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Complaint Processes

 

Complaint Procedures for Students

The College maintains several distinct procedures designed to provide efficiency and expertise in the resolution of student complaints.  In situations in which a student alleges multiple, related complaints involving separate procedures (for example, a grade appeal and a discrimination complaint), the Administration reserves the right to process the complaints separately or to consolidate them.  When complaints are consolidated, the Administration shall use the procedure that will provide the student with the maximum amount of process.

Incident Report Form

Grade determination and awarding of a final grade in a course is clearly the responsibility of the instructor. Final grade reports should be available to the student within a reasonable time following the end of the course, typically within 7 days. When a student becomes aware of a final grade that is believed to be incorrect, the student may appeal the final grade received in the course. The student shall initiate the appeal process as soon as possible following the receipt or electronic posting of the grade. The appeal process shall be initiated no later than 30 days after the end of that semester and must be resolved within 120 days following the initiation of the appeal.

Students may not use this procedure to challenge the substance or content of an exam, test item, test answer, or assignment.  At no step in the process are the instructor’s questions or individual test items to be scrutinized. Only course syllabus (e.g., grading system), and letter or numerical grades as recorded in the instructor’s grade book will be examined.

The procedures for appealing a grade shall be as follows:

1. Student Meeting with Instructor. The student and instructor shall discuss the grade that the student believes is incorrect.  At this meeting, only the grades on tests, projects, reports, etc., and the grading system listed in the syllabus will be discussed and recalculated as necessary. Whenever possible, the matter should be resolved at this meeting. If the instructor cannot resolve the problem immediately, the student will be notified of the availability of a copy of the grade appeal procedures in the office of the appropriate dean. If, upon receipt of the instructor’s written decision, the student is dissatisfied with the decision, the student may request a meeting with the department chair to appeal the decision of the instructor. (NOTE: In the event there is no department chair, the student may request a meeting with the dean who will conduct the meeting in accordance with steps No. 1 and No. 2 of this procedure.) The student must make the appeal within five (5) working days after notification by the instructor.

  1. Student Meeting with Department Chair/Program Director. The department chair must arrange a meeting no more than five (5) working days after receiving a request from the student, unless exceptional circumstances warrant additional time. This meeting will include the student, the instructor, and the department chair. Providing sufficient evidence of discrepancies or errors in the grade will be the responsibility of the student. If insufficient evidence is offered, the appeal will be denied. The student will be given an opportunity to present his/her case. The instructor will be given a chance for rebuttal.
  2. On hearing the evidence from both sides, the department chair will take one of the following actions:

A. If, in the opinion of the department chair, the student failed to provide sufficient evidence of discrepancies or errors in the grades, the student will be notified in writing that the appeal is denied. The department chair will inform the student of the right to appeal the decision and about the procedures for appeal. At the same time, the department chair will notify the instructor in writing of this decision. The notification must be given within five (5) working days of the hearing.

B. If, in the opinion of the department chair, the student provided sufficient evidence of discrepancies or errors in the grades, the instructor will be notified within five (5) working days of the meeting. At the same time, the department chair will notify the student in writing of this decision.

The instructor will, in turn, inform the department chair in writing within five (5) working days whether he/she will change the grade. If the instructor changes the grade, the instructor notifies the student in writing, and the matter is closed.

If the instructor chooses not to change the grade, the department chair will be notified of the decision in writing within five (5) working days after having received the recommendation from the department chair. Within five (5) working days after being informed of the instructor’s decision to deny the grade change, the department chair will notify the student that the appeal is denied and inform the student of further rights to appeal and the procedure for doing so. All time limits stated are in working days.

All time limits may be extended by mutual consent or by the dean due to exceptional circumstances.

3. Student Meeting with Dean. Within five (5) working days after receiving notification from the department chair that the appeal has been denied, a student may request a meeting with the dean who will take either action A or action B as described in step No. 2 above. (NOTE: In the event there is no dean or in the event that the dean conducted the initial meeting, the student will proceed to step 4.)

4. Student Meeting with Academic Appeals Committee. Within five (5) working days after receiving written notification from the dean that the appeal has been denied, a student appealing a grade in a course may request a hearing before an Academic Appeals Committee. This request will be in writing to the provost. The committee will consist of one full-time instructor to be named by the student, one full-time instructor to be named by the instructor, and one full-time instructor to be named by the provost. The provost will request that the student and instructor submit the name of their nominees within five (5) working days after notification of all parties involved. Upon receiving the names of those nominees, and appointing a third instructor to the committee, the provost will set the time, date, and place of the closed hearing and notify all parties. This will be done within five (5) working days after having received the names of both nominees. A student may present written evidence relevant to the grade appeal and may be advised at the hearing by one or more persons of his/her own choice. The student may have a maximum of two (2) persons in the room at a time. The Academic Appeals Committee may request information from the instructor and/or other persons familiar with the matter.

Within five (5) working days after this hearing, the Academic Appeals Committee will notify the student, the instructor, and the provost in writing of its findings:  (1) A grade change is justified and will be made; or (2) A grade change is not justified and will not be made.

If the decision of the Academic Appeals Committee is to change the grade, the provost will have five (5) working days to make the grade change. The decision of the Academic Appeals Committee will be final.

The same appeal process will be followed when the instructor is not accessible or no longer employed by San Jacinto College by excluding the step involving the instructor.

