Q. How does the police investigation work and intersect with the campus process.
Students may file a complaint with the College alone, with the police alone or with the College and the police. If a student files a complaint with the College but does also notify DPS, the city police are not notified unless the student would like there to be a notification. If the student files a complaint directly with Public Safety the city police will be notified and an officer may come to Public Safety to interview the complainant. The complainant may decline to speak with the city police officer. If there is a city police investigation, the College will defer its investigation briefly while the police gather evidence and interview witnesses, however the College will begin its investigation, typically within three to ten calendar days, and is obligated to do so by Title IX. The exception to this is if the perpetrator is not an F&M student. In that case the role of the College is to support the victim but there is no obligation nor ability for the College to prosecute the perpetrator. If a student would like to file a complaint with the city it is strongly advised that they meet with a Public Safety officer who will usually accompany them to make the report. This is because the College’s DPS officers are aware of the support and accommodations that the College can offer student victims while the LCPD’s focus is on the investigation. It is important to note that if the victim does not file a complaint with the College but files directly with the city police and the College becomes aware of the allegation, the College will take steps to insure the safety of the victim and the College community which may entail an investigation and hearing or administrative review.
Q. How can we make people better aware of the sexual misconduct process.
This is a frequently asked question. There are a multitude of efforts by students and administrators alike to inform the College community of the process as well as of bystander strategies and safety measures. There are frequent awareness and prevention efforts as well. There is a student and administrator committee to promote bystander intervention; the Bystander Intervention Committee or BIC. A student group, Sexual Assault Violence Eliminate (SAVE) which grew out of a merger of the former Women’s Center Committee, also named SAVE, and Men United Against Sexual Assault (MUASA.) There is a Committee on Sexual Misconduct which includes members representing faculty, staff and students. The Committee is responsible for, among other things, the Sexual Assault Awareness website which is populated with information on awareness, prevention, response, the College Policies, safety, the adjudication process and help for survivors .There is an annual Sexual Misconduct Forum(from which this question arose) at which Dr. Porterfield, Dean Hazlett, the College General Counsel, Pierce Buller and the Title IX Coordinator, Jan Masland answer questions from students about all parts of our policy and process. It is very poorly attended. Part of my response to this question is to ask the questioner for suggestions. What would be most effective in getting this information to the student body and encouraging its attendance. Is there a better way?