Sexual Assault Response / Prevention Policy

Initiated: August 11, 1994
Approved: August 11, 1994
Revised: November 2012

Purpose

To establish a uniform response to incidents of Criminal Sexual Assaults occurring on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

Applicability

All University employees, full time, part time, temporary, casual labor, students and visitors.

Policy

Introduction 

Acquaintance rape or date rape is the most prevalent form of sexual assault on college campuses. A reported sexual assault will be treated with the highest degree of concern by the University.

Sexual assault, including date rape, violates the University’s Student Code.  Sexual assault as defined in this policy is criminal sexual conduct, and a violation of the Michigan Penal Code. A University student charged with sexual assault may be subject to University disciplinary action up to and including expulsion and may be prosecuted pursuant to the Michigan Penal Code.

The University affirms the need for a broad-ranging sexual assault prevention education program. Prevention education and awareness efforts are essential in order to better ensure a safe learning and living environment on our campus. 

This policy provides the following information to members of the University community:

  • Definition of sexual assault;
  • Policy concerning sexual assault victims/survivors;
  • University response to reported sexual assault, including services available to victims/survivors of sexual assault and accused students;
  • Education and prevention efforts and programs; and
  • Information regarding periodic review of this Policy.

Definition 

Sexual assault is sexual contact without consent. More specifically, “sexual assault” for purposes of this Policy means any of the forms of criminal sexual conduct described in Sections 520b through 520g of the Michigan Penal Code (MCL 750.520b - .520g) involving a University student as the victim/survivor and/or alleged perpetrator. Sexual assault consists of sexual intercourse without consent, forcible sodomy or sexual penetration with an inanimate object, the intentional touching of an unwilling person’s intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, pelvic region, inner thigh, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering them), or forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts. These acts must be committed either by force, threat, intimidation, or by taking advantage of someone’s helplessness or inability to consent of which the alleged perpetrator was aware or should have been aware. Regardless of the relationship that exists between the parties, if consent is not given or force or coercion is used against a party, any sexual contact is within the definitions of criminal sexual contact and sexual assault.

“Consent” means a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity proposed by another. “Consent” requires mutually understandable and communicated words and/or actions demonstrating agreement to participate in proposed sexual activity. “Without consent” may be communicated by words and/or actions demonstrating unwillingness to engage in proposed sexual activity.  Sexual activity will be considered without consent if the victim/survivor was unable to give consent because of a condition of which the accused student was or should have been aware, such as alcohol and/or other drug intoxication, coercion, and/or verbal or physical threats, including being threatened with future harm.

Sexual assault is intrinsically injurious and degrading, and will be treated as resulting in injury for the purposes of the University Student Code, Regulation 2.3.15, General Regulatory Statement; Regulation 2.3.22, Personal Abuse, which prohibits acts which injure, threaten, endanger, or degrade a member of the University community; and Regulation 2.3.6, Compliance with University Policy. Use or abuse of alcohol or other drugs by a person charged with a sexual assault does not diminish, and may increase, personal responsibility. Providing or making available to a victim/survivor any substance (e.g. alcohol or other drugs, including but not limited to GHB, Rohypnol and Ecstasy) may increase the personal responsibility of the assailant. The person reporting an assault will not be charged with a violation of the Student Code for use of alcohol or other drugs. The same criminal offenses and penalties apply in cases of acquaintance rape or date rape as in cases of rape involving a stranger. A victim/survivor of sexual assault may be either female or male.  The University will investigate the complaint, and University charges may be brought against the accused student, regardless of where the conduct occurred.

Victims/survivors who are not students at Northern Michigan University but have been sexually assaulted by a Northern Michigan University student, may file a sexual assault complaint against the student with the Dean of Students Office or Public Safety and Police Services and request that the student be charged with a violation of the Student Code and/or the Michigan Penal Code. Because the University does not stand in a special academic relationship with a non-student victim/survivor, other university services are not available to non-students. 

Policy Concerning Sexual Assault Victims/Survivors 

If you are the victim/survivor of a sexual assault which is reported to the University, it is the policy of the University that:

  • You and the matter you report will be treated with the greatest concern and seriousness, regardless of your gender or the gender of the accused student.
  • Your name will not be released to the public or the media.
  • You may talk to university officials about the sexual assault without your name being disseminated, except as is necessary to meet federal requirements.
  • The right to confidentiality, both of the victim/survivor and of the accused student, will be respected insofar as it does not interfere with the University’s legal obligation or ability to investigate allegations of misconduct when brought to its attention, and to take corrective action when it is found that misconduct has occurred.
  • You will be treated with dignity, courtesy, sensitivity, and understanding and you will not be prejudged or blamed for what occurred.
  • You will be provided with information regarding your options for reporting the sexual assault, and your right to make choices based on this information will be respected.
  • Title IX requires that all reported incidents of sexual assault must be investigated by the University and the University must take steps to remedy the situation. If you do not want the complaint pursued through the student conduct program or the courts, the University must still investigate and respond.
  • It is a violation of University policy to intimidate, discipline, discharge, or harass any individual because she or he has filed a complaint, instituted proceedings, assisted an investigation, or formally or informally objected to sexual harassment and/or discriminatory practices. If retaliation occurs, the incident should be reported to the Equal Opportunity Office (faculty and staff) or to the Dean of Students Office (students).
  • You will be advised of, and if you desire, assisted in receiving services from the University department’s and from community service agencies that provide assistance to victims/survivors of sexual assault.
  • University staff will neither coerce you to report a sexual assault as a lesser offense nor prevent or discourage you from reporting a sexual assault to another person or authority.
  • The Dean of Students Office will assist you with any academic issues that may arise due to the situation.
  • Upon your request, University staff will take any reasonable steps to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity with the accused student.
  • If you file a complaint with Public Safety and Police Services, staff from that office will investigate your complaint. You will be notified of victim’s/survivor’s rights and remedies accorded in the Crime Victim’s Rights Act and you will be kept up-to-date on the status of the investigation.
  • The sexual history of the victim/survivor is not considered relevant to the truth of the allegation; therefore, information regarding sexual history external to the relationship between the victim/survivor and the accused student will not be considered in student conduct hearings.
  • You will be made aware of, and assisted in exercising, any options provided under law regarding the mandatory testing of alleged sexual assault perpetrators for communicable diseases and notification of the results of the testing.

University Response to Reported Sexual Assault 

There are a variety of avenues available for making a report of a sexual assault and obtaining support and other assistance. The following University departments can be of special assistance to victims/survivors of campus sexual assault:

  • Public Safety and Police Services, 911 (Emergency) or 227-2151 (103 Services Building)
  • Dean of Students Office, 227-1700 (2001 Hedgcock)
  • The Health Center, 227-2355 (Gries Hall)
  • Counseling and Consultation Services, 227-2981 (3405 Hedgcock)
  • Housing and Residence Life Office (the apartment services coordinator, any resident director, resident adviser, or community adviser)*
  • The Health Promotion Office, 227-1455 (1201-1202 University Center)
  • Title IX Coordinator, 227-2420 (Equal Opportunity Office, 158 Services Building)

Resident advisers and community advisers are obligated to share sexual assault reports, including names, with specific professional Housing and Residence Life Office staff for possible follow-up activities and to ensure reporting as required by law.

All the University departments listed above work together closely to provide support and assistance and to review available services and options. Students who have been sexually assaulted are strongly encouraged to report the incident as described above so that the University may investigate, charges can be initiated within the University student conduct system, and/or criminal charges may be pursued against the accused student.

In cases in which Public Safety and Police Services is not the first office contacted by the victim/survivor, information regarding the incident will be reported to that office in accordance with the Student Right to Know and the Clery Act. This report will not include the name of the victim/survivor or any identifying information without the victim’s/survivor’s consent. In addition, Public Safety and Police Services is required to report information concerning criminal acts on a daily and annual basis under the requirements of the Clery Act and the Uniform Crime Reporting Act.

A report of sexual assault will initiate a response from the University as explained below:

All reports of sexual assault must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator for the University. All reports are promptly investigated to determine what occurred and to take steps to resolve the situation. The University is required to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.  A typical investigation takes approximately 60 calendar days following receipt of the complaint.  The timing of the filing of the complaint (e.g. at the end of a semester) or the lack of information available to the investigator may result in the investigation taking longer than the typical 60 days.  Both parties will be given periodic status updates during the investigation. Both parties will receive written notification of the outcome of the complaint and both parties may file an appeal. If appeals are filed, both parties will receive written notification of the outcomes.

The University will inform and obtain consent from the victim/survivor before beginning an investigation. If the victim/survivor requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation. If the victim/survivor insists that his or her name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the accused student, the University’s ability to respond may be limited. A request for confidentiality will be weighed against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged assault; the victim’s/survivor’s age; whether there have been other assault complaints about the same individual; and the accused student’s rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the University as an “education record.” The University will inform the victim/survivor if it cannot ensure confidentiality. Even if the University cannot take disciplinary action against the accused student because the victim/survivor insists on confidentiality, it will pursue other steps to limit the effects of the alleged assault and attempt to prevent its recurrence.

 .01   Public Safety and Police Services: When a report of a sexual assault is received, Public Safety and Police Services will immediately assign a specially trained officer to investigate the incident and work with the victim/survivor through all stages of the investigation, prosecution and/or University student conduct system action. The officer will also inform the victim/survivor of other support services available.

.02    The Dean of Students Office: The Dean of Students Office will provide information to the victim/survivor about options for pursuing a charge against the accused student through the University’s student conduct system. The victim/survivor will be able to express his/her preferences as to whether formal Student Code charges are pursued how the charges are written  and if the student conduct process continues. The Dean of Students Office will work with Public Safety and Police Services as appropriate while investigating the complaint. The University will protect the victim/survivor as necessary, including taking interim steps before the final outcome of the investigation. The victim/survivor will be given his/her options to avoid contact with the accused student and be allowed to change academic or living situations as appropriate and possible.