200.1    Scope

San Jacinto College complies with the U.S. Department of Education’s “Program Integrity” regulations, which require each state to have a student complaint procedure in order for public and private higher education institutions to be eligible for federal Title IV funds. Current, former, and prospective students may initiate a complaint with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, after exhausting the institution’s grievance/complaint process, by sending the required forms either by electronic mail to StudentComplaints@thecb.state.tx.us, or by mail to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Office of General Counsel, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711-2788. Facsimile transmissions of the forms are not accepted.

A general complaint is a College-related problem, decision, or condition that a student believes to be unfair, inequitable, or adversely affecting the student’s education at San Jacinto College or that affects the student’s ability to use College services and programs. A student may not use Procedure 200 to complain about decisions affecting other students or persons.  Finally, Procedure 200 may not be used to address matters for which special procedures are published. In particular, this general procedure may not be used to address grade appeals; harassment and discrimination complaints under Complaint Procedure 300 or 400; traffic appeals; FERPA complaints (see Student Records policy); or student discipline complaints, hearings, or appeals. 

Barring exceptional and unforeseeable circumstances, students should file their complaints within 10 school days after the problem, decision, or condition arose. Complaints filed more than 10 school days after the conclusion of the semester and the posting of the student’s final grades generally may not be accepted.

200.2    Steps

STEP 1. Students who wish to file a complaint should, when necessary, consult with an educational planner or counselor for guidance on how to identify the individuals to whom the student should direct the complaint under Step 2 or Step 3.

STEP 2. The student should first discuss the complaint with the College employee most directly responsible for the condition which brought about the complaint. Most matters will be resolved at this level.

STEP 3. If the discussion at Step 2 does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction and the student wishes to pursue the matter, the student may discuss the matter with the next level of supervisory authority.

STEP 4. If the discussion at Step 3 still does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the student may file a written complaint.  The written complaint shall identify the requested remedy.  If the general complaint is against another student or involves the application of a College policy or procedure, the student shall file the complaint with the dean of student development. The dean of student development will take appropriate action on matters within his or her jurisdiction or route the complaint to the appropriate senior administrator for action.  If the general complaint is against a College employee, the dean of student development will forward the complaint to the Employee Relations Department.  The dean and the Employee Relations Department shall confer and determine an appropriate investigation plan.  The official conducting the review or investigation shall prepare a written communication regarding the disposition of the complaint.

STEP 5. If the response at Step 4 does not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the student may seek further review by submitting a written request to the campus Provost.

300.1      General Statement of Purpose

It is the policy of San Jacinto College to provide an educational, employment, and business environment free of discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, pregnancy, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, genetic information, marital status, or veteran status. Trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and other agents of the College will not engage in conduct constituting unlawful harassment or discrimination.

The College will promptly investigate all allegations of harassment and discrimination and take appropriate disciplinary action against individuals who engage in prohibited conduct.  Disciplinary action may include dismissal of employees, expulsion of students, and removal of visitors.   The policy against discrimination applies to all programs and activities, including:

  • Admission to programs of study
  • Access to enrollment in courses
  • Career placement services
  • Counseling and guidance materials, tests, and practices
  • Technical education
  • Physical education
  • Competitive athletics
  • Graduation requirements
  • Student rules, regulations, and benefits
  • Treatment as a married and/or pregnant student
  • Housing
  • Financial assistance
  • Health services
  • School-sponsored extracurricular activities
  • Other aid, benefits, or services

These rules apply to harassment or discrimination that occurs on campus or off campus at College-sponsored or College-affiliated activities. 

All administrators, faculty, and staff are encouraged to promptly report incidents of discrimination, harassment, and violence.  Additionally, the College has designated certain College employees as responsible officials who have mandatory reporting duties. The following employees have a duty to report alleged instances of unlawful discrimination or harassment that come to their attention:

  • Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents, Provosts, and Deans
  • Registrar
  • Faculty and Department Chairs
  • Police Department personnel
  • Counselors
  • Risk Management personnel
  • Human Resources personnel
  • Athletics personnel
  • Directors and Managers

The College has appointed several harassment prevention coordinators to facilitate the College’s compliance with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination. A list of the coordinators is found in Section 400.2 of Complaint Procedure 400. 

300.2      Scope of this Procedure

This procedure applies to all harassment or discrimination complaints based on a protected status except those involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.  Complaints involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking are addressed in Complaint Procedure 400.

This procedure, however, does apply to sexual discrimination complaints, such as a complaint alleging denial of admission into a program because of gender.  In the event that a sexual discrimination complaint overlaps with a sexual harassment complaint, or in the event it is difficult to determine whether a sexual discrimination complaint encompasses sexual harassment, Procedure 400 will be used.

300.3      What is Discrimination?

Discrimination is the act of treating similarly situated persons differently based on their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, veteran or military status, genetic information, or any other basis protected by law.

For students, this prohibition applies to College operations and activities such as admission, housing, discipline, counseling, scholarship and loan programs, co-curricular experiences, and athletics. 

300.4      What is Discriminatory Harassment?

Harassment is physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct directed at a person because of his or her race, color, national origin, sex (gender), religion, disability, age, veteran status, genetic information, or any other protected status and that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct:·

  1. Affects a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment;
  2. Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with the student’s academic performance or an employee’s work performance; or
  3. Otherwise adversely affects a person’s educational or employment opportunities.

