Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the university’s Title IX policy and procedures.
Does information about a report remain private?
The privacy of all parties to a report 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. The university will not disseminate information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the resolution process without the consent of both parties. Witnesses are also required to maintain the privacy of information shared with them during interviews and/or hearings. Violations of the privacy of the reporting party or the responding party may lead to conduct action by the university, though both parties are allowed to share their perspectives and experiences. All parties, including witnesses, involved in an allegation are strongly encouraged to maintain the privacy of information and/or written materials.
Will my parents be told?
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the reporting party or the responding party, the University’s primary relationship is to the student and not to 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, when the student is in a life-threatening situation, or if an individual has signed the permission form at registration which allows such communication.
Will the responding party know my identity?
Yes, if the university determines there is reasonable cause to believe a violation has occurred and investigates the matter. The responding party has the right to know the identity of the reporting party. If there is a hearing, the university does provide options for questioning without confrontation.
Do I have to name the responding party?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the responding party. You can report the incident without the identity of the responding party, but doing so may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the reporting party. You may immediately want to contact someone who can act as your advisor; anyone may serve as your advisor. You may also contact the Title IX Office, which can explain the university’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct reports. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center or seek other community assistance. See below regarding legal representation.
What about legal advice?
Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue criminal prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are considering filing a civil action or are the responding party. The responding party may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution and/or the campus conduct proceeding. Both the responding party and the reporting party may also use an attorney as their advisor during the campus’ resolution process.
How is a report of sexual misconduct decided?
The university investigates allegations of sex/gender based harassment, discrimination or misconduct to determine whether there is evidence to indicate a policy violation is “more likely than not.” This standard, called the preponderance of the evidence, correspondents to an amount of evidence indicating a policy violation is more than 50% likely.
What about changing residence hall rooms?
You may request a room change if you want to move. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. If you prefer that the responding party be moved to another residence hall, that request will be evaluated by the Title IX Administrator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator to determine if it can be honored. Other assistance and modifications available to you might include:
- Assistance from university support staff in completing a room relocation;
- Assistance with or rescheduling an academic assignment (paper, exams, etc.) or otherwise implementing academic assistance;
- Taking an incomplete in a class;
- Assistance with transferring class sections;
- Temporary withdrawal;
- Assistance with alternative course completion options;
- On or off-campus counseling assistance;
- Other accommodations for safety as necessary.
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Police are in the best position to secure evidence of 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 closest 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). A victim advocate from the institution can also accompany you to Hospital and law enforcement or Security can provide transportation. If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called, but s/he 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 obligation 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 Reporting Party: the hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address 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.
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct resolution?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the responding party’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the reporting party’s memory and, therefore, may affect the resolution of the reported misconduct. A reporting party must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove that policy was violated. If the reporting party does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the responding party without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by a responding party.
Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct? Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present matter.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
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 Administrator (not confidential) or Counseling Center (confidential).