The following are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Hocking College's Sexual Misconduct policy and procedures:
- Does the complaint remain confidential?
The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be strictly observed, 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 student may lead to conduct action by the college. In all complaints of sexual misconduct, the complainant will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, using no names. Certain college administrators are informed on a confidential basis (e.g., the President of the College, the Vice-President of Academic and Student Affairs, the Chief of Hocking College Police Department). If you report an act of alleged sexual misconduct local police may be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the college is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The college 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 my parents be told?
Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the college's primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in instances where a health or safety emergency exist, or if the college determines such communication is necessary.
- 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 to better understand the college's legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials).
- What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
Do not contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the Title IX Coordinator, who can explain the college's procedures for dealing with sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center.
- What about changing residence hall rooms?
If you want to move, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is the college's policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you want the accused to move, and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue formal college conduct action. The alleged perpetrator will be moved immediately, and the permanence of this action will be based upon the outcome of the conduct hearing. Other accommodations available to you might include:
- Assistance from college support staff in completing the relocation;
- Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
- Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling;
- Taking an incomplete in a class;
- Transferring class sections;
- Leave of absence;
- Alternative course completion options.
- What do I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected within 72 hours. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should contact campus police at 740.753.6598 or call 9-1-1. If you go to the hospital emergency room we recommend you go before washing yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained nurse) at hospital is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you go to the hospital, local police will be called, but you are not obligated to talk to the police or to prosecute. The exam will help to keep that option open for you, should you decide later to exercise it.
The hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene-leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.
- Will a student 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 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 a non-consensual sexual contact, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the college's sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator, Hocking College Police Department, or another trusted administrator. The college provides advisors who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.