Sexual Assault Policy
Sexual assault shows disregard for biblical precepts and criminal law as well as Christian community. Bethel College will not tolerate any acts or threats of sexual assault. Any person in the Bethel College community in violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action and sanctions. Bethel College is committed to maintaining a learning and living environment which is fair, respectful and free of sexual violence.
According to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act (20USC1092 (f)(7)), Bethel College must have a sexual assault policy on record, as well as a policy for sexual assault prevention. Additionally, colleges and universities must develop and publish as part of their annual security report policies regarding sexual assault prevention and victims' rights.
Definition of Terms
Sexual assault is a crime of aggression and violence. There is never justification for sexual assault. Sexual assault is a sexual act committed or attempted against one's will. This may be forced sexual contact by a date, family member, roommate, acquaintance, or stranger. It includes a range of acts from unwelcome sexual touching to forced sexual intercourse. Sexual assault refers to any sexual act without the explicit consent of the recipient of the behavior. Consent is defined as the act of willingly and verbally agreeing to engage in specific sexual contact or conduct. Psychological pressuring or any attempt to take advantage sexually of an individual under duress or incapable of making a decision on his or her own is a direct violation of the policy. This includes situations in which an individual is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or otherwise physically incapacitated. Force may include, but is not limited to, the use or display of a weapon, physical battering or immobilization of the other person.
Registering a Complaint
A person who has experienced an assault is encouraged to contact a member of the Student Development staff, Campus Safety, or other Bethel College staff or faculty. In order for a formal hearing to occur, the complaint of sexual assault must be made in writing or in person to the Vice President for Student Development. The student has one calendar year from the time of identification to report the assault. Upon receipt of the complaint a preliminary investigation will begin. If the Vice President for Student Development determines there is basis for a hearing, notice of charges will be prepared and delivered to the parties. The accused student will receive a written notice stating the nature of the complaint, the standards of conduct allegedly violated, the name of the reporting person, the date, time and place of the meeting and the names of the members on the Student Development Committee. A committee member who feels his or her presence would be inappropriate because of prior or present connections with a party or any other person involved in the hearing must inform the Vice President for Student Development and withdraw from the process. A party may challenge a committee member for cause.
The complainant has the right to request consideration of a change in living arrangements or other modifications to avoid forced contact with the accused. An alleged assailant may be declared an unapproved guest on campus, pending the outcome of the Student Development Committee. Unapproved guests are subject to additional college disciplinary action or arrest if found on campus.
- If the assailant is a Bethel College student, the complainant may request a hearing with the college's Student Development Committee. Each party may be assigned, or may choose a faculty or staff advisor to provide support throughout the process. Incidents involving perpetrators who are nonmembers of the college community will be processed according to local and state laws.
- Any participant in the hearing process may not disclose the identity of the involved parties, either directly or indirectly, except where disclosure may be required by law. All participants will be reminded during the hearing that their participation and testimony should remain confidential following the hearing. Minimal internal documentation will be created. Committee members shall not discuss the case with anyone outside of the hearing. Doing so jeopardizes an appropriate and just outcome.
- Should either party fail to appear at the scheduled hearing the Vice President for Student Development may continue the proceedings or determine the complaint on the basis of evidence presented. Both parties must present written statements to the Vice President for Student Development describing his/her position and a list of witnesses to be called and their expected testimony at least three days prior to the hearing. The parties are responsible for the appearance of their designated witnesses at the scheduled hearing.
- The Vice President for Student Development may, upon consultation with the Student Development Committee, determine that the case is without merit and dismiss the complaint, notifying the parties. The complainant may appeal such decision by filing a written appeal to the Student Development Committee. Such appeal must be made within ten calendar days of the notice of decision of the Vice President for Student Development.
- The Vice President for Student Development will determine the order of witnesses and determine hearing protocols. Witnesses will be called individually for their statement and will not be present otherwise during the hearing. The Vice President for Student Development and the committee members will question the parties and the witnesses. The parties' advisors may be present and can be consulted by the parties throughout the hearing. After all witnesses have been questioned, each party or their advisor may make a written or oral closing statement.
- If the accused student is found guilty the complainant may present the committee with a statement recommending a sanction. All decisions by the committee will be made by majority vote. Based on evidence presented, the committee first determines the guilt or innocence of the accused student, and then, if appropriate, the sanction. The decision of the Student Development Committee will be made without the parties present. In determining an appropriate sanction the committee may consider any record of past violations of Bethel College's code of conduct as well as the nature and severity of the misconduct. Within three calendar days from the conclusion of the hearing, the Vice President for Student Development will provide the parties with copies of the committee's decision. Either party may appeal the committee's decision by contacting the President in writing within three days of the notification of the committee's decision.
- The appeal process will follow standard Bethel policy. This policy, as well as information about the Student Development Committee and discipline procedures can be found in the Bethel College Student Handbook.
