for Faculty and Staff
Why do I have to report a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident?
First and foremost, WOU strives to provide a safe environment in which students can pursue their education free from the detrimental effects of sexual misconduct. If there is a culture of sexual violence in our community, then we are not meeting this effort. Reporting incidents of sexual misconduct help us in meeting this effort.
Second, Title IX of the United States Department of Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sexual discrimination. A student who is sexually harassed or assaulted may also suffer from unequal access to educational opportunities and may be afraid to come to campus, go to class, or visit a faculty or staff member’s office. While statistics on sexual violence on campuses across the nation have increased, it is still believed that these cases are severely underreported. In April 2011, The US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights distributed a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL). The DLC expanded the required steps that schools (colleges and K-12) must take if there is a violation of Title IX to now include all employees of college campuses to be mandated reporters.
What do I have to report?
If a student reports that s/he has been sexually victimized then you are required by Title IX to report all information you are given to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Even if the assault occurs off campus, if it involves WOU students, it must be reported. For your convenience, there is Anonymous Report Form that you can fill out on-line.
When do I let the student know that I am required to report?
If a student begins to tell you about a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident you should interrupt the student and explain you are mandated to report any information s/he confides in you. Being prepared by having the statement below on your syllabus or in your office may help to keep misunderstandings from occurring.
“I need to tell you that I am considered a mandated reporter. I must inform the university an incident has occurred. I don’t want to scare or intimidate you, but your personal safety and overall health is our number one concern. The reason we do this report is to make sure you are able to get all the help and support you need. If you do not want details of what occurred reported or are not interested in making a complaint at this time, you have the right to maintain your privacy. I will only report what you confide in me.”
How should I respond to a student who reports to me?
The most important things to do are to listen, believe the student, ask if the student feels safe, and determine how to help with physical and mental health. Encourage the student to report the incident to one or more of the following options:
All of the above options are available to the student, and can be pursued individually or simultaneously. An Advocate at Abby’s House can help talk through the options with the student and can accompany the student through the process of accessing any of these reporting services
You might offer to walk the student over to the Student Health and Counseling. Let the student know about the services of Abby’s House, Sable House and Mid Valley Women’s Crisis Services.
Tell the student about crisis hotlines they can call 24-hours a day:
How soon do I have to report?
You need to report the incident immediately after hearing or witnessing a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident. The sooner you report, the sooner the information can be investigated and less opportunity for an offender to continue the behavior.
How far back can a case be reported?
Sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents can be reported as far back as the survivor OR the alleged offender was a student at WOU at the time of the incident.
Examples of Sexual Harassment?
- A professor insists that a student have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade.
- A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list she/he created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
- Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor’s office, on the exterior of a residence hall door or on a computer monitor in a public space.
- Two supervisors frequently ‘rate’ several employees’ bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
- A professor engages students in discussions in class about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. She proves for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
- An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend, turning him into a social pariah on campus.
- Male students take to calling a particular brunette student “Monica” because of her resemblance to Monica Lewinsky. Soon, everyone adopts this nickname for her, and she is the target of the relentless remarks about cigars, the president, “sexual relations”, and Weight Watchers.
- A student grabbed another student by the hair, then grabbed her breast and put his mouth on it.
- Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you have consensual sex)
- Engaging in Peeping Tommery
NOTE: Investigations of sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents are not your responsibility. Trained individuals will talk with the survivor and the alleged perpetrator (if a student), as well as friends and colleagues to gather information.
The following individuals are available to help if you need assistance with your mandated reporting responsibilities:
|Jay Carey, Director of Campus Public Safety
|Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Abby’s House Director
|Gary Dukes, Vice President for Student Affairs
|Tina Fuchs, Dean of Students
|Charisse Jolliff, Student Conduct Coordinator
|Jaime Silva, Director of Student Health and Counseling Center
|Judy Vanderburg, Director of Human Resources
and Title IX Coordinator