Title IX of the Federal Higher Education Amendment of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity receiving Federal Financial Aid. ATC is committed to providing a learning and working environment free from sex discrimination in its education programs and activities. Sex discrimination includes “sexual misconduct” which is a term used to describe a range of behaviors, including sexual harassment and sexual assault. Sex discrimination committed by students, staff, or faculty will not be tolerated. This policy applies to all members of the campus community, including faculty and other employees and students. Vendors, contractors, and third parties acting as agents for the campus are covered by this policy in their interactions with members of the community; this policy does not extend to the internal policies or practices of those entities.
Consent – A knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity at the time of the activity. In order to be valid, consent must be knowing, voluntary, active, present and ongoing. Consent is not present when an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol, drugs, or sleep, or otherwise without capacity to provide consent due to intellectual or other disability or other condition.
When alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. When drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond being under the influence of or impaired by the use of the drug. Alcohol and other drugs impact each individual differently. Determining whether an individual is incapacitated requires an individualized determination.
When determining whether a person has the capacity to provide consent, ATC will consider whether a sober, reasonable person in the same position knew or should have known that the other party could or could not consent to the sexual activity. When determining whether consent has been provided, all the circumstances of the relationship between the parties will be considered.
Intimate-Partner Violence – An act of violence or threatened act of violence by or against one person who is, or has been, involved in a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with another person. This includes:
- Dating Violence – Violence, including but not limited to sexual or physical abuse, or the threat of such violence, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and other relevant information, taking into consideration the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- Domestic Violence – Violence, including but not limited to sexual or physical abuse, or the threat of such violence, committed by a current or former spouse, or sexual or intimate partner; a person who is living as a spouse or who lived as a spouse; parents and children; other persons related by blood or marriage; or by someone with whom the person shares a child in common. Under the criminal laws of Pennsylvania certain offenses, including but not limited to, rape, aggravated assault, and stalking, can be deemed domestic violence depending on the relationship of the parties involved.
Sexual Assault – This includes the following:
- Sexual Penetration Without Consent – Any penetration of the mouth, sex organs, or anus of another person, however slight by an object or any part of the body, when consent is not present. This includes performing oral sex on another person when consent is not present.
- Sexual Contact Without Consent – Knowingly touching or fondling a person’s genitals, breasts, buttocks, or anus, or knowingly touching a person with one’s own genitals or breasts, when consent is not present. This includes contact done directly or indirectly through clothing, bodily fluids, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch or fondle oneself or someone else.
- Statutory Sexual Assault – The age of consent for sexual activity in Pennsylvania is 16. Minors under the age of 13 cannot consent to sexual activity. Minors aged 13-15 years old cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone who is 4 or more years older than they are at the time of the activity. Minors aged 16 years of age or older can legally consent to sexual activity with anyone they choose, as long as the other person does not have authority over them as defined in Pennsylvania’s institutional sexual assault statute.
Sexual Exploitation – Taking sexual advantage of another person or violating the sexual privacy of another when consent is not present. This includes, but is not limited to, the following actions (including when they are done via electronic means, methods or devices):
- Sexual voyeurism or permitting others to witness or observe the sexual or intimate activity of another person without that person’s consent;
- Indecent exposure or inducing others to expose themselves when consent is not present;
- Recording or distributing information, images or recordings of any person engaged in sexual or intimate activity in a private space without that person’s consent.
- Prostituting another individual;
- Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without that individual’s knowledge; and
- Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.
Sexual Harassment –Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive, where either OR both of the following are present:
- Quid pro quo: Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of current or future employment with ATC, current or future enrollment in an ATC program or the participation in an activity of ATC.
- Hostile Environment: Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an employee of their ability to perform their job responsibilities; or a student from participating or benefitting from their ATC program and/or activities. The existence of a hostile environment is to be judged both objectively (meaning a reasonable person would find the environment hostile) and subjectively (meaning the impacted individual felt the environment was hostile).
A single, isolated incident of sexual harassment alone may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to create a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.
Stalking – Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicating and/or committing acts toward another person under circumstances that demonstrate or communicate an intent:
- to place the other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury; or
- to cause substantial emotional distress to the other person.
A course of conduct is when a person engages in two or more acts that include, but are not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveys, threatens, or communicates to or about a person in a prohibited way, or interferes with a person’s property.
