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Columbia MD, 21044
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Laurel, MD 20707
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Title IX Background

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) is a Federal law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment and violence are forms of discrimination based on sex. Title IX reads:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal assistance. 

Howard Community College complies with Title IX regulations and is providing the following to inform and educate the college community about what constitutes sexual discrimination, how to prevent it, how to report it, and how reported incidents of Title IX will be addressed.

Sexual Misconduct Policy

  • Introduction

    Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by state and federal laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as amended (“Title IX”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, and also may constitute criminal activity. Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term that includes sexual and gender-based harassment or discrimination, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking.  HCCHoward Community College (HCC) prohibits and will not tolerate sexual misconduct. . Howard Community College ( HCC) recognizes that sexual misconduct damages the integrity of the educational institution, destroys the institution’s positive work and educational atmosphere, and causes psychological and physiological damage to those involvede victim.  The college condemns such illegal activity and is strongly committed to providing a learning and working environment free from any form of sexual misconduct.  Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term that includes sexual and gender-based harassment or discrimination, sexual violenceassault, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, and stalking.  HCC prohibits and will not tolerate sexual misconduct.  Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by state and federal laws, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 as amended (“Title IX”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, and also may constitute criminal activity. 

    HCC will promotes a climate that is free from sexual misconduct through training, education and prevention programs.  The college will also promotes prompt reporting, prohibits retaliation, and promote inensures timely, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution of reported sexual misconduct.  Any employee, student, vendor, or affiliated person who engages in sexual misconduct in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action including but not limited to dismissal from a class, suspension or expulsion from the college, termination of a contract or debarment in the case of vendors, or termination in the case of employees.   

    All of the college community members are subject to this policy, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.  This includes all college students, faculty, and staff, as well as third parties and contractors under the college’s control.  Violations of the policy may occur between individuals or groups of individuals of any sexual orientation or actual or perceived gender identity.  This policy applies to sexual misconduct in connection with any college program or activity, including sexual misconduct: (1) in any college facility or on college owned or controlled property; (2) in connection with any college sponsored, recognized or approved program, visit or activity, regardless of location; (3) that impedes equal access to any college education program or activity or adversely impacts the employment of a member of the college community; or (4) that otherwise threatens the health or safety of a member of the college community.

    Any type of retaliatory or intimidating behavior against a person who files a complaint or otherwise participates in an investigation or adjudicatory action is expressly prohibited by this policy.  HCC will takes strong disciplinary action against any individual or group of individuals found responsible for retaliating or intimidating, or attempting to retaliate or intimidate, another person for making a report of sexual misconduct, participating in the investigation of sexual misconduct, participating as a witness in an adjudicatory proceeding, or otherwise participating in any way in support of a person exercising rights under this policy.

    The Title IX co-coordinators are Dr. Cynthia Peterka, vice president of student services, and Mr. David Jordan, associate vice president of human resources.  The deputy Title IX coordinators are Dr. Llatetra Brown Esters, interim director of student conduct and the executive associate to the vice president of student services, and David Tiscione, associate director for student conduct and compliance. Dr. Peterka (, Dr. Esters (, and Mr. Tiscione ( can be reached at 443-518-4809.  Their offices are located in McCuan Hall room 258 (MH 258).  Mr. Jordan ( can be reached at 443-518-1100.  His office is located in the N building room 100 (N 100).  The most up to date contact information for these individuals can be found on the college website in the staff directory.

    A student who reports an incident of sexual misconduct, either as a complainant or a third party witness, will not be held responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct if the student was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident.  HCC does not want the fear of receiving disciplinary charges or disciplinary sanction to prevent a student from reporting an incident of sexual misconduct.


