Odessa College is opposed to any and all forms of sexual discrimination or harassment within the College community and will take the steps necessary to stop such conduct. Determining what constitutes sexual harassment can vary according to individual circumstances, but it can be described in general terms as unwanted or unwelcome sexually-oriented behavior, such as physical actions or verbal comments, which adversely affects the working or learning environment of an individual.
This statement of zero tolerance for sexual harassment applies to students and College personnel alike. Odessa College’s sexual harassment policy and procedures are designed to deal with complaints of sexual harassment in a reasonable and orderly fashion.
Federal law requires that the College appoint a Title IX coordinator, who is responsible for serving as a resource person on sexual harassment issues and all other forms of discrimination. The Vice President of Administrative Services is the designated harassment prevention/Title IX coordinator. The Executive Director of Student Life will serve as an advocate for students in distress or a person of contact to initiate campus investigations.
Sexual Assault and Related Offenses
Odessa College is committed to providing a safe, secure environment for students, visitors, and employees. The College provides educational materials to staff and students promoting safety awareness and crime prevention. The College’s educational programs:
- promote and support institutional activity programming that encourages safety awareness as it relates to sexual assaults and non-sexual offenses;
- expand collaborative relationships between community groups, agencies, and the institution for education, treatment, and referral of those who have experienced sexual assaults or nonsexual offenses;
- provide training for students, faculty, and staff to enable them to detect specific problems as a result of sexual assaults and to refer persons with such problems to appropriate referral sources;
- provide counseling services for students needing assistance;
- include printed materials and guest lecturers promoting safety and crime awareness during faculty/staff in-service meetings;
- promote use of the “buddy system” for students in college housing;
- continue to strengthen relationships with law enforcement officials to insure quick response to calls involving sexual assault or other campus crimes.
Definitions of Sexual Assault/Violence Crimes
Consent (Texas Family Code §71.004)
Consent is an act of reason and deliberation. A person who possesses and exercises sufficient mental capacity to make an intelligent decision demonstrates consent by performing an act recommended by another. Consent assumes a physical power to act and a reflective, determined, and unencumbered exertion of these powers.
Sexual Assault (Texas Penal Code §22.011)
Intentionally or knowingly for adult or child:
- Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that persons consent;
- Causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without the person’s consent;
- Causes the sexual organ of another person, without the person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, sexual organ of another person, including the actor.
Is without the consent of the other person if:
- The actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of/or threatening the use of physical force or violence against the other person, or the person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;
- The person has not consented and the actor knows the person is unconscious or physically unable to resist;
- The actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting;
- The other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person I unaware that the sexual assault is occurring; or
- The actor has intentionally impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s conduct by administering any substance without the other person’s knowledge.
Domestic Violence/Family Violence (Texas Family Code §71.004)
An act by a member or a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or that is a threat that reasonably places a member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
Abuse, by a member of the family or household toward a child of the family or household.
Stalking (Texas Penal Code §42.072)
A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct, including following the other person.
The actor knows or reasonably believes the other person will regard actions as threatening:
- Bodily injury or death for another person;
- Bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household
- That an offense will be committed against the other person’s property
Would cause a reasonable person to fear:
- Bodily injury or death for him/herself
- Bodily injury or death for a member of the person’s family or household.
- That the offense will be committed against the person’s property.
Preventing Sexual Assault & Reporting Incidents
Sexual assault is an act of violence. Sexual assault should not happen in a learning environment, but it can, even with people you know and trust. Most sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances. This is sometimes referred to as acquaintance rape. For this reason, it is important for you to be assertive, direct, and clear in your communications. Be aware of your non-verbal and verbal communication. Always be on alert when you get in a car with someone you have just met (perhaps at a party or from online), no matter how nice the person seems.
Also, it is a good practice to never leave your drink unattended if at a party or social gathering. The use of alcohol and drugs at social gatherings dramatically increases the risk of sexual assault for college students.
