • Decision maker: the individual assigned by the College to make a determination related to the complaint, whether at the finding of responsibility stage or upon appeal. The Title IX Coordinator may not serve as the decision maker at any stage. An investigator may not serve as a decision maker at any stage.  Unless otherwise specified in this procedure, by applicable law, or by the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator shall serve as the investigator.
  • Effective remedies: strategies and actions that support the education of both parties, whenever possible, while designed to restore or preserve an education program or activity free from discrimination based on sex.
  • Finding of responsibility: the decision reached by the decision maker related to the complaint, following an investigation and/or a hearing. Options for findings: “responsible” or “not responsible” for the alleged conduct. 
  • Investigation: implementation of a plan to obtain and evaluate available evidence.
  • Investigator, alternate investigator: individual(s) assigned by the College to obtain and evaluate available evidence. These individuals will be trained to conduct investigations without bias or conflict of interest.  
  • Live hearing, hearing: a prescribed time and method of synchronous communication that may be requested by either party (complainant or respondent) following the conclusion of the investigation report and finding of responsibility by the decision maker. 
  • Relevance: the decision that evidence tends to illuminate the facts related to conduct that is alleged to violate Title IX. Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence and the fact is of consequence in determining the action.
  • Respondent: term used in a complaint for an individual named as the alleged perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment, applied following acceptance of the complaint. The respondent may be a student, employee, or individual attempting to participate in a College program or activity, such as an applicant.
  • Sexual harassment under Title IX:conduct based on sex described by at least one of the following: 
    1. A College employee offering to take a College-related action if a student will participate in unwelcome sexual conduct; 
    2. Unwelcome conduct (in the view of a reasonable person) so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies an individual equal access to the College’s education program or activity; or 
    3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. [1]
  • Supportive measures: individualized actions taken by the College to restore or preserve equal access to the education program or activity for the complainant and respondent. They protect the safety of the parties and the College community and/or deter sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinator offers and coordinates supportive measures regardless of the decision to file a formal complaint. 
  • Title IX Coordinator: individual designated by the College President to coordinate overall compliance with Title IX or respond in a given situation. This individual’s conduct precludes conflict of interest or bias relating to complainants, respondents, or individuals involved.  

All definitions above comply with 34 CFR §106.30 (Definitions), Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance. Details of specific actions required in Title IX regulations are provided under Title IX on the College website. If a term is defined in 34 CFR Part 106 and used but not defined in this procedure, that term shall have the meaning given to it in the federal regulations. 


  1. Types of conduct addressed
    The College addresses sex discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, as defined by Title IX, through this Procedure. Similar conduct not meeting this definition, involving employees and students, is addressed through other appropriate Policies and Procedures.

  2. Training for College employees involved
    The College provides training for the Title IX Coordinator regarding definitions, interpretations, best practices, and processes to ensure Title IX compliance. Prior to any individual’s service as alternate investigator or decision maker, the Title IX Coordinator provides training.

  3. Methods of reporting
    To properly report alleged sexual harassment, the report must be directed to the Title IX Coordinator or the College President by the complainant or another party. This is the only circumstance in which the College has “actual knowledge” of sexual harassment for Title IX purposes. Once the College has actual knowledge of sexual harassment and a request to investigate, the College is required to act in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent. Reports that put the College on notice may be transmitted to the Title IX Coordinator or the College President in person, by telephone, by email, or in writing to the contact information provided under Title IX on the College website.

    While there is no deadline for College receipt of sexual harassment complaints, complainants are encouraged to report as soon as is practicable to increase the effectiveness of supportive actions, investigation results, and remedies.

  4. Initial and immediate actions
    When the College receives a report per section 3, the Title IX Coordinator determines and implements effective supportive measures for the complainant and the respondent.

    The Title IX Coordinator conducts an individualized safety and risk analysis, with appropriate College officials, [2] to determine when an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student, employee, or College affiliate arises from the sexual harassment alleged. If an immediate threat is verified, the College will apply existing College policies and procedures: for removal of a student, Policy 3.090, Student Code of Conduct, Emergency Administrative Action/Temporary Suspension from Classes and College Premises; for removal of an employee, Procedure 2.1900, Employee Discipline.

  5. Determination of jurisdiction; notifications
    When the College receives a complaint per section 3, and all conditions to consider it a Title IX complaint are met, the Title IX Coordinator follows Title IX regulations and established College practices regarding determination of jurisdiction and notifications. The College makes the decision to accept or decline the complaint within five days, notifying the complainant and respondent simultaneously. A notification regarding acceptance of the complaint states all elements required by Title IX regulations. A decision to decline the complaint states the basis, as required by regulation.