.03    The Health Center: The Health Center provides services to NMU students, faculty and staff who have been victims/survivors of sexual assault. The physician provides examination, treatment, and information about the possibility of venereal disease and pregnancy, and provides referrals to other support services as appropriate. Health Center hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the school year. If a student is in need of emergency medical services after 5 p.m. or on weekends, he or she should go to Marquette General Hospital Emergency Room (225-3560). Note: If possible, when receiving medical care after a sexual assault it is important to have physical evidence collected for possible future legal action.

.04    Counseling and Consultation Services: Counseling and Consultation Services provides support to students dealing with the psychological impact of a sexual assault. The staff will provide assistance in decision making regarding reporting of the assault to Public Safety or the Dean of Students Office, contacting parents or significant others, modification of living arrangements, handling academic schedules and commitments, etc. Services are also provided to students who come to the Center for other reasons and in the course of treatment disclose a past sexual assault. Strict confidentiality is maintained.

.05    Housing and Residence Life Office: The apartment services coordinator, any resident director, resident adviser, or community adviser can provide immediate support and assistance to a student who reports a sexual assault, as well as to other students who may be involved. Staff will inform the victim/survivor of the services available from Counseling and Consultation Services, Public Safety and Police Services, the Health Center, the Marquette General Hospital Emergency Room, and the Dean of Students Office, and will help the victim/survivor obtain those services that are desired. These staff members can also be helpful when the student returns to his/her residence. In addition, the Housing and Residence Life Office staff will provide alternative living arrangements upon request, if the victim/survivor and the accused student live close to one another.

.06    Title IX Coordinator: The Coordinator can assist with all aspects of the reporting procedure, and will coordinate an investigation into a complaint. This office is also responsible for coordinating campus-wide sexual assault education, and for identifying trends or key areas of concern which may be addressed through information and education. If the victim/survivor requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the Coordinator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with this request. The Coordinator will inform the victim/survivor if she cannot ensure confidentiality when weighed against the four factors previously noted.

.07    Other Support Services: Faculty and staff who are contacted by someone who has been sexually assaulted are encouraged to provide non-judgmental support, to respect the victim’s/survivor’s confidentiality, and to consult with, or refer the victim/survivor to Public Safety and Police Services, the Dean of Students Office, or Counseling and Consultation Services.  All reports of sexual assault, except those reported solely to Counseling and Consultation Services, must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator.

Prevention Education 

Northern Michigan University provides ongoing prevention education of faculty, staff, and students in an effort to decrease the incidence of sexual assault.

.01    Faculty/Staff Prevention Education: A copy of this policy will be sent annually to all new faculty and staff. Staff members of those offices which are most likely to deal with prevention/response to sexual assault--Public Safety and Police Services, the Dean of Students Office, Title IX /Equal Opportunity Office, Counseling and Consultation Services, the Health Center, and the Housing and Residence Life Office--will receive regular in-service training to review office and University policies regarding the prevention of and most effective responses to sexual assault.

.02    Student Prevention Education: This policy will be distributed at the beginning of each semester by email notice, student announcement, and is available online at http://dso.nmu.edu/handbook/?part=2. To request a hard copy of the policy, contact the Dean of Students Office (227-1700), or Public Safety and Police Services (227-2151), or any office listed above.  The University also provides a variety of programs on sexual assault prevention to students:

  • Yearly Programs: Each year during a session at orientation, information concerning sexual assault is presented. It is covered during every HP200 course; completion of this course is a graduation requirement.  A sexual assault program is also made available to all coaches and athletes. Material providing information about safety, sexual assault, and acquaintance rape is available on the following websites:  Dean of Students Office  (http://dso.nmu.edu/), Counseling and Consultation Services (http://www.nmu.edu/counselingcenter/rape.html), the Health Promotion Office (http://www.nmu.edu/hpo/1d.html), Public Safety and Police Services (http://publicsafety.nmu.edu/assault.htm), and Housing and Residence Life (http://www.nmu.edu/housing/safety.shtml). Additionally, residence hall staff encourage and support residence hall student programs which focus on healthy relationships, personal safety, and sexual assault prevention.
  • Programs Offered on Request: Counseling and Consultation Services, the Health Promotion Office, and Public Safety and Police Services present sexual assault prevention programs tailored to the needs of student groups. These offices encourage interested student groups to call and schedule a presentation.

Periodic Review of Policy 

This policy will be reviewed biannually by a committee composed of representatives from Public Safety and Police Services, the Dean of Students Office, Title IX Coordinator/Equal Opportunity Office, Counseling and Consultation Services, Housing and Residence Life, the Health Promotion Office, and two students appointed by ASNMU. Other individuals may be included as appropriate. The Dean of Students will convene the committee. Any substantive changes recommended by the review committee are subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.

References

Michigan Compiled Law (MCL 750.520 (b) - (g) and the Student Code.

Initiating Department/Division

Public Safety and Police Services, 227-2152.

Dean of Students Office, 227-1700.