APPROVED: August 12, 2020
EFFECTIVE: August 12, 2020
REFERENCE(S): Title VI, Title VII, 1964 Civil Rights Act; Title IX, Education Amendments, 1972 and 34 C.F.R. Part 106; Age Discrimination in Employment of 1967, Section 503 and 504 of Rehabilitation Act, 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended; Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978; Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974; Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008; Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act; Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2019
/ Joe Garcia /
Joseph A. Garcia, Chancellor
This procedure applies to the Community Colleges within the Colorado Community College System and the System Office (CCCS).
Allegations that an individual has engaged in any discriminatory, harassing, and/or retaliatory behavior, including Sexual Misconduct, after the effective date of this procedure will be resolved under this procedure.
Board Policy (BP) 19-60 provides that individuals affiliated with CCCS shall not discriminate or harass on the basis of sex, gender, race, color, age, creed, national or ethnic origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, familial status, veteran or military status, pregnancy status, religion, genetic information, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other protected class or category under applicable local, state or federal law (also known as “civil rights laws”), in connection with employment practices or educational programs and activities (including in admissions). BP 19-60 further provides that individuals affiliated with CCCS shall not retaliate against any person who opposes discrimination, harassment or retaliation, or participates in any complaint or investigation process.
For definitions applicable to this procedure, refer to Appendix A.
Any person who believes they have been subjected to a civil rights violation should follow this procedure to report their concerns. CCCS will act on any complaint brought to the attention of the Title IX/EO Coordinator that is made under this procedure.
All complaints shall be made as promptly as possible after the occurrence, so that CCCS can more effectively address the reported concerns. A delay in reporting may result in the loss of relevant evidence and witness testimony, and may affect the ability of CCCS to substantiate the allegations. The complaint should describe the alleged incident, which may include when and where it occurred, the parties involved, and the desired remedy sought. Any supporting documentation and evidence may be referenced within the body of the complaint.
The System Office and each College must include a clearly visible link on its web page for filing civil rights complaints, and publish the name, title, address, telephone number, and email address of the Title IX/EO Coordinator. Complaints may also be submitted directly to the Title IX/EO Coordinator verbally or in writing. Complainants may be asked to reduce verbal complaints to writing and sign them (in person or electronically) before proceeding through the resolution process (e.g., Sexual Harassment/Title IX complaints must be in writing and signed by the Complainant or Title IX Coordinator before proceeding with formal investigation). The System Office and each College must also annually distribute through electronic or other means of communication the institution’s nondiscrimination policy, which includes the sexual misconduct policy and procedure, and shall make available educational programs to all incoming students and newly employed faculty and staff.
CCCS employees, depending on their roles, have varying reporting responsibilities and may not be able to maintain confidentiality of information reported to them. Any person who reports concerns of civil rights violations should not assume that confidentiality or anonymity can be protected in connection with making a report.
At individual Colleges, some confidential resources may be available, such as mental health counselors, either on or off campus, campus health service providers, off-campus rape crisis resources, legal professionals, and/or members of the clergy. Except in rare circumstances, such as the existence of an immediate threat of harm, these individuals can offer options and advice without any obligation to report internally or externally unless the Complainant has requested information be shared. Other outside confidential resources are available, and the Title IX/EO Coordinator can assist in connecting an individual to these resources.
Any person who reports concerns of civil rights violations should also be aware that CCCS must issue immediate emergency notifications and/or 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. CCCS will make every effort to ensure that a Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing adequate information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
CCCS employees (including student employees), unless deemed a confidential resource by law, have an ethical obligation to promptly report any incidents they are aware of concerning civil rights violations. Reports should be made within 24 hours, unless there is reasonable justification for a delay. Employees unsure of the scope of this requirement may direct their questions to the Title IX/EO Coordinator. Failure to report will be considered a violation of BP 3-70, Colorado Community College System Code of Ethics, and may result in discipline, up to and including termination. All other individuals affiliated with CCCS are strongly encouraged to report civil rights violations.
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX/EO Coordinator will review the complaint to determine whether the complaint alleges sufficient information to support that a civil rights violation has occurred (reasonable cause). If the Title IX/EO Coordinator is unable to make this determination in reviewing the complaint alone, the Title IX/EO Coordinator may, at their discretion, reach out to the Complainant or others, as relevant, for clarification and/or additional information.
If no reasonable cause is found to initiate a formal investigation, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall inform the Complainant of this decision and discuss other options for addressing the reported concerns.
If there is reasonable cause and the Complainant wishes to proceed, the Title IX/EO Coordinator will initiate an informal resolution or a formal investigation. If the Complainant does not wish to proceed, the Title IX/EO Coordinator will give consideration to the Complainant’s preference, but reserves the right, when necessary to protect the CCCS community, to initiate an informal resolution or formal investigation of the complaint. The Title IX/EO Coordinator also reserves the right to initiate an investigation and resolve a complaint without a participating or identifiable Complainant.