  • Title IX Advisors

    These individuals serve in an advisory role to the Title IX coordinators and investigators and as points of contact for students or staff on issues related to Title IX.
         David Beaudoin
         Assoc. Prof., Arts & Humanities

         Brandon Bellamy
         Asst. Dir., Student Support Services

         Cheryl Cudzilo
         Assistant Registrar

         Lois Hollander
         Adjunct Faculty

         Tara Rupp
         Wellness Center Coordinator

         Diane Schumacher
         Director, Athletics

         Karlyn Young
         Director of Human Resources

         Mary Ann Massoglia
         Asst. Prof., Psychology/Human Dev.

  • Reporting Sexual Misconduct and Requesting Interim Measures

    The college encourages individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct to report those incidents to the college’s Title IX coordinator, or any responsible employee with whom the person who experienced the sexual misconduct feels comfortable. The college will address incidents that take place on college owned or controlled property, and all college departments, programs and college sponsored activities, including off-campus when the vice president of student services or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial college interest. A substantial college interest is defined to include any situation where it appears the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others; and/or any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of the college.

    A.   Complainant Reporting

    The college will offer complainants options for reporting the misconduct and requesting interim measures.  The Title IX co-coordinators and Title IX deputies are responsible for ensuring the implementation of appropriate interim measures and coordinating the college’s response with the appropriate offices on campus. The options for reporting sexual misconduct and requesting interim measures include:

    •             The complainant reports the misconduct to the Title IX coordinator or another college employee whom the college has designated as responsible for receiving or responding to reports of sexual misconduct.  The complainant should be notified of the interim measures available and requests for interim measures can be made by the complainant to the Title IX coordinator or responsible employee.  Reports of sexual misconduct to responsible employees will be forwarded to the Title IX coordinator who will determine what steps need to be taken.  Generally, the college will investigate the report to determine what occurred and the college will provide interim measures during the investigative process and any disciplinary process.

    •             The complainant discloses the misconduct to an advocate through the office of the vice president of student services, the office of human resources, or the office of counseling and career services, who in turn can request interim measures from the college on the complainant’s behalf.  Under the second option, complainants should be aware that when an advocate obtained through one of the above offices requests interim measures on their behalf from a responsible employee of the college and discloses that the reason for the request is sexual misconduct, the request may trigger the college’s Title IX obligation to investigate.  To the extent the advocate through the office of the vice president of student services, office of human resources, or the office of counseling and career services makes such a disclosure, but, consistent with the complainant’s wishes, asks that the college not investigate or otherwise notify the alleged perpetrator of the report, the Title IX coordinator will consider whether it can honor the request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, and take interim measures to protect the complainant as necessary.

    •             The complainant, or the complainant’s advocate, requests supportive measures from the college without reporting the sexual misconduct to the college.  While the college strongly encourages all complainants of sexual misconduct to report the incident to the college directly, the college wants complainants to have access to supportive measures regardless of when or whether they decide to report the conduct to the college.

    •             A student who reports an incident of sexual assault will be informed of the right to file criminal charges with the appropriate law enforcement officials; provided with prompt assistance of campus authorities, at the request of the complainant, in notifying the appropriate law enforcement officials and disciplinary authorities of an incident of sexual assault; given the designation of Howard County General Hospital located at 5755 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD 21044, which is equipped with the Department of State Police Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit; receive full and prompt cooperation from campus personnel in obtaining appropriate medical attention, including transportation to the nearest designated hospital; offered counseling from mental health service from the institution, other sexual violence support services entities, or the nearest State designated rape crisis program; and after a campus sexual assault has been reported, and upon request of the complainant, the transfer of the  complainant to alternative classes will be made if such alternatives are available and feasible.

    A student who reports an incident of sexual misconduct, either as a complainant or a third party witness, will not be held responsible for violating the Student Code of Conduct if the student was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident.  HCC does not want the fear of receiving disciplinary charges or disciplinary sanction to prevent a student from reporting an incident of sexual misconduct.

    B.   Third Party and Anonymous Reporting

    Individuals who have become aware of a violation of this sexual misconduct policy that does not involve the individual directly should report the misconduct to the college’s Title IX coordinator.  If an individual wishes to report a violation of the sexual misconduct policy anonymously, the report should also be made to the Title IX coordinator.  Anonymous reporting may limit the college’s actions.

