Sexual Violence Prevention, Reporting and Advocacy
Introduction & Guiding Philosophy
Montana State University Billings does not condone or tolerate acts of sexual assault perpetrated by or against members of its student, staff and faculty community. As an institution of higher education, MSUB is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of their background or identity, have access to a quality learning experience and the opportunity to pursue their academic goals in a safe, supportive learning environment. Further, all forms of sexual violence, including rape and sexual assault, interferes with students’ abilities to be active, engaged learners. As such, the University is actively committed to reducing and eradicating the incidences of sexual violence and eliminating the root causes that lead to sexual violence, as well as providing appropriate support to victims and survivors when an act of sexual violence does occur.
Montana State University Billings insists upon an environment free of sexual violence. Students have the right to pursue their education without experiencing this kind of behavior. Acts of violence are deeply harmful to complainants, degrading to the campus community, and will not be tolerated.
Sexual Assault is defined as knowingly subjecting another person to any sexual contact without her/his consent.
Sexual Intercourse without Consent is committed when a person has sexual intercourse with another person without that person’s consent.
Sexual Coercion is the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will; and persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused.
Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Dating violence is violence committed by a person-
A) Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
B) Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of (i) length of relationship; (ii) type of relationship;(iii) frequency of interaction between the parties.
Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence by a current or former spouse, person with whom victim shares a child, person cohabitating or who has cohabitated with victim as spouse, by a person similarly situated under domestic or family violence laws of jurisdiction.
And any other non-consensual conduct of a sexual nature.
On a criminal level, these charges are punishable by fines and imprisonment. However,
the complainant need not file criminal charges for this behavior to be investigated
by the institution. Filing of criminal complaints does not negate the ability of Montana
State University Billings to take action against the alleged offender.
For other crime reporting definitions please visit our University Police website.
MSU Billings pursues affirmative action to provide to all people the equal opportunity
for education, employment, and participation in University activities without regard
to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital or family status, disability,
or sexual orientation. MSUB recognizes that sexual violence is not isolated to a specific
gender or population. MSUB strives to provide resources and response to anyone that
is a victim/survivor of sexual violence.
MSUB strives to provide individuals with the information, skills and values necessary to help reduce the risk of sexual violence and prevent it from occurring in the first place. The University has adopted the philosophy that both men and women should be active partners in dialogue about this issue, and that the responsibility for providing sexual violence prevention education is distributed across all campus constituents and administrative areas.
Please see our Prevention & Communication Plan for specific initiatives to educate
the campus community.
MSUB is committed to ensuring that students who are the victims/survivors of sexual assault are treated in a respectful, supportive and caring manner. When a sexual assault is reported to the University, we are committed to ensuring that:
- A victim/survivor’s safety, privacy and confidentiality is preserved to the greatest extent possible;
- The individual is able to access advocacy, medical, mental health and other support services both on‐ and/or off‐campus in a timely manner with minimal hardship;
- Reasonable academic and other accommodations will be instituted to facilitate the victim/survivor’s recovery;
- Accurate and complete information about all options for recourse, including judicial, civil and criminal, will be communicated to the victim/survivor;
- A victim/survivor will be empowered with regard to choosing their options for recourse; and
- A victim/survivor’s choices will be honored to the greatest extent possible and will not influence the manner in which the University provides advocacy or support to that individual.
The University takes all allegations of sexual assault seriously and is obligated
to respond with due diligence and implement actions and consequences accordingly that
ensure the safety of our community. Students who wish to report an allegation of sexual
assault are strongly encouraged to ask about confidentiality issues and the extent
of privacy that will be accorded when they report the incident.
Care and Behavior Assessment Team
In cases involving sexual discrimination including sexual harassment or other forms
of sexual violence, the Title IX Coordinator will work closely with the Vice Chancellor
for Student Affairs and trained investigators.
The role of the Care and Behavior Assessment Team is to:
- Respond in a coordinated manner to reports of sexual assault following the University protocol;
- Provide support, assistance and information to the victim/survivor; and
- Notify the proper campus administrators about incidents of sexual assault so that appropriate action may be taken if necessary, such as informing the campus community of a possible threat to campus safety.
To ensure quality and consistency of response, the Title IX Coordinator will arrange
training programs for campus employees. Individual departments are responsible for
coordinating additional trainings for staff as needed.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education and its implementing regulation, at 34 C.F.R. § 106.31 (a), states that no person shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any academic, extracurricular, research, occupational training, or other education program or activity operated by the university. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion. Sexual harassment of a student can deny or limit, on the basis of sex, the student's ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the school's program.