If you have been sexually assaulted on campus or at a college-sponsored event/ activity, report the crime to the Campus Police or the Executive Director of Student Life. Students living on-campus should contact the Director of Residence Life if the assault occurs in the residence halls. Reporting does not mean you must take legal action. This is a choice you can make later. By reporting the crime, though, you may help to stop a rapist. Chances are that the person has raped before and will rape again until apprehended. If you have been raped, preserve physical evidence that could be useful later on. Do not change clothes, bathe, or use the bathroom. Do seek medical care immediately, whether or not you report the crime. In addition to taking care of obvious injuries, you need medical care to protect you from unwanted sexually transmitted diseases/infections.
The law warns that knowing someone–even intimately–is never an excuse for forced sex. Clear communication should be used to reach an understanding with a friend or date. Do not assume an earlier understanding still holds; do not ever assume communication can be clear if either party is abusing alcohol or other drugs.
In social situations, both women and men must use good judgment because the stakes are high for both. The best precaution is to stay in control and remember that a wrong decision in the area of sexual activity may remain with you for a lifetime.
Campus Sexual Assault Victim Bill of Rights
Both the accuser and the accused have rights in regard to sexual assault investigations. The accused students will have the same rights as any student involved in the disciplinary process. As necessary, victims of sexual assault may take advantage of any and all rights that the College has established for such victims. Victims of sexual assault will have the right to the following:
- Reasonable changes to the academic and/or living situations;
- Referrals to counseling, assistance in notifying law enforcement;
- Same opportunity as accused to have others present at disciplinary hearing/meetings;
- Unconditional notification of outcomes of disciplinary hearing sanctions and terms of sanction in place;
- Opportunities and assistance to speak (or choose not to speak) to anyone regarding the outcome; and
- Name and identifying information kept confidential (FERPA right).
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity. Odessa College does not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on, or related to:
- Gender Identity
- Sexual Orientation
- Ability Status
- Protected Veteran Status
- Any other part of your identity
Sex-Based Discrimination Includes:
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Misconduct
- Interpersonal/Dating Violence
- Pregnancy, Nursing, and Parenting Discrimination
Odessa College Title IX Policies
FFDA LOCAL – freedom from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation: sex and sexual violence (students)
FFDB LOCAL – freedom from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation: other protected characteristics (students)
DIAA LOCAL – freedom from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation: sex and sexual violence (employees)
DIAB LOCAL – freedom from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation: other protected characteristics (employees)
Odessa College Grievance and Complaint Policies
FLD LOCAL – student rights and responsibilities: student complaints
DGBA LOCAL – personnel-management relations: employee grievances
Unresolved Conflict/Complaint Form
Students and Employees are encouraged to report a Title IX violation using the college’s SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REPORT when:
- An incident has negatively affected your academics, employment, or student involvement.
- You have concerns about your safety or the safety of others.
- You need assistance and support, but you do not want to disclose details or names.
- You would like a No Contact Order to prohibit communication between you and another party.
- You would like the college to take action and investigate the incident.
The report may be completed anonymously; however, anonymous reports mitigate the college’s ability to support the victim/complainant while providing the following interim supportive measures:
- Academic accommodations (revising schedule, transitioning to remote learning, rescheduling due dates for assignment or exam)
- Access to medical and mental health services, including counseling
- Change in campus housing and/or dining
- A No Contact directive pending the outcome of an investigation (both parties have no verbal, electronic, written, or third party communication with one another)
- Provide a campus escort to ensure that you can move safely between school programs and activities;
- Assistance identifying an advocate to help secure addition resource or assistance including off-campus and community advocacy, support and services.
Receipt of the SEXUAL MISCONDUCT REPORT initiates communication from one of the college’s Title IX Coordinators:
Student Title IX Coordinator
Urisonya Flunder, Ph.D. | Executive Director of Student Life
firstname.lastname@example.org | 432-335-6338 | Saulsbury Campus Center Room 234
Employee Title IX Coordinator
Lindsey Bryant | Director of Human Resources
email@example.com | 432-335-6835 | Administration Building Room 104F
Student and Employees may file a written complaint directly with campus Title IX Coordinators.
