It’s important to report sexual misconduct.
Shenandoah University strongly encourages and supports prompt reporting of sexual misconduct. Prompt reporting allows victims to connect with resources and helps contribute to a safe campus environment. Instances of sexual misconduct may be a violation of both university policy and the law. Victims are encouraged to report complaints of sexual misconduct to university officials and local law enforcement. Law enforcement officials can explain the procedures for pursuing a criminal investigation of sexual misconduct.
To report sexual misconduct, contact Title IX Coordinator Amber Ellis. As the Title IX Coordinator, she aims to ensure victims of sexually related incidents are safe and the campus community is protected. The Title IX Coordinator is trained in sexual misconduct best practices and procedures. The Title IX Coordinator will complete prompt and thorough investigations regarding all sexual misconduct allegations. Contact Title IX Coordinator Amber Ellis at (540) 665-4921 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reports of sexual misconduct can lead to discipline under the Shenandoah University Sexual Misconduct Policy and may be prosecuted under Virginia criminal statutes by the Commonwealth Attorney’s office. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, university officials can pursue disciplinary action that may result in dismissal from the university.
Investigations can take up to 60 calendar days following receipt of the complaint. Factors that might impair the timing of the investigation include the complexity and severity of the sexual misconduct, the number and availability of witnesses, or the need to identify and acquire physical or other evidence. Individuals who feel they have experienced sexual misconduct may file criminal charges through the criminal justice system.
Adjudication at Shenandoah University means two methods of resolution for sexual misconduct cases. The informal resolution process includes an investigation and a report of findings from the Title IX Coordinator or case investigator. At the conclusion of the investigation, if the reporting party and the responding party agree on the findings and sanctions (if any), the case is resolved. The reporting party, responding party or Title IX Coordinator can move the case to a formal hearing resolution that involves a hearing panel. The hearing panel reviews the investigation report, gathers additional testimony if necessary, and provides findings and sanctions (if any).
For additional information regarding the investigation and resolution processes, please refer to Shenandoah University’s Procedures on Sexual Misconduct
Retaliation is prohibited. The Title IX Coordinator will investigate any reported acts of harassment or intimidation, including any act of reprisal, interference, restraint or penalty (overt or covert) against any Shenandoah student or employee who is party to a complaint or associated with the proceedings described in this policy, including witnesses and members of the hearing panel.
What if the victim does not want to file an official complaint?
Even though victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged to file complaints, there may be times when they do not want to say anything. If you know the victim, encourage him/her to seek medical and counseling assistance.
If a victim does not wish to pursue an official complaint or requests that his/her complaint remains confidential, Shenandoah University will take reasonable action in response to the victim’s information. The university’s ability to respond will be limited by adherence to the wishes of the victim.
While university officials will make every effort to adhere to the wishes of the victim, officials must balance the needs of the individual with the 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.
Can a victim remain anonymous and file a complaint?
Victims who request anonymity should be aware that while health-care professionals can guarantee confidentiality by law, Shenandoah University employees cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Information is disclosed only to select administrators who have an essential need to know in order to carry out university responsibilities. As in the case with any educational institution, Shenandoah University is governed by Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations.