Policy Statement Addressing Preventing and Responding to Sex Offenses
The University educates the student community about sexual assaults and date rape through mandatory freshman orientations each fall. The SWOSU Campus Police offers sexual assault education and information programs to University students and employees upon request. Literature on date rape education, risk reduction, and University response is available through the SWOSU Campus Police.
If you are a victim of a sexual assault at this institution, your first priority should be to get to a place of safety. You should then obtain necessary medical treatment. The SWOSU Campus Police strongly advocates that a victim of sexual assault report the incident in a timely manner. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. An assault should be reported directly to a University officer and/or to a Housing official. Filing a police report with a University officer will not obligate the victim to prosecute, nor will it subject the victim to scrutiny or judgmental opinions from officers. Filing a police report will:
- ensure that a victim of sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests, at no expense to the victim;
- provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later (ideally a victim of sexual assault should not wash, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical/legal exam);
- assure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.
When a sexual assault victim contacts the SWOSU Campus Police, the local police will also be notified. A representative from the Office of Housing and dean of students will also be notified. The victim of a sexual assault may choose for the investigation to be pursued through the criminal justice system and the University, or only the latter. A University representative from the SWOSU Campus Police or the Office of Housing/Dean of Students will guide the victim through the available options and support the victim in his or her decision. Various counseling options are available from the University through the Student Health Services, the Women’s Center, University Ministries, Employee Assistance, and the Psychological and Counseling Center. Counseling and support services outside the University system can be obtained through the District Attorney's office.
University disciplinary proceedings, as well as special guidelines for cases involving sexual misconduct, are detailed in the Student Handbook. The Handbook provides, in part, that the accused and the victim will each be allowed to choose one person who has had no formal legal training to accompany them throughout the hearing. Both the victim and accused will be informed of the outcome of the hearing. A student found guilty of violating the University sexual misconduct policy could be criminally prosecuted in the state courts and may be suspended or expelled from the University for the first offense. Student victims have the option to change their academic and/or on-campus living situations after an alleged sexual assault, if such changes are reasonably available.
- The accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding?
- Both the accuser and the accused must be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding that is brought alleging a sex offense? Compliance with this paragraph does not constitute a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For the purpose of this paragraph, the outcome of a disciplinary proceeding means only the institution’s final determination with respect to the alleged sex offense and any sanction that is imposed against the accused.
- Sanctions the institution may impose following a final determination of an institutional disciplinary proceeding regarding rape, acquaintance rape or other forcible or nonforcible sex offenses; expulsion-temporally or indefinite