South Plains College is committed to equitable, civilized, and concerned treatment for all individuals without regard for of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. As a member of the academic community, college students enjoy privileges and share the obligations of the larger community of which the College is a part. Students are entitled to the privileges which accrue to them by virtue of their membership. These privileges carry with them the obligations of responsible citizenship. Freedom of discussion, inquiry, and expression is fostered by an environment in which the privileges of citizenship are protected and the obligations of citizenship understood.
Rights and Freedoms
Right to Assembly
Students have the right to assemble peacefully as long as the rights of others are not restricted and the normal functions of the College are not disturbed. A free speech area is designated in the quadrangle area of the Levelland Campus and the open grass area directly west of Building 1 at the Reese Center.
Freedom from Discrimination and/or Harassment
South Plains College does not permit discrimination or harassment in our programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, or any other characteristic protected by institutional policy or state, local, or federal law. Students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy should follow the procedure outlined in this document to report these concerns.
Right to Distribute or Post Printed materials
Students are permitted to distribute or post handbills, posters, or similar printed information in compliance with the College’s posting policy. All distribution must be approved by the Director of Student Life on the Levelland Campus, the Dean of the SPC Reese Center and by the Director of the SPC Plainview Center.
Right to Due Process
Students have the right to due process as appropriate for student disciplinary situations. This includes information concerning the charges and allegations against them, written notice of hearing, the opportunity to present information on their own behalf, and written notice of the decision.
All students are entitled to equal rights under the affirmative action and equal opportunity laws. Students are also protected against unjust or biased academic evaluation, but at the same time, they are responsible for maintaining standards of academic performance established for each course in which they are enrolled.
Freedom from Improper Discloure
Information such as but not limited to student views, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, and political associations which Counselors acquire in the course of their work is strictly confidential. Academic, financial aid and disciplinary records will not be released to anyone outside the College except with the student’s authorization or as outlined under FERPA regulations. Transcripts shall contain only information about academic status.
Freedom of Inquiry and Expression
Students are guaranteed the freedom of discussion, inquiry and expression, both publicly and privately, in the classroom and through speakers sponsored by student organizations. They are subject to all city, state and federal laws, as well as SPC regulations which pertain to these freedoms.
Student Intellectual Property Rights (SPC Policy DBDA)
Subject to the conditions specified in the College’s Intellectual Property Policy DBD, students enrolled at SPC are free to do research, to invent, to publish, and to copyright as they see fit and to benefit from all royalties and monies, which accrue from their creations.
Freedom of Responsible Press
The College supports the concept of a student press which adheres to the principles of responsible journalism.
Right to Solicit
Upon approval of the Director of Student Life on the Levelland Campus and by the Dean at the Reese Center, students are free to solicit to sell merchandise or services, or to obtain contributions for approved clubs and organizations. Proceeds must be used to fulfill the purposes of the club or organization and may not conflict with any contract vendor already on campus. SPC does not allow solicitation by any outside organization.
Discrimination and/or Harassment Complaints (Title IX)
This procedure is intended to apply to student grievances against employees, employee civil rights grievances against students, and student-on-student civil rights grievances. All other grievances by students against students or employees against students will be addressed through the student conduct procedures located elsewhere in this Guide. The College community benefits from formal and informal procedures that encourage prompt resolution of complaints and concerns that students may have about the implementation of policies and procedures that govern the institution.
Informal Dispute Resolution
Before pursuing the formal complaint process, every reasonable effort should be made to constructively resolve issues with faculty, staff, or administrators. Whenever possible and safe, the problem or complaint should first be discussed with the individual involved in the complaint. If satisfactory resolution is not reached after discussion with the individual, the student should contact the individual’s direct supervisor to attempt to resolve the complaint. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the formal complaint process may be initiated. The College does not require a student to contact the person involved or that person’s supervisor if doing so is impracticable, or if the student believes that the conduct cannot be effectively addressed through informal means.
Formal Grievance Process
The Vice President for Student Affairs is the South Plains College Title IX Coordinator and is designated to formally investigate student grievances, address inquiries and coordinate the College’s compliance efforts regarding student complaints and grievances. Notice of a formal complaint can be made in person or orally to an appropriate official, but the College strongly encourages submission of grievances in writing. All complaints of dis- crimination or harassment as described above should be reported to:
Vice President for Student Affairs (Title IX Coordinator)
Stan DeMerritt, Ph.D.
South Plains College
1401 S. College Avenue
Levelland, TX 79336
Individuals with complaints of this nature also always have the right to file a formal complaint with the United States Department Education:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR) - Dallas, Texas Office
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 1620
Dallas, TX 75201-6810
Phone: (214) 661-9600
Facsimile: (214) 661-9587
TDD#: (800) 877-8339
The grievance should clearly and concisely describe the alleged incident(s), when and where it occurred, and the desired remedy sought. The grievance should be in letter format, signed by the initiator, or sent as an email attachment, and should contain the name and all contact information for the grievant. Any supporting documentation and evidence should be referenced within the body of the formal grievance. Additionally, the initiator of a formal grievance should submit any supporting materials in writing as quickly as is practicable.
