FAQs

  1. If I share information about a sexual assault, what is the difference between confidentiality and privacy?

    CONFIDENTIAL: Under Iowa law, communications with some individuals are confidential. This means that any information shared by the victim/survivor with a specific individual will not be used against him or her in court or shared with others. This individual cannot be subpoenaed to testify against the victim/survivor in a court of law.

    Students should always confirm whether confidentiality applies to the communication. Generally, confidentiality applies when a student seeks services from the following persons:


    PRIVATE: Iowa State University is committed to creating an environment that encourages students to come forward if they have experienced any form of sexual misconduct. The university will safeguard the identities of the students who seek help or who report sexual misconduct. That is, university employees will seek to keep the information private (other than a counselor or medical provider).

    A university employee cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, but the individual can guarantee privacy. Information is disclosed only to select officials who have an essential need to know in order to carry out their university responsibilities. As is the case with any educational institution, the university must balance the needs of the individual student with its obligation to protect the safety and well being of the community at large. Therefore, depending on the seriousness of the alleged incident, further action may be necessary, including a campus security alert. The alert, however, would never contain any information identifying the student who brought the complaint.
    • ACCESS advocate
    • Psychological counselor (including counselors at ISU Student Counseling Services)
    • Health care provider (including medical professionals at ISU Thielen Student Health Center)
    • Personal attorney
    • Religious/spiritual counselor
  2. What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?

    In addition to supporting individual students affected by sexual misconduct, the university takes all incidents seriously and has a responsibility to address misconduct. When sexual misconduct involves criminal behavior, students are strongly encouraged to report the situation to law enforcement. The Dean of Students Office will assist the student in notifying ISU Police or local law enforcement if the student so requests. An incident can be reported even if the student has not decided whether to take legal action. Nonetheless, students are always free to report and are encouraged to share instances of such behavior with the Dean of Students Office (contact information below) regardless of whether or not they choose to press formal criminal charges with law enforcement.

    Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible. This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved. The Office of Judicial Affairs will not pursue disciplinary violations against a student with a complaint or a witness for his or her improper use of alcohol or drugs if the student is making a good faith report of sexual misconduct.

    The university can take action only if the university is made aware of the behavior. If a university administrator becomes aware of a complaint or other violation of this policy, the administrator should bring the information to the Dean of Students Office so that concerns are heard and services can be offered to the affected students.

    The university strongly encourages prompt reporting of complaints and information rather than risking any student's well being. Although there is no time limit on the reporting of formal charges with the university, the university may ultimately be unable to adequately investigate if too much time has passed or if the accused student has graduated. Factors that could negatively affect the university's ability to investigate include the loss of physical evidence (e.g., prompt medical examinations are critical to preserving the physical evidence of sexual assault), the potential departure of witnesses, or loss of memory.

    The university strongly encourages students to report concerns to either or both of the following offices:

    • For emergencies, contact 911. For non-emergencies, or if criminal behavior is involved, students are encouraged to contact ISU Police by telephone at 515-294-4428 or in person at room 55, Armory Building. Contacting ISU Police does not mean you must pursue charges. ISU Police can advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options.
       
    • To seek assistance and support, or to report misconduct, contact the Dean of Students Office (1010 Student Services Building, 515-294-1020, dso@iastate.edu).
      • In all situations, the university's goal is to treat the student who reports misconduct with sensitivity and fairness, while also ensuring the accused individual receives due process if any disciplinary action is to be imposed.
      • The Dean of Students Office will make a student services staff member available to a student with a complaint if the student would like assistance throughout any university investigation or adjudication process. This staff member is not an "advocate" as that term is used below (see "Confidential Advocacy and Support"), nor is that staff person a representative who will speak on behalf of the student in any investigatory or adjudication process. Rather, the staff member serves as a point of contact to answer questions and explain processes, join the student in meetings, and make sure the student's expressed needs are being addressed.
      • For complaints against other students, the Student Disciplinary Regulations shall govern the complaint, investigation, and adjudication process through the Office of Judicial Affairs. See the following sections of the Student Disciplinary Regulations:
        • Section 2.1 - "Student Rights and Responsibilities"
        • Section 2.2 - "Complainant Rights and Responsibilities"
        • Section 5 - "Process"
      • For complaints against faculty or staff, the investigation and adjudication may ultimately occur through the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (for faculty) or the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (for non-faculty employees). For complaints against faculty, the Faculty Handbook will govern the process.
      • In situations where an accused student faces both a disciplinary complaint and a criminal charge, the university reserves the right to move forward with the disciplinary investigative and adjudication process at the same time the criminal process is proceeding.
  3. What are the benefits of reporting a sexual assault to the police?

