Sexual Assault Procedures
Grand Valley State University recognizes the importance of support and encouragement in dealing with instances of sexual assault. A variety of support services are available at the university and in the community to assist students in dealing with sexual assault. The following information outlines a variety of options that are open to victims of sexual assault.
Law Enforcement Options/Considerations
Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the campus police. Officers can assist victims in connecting with a variety of services including contacting the Counseling Center, transportation to a nurse examiner program, obtaining a personal protection order, or contacting other police agencies in the event that the assault did not occur on campus.
Victims should be aware that just because they contact the campus police department, this does not mandate they make an official police report. Officers will assist victims by notifying them of various options they have in reporting the incident and will respect the choices made by the victim, including non-reporting. If the victim wants an investigation, officers will contact appropriate personnel to assist. If the victim prefers to speak with a female officer, every reasonable attempt will be made to make one available.
The university will make all reasonable efforts to ensure the preservation of confidentiality, restricting information to those with a legitimate need for it. The University Counseling Center may notify the victim about university and community resources and students are strongly encouraged to connect with this support.
Health/Personal Safety Considerations
It is highly recommended that victims seek medical treatment from a nurse examiner program following a sexual assault. Nurse examiner programs have the ability to collect the evidence that is necessary for medical and/or forensic evaluation and court testimony if the accused is prosecuted. Both Ottawa and Kent counties have nurse examiner programs (see addresses below). In some cases, a victim may prefer to be treated at a hospital closer to their home.
Hospital treatment is recommended in situations where there is serious physical harm including loss of consciousness or blow to the head, continual vaginal bleeding following the assault, possible broken bones, a laceration requiring stitches, abdominal or chest pain present, pregnancy, or other serious medical or emergency conditions.
Although it is not an absolute deadline, it is strongly encouraged that physical evidence be collected within 48 hours or as soon as is reasonably possible. The collection of medical evidence does not presume that charges will be filed against the assailant; the filing of a criminal charge is always the choice of the victim. To protect important physical evidence, victims should not shower, bathe, brush their teeth, or change clothing prior to going to a nurse examiner program or the hospital. If possible, the student should maintain the scene exactly as it was at the occurrence of the assault if they intend to report the incident to the police.
Even if a victim has showered or a time lapse of five days has occurred, it is still strongly encouraged that an assault victim seeks medical treatment.
Nurse Examiner Programs
Victims are encouraged to call in advance before going to either location. Someone is on call 24-hours a day.
YWCA of Grand Rapids
25 Sheldon Blvd.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 776-RAPE (776-7273) 24 hour crisis hotline
Center for Women in Transition
411 Butternut Drive
Holland, MI 49424
(616) 392-1970 or (800) 848-5991
University Judicial Options/Considerations
Victims of sexual assault that occur on university property and/or by another Grand Valley student may file a judicial referral with the coordinator for university judiciary. This referral can be filed regardless of whether the victim decides to file criminal charges.
With regard to the university judicial process, victims will be treated with respect and sensitivity at all times.
When a victim expresses a concern about sexual assault, they will be informed of the availability of a university employee designated to provide support. The role of the sexual assault support person includes the following: to share resources (both on and off campus); to explain the university’s sexual assault policy; to assist with the filing of a complaint (internal and external to the university); to accompany the individual to any meetings related to the complaint; and to help the individual sort through their options and choices.
If the accused student denies the charges and requests a hearing, the victim will be notified of the hearing. The victim may present written evidence to be used at the hearing, may testify at the hearing, and is entitled to a copy of the written decision and sanction. If the incident was reported to the campus police, an officer may attend the hearing and assist in presenting facts learned during the investigation.
The accused student and the victim may each have one advisor present at the hearing. If the accused student admits the policy violation, the victim is entitled to a copy of the written sanction. The victim or the accused student may appeal the decision and/or sanction.
Sanctions for students found responsible through the university judicial process for committing sexual assault may include one or more of the following: warning; restitution; work assignment/community service; probation; loss of privileges; loss of the right to live in university housing; counseling; denial or revocation of a university honor; scholarship or degree; suspension; and/or dismissal from the university.
Under Michigan law, sexual assault is called “criminal sexual conduct” (CSC). There are four degrees or categories. First, second, and third degree CSC are felonies. Fourth degree CSC is a misdemeanor. Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct is a felony. Conviction of any CSC charge can carry a substantial prison term. However, severity of the sentencing depends on a number of factors. These laws can be very complicated. Additional information about Michigan law can be found at www.michiganlegislature.org
. Sections 750.520A-750.520L are specific to sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Programs
Programs dealing with rape, acquaintance rape, and other sex offenses are presented on a regular basis at a variety of student educational activities, including orientation prior to classes, on-campus residential life programs and first-year orientation classes. Most of the programs are sponsored by the Counseling Center, the Office of Housing and Residential Life, the Women’s Center, Public Safety Services or Eyes Wide Open Peer Sexual Assault Education Student Group. In addition, self-defense classes are offered each semester through a program called R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense System). The sessions are taught by community police officers and other employees who are nationally certified R.A.D. instructors.
The Grand Valley State University Counseling Center provides counseling for victims of sexual assault. Students are also made aware of counseling and support services in the community for victims of sexual assault. Sex registry information is available at www.mipsor.state.mi.us
Page last modified January 18, 2011