By Sierra Lammi
Sexual assault cases often go unreported on college campuses, and in light of recent questions about the process, a detailed overview of what happens when a case is reported is provided here.
Once a sexual assault case occurs, it may be reported to the Dean of Students for CSB or SJU in addition to the police if the students chooses to do so. An outside investigator who is familiar with the school’s policy on sexual assault is hired to collect information from the person who filed the complaint and the person who is responding. The investigator speaks with both parties, and each is allowed to provide any evidence that may be usefu for the investigation. The evidence may come in the form of photos, text messages or social media posts. Both parties are allowed to name witnesses that may be useful for the investigator to speak with.
Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator compiles the information and writes it up in a report for the Dean(s) of Students, who then goes over it individually with the students involved in the case. At this time students can then write additional responses to provide clarity to situations or challenge statements made in the report. Students then have the opportunity to read anything that was written by the other party, and rebuttal what the other person may have said if they choose to do so.
All files are then given to an adjudication panel-composed of three faculty or staff members from both campuses who have undergone extensive training to be on such a panel—who then ultimately decide if there is enough evidence to determine whether or not the sexual misconduct policy was violated. The panel consists of men and women of both campuses to prevent bias, and the student can challenge whether or not someone should be on the panel, and find a replacement if need be.
The sexual misconduct policy at CSB/SJU is defined as any kind of sexual contact or touching that occurs without a person’s consent. If the policy is found to be violated by the panel, the student who is responsible for the violation is referred to the Dean of Students at CSB and SJU for further action. Typically, students found responsible are suspended for one year, but the situation is highly variable. It is the hope of the faculty that students will be more comfortable coming forward with sexual assault issues with this information.