Examples of prohibited harassment include, but are not limited to, offensive or derogatory comments, jokes, or slurs because of the individual’s protected status or because of the individual’s need for an accommodation based on disability or religion; actions that are designed to humiliate or embarrass; physical aggression or assault; display of graffiti or printed material promoting racial, ethnic, or other negative stereotypes; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property when motivated by the individual’s protected status.

300.5      Complaint Process

Students may use this procedure to file a complaint against another a student, a College employee, College contractors, or third parties who are visiting the College or participating in a College activity.

A student may, at any time, personally approach the individual whose conduct is offensive, unwelcome, or intimidating and request that such conduct stop.  However, if this action is not feasible or unsuccessful, or if a student feels uncomfortable taking this approach, the student may seek an informal or formal resolution at any time.  No student is ever required to make a report to the person who is engaging in discrimination or harassment.

A student may seek informal resolution or general information about this complaint procedure by contacting the dean of student development, vice president of student services, the Title IX Coordinator, or Director of Employee Relations in the Human Resources Department.

300.5.1  Formal Complaint Process

Although students may file a complaint at any time, the College encourages students to report their concerns as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s) so that prompt action can be taken to investigate and resolve the complaint.  A delay in reporting may result in a loss of evidence or witness availability.  Students are encouraged to file complaints during the same semester that the alleged incidents occurred or within 30 days of the conclusion of the semester.

Content of complaint:  Students are encouraged to submit written complaints that describe all incident(s) or action(s) considered by the complainant to be harassing, discriminatory, or violent.  Complainants should provide the following information:

  • Contact information, including address, telephone, and e-mail;
  • Name of person(s) directly responsible for alleged violation(s);
  • Date(s) and place(s) of alleged violations;
  • Nature of alleged violation(s);
  • Detailed description of the specific conduct that is the basis of alleged violation(s);
  • Copies of documents, emails, text messages, photos, or other physical evidence pertaining to the alleged violation(s);
  • Names of any witnesses to alleged violation(s);
  • Action requested to resolve the situation;
  • Complainant’s signature and date of filing; and
  • Any other relevant information.

The student’s failure to provide a written complaint or to provide the information requested above may adversely impact of the College to conduct a complete and thorough investigation and may limit the College’s ability to take appropriate corrective action.

Where to file the complaint:

Complaints alleging misconduct by a student shall be filed with the dean of student development, Title IX coordinator, the vice president of student services, or campus provost.

Complaints alleging misconduct by an employee or campus visitor shall be filed with the Director of Employee Relations, dean of student development, Title IX coordinator, the vice president of student services, or campus provost. 

To ensure that all student complaints are properly processed, any College administrator who receives a complaint under this procedure shall promptly notify the Title IX coordinator and the Vice President of Student Services in writing. 

Title IX/Discrimination Prevention Team:

Interim Vice President of Student Services
Joanna Zimmermann (students) – Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
joanna.zimmermann@sjcd.edu, 281-476-1863

Vice President, Human Resources
Sandra Ramirez (employees) – Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
4620 Fairmont Pkwy., Pasadena, TX 77504
sandra.ramirez@sjcd.edu, 281-991-2648

Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives
Allatia Harris (equity in athletics)
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
allatia.harris@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7140.

Director of Employee Relations
Vickie Del Bello (employees)
4620 Fairmont Pkwy., Pasadena, TX 77504
vickie.delbello@sjcd.edu, 281-998-6357

Interim Dean of Student Development - Central Campus
Shelley Rinehart (students)
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
shelley.rinehart@sjcd.edu, 281-998-6150, ext. 1012

Dean of Student Development - North Campus
Clare Iannelli (students)
5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049
clare.iannelli@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7653

Interim Dean of Student Development - South Campus
Debbie Smith (students) 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
deborah.smith@sjcd.edu, 281-922-3455

Provost - Central Campus Van Wigginton
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
van.wigginton@sjcd.edu, 281-542-2000

Provost - North Campus William Raffetto
5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049
william.raffetto@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7101

Provost - South Campus
Brenda Jones 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
brenda.jones@sjcd.edu, 281-922-3403

300.5.2  Processing the Complaint

The Title IX coordinator or designee will evaluate the complaint to determine whether it is covered by this procedure.   A formal investigation will be initiated if a complaint is within the scope of this policy and articulates sufficient specific facts, which if determined to be true, would support a finding that the College’s policy was violated.  The College may decline to process a complaint under a variety of circumstances, including (i) the complaint is vague and does not describe conduct covered by this procedure; (ii) the student declines to cooperate in the College’s investigation; or (iii) the complaint has been withdrawn or the requested remedy has already been implemented or was offered and rejected.  If the College declines to process a complaint pursuant to this procedure, the College shall send the student a written notification explaining the reasons. 

If the College administration proceeds with a complaint investigation, the Title IX coordinator or designee shall determine whether interim action is needed pending completion of an investigation (e.g., a no-contact order, temporary reassignment, or suspension). The Title IX coordinator or designee will assign an impartial investigator to investigate the complaint.  In cases in which the accused is a student, the investigator typically will be the dean of student development.  In cases in which the accused is an employee, the Employee Relations Department typically will conduct the investigation.  In some instances, a team from Student Services and Employee Relations will conduct the investigation together.