Stalking includes the concept of cyberstalking, in which electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.
Reports of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking do not need to meet the description of “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive.”
Retaliation – Any action, directly or through others, which is aimed to deter a reasonable person from reporting sexual misconduct or participating in an investigation or hearing or action that is done in response to such activities. A finding of retaliation under this policy is not dependent on a finding that the underlying sexual misconduct occurred.
III. ATC’s TITLE IX POLICY
ATC prohibits the following forms of conduct:
- Sexual Assault including Sexual Penetration Without Consent, Sexual Contact Without Consent and Statutory Sexual Assault
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Exploitation
- Intimate-Partner Violence, including Dating Violence and Domestic Violence
This prohibited conduct applies to any form of discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, race, color, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital or family status, medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, or disability in any decision regarding enrollment, employment, or participation in an activity of ATC in accordance with the letter and spirit of federal, state, and local nondiscrimination and equal opportunity laws, such as Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, The Americans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendments Act, The Equal Pay Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
ATC also complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Title IX prohibits retaliation for asserting or otherwise participating in claims of sex discrimination. VAWA imposes additional duties on universities and colleges to investigate and respond to reports of sexual assault, stalking, and dating or domestic violence, and to publish policies and procedures related to the way these reports are handled.
Title IX Coordinator
ATC has designated Donald VanDemark, VP/COO as the Title IX Coordinator, to coordinate ATC’s compliance with Title IX and VAWA and to respond to reports of violations. ATC will promptly and equitably respond to all reports of sexual misconduct in order to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and redress its effects on any individual or the community.
The Title IX Coordinator is trained to objectively evaluate all relevant evidence without prejudgment of the facts at issue and free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against either party. All materials used to train the Title IX Coordinator are available on ATC’s website.
Scope of Policy
This policy applies to conduct that is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on any member of ATC’s community while on campus and also during off-campus activities (e.g. field trip). There is no time limit for reporting allegations of sexual misconduct, however, ATC strongly encourages the prompt reporting of sexual misconduct to allow ATC to respond promptly and effectively. If the reported respondent is not a member of the ATC community or is no longer associated with ATC at the time of the report or at the time a resolution process is initiated, ATC may be unable to investigate or take disciplinary action.
IV. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS
Interim and Supportive Measures
When ATC becomes aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct, the school will inform both parties of the supportive measures that are available to them, even if a formal investigation is not initiated. ATC may also take interim measures to protect the ATC community at large.
- Supportive Measures. The following are examples, but not an exhaustive list, of supportive measures:
- Making class changes, extending deadlines for assignments or permitting either party to take a leave of absence;
- Assistance in finding alternate housing;
- Changing an employee’s schedule;
- Assistance in finding alternative transportation to ensure safety;
- Providing information on available counseling services through an off-campus agency;
- Assistance in obtaining medical and other services, including access to rape crisis centers;
- Assistance with filing a criminal complaint and/or seeking an order of protection; and/or
- Enforcing a protection from abuse order.
Supportive measures will be individualized and appropriate based on the information available, making every effort to avoid depriving any student of their education or impacting employment. The measures needed by each party may change over time, and parties should communicate with ATC throughout the resolution process to ensure the supportive measures are effective.
- Interim Measures
- No Contact Orders – The complainant and the respondent may request an ATC-issued “no contact order” under which continued intentional contact would violate this policy. No contact orders may be issued for other individuals as appropriate.
- Interim Suspension – In exceptional circumstances where it is determined that a respondent is a continuing threat to the health and safety of the community, ATC may seek an emergency interim suspension of a student or take similar emergency measures against an employee. For students who are given an interim suspension, ATC will convene a hearing within 10 working days, unless extenuating circumstances warrant an extension, in which case a hearing shall be provided at the earliest possible date.
- Process for Review of Interim Measures
- For students who are given an interim suspension, ATC will convene a hearing within 10 working days, unless extenuating circumstances warrant an extension, in which case a hearing shall be provided at the earliest possible date.
For interim measures involving employees, ATC will follow applicable requirements in the ATC employee handbook.