The supporting documentation should clearly demonstrate all informal efforts, if any, to resolve the issue(s) with the person involved and the person’s supervisor. This includes names, dates and times of attempted or actual contact along with a description of the discussion and the manner of communication made in the course of each effort. If contacting the person involved and/or the supervisor is impracticable, the grievant should state the reasons why.
Upon receipt of a grievance the Vice President for Student Affairs will open a formal case file and assign a case official who will direct the investigation and confer with the Title IX Coordinator on interim action, accommodations for the alleged victim, or other necessary remedial short-term actions.
In the event that the accused individual or accuser rejects the findings in part or entirely, the case official will convene a hearing under its respective procedures to determine whether the accused individual is in violation of the contested aspects of the complaint. At the hearing, the findings of the investigation will be admitted, but are not binding on the decider(s) of fact. The case official may give evidence. The hearing body will determine whether it is more likely than not that the accused individual violated the policies forming the basis of the charge. The goal of the hearing is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the civil and legal rights of all participants.
Where an accused individual is found in violation the case official will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation, as recommended by the hearing committee and after consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. The College will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the College community. Appeal proceedings as described later in this Guide will apply to all parties to the complaint.
Discrimination: Any distinction, preference, advantage for or detriment to an individual compared to others that is based upon an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion or sexual orientation that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or activities.
Discriminatory Harassment: Detrimental action based on an individual’s actual or perceived gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, physical or mental disability, veteran status, pregnancy status, religion, sexual orientation or other protected status that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program or activities.
Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome, gender- based verbal or physical conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or denying someone the ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational program. The unwelcome behavior may be based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation. Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwanted sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying. This may be a case of sexual harassment of a student by another student, a faculty/staff member by a student, or a student by a faculty/ staff member.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact or Intercourse: Any intentional sexual touching or intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, that is without consent and/or by force.
Sexual Exploitation: When a man or woman takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
Confidentiality, Privacy and Reporting Policy
When consulting campus resources, all parties should be aware of confidentiality, privacy and mandatory reporting in order to make informed choices. On campus, some resources can offer you confidentiality, sharing options and advice without any obligation to tell anyone unless you want them to. Other resources are expressly there for you to report crimes and policy violations and they will take action when you report your victimization to them. Most resources on campus fall in the middle of these two extremes.
To Report Confidentially
If one desires that details of the incident be kept confidential, they should speak with on-campus counselors, campus health service providers or off-campus rape crisis resources who can maintain confidentiality, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect you or other members of the community.
Reporting to Those Who Can Maintain the Privacy of What You Share
You can seek advice from certain resources who are not required to tell anyone else your private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear for your safety, or the safety of others. These are individuals who the College has not specifically designated as “responsible employees” for purposes of putting the institution on notice and for whom mandatory reporting is required, other than in the stated limited circumstances. These resources include those without supervisory responsibility or remedial authority to address sexual misconduct, such as residence hall supervisors, wing advisors, faculty members, advisors to student organizations, career services staff, admissions officers, Student Life personnel, and many others. If you are unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain your privacy, ask them before you talk to them. They will be able to tell you, and help you make decisions about who can help you best.
Some of these resources, such as residence hall directors, will be instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, but they will not share any personally identifiable information about your report unless you give permission, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect you or other members of the community. If personally identifiable information is shared, it will only be shared as necessary with as few people as possible, and all efforts will be made to protect your privacy.
Non-Confidential Reporting Options
You are encouraged to speak to officials of the institution to make formal reports of incidents (deans, directors, vice presidents, or other administrators with supervisory responsibilities, campus security, and human resources). The College considers these people to be “responsible employees.” Notice to them is official notice to the institution. You have the right and can expect to have incidents of sexual misconduct to be taken seriously by the institution when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual.
Federal Timely Waring Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that college administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
Response to Reports of Sexual Misconduct
The Title IX or his/her designee will investigate all reports of sexual misconduct. South Plains College reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements, no contact orders, interim suspension from campus pending a resolution, and reporting the matter to the local police. Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and South Plains College reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. South Plains College will consider the concerns and rights of both the reporting party and the responding party.
All students enrolled in the College and all student residents, regardless of institutional or program affiliation, are expected to know and adhere to the rules and regulations of the College, as well as civil laws. Those charged with and found responsible for the violations will be subject to disciplinary action as provided for in this policy. Students are required to appear as witnesses in disciplinary proceedings when requested to do so by the Dean of Students.