Respect Boundaries

What To Expect: Students

What to expect if an allegation of student sexual misconduct is sent to the UNK Student Affairs Officer or Title IX Coordinator

  • Sexual misconduct is conduct in violation of University policy and state and federal law that the University will take action to eliminate, prevent, and redress once the University knows it has occurred. This policy applies to all University of Nebraska employees and students regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and to all programs and activities under the jurisdiction of the University of Nebraska. A person subjected to sexual misconduct may be helped whether or not a complaint or report of any kind is filed. Changes in academic, living, transportation, and working situations may be made available by the University as remedies to protect persons, complainants, or witnesses.
  • Upon receipt of a sexual misconduct complaint or report, the University will provide the Complainant a written notice describing available options. The Complainant may go forward with one or more of the following options at the same time:
    • Pursuing a criminal complaint with a law enforcement agency (in order to help law enforcement agencies in their roles, it will be important to preserve any evidence of the misconduct)
    • Filing an administrative charge with an external agency
    • Using the University’s investigation and disciplinary processes 
      • University internal investigation and disciplinary proceedings are independent of any criminal or external proceedings.
      • The University may pursue disciplinary action against a student at the same time the student is facing criminal charges for the same offense, even if the criminal prosecution is pending, or has been dismissed, or the charges have been reduced.
      • The University’s investigation may need to be delayed temporarily by, or scheduled around, an ongoing criminal or external administrative investigation
  • The Complainant will be asked if he or she wishes to pursue a complaint.
    • If he or she does not wish to pursue the complaint and/or requests that his or her identity remain anonymous, the Student Affairs Officer or Title IX Coordinator will make note of that wish in the report. The University must balance this request with the need to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all members of the university community.
    • Regardless of the Complainant’s choice, the University is still required to investigate the complaint. The Student Affairs Officer or Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant if the University cannot ensure anonymity. In order to ensure confidentiality while discussing a complaint on campus, you are encouraged to speak with the UNK Counseling Care.
  • Once the University is aware of allegations of sexual misconduct against any student, a case investigator will be designated by the Student Affairs Officer or the Title IX Coordinator to conduct an investigation to determine if the allegation(s) have merit, as well as determine if the allegations should be pursued through an Administrative Resolution or through a Conduct Hearing. 
  • Once a complaint has been received by the University, there are several interim actions that can be taken on behalf of the Complainant, which may include:
    • “No contact” directives are to be issued in writing to persons involved in any alleged sexual misconduct promptly after the University receives notice of a compliant. Respondents and the Complainant will both be expected to abide by the terms of the no contact directives and may go through disciplinary proceedings should they violate the directives.
    • Students who have been subjected to sexual misconduct have access to other available University assistance in changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations after an alleged incident, if so requested by the student or Complainant and if such changes are reasonably available.
    • Pending completion of an investigation or University Conduct Proceedings, the University may at any time temporarily suspend a respondent when the University believes that the presence of the Respondent on the University premises could disrupt normal operation of the University or constitute an immediate harm, threat of harm, hostile environment and/or danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the Respondent, the Complainant, any person allegedly subject to sexual misconduct, or any member of the University community.
  • If a complaint of student sexual misconduct proceeds through the UNK student conduct system, the case can be resolved through Administrative Resolution or through a Conduct Hearing. Procedures for both of these systems can be found in the Response to Allegations of Student Sexual Misconduct, Sections 6 and 7.
  • General Information regarding Student Conduct Proceedings
    • Rights of both parties
    • Roles of Advisors
      • The Complainant and the Respondent have the right to be assisted by any advisor they choose, including legal counsel, at their own expense.
      • The role of the advisor is limited to providing advice to the party who has requested his/her presence in a manner which does not disturb Conduct proceedings.
    • Ability of both parties to be present during the hearing
      • Per guidance from the Office of Civil Rights, the Complainant is allowed to be present for the entirety of the hearing; however, he or she is not required to do so. Additionally, the Complainant and the Respondent are allowed to be in the same room at the same time; however, upon request, technology may be used to conduct the hearing while allowing the Complainant and Respondent to be in separate rooms.
    • Cross-Examination
      • Per guidance from the Office of Civil Rights, the Complainant and Respondent will be allowed to submit questions to the hearing board to ask of individuals that testify at the hearing. The hearing board will have the discretion to determine which questions are appropriate and relevant to the case and, therefore, which questions will ultimately be asked.
  • Within 7 University business days following the conclusion of the formal hearing proceedings, the presiding Conduct Officer or the Conduct Board Chair shall simultaneously inform the Respondent, the Complainant, and the Title IX Coordinator in writing, of its findings and of the sanction(s) imposed, if any.
  • Any individual student found to be “in violation” of the Code of Conduct is subject to possible sanctions up to, and including, University Expulsion.
  • A decision reached after a formal hearing may be appealed by the Respondent, the Complainant, or the Conduct Officer within 7 university business days of delivery of the decision to the parties involved in the formal hearing. Appeals may be filed to the Student Affairs Officer for one or more of the following purposes (NOTE: not all appeal requests will be granted):
    • To determine whether the original hearing was conducted fairly in light of the charges and evidence presented, and in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complaining party a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present evidence that the Code was violated, and giving the Respondent a reasonable opportunity to present a rebuttal of those allegations.
    • To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed were appropriate.
  • Within 7 University business days following the conclusion of the appellate hearing, the presiding Conduct Officer or the Conduct Board Chair shall simultaneously inform the Respondent, the Complainant, and the Title IX Coordinator in writing, of its findings and of any changes to the initial decision, if any.

