Sexual Misconduct is a broad term encompassing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence.
Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual Violence is physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual violence includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
What to Do if You Experience Sexual Misconduct
Who Should I call First?
If you experience sexual misconduct, you are likely to have many immediate concerns. Based on the circumstances of the misconduct you may have concerns about your immediate physical health, your emotional and mental well-being, as well as your personal safety.
As you think about how you want to respond, it is most important to do what is right for you. Friends, loved ones, and family members may have strong feelings and opinions about how you should react, but you must do what you think is right for you. The information on this website is meant to provide you with resources and information to help you determine how to proceed.
A person who experiences an incident of sexual misconduct should consider the following services immediately:
Law Enforcement can assist you in obtaining medical treatment, counseling support, and police services.
- 911: Emergencies on or off campus
- Campus Public Safety Department: 413-782-1411
- Springfield Police: 413-787-6359
Health and Medical Care
- Western New England Health Services: 413-782-1211
- Baystate Medical Center: 413-794-0000
- Mercy Medical Center: 413-748-6910
When seeking medical attention it is important to tell the clinician everything that occurred to ensure the medical exam is thorough and addresses all of the possible medical issues related to the incident of sexual misconduct. Medical issues may include injury or physical trauma and the possibilities of sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy. In addition to providing appropriate treatment, the clinician must be fully informed of what occurred during the incident to ensure that evidence is preserved if you decide to file criminal charges.
Things to Consider
You may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual misconduct, harassment, or discrimination without disclosing names or requesting that any action be taken. The University’s ability to respond to an anonymous report will be limited.
Anonymous reports may be made by completing the online reporting form. This form can be used to report incidents of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, harassment, and all forms of bias.
The person completing this form can include his/her name or may remain completely anonymous.
Confidentiality in Reporting
You may be concerned about confidentiality in the reporting and investigative processes. If you ask for your identity to be withheld in the investigative process or ask that no action be taken by the University your request will be considered. Requests for confidentiality are considered on a case by case basis but in most cases once a complainant shares certain information with a responsible employee the University has a responsibility to investigate and in some cases take immediate action to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all.
In general the confidentiality of the proceedings and the identities of parties to the complaint shall be protected to the fullest extent practicable under the facts and circumstances of each case. However, the University cannot guarantee complete confidentiality once certain details are disclosed.
The University’s reporting policy includes protections against retaliation and University officials will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs.
If you report an incident of sexual misconduct but you do not provide enough information for the University to investigate or implement interim or protective measures the University may still take action to ensure the safety of those on campus. This action could include providing increased monitoring or security at certain locations, and changing class schedules or room assignments.
You may forgo making a report (as outlined below) and seek confidential services on or off campus. Confidential Offices and Services (on campus) include the Counseling Center, Spiritual Life and Health Services. You may also seek confidential support services and advocacy from external sources.
HOW TO MAKE A REPORT
- You may report an incident to law enforcement for criminal action. This type of report can be made to the Campus Public Safety Department or the Springfield Police Department. The University encourages individuals to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual misconduct, violence, or harassment that may also be crimes under Massachusetts law. The University will also proceed with the internal process of investigating when a criminal complaint has been made. The University will not wait until the criminal case is resolved before proceeding with the University process.
- A complainant may report an incident to the Campus Public Safety Department but choose not to pursue criminal charges. The Campus Public Safety Department will forward the report to the Title IX Coordinator for evaluation and action.
- A complainant may choose to report an incident to a University representative other than the Campus Public Safety Department. These reports can be made directly to the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinators, Dean of Students, or other members of the faculty or staff. When the University becomes aware of sexual misconduct, violence or harassment, it may have an obligation to proceed with an investigation regardless of the complainant’s wishes.
- A complainant may pursue both the University process and the criminal process simultaneously.
- A complainant may wish to report an incident anonymously or confidentially to the University without disclosing the names of the respondent or witnesses. The University’s ability to respond to this type of report will be limited. When a report is made confidentially or anonymously the University may become the complainant. This decision will be made based on the information reported and after the initial evaluation of the report and request for confidentiality.