- Written apology
- Personal Accountability
- Social probation
- Counseling - a Bethel College Wellness Center staff member will administer counseling for a set amount of time. Wellness staff may recommend additional counseling or testing if needed.
- Suspension (period of time to be determined by committee)
- Removal from campus, but not classes
- Voluntary Withdrawal from campus and classes
- Dismissal from campus and classes
Aftercare for Survivors of Sexual Assault
- On campus students should be made aware in case of a sexual assault to immediately call their Resident Director, Resident Assistant, or Campus Safety, or go directly to the nearest emergency room. Off-campus students are encouraged to call a trusted friend or a member of the Residence Life or Wellness Center Staff. A friend or Residence Life Staff may help transport the student to the emergency room if needed. If immediate medical attention is needed, 911 should be called. After medical treatment the student should be referred to the Bethel College Wellness Center and/or Sexual Offense Services (SOS) of Madison Center and the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
- Students who report a sexual assault days, weeks, or months after the assault should be encouraged to file a report with Student Development, Campus Safety and the appropriate police department. Medical attention and counseling should be secured.
- Survivors of sexual assault should be treated with dignity and respect. They should be informed that their situation will be handled as confidentially as possible. It is extremely important that any sexual assault be reported to both college and local authorities. If unreported this leaves the perpetrators unpunished and on the streets, or in Bethel's case, on campus.
- Survivors should be made aware of the importance of preserving evidence and of the availability of aftercare. Survivors should be advised not to change clothes, shower, bathe, douche, wipe, eat, drink or brush their teeth. An extra change of clothes should be brought along to the hospital. If clothes have been changed they should be placed individually in paper bags.
- In some situations the survivor may fear being blamed or disciplined, especially, if he/she has violated campus rules. Residence Life is committed to handling such situations in a fair and equitable manner.
Risk Reduction Activities for the Bethel College Community
Bethel College Residence Life staff is required to hold at least one mandatory educational program on sexual assault prevention in each residence hall each school year, preferably in the fall semester. The following are examples of risk reduction programs:
- Issues regarding sexual assault will be explored in Orientation Class. During the second semester transfer and new students will also be given information on these issues.
- Courses on self-defense should be offered through intramurals or the Wellness Center.
- Brochures and information on sexual assault should be made available in key locations including the Wellness Center, dining commons and residence halls. Staff and faculty will also be given brochures and other pertinent information. Posters should also be hung on walls in key traffic areas.
- Staff and faculty, especially Residence Life Staff, should receive yearly training on sexual assault.
- Information on risk reduction, sexual assault, healthy male-female relationships, date rape, and sexual harassment will be explored on campus through speakers in residence halls and in chapel, as well as guest speakers in classes and other learning environments. Survivors of sexual assault should also be brought to campus periodically to speak on this topic.
- Bethel's ban on alcohol and illegal drugs is appropriate in combating sexual assault. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism's 2002 Report on College Drinking reports that more than 70,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 survive alcohol related sexual assault each year. Additionally 68% of male assailants had been drinking at the time of the attack. Alcohol and other drugs are often used to justify assault. In addition there are various drugs such as GHB, ketamine, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and other illegal drugs that perpetrators may give to incapacitate their victims. Bethel College will communicate campus alcohol and drug policies clearly and frequently to the college community, including consequences, for violations. Residence Life Staff and campus programming can help correct misperceptions of alcohol and other drug use.
- The Wellness Center will work closely with Madison Center, Residence Life, and other organizations to coordinate speakers and provide training for staff, faculty and students. Student Development will also compile statistical reports regarding sexual assault as well as report incidents of sexual assault to appropriate authorities. Student Development Staff will secure medical attention, notify appropriate college staff and serve as a resource for the student. Student Development will advise the student on Bethel College's complaint and disciplinary procedures, civil and criminal prosecutions, alternative housing assignments and counseling options.
- Campus Safety provides an escort service during hours of darkness for persons who may be walking on campus. Call x3500 to request an escort. Phones can be found throughout campus.
- Crime prevention materials will be made available to students, faculty and staff upon request. In addition Campus Safety will provide the community with timely reports of crimes committed on or off campus that are considered to be a threat to students or employees. These reports will be made through campus bulletins, campus email, campus publications or Residence Hall Directors. (See Appendix G, Campus Safety Annual Report in Student Handbook)
- Staffs from Sexual Offense Services (SOS) of Madison Center are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SOS of Madison Center can be reached at 289-HELP. Wellness Center Services Staff can be reached at 807-7370 during normal business hours, and 236-5717 after hours during the academic year. The Wellness Center is closed during June and July.
*The information provided in this website is for educational and informational use only. It does not provide medical or psychological advice and is not intended to replace the services of a trained medical or psychological professional. Please discuss health and mental health concerns with your healthcare provider.