Please be advised the Title IX investigation and adjudication process may include a live hearing. All parties involved, including witnesses, may be subject to cross-examination.
Odessa College Title IX Personnel Training
Odessa College Title IX personnel have completed specialized training in addition to the general Title IX training available to all faculty and staff. Completed trainings are listed below:
- Title IX Revisions with Dr. Susan Strauss – Certified
- Title IX “Final Rule” U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) New Mandates for Higher Education and K-12 – Dr. Susan Strauss
Odessa College Employee Title IX Training Resources
Odessa College Employees can login to their custom Higher Ed Works online training account to access the following Title IX Trainings:
Title IX training resources for college personnel are available via STARLINK. Click Get Started and register as a First Time User to complete the Title IX training.
STARLINK was established in 1989 with a Perkins State Leadership grant. Since its founding, STARLINK has been committed to empowering student success and providing exceptional professional development to higher education communities. Our online courses allow staff, faculty, adjuncts, and CEOs to take responsibility for their growth and development, giving them the ability to personalize their learning with on-demand courses. STARLINK provides courses that maintain academic rigor, technical knowledge and skill sets which drive positive growth. STARLINK offers members a personalized dashboard to track training and 24/7 access to over 200 hours of professional development training through its eLibrary. New courses, features, and webinars are released monthly.
STARLINK currently provides professional development programming annually to member colleges and universities across the United States, Canada, and throughout the world through U.S. Military and embassies. STARLINK, empowering student success!
During the 2019 Texas legislative session, Senate Bill 212 was passed into state law. This new law requires all employees of Texas colleges and universities to report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking allegedly committed by or against a student or employee, to the Title IX Coordinator. Under this new law, an employee who fails to report or falsely reports such an incident will also be subject to criminal liability (misdemeanor) and termination of employment.
- The bill requires an employee who witnesses or receives information regarding an incident that the employee reasonably believes constitutes sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, and which is alleged to have been committed by or against a person who is a student or employee of the college at the time of the incident, must promptly report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator.
- Student Title IX Coordinator | Urisonya Flunder, Ph.D. | Executive Director of Student Life | firstname.lastname@example.org | 432-335-6338 | Saulsbury Campus Center Room 234
- Employee Title IX Coordinator | Lindsey Bryant | Director of Human Resources | email@example.com | 432-335-6835 | Administration Building Room 104F
- If an employee is required to report and fails to make a report, or with the intent to harm or deceive, knowingly makes a report that is false, then the offense is a Class B misdemeanor; If it is shown at trial that the employee acted with an intent to conceal the incident, then the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
- The college will be required to terminate an employee whom the college determines, in accordance with the college’s disciplinary procedure, to have committed the offense of failing to report or making a false report to the college.
- The Title IX Coordinator must submit a written report of the reports received by the college, to be submitted quarterly to the President.
- At least once during each fall or spring semester, the President will be required to submit to the Odessa College Board of Trustees, and post on the institution’s website.
- Students who are also employees are strongly encouraged, but not required, to report.
CEO Report under Texas Education Code § 51.253(c)
Effective January 1, 2020, Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 51.253(c) requires an institution or system’s Chief’s Executive Officer (CEO) submit a report (“CEO Report”) at least once during each fall or spring semester to the institution’s governing body and post the report on the organization’s website. The Texas Higher Education Board (THECB) requires annual certification of compliance for the TEC requirements in October of each year. The CEO Report must contain (1) all reports by employees under the TEC, Section 51.252 that constitutes “sexual harassment,” “sexual assault,” “dating violence,” or “stalking” (as defined in the TEC, Section 51.251), and (2) any disciplinary actions taken under TEC, Section 51.255.