Information for Respondents
If you are a member of the campus community and have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, dating and domestic violence, or other gender-based harassment it is important that you read the following information. Although not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of your options and rights, this information may be useful to you.
While Rancho Santiago Community College District (“RSCCD") is committed to maintaining a positive learning and working environment, RSCCD is equally dedicated to providing fair and equitable services to Parties accused of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and other sex or gender-based policy violations. You have the right to a fair process. This means you have the right to be notified of the allegations, be treated with respect, receive interim remedies, be given a full and fair opportunity to respond to the allegations, provided an opportunity to appeal, and be informed of the outcome.
Within the college's processes, the person making the allegations is referred to as the Complainant. The person who the allegations have been made against (you) is referred to as the Respondent. A Complainant who wishes to make a report may report their complaint directly to the Student Health Center, Campus Safety, the VP of Student Services, the Title IX Coordinator, or other campus officials. A Complainant may also report directly to law enforcement. A Complainant may pursue both the campus process through the Title IX Coordinator and the criminal process simultaneously. In addition, students may file a Title IX complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.
- The Title IX Coordinator has the authority to address complaints in a non-criminal context. The campus process is completely separate from the legal adjudication process. The Title IX Coordinator will review the allegations and determine an appropriate course of action. Some cases may be handled informally and outside of the formal investigative process. For cases that result in an investigation, those investigations are conducted by individuals who have received specialized training in those types of investigations. All investigations will be conducted in a thorough and neutral manner.
- The college will take interim steps to protect and support the Complainant and Respondent while the case is pending. Depending on the case, these steps may include, but not limited to discreet absence notifications, request for flexibility from faculty or supervisors, safety planning, course load reductions or withdraws, class reassignments, and No Contact Orders or location restrictions. Any adjustments made will be designed to minimize the impact on the Parties' educational program.
- When the college becomes aware of sexual misconduct, the college may have an obligation to proceed with an investigation, regardless of a Complainant's wishes, in order to ensure campus safety.
- The Complainant and Respondent have the right to identify witnesses, ask questions, and provide other information relevant to the investigation. The college will decide the case based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (whether or not it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred or 51%).
- In most cases, the college will not wait until a criminal case is resolved before proceeding with the case. In cases where a police investigation has been conducted or is being conducted, law enforcement may be able to provide some information to the Title IX Coordinator with the Complainant's consent. The college's fact-finding investigation may be delayed for a short period of time upon a request from law enforcement but will be resumed as soon as possible.
- Prior to an interview with an investigator, you will receive a Notice of Investigation that will provide an overview of the allegations and a request for confidentiality. Receiving a Notice of Investigation does not mean you have been found to be in violation of policy. It means an investigation has started to determine if there was a policy violation.
- Most investigations conducted take up to 90 days to be resolved, depending on the complexity of the case and the number of individuals involved. If a case will be extended, the Title IX Coordinator or investigator will provide you with an update.
- You have the right to bring a support person or advisor (including an attorney) to any meeting held with the college on this matter. Please remember this individual is only there to advise you and may not speak on your behalf.
- Respondents and Complainants are not obligated to answer questions during an investigation. However, the results of the investigation will be based on the information shared with the investigator or Hearing Officer. If a Party chooses to answer questions selectively, the fact finder may draw adverse conclusions based on why only certain questions were answered.
- The District prohibits retaliation in any way against an individual or group because the individual or group has reported an allegation or has participated in an investigatory proceeding in response to such an allegation. The District will take prompt and responsive action to any report of retaliation and may pursue disciplinary or other action as appropriate. Be mindful of your actions and behavior and avoid all direct and indirect contact with the Complainant until the matter is resolved.
- If you have disability-related needs and wish to request reasonable accommodations, please contact your college's DSPS office directly by calling the numbers provided on the last page of this brochure or contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
- Please remember, there are confidential resources on campus that are available for emotional support and processing. The mental health professionals at the Student Health Centers do not report Title IX incidents to the Title IX Coordinator.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if I am accused of sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the Complainant. You may want to speak with someone in the campus community who can act as your support person. Your Title IX Coordinator can explain the college’s grievance procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to seek confidential counseling through the Health
Center's Psychological Services or seek support through off-campus services in the community.
What about legal advice?
Respondents may want to retain legal counsel given the potential for criminal and/or civil action. Legal resources can be found below:
Legal Aid Society
Orange County Bar Association
What will my parents be told?
The college’s primary relationship is to you, the student, and not to your parent/guardian. College officials will only speak with your parents/guardians at your request or when there is a significant threat to your health or safety.
Can criminal charges be filed against me?
It depends, Complainants may have the right to pursue both campus resolution of a complaint as well as civil and/or criminal resolution depending on the situation. It is up to the Complainant to decide how they want to proceed. The colleges’ processes will move forward regardless if there is criminal or civil legal action taken regarding the same incident.