Rape is generally defined as forced sexual intercourse that is perpetrated against the will of the victim. The most prevalent form of rape on college campuses is acquaintance rape. Acquaintance rape is a sexual assault form committed by someone the victim knows. Other forms of sexual assault such as sexual battery, which is generally defined as unwanted touching of an intimate part of another person are also violations of the law. Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. A complete University Policy on sexual harassment is included in the VCSU Student Handbook and the VCSU Manual. For the purpose of reporting sex crimes, Valley City State University will document and report statistics in the categories of forcible sex offenses and non-forcible sex offenses.
DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS AND THE CRIMINAL PROCESS
Campus sexual assault is both a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and a violation of local, state, and federal laws. A sexual assault offense can lead to two proceedings: 1) a campus disciplinary hearing as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct; and 2) a criminal court case against the assailant. In criminal proceedings, the same laws and penalties apply to sexual assault by a stranger as by an acquaintance of the victim. Because the standard of proof requirements differ between criminal proceedings and campus judicial hearings, a student could be found guilty by a campus hearing body even though charges are not filed in a criminal court. Students are to refer to the VCSU Student Handbook for a complete description of the Student Code of Conduct and the University Judicial Council.
RIGHTS OF VICTIMS
In order to encourage students to report sexual offenses and to ensure fairness in the university judicial process, victims of sexual assaults are entitled to the following rights:
- The right to privacy and the treatment of sensitive information in a confidential manner.
- The right to be free from campus or community pressure in reporting or not reporting a sexual assault.
- The right to have a person or persons of choice accompany him/her throughout the disciplinary process.
- The right to expect a prompt and thorough investigation by law enforcement and/or campus personnel.
- The right not to have past sexual/relationship history included in judicial proceedings.
- The right to expect the university to commit reasonable resources to protect the victim from the actions or presence of the perpetrator.
- The right to expect meaningful support and advocacy from campus and community organizations and agencies.
- The right to be informed immediately of the outcome of any hearing.
It is very important for students to know that if they are the victim of a sexual assault, there are a number of options available for reporting the incident. By reporting the incident to any of the following parties, you will receive support, encouragement and assistance with the options available to you.
- Report the assault to campus authorities. The report can be made to any campus counselor, an RA, a Head Resident, the Student Affairs Office or campus security.
- Report the assault to the police. Reporting the assault is not the same as prosecuting. You can decide later if you want to prosecute.
- Report the assault to the Abused Persons Outreach Center.
- Go to a hospital for treatment of any injuries and for other tests, which can provide important medical evidence. You can have a friend accompany you or meet you there. Reporting to the hospital does not mean you have to press charges.
- Seek counseling. Regardless of whether or not you press charges, you should consult a trained counselor to help you sort out your options and support you in your decision making.
Educational programs and activities that promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, and other sex offenses are offered on campus each year. Programs are specifically designed for residence hall staff training and presentations are made in the residence halls and for the general campus population throughout the year. Materials, posters, and brochures are available throughout the campus. The Abused Persons Outreach Center provides a half-time Campus Advocate staff member to VCSU. The Campus Advocate provides direct services to victims as well as educational programs and activities for the campus.
Sponsored by: Vice President for Student Affairs
Reviewed: Winter 1996
Revised: July 2001
Revised Number: February 2010
Revised: January 2012