The Title IX coordinator or designee shall notify the complainant and the alleged offender of the name and contact information of the investigator(s).  The alleged offender shall receive written notice of the allegations and shall be informed of his or her right to submit a written response to the allegations within 10 school days, unless unusual circumstances warrant additional time.  The written notice shall inform the alleged offender that retaliation against the complaining party is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

300.5.3  Investigating the Complaint

Barring unusual circumstances (e.g., multiple complainants, a complaint filed the day before the winter break), the investigation ordinarily will be completed within 60 calendar days.  An investigation shall proceed even if criminal charges also are pending against the accused.

The investigator shall interview the complainant, the accused, and other individuals determined by the investigator to possess relevant information.  The complainant and the accused each will be permitted to provide documentation or other tangible evidence to the investigator. 

During meetings pertaining to the investigation and complaint process, the complaining party and the accused may be represented or accompanied by an advisor.  Advisors, however, may not actively participate in meetings or interview witnesses.

The investigator shall prepare a written report that summarizes the findings and states whether a preponderance of the evidence establishes a violation of the College’s policies.  The investigator will consider the totality of circumstances, including the context and duration of the conduct and its severity.  Facts will be considered on the basis of what is reasonable to persons of ordinary sensitivity.

If the accused is a student, a draft of the proposed findings shall be submitted to the vice president of student services or designee. If the accused is an employee or visitor, the proposed findings shall be submitted to the appropriate leader, which ordinarily will be the provost, vice president of human resources, or other vice president.  If a complaint is directed at an administrator who would otherwise act on the complaint, then the function assigned to that person will be assigned to another person.

The administrator receiving the proposed findings will provide copies to the accused and the complaining student.  Student identifiable information, if confidential by law, will be redacted.  The accused and the complaining student will each have 10 working days to provide comments and suggested corrections to the administrator.  After receiving the comments from the parties (or if no comments are submitted), the administrator will confer with the investigator to discuss the proposed findings and to review the investigation record.  The administrator shall determine whether additional investigation is needed; whether to dismiss the complaint due to insufficient evidence; or whether to proceed with a disciplinary consequence or other corrective action.  The action shall be reasonably calculated to prevent a reoccurrence of the misconduct and/or to ameliorate its impact.  The administrator’s final determination shall be sent to the accused, the complaining student, and the Title IX coordinator.  The final determination may be redacted to protect student information that is confidential by law under the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act.  All deadlines in this procedure may be extended by mutual agreement or for good cause.

300.6      Review and Appeals

If the investigation does not result in the assignment of disciplinary consequences against the accused employee or accused student, the complaining student may submit a written appeal to the provost or designee. The provost or designee shall provide written notice to the accused of the appeal. The provost or designee shall review the record and issue a written response within 20 school days.  A copy of the response shall be provided to both parties.      

If the accused is a student and is proposed for major discipline (expulsion, a suspension exceeding five days, or revocation or withdrawal of a degree), he or she may request a hearing to challenge the charge and the sanction under Section 4.8 of the student code of conduct.  If the proposed discipline involves a consequence that is less than expulsion, a suspension exceeding five days, or revocation or withdrawal of a degree, the student may request a hearing under Section 4.9 of the student code of conduct.  If the student desires to challenge the sanction but not the charge, then the student may seek review by filing a request with the provost or designee. The provost or designee shall review the record and issue a written response within 20 school days.  A copy of the response shall be provided to both parties.

If the accused is an employee and is assigned a disciplinary consequence, he or she may seek review in accordance with the employment policies of the College. 

300.7      Retaliation Prohibited

Every student has the right to file a complaint or to participate in an investigation without being subjected to retaliation.  Retaliation is an adverse action taken by an employee or student against an individual who makes a good faith report of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct or who participates in an investigation pertaining to a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.  For an action or decision to be considered adverse, it must be materially adverse and be of the type that would dissuade a reasonable person from exercising his or her rights to file a complaint or to participate in an investigation. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.  Any employee or student who engages in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action.

300.8      Office for Civil Rights

Students who have experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected status may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.  (http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html).

400.1      Scope

This procedure addresses sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, or stalking (see Sections 3.3 and 3.6 of the code of conduct). Students may use this procedure to file a complaint against another a student, a College employee, College contractors, or third parties who are visiting the College or participating in a College activity.  For ease of reference, the phrase “sexual misconduct” occasionally is used to encompass all categories addressed in this procedure.

Prohibited conduct may be verbal or physical, and proof of force or physical injury is not required. The parties may be the opposite sex or the same sex.  In determining whether sanctionable conduct has occurred, the College may consider the on-campus impact of incidents that occurred off campus.

This complaint procedure constitutes a grievance procedure required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  As used in this procedure, “complaint” and “grievance” are synonymous.

400.2      Harassment Prevention Coordinators

Title IX is a federal statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in education programs.  The College has appointed several Title IX Coordinators, or harassment prevention coordinators, who facilitate the College’s compliance with Title IX and other laws that prohibit discrimination. These officials can assist students with claims of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Title IX/Discrimination Prevention Team:

Interim Vice President of Student Services
Joanna Zimmermann (students) – Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
joanna.zimmermann@sjcd.edu, 281-476-1863

Vice President, Human Resources
Sandra Ramirez (employees) – Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
4620 Fairmont Pkwy., Pasadena, TX 77504
sandra.ramirez@sjcd.edu, 281-991-2648

Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives
Allatia Harris (equity in athletics)
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
allatia.harris@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7140.

