The College encourages anyone who experiences or becomes aware of a sexual misconduct violation to make an immediate report. There are multiple channels for reporting sexual misconduct violations. A complainant may choose to report a sexual misconduct violation to the College for resolution under these procedures, to law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution, to both, or to neither. Complainants may simultaneously pursue criminal and College disciplinary action. The College will support complainants in understanding and assessing their reporting options.
A. Reporting to the College
Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Please go to the Interim Title IX Grievanc Policy, Reporting Sexual Harassment page for details.
B. Reporting to the Police
A complainant has the right to notify police or decline to notify police. Anyone may contact the police directly (see Section II.A.2., above). Alternatively, College community members may seek assistance in notifying police from the dean of students. The dean of students office can assist in setting up an initial meeting with police and can accompany students to that meeting. Filing a police report does not obligate an individual to participate in any subsequent criminal proceedings. A complainant who wishes to pursue criminal action in addition to, or instead of, making a report under these procedures should contact law enforcement directly:
- Hampshire College Campus Safety can be reached by dialing “5555” (for emergencies) or 413.559.5424 (for non-emergencies). Students seeking medical attention at Hampshire College Health Services can ask that police be called on their behalf.
- Town of Amherst Police can be reached by dialing “911” (for emergencies) or 413.259.3000 (for non-emergencies).
C. Preservation of Evidence
The College recognizes that making the decision to report a sexual misconduct violation often takes time. Nevertheless, pending the decision to report, a complainant is strongly encouraged to take immediate steps to preserve all evidence that might support a future report of a sexual misconduct violation, a protective order, or an investigation by the police, by the College, or both. Such evidence may include:
- A forensic sexual assault examination (within 72 hours);
- Any clothing, sheets or other materials (items containing bodily fluids should be stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags);
- Electronic exchanges (e.g., text messages, emails, and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media posts, to the extent that they can be captured or preserved);
- Photographs (including photographs stored on smartphones and other devices); and
- Voice-mail messages and other physical, documentary and/or electronic data that might be helpful or relevant in an investigation.
Electronic and photographic evidence may be lost through the upgrade or replacement of equipment (including smartphones), software and/or accounts or may simply be lost to the passage of time or damage to devices.
D. Seeking a Protective Order
Where a sexual misconduct violation is reported to the police, it may be possible to obtain a court-ordered Protective Order. These Protective Orders may be issued if the judge or magistrate believes that there is an immediate threat to health or safety.
“Protective Orders” are separate and distinct from “No-Contact Directives” (described in Section VII.A. of the Policy). Protective Orders may be obtained only from a court of law and are enforceable anywhere in the United States; their violation may result in criminal charges.
In contrast, No-Contact Directives may be obtained from the Title IX coordinator and are enforceable through the College. The Title IX coordinator or deputy Title IX coordinators can explain the process for seeking a Protective Order and can escort a complainant to the appropriate office in order to initiate a petition seeking a Protective Order.