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SECTION 13
PROCESS FOR RESPONDING TO SEXUAL ASSAULT

I. Sexual assaults can occur in many different circumstances and locations on college campuses. Therefore, it is important for members of the University community to know how to respond when they become aware of a sexual assault.

A. If a sexual assault occurs in a residence hall, the RA will probably be the first person notified. The primary concern should be the welfare of the victim. The RA should immediately contact their AC or Senior Residence Life Staff member. The victim should be encourage the victim to obtain immediate medical treatment (both to provide for the victim's health and well-being and to document). Every effort should be made to encourage victims to report sexual assault. The appropriate individuals below will probably be involved at some point in the incident:

Director of Campus Safety & Security
Vice President for Student Affairs
Director of Wellness Center
Director for Residence Life & Judicial Programs
Sexual Assault Help Center
Student Health Center

B. The victim should be transported to the hospital and a Division of Student Affairs professional staff member should contact the Sexual Assault Help Center SAHC (234-8519) and ask for a trained advocate to meet the victim at the hospital. Medical attention should be obtained as soon as possible (after 72 hours all physical evidence will be gone). The SAHC advocate and hospital personnel can answer questions regarding possible pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Even if a period of time has elapsed, a victim should be examined by a physician at the Student Heath Center or by their own Physician.

C. The victim should be given information about preserving evidence, such as the important of not bathing, washing or brushing teeth until after a medical exam. Evidence of the assault, such as bedding, towels, clothing, anything touched, should be collected, - wet articles should be placed in a paper (not plastic) bag to preserve evidence. Clothing or bedding should be carefully folded, not shaken. Ideally, the collection should be performed by law enforcement personnel.

D. If a sexual assault occurs off-campus or in a location other than the residence halls, any member of the University community who becomes aware of the assault should follow these procedures or notify the Vice President for Student Affairs.

II. Other personnel who are notified will respond in the following ways:

A. Campus Safety & Security - will attempt to obtain information regarding the incident and will comply with the Campus Security Act of 1990.


B. V.P. for Student Affairs - will begin immediate investigation of the incident if he determines that the University should respond. If an immediate removal of the alleged assailant from the campus is in the best interest of the victim, the assailant, or the University community, the alleged assailant may be removed from campus pending an investigation.

The V.P. for Student Affairs will inform the alleged assailant that the case will remain open should the victim decide to initiate judicial action (either mediation or standard judicial procedures). The V.P. for Student Affairs will also recommend counseling for all parties involved in the incident and he will forward reports of any incidents of sexual assault to the Director of Wellness Center.

C. Director of Wellness Center or his/her designee - will meet with the victim as soon as possible to discuss legal options, University disciplinary options and necessary forms to be completed, and other decisions the victim may need to make. The two types of disciplinary action that can be pursued are mediation and standard disciplinary procedures.

The counselor will provide support, information on resources available to the victim both on and off campus, and counseling through the stages of rape trauma syndrome.

If the victim makes a decision to pursue one of the university disciplinary options, the counselor will provide the appropriate forms and refer the victim to either the V.P. for Student Affairs or the designated mediator for further actions.

D. Designated mediator - if mediation is requested, the designated mediator will perform the following duties:

During mediation, the mediator will facilitate a process of communication between the two parties that focuses on clarification and understanding. In addition, educational and other sanctions may be determined in a written agreement.

If the mediator determines that an agreement cannot be reached, the victim has the option of initiating standard disciplinary procedures through the Division of Student Affairs.

E. Director for Residence Life & Judicial Programs - if requested by the victim, will make arrangements to modify housing immediately if the victim and the alleged assailant live in the same residence hall or if such action will facilitate the recovery of the victim.

III. All personnel working with victims of sexual assault should be sensitive to the following concerns:

A. To a person who has been sexually assaulted, a medical rape exam may seem like a second rape. However, if the victim decides to file charges against the assailant at a later time, physical evidence is necessary. Encourage the victim to have a medical examination, and emphasize concern for her health. Suggest to the victim that someone such as a trained SAHC advocate is with her for support at the hospital.

B. Many victims are reluctant to report sexual assault and to file charges against the assailant. These questions should be viewed separately by the victim. All victims should be encouraged to report sexual assault. If sexual assaults are reported the University is aware of the magnitude of the problem and can respond with resources, programs, and better security. The victim can also receive needed support and help in understanding her feelings. Filing an incident report does not mean that further action must be taken by a victim.

C. The question of filing legal charges or pursuing disciplinary action is a much more difficult decision to make. Some individuals may be more emotionally able to handle the stress of a trial or hearing than others. Those who feel emotionally able to prosecute should be encouraged to do so. However, when a victim decides not to file charges her wishes should be respected and not criticized.

D. While most victims of sexual assault are women, men can also be victims. Usually the assailant is another man. Male victims experience symptoms of psychological trauma similar to those experienced by women. Support services provided for female victims have been shown to be equally helpful for male victims.

IV. University Response

A. PLEASE REFER TO THE STUDENT HANDBOOK.


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