MSU Billings considers sexual discrimination in all its forms to be a serious offense. This includes all forms of sexual discrimination including: sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence by employees, students, or third parties.
Any student or visitor with questions or concerns about sex discrimination or who believes that he or she has been the victim of sex discrimination may contact one of the Title IX Coordinators for assistance.
While compliance with the law is everyone’s responsibility at MSUB, listed below are the staff members who have primary responsibility for Title IX compliance:
Duties and Responsibilities: Monitoring and oversight of overall implementation of Title IX Compliance at the University, including coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community.
Campus Procedures for Students Reporting Sexual Assaults
A student who believes they have been the victim/survivor of sexual assault is encouraged to contact any of the individuals listed above. The names and contact information for the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators are also available on the University Alerts website, updated on a regular basis:. These trained staff members can provide support, advocacy resources, information, and counseling resources for victims/survivors, assist them with accessing needed support services, and guide them in pursuing options for recourse. Secondary survivors, or individuals with whom the survivors shares an account of sexual assault, can utilize the Title IX coordinator and Deputy Coordinators for reporting as well.
If the student requires immediate medical attention and/or is in life‐threatening danger, they should call emergency assistance (911) immediately.
When a student reports a sexual assault to University Police, the officer will take
information about the incident, refer them to medical treatment, complete an Incident
Report form, notify the Title IX Coordinator, and recommend that the student meet
with a campus advocate
Campus Procedures for Referring Victims/Survivors to Appropriate Resources
Any employee of the university who is informed of an allegation of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct involving a student must promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator. Campus employees serving in certain professional roles, which enjoy a statutory privilege, are not required to disclose information, which is privileged under Montana Law (e.g. medical providers, licensed professional counselors, rape crisis counselors). Therefore to the extent that these employees receive information in connection with the performance of their professional responsibilities, they are not required to report under this section unless otherwise required to do so by law. Persons may file a report by contacting the campus Title IX coordinator, Janet Simon at (406) 657-2221. Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will investigate in accordance with Discrimination Investigation Procedures.
Disclosing a sexual assault occurs under varying circumstances. In some situations, it is an immediate crisis, but in other instances, the person may disclose an incident that occurred several months or years ago. If the student requires immediate medical attention and/or is in life‐threatening danger, the individual or the person contacted should call emergency assistance (911). However, in almost all instances the appropriate action for a member of the University community to take, if a student discloses a sexual assault, is to refer them to a campus advocate. If the victim/survivor discloses the incident to a University employee, they should inform the victim/survivor that the employee is obligated to inform the Title IX Coordinator of the report.
Confidentiality for the alleged victim will be respected to the extent possible. However, even if the alleged victim requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the university is required to:
- Take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint to the extent possible consistent with the alleged victim’s wishes;
- Notify the alleged victim that the failure of the alleged victim to pursue a complaint may limit the campus’ ability to fully address the matter; and
- Report the incident or assault to local law enforcement authorities if a health or safety emergency as defined by state or federal law is found by the campus to require such reporting.
Campus Procedures for Campus Advocates Responding to Victims/Survivors of Sexual Assault
When a victim/survivor contacts a campus advocate, the advocate will follow the protocol described below:
- Refer the student to medical treatment: The responding advocate will urge the student to seek medical treatment for injuries, receive prophylaxis for HIV/sexually transmitted infections, and get testing/education regarding pregnancy risks. The advocate will inform the victim/survivor that they may request the presence of an advocate during a medical examination.
- Refer the student to a forensic medical examination: The responding advocate will inform victims/survivors of sexual assault about the option to go to the emergency room at a community medical center for a forensic medical examination. Forensic examinations are best conducted within 120 hours of a sexual assault for evidence to be valid should criminal proceedings be pursued. To preserve as much evidence as possible, victims/survivors should be advised not to perform any personal hygiene until the examination is complete. It is important that the patient know that a forensic exam can be completed without filing a police report. Evidence is retained for 2 years. The patient may decide at any time within the 2-year time frame to file a police report.
- Provide and/or refer the student to support services: The responding advocate will arrange for immediate access to support services, which may include both on‐ and off‐campus services. Available support services include counseling services in Student Health Services. In some situations, others involved in and/or affected by the incident such as roommates and friends may benefit from supportive services such as counseling as well. The advocate will refer such individuals to Student Health Services so that their needs may be addressed.
