Reporting Sexual Violence
All forms of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, should be reported, no matter the severity. Oklahoma State University’s primary concern is safety; therefore individuals should not be deterred from reporting even if the use of alcohol or other drugs was involved.
The university encourages victims of sexual violence to talk to someone about what happened so they can receive support and so the university can respond appropriately. The university offers both confidential and non-confidential reporting options. It is important to be aware that different individuals who victims can contact for assistance following an incident may have different responsibilities regarding confidentiality, depending on their position. Under state law, some individuals can assure a victim of confidentiality, including counselors and certified victims’ advocates. In general, however, any other university employee cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, unless specifically provided by law. Universities must balance the needs of the individual victim with an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community.
Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a victim’s request for confidentiality.
- Some are required to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to them is sometimes called a “privileged communication.”
- Other employees may talk to a victim in confidence, and generally report only that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information. Disclosures to these employees will not trigger a university investigation into an incident against the victim’s wishes. This report is done through a Clery Report and does not include the victim’s name or other identifying information.
- Thirdly, some employees are required to report all the details of an incident (including the identities of both the victim and alleged perpetrator) to the Title IX Coordinator.
Confidential Reporting Options
Confidential reporting options provide students with the ability to confidentially report and discuss an instance of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, without their information being shared with others. Please note confidential reporting limits the university’s ability to respond to incidents.
Professional and licensed counselors who provide mental-health counseling (including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX coordinator without the victim’s permission. These individuals are also not required by the Clery Act to report.
OSU Victim Advocate
The university treats the OSU Victim Advocate as a confidential reporting option. Victims can visit with the victim advocate to learn about resources available on campus. The Victim Advocate is not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without a victim’s permission. However, the victim advocate will report incidents, without personally identifiable information, to OSU Police for the purpose of the Clery Act. Additionally, the Victim Advocate will report quarterly to the Board of Regents on statistical trends of incidents.
Non-Confidential Reporting Options
The Board of Regents for Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges and the Clery Act require all employees (excluding counselor, health care providers and victim advocate) who become aware of an instance of sexual harassment including sexual violence to report the instance to OSU-OKC Safety & Security. The victim’s name should not be reported to the police without the victim’s permission. The report should include the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident. This is a limited report that includes no information that would directly or indirectly identify the victim. This allows for the university to track patterns, evaluate the program, and develop appropriate campus-wide responses.
When an instance of sexual harassment including sexual violence is reported to a “responsible employee,” a student can expect the incident will be reported to the university’s Title IX Coordinator. A “responsible employee” is an employee who has the authority to redress sexual harassment including sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual harassment or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Examples include but not limited to faculty members, advisors, employees in student services offices and anyone in a supervisory role.
A responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual harassment or sexual violence shared by the victim including names, date, time and specific location of the alleged incident.
To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the university’s response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information about the victim to law enforcement unless a victim requests.
When a victim tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual harassment or sexual violence, the victim has the right to expect the university will investigate the alleged sexual harassment, end any sexual harassment, prevent the sexual harassment from recurring, and educate on sexual harassment.
Before a victim reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure that the victim understands the employee’s reporting obligations and if the victim wants to maintain confidentiality, then the victim should be directed to a confidential resource.
Requests for Confidentially from a Non-Confidential Reporter
If a victim discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation or conduct action be taken, the university must weigh that request against the obligation to provide a safe environment for all students, including the victim.
If the university honors the request for confidentiality, a victim must understand that the university’s ability to meaningfully investigate and respond to the incident may be limited.
Although rare, there are times when the university may not be able to honor a victim’s request in order to provide a safe environment for all students.
When weighing a victim’s request for confidentiality or that no investigation or conduct process be pursued, the following will be considered:
- The increased risk that the alleged respondent will commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:
- whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged respondent;
- whether the alleged respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
- whether the alleged respondent threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the victim or others;
- whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple respondents;
- whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged respondent;
- whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
- whether the victim is a minor;
- whether the university possesses other means to obtain relevant information of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras, personnel, physical evidence); and
- whether the victim’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.
The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the university to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue conduct action. If none of these factors is present, the university will likely respect the victim’s request for confidentiality.
If determined that the university cannot maintain a victim’s confidentiality, the university will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation. The university will remain ever mindful of the victim’s well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the victim from retaliation or harm and work with the victim to create a safety plan. The university may not require a victim to participate in any investigation or conduct process. Retaliation against the victim, whether by students or university employees, will not be tolerated.
Reporting to the Police
The university strongly encourages individuals to report sexual violence and any other criminal offenses to the police. This does not commit a victim to prosecute but will allow the gathering of information and evidence. The information and evidence preserve future options regarding criminal prosecution, university conduct actions and/or civil actions against the perpetrator.
On campus incident can be reported to the Oklahoma City Police Department at (405) 297-1170. If the incident happened anywhere else, it can be reported to the local law enforcement with jurisdiction in the location where it occurred.
Please know that the information reported can be helpful in supporting other reports and preventing further incidents.
Reporting to Student Conduct
Anyone can report instances of sexual harassment and sexual violence to Student Conduct in SC 240 or at 405-945-3378. A complaint should be filed as soon as possible, preferably within 180 calendar days of the incident. A complaint can be filed online at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person in the Office of Human Resources.
If either the victim or the respondent are students, the incident will be addressed through the Student Conduct process once a complaint is filed.
The university strongly encourages individuals to report any instance of sexual harassment and sexual violence to the police.