Director of Employee Relations
Vickie Del Bello (employees)
4620 Fairmont Pkwy., Pasadena, TX 77504
vickie.delbello@sjcd.edu, 281-998-6357

Interim Dean of Student Development - Central Campus
Shelley Rinehart (students)
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
shelley.rinehart@sjcd.edu, 281-998-6150, ext. 1012

Dean of Student Development - North Campus
Clare Iannelli (students)
5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049
clare.iannelli@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7653

Interim Dean of Student Development - South Campus
Debbie Smith (students) 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
deborah.smith@sjcd.edu, 281-922-3455

Provost - Central Campus Van Wigginton
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
van.wigginton@sjcd.edu, 281-542-2000

Provost - North Campus William Raffetto
5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049
william.raffetto@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7101

Provost - South Campus
Brenda Jones 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
brenda.jones@sjcd.edu, 281-922-3403

In addition to the Title IX Coordinators, numerous other College employees are designated as “responsible officials” who have reporting duties under Title IX. The following employees have a duty to report alleged instances of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct:

  • Chancellor, Vice Chancellors, Vice Presidents, Provosts, and Deans
  • Registrar
  • Faculty and Department Chairs
  • Police Department personnel
  • Counselors
  • Risk Management personnel
  • Human Resources personnel
  • Athletics personnel
  • Directors and Managers

400.3      Reporting Options

Students have several options when reporting sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.  They may seek informal guidance from college counselors or other college officials, or they may file a formal college grievance.  Students also may file a report directly with the College police or any local law enforcement agency.  Students are not required to file a police complaint in order to receive assistance from the College.  Additionally, reporting an offense does not commit the student to pursuing further legal action.  Students who desire assistance in order to make a police report may contact the Dean of Student Development, the Counseling Office, or the Title IX Coordinator. 

  • San Jacinto College Police Department:  From campus phone: 5555; From cell phones: 281-476-9128; Non-emergency: 281-476-1820; Hearing Impaired Phone Number for text messages: 713-469-1071.
  • Houston Police Department: 713-884-3131 (non-emergency)
  • Pasadena Police Department: 713-447-1511; 713-477-1221 (non-emergency)         

400.3.1  Assistance for Victims – Confidential and Non-Confidential Options

Students who have experienced a sexual assault, sexual violence, stalking, domestic violence, or other crimes may seek advice, assistance, and resources from the Dean of Students, the Counseling Office, or the College’s Title IX Coordinator.  Individuals within these offices can assist the complainant with accessing medical or counseling services, advocacy services, social support services, legal services, and police services.  Even in the absence of a formal complaint, the College may be able to provide assistance to the complainant with respect to his or her academic, living, transportation, or working situations.  For example, a student might wish to explore changing a class or class time. 

Contact information for the San Jacinto College Counseling Department:  North Campus: 281-998-6150 ext. 2317; Central Campus: 281-998-6150 ext. 1014; South Campus: 281-922-3444.

Off-campus resources include the following:  The Houston Area Women’s Center: 713-528-7273; The Bridge Over Troubled Waters – 24 hour hotline: 713-473-2801.

Confidential Communications:  In response to an act of sexual harassment or sexual violence, a victim may be unsure whom to contact for information about options and resources.  Some victims may prefer a confidential consultation before deciding on a course of action.  Most San Jacinto College personnel will have a duty to report complaints that come to their attention.  Below, this procedure addresses when confidentiality may be honored.

Confidential communications are those communications that cannot be disclosed to another person without the reporter’s consent, except under very limited circumstances such as an imminent threat or danger to self or others.  Victims may speak confidentially with a licensed professional counselor in the College’s Educational Planning & Counseling centers (North Campus: 281-998-6150 ext. 2317; Central Campus: 281-998-6150 ext. 1014; South Campus: 281-922-3444), pastoral counselors in the community, medical personnel, licensed social workers, and victims’ advocates.  These individuals may assist victims in deciding whether to report, what options exist, and what resources are available.  These individuals are not required to report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or sexual misconduct to the College’s Title IX coordinator.

Victims also may choose to speak confidentiality with front-desk staff in the counseling office.  These individuals are not professional counselors but have been specially designated to serve as a resource where students may obtain information about this procedure and about support services. These individuals are not required to report the names of victims to the College’s Title IX coordinator. However, these individuals will be required to report de-identified information such as the date, time, and nature of the incident.  The purpose of this general reporting obligation is to enable the College to identify patterns or trends involving sexual harassment or violence. 

Non-Confidential Communications:   “Responsible employees” as listed in Section 400.2 may be required to report of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sexual assault, even if when they have been requested by the person confiding in them to keep the discussion confidential. Non-confidential communications consist of those communications that will be disseminated to the Title IX Coordinator and others on a need-to-know basis in order to ensure that necessary steps are taken to protect the community as a whole and appropriate disciplinary measures are considered and taken.  The employees identified in Section 400.2 have a reporting obligation.  They must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details of the occurrence, including names of those involved and relevant facts including date, time, and location.