    C.   Notification of the Means of Reporting Sexual Misconduct and Requesting Interim Measures

    The college will provide notification to the college community of the means of reporting sexual misconduct and requesting interim measures.

  • Interim Measures

    Interim measures are those services, accommodations, or other assistance that the college puts in place for complainants after receiving notice of alleged sexual misconduct but before any final outcomes - investigatory, disciplinary, or remedial - have been determined.  Interim measures could include restrictions that affect the respondent. The college wants its students to be safe, to receive appropriate medical attention, and to get the help they need to heal and to continue to access their educational opportunities.  Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, the college will provide the complainant, or the complainant’s advocate, with a written explanation of the interim measures available on campus or through local community resources and will ask complainants, or their advocates, what measures are sought.  The college will determine which measures are appropriate for a particular complainant on a case-by-case basis.  If the complainant or the complainant’s advocate identifies an interim measure that is not already provided by the college, the college will consider whether the request can be granted.  In those instances where interim measures affect both a complainant and the respondent, the college will minimize the burden on the complainant wherever appropriate.

    A complainant, or the complainant’s advocate, may request the interim measures listed below.  The college, after consulting with the complainant or the complainant’s advocate, will determine which measures are appropriate to ensure the complainant’s safety and equal access to educational programs and activities:

    •             Academic accommodations

    •             Assistance in arranging for alternative college employment arrangements or changing work schedules

    •             A “no contact” directive pending the outcome of an investigation.  Such a directive serves as notice to both parties that they must not have verbal, electronic, written, or third party communication with one another

    •             Providing an escort to enhance safety for the complainant as they move safely between educational programs and activities

    •             Assistance identifying an advocate to help secure additional resources or assistance including off-campus and community advocacy, support, and services


    The college will work with complainants or their advocates to identify what interim measures are appropriate in the short-term (e.g., during the pendency of an investigation or other college response), and will continue to work collaboratively throughout the college’s processes and as needed thereafter to assess whether the instituted measures are effective, and if not, what additional or different measures are necessary to keep the complainant safe.

    If a complainant or a complainant’s advocate requests any of the above measures on the complainant’s behalf without disclosing that sexual misconduct is the basis for the request, the college will consider these requests for supportive measures consistent with its general policy of allowing advocates to seek such measures for  those who have experienced trauma without requiring that the nature of the trauma be disclosed.

  • Investigation Procedure and Protocol

    The college’s Title IX coordinator is responsible for receiving, investigating, and coordinating the response to reports of sexual misconduct policy violations at HCC.  Once the college knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual misconduct, it must take immediate and appropriate action, in accordance with its internal procedures, to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred.  This obligation applies to sexual misconduct covered by this policy regardless of where the sexual misconduct allegedly occurred, regardless of whether a concurrent law enforcement investigation or action is pending, and regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed.

    The college aims to complete investigations in a timely manner.  Investigations can typically take between 30 and 50 days.  The length of the investigation may be influenced by the complexity, severity and extent of the alleged conduct, whether there is a parallel criminal process, the academic calendar such as school closings, and the availability and responsiveness of participants in the process.

    A number of college employees will be trained in conducting a formal investigation and may be designated by the Title IX coordinator to assist as appropriate and if needed.  As part of the investigation, the investigator(s) will meet with the reporting party to gather as much information as available about the alleged violation.  The investigator(s) should additionally interview anyone involved with the alleged violation in order to collect evidence and information. The investigator(s) will make a determination about how to address the alleged behavior.  Alleged policy violations may be adjudicated under the procedures outlined by the HCC student code of conduct or resolved by an informal resolution. 

    Both the complainant and the respondent in an investigation have equitable rights to review evidence and participate in meetings specific to the investigation.