Filing a Report
Making a report is different from filing a complaint. A report is defined as notification of an incident of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator by any responsible employee or reporting person. All ATC employees are considered “responsible employees” under Title IX and are obligated to report incidents of sexual misconduct of which they become aware to the Title IX Coordinator. Any individual, including a third party, may make a report concerning of sexual misconduct. Complainants and third-parties are encouraged to report sexual misconduct as soon as possible to allow ATC to respond promptly and effectively.
Individuals may file a report electronically by an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report may be accompanied by a request for (1) supportive or interim measures; (2) no further action; (3) a request to initiate an informal resolution process; and/or (4) the initiation of the formal complaint process. A person who has experienced sexual misconduct under this policy, or a person who witnesses sexual misconduct under this policy, has the right to simultaneously file a complaint with ATC and to pursue a criminal complaint with law enforcement. Victims and witnesses of sexual misconduct have the right to be assisted by ATC in notifying law enforcement authorities of sexual misconduct or they can decline to notify such authorities. ATC may, however, have a statutory reporting obligation when it becomes aware of certain factual allegations. Parties may also have options to file civil actions in court or with administrative agencies.
In many instances, an informal discussion may be useful in resolving concerns about allegations of discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Complainants who wish to resolve their concerns informally should bring them to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will consult with the School Director and/or the Assistant Director of Career and Student Services, if necessary, before conducting an initial investigation of the situation (including the reporting party’s desired course of action, and the necessity for any supportive or interim measures to protect the safety of the complainant or the community). The goal is to eliminate any hostile environment.
ATC will conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine if the allegations, if true, would rise to the level of a violation of ATC policy. The possible next steps include the following: (1) A decision to close the case when insufficient evidence exists to move forward or because the allegation, even if proven, would not violate ATC’s policy; (2) Informal Action (see below); or (3) Formal Resolution (see below).
In working to resolve the matter, the Title IX Coordinator ordinarily will interview the complainant and, as appropriate, others who may have knowledge of the facts underlying the complaint. At any point, including while the informal process is ongoing or afterward, the complainant may elect to end the informal process in favor of filing a formal complaint. If a Title IX coordinator receives multiple informal complaints of harassment against a single respondent, ATC will not begin the formal complaint process without a complainant filing a formal complaint.
An informal process will not be used where an employee allegedly sexually harassed a student.
If a report of misconduct discloses a serious or immediate threat to the campus community, ATC will issue a timely notification to the community to protect the health or safety of the community. The timely notification will not include any identifying information about the complainant.
The Title IX Coordinator is not a confidential source of support. While he will address your complaint with sensitivity and will keep your information as private as possible, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed and ATC is required to respond with an informal process at the minimum.
While anonymous complaints are accepted, ATC’s ability to address misconduct reported anonymously is significantly limited.
The Grievance Process – Filing a Formal Complaint
- A complainant is the person who has been impacted by an alleged policy violation and has chosen to participate in the resolution process.
- A respondent is the person who is alleged to have violated ATC’s policy.
- Parties is a term that refers to the complainant and the respondent collectively.
- A witness is a person who has knowledge related to specific aspects of a case and may have reported such aspects to the institution.
- An advisor is a support person who is present to provide support to a complainant or respondent throughout an investigation and/or hearing provided the choice of advisor does not unduly delay the process. Each party is responsible for coordinating and scheduling with their choice of advisor.
ATC will investigate and adjudicate formal complaints of sexual misconduct using a grievance process that incorporates due process, treats all parties fairly, and reaches reliable responsibility determinations. ATC will investigate every formal complaint which is filed by a complainant or the school’s Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX processes may be conducted virtually. Staff is trained on relevant technology and the platform application “Zoom” to conduct remote investigations and hearings.
To file a formal complaint, please email the Title IX Coordinator, Mr. Don VanDemark @ email@example.com to set up a meeting.
The Title IX Coordinator will promptly send written notice to both the complainant and the respondent(s) of the allegation. The notice will inform both the complainant and the respondent(s) to select an advisor (who may be, but not need to be, an attorney) to assist them in the proceeding; parties are not permitted to represent themselves. ATC will provide the parties, and their advisors, all evidence directly related to the allegations, in electronic format or hard copy, and must also provide at least 10 days for the parties to inspect, review and respond to the evidence. During this time, the investigator (typically the School Director or the Assistant Director of Career and Student Services) will gather facts and interview parties and witnesses.