- Arrange accommodations for the student: The responding advocate may arrange for appropriate accommodations for the student, such as changing academic, student employment, or campus residence situations, if requested by the victim/survivor and if such accommodations can be reasonably made.
- Inform the student about options for recourse. The responding advocate will inform the student about the option and right to notify law enforcement and the option and right to be assisted by campus authorities, if the person so chooses. The advocate will also inform the victim/survivor of their option to request a restraining order (also referred to as an order of protection or an injunction) against the accused individual and about the process to do so. Restraining orders are issued by the courts, not by the University. If a victim/survivor requests a restraining order, it is the responsibility of the accused individual to request of the judge that any conditions of the order not adversely affect their ability to remain in school, in the residence halls, and/or on campus. If a victim/survivor obtains a restraining order against another individual, it is their responsibility to notify law enforcement officials if that individual violates the order.
If the accused individual is not a Montana State University Billings student, staff or faculty, the victim/survivor may wish to request that the accused individual not be permitted on campus (No Trespass Order).
Campus Procedures for Investigating Sexual Assaults
The University will follow the protocol described below when a victim/survivor reports an incident of sexual assault.
- A report will be documented in writing and submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. The report may be written by the victim/survivor or by an individual to whom the incident was disclosed, such as a campus employee.
- The Title IX Coordinator will refer the report to a trained Title IX Investigator, who will initiate an investigation following the procedures in the MSUB Student Conduct Code. Sexual violence/assault is a violation of the Student Conduct Code. All proceedings will be in accordance with the Code, which include ensuring that both the victim/survivor and the accused student have their rights to due process upheld.
- While an investigation is being conducted, the University may take any action it believes is appropriate against an accused individual, including but not limited to temporarily suspending or removing them from campus and/or from the residence halls or moving them to another residence hall.
- If the incident occurred off‐campus and the accused person(s) is a MSUB student, the Title IX Coordinator may initiate an investigation or other appropriate action pursuant to University procedures.
- The University reserves the right not to charge a victim/survivor who reports an incident of sexual assault with violating the Student Conduct Code if the incident involves their use of alcohol or other drugs or other possible violations of the Code.
- The Title IX Coordinator will offer resources for personal support to an accused student, such as referring them to a counselor. The role of the support person is not to advocate for the accused student, but rather to provide personal support and assistance to ensure their wellbeing as well as offer referrals for assistance. Efforts will be made to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
- If the investigation leads to a student conduct hearing, the Title IX Investigator may accommodate the victim/survivor with special arrangements during the hearing, such as not requiring them to be in the same room at the same time with the accused student, if requested by the victim/survivor, if the Title IX Investigator discovers that the accused individual is not a MSUB student, s/he can inform the Chief of University Police who will then assume responsibility for the investigation, with the survivors consent. Individuals who are not students may be banned from campus by the Chief of University Police. If the accused individual is a University employee, the Title IX Investigator will notify the Title IX Coordinator and applicable policies and procedures will be followed.
Accommodations can be reasonably made, if the accommodations do not violate the right to due process of the accused student. Both the victim/survivor and the accused student may have an advisor of their choice (other than an attorney) present at hearings, although the advisor is not permitted to speak or directly participate in the hearing. All hearings will be closed.
Consequences for Students Found Responsible for Sexual Assault
Upon completion of an investigation and subsequent proceedings of the student disciplinary
process, students who are found responsible for sexual violence/assault will be held
accountable for their actions and will be referred to the Vice Chancellor for Student
Affairs or their designee for sanctioning. Sanctions may include but are not limited
to being placed on warning or probation, loss of certain privileges, providing restitution,
and/or being suspended or dismissed from the University. In addition to any sanctions
imposed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, a student may be subject to the
On‐Campus Residents: A student who lives in the residence halls may have her/his housing privileges revoked by the University if found responsible for sexual assault. A student who does not reside in University campus residential facility may be banned from visiting the residential areas of the University for a specified period of time if found responsible for sexual violence/assault.
Student‐Athletes: Student‐athletes may be terminated from an athletic team and may have their athletic scholarship revoked or terminated by the University if found responsible for sexual violence/assault.
Student Employees: Students who work on‐campus, including graduate interns and assistants, may be terminated from their jobs by the University if found responsible for sexual assault, particularly if the on‐campus place of employment is one in which the victim/survivor may be required to visit.
