In April, a Duke student sought a no contact order from the University after reporting alleged non-consensual sexual touching and harassment by a student. Although she managed to get a no contact order from the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, she was denied a restraining order by a judge in Durham at a hearing on April 19 .
However, this student is far from alone. A survey conducted by Duke in the spring of 2018 found that 47.8% of female respondents and 13.5% of male respondents said they had been sexually assaulted since enrolling at Duke. Student groups, including the Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention and Education (SHAPE) Initiative, are working to eradicate sexual violence on Duke’s campus.
The Chronicle has compiled a list to clarify on-campus resources for students experiencing sexual harassment.
Under the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, sexual misconduct is defined as “all forms of sexual/gender-based harassment, sexual/gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence (domestic violence and dating violence) and harassment”.
According to the policy, students who speak to a designated confidential member of staff will not have their information shared with the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) or “those the University has designated as a confidential resource pursuant to Title IX.” .
Confidential on-campus resources include:
However, all employees who do not work within these resources are designated as “responsible employees” and must notify the OSC of any violation of the policy.
“They are obligated to report allegations of sexual misconduct to the University so that we can send information outlining options for support and/or participation in the formal investigation and arbitration process or the adaptable resolution process” , wrote Victoria Krebs, associate dean of students at the university. OSC, in an email to The Chronicle.
Students may submit an official report detailing policy violations to OSC via firstname.lastname@example.org or phone number (919) 684-6938. Students can also submit anonymous reports through this form.
According to Krebs, an anonymous report is “a report in which the complainant and/or the reporter do not share their identity”. An anonymous report is different from a confidential report because an anonymous report is sent directly to the OSC.
The OSC attempts to follow up on all reported incidents of sexual misconduct, including those reported through anonymous reports.
“However, it may be difficult to do so – and in particular to conduct an investigation – without knowing the name of the person(s) concerned or, if known, without the involvement of the person(s) concerned,” said The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy FAQ page states.
Nonetheless, the OSC considers “a number of factors” in determining whether and how to conduct an investigation without an official report. Factors include the nature and seriousness of the alleged misconduct, the specificity and similarity between multiple reports and prior complaints against the individual or individuals.
The CSO then sends the complainant “a letter offering to meet and outlining support resources, including the ability to file a report with the appropriate law enforcement agency,” according to a flowchart of the conduct process. of students for allegations of sexual misconduct in the 2019-2020 Duke Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for Undergraduate Students.
A copy of the report is also sent to the GVPI office within the Women’s Center, which contacts the student offering confidential support.
“A student who refuses to meet with OSC can still meet with GVPI staff,” the flowchart reads.
According to the flowchart, the CSO then notifies the complainant of any disciplinary action available to the student, and the student has the option of “participating in the disciplinary action or refusing to do so.”
However, even if the student has declined to participate in disciplinary action, the University may elect to pursue disciplinary action “if sufficient information is available to investigate or initiate an intervention with an accused student.” Meanwhile, Duke”[keep] the complainant’s request for confidentiality to the extent possible” and discuss the matter with the complainant before making the decision, if the complainant chooses to meet with the University administration.
Per the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, the OSC attempts to resolve reports within 60 business days from the date the report is received.
Contactless Guidelines and Additional Interim Measures
After a report is filed, a “no contact” directive may be adopted between the complainant and the respondent.
“‘No-contact’ directives are support measures that are usually issued at the request of a student when they are repeatedly contacted by someone who continues to contact them after being asked not to” , wrote Krebs. “Contactless” directives are mutual, which means that the requesting party cannot contact the student with whom they requested the “contactless”.
“A ‘no contact’ directive directs both parties to have no physical contact or communication. They must not have any contact by telephone, in writing, by e-mail, via web pages or by any other means, including third parties,” the FAQ page reads. The policy extends to social media – retweeting, liking posts and viewing Snapchat stories are all prohibited under the directive.
Although a “no contact” directive will not appear on a student’s disciplinary record, violation of the directive “may result in immediate dismissal from campus and disciplinary action,” according to the FAQ page.
If anyone believes a student has violated a “no contact” directive, they can contact OSC at email@example.com or submit a report through this form. They can also contact the person who issued the directive.
Despite its on-campus ramifications, the “no-contact” guidelines are outside the purview of local or state law enforcement.
“Non-contact guidelines issued by the University are limited to Duke conduct processes,” Krebs wrote. “Students seeking to report to the police or obtain protective orders can work with GBV prevention and response counselors to gain assistance in these processes.”
According to Krebs, the OSC’s limited authority over Duke students means that if the person in question is not a Duke student or former Duke student, the student pursuing disciplinary action could either be working with the police, or be sent to another school or organization. .
According to the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, other interim measures include, but are not limited to, “restrictions on contact between the Complainant, Respondent and/or other involved parties; exclusion from campus areas and removal or relocation of residential areas.
If students report harassment from students who live nearby, additional interim measures may be taken. According to Krebs, these measures can include accommodations, such as “the option of changing rooms for both parties and/or for urgent matters, the option of a temporary safe”.
Investigations and hearings
If the OSC determines that further investigation is warranted, the Office of Institutional Equity will refer the matter to an investigator. The Investigator will then interview the Complainant and Respondent, as well as any approved witnesses they wish the Investigator to interview.
“No later than five working days following the hearing, [the] the result will be transmitted individually to the respondent and the complainant at approximately the same time. Written notification will generally be made within 10 business days,” the flowchart reads.
Any disciplinary action may lead to sanctions ranging from a warning to a formal warning, disciplinary probation, suspension and expulsion.
“Consideration may be given to the nature and circumstances surrounding the violation, the acceptance of responsibility by the student/student group, previous disciplinary violations, the impact of a sanction on the student/ student group, previous cases, college interests, and any other information deemed relevant by a hearing panel/agent,” states the 2021-2022 Duke Community Standard in Practice: A Guide for College Students. first cycle.
While the OSC conducts educational programs about Duke’s policies regarding sexual misconduct, the Women’s Center GVPI team and DuWell specifically engage in prevention work.
The University also announced in April that the Center for Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response will open in the fall of 2022.
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| Editor-in-chief of university news
Audrey Wang is a sophomore at Trinity and the editor of college news for the 118th volume of The Chronicle.