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Harassment and Sexual
Misconduct Board

Meredith Harper Bonham
315-859-4020
Senior Associate Dean of Students/Title IX Coordinator

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I or a friend may have been sexually assaulted?

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call 315-859-4000 to report a possible assault. The Hamilton College EMTs will help you or your friend get the care you need. A member of the counseling center staff is also on call 24/7. During the day you may call 315-859-4340 or after hours call 315-859-4000 and ask for the counselor on call. For a quick reference guide on how to get the support you need, and what options are available to you, click here.

If you wish to pursue a complaint against the alleged perpetrator, or if you wish to discuss your options, you should consult with the College's Title IX Coordinator, who is Senior Associate Dean of Students Meredith Bonham (315-859-4020), or the Chair of the Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Board, Professor Vivyan Adair (315-859-4330).

What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?

Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim’s person within 96 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 dean on call or another support person should accompany you to hospital. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to 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 about what happened?

If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of Hamilton’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact a member of the HSMB, the Title IX Coordinator, or a member of the counseling center staff.  Any of those individuals can help you determine available options.

Will I receive points when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if I have illegally used drugs or alcohol?

No, we do not want fear of repercussions to prevent students from reporting sexual misconduct.

Does information about a sexual misconduct complaint remain private?

Privacy will be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis, meaning that anyone with direct involvement (e.g. the Title IX Coordinator, HSMB members, and Dean of Students) will maintain the privacy of the complaint. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure are prohibited.

In complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In addition, some administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g. the President and Director of Campus Safety). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, law enforcement will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police. Hamilton is required to report major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.

Will my parents be told?

No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the College’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to speak with their parents.

Will the accused student know my identity?

Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim. If there is a hearing, the College does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including using a room divider or separate hearing rooms.

Do I have to name the perpetrator?

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint. Survivors should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.

Will I (as a survivor) have to pay for counseling?

No, counseling services are provided free of charge.

Can I change my residence hall room?

If you want to move, you may request a room change and be moved to the first available suitable room. If you want the accused student to move, and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue a formal or informal complaint. We can impose a no contact order, and a room change for the accused student can usually be arranged quickly. Other accommodations available to you might include:

• Change of housing to a different on-campus location;
• Assistance from College support staff in completing the relocation;
• Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling;
• Taking an incomplete in a class;
• Transferring class sections;
• Temporary withdrawal;
• Alternative course completion options.

Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct complaint?

The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused student’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove his/her complaint. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused student.

What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your advisor. You may also contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator, who can explain the Hamilton’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may wish to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center or seek other community assistance.

 

Information adapted from material provided by Association of Title IX Admininstrators

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