FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the college’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures.

Does information about a complaint remain private?
The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the college’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 individual may lead to conduct action by the college.
 
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 college administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g., the President of the college, Dean of Student Support Services, Director of Campus Safety).  If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the college and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, campus safety and local police will be notified.  This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a complainant 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.
 
Will the accused individual know my identity?
Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused individual has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim.  If there is a hearing, the college does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.
 
Do I have to name the perpetrator?
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 college’s legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials).  Complainants should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.
 
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the complainant.  You may immediately want to contact someone who can act as your advisor; anyone may serve as your advisor. You may also contact the Student Conduct Office, which can explain the college’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center or seek other community assistance.  See below regarding legal representation.
 
Will I (as a complainant) have to pay for counseling/or medical care?
Not for those services the college provides already.  If a complainant is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc.
 
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 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 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, but will not obligate a potential complainant to any course of action.  Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the complainant decide later to exercise it.

Will a complainant be sanctioned when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if he/she has illegally used drugs or alcohol?
No.  The severity of the infraction will determine the nature of the college’s response, but whenever possible the college 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 college does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.
 
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct complaint?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused individual’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may 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 individual.
 
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 complaint.
 
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 sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Student Conduct office.