Title IX – Reporting

CONFIDENTIALITY, PRIVACY AND REPORTING POLICY

University of Saint Francis officials, depending on their roles at the University of Saint Francis, have varying reporting responsibilities and abilities to maintain confidentiality. In order to make informed choices, one should be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality, offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an outside agency or individual unless you have requested information to be shared. Other resources exist for you to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when you report victimization to them. Most resources on campus fall in the middle of these two extremes; neither the University of Saint Francis nor the law requires them to divulge private information that is shared with them, except in rare circumstances. The following describes the three reporting options at University of Saint Francis:

CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING TO “RESPONSIBLE PERSONS”

You are encouraged to speak to officials of the institution to make formal reports of incidents (deans, vice presidents, or other administrators with supervisory responsibilities, campus security, and human resources). The University considers these people to be “responsible employees.” Notice to them is official notice to the institution. You have the right and can expect to have incidents of sexual misconduct to be taken seriously by the institution when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual.

REPORTING TO OTHER UNIVERSITY EMPLOYEES

Please note that the University expects any employee with good reason to believe that a person has been sexually assaulted, has been subjected to severe or pervasive gender-based harassment, or has otherwise been discriminated against because of gender to report that belief to the employee’s supervisor or, in the case of a potential sexual assault, to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator. Therefore, depending on what information is provided, reports to these University employees may not be confidential.

Confidential Reporting: 
If you would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, you may speak with professional counselors (including the counseling staff at the Health and Wellness Center), any off-campus rape crisis resources, University Chaplain and/or the Sisters at USF who will maintain confidentiality. Health and Wellness Center counselors are available to help students free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours.

Private Reporting: 
You may seek advice from certain resources who are not required to tell anyone else your private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear for your safety, or the safety of others. These resources include employees without supervisory responsibility or remedial authority to address sexual misconduct, such as resident assistants (RAs), faculty members, advisors to student clubs and organizations, career advancement staff, admissions officers, student activities personnel, and many others. If you are unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain your privacy, ask them before you talk to them. They will be able to tell you and can help you make decisions about who can best help you. Some of these resources, such as RAs, are instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, but they do not share any personally identifiable information about your report unless you give permission, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect you or other members of the community. If your personally identifiable information is shared, it will be shared with as few people as possible and all efforts will be made to protect your privacy to the greatest extent.

Formal Reporting Options: 
You are encouraged to speak to University of Saint Francis officials, such as the Title IX Coordinator/Vice President for Student Affairs, Associate Dean for Campus Life, Resident Directors, Student Conduct officers, Campus Security, etc. to make formal reports of incidents of sexual misconduct. You have the right, and can expect, to have incidents of sexual misconduct taken seriously by the University of Saint Francis when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the responding party. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible.

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Certain campus officials have a duty to report sexual misconduct for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to Campus Security regarding the type of incident and its general location (on- or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student/conduct affairs, campus security, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the Reporting Party and may be done anonymously.

Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations

Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that University administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The University will make every effort to ensure that a Reporting Party’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger. The reporters for timely warning purposes are exactly the same as detailed at the end of the above paragraph.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the University of Saint Francis Sexual Misconduct Policy and Grievance Procedures:

Does information about a complaint remain private?

The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the University’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 Reporting Party (alleged victim) or the Responding Party (accused individual) may lead to conduct action by the University. In all complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the Reporting Party. Certain University administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g., the President, Vice President for Student Affairs, Director of Campus Security). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the University and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, Campus Security will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a Reporting Party must speak with Security, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The institution 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 Reporting Party or the Responding Party, the University’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. University officials may directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student; and/or:

  • if a health or safety emergency involves the student;
  • if the student, under the age of 21, has violated any law or policy concerning the use and/or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance;
  • if the student is at risk of being removed from University housing or suspended or dismissed from the University;
  • if the student has been found responsible for a serious violation of the Student Code of Conduct or University Housing Policies;
  • if the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) deems there are special circumstances that are in the best interest of the student and University to notify the parent;
  • if the student has signed the “Authorization to Release Information” form at registration which allows such communication;
  • or in other situations as allowed by law.

Will the Responding Party know my identity?

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged Responding Party. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the Responding Party has the right to know the identity of the Reporting Party. If there is a hearing, the University does provide options for questioning without confrontation.

Do I have to name the perpetrator?

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged Responding Party. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the complete confidentiality policy above to better understand the University’s legal obligations depending on what information you share with different University officials). Reporting Parties should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.

What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

DO NOT contact the Reporting Party. You may immediately want to contact a staff or faculty member of your choosing who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the Office of Student Affairs which can explain the University’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor or seek other community assistance.

Will I (as a victim) have to pay for counseling/or medical care?

No; the University of Saint Francis provides these services through the University of Saint Francis Health & Wellness Center. If a Reporting Party is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc. 

How can the University of Saint Francis help remedy the effects of discrimination?

If you want to move, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is typically institutional policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you want the accused individual to move, and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue a formal University complaint. No Contact Orders can be imposed and room changes for the accused individual can be arranged. Other accommodations available to you might include:

  • Assistance from Residential Life staff in completing the relocation;
  • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund, if appropriate;
  • Assistance with or rescheduling an academic assignment (paper, exams, etc.);
  • Taking an incomplete in a class;
  • Assistance with transferring class sections;
  • Temporary withdrawal;
  • Assistance with alternative course completion options;
  • Other accommodations for safety as necessary.

What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?

Physical information of a sexual assault must be collected within about 96 hours of the assault for it to be useful in a criminal prosecution. If you believe you have been a victim of a sexual assault, you should call the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center (260-423-2222) or go to a hospital Emergency Room before washing yourself or your clothing. A sexual assault health professional (a specially trained nurse called a SANE) at the hospital is on call and will counsel you. 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 SANE nurse will collect information, 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 forensic information 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 information. 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 information for the police to collect.

Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct complaint?

The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the responding individual’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the Reporting Party’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove his/her complaint. If the Reporting Party does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the Responding Party without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by a Responding Party.

Will a student be sanctioned when reporting an act of sexual misconduct if the student has illegally used drugs or alcohol?

No. The University of Saint Francis offers amnesty in such situations. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and the University of Saint Francis does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.

What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?

If you believe that you have experienced non-consensual sexual contact, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the University of Saint Francis’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator and/or Student Affairs staff who can advise you of your options. The University of Saint Francis also provides access to counselors at the Health & Wellness Center who can help you to define and clarify the event(s). Finally, consider calling the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center to see SANE trained nurse if you have experienced sexual assault. The Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center is available 24 hours a day (260-423-2222).