Being a victim of any of the crimes addressed in this document is traumatic and all victims will respond differently. However, all victims have the same options and rights afforded to them. Below is an explanation of various procedures associated with these options.
Initial Procedural Information for Victims
- Any person who has been a victim of a sex offense is encouraged to seek prompt medical attention regardless of whether or not the decision has been made to report the crime to the police.
- Medical attention will help ensure that any injuries and/or diseases are identified and treated
- Medical attention allows for evidence collection at the individual’s request, which is extremely important should the individual decide at any point, immediately or later, to pursue criminal prosecution, civil action, or a protective order.
- In order to preserve evidence, victims should avoid the following
- Drinking any liquids
- Smoking, eating, or brushing teeth if oral contact occurred
- Changing clothes. However, if clothes are changed, place the clothes you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag
- If evidence is collected, there is a special rape protocol that will be followed which entails swabs in and around the mouth, vagina, and anus; combing of pubic hair; collecting clothing; collecting samples of blood, hair, and saliva
The following local emergency rooms provide evidence collection:
- Thibodaux Regional Medical Center ~ Thibodaux
- Chabert Hospital ~ Houma
- Terrebonne General Medical Center ~ Houma
- St. Anne Hostpital ~ Raceland
- Lady of the Sea General Hospital ~ Cut Off
All victims of sex offenses, domestic or dating violence, and stalking have several options for initiating a report or complaint. These are listed below and the individual may choose to implement one of these options or any combination of these options, including all. Individuals representing any one of the on-campus options below will be able to provide victims with information about and assistance contacting the other options.
Reporting to Police
- Directly to University Police (U.P.) Any crime that takes place on the Nicholls State University Campus should be reported directly to U.P.
- Directly to local law enforcement in the jurisdiction where the crime took place.
- Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office ~ 985-448-2111
- Thibodaux Police Department ~ 985-446-5021
- Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office ~ 985-876-6500
- List of law enforcement across Louisiana https://www.usacops.com/la/
Reporting to Other Campus Entities/Departments
Title IX Coordinator or Co-Coordinator
- Dr. Michele Caruso ~ 985-448-4080
- Ms. Annette Arboneaux ~ 985-448-4041
Student Life/Judicial Affairs
- Dr. Tommy Ponson ~ 985-448-4530
Human Resources/EEOC Coordinator
- Ms. Annette Arboneaux ~ 985-448-4041
Campus Authorities and Responsible Employees
- A list of persons considered to be Mandatory Reporters/Campus Authorities under the Campus Security Act can be found here. Those considered Responsible Employees under Title IX can be found here. All University employees, especially those considered Campus Security Authorities and/or Responsible Employees, but excluding those with confidentiality privilege, are obligated and expected to report any of the crimes addressed in this policy statement of which they become aware to the U.P and/or Title IX Coordinator. However, the departments/individuals specifically listed are specially trained to respond to work with those who report sexual assault, domestic and relationship violence, and stalking. These individuals/offices can also assist victims with notifying law enforcement if the victim chooses.
Reporting does not require the filing of criminal charges by the victim. A report allows the University to provide support to the victim and assess the level of risk to the safety of the campus. Once a report is made the University may have an obligation to investigate and/or take action. All reports received by the U.P. are shared with Title IX coordinator and vice versa.
- Specially trained individuals who will maintain full confidentiality and provide special assistance to complainant can be found here.
Procedures for Institutional Disciplinary Action
If the accused is a Nicholls State student, victims are encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of Judicial Affairs. If the accused is a Nicholls State employee, victims are encouraged to file a complaint with Human Resources. Individuals are not required to file a police report or pursue criminal charges in order to pursue a complaint with Judicial Affairs or Human Resources.
The Student Code of Conduct and the University Employee Policy are both designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution. All hearings are conducted by members of the Nicholls State community who receive annual training on issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.
During any disciplinary proceedings the accuser and accused are entitled to the same opportunity to have others present, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meetings or proceedings by any advisor of their choice. Additionally, both the accuser and the accused will simultaneously be informed in writing of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding; the procedures for the accused and the victim to appeal the results; any change in the results that occurs prior to the time results become final; and when the results become final.
The standard of evidence used in institutions of higher education is different from criminal justice system. At Nicholls State University the standard of evidence shall be whether it is more likely than not that the accused committed the violation charged.
Sanctions for students found responsible for committing the violation charged include but are not limited to restricted access to campus activities and organizations, restrictions from residence halls, community service, rehabilitative education, suspension, and expulsion. The final level of sanctions imposed will be consistent with the severity of the violation and the accused’s past violations of the code of conduct. Similarly, sanctions for employees found responsible for violating University policy include but are not limited to letter of reprimand, restricted access to campus events, suspension, and termination.
The full detailed policy contained in the Student Code of Conduct can be found at https://www.nicholls.edu/documents/student_life/code_of_conduct.pdf . The full detailed policy contained in the Employee Manual can be found at https://www.nicholls.edu/administration/university-policies-procedures/ .