Sexual Assault

POLICY STATEMENT

 

Delta State University is committed to providing an environment in which all persons may pursue their education, careers, duties, and activities in an atmosphere free of all threats of unwelcome and unwanted sexual actions. The university strongly condemns sexual offenses and will not tolerate sexual offenders. 

 

Sexual assaults are serious violations of university regulations and are crimes under state law, punishable by imprisonment.

 

DEFINITIONS

 

Mentally defective person: one who suffers from a mental disease, defect, or condition which renders that person temporarily or permanently incapable of knowing the nature and quality of his or her conduct.

 

Mentally incapacitated person: one rendered incapable of knowing or controlling his or her conduct, or incapable of resisting an act due to the influence of any drug, narcotic, anesthetic, or alcohol.

 

Physically helpless person: one who is unconscious or one who for any reason is physically incapable of communicating an unwillingness to engage in an act.

 

Sexual assault: any sexual physical contact, including intentional touching or fondling, performed without the consent of the victim. Also, sexual assault occurs when any person is threatened, coerced, or forced into complying with any type sexual act against his/her will or without his/her consent, regardless of whether or not the assailant is an acquaintance of or stranger to the victim.

 

Victim of sexual assault: includes, but is not limited, to persons who are incapable of consenting to sexual interactions with another due to such persons being mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, and/or physically helpless.

 

PROCEDURES and RESPONSIBILITIES

 

General

The university will respond promptly and fairly to all reports or allegations of sexual assault. Any member of the university community who violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action when the incident has occurred on campus or when the incident has occurred off campus and affects the learning environment or operations of the university.

 

Judicial Process for Sexual Assaults

Delta State University will respond to reports of sexual assault in a manner that will seek to provide relief for the victim, due process for the accused, and a safe environment for the university community.

 

Charges for sexual assault against a DSU student will be handled by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs under normal judicial/disciplinary process. The Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) has the discretion to suspend a student accused of sexual assault, pending a hearing. Once an investigation has been completed, the VPSA will notify the accused student of the charge and set a hearing within five working days.

 

Both the complainant and the person accused of the sexual assault have certain rights in the university judicial/disciplinary process.

 

The complainant has the right to be present whenever the accused student is present in the judicial process, to be accompanied by another person for support, to be present when a verdict is announced, to make a formal statement in writing or orally prior to consideration of any penalty to be imposed on the offender, to be notified at the same time as the offender of any penalty, to be notified of any appeals filed by the offender and to respond to any new evidence presented as basis for an appeal; and the right to be notified, at the same time as the accused, of the result of any appeals.

 

The person accused of the sexual assault has all rights of due process as outlined in the Student Handbook.

 

Guidelines for Reporting a Sexual Assault

  1. Get to a safe place as soon as possible. Go to Health Services, which is open 24 hours a day.

 

  1. Try to preserve all physical evidence. If the offense occurred within the past 72 hours, it may be possible to collect trace evidence of the offense. This is important especially if a decision is made to prosecute the offender. Do not wash, use the toilet, or change clothing if possible. If you do change clothes, put the clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a paper, not plastic bag (such as a paper grocery bag).

 

  1. Seek medical attention. A medical examination will provide necessary treatment to ensure that you are physically well and collect important evidence. DSU Police officers are available to transport you to Health Services of the Bolivar Medical Center.

 

  1. Call the DSU Police Department. To report an incident that has just occurred or to report an incident at a later date, call the DSU Police at 846-4155. Police Officers are on duty 24 hours a day. Victims are encouraged to bring a friend for support. Reporting an incident is separate from choosing to prosecute. The Department’s primary concern is for the victim’s welfare. The Department strives to ensure that appropriate treatment and support is provided. When a person files a report with the DSU Police Department, they are not obligated to continue with legal proceedings or university disciplinary action. Reporting the incident to the University Police will help:

a.       Identify and apprehend the alleged assailant,

b.      Provide future options regarding criminal prosecution, university disciplinary action, and/or civil action against the assailant, and

c.       Protect others from future assaults by the same assailant.

 

  1. Once an incident has been reported, an investigator will be assigned to investigate the offense. This process is important if the victim wishes to make criminal charges at this time or at a later date. The victim will be asked questions about the details of the incident and asked to identify any witnesses. The University Police will work to safeguard the identity of the victim and will work in cooperation with the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs to change academic and living situations if requested by the victim and such changes are reasonably available. It is the victim’s decision whether or not to involve law enforcement.

 

  1. Seek counseling or other support. A victim can contact the University Counseling Center at 846-4690 or contact the Rape Crisis Center at 1-800-898-0834 and speak to a trained counselor that will maintain confidentiality, help explain your options, give you information, and provide emotional support.

Resources for Assistance

Anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking or any other form of violence should know the many sources of support services and counseling, both on campus and off campus.

 

Delta State University

Campus Services

Police Department……………………………………………………. 846-4155

Health Services……………………………………………………….. 846-4630

Housing & Residence Life…………………………………………….. 846-4151

Counseling……………………………………………………………… 846-4690

Student Development………………………………………………… 846-4666

Vice President for Student Affairs………………………………….. 846-4150

 

Community Services

Our House, Inc.

Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence

Services (24 hr.)…………………………. 662-332-5683 or 1-888-884-5683

 

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