What should I do if I or a friend may have been sexually assaulted at Georgia College?
You or your friend have several options. First we suggest that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can reach the Title IX Coordinator by calling the Office of Legal Affairs at (478) 445-2037 during business hours. You can also call Georgia College Police at (478) 445-4400 (emergency assistance) to report a possible assault and they will in turn help you or your friend, get the care you need. You can also contact Counseling Services during business hours at (478) 445-5331. Off-campus resources include the Crisis Line and Safe House of Central Georgia, their 24/7 hotline number is (478) 745-9292 and the Bright House at (478) 250-8566, their 24/7 crisis hotline number is (770) 477-2177.
If you wish to pursue a complaint against the Respondent (accused), or if you wish to discuss your options, you should consult with the Title IX Coordinator, in the Office of Legal Affairs at (478) 445-2038. For confidential reporting options, please visit this page.
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Physical evidence of a sexual assault must be collected from a victim within 72 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing. The advisor on call or another support person can accompany you to the hospital. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help keep all options available, but will not obligate you to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should you decide later to exercise it. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence.
What should I do if I am uncertain that what I experienced constitutes sexual assault?
If you believe that you have experienced a sexual assault or any form of sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the College’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator (Non-Confidential Reporting Option) who can help you to define and clarify the event(s) and advise you of your options.
Does the complaint remain confidential?
Differing individuals and offices on campus have differing levels of confidentiality. For more information on who you can speak with confidentially, please visit this page. In all instances the privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be strictly observed, except insofar as it interferes with the College’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused student may lead to conduct action by the College.
The College must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
University employees (including student employees) who are considered Responsible Employees MUST promptly report incidents or allegations of sexual assault within the University Community to the Title IX Coordinator and relay any request by the survivor for confidentiality or no-investigation by contacting: Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Legal Affairs at (478) 445-2037.
Can I make a report anonymously?
Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual misconduct. An individual may report the incident without disclosing his/her name, identifying the Respondent or requesting any action. Depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, however, the College's ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited. Anonymous reports may be made via the Title IX Complaint Form. All reports will go to the Title IX Coordinator. See http://www.gcsu.edu/titleix/filing-complaint for more information.
Do I have to name the Respondent (accused)?
It depends on what action you want taken. Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the accused (Respondent). No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint. Survivors should be aware that not identifying the alleged accused may limit the College’s ability to respond comprehensively.
Will the Respondent (accused) student know my identity?
Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the Respondent (accused) has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim. The answer is only no if no specific name or identity is provided. In this situation the issue is counted in the College’s reporting data, but no formal investigation or confrontation can be conducted.
If I report the Respondent (accused), I am afraid that I will be subject to retaliation from him/her or his/her friends. What kinds of protection can Georgia College provide to me?
It is a violation of College policy to retaliate in any way against an individual or a group because the individual or group of individuals reported an allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct.
The College recognizes that retaliation can take many forms, may be committed by an individual or a group against an individual or a group, and that a Respondent can also be the subject of retaliation by the Complainant or a third party. The College will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and may pursue disciplinary action as appropriate. An individual reporting sexual harassment or misconduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not proven.
What if I have a relationship with the person who assaulted me?
It is never okay to force, threaten or coerce someone into having sex against his/her will, even if they are in a relationship. Just because you have been intimate with someone in the past does not mean you give consent for any and all future sexual activity.
Will my parents be told?
Generally, no. Whether you are the Complainant or the Respondent (accused), the College’s primary relationship is to the student and not the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student or in certain instances where a health or safety emergency exist.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
Do not contact the complainant. You must contact the Title IX Coordinator, who will explain the College’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints, explain the rights and responsibilities of the Complainant and Respondent, explain the prohibition against retaliation and explain the Hearing Panel process.
The Respondent lives in the same residence hall and/or attends one of my classes. I am also having difficulty concentrating on my schoolwork. How can I change my residence hall and receive help with my courses?
The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee may impose interim protective measures before the final outcome of an investigation and until final resolution of all the allegations if failure to take the interim measure would constitute an immediate threat to the safety and well-being of the alleged victim or other members of the institution, or to ensure equal access to the institution's education program and activities. Before any such measures are instituted, however, the Title IX Coordinator should, where practicable, provide the respondent with an initial opportunity to respond to the allegations and to the imposition of any interim protective measures specifically.
Imposing interim protective measures do not indicate that a violation of this Policy has occurred, and is designed to protect the alleged victim and community, and not to harm the respondent. Interim measures may included, but are not limited to: 1. Change of housing assignment; 2. Issuance of a "no contact" directive; 3. Restrictions or bars to entering certain institution property; 4. Changes to academic or employment arrangements, schedules, or supervision; 5. Interim suspension; and 6. Other measures designed to promote the safety and well-being of the parties and the institution's community. Please see the Georgia College Sexual Misconduct Policy for further details regarding interim measures.
Will a student be punished when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if he/she has illegally used alcohol and/or other drugs?
Georgia College’s primary concern is the health and safety of its students. When conducting an investigation of an alleged sexual assault, the College’s focus will be on addressing the sexual assault and not the lesser policy violations that may be discovered or disclosed. The College may, however, provide referrals to counseling or require other educational options. For more information on this topic please read Georgia College’s Alcohol and Other Drug Amnesty Policy (Good Samaritan Policy).
Will the use of alcohol or other drugs affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct complaint?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the responsibility of the accused.
Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?
Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
If I engage in a sexual activity with someone who has been drinking, can I be accused of sexual assault?
Yes, it is against Georgia College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy to engage in any sexual activity with someone who is mentally or physically incapacitated, and therefore incapable of giving consent. Alcohol may cause such a state of incapacitation. However, it varies on a case by case basis. For a variety of reasons it is not advisable to engage in sexual activity while intoxicated.
Can I file a complaint with the College and also with the police? Can I do one and not the other?
Yes, you may take action through both the campus disciplinary system and the criminal justice system. The College encourages Complainants to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual harassment or misconduct that may also be crimes under Georgia law. The College will also assist a Complainant in making a criminal report and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a Complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law. However, a Complainant may also choose not to pursue criminal action, and under most circumstances, the Georgia College Police Department will not force a Complainant to pursue charges if he/she is not willing to do so.
How do I file a complaint?
A person, who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, as defined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, may file a complaint against the Georgia College student, employee, or third party responsible for that conduct. “Person” may include any member of Georgia College, including students, faculty, administrators and staff members, or visitors. You can file a complaint by contacting a member of the Title IX Team or by completing the Title IX Complaint Form (PDF). After a complaint has been filed the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will begin an investigation into the complaint. See Filing a Title IX Complaint for more information.
What is the time frame for resolution?
The investigation and resolution (including appeal) of all reports will be completed within a reasonable amount of time based on the specifics of the individual case.
What should I do if I or a friend experiences sexual misconduct on another campus?
If you experience sexual misconduct on any college campus, regardless of the school, know that options are available to you. Generally, sexual misconduct complaints are handled and, if the survivor chooses this route, adjudicated by the college where the alleged perpetrator is enrolled. All colleges and universities are required to have a designated Title IX officer on campus to help with the reporting of sexual misconduct and to also help survivors access resources. Any member of Georgia College’s Title IX team can assist you with understanding your options if you have experienced sexual misconduct on any college campus.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.