    Contacting ISU Police does not mean you must pursue charges. ISU Police can advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options. ISU Police can also advise you on safety planning techniques.

    For emergencies, contact 911. For non-emergencies students are encouraged to contact ISU Police by telephone at 515-294-4428 or in person at room 55, Armory Building. Or, contact the Ames Police Department by telephone at 515-239-5133 or in person at 515 Clark Avenue.

  4. What if I’m an employee at the university and I have become aware of an incident of sexual misconduct?

    For Employees: Suggested Steps if you Learn Someone has been Sexually Assaulted

    As a member of the Iowa State University community, you may be called upon to provide support to a victim of sexual assault and to refer this person to professional resources. These steps are designed to help you best support and inform someone of the resources available to assist with the person’s physical and emotional needs.

    Some things to remember about your conversation with this person:

    Share the following information:

    Assistance can be obtained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:

    ACCESS
    800-203-3488 for a confidential advocate
    http://www.assaultcarecenter.org/
    Mary Greeley Medical Center
    515-239-2011 for a confidential health examination or services
    http://www.mgmc.org/
    ISU Police
    911 from a campus phone or 515-294-4428.
    http://www.dps.iastate.edu/?page_id=225
    Ames Police
    911 or 515-239-5133
    http://www.cityofames.org/Police/

    Other Resources

    Dean of Students Office
    515-294-1020
    http://www.dso.iastate.edu/
    Student Counseling Center
    515-294-5056
    http://www.public.iastate.edu/~stdtcouns/
    Thielen Student Health Center
    515-294-5801
    http://www.health.iastate.edu/about/contact/
    Women’s Center
    515-294-4154
    http://www.dso.iastate.edu/wc/
    Planned Parenthood of Ames
    877-811-7526
    http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-center/centerDetails.asp?f=2385
     
    • Recognize that it can be an enormous step for someone to talk with another person about a sexual assault and that this person has placed trust in you by revealing the experience. That being said, remember that you are not a counselor, an investigator, or a state-certified victim advocate. Acknowledge the boundaries on your relationship with this person while helping her or him access the resources and assistance that can offer the best support and care.
    • Given the trust the person has placed in you, please respect the person’s privacy. Do not share the person’s experience with others except for the Dean of Students Office, as explained below.
    • Believe the person, support the person’s choices, and refer the person to the appropriate resources listed below..
    • You can assure the person that no records or reports of sexual assault are kept in the victim’s permanent academic or personnel records.
    • Finally, in addition to the resources available to the person, there are also resources available to you as an employee. If you feel you need to talk to someone about the impact of this situation for yourself personally, you can contact the Employee Assistance Program.
    1. Let the person know she or he can contact ACCESS (Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support) to speak with a confidential, state-certified victim advocate who is trained to work specifically with victims of sexual assault. The advocate can explain all of the options available to the person and also support the person through any of the next steps, which may include counseling, medical, university disciplinary processes, or law enforcement notification. If possible, offer the person the use of your phone and a private space to make the call.
    2. Let the person know there are other resources in addition to the ACCESS advocate. Again, if possible, offer the person the use of your phone and a private space to make the call, or offer to walk with the person to any of the on-campus offices.
      1. Medical Services: the person may want to seek confidential medical attention to care for her or himself or to preserve evidence of the assault in the event criminal charges might be contemplated later. In Iowa, these exams are free.
        1. Confidential medical care only
          1. Mary Greeley Medical Center
          2. Planned Parenthood of Ames
          3. Thielen Student Health Center
        2. Preservation of evidence through forensic exam
          1. Mary Greeley Medical Center
          2. Thielen Student Health Center
      2. Counseling Services: the person may want to speak with a professional counselor in a confidential setting.
        1. Student Counseling Center (for students)
        2. Employee Assistance Program (for employees)
      3. Law Enforcement: the person may wish to contact law enforcement even if the person has not decided whether to pursue criminal charges. Police can advise the person of options, help preserve evidence while the victim considers those options, and assist in safety planning and consideration. Contacting law enforcement does not mean the person must pursue criminal charges.
        1. ISU Police
        2. Ames Police
      4. Dean of Students Office: a student can speak with the Dean of Students Office staff for any of the following matters:
        1. Assistance with classes or housing
        2. Information about interim steps to protect the student or campus
        3. Information about the student disciplinary process
        4. Additional services or resources on campus or in the community
    3. Let the person know that you need to disclose the assault to the Dean of Students Office for purposes of complying with the Clery Act (a federal law requiring that campuses report and track crime statistics). This disclosure can be as broad or narrow as the person wants -- you do not need to disclose the name of the person you are meeting with if that person does not give permission to do so. In that case, simply report as much about the assault as you can (date, location) without identifying the person. To notify the Dean of Students Office, call 515-294-1020.
    4. Let the person know about the Sexual Misconduct webpage -- consider showing the person the web page in your office and printing off a copy. The webpage has many resources and other helpful information for a person who has experienced a sexual assault.
    5. Let the person know you believe and support her or him, and that you hope they will take some steps to help and care for her or himself.
  5. Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual misconduct to the Dean of Students Office?

