If I report a sexual assault, what is the difference between confidentiality & privacy?

Conversations with the Title IX Coordinator are kept as confidential as possible, but information about incidents of sexual misconduct must be shared with relevant administrators if the WVSOM needs to take action for reasons of community safety. In all cases, the wishes of the person initiating the conversation are given full consideration.

The Title IX Coordinator attempts to balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace. Confidentiality is an aspiration, but is not always possible or appropriate. An individual's requests regarding the confidentiality of reports of discrimination, or harassment including but not limited to sex offenses will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such requests will be considered in the dual contexts of the institution's legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or sexual misconduct and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source.

Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation and to insure that the institution meets its obligations under Title IX. The institution may be limited in its response and investigation if confidentiality is requested. 

What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?

In addition to supporting individual students affected by sexual misconduct, WVSOM takes all incidents seriously and has a responsibility to address misconduct. When sexual misconduct involves criminal behavior, students are strongly encouraged to report the situation to law enforcement. The Title IX Coordinator will assist the student in notifying WVSOM security and/or local law enforcement if the student so requests.

An incident can be reported even if the student has not decided whether to take legal action. Nonetheless, students are always free to report and are encouraged to share instances of such behavior with the Title IX Coordinator  (contact information below) regardless of whether or not they choose to press formal criminal charges with law enforcement. Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible. This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved.

 WVSOM can take action only if made aware of the behavior. If a WVSOM administrator becomes aware of a complaint or other violation of this policy, the administrator is required to bring the information to school so that concerns are heard and services can be offered to the affected students. WVSOM strongly encourages prompt reporting of complaints and information rather than risking any student's well being. Although there is no time limit on the reporting of formal charges with WVSOM, we may ultimately be unable to adequately investigate if too much time has passed or if the accused student has graduated. Factors that could negatively affect WVSOM's ability to investigate include the loss of physical evidence (e.g., prompt medical examinations are critical to preserving the physical evidence of sexual assault), the potential departure of witnesses, or loss of memory. WVSOM strongly encourages students to report concerns to either or both of the following offices:

  • For emergencies, contact 911.
  • For non-emergencies, or if criminal behavior is involved, students are encouraged to contact the WVSOM security office by telephone at (304) 647-8911 or in person at A-216 Main Building.
  • WVSOM has a contract with the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) whereby the WVSP provides 24/7 security services for the campus and the Robert C. Byrd Clinic.
  • Contacting WVSOM security does not mean you must pursue charges. The WVSP will advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options.

To seek assistance and support, or to report misconduct, contact the Title IX Coordinator:

Rebecca Morrow
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
(304) 793-6591

What are the benefits of reporting a sexual assault to the police?

Contacting the local Police or WVSOM security does not mean you must pursue charges. The West Virginia State Police (WVSP)  can advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options. WVSP can also advise you on safety planning techniques. For emergencies, contact 911. For non-emergencies students are encouraged to contact the WVSOM security office by telephone at (304) 647-8911 or in person at A-216 Main Building.

What if I'm an employee at WVSOM and I have become aware of an incident of sexual misconduct?

With the exception of the ASPIRE licensed professional counselors and psychologist, all employees of WVSOM are designated as Responsible Employees. If a Responsible Employee receives notice concerning alleged sexual misconduct, any other violation falling under Title IX, or any discriminatory harassment, the employee is required to report that incident to the Title IX Coordinator. If known, such information should include, at a minimum, the following: the name of the person impacted by the alleged incident, the name of the accused individual, other individuals involved in the alleged incident, as well as relevant facts, including the date, time and location.

Please see the one page Employee Quick Guide for more information on how to approach your conversation with the reporting individual. 

Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual misconduct?

The Title IX Coordinator can assist you in understanding your resources and options for pursuing and investigation both on and off campus. For example, while the Title IX Coordinator is not an advocate s/he can help you to connect with advocacy services available through the Family Refuge Center.

Should I report a sexual assault if I was drinking  when it occurred?

Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible.

This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved. 

Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?

No, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment policy covers both on-campus and off-campus conduct, as those terms are described below.

  • On-Campus Violations: The campus includes the geographic confines of the WVSOM, including its land, institutional roads and buildings, its leased premises, common areas at leased premises, the property, facilities and leased premises of organizations affiliated with the WVSOM, such as WVSOM housing (Rotation House), and WVSOM-recognized housing.
     
  • Off-Campus Violations: Students should be aware that off campus violations that affect a clear and distinct interest of the WVSOM community are subject to disciplinary sanctions. As examples, sexual misconduct and harassment are within the WVSOM's interests when the behavior:
    • Involves conduct directed at or by a WVSOM student or other member of the WVSOM community;
    • Occurs during WVSOM-sponsored events;
    • Occurs during the events of organizations affiliated with the WVSOM, including the events of student organizations;
    • Occurs during a international rotation or other international WVSOM sanctioned travel; or
    • Poses a disruption or threat to the WVSOM community.

Why should I seek medical attention when I haven't decided whether I want to report the assault to the police or to WVSOM?

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. A medical exam is not, however, required before pursuing a criminal complaint or initiating a WVSOM investigation.

Where can I find information about WVSOM crime statistics?

Where can I find information on how to reduce my risk of being a victim of sexual assault?