What to Expect: Criminal Justice Procedures

Once notified of a crime law enforcement officer(s) will start their investigation. There will be a variety of things the officer(s) can do to assure the case will stand up in court and to aid the victim in recovery. Some of the steps are

  • Meet with the victim and conduct a detailed interview which will require the victim to relive the crime. This is not always easy for the victim, but it’s an essential part of the investigation.
  • The victim will be asked to provide witness names of who may have witnessed the crime or been told by the suspect about the crime or their intent to do harm to the victim.
  • Obtain as many physical pieces of evidence as possible. In this process they may collect things like the clothing you had on before and after the crime,
    • Depending on where the crime occurred the officer may take fabrics i.e. bedding, carpet that has possible evidence such as sperm and hair.
    • Any messages received from the suspect via phone, text, e-mail, social media or hand written notes relevant to the crime. 
    •  If the crime occurred at the suspects’ residence or evidence is needed to be obtained through a third party the officer(s) may need to obtain a search warrant to collect these items of evidence.
    • In some crimes such as stalking patterns will have to be established
      • The officer(s) will provide victim with a stalking log or ask that victim keep documentation of dates, times, locations and what was said of interactions between the victim and the suspect or others the suspect may send to communicate with the victim for them
      • Document if the contact was in person, telephone, text, e-mail, social media etc…
      • Note if other crimes have occurred to you,  such as your property being damaged or pets being injured
      • Note if this person has affected your daily living, if you stay at home because they’re afraid to go out. When you do go out do you constantly watch for this person to show up? Do you feel ill and have gone to the doctor because of it, can you sleep and eat, has your work or school started to slip.
      • Take photographs of individuals involved and any injuries sustained
      • In the following days the officer(s) will most likely want to take more photos of the victims’ injuries.
      • Take photos of the scene or other evidence.
      • If medical attention is required the victim will be encouraged to be transported to a medical facility.
      • In sexual assault cases it is recommended the victim is taken to a facility that does forensic examinations by a licensed medical professional. During this process the victim will undergo another interview; a cervical examination and forensic evidence is collected by a standard sexual assault evidence kit. This is with the consent of the sexual assault victim.
      • Interview the suspect and any witnesses to the crime.
      • Follow up and interview additional witness based on the above interviews
      • Victim will be provided information on the Safe Center, protection orders and other resources available both on and off campus.  Officers can assist in making contact with these and other resources.
        • A protection order is filed with the District Court and if the victim is granted this order after a possible hearing it will remain in effect for up to 1 year.
        • Once the investigation is completed if there is enough evidence to show a crime was committed the officer will write an affidavit for an arrest and go before a judge to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect. Once an arrest warrant is signed by a judge it then must be filed with the Sheriff’s Department and entered into the state system. At this point the warrant is active and any law enforcement officer within the state may arrest the suspect on the charges.
        •  Once an arrest has been made the suspect will have to go through several court appearances. The first being a bond hearing where a Judge will set a bond for the suspect. Once this bond is paid the suspect will be released from jail.
        • From the Bond hearing to Trial the County Attorney’s office will stay in contact with the victim. To let them know what stages the case is in.
        • As a victim, you may have to testify at court hearings or the trial.  

What to Expect from Counseling Care and the Women’s Center

Sexual Assault Victim:

                Once a student presents to Counseling Care or The Women’s Center, s/he is treated with respect and dignity by all staff members, knowing that sexual assaults are never the victim’s fault. Counseling Care’s or Women’s Center’s professional counselor will:

  • Let the student know they are in a safe and confidential environment
  • Determine age of student – Nebraska State Law mandates that any individual who learns of a sexual assault against a minor (age 18 and younger) report the crime to local authorities, i.e. UNK Campus Police or Kearney Police Department.
  • Assess her/him in the following areas:
    • Psychological well-being and safety
    • Medical needs
    • Physical safety
    • Determine if s/he wants a family member or friend notified. The student is always provided the option of having a support person present.
    • Listen and attend.
    • Support them; not direct them
    • Ask if they would like something to drink or eat (providing enough time has passed that it would not affect collecting evidence)
    • Assist the student in understanding their options:
      • Continue receiving counseling services whether through Counseling Care, The Women’s Center or a community provider
      • The Women’s Center will help in filling out and filing a protection order if the victim so wishes to do so.
      • Inform her/him of available support services
        • Whether or not s/he decides to report the crime, encourage them to obtain medical attention ASAP.
        • FAN (Family Advocacy Network) (308-865-7492) has comprehensive care for victims of sexual assault. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) who has specialized training in this area can provide services to include a physical assessment and gather forensic evidence.
        • SAFE Center (308-237-2599) serves the community in a variety of ways including: additional ongoing support, assessing safety, emotional support, serving as an advocate for the victim, and alternate, private shelter.
        • UNK Women’s Center provides continued support and assists with providing information pertinent to sexual assault.
        • Report the incident to the director or designee.
          • The director or designee will statistically report the crime only to UNK Campus Police (not the identity) according to the mandates of the Clery Act (Summary of Clery Act in this manual).
  • You are a resource to help her/him discover options available to her/him and not feel trapped
  • Reporting the assault does not mean you have to file charges
  • Pressing charges
    • Each person must decide for themselves, based on their own circumstances.
    • If you need support to make this decision, campus counselors are available at Counseling Care or The Women’s Center
    • You may walk-in without an appointment.
    • If you decide to press charges or report the assault, you have the option of being assisted by campus authorities in notifying the proper authorities.

Policies

Procedures