    The Dean of Students staff can assist a student in filing formal complaints or, if the student does not want to file a formal complaint, the staff can work with the student to address concerns over housing, class assignments or schedules, leaves of absence, withdrawal or other academic concerns. The office staff can also assist the student in notifying ISU Police or local law enforcement, if the student so requests.

    The Dean of Students Office will make a student services staff member available to a student with a complaint if the student would like assistance throughout any university investigation or adjudication process. This staff member serves as a point of contact to answer questions and explain processes, join the student in meetings, and make sure the student's expressed needs are being addressed. This staff member is not an "advocate" (as described in the sexual misconduct policy) nor is that staff person a representative who will speak on behalf of the student in any investigatory or adjudication process.

    In all situations, the university's goal is to treat the student who reports misconduct with sensitivity and fairness, while also ensuring the accused individual receives due process if any disciplinary action is to be imposed.

    The Dean of Students Office and ISU Police may take immediate interim actions to protect the safety of the university community, to enable students with complaints and witnesses to continue studies, and to ensure the integrity of an investigation. These actions may include:

    To seek assistance and support, or to report misconduct, contact the Dean of Students Office (1010 Student Services Building, 515-294-1020, dso@iastate.edu).

    • Interim suspension of the accused student
    • No-contact notices
    • Modifying class or work schedules
    • Making alternate housing arrangements
    • Addressing other academic concerns (e.g., absences, assignments, grades, leaves of absence, withdrawal)
  6. Should I report a sexual assault if I was drinking underage when it occurred?

    Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible. This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved. The Office of Judicial Affairs will not pursue disciplinary violations against a student with a complaint or a witness for his or her improper use of alcohol or drugs if the student is making a good faith report of sexual misconduct.

  7. Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?

    No. According to the university Student Disciplinary Regulations, sections 4.1.2 and 4.1.3, the sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment policy covers both on-campus and off-campus conduct, as those terms are described below.

    On-Campus Violations: The campus includes the geographic confines of the university, including its land, institutional roads and buildings, its leased premises, common areas at leased premises, the property, facilities and leased premises of organizations affiliated with the university, such as the Memorial Union, university housing, and university-recognized housing. University housing includes all types of university residence housing such as halls and apartments. University-recognized housing includes fraternity and sorority chapter dwellings.

    Off-Campus Violations: Students should be aware that off campus violations that affect a clear and distinct interest of the university are subject to disciplinary sanctions. As examples, sexual misconduct and harassment are within the university's interests when the behavior:

    • Involves conduct directed at or by a university student or other member of the university community (e.g., private house party, outside employment);
    • Occurs during university-sponsored events (e.g., field trips, social or educational functions, university-related travel, student recruitment activities, internships and service learning experiences);
    • Occurs during the events of organizations affiliated with the university, including the events of student organizations;
    • Occurs during a Study Abroad Program or other international travel; or
    • Poses a disruption or threat to the university community.
  8. Why should I seek medical attention when I haven't decided whether I want to report the assault to the police or the university?

    Seeking medical attention can help you in many ways. First, seeking medical attention can help you take care of your own health by checking for injuries, treating those injuries, and addressing the possibility of sexually transmitted infections.

    Second, a forensic medical exam can preserve evidence of the assault. This is important even if you are currently undecided about your next steps because you may later decide to pursue criminal charges or university disciplinary charges - that evidence can help in both situations. A medical exam is not, however, required before pursuing criminal or university disciplinary charges.

    In Iowa, initial medical exams are free for a person who has been sexually assaulted.

  9. Where can I find information about ISU Safety Information and crime statistics?

    http://www.police.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/Police/S%26Y%202013.pdf