Parties have the opportunity to raise the issue of a potential conflict of interest within two (2) days of being advised of the identity of the investigator, panel member, or appeal reviewer. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a conflict of interest exists. No investigator, panelist, or appeal reviewer will make findings or determinations in a case in which they have a conflict of interest.
At least 10 days before the scheduled hearing, ATC will send the parties, and their advisors, an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, in electronic format or hard copy, to which the parties may respond.
ATC will conduct cross-examination of the complaining and responding parties, as well as any witnesses, during a live hearing led by designated ATC officials. Live hearings will be recorded, by transcript or audio-visually, and will be made available to parties and maintained in college records for at least seven years.
Cross-examination will be conducted by the advisers for parties, including legal counsel, but not the parties themselves. All participants have the responsibility to be truthful with the information they share at all stages of the process. Any individual who knowingly or intentionally provides false information as part of a report or investigation under this policy may be subject to discipline. This provision does not apply to a good faith report that is not substantiated or proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
Standard of Proof
ATC uses the preponderance of the evidence standard in investigations of complaints alleging sexual misconduct and any related violations. This means that the investigation determines whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the policy occurred.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof refers to who has the responsibility of showing a violation has occurred. It is always the responsibility of ATC to satisfy the burden of proof. The respondent does not have the burden to prove that a violation did not occur. Respondents may decide not to share their side of the story or may decide not to participate in an investigation or hearing. This does not shift the burden of proof away from ATC and does not indicate responsibility. Additionally, ATC shall not make an adverse inference against a respondent for the respondent’s refusal to participate in an investigation or hearing, nor will respondent’s refusal to participate result in increased sanctions if the respondent is found responsible for the accusations.
V. SEXUAL MISCONDUCT RESOLUTION
ATC will resolve all cases in a prompt and timely manner, however, the timeline will vary based on the circumstances of the case, including breaks in the academic calendar, availability of the parties and witnesses, scope of the investigation, need for interim actions, and unforeseen or exigent circumstances.
Both parties will receive a written determination explaining how and why the decision-maker, ATC President Richard Hiscox, reached conclusions and offer both parties an equal opportunity to appeal the decision.
All parties will be protected from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment or participating/refusing to participate in the grievance policy through supportive measures.
The complainant or respondent may appeal the hearing outcome and/or sanction(s).
In the event sanctions were imposed, it shall be in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and the sanctioning office whether the sanctions shall be implemented or stayed pending resolution of an appeal.
The limited grounds for appeal are as follows:
- New information that could affect the outcome of the matter and was not reasonably available through the exercise of due diligence at the time of the hearing below;
- A deviation from ATC policy or procedures that materially affected the hearing outcome or sanctions; and
- The sanction is determined to be too harsh or too lenient.
VII. CRIMINAL REPORTING OPTIONS
Warminster Township Police Dept.
401 Gibson Ave
Warminster, PA 18974
Uwchlan Township Police Dept.
717 N. Ship Rd
Exton, PA 19341
For emergencies, please call 9-1-1
In addition to filing a complaint through ATC’s formal grievance policy, a complainant may seek resolution by initiating a criminal report through the local law enforcement. ATC’s policy, definitions, and burden of proof may differ from Pennsylvania criminal law. Neither law enforcement’s decision whether to prosecute, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, is determinative of whether sexual misconduct has occurred under this policy. In cases where there is a simultaneous law enforcement investigation, there may be circumstances when ATC may need to temporarily delay its investigation while law enforcement gathers evidence. However, ATC will generally proceed with its investigation and resolution of a complaint even during the time of a pending law enforcement investigation.
VIII. EXTERNAL REPORTING OPTIONS
A person may also file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding an alleged violation of Title IX by visiting https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html or calling 1-800-421-3481 or emailing OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov.
A person may also file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission by calling 717-787-9780 for the Harrisburg Regional Office or 215-560-2496 for the Philadelphia Regional Office or visiting https://www.phrc.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
Employees may also file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding an alleged violation of Title VII by calling 1-800-669-4000 or visiting https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/howtofile.cfm.
IX. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
ATC is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy interests of all individuals involved. Privacy, confidentiality and privilege have distinct meanings under this policy.
