A person reporting Sexual Harassment is reminded of the importance of taking every precaution to preserve all evidence and to abstain from tampering with any items at the scene, changing clothes or bedding as well as washing any area of their body. Under some circumstances, the complainant should seek immediate medical attention before washing themselves or clothing. If clothes have been removed, place each item separately in paper bags. The complainant should preserve all phone call logs, emails, text messages, online communication and other evidence that is relevant to the specific complaint.
Medical assistance can be sought (ideally within 72 hours of the incident—sooner is better) from any emergency room, such as the one located at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, Michigan. Financial assistance for hospital exam costs may be available—contact Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission for more information (517-333-SAFE).
In addition to the collection of evidence, hospital staff is able to check for other potential injuries and respond to the potential of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Under federal privacy laws any documents prepared by the University, such as the investigative summary report (which includes written statements and responses from both parties) constitute education records which may not be disclosed outside of University processes except as may be authorized by law. As such, both parties as well as their advisor/support persons are instructed not to redisclose written documents they receive from the University. However, the University does not impose any restrictions on the parties regarding verbal redisclosure of the case (including verbal disclosure of the content of the investigative report), their participation in the process or the contents of the final outcome letter. Parties are advised to seek legal advice as to whether or not such verbal disclosure might subject them to liability for defamation.
The University will seek to be sensitive, supportive and respectful to all involved individuals. The University will also seek to take reasonable steps to safeguard privacy to the greatest extent possible and will refrain from including in public available records the identity of the complainant.
The University will seriously consider requests for confidentiality and will attempt to limit the number of individuals who may learn about an allegation of Sexual Harassment. The University, however, cannot guarantee confidentiality in all matters. The University will attempt to balance the complainant’s request with the moral responsibility and federal guidelines to create a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.
Ultimately, and especially in cases that involve pattern, predation, threats or violence, the University reserves the right to determine which University officials have a legitimate educational interest in being informed about incidents that fall under this policy and to proceed in whatever manner it deems appropriate to protect the safety of the campus and provide fundamentally fair processes. To comply with certain federal laws, the University is required to report statistics regarding Sexual Harassment on its campus. Recordkeeping for this statistical report will be accomplished without the inclusion of identifying information about the complainant or witnesses to the extent permissible by law.
Counselors and chaplains (hired or appointed by the University for a specific job description to provide counseling and pastoral care) have confidentiality obligations that prohibit them from reporting and activating established University processes. Therefore, while these individuals are able to provide confidentiality and important support, they are not the designated University official to whom reports or formal complaints should be given (see chart below).
Professional Counseling and Support Resources
A person reporting Sexual Harassment is encouraged to seek the assistance of trained professional support systems. Students are encouraged to seek professional support from on-campus resources that include campus chaplains and counselors or from a community provider listed below. Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek professional support from a community provider listed below.
On-campus services for students (at no charge) include:
Off-campus community services (for self-pay) for students, faculty and staff include:
The Counseling & Testing Center and the Division of Campus & Student Life provide educational materials and information as well as prevention and risk reduction programs dealing with Sexual Harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and discrimination based on sex. On an annual basis education is provided to new students and employees, and ongoing programs are provided periodically for the wider body of students and University employees.
University's Processes and Response to Sexual Harassment ⇒