Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions from AVTEC students regarding AVTEC’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures.
Does information about a report remain private?
The privacy of all parties to a report of sexual misconduct will be respected, unless it interferes with AVTEC’s obligation to fully investigate the allegations. When privacy may not strictly be kept, it will be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Violations of the privacy of either party may lead to conduct action by AVTEC, though both parties are allowed to share their perspectives and experiences. All parties, including witnesses, involved in an allegation are strongly encouraged to maintain the privacy of information and/or written materials.
In all resolutions of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct, made to an AVTEC staff member, and there may be evidence that a felony has occurred, local police must be notified. This does not mean charges will automatically be filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. AVTEC also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an “Annual Security Report” of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
Will my parent/guardian be told?
If you are 18 or older, no, not unless you tell them. If you are under 18 your parent/guardian may be informed. In the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parent/guardian. AVTEC officials will directly inform parent/guardian when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation, or if an individual has signed a release of information which allows such communication.
Will the responding party know my identity?
Yes, if AVTEC determines there is reasonable cause to believe a violation has occurred and investigates the matter. The respondent has the right to know the identity of the complainant. If there is a hearing, AVTEC does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, via Zoom or other method, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.
Do I have to name the responding party?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the respondent. You can report the incident without the identity of the respondent, but doing so may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the complainant. You may contact an AVTEC Counselor, who can explain AVTEC’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct reports, and maintain your confidentiality, or you may seek other community assistance. See below regarding legal representation.
Will I (as a complainant) have to pay for counseling/or medical care?
AVTEC counselors are available to help AVTEC students free of charge. If you access community services, payment for these will be subject to state/local laws and insurance requirements.
What about legal advice?
Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue criminal prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are considering filing a civil action or are the respondent. The respondent may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution and/or the campus conduct proceedings. Both the respondent and the complainant may, at their own expense, use an attorney as their advisor during AVTEC’s resolution process.
How is a report of sexual misconduct decided?
AVTEC investigates allegations of sex/gender based harassment, discrimination or misconduct to determine whether there is evidence to indicate a policy violation is “more likely than not.” This standard, called the preponderance of the evidence, corresponds to an amount of evidence indicating a policy violation is more than 50% likely to have occurred.
What support services may be provided by AVTEC?
The Title IX Coordinator or an AVTEC Counselor (or a designee) may provide interim remedies intended to address the short-term effects of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. These supportive measures may include referral to counseling and health services, implementing contact limitations between the parties, altering housing situations, transportation resources, reasonable academic accommodations, and other appropriate support services and resources. AVTEC will keep interim remedies as private as possible. These supportive measures are offered to all complainants, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to file a formal complaint.
Will a complainant be sanctioned when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if he/she has illegally used drugs or alcohol?
No. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and AVTEC does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct. AVTEC provides amnesty from consequences for minor policy violations that occur during or come to light as the result of a report of sexual misconduct.
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct resolution?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the respondent’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the resolution of the reported misconduct. A complainant must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove that policy was violated. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the respondent without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by a respondent.
Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?
Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present matter.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of AVTEC’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact an AVTEC Counselor (confidential) or AVTEC’s Title IX Coordinator.