When receiving a sexual misconduct report from a potential victim, responsible employees shall notify the victim that (i) the employee has an obligation to report the complaint to the Title IX coordinator and (ii) the victim may request confidentiality, which will be evaluated by the Title IX coordinator.  The responsible employee shall also inform the victim that he or she may speak confidentially with a licensed professional counselor, pastoral counselor, or others identified in this procedure and that those communications will not be reported to the Title IX coordinator without the victim’s consent.

Requests for Confidentiality:  To the greatest extent possible, the College shall maintain the confidentiality of information and records related to investigations of complaints based on sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.  Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation and comply with applicable law.  A Title IX Coordinator will evaluate a student’s request for confidentiality in the context of the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the entire college community.  The Title IX Coordinator will make every effort to respect a student’s request for confidentiality; however, there are situations in which the College must override a student’s request for confidentiality in order to meet its Title IX obligations. When weighing a student’s request for confidentiality that could preclude a meaningful investigation or potential discipline of the alleged perpetrator, the College will consider a range of factors. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of the alleged perpetrator committing additional acts of sexual violence or other violence (e.g., whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged perpetrator, whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests, etc.); (ii) whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon; (iii) the age of the student subjected to the sexual violence; and (iv) whether the school possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence).

If the College determines that it must disclose a complainant’s identity to an alleged perpetrator, it will inform the complainant prior to making this disclosure and take whatever interim measures are necessary to protect the complainant and ensure the safety of others.

Finally, while federal law requires San Jacinto College to include certain reported incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking among its annual campus crime statistics, such information will be reported in a manner that does not identify victims.

Complaints involving victims under the age of 18:   Complaints involving abuse of minors must be reported to Children’s Protective Services or other law enforcement agencies.  The phone number for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is 1-800-252-5400.

400.4      Evidence Preservation in Sexual Assault Cases/Medical Exams

If a student experiences a sexual assault or other criminal offense, it is important that the student take action to preserve evidence.  Such evidence will be helpful in the event that the victim seeks a protective order or desires to pursue a criminal prosecution.  Victims of sexual assault should not wash, shower, bathe, or change clothes prior to a medical exam or treatment.  If the victim needs to remove an item of clothing, it should be placed in a paper bag (not a plastic bag).  Instead of changing clothes, the victim may separately bring a change of clothing to the hospital to wear after the examination. Evidence of violence, such as visible injuries or bruising or damage to a vehicle, will need to be photographed.  Likewise, evidence of emails, text messages, or phone messages must be preserved and not deleted or altered.

Students who have just experienced a sexual assault or other sexual violence should call 911 and locate to a safe place.  If the incident occurred on campus, the student should contact campus police.  Campus police assistance is available 24 hours a day.  Campus personnel may assist the victim in obtaining transportation to a hospital or clinic, a police department, or other location.  Prompt medical attention in a case of recent assault is necessary to document and treat any injuries and screen for certain medical conditions and transmitted diseases.  Victims may receive a medical exam with or without police involvement.  A nurse examiner may perform a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE).  Such exams generally are available in hospital emergency rooms.

400.5      Filing a Complaint

400.5.1  Informal Resolution

A student may, at any time, personally address the individual whose conduct is offensive, unwelcome, or intimidating and request that such conduct stop.  However, if this action is not feasible or unsuccessful, or if a student feels uncomfortable taking this approach, the student may seek an informal or formal resolution at any time.  No student is ever required to make a report to an alleged offender.

A student may seek informal resolution by contacting the vice president of student services, appropriate dean, the Title IX Coordinator, or the vice chancellor of human resources or their designee who shall undertake, with permission of the student, to resolve the conflict or dispute informally. Informal resolution may include a meeting between a College administrator and the accused to reinforce the requirements of the College’s policy against harassment and discrimination.  Informal resolution is not a precondition to filing a formal complaint.  Additionally, if informal resolution is undesirable or ineffective, then the student may initiate a formal complaint at any time.  Mediation shall not be employed in any instances involving sexual violence.

400.5.2  Formal Complaint Process

Content of complaint:  Although students may file a complaint at any time, the College encourages students to report their concerns as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s) so that prompt action can be taken to investigate and resolve the complaint.  A delay in reporting may result in a loss of evidence or witness availability.  Students are encouraged to file complaints during the same semester that the alleged incidents occurred or within 30 days of the conclusion of the semester.

Students are encouraged to submit written complaints that describe all incident(s) or action(s) considered by the complainant to be harassing or violent.  Complainants should provide the following information:

  • Contact information, including address, telephone, and e-mail;
  • Name of person(s) directly responsible for alleged violation(s);
  • Date(s) and place(s) of alleged violations;
  • Nature of alleged violation(s) as defined in this policy;
  • Detailed description of the specific conduct that is the basis of alleged violation(s);
  • Copies of documents, emails, text messages, photos, or other physical evidence pertaining to the alleged violation(s);
  • Names of any witnesses to alleged violation(s);
  • Action requested to resolve the situation;
  • Complainant’s signature and date of filing; and
  • Any other relevant information.

The student’s failure to provide a written complaint or to provide the information requested above may adversely impact of the College to conduct a complete and thorough investigation and may limit the College’s ability to take appropriate corrective action.

Where to file the complaint:

Complaints alleging misconduct by a student shall be filed with the dean of student development, Title IX coordinator, the vice president of student services, or campus provost.

Complaints alleging misconduct by an employee or campus visitor shall be filed with the Director of Employee Relations, dean of student development, Title IX coordinator, the vice president of student services, or campus provost. 