Privacy generally means that information related to a report of sexual misconduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals, including individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the review, investigation, or resolution of the report or to deliver resources or support services. While not bound by confidentiality or privilege, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process. All participants in an investigation of sexual misconduct, including advisors and witnesses, will be informed that privacy helps enhance the integrity of the investigation and protect the privacy interests of the parties and will be asked to keep any information learned in an investigation meeting or hearing confidential, to the extent consistent with applicable law. ATC will obtain the party’s written consent before using the party’s medical psychological or similar treatment records during a grievance process.
Certain individuals are designated as having confidentiality. For reports made to employees designated with having confidentiality, ATC will respect the reporting party’s expectations of privacy to the extent permissible by law while still ensuring compliance with other reporting obligations. For example, complaints involving minors are subject to mandatory reporting requirements.
Individuals designated as having confidentiality are required to report the nature, date, time and general location of an incident to the Title IX coordinator. Confidential resources will not share other information with the Title IX Coordinator or any other employee of ATC without the express permission of the disclosing party. Confidential resources can provide information about ATC and off-campus resources, support services and other options. As noted above, because of the confidential nature of these resources, disclosing information to or seeking advice from a confidential resource does not constitute a report or complaint to ATC and will not result in a response or intervention by ATC. A person consulting with a confidential resource may later decide to make a report to ATC and/or law enforcement.
Communication with certain individuals may be privileged by operation of law and reports made to these individuals will not be shared with ATC’s Title IX Coordinator or law enforcement except in very limited situations, such as when failure to disclose the information would result in imminent danger to the individual or to others or as otherwise required by law.
ATC will generally respect a complainant’s choice whether to report an incident to local law enforcement or initiate ATC’s sexual misconduct resolution process, unless ATC determines that there is an overriding interest with respect to the safety or welfare of the ATC community. Where a report involves suspected abuse of a child (an individual under the age of 18 at the time of the incident(s) as reported), all ATC employees and volunteers are required to notify the local police. All other members of ATC community are strongly encouraged to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement.
All ATC proceedings are conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Clery Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), state and local law, and ATC policy. No information will be released from such proceedings, except as required or permitted by law and ATC policy.
ATC may share non-identifying information about reports received in aggregate form, including data about outcomes and sanctions.
X. FREE EXPRESSION AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM
ATC is firmly committed to free expression and academic freedom and to creating and maintaining a safe, healthy, and harassment-free environment for all members of its community. Sexual misconduct, including retaliation, against members of the ATC community are not protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom. ATC will consider principles of free expression and academic freedom in the investigation of reports of sexual misconduct or retaliation that involve an individual’s statements or speech.
XI. ALCOHOL AND DRUG USE AMNESTY
The health and safety of every student at ATC is of utmost importance. ATC recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time sexual misconduct occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. ATC strongly encourages students to report incidents of sexual misconduct. A witness to or individual who experience sexual misconduct, acting in good faith, who discloses any incident of sexual misconduct to ATC officials or law enforcement will not be sanctioned under ATC’s code of conduct for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the incident(s) of sexual harassment or sexual violence. ATC may request the individual attend an approved alcohol or drug education program and without assessing any charges for such program. This amnesty provision also applies to student groups making a report of sexual misconduct. Amnesty does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities pursuant to relevant state or federal criminal statutes.
XII. RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Reports and complaints have different meanings. An individual has a right to make a report of sexual misconduct to ATC, which may be accompanied by request for supportive measures. An individual also has a right to make a complaint of sexual misconduct, which is a request to initiate ATC’s informal resolution process or a formal disciplinary process, which includes an investigation and may proceed to a formal hearing.
- Prior to the conclusion of a sexual misconduct investigation, the reporting party may request to withdraw the complaint by contacting the Title IX Coordinator in writing. He or she will determine whether to close the case or conclude the investigation without the complainant’s continued participation.
- An individual also has the right to report sexual misconduct to law enforcement, separate and apart from any report or complaint made to
- At the time a report is made, the reporting party does not have to decide whether to file a complaint or make a report of sexual misconduct to law enforcement.
- An affected party has the right to request supportive measures from ATC, which may include interim contact restrictions.
- The reporting party has the right to seek medical treatment to address physical and mental health and to preserve evidence.
- A report may become a formal complaint, either initiated by the reporting party or ATC depending on the outcome of the Title IX assessment. To file a complaint, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.