Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities

Sexual Misconduct Q&A

Does the complaint remain confidential?

The privacy of all parties to a complaint of Sexual Misconduct will be maintained to the extent possible, while at the same time allowing the University to meet its duty to investigate allegations of Sexual Misconduct. Where privacy it 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. 

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 University administrators are informed on a confidential basis (e.g., the President of the University, Director of Campus Safety).  The University 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 responding student, 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 will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in a life-threatening situation.  Parents are notified by the University as allowed by FERPA when a student is suspended or expelled from the University.  Therefore, at the time of sanctioning, a responding student’s parent(s) may be notified if hi/s/her sanction is suspension or expulsion. 

Do I have to name the accused?

Yes, if you want the University to investigate and/or initiate the Student Rights and Responsibilities Process.  Please consult the Associate Director for Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or the PLU Victim Advocate if you have questions about reporting. 

What do I do if I am the responding student for a Sexual Misconduct complaint?

DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your Support Person. You may also contact the  Associate Director for Student Rights and Responsibilities, who can explain the University’s procedures for dealing with Sexual Misconduct complaints and connect you with an Ombudsperson for the process. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the PLU Counseling Center. You may also want to seek legal advice.

What do I do about legal advice?

Any student has the right to seek legal advice.  Though legal counsel is not a participant in the University Review Process, students may consult legal counsel if they choose.

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 University’s policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you want the responding student to move, and believe that you have been the victim of Sexual Misconduct, you must be willing to pursue formal Student Conduct action. Other accommodations available to you might include:

  1. Assistance from University support staff in completing the relocation;
  2. Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
  3. Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling;
  4. Taking an incomplete in a class;
  5. Transferring class sections;
  6. Temporary withdrawal;
  7. Alternative course completion options.

What do I do about preserving evidence?

Physical evidence for the purposes of criminal sexual assault must be collected within 72-hours. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to a Hospital Emergency Room before washing yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained nurse) at Hospital is on call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. A Victim Advocate from the PLU (Jennifer Warwick, 253-538-6303) or the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County (253-474-7273 or 1-800-756-7273) can accompany 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.  For more information about preserving and collecting evidence, please contact the PLU Victim Advocate or the Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County.

Will a student be sanctioned when reporting a Sexual Misconduct policy violation if he/she has illegally used drugs or alcohol?

Complainants or witnesses may be hesitant to report to University officials because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as illegal drinking at the time of the incident. To encourage reporting, the University will primarily focus on the issue of Sexual Misconduct. While other potential policy violations cannot be completely overlooked, the University will typically address these situations by focusing on educational resources for the Complainant or witness (see Examples).

Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a Sexual Misconduct conduct complaint?

The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party may or may not play a role in determining consent. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint.

Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting Sexual Misconduct?

Typically no.  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 University’s Sexual Misconduct policy, you should contact the PLU Associate Director for Student Rights and Responsibilities or the PLU Victim Advocate (Jennifer Warwick, 253.538.6303) who can advise you of your options.

Will either party’s past sexual history and/or character be a factor in the review process?

The past sexual history or sexual character of a student will not be admissible by the other party in Review Meetings unless such information is determined to be highly relevant after reviewed by the Associate Director for Student Conduct .  While previous conduct violations by the responding student are not generally admissible, the Associate Director for Student Conduct may, in his or her sole discretion, supply previous complaint information to the Review Body if it indicates a pattern of behavior and substantial conformity with that pattern by the responding student.  Past conduct history is always considered during the sanctioning phase of the Student Rights and Responsibilities Process.

Last Modified: March 11, 2014 at 05:37 PM