To ensure that all student complaints are properly processed, any College administrator who receives a complaint under this procedure shall promptly notify the Title IX coordinator and the vice president of student services in writing. 

Title IX/Discrimination Prevention Team:

Interim Vice President of Student Services
Joanna Zimmermann (students) – Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
joanna.zimmermann@sjcd.edu, 281-476-1863

Vice President, Human Resources
Sandra Ramirez (employees) – Co-Lead Title IX Coordinator
4620 Fairmont Pkwy., Pasadena, TX 77504
sandra.ramirez@sjcd.edu, 281-991-2648

Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives
Allatia Harris (equity in athletics)
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
allatia.harris@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7140.

Director of Employee Relations
Vickie Del Bello (employees)
4620 Fairmont Pkwy., Pasadena, TX 77504
vickie.delbello@sjcd.edu, 281-998-6357

Interim Dean of Student Development - Central Campus
Shelley Rinehart (students)
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
shelley.rinehart@sjcd.edu, 281-998-6150, ext. 1012

Dean of Student Development - North Campus
Clare Iannelli (students)
5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049
clare.iannelli@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7653

Interim Dean of Student Development - South Campus
Debbie Smith (students) 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
deborah.smith@sjcd.edu, 281-922-3455

Provost - Central Campus Van Wigginton
8060 Spencer Hwy., Pasadena, TX 77505
van.wigginton@sjcd.edu, 281-542-2000

Provost - North Campus William Raffetto
5800 Uvalde Road, Houston, TX 77049
william.raffetto@sjcd.edu, 281-459-7101

Provost - South Campus
Brenda Jones 13735 Beamer Road, Houston, TX 77089
brenda.jones@sjcd.edu, 281-922-3403

  1. Processing and Investigating the Complaint

The Title IX coordinator or designee will evaluate the complaint to determine whether it is covered by this procedure.   A formal investigation will be initiated if a complaint is within the scope of this policy and articulates sufficient specific facts, which if determined to be true, would support a finding that the College’s policy was violated.  The College may decline to process a complaint under a variety of circumstances, including (i) the complaint is vague and does not describe conduct covered by this procedure; (ii) the student declines to cooperate in the College’s investigation; or (iii) the complaint has been withdrawn or the requested remedy has already been implemented or was offered and rejected.  If the College declines to process a complaint pursuant to this procedure, the College shall send the student a written notification explaining the reasons. 

If the College administration proceeds with a complaint investigation, the Title IX coordinator or designee shall determine whether interim action is needed pending completion of an investigation (e.g., a no-contact order, temporary reassignment, or suspension). The Title IX coordinator or designee will assign an impartial investigator to investigate the complaint. The College administration shall appoint an impartial investigator who is not a member of the affected department (e.g., a complaint by a student athlete will be investigated by someone outside the athletic department). In cases in which the accused is a student, the investigator typically will be the dean of student development.  In cases in which the accused is an employee, the Employee Relations Department typically will conduct the investigation.  In some instances, a team from Student Services and Employee Relations will conduct the investigation together.  

The Title IX coordinator or designee shall notify the complainant and the alleged offender of the name and contact information of the investigator(s).  The alleged offender shall receive written notice of the allegations and shall be informed of his or her right to submit a written response to the allegations within 10 school days, unless unusual circumstances warrant additional time.  The written notice shall inform the alleged offender that retaliation against the complaining party is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

400.5.4  Time Frame for Investigation

Barring unusual circumstances (e.g., multiple complainants, a complaint filed the day before the winter break), the investigation ordinarily will be completed within 60 calendar days.  An investigation shall proceed even if criminal charges also are pending against the accused.  If the pendency of a criminal investigation causes delay in obtaining access to evidence, the investigator shall notify the complainant and the accused. All deadlines in this procedure may be extended by mutual agreement or for good cause.

400.5.5  Interviews and Documentation

The investigator shall interview the complainant, the accused, and other individuals determined by the investigator to possess relevant information.  The complainant and the accused each will be permitted to provide documentation or other tangible evidence to the investigator.  The complainant and the accused may suggest witnesses to interview; however, the decision whether to interview is a matter of professional judgment for the investigator in light of the issues at hand, in light of the information already obtained in the investigation, and in light of the resources available.

400.5.6  Right to Representation

During meetings pertaining to the investigation and complaint process, the complaining party and the accused may be represented or accompanied by an advisor.  Advisors, however, may not actively participate in meetings or interview witnesses.

400.5.7  Investigative Reports

The investigator shall prepare a written report that summarizes the findings and states whether a preponderance of the evidence establishes a violation of the College’s policies.  The investigator will consider the totality of circumstances, including the context and duration of the conduct and its severity.  Facts will be considered on the basis of what is reasonable to persons of ordinary sensitivity.

If the accused is a student, a draft of the proposed findings shall be submitted to the vice president of student services or designee. If the accused is an employee or visitor, the proposed findings shall be submitted to the appropriate leader, which ordinarily will be the provost, vice president of human resources, or other vice president.  If a complaint is directed at an administrator who would otherwise act on the complaint, then the function assigned to that person will be assigned to another person.