    A request for confidentiality by the individual reporting alleged sexual misconduct may limit, but not prohibit, the college’s ability to limit the effects or prevent recurrence of alleged sexual misconduct. The college reserves the right to proceed with any aspect of the sexual misconduct process, including but not limited to an investigation, interim measures, or student conduct hearing, when the complainant does not choose to proceed.  When making this decision, the college will consider whether there is a risk to the greater college community, the risk that the respondent will commit additional acts of sexual misconduct, whether there has been other sexual misconduct complaints against the respondent, whether the respondent threatened further sexual misconduct against the complainant or others, and whether the sexual misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators.  The college also reserves the right to delay conferring of degree, certification, or letter of recognition and access to official transcripts until completion of the sexual misconduct process.

  • Resolution Procedures

    A. Informal Resolution Procedures

    An informal resolution is a process whereby remedies and interventions may serve to address the alleged conduct without proceeding to an investigation and adjudication. An informal resolution, including mediation, is not appropriate in sexual violence cases and will not be used at the college. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic violence. Neither party is required to accept responsibility for the alleged conduct in order to proceed with an informal resolution. Either party may decide not to proceed with informal resolution and may request an investigation and adjudication at any time. The Title IX co-coordinator or deputy has the discretion to determine whether a complaint is appropriate for an informal resolution and retains discretion to terminate an ongoing informal resolution process at any time. The purpose of an informal resolution is to take appropriate action by imposing individual and community interventions and remedies designed to maximize the complainant’s access to educational, extra-curricular, and/or employment activities at the college; and/or to address the effects of the conduct on the larger college community. Any combination of interventions and remedies may be utilized, including but not limited to:

    • Increased monitoring, supervision, and/or security at locations or activities where the alleged conduct occurred or is likely to reoccur;
    • Targeted or broad-based educational programming or training for relevant individuals or groups;
    • Academic modifications for complainants;
    • Workplace modifications for complainants;
    • Completion of projects, programs, or requirements designed to help the respondent manage behavior, refrain from engaging in prohibited conduct, and understand why the prohibited conduct is prohibited;
    • Compliance with orders of no contact that limit access to specific college buildings or areas or forms of contact with particular persons;

    The imposition of remedies or interventions obtained through an informal resolution may be achieved by an agreement acceptable to the parties and college. The Title IX co-coordinator or deputy will facilitate the development of this agreement. In such cases where an agreement is reached, the terms of the agreement are implemented and the matter is resolved and closed. In cases where an agreement is not reached and the Title IX co-coordinator determines that further action is necessary, or if a respondent fails to comply with the terms of the informal resolution, the matter may be referred for investigation and adjudication. Where the complainant, respondent, and the college have reached an informal resolution agreement, the parties will be provided with a written copy of the agreement. Accepting an informal resolution does not mean that the respondent admits responsibility; nor does it mean that there has been a finding of a policy violation. The Title IX co-coordinator or deputy will maintain all records of matters referred for informal resolution.

    B. Grievance and Adjudication Procedures

    Any alleged violation of this sexual misconduct policy may be adjudicated under the procedures outlined by the HCC student code of conduct in the case of an alleged violation by a student enrolled at HCC and by procedures otherwise applicable to adjudication of employee and third party alleged misconduct.  These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct occurring in conjunction with harassing or discriminatory conduct (e.g.: vandalism, physical abuse of another, etc.). The procedures, participants, sanctions and appellate process all apply to these proceedings related to alleged violations of this policy.  However, to the extent such procedures are not otherwise specified or are in conflict with any procedures outlined by the HCC student code of conduct or the procedures applicable to the investigation of employee or third party conduct, the following procedures specific to the adjudication of violations of this sexual misconduct policy will apply:

    The parties to the proceeding will have equitable rights including:  notice of hearings to both parties; an opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence, such as information about the specific alleged violation but not about the complainant’s prior sexual conduct with anyone other than the respondent.

    The investigator(s) for the incident will serve as a non-voting member(s) of the student conduct committee panel.