The Title IX/EO Coordinator may consider a number of factors when determining whether to initiate an informal resolution or formal investigation without the Complainant’s participation and/or without an identifiable Complainant.These factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:
The informal resolution and formal investigation processes are designed to address the reported concerns, end the inappropriate behavior, and prevent its reoccurrence. This may include providing a fair and reliable determination about whether policies or procedures have been violated.
The Title IX/EO Coordinator will also evaluate the complaint to determine if it alleges Sexual Harassment under Title IX and occurred within one if its programs or activities in the United States. In such cases, the specific procedures applicable to Sexual Harassment (e.g., live hearing) will apply. If not, the complaint must be closed for Title IX Sexual Harassment purposes, but it may be addressed under other civil rights procedures outlined herein. Dismissal of a Title IX Sexual Harassment case is subject to the appeal procedures outlined herein. If a complaint involves allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment within a CCCS program or activity in the United States along with other conduct that is not covered by Title IX, the Title IX/EO Coordinator in their discretion will either process the entire complaint under Title IX Sexual Harassment procedures or will divide the allegations and process them separately under applicable provisions of this procedure.
CCCS shall make every effort to complete the resolution or investigation process within approximately 90 days from the date the complaint is filed. If CCCS cannot resolve the complaint within this timeline, the Title IX/EO Coordinator may extend the timeline when necessary, to properly resolve the complaint. Written notice will be provided to the parties regarding the extension.
The Title IX/EO Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate administrative personnel, may implement interim actions, including Supportive Measures, intended to protect the safety and security of the campus community, address the effects of the reported behavior, and prevent further violations, while the complaint is under review or investigation. These remedies may include, but are not limited to, placing an employee on administrative leave, interim actions outlined in the SP 4-30 Student Disciplinary Procedure, campus bans/emergency removals, referral to counseling and health services or to the Colorado State Employee Assistance Program (CSEAP), education to the community, altering housing situations, altering work arrangements, providing campus escorts, implementing contact limitations between the parties (e.g., no contact orders), offering adjustments to academic deadlines or course schedules, and/or suspending privileges such as attendance at College activities or participation in College-sponsored organizations. Any campus ban/emergency removal will be implemented only after a determination that the person poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of another.
In all cases in which an interim action is imposed, the individual will be given the opportunity to meet with the Title IX/EO Coordinator prior to such action being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the interim action should not be implemented. The Title IX/EO Coordinator shall have sole discretion to implement or stay an interim action, and to determine its conditions and duration. Violation of an interim action may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion, termination, a “Cease Communications” directive, or issuance of a “No Trespass” order, also known as a persona non grata.
Following the completion of the investigation or resolution process, interim actions may be continued or made permanent as deemed necessary.
Throughout the civil rights and sexual misconduct resolution process, Complainants and Respondents shall be entitled to the following:
The Title IX/EO Coordinator, in consultation with the parties, may determine that an informal resolution is appropriate to resolve the reported concerns. The primary focus during an informal resolution remains the welfare of the parties and the safety of the CCCS community, but it does not involve a written investigation report or an opportunity to appeal. An informal resolution may include but is not limited to:
At any time during the informal resolution process, the Title IX/EO Coordinator may elect to initiate a formal investigation as deemed appropriate to resolve the matter. The parties can elect to cease the informal resolution process at any time before it concludes and proceed with a formal investigation. The informal resolution process is not available in Sexual Harassment cases involving a student Complainant and an employee Respondent.
If a formal investigation is initiated, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall provide written notice (Notice of Investigation) to the Complainant and Respondent notifying them of the investigation and will assign one or more impartial investigators to conduct an investigation into the complaint. The investigation will include an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, both inculpatory (incriminating or tending to show responsibility for a violation) and exculpatory (exonerating or tending to negate responsibility for a violation). The investigator(s) may request an interview with the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses, including expert witnesses for Sexual Harassment cases, deemed relevant by the investigator(s). The parties will be provided with sufficient details of the allegations (such as identity of parties, nature of the conduct, and date/location of the incident, if known). All parties and other witness or participants in the investigation process will be provided written notice of the date, time, location, participants and purpose of any interview or meeting with sufficient time to prepare to participate.
Throughout the investigation, all questions will go through the assigned investigators. The Complainant and Respondent may offer any documentation, witnesses, or other materials in support of their position as it relates to the complaint. There will be a presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility has been made at the conclusion of the resolution process. Any credibility determinations made by investigators will not be based upon a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
The Complainant and the Respondent have the opportunity to be advised and accompanied by an advisor of their choice, at their expense, at any stage of the process. In the event of a live hearing, if either party does not have an advisor, the College will provide one to that party at no cost. An advisor may consult and advise their advisee, but may not speak on behalf of their advisee. These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings. The investigator(s) may end a meeting or remove or dismiss an advisor who becomes disruptive or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation as explained above.