  6. Appeal if complaint is declined
    An individual who has filed a complaint of sexual harassment that is declined by the College under this Procedure may appeal that decision within two days of the College’s notification date. The appeal must inform the Title IX Coordinator in writing why the individual believes that there was:
    1. A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome, or 
    2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the College made the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, that could affect the outcome of the matter, or
    3. a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent, on the part of the Title IX Coordinator, that affected the outcome of the matter.

      The Title IX Coordinator gathers all reasonable sources of information to evaluate the appeal and provides that report, with a recommendation, to the College-assigned decision maker. The decision maker for the appeal issues a decision within five days following the date the College receives the appeal.

  7. Ending the complaint process prior to a finding of responsibility
    The College may dismiss the complaint when the complainant withdraws the complaint, the complainant or respondent is no longer affiliated with the College, or upon any other circumstance specified in the Title IX regulations. If the complaint concerns any other student, employee, or visitor, the College may continue the investigation under other policies and procedures. The College notifies both parties of the reasons for ending the process and, potentially, engaging in another.

  8. Investigation of allegations:
    1. The Title IX Coordinator acquires evidence related to the complaint, including but not limited to: interviews, site visits, written statements (including electronic transmission), documents, policies, procedures, practices, processes, and professional resources. 
    2. Witnesses may provide facts or expert opinions. They may be presented by either party as well as developed by the College. The College recommends confidentiality when developing witnesses, supporting a full and impartial investigation, but receives each party’s witnesses and other evidence as presented. 
    3. The College provides interviewees with written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews, hearings, or other meetings. Students and employees have up to five days from the notification at any stage to participate in the process. Following that time, the student or employee may be in violation of College policies and procedures that require cooperation with College inquiries. The investigation may proceed without their participation. 
    4. The Title IX Coordinator creates an investigation report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence in an impartial manner. When the evidence is assembled, the Title IX investigator weighs its credibility and prepares a report in six sections: Background, Statement of Allegations, Undisputed Facts, Disputed Facts with Resolution by Investigator, Sources of Information, and Summary.
    5. The investigation report balances the presumption of innocence for the respondent with pursuit of the facts, based on allegations of the complainant. This objective evaluation includes all relevant evidence regarding the complaint, both positive and negative. The College weighs credibility based on candor and demeanor in light of the evidence, not status as a complainant, respondent, or witness. The College may rely on information protected by a legally-recognized privilege only when that privilege is waived by the person who holds the privilege, as required by Title IX.
    6. The College completes evidence-gathering within 20 days unless the College notifies both parties of a delay based on good cause, and its reason, including but not limited to:
      1. Unavailability of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness, or
      2. Concurrent law enforcement activity, or
      3. Need to secure language assistance, or
      4. Need to arrange for accommodation of a disability, or
      5. Circumstances deemed by the College to support a delay in the best interest of a fair and impartial process

  9. Review at the completion stage of evidence-gathering 
    1. Following the investigation, the College simultaneously provides the parties with all evidence collected, designating which evidence will be considered and will not be considered by the investigator. 
    2. The complainant and the respondent may provide additional information (including but not limited to interviews, witness names and expected information, and documents) for consideration by the Investigator. This information must be submitted within five days following the notification that the College concluded evidence-gathering. If either party submits additional information, the Title IX Coordinator adds a seventh section, Additional Information Received, and revises the Summary.

  10. Completion of investigation
    1. Following the parties’ opportunity to review the evidence, and supplementation as needed, evidence collection is complete and final.  No further evidence may be submitted for the investigation by any party after this point. The Title IX Coordinator provides the investigation report (including analysis of the evidence) and the evidence in simultaneous notifications to the complainant and respondent within 10 days following the date the evidence becomes final.
    2. The complainant and respondent may provide a response to the final investigation. This information may not include additional evidence. The response must be submitted within ten days following the notification of the investigation’s completion. The notification letter specifies that the response material does not become part of the investigation documents.