    For hearings related to an alleged violation of the sexual misconduct policy, neither the complainant nor the respondent are required to be present in the same room.  Accommodations, including but not limited to listening to and participating in the hearing over the phone, may be made to allow either party to participate in the process without being present at the hearing location.  Further, neither the complainant nor the respondent need to participate in the hearing as a prerequisite to proceed with the hearing.  Failure of the complainant or respondent to appear at the hearing, after proper notice, will result in the committee making a decision through the hearing process in their absence.

    The respondent cannot cross examine or personally question the complainant, and the complainant cannot cross examine or personally question the respondent. If the respondent or the complainant has questions for the other party, they may submit those questions to the hearing chairperson during the hearing.  The hearing chairperson may use the submitted questions to inform which questions the hearing panel asks.

    The parties will be afforded similar and timely access to information to be used during the proceeding.

    • Medical and counseling records are privileged and confidential documents, which students will not be required to disclose as evidence for the discipline process.
    • The parties are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during the proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an adviser of their choice. For proceedings related to an alleged violation of the sexual misconduct policy, the adviser of choice can include legal representation. The adviser’s role is to provide personal counsel and support to the respondent or complainant, but not to present the case or address the hearing panel, hearing Chairperson or other participants in the process. The adviser may not serve as a witness in the conduct proceeding. Disruptive advisers will be removed from the process at the discretion of the hearing Chairperson, and the process will continue. If the adviser does not appear at the hearing, after proper notice to the complainant or respondent, the hearing process will continue in the adviser’s absence.
    • The preponderance-of-the-evidence (i.e., more likely than not) standard will be applied as the standard of review for determining findings of fact and used in any Title IX fact-finding and related proceedings, including any hearing.
    • Evidence of a prior consensual dating or sexual relationship between the parties by itself does not imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct.
    • The appeal process will be equally available to both parties.
    • Either party has the right to appeal the outcome of the complaint if not satisfied with the result. The appeal must be filed in writing within seven business days of the outcome or resolution.  Appeals involving a complaint of sexual misconduct made against a student should be filed with the vice president of academic affairs.  Appeals involving a complaint of sexual misconduct made against an employee should be filed with the vice president of administration and finance.  The appeal should state the reason(s) for the appellant’s belief that the outcome is unsatisfactory and provide evidence to support those reasons. 
    • Appeals will only be granted (1) when sanctions are substantially disproportionate to the offense, where mitigating factors warrant a reduced sanction or aggravating factors warrant a greater sanction; (2) if procedural errors or conduct of the investigation were so substantial as to effectively deny fundamental fairness; or (3) if new and significant evidence became available that could not have been discovered by a properly diligent party before or during the original investigation.  If an appeal is granted based upon new and significant evidence, either party will have the opportunity to respond to the evidence.  If one or more of the above criteria are met, the vice president will review the appeal and issue a written decision within 30 days after its receipt.  The decision of the vice president is final.
    • The vice president will act on appeals based upon the report filed by the hearing committee chairperson, the student’s written brief, and any written response or memorandum prepared by college officials.  All written materials considered by the vice president will be subject to inspection, in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  New evidentiary hearings will not be conducted in appeals.

    Any party participating in a proceeding may raise issues related to potential conflicts of interest of investigators or other individuals participating in the adjudication process by contacting the Title IX coordinator.

    As permitted by law, the college will notify the parties concurrently, in writing, about the outcome of the complaint and whether or not sexual misconduct was found to have occurred.  The college will also concurrently inform the parties of any change to the results or outcome that occurs before the results or outcome become final, and the institution must inform the parties when the results or outcome become final.  In addition, HCC will not require either participant to abide by a nondisclosure agreement in writing or otherwise that would prevent the re-disclosure of information related to the outcome of the proceeding.

  • Prompt Resolution

    If there is a determination that sexual misconduct has occurred, prompt and effective steps to eliminate the sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects will be taken.