Should the Complainant or Respondent decide to withdraw from courses or resign employment while a complaint is pending, the process may proceed in that party’s absence and sanctions may still be imposed affecting the party’s ability to return to CCCS. Additionally, the Title IX/EO Coordinator may dismiss the formal complaint if the Complainant requests such dismissal in writing, if the Respondent is no longer enrolled/employed at CCCS, or other specific circumstances prevent the investigators from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination. Notice regarding the dismissal will be provided in writing simultaneously to the parties.
No unauthorized recording will be allowed, and all parties must request permission to record in advance. CCCS, at its discretion, may grant authorization for recording of an interview, and in that case, CCCS will also record to ensure there is an accurate record.
Throughout the formal investigation process, the Title IX/EO Coordinator will provide regular written updates on the status of the investigation to the Complainant and the Respondent through the conclusion of the investigation.
Following the fact gathering stage of the formal investigation, the investigator(s) shall issue a Preliminary Investigation Report to the Complainant and Respondent (and their advisors, if applicable) for review. The Preliminary Investigation Report will include relevant facts as gathered by the investigators. At this stage, parties may review upon request all evidence collected as part of the investigation, whether or not it will be relied upon in reaching a determination. The Complainant and the Respondent will have ten (10) calendar days to review and respond to the Preliminary Investigation Report with any changes, clarifications, or questions.
At the conclusion of the fact gathering stage and formal investigation, including any relevant information submitted in response to the Preliminary Investigation Report, the investigator(s) shall issue a Final Investigation Report to the Title IX/EO Coordinator detailing the factual findings and summarizing the relevant evidence. This report will not contain any determinations as to whether the conduct is in violation of applicable policies.
Upon receipt of the Final Investigation Report, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall proceed as follows:
Live hearings are subject to the following procedures:
Scheduling – A live hearing must be scheduled no earlier than ten (10) days after issuance of the Final Investigation Report. Written notice of the date, time, location, participants and purpose for the hearing will be provided to the parties. The parties must notify the Title IX/EO Coordinator if any other witnesses will be presented so they can be notified of the hearing. Written notice of the date, time, location, participants and purpose for the hearing will be provided to all individuals who are invited or expected to participate allowing them reasonably sufficient time to prepare.
Hearing Officer(s) – A Hearing Officer is responsible for overseeing the hearing; making determinations as to relevance of evidence/questioning, determining whether evidence will be permitted, and making a final determination regarding the allegations. A Hearing Officer must be a different individual than any investigator or Title IX/EO Coordinator assigned to the case. A Hearing Officer has discretion regarding the details and order that parties will be permitted to present evidence, provided that both parties are given equal opportunities to present relevant evidence, both inculpatory (incriminating or tending to show responsibility for a violation) and exculpatory (exonerating or tending to negate responsibility for a violation), and cross-examine witnesses. The Hearing Officer may issue a document to the parties in advance outlining the hearing process that will be followed on the day of the hearing.
Advisors – At the hearing, the Complainant and Respondent must be accompanied by an advisor. If the party does not provide their own, CCCS will provide an advisor at no charge. The advisor is responsible for questioning the witnesses; the Complainant and Respondent are not permitted to ask questions directly.
Questioning and Cross-Examining Witnesses – Each party’s advisor may question the other party and any witnesses with relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Questioning will be done directly, orally and live. At the request of a party or at the discretion of CCCS, the parties may be located in separate rooms using technology for live viewing of other participants. After each question is stated, the Hearing Officer will decide whether it is relevant and permissible before the party/witness provides an answer. If it is excluded, the reason for exclusion will be provided. Evidence of the Complainant’s prior sexual predisposition or behavior is not relevant except to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged conduct or to prove consent.
Recording/Transcript – CCCS shall record the hearing and make it available to all parties. Alternatively, CCCS, in its discretion, may elect to transcribe the proceedings as the method of record keeping.
Determination Report – Following the hearing, the Hearing Officer will issue a Determination Report to the Title IX/EO Coordinator as to whether or not, based on a preponderance of the evidence, the alleged behavior took place and whether that behavior constitutes a civil rights violation. In reaching this determination, the Hearing Officer must consider all relevant evidence, except for any privileged information (unless waived) or medical records (unless specific, written consent is obtained). If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination during the live hearing, the Hearing Officer cannot rely on any of their statements in their determination, and may not draw any inferences based solely on a party or witness failing to submit to cross-examination. The Determination Report shall include a summary of the allegations; a summary of the procedural steps in the case; findings of fact supporting the determination, conclusions regarding violation of applicable policies with supporting rationale; any disciplinary steps or remedial measures imposed; and the parties’ appeal rights.
