Reporting Sexual Misconduct
Boston College encourages students who are victims of sexual misconduct to talk to someone about what happened so they can get the support they need, and the University can respond appropriately. The report may be made by:
· A person who experienced sexual misconduct; and/or
· A person who has information that sexual misconduct may have been committed by a Boston College student or a participant in a University sponsored program.
The Sexual Misconduct Policy and Resource website describes the first steps a student should take to ensure his or her own safety, preserve evidence, understand reporting options, and seek support and care, including medical care.
This policy describes the various reporting and disclosure options available to students so they can make informed choices about where to turn should they become a victim of sexual misconduct.
While Boston College employees have differing obligations or duties with respect to maintaining a victim’s confidentiality, the privacy of student information is respected at all times. Even when a victim’s complete confidentiality cannot be maintained, information is shared among a small number of University administrators solely to the extent required to help ensure that the University responds appropriately to a report of sexual misconduct. In those limited situations (discussed below) in which the University concludes that it must investigate and take action against an accused student, information may be shared as necessary in connection with the investigation. Boston College encourages victims to talk to someone identified below.
The Sexual Assault Network is the University’s primary confidential resource for students and other members of the Boston College community to report incidents of sexual violence or misconduct for the purpose of getting information, resources, and support. SANet is a private, anonymous hotline that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone affected by sexual violence in the student community.
SANet is an anonymous hotline to the extent that the caller requests anonymity. A person reporting to SANet does not have to give a name, but if the caller chooses to provide a name, the SANet advocate will include the name along with the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident in a report that is sent to the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator. The Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator will use the information to track patterns, evaluate the scope of the problem, formulate appropriate campus-wide responses, and comply with the University’s crime reporting obligations under the Clery Act. The SANet phone number is 617-552-2211.
Pastoral and Professional Counselors.
Pastoral Counselors and Professional Counselors, when acting in their professional capacity as described below, are not required to disclose student reports of sexual misconduct without the student’s consent.
· A Professional Counselor is an employee of the University whose official responsibilities include providing psychological counseling and who is functioning within the scope of his or her license or certification. Contact University Counseling Services (UCS): 617-552-3310 during the day and 617-552-3227 on nights and weekends.
· A Pastoral Counselor is an employee of the University who is associated with a religious order or denomination, recognized by that religious order or denomination as someone who provides confidential counseling and who is functioning within the scope of that recognition as a Pastoral Counselor.
A student reporting to any of the above privileged resources may request complete confidentiality, meaning that the staff in question will not share any reported information with anyone without the student’s consent. These counselors will provide support and assistance, but will not investigate the complaint.
NOTE: While these professional and non-professional counselors and advocates may maintain a victim’s confidentiality with regard to Boston College, they may have reporting or other obligations under state law such as mandatory reporting to the Department of Youth Services in case of minors; threat of imminent harm to self or others; or the requirement to testify if subpoenaed in a criminal case.
University Support and Reporting Options
The Assistant Director of the Women’s Center
The Assistant Director provides support for victims of sexual misconduct, and can help students navigate all options including follow up medical care, reporting options, counseling, and working with University offices to address remedies as needed.
· Contact: Rachel DiBella, 617-552-3489, email@example.com.
Office of the Dean of Students
The Office of the Dean of Students, working in conjunction with the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator, can assist students in understanding their options in the conduct system, implement interim measures including stay-away orders or other interim administrative actions, and provide guidance and support regarding remedies including academic and housing concerns. The Office provides trained guides/advisers and support services to students who are complainants and respondents in the conduct system. The Office, working with the Title IX Coordinator, also oversees the investigation and adjudication of sexual assault complaints against students.
· Contact: 617-552-3470 during normal business hours or the Administrator On-Call (outside of normal business hours) through Boston College Police 617-552–4444 (emergency); 617-552–4440 (non-emergency), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator
The Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s efforts related to the prevention, education, and response to incidents of sexual misconduct by Boston College students, and can help an individual student in pursuing a complaint. The Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator also tracks and monitors incidents of student sexual misconduct in the University community.
· Contact: Melinda Stoops, 617-552-3482, email@example.com
Boston College Police Department (BCPD)
BCPD provides assistance to victims including addressing immediate safety concerns, investigating incidents of sexual misconduct, filing a criminal complaint both on-campus and off-campus, and assisting victims with medical attention and care. BCPD will take a report from a student and a specially trained officer will conduct an investigation which involves asking the student to describe the respondent and what happened. An officer may ask questions about the scene of the crime, any witnesses, and what happened before and after.
· Contact: 617-552–4444 (emergency); 617-552–4440 (non-emergency).
A Note about the Role and Responsability of Faculty and Staff
A student may choose to disclose sexual misconduct to a faculty or staff member. Faculty and staff are required to report to the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator when a student discloses sexual misconduct so that the University can respond appropriately. The report would include any information that the student decides to disclose, including the names of the victim and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and location of the alleged incident.
If a victim wants to tell a faculty or staff member what happened but also wishes to maintain confidentiality, a victim should understand that the University will consider the request, but cannot guarantee confidentiality in all cases. In reporting the details of the incident to the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator, the employee will inform the Coordinator of the victim’s request for confidentiality.
While students should expect that faculty and staff will inform the Title IX Coordinator, students who want the University to conduct an investigation or who wish to pursue institutional remedies and/or adjudication are strongly encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students Office and/or the Title IX Coordinator directly to ensure a more immediate response.
How Boston College Will Weigh the Request and Respond
The University has designated the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator to evaluate requests for confidentiality and oversee the University’s response to reports of alleged sexual violence or other misconduct involving Boston College students.
If a victim discloses an incident, but requests confidentiality or that no investigation into a particular incident be pursued or no action through the conduct system be taken, the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with a small number of key University administrators, which may include representatives of the Office of the Dean of Students, the Boston College Police Department, and the Office of the General Counsel, will weigh the request against the University’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the victim.
When weighing a victim’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or conduct process be pursued, the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator will consider a range of factors, including whether:
· The alleged perpetrator is likely to commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:
o Whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged perpetrator;
o Whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
o Whether the alleged perpetrator threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the victim or others;
o Whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple perpetrators;
· The sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon or with force;
· The victim is a minor;
· Boston College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
· The victim’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.
The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue conduct action against the respondent. If none of these factors are present, the University will likely respect the victim’s request.
If Boston College honors a victim’s request for confidentiality or decision not to participate in an investigation, the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident or pursue conduct action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited.
In some cases, usually rare, the University may not be able to honor a victim’s confidentiality request in order to adhere to its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students. If the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator determines that the University cannot maintain a victim’s confidentiality, the Student Affairs Title IX Coordinator will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the University’s response.
To promote timely and effective review, the University strongly encourages students to report sexual misconduct within 180 calendar days following the last occurrence of the behavior giving rise to the concern. Although the University may pursue a report made after 180 days, the lapse of time may limit the University’s ability to investigate and respond.