  11. Request for hearing
    In the notification of the final investigation document, the College offers the option for either party to request a hearing and specifies the timeframe and process for such a request. The Title IX Coordinator makes the arrangements if at least one party requests a hearing. A “live” hearing occurs at a prescribed time using teleconferencing technology and its recording feature.
    1. Each party must provide the name of an advisor (if they plan to choose one) and their list of witnesses no later than five days after the College issues the notification of the hearing date, as instructed in the notification letter. If a party does not choose an advisor, the College assigns one. Only an advisor may pose cross-examination questions in a hearing. 
    2. Each party will have a minimum of ten days to prepare for the hearing, following the College’s simultaneous notification of each party’s proposed witnesses.
    3. The Title IX Coordinator transmits the investigation report and supporting evidence to the decision maker conducting the hearing. 
  12. Elements of a hearing
    The College provides the details for the hearing in writing to both parties. The College-assigned decision maker presides at the hearing and observes the following:
    • Reschedules the hearing if video and audio connections cannot be established within 15 minutes of the scheduled hearing time. 
    • Reschedules the hearing if any party fails to appear for the hearing within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, without notification as provided in the notification letter. Each party is limited by the College to requesting or causing one rescheduled hearing before the decision maker will proceed without their participation. 
    • Limits the hearing to a scheduled four-hour period in any single day. Hearings may be continued on another day, considering opportunities for both parties to participate meaningfully in all elements of the hearing without creating undue burden or disruption. 
    • Designates a “technical monitor” to facilitate processes, including recording. 
    • Ensures participation of both parties with viable audio and video actively confirming their presence.
    • Limits presentation of the complainant’s position to five minutes.
    • Limits presentation of the respondent’s position to five minutes.
    • Facilitates presentation of the complainant’s witnesses, in any order, from the list provided. 
    • Facilitates presentation of the respondent’s witnesses, in any order, from the list provided.

      The College makes an audio/visual record of the hearing available to both parties within three days.

  13. Process for cross-examination by advisor
    The process for cross-examination at the hearing is specified under Title IX on the College website. Only an advisor poses questions on cross examination. The decision maker excludes from consideration statements from a witness who fails to participate in cross-examination. The College reserves for the judgment of the decision maker any processes necessary to provide a fair and impartial hearing, consistent with College practice.

  14. Finding of responsibility; notifications
    Within five days following the hearing, the decision maker considers available relevant evidence and makes a finding of responsibility. That requires one of two decisions: that the respondent is responsible for the conduct alleged or that the respondent is not responsible for the conduct alleged. The standard for the decision is preponderance of evidence.

    The decision maker communicates the finding of responsibility to the complainant and respondent simultaneously. That notice includes:
    1. The allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment. 
    2. A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination of responsibility, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held.
    3. Findings of fact supporting the determination of responsibility.
    4. Conclusions regarding the application of College Policy 3.090, Student Code of Conduct, or Procedure 2.1900, Employee Discipline, to the facts.
    5. A finding of responsibility for each allegation, with supporting reasoning.
    6. Disciplinary actions imposed on the respondent.
    7. Remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to College’s education program or activity provided to the complainant, with supporting reasoning.
    8. Appeal process per section 15.

      The finding of responsibility becomes final under one of two conditions:
      1. If an appeal is filed, the date on which the College provides the parties with the written result of the appeal regarding the finding of responsibility, or
      2. If no appeal is filed, the date immediately following the last day to request an appeal regarding the finding of responsibility.

  15. Appeal regarding finding of responsibility
    Either the complainant or the respondent may appeal the finding of responsibility using the process specified in the communication of the finding, per section 14h. That process includes a statement that the party is appealing the finding of responsibility, based on factors a, b, or c below, with supporting information. Each party has five days from the date of the College’s notification document to appeal. Permissible bases for appeal:
    1. A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome, or 
    2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the College made the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, that could affect the outcome of the matter, or
    3. a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent, on the part of the decision maker, that affected the outcome of the matter.

      The College selects a different decision maker to consider an appeal to the finding of responsibility. The decision maker at the appeal stage notifies both parties that an appeal has been filed and communicates a decision on the appeal to both parties within 10 days following the date on which the appeal is received by the College. That decision is the final step in the Title IX Grievance Procedure.

  16. Supportive measures following finding of responsibility
    The College may continue the supportive measures implemented at the time the conduct was reported, amend them, or enact new supportive measures following the finding of responsibility.

  17. Process to close complaint
    The Title IX Coordinator preserves a record of the complaint consistent with Title IX rules and any applicable Florida record retention laws.

  18. The College prohibits retaliation against complainants, respondents, witnesses, and College representatives participating in this process. Retaliation is a form of discrimination prohibited by College Procedure 1.0600, under which violations are investigated.
Recommended by:Executive Team/CACDate


Signed by:

President Georgia L. Lorenz


[1] Per 34 CFR 106.45.c.7, sexual assault is defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v). ‘‘Dating violence’’ is defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10). Domestic violence is defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8). Stalking is defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30). 

[2] The appropriate officials normally will include the Behavior Intervention Team as outlined in College Procedure 1.2010. Consultation will exclude any members likely to be designated as decision makers at a later stage of the complaint.