Once a Determination Report is received (either from the investigator(s) or the Hearing Officer following a live hearing), the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall provide written notice (Notice of Findings) simultaneously to the Complainant and Respondent (and their advisors, if applicable) notifying them of the findings. A copy of the Final Investigation Report and Determination Report, if applicable, shall be attached to the Notice of Findings. The Complainant and Respondent shall be advised of their right to appeal, subject to the grounds below, by filing a written appeal with the Title IX/EO Coordinator within ten (10) calendar days of service of the decision.
In the event of an appeal, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall perform an initial review to determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds listed below and is timely (filed within ten  calendar days, as noted above). If the appeal is found to meet these criteria, the Title IX/EO Coordinator shall forward the appeal to a designated appellate officer, who shall give written notice to the opposing party and provide a suitable time frame for the opposing party to submit a written response to the appeal. The appeal and any responses shall be reviewed by the appellate officer. The party requesting an appeal must show error, as the original finding is presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The only grounds for appeal are as follows:
If the appellate officer determines the findings were not supported by substantial evidence in the investigation report, the report does not articulate a rational connection between the facts found and the decision made, or new evidence substantially impacts the original finding(s), the appellate officer shall conduct or request appropriate additional steps (such as requesting additional investigation by the investigators) and/or modify the findings accordingly.
Written notice of the outcome of the appeal shall be provided simultaneously to the parties.
Once the appeal process has been exhausted, if the Respondent is found not in violation of policies or procedures outlined herein, the complaint shall be closed with no further disciplinary action. If additional concerns, outside the scope of this procedure, are identified during the course of the investigation, the findings may be shared with appropriate administrative personnel to further address, as deemed appropriate.
If the Respondent is found in violation of policies or procedures outlined herein, the findings shall be provided to the Disciplinary Authority to proceed in accordance with applicable policies:
Disciplinary Authorities may consider a number of factors when determining a sanction. These factors may include, but are not limited to, the following:
The following sanctions may be imposed:
The outcome of a CCCS investigation is an educational record of a student Respondent, and is subject to privacy protections under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). However, CCCS observes the legal requirements to disclose the records as follows:
Colleges must ensure that employees receive regular training related to their role in a civil rights/sexual misconduct case.
All employees working on a Title IX/Sexual Harassment case (including Title IX/EO Coordinators, investigators, hearing officers, and informal resolution facilitators) must receive training on the following topics:
Additionally, Colleges must offer training to promote awareness of and prevention of sexual misconduct and training on the Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation Policy and Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct Resolution Procedure (or the College-specific nondiscrimination policy and complaint procedure). This training must be offered annually to all incoming students and new employees and to all students and employees anytime there is a substantial update to the policy or procedure.
Colleges must publish the following information on their website and in any student or employee handbooks/catalogs:
Colleges must also publish the following information on their website:
In addition, at least annually, Colleges must disseminate notice of their Policy and Procedure and Title IX/EO Coordinator contact information targeting current students and employees (e.g., by sending an email containing the information), and prospective students and employees (e.g., by including it with the admission or employment application).
For CTE publications, the notice of nondiscrimination must include: “[COLLEGE] will take appropriate steps to ensure that the lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in vocational education programs.”
For Colleges operating in a service area that contains a community of national origin minority persons with limited English language skills, public notification materials must be disseminated to that community in its language. (34 CFR § 100 Appx B (V-E))
On or before October 1st every year, CCCS must provide to the Colorado Department of Higher Education:
In addition to reporting to CCCS, any person has the right to file a police report. Complainants requiring assistance with this should contact the Title IX/EO Coordinator.
Student Complainants also have the right to make inquiries and/or file a complaint with:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building
1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 310
Denver, CO 80204-3582
Telephone: (303) 844-5695
Facsimile: (303) 844-4303
Employee Complainants also have the right to make inquiries and/or file a complaint with:
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)
Colorado Civil Rights Division (CCRD)
Denver, CO 80202
Telephone: (303) 894-2997
Facsimile: (303) 894-7570
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
303 E. 17th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
Telephone: (800) 669-4000
Facsimile: (303) 866-1085
Records of Civil Rights complaints (including Sexual Misconduct) must be maintained for a period of seven (7) years. Such records may include: Informal Resolution outcomes, Preliminary Investigation Reports, Final Investigation Reports, Determination Reports, recordings/transcripts of Live Hearings in Sexual Harassment cases, Notices of Findings, appeals and appeal outcomes, and discipline or remedies imposed.
CCCS reserves the right to change any provision or requirement of this procedure at any time and the change shall become effective immediately.