Frequently Asked Questions about Sexual Misconduct
Will the information I share about sexual misconduct be kept confidential?
Whether or not the information shared about misconduct is confidential or private depends on with whom that information was shared. An explanation of the distinctions follow.
CONFIDENTIAL: Under Minnesota law, communications with some individuals are confidential. This means that any information shared by the survivor with a specific individual will not be used against them in court or shared with others. This individual cannot be subpoenaed to testify against the survivor in a court of law.
Students should always confirm whether confidentiality applies to the communication. Generally, confidentiality applies when a student seeks services from the following persons:
- Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) advocate
- Psychological counselor (including counselors at UMD Health Services)
- Health care provider (including medical professionals at UMD Health Services)
- Personal attorney
- Religious/spiritual counselor
PRIVATE: The University of Minnesota Duluth is committed to creating an environment that encourages students to come forward if they have experienced any form of sexual misconduct. University employees (other than those listed above) will seek to keep information related to reports the information private, but they are required to share the information with the UMD Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA).
The Equal Opportunity Associate has a duty to respond to sexual misconduct and will consider requests for confidentiality. In cases involving students accused of sexual misconduct (called "respondents"), EOAA will only begin investigating the report after receiving verbal or written confirmation that the complainant wishes to initiate an investigation, except in limited cases where campus safety is threatened. Specific factors considered in these decisions include, but are not limited to whether the respondent is alleged to have used a weapon while committing prohibited conduct; whether the respondent is alleged to have used force while committing prohibited conduct; and whether the respondent has been alleged or found to have committed prohibited conduct against other complainants.
As is the case with any educational institution, the university must balance the needs of the individual student with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large. Therefore, depending on the seriousness of the alleged incident, further action may be necessary, including a campus security alert. The alert, however, would never contain any information identifying the student who made the complaint.
What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?
What are the benefits of reporting a sexual assault to the police?
Contacting law enforcement (for example, the UMD Police Department or the Duluth Police Department) does not mean you must pursue charges. Law enforcement officers can advise you of your options, preserve evidence while you consider your options. and also advise you on safety planning techniques.
For emergencies, contact 911. For non-emergencies students are encouraged to contact the UMD Police by telephone at 218-726-7000 or in person at room 287, Darland Building. The Duluth Police Department can be contacted at 911 or in person at 411 West First Street, Room 104, Duluth, MN 55802.
As a student, why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual misconduct to the UMD Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA)?
First, EOAA can assist a student in accessing many resources available at the University and in the Duluth community. Second, the EOAA Associate will provide information on how to request on-campus accommodations, for example, assistance in navigating classes, living arrangements, or activities. Third, the EOAA Associate will share detailed information about options for a formal response.
With regard to options for a formal response, there are two and students may choose to invoke both, one or the other, or neither. First, the office staff will assist the student in notifying UMD Police or local law enforcement, if the student so requests. Second, the University’s response is separate from the legal system. If a student wishes the University to investigate or to discuss other possible resolutions, it would be important that the student have an opportunity to meet with someone from EOAA. The goal of the meeting would be to provide the student with options so they may make an informed decision about what they would like to happen next. The student may bring up to two people with them to any meetings or hearings.
In all situations, the university's goal is to treat the student who reports misconduct with sensitivity and fairness, while also ensuring the accused individual receives due process if any disciplinary action is to be imposed.
To seek assistance and support, or to report misconduct, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action ([email protected]).
Should I report sexual misconduct if I was drinking underage or using an illegal drug when it occurred?
The University of Minnesota Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence has an amnesty provision for cases of sexual misconduct. This amnesty provision applies to complainants, respondents, and other individuals who participate in an investigation under this policy. However, this amnesty provision does not apply to a person who has given another person alcohol or drugs without their knowledge and with the intent of causing them to become incapacitated and therefore vulnerable to experiencing prohibited conduct.
Moreover, the University may offer leniency with respect to other violations that emerge as a result of a prohibited conduct report or investigation, depending on the circumstances involved.
Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents Student Conduct Code gives jurisdiction for enforcement of the code to cover off-campus student conduct when the conduct, as alleged, adversely affects a substantial University interest and either: (a) constitutes a criminal offense as defined by state or federal law, regardless of the existence or outcome of any criminal proceeding; or (b) indicates that the student may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of the student or others.
The EOAA Associate can provide information about how the process may differ depending on the location of the alleged misconduct.
Why should I seek medical attention when I haven't decided whether I want to report the assault to the police or the university?
Seeking medical attention can help you in many ways. First, seeking medical attention can help you take care of your own health by checking for injuries, treating those injuries, and addressing the possibility of sexually transmitted infections.
Second, a forensic medical exam can preserve evidence of the assault. This is important even if you are currently undecided about your next steps because you may later decide to pursue criminal charges or university disciplinary charges - that information from your exam can help in both situations. A medical exam is not, however, required before pursuing criminal or university disciplinary charges.
In Duluth, initial medical exams are free for a person who has been sexually assaulted.
Where can I find information about UMD crime statistics?
What if I’m an employee at the university and I have become aware of an incident of sexual misconduct?
Under the University of Minnesota Administrative Policy: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence, all employees (with the exception of those that are confidential employees, as listed above) are obligated to share reports of sexual misconduct with UMD Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. More detailed information is found in the policy.