Sexual misconduct is a problem for people in the United States, men and women alike. This particular subject may hit home for many members of the students and faculty at the school — it is a very serious matter that should be handled with dignity.
Sexual misconduct is illegal, although it was not recognized as a form of harassment until the 1970’s. Originally chalked up to flirtation, today it is a form of discrimination, and legal action can be taken under The Civil Rights Act.
The law does not prohibit teasing, but this type of behavior can create a hostile environment, it could interfere with work performance and could cause serious psychological problems for the victim.
When it comes to prohibited conduct at the college, it could include sexual harassment, harassment or discrimination. Sexual harassment could be unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical or visual unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Harassment could be verbal or physical conduct that is offensive to a person, based on legally protected classes, such as race, gender or religion.
This is all covered under Title IX, which is a portion of an education amendment, and states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…” Any incidents would be allegedly violating Title IX.
The first step in dealing with unwanted sexual advances is taking a stand, but sometimes the victim is not comfortable confronting their harasser. From there, complaint mechanisms and grievance systems exist that are available to help.
At the college, if a student needs to discuss or file a complaint about student sexual misconduct, they can contact Paul Kyle , Title IX coordinator and Dean of student Services and Success (913-469-3806), or Pam Vassar, Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Associate Dean of Student Life (913-369-3409).
Paul Kyle said the college receives two to three reports on average a semester, “with some of it not turning out to be harassment.” However, he believes some go unreported.
“We know the more serious sexual misconduct offenses, such as rape […] are underreported dramatically across the nation,” Kyle said. “As for the college environment we are fortunate that we do not have resident living on campus. Across the nation the majority of Sexual Misconduct cases occur in the dorms and/or Greek facilities, JCCC has neither.”
Kyle also said most of the issues related to sexual misconduct come from relationship conflicts that occur off campus, and they find their way back to the college through those individuals interactions on campus.
“One of the new regulations associated to the Clery Act has put a greater emphasis on stalking, which has been determined to be precursor to sexual violence,” Kyle said. “Stalking has been on our radar for awhile now because we knew before the regulations came out that stalking on campuses occurs at a higher rate than the general population stalking rate.”
“Students have two options,” Kyle said, “With both, we encourage them to get help, and offer help, top priority. If the victim does not want to pursue the legal route, the college can help them with resource and safety. So, if the alleged perpetrator is a JCCC student, […] we minimally encourage the victim to make a police report even if they do not want to take legal action.”
“With the new regulation from the Clery Act and the new Violence Against Women Act, you will be seeing a greater emphasis in education and training for students coming from the college,” Kyle said.
Additionally, all college employees must complete mandatory training regarding sexual harassment annualy, according to Kyle. The Sexual Assault Response Team is also developing a series of campaigns involving students which will address issues such as stalking and date violence. The information, including brochures, videos and more, will roll out in the spring.
A list of emergency resources can be found here: jccc.edu/administration/student-success-engagement/sexual-misconduct.html