The College has an obligation under a federal law known as Title IX to keep the College environment free from unlawful sexual discrimination. Unlawful sexual discrimination includes allegations of sexual violence or harassment, domestic violence, stalking or misconduct occurring both on and off campus, when the conduct impacts the College environment. The College is required to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct or violence, and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably. This guide provides some practical advice on what to do when you, as a responsible employee, learn of alleged sexual misconduct or violence involving a member of the College community.
What should you do when faced with an allegation that a member of the College community has been a victim of sexual misconduct or violence?
- As a responsible employee, you are required to contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator (812-866-6740) or Title IX Deputy (812-866-7097) promptly. If you believe there is a risk of imminent harm to someone, you should also contact the Campus Safety (812-866-7999.)
- Early in the conversation with the victim, explain that you are obligated to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinaotr or Deputy and that you cannot maintain complete confidentiality.
- If the victim wants to talk with someone who can maintain complete confidentiality, direct the victim to confidential resources such as the Counseling Services at (812-766-7399) or the Chaplain’s Office (812-866-7087).
- If the victim wants to tell you what happened, but also wants to maintain confidentiality, you should tell the victim that the College will consider the request, but that you must report the incident to the Title IX office and cannot guarantee that the College will be able to honor the request for confidentiality.
- If the student proceeds, listen empathetically. Encourage, but do not pressure, the student to seek help, counseling or medical assistance if appropriate, and/or to contact the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Deputy.
- Encourage the victim to contact law enforcement so that the situation can be addressed and prevented in the future.
- Ask about any immediate needs of the person. This may include safety, medical needs or mental health needs.
- After the victim leaves, call the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy. The Title IX Coordinator will ask you for all relevant information regarding the incident. Relevant information includes: the name of the student who experienced sexual misconduct, the name(s) of the alleged perpetrator(s), what occurred, date, time and location.
- Beyond the Title IX coordinator or Deputy, please keep the victim’s confidentiality. Do not share with others details of the occurrence without the victim’s permission. Trust that the Coordinator and Deputy will inform others on a need to know basis to ensure support of the victim.
- Do not try to mediate or resolve the issue yourself.
After reporting to Title IX, what ongoing responsibilities do you have?
After meeting with the victim and reporting the matter to the Title IX office, you have fulfilled your primary responsibility. The College, through its Title IX Coordinator and sometimes Student Conduct or Campus Safety, will then take prompt action to respond to the matter which may include an appropriate investigation, the provision of support and resources, and resolution. These College offices have considerable, specialized experience and expertise in handling these matters.
While the College is responding, you may need to play a limited role, such as helping effectuate interim measures or potentially serving as a witness. If this occurs, you should coordinate closely the Title IX and Student Conduct offices because of their expertise and experience to make sure you are acting in compliance with College protocol and the law. Unless there is an issue which demands immediate attention due to time constraints, do not try to handle these issues alone.
- Watch the College environment for any signs of any ongoing problems. Be alert for retaliation, which is prohibited.
- Immediate interim measures, (steps taken right away to mitigate any effects on the education environment), may be appropriate, such as separating the alleged perpetrator and victim. Absent an urgent, time sensitive issue, you must coordinate these activities with the Title IX office.
- Keep the allegations as confidential as possible (no office chatting).
- Treat the people involved fairly and respectfully.
- Be mindful of the rights of all parties.
- Do not take sides.