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Victim Rights & University Responsibilities

Once it has come to the attention of the University that a violation of the Student Code of Conduct or Employee Policy related to sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking has occurred specific efforts are made to support the health, safety, and well-being of both the victim and the University community as a whole.  In addition to the information provided in this document, students or employees who report that they have been a victim of any of the aforementioned crimes will be provided with a written explanation of all of their rights and options as well as resources.  All of the rights and responsibilities described below are implemented regardless of whether the victim chooses to file criminal charges with law enforcement or pursue a formal complaint through the Student Code of Conduct or Employee Policy.

Protective Measures

There are options at the victim’s request for accommodations, providing such accommodations are reasonably available, to be made in campus living, academic environment, and on-campus employment environment to protect the victim from encountering the accused and to help ensure the victim’s safety.  Stay-away orders may also be issued to the accused by University Police or Judicial Affairs. This assistance is available regardless of whether the victim reports the crime to law enforcement.

The University prohibits any kind of retaliation against anybody involved in a sexual assault, domestic or relationship violence, or stalking case.  This non-retaliation policy is explained and provided during the initial contact with all involved in the case.

The University is obligated to protect the entire campus community.  Therefore, in some cases protective measures include issuing public safety alerts based on information provided by the victim and/or any witnesses.  The victim’s name and other personally identifiable information will not be included in public safety alerts.

Confidentiality

Nicholls State University will preserve the confidentiality of a victim to the extent allowed by law.  The degree to which confidentiality can be protected depends on certain factors.

        The Person Receiving the Report

Privileged professionals who have legally protected roles include University Counseling staff when acting in their clinical role; University Health Services staff when acting in their clinical role; and Clergy.  This means that if an individual reports that they have been a victim to one of these privileged professionals, that professional cannot and will not disclose the information to any other individual or office without the victim’s consent.  Other faculty/staff, including some student staff, are required by Campus Security Act to report such violations to the University Police and/or Title IX Coordinator.  However, the victim’s name or identifying information is not required in these mandated reports.

        Balance of Legal Obligations

The University fully understands the impact of confidentiality of victims and exercises genuine sensitivity to the privacy concerns of victims.  However, this must be balanced with legal obligations which include

  • The responsibility to protect the entire University community from predators: In some cases Public Safety Alerts must be issued associated with the crime. These Alerts will not contain any of the victim’s identifying information.
  • The responsibility to hold perpetrators accountable and insure that appropriate disciplinary processes are implemented: Based on severity of the violation and the accused’s history of violations, investigative and/or disciplinary action may be taken by the University even if the victim does not want to participate in the process. Every effort will be made to not include the victim’s identifying information and the victims will be kept informed of the actions and the extent to which his/her identifying information was or was not able to be contained.
  • Notification of parent/guardian of victims in accordance with FERPA related to health.

Need to Know

All records and files maintained by staff members involved in the process will only be shared with other professionals who are considered “need to know”.  That is, only staff members who required information related to the case in order to perform their duty related to the case will be provided with such information.

Public Records

The initial police report is public record; however, all identifying information about the victim is removed.  During the investigation no information is accessible to anyone except the victim.  Closed investigation are available upon request which is reviewed by a superior officer.  If the request is approved, all identifying information about the victim is removed from the documents.

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