    • Prompt generally means within 60 calendar days from the time a report is brought to the college’s attention until an initial decision is rendered.
    • There may be circumstances that prevent the college from meeting the 60-day timeline.  In such circumstances, the college will document the reasons why it was unable to meet the 60-day timeline.
  • Training

    A.   Prevention and Awareness Education
    The college will develop and implement preventive education directed toward both employees and students.  These educational initiatives will contain information regarding what constitutes sexual misconduct, definitions of consent and prohibited conduct, the college’s procedures, bystander intervention, risk reduction, and the consequences of engaging in sexual misconduct.  These educational initiatives will be provided for all incoming students and new employees.  The college will also develop ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for its students and employees addressing the same information.

    HCC will provide on-going education and awareness information about this sexual misconduct policy and related procedures through student orientation, workshops, handouts, letters, poster campaigns, and other outreach activity targeted at the general student population as well as athletes and other campus leaders.

    B.   Annual Training Related to Implementation of Policy
    HCC employees will receive -annual training on how to report incidents of sexual misconduct as well as how to effectively support complainants.  In addition, public safety personnel, the Title IX coordinator, campus investigators, and participants in the adjudication process will participate in appropriate annual training to assist them in meeting their responsibilities related to implementation of this policy.

  • Title IX Compliance Oversight

    A.   Title IX Coordinator

    The president will appoint a Title IX coordinator responsible for coordinating the institution’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX.
    The Title IX coordinator must have adequate training on the requirements of Title IX, including what constitutes sexual misconduct, consent, credibility assessments, and counter-intuitive behaviors resulting from sexual misconduct.  The coordinator must understand how relevant institution procedures operate and must receive notice of all reports raising Title IX issues at the college.

    B.   Title IX Team

    The Title IX coordinator may identify a Title IX team, which may include the Title IX coordinator, Deputy Title IX coordinator, Title IX investigators, and representatives from campus public safety and the office of human resources.  The Title IX coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the activities of the Title IX team.

    C.   Notice of Nondiscrimination

    1. Content

    The college will publish a notice of nondiscrimination that contains the following content:

    a.    Title IX prohibits the college from discriminating on the basis of sex in its education program and activities;

    b.    Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to the college’s Title IX coordinator or the Office for Civil Rights; and

    c.    The Title IX coordinator and any Title IX team member’s title, office address, telephone number and email address.

    1. Dissemination of Notice

    The notice will be widely distributed to all students, employees, applicants for admission and employment, and other relevant persons. The notice will also be prominently displayed on the college’s website and at various locations throughout the campus, and must be included in publications of general distribution that provide information to students and employees about the college’s services and policies.  The notice should be available and easily accessible on an ongoing basis.

  • Record Keeping

    The college will maintain records of actions taken under this policy, including, but not limited to, records of any reports of sexual misconduct, records of any proceedings or resolutions, and records of any sexual misconduct trainings, and will maintain such records in accordance with the college’s records retention schedule.  

  • Pregnant and Parenting Students

    Issues for students related to pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions are governed by Title IX guidance from the department of education.  More information about the guidance can be found here:  Based on the guidance from the department of education and based on HCC’s values, the college will:

    • Allow you to continue participation in classes, programs, and activities during and after your pregnancy or related condition
    • Provide you with reasonable adjustments or accommodations to support your academic success
    • Ensure that faculty and staff understand the Title IX requirements related to excused absences/missed assignments.
    • Provide accommodations related to missed classes or assignments 
    • Protect you from harassment based on sex, including harassment because of pregnancy or related conditions.

    Helpful Tips for Students:

    •  Ask for help— You can choose to notify your faculty or the Title IX coordinator or deputy if your pregnancy or related condition is affecting or will affect your academics.  You or your faculty can work with the Title IX coordinator or deputy to support you in continuing your education.
    • If you feel you are being discriminated against because you are pregnant or parenting you may file a complaint with the Title IX coordinators or deputy.
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