Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the University's sexual misconduct policy and procedures.
The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the university's obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused student may lead to conduct actions by the university.
In all complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. Certain university administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g. the President of the university, Dean of Students, University Police). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the university and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities.
The institution also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the university's primary relationship is to the student and not the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. University officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation, or if an accused student has signed the permission form at registration, which allows such communication.
Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant. If there is a hearing, the university does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint, but you should consult the complete confidentiality policy above to better understand the university's legal obligations depending on what information you share with different university officials. Complainants should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution's ability to respond comprehensively.
DO NOT contact the complainant. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, who can explain the university's procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints.
If you want to move, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is typically institutional policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct and want the accused student to move, you must be willing to pursue a formal or informal university complaint. No contact orders can be imposed and room changes for the accused student are usually arranged quickly. Other accommodations available to you might include:
- Assistance from university support staff in completing the relocation
- Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and prorate a refund
- Assistance with or rescheduling an academic assignment (paper, exam, etc.)
- Taking an incomplete in a class
- Assistance with transferring class sections
- Temporary withdrawal
- Assistance with alternative course completion options
- Other accommodations for safety as necessary
Police are in the best position to secure evidence from a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim's person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room before washing yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a specially trained nurse, at the hospital is usually on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse. ER will refer you). If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called; but he/she is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a victim, but will not obligate him or her to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges should the victim decide later to exercise it.
For the Victim: The hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital and they can accompany you through the exam if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene - leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.
No. The severity of the infraction will determine the nature of the university's response; but, whenever possible, the university will respond educationally rather than punitively to the illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and the university does not want any of the circumstances (e.g. drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused student's responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use may affect the complainant's memory and, therefore, could affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence, and/or witnesses to prove his/her complaint. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused student.
Not unless there is compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the institution's sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the institution's Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The institution provides coordinators who can help you to define and clarity the event(s) and advise you of your options.