The administrator receiving the proposed findings will provide copies to the accused and the complaining student (with a copy to the Title IX coordinator).  Student identifiable information, if confidential by law, will be redacted.  The accused and the complaining student will each have 10 working days to provide comments and suggested corrections to the administrator.  After receiving the comments from the parties (or if no comments are submitted), the administrator will confer with the investigator to discuss the proposed findings and to review the investigation record.  The administrator shall determine whether additional investigation is needed; whether to dismiss the complaint due to insufficient evidence; or whether to proceed with a disciplinary consequence or other corrective action.  The action shall be reasonably calculated to prevent a reoccurrence of the misconduct and/or to ameliorate its impact.  The administrator’s final determination shall be sent to the accused, the complaining student, and the Title IX coordinator.  The final determination may be redacted to protect student information that is confidential by law under the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act. 

400.6 Review and Appeals

If the investigation does not result in the assignment of disciplinary consequences against the accused employee or accused student, the complaining student may submit a written appeal to the provost or designee. The appeal must be submitted within five school days or receiving notice of the disposition of the complaint.  The provost or designee shall provide written notice to the accused of the appeal.  The appeal will be based on the written record.  Both parties will have five school days to submit written comments.  The provost or designee shall review the record and issue a written response within 20 school days.  A copy shall be provided to both parties. 

If the accused is a student and is proposed for major discipline (expulsion, a suspension exceeding five days, or revocation or withdrawal of a degree), he or she may request a hearing to challenge the charge and sanction under Section 4.8 of the student code of conduct.  If the proposed discipline involves a consequence that is less than expulsion, a suspension exceeding five days, or revocation or withdrawal of a degree, the accused may request a hearing under Section 4.9 of the student code of conduct.   If the accused or the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of a disciplinary hearing, either (or both) may appeal the adverse ruling under Section 5.0; however, the appeal shall be heard by the provost. The appeal must be submitted within five school days or receiving notice of the disposition of the complaint.  The appeal will be based on the written record.  The provost or designee shall review the record and issue a written response within 20 school days.  A copy shall be provided to both parties. 

If the accused student waives the right to contest the charges, the administrator shall, subject to the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, notify the Title IX Coordinator and the complaining party of the disposition of the charge against the accused.  The notice to the complaining party shall be issued simultaneously with the notice issued to the accused student.  The notice shall inform the complaining party that both the complaining party and the accused have a right to appeal the sanction to the provost.             

If the accused is an employee and is assigned a disciplinary consequence, he or she may seek review in accordance with the employment policies of the College. 

Any disclosure of the disposition or results from any proceeding involving a student will be governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

400.7      Victim Rights During Disciplinary Proceedings

In disciplinary hearings and appeals involving allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, or domestic violence (see Sections 3.3 and 3.6), the administrator presenting the case shall, subject to the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, notify the Title IX Coordinator and the complainant that the accused has requested a hearing and the date and time of the hearing.  The complainant shall receive written notice of the following rights and options:

  1. the right to attend and participate in the hearing;
  2. the right to have his or her past sexual history excluded from evidence;
  3. the right to provide testimony at the hearing in a manner that does not require the complainant to directly confront or to be directly questioned by the accused student while preserving the accused’s right to challenge such testimony;
  4. the right to receive assistance from the College’s Title IX coordinator;
  5. the right to provide input to the administrator presenting the case regarding potential witnesses, evidence, and argument that may be presented at the hearing or during a subsequent appeal; 
  6. the right to know the outcome of the hearing; and
  7. the right to information regarding the procedure for appealing the final disposition.

The notice to the complaining party shall include a copy of the applicable disciplinary procedure.  Additionally, the notice shall inform the complaining party of his or her right to be accompanied during any disciplinary proceeding by an advisor of his or her choice.  If the complaining party intends to attend the hearing and/or to bring an advisor, he or she shall notify the Dean or designee in writing at least three business days prior to the hearing.  The student’s advisor may not cross-examine witnesses or otherwise participate in the proceeding.  An advisor may not be a witness in the matter.  The Dean or designee shall notify the accused student and the chairperson of the Appellate Board of the complaining party’s intent to attend the hearing.

Retaliation Prohibited

Every student has the right to file a complaint or to participate in an investigation without being subjected to retaliation.  Retaliation is an adverse action taken by an employee or student against an individual who makes a good faith report of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct or who participates in an investigation pertaining to a complaint of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.  For an action or decision to be considered adverse, it must be materially adverse and be of the type that would dissuade a reasonable person from exercising his or her rights to file a complaint or to participate in an investigation. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.  Any employee or student who engages in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action.

Impartiality of College Officials

To facilitate prompt responses to grievances or grievance appeals and to preclude conflicts of interest, the dean of student development, the provost, and/or the Chancellor may designate another College official to consider a grievance or grievance appeal and to render a decision. 

Office for Civil Rights

Students may file complaints of discrimination and harassment with the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education, Washington, D.C., at the same time they file a grievance, during or after use of the grievance process, or without using the grievance process at all. If a student files a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights, the complaint must be filed no later than 180 days after the occurrence of the possible discrimination.

Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act

In compliance with the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act (Section 1601 of “Public Law 106-386”) and the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, all persons required to register as part of the State of Texas’ Sex Offender Registration Program are required to provide notice of their presence on campus to the Campus Police Department.  Information on registered sex offenders can be obtained through the Texas Department of Public Safety Crimes Record Service at: http://records.txdps.state.tx.us/soSearch/default.cfm.