Student Organizations: Recognized student organizations found to condone, promote, or be involved in activities relating to sexual assault may have their University recognition withdrawn and/or other sanctions imposed by the University.
Student Leaders/Officers: Students holding positions of leadership and/or service on campus, such as in student government, who are found responsible for sexual violence/assault, may be terminated from such positions. Students aspiring to such positions are ineligible to hold them if they are not in good disciplinary standing with the University.
Special Program Participants: Students who are not in good disciplinary standing or
who are accused of a Student Conduct Code violation which is pending may be ineligible
for participation in special programs such as National Student Exchange, international
exchange programs, and study abroad programs.
Per the Student Code, both parties have the right to appeal the final decision of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs or designee within 10 business days from receipt of sanction.
Grounds for Appeal
- In general, appeals must be based on the issue of substantive or procedural errors which are prejudicial and which were committed during the formal resolution process.
- The specific questions for the review which should be addressed in any written appeal are the following:
- Were the procedures of this Code followed?
- If a procedural error was committed, were the rights of the accused materially violated?
- Has the student discovered new evidence, not previously available which would have materially affected the decision?
For complete misconduct appeal procedures see the Student Code.
Relationship to Other Policies and Legislation
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that received federal funding. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault. A college or university that receives federal funds may be held legally responsible when it knows about and ignores sexual harassment or assault in its programs or activities. The school can be held responsible in court whether a faculty member, staff, or a student commits the harassment. Due to changes put forth by the United States Department of Education, the Office of Civil Rights requires school officials to investigate instances of sexual violence when they become known.
Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights: The U.S. Congress enacted the "Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights," sometimes referred to as the Ramstad Act, in 1992 (Public Law: 102‐325, section 486(c)). This law requires that all colleges and universities (both public and private) participating in federal student aid programs afford sexual assault victims certain basic rights. These rights include the following: The accuser and accused must have the same opportunity to have others present at campus disciplinary proceedings; both parties shall be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding; victims/survivors shall be informed of their options to notify law enforcement authorities; victims/survivors shall be notified of counseling services; and victims/survivors shall be notified of options for changing academic and living situations if so requested and if such changes are reasonably available.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act (Clery Act) is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime and security policies.
- Institutions must publish an annual report disclosing campus security policies and three years’ worth of selected crime statistics.
- Institutions must make timely warnings to the campus community about crimes that pose an ongoing threat to students and employees.
- Each institution with a police or security department must have a public crime log.
- The United States Department of Education centrally collects and disseminates the crime statistics.
- Campus community sexual assault victims are assured of certain basic rights.
- Institutions must notify victims of their option to report their assault to the proper law enforcement authorities.
- Reports are anonymous and do not contain the survivor’s name or other identifying information.
Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act: The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. In accordance with FERPA, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs may disclose the final results, including only the name of the perpetrator, violation of the Student Conduct Code, and sanction, of a MSUB disciplinary proceeding to a victim/survivor of a forcible or non‐forcible sex offense. This may include the results of a disciplinary proceeding even if the accused student was not found responsible for the violation.
Campus and Public Announcements
MSUB will issue timely warnings to the campus community of violent crimes against a person, a substantial crime against property or an emergency situation on or near campus that represents a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community. Campus safety/crime warnings are intended to heighten safety awareness and may also seek information that may lead to the arrest and conviction of the offender.
Crimes for which a timely warning may be appropriate include, but are not limited to: murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, motor vehicle theft, and hate crimes.
Timely warnings will typically include the following information, if known:
- A succinct statement of the incident, including the nature and severity of the threat and locations or persons who might be affected;
- Any connection to previous incidents;
- Physical description and/or composite drawing of the suspect;
- Date and time the warning was released;
- Other relevant and important information, such as any bias motive, the gender of the victim, and/or student/non-student status;
- Appropriate safety tips
Depending on the particular circumstances of the incident, timely campus safety/crime warnings and emergency notifications may be distributed by any one or more of the following means:
- the MSUB alert text messaging system or recorded messages to other phones or devices;
- posting an alert on the MSUB home page and/or other sites where information will be likely to reach the campus community;
- posting on the outside entry doors of residence halls, fraternity and/or posting on bulletin boards in academic and residential buildings;
- door to door notification in residence halls
Anyone with information warranting a timely campus safety/crime warning or emergency notification should report the circumstances to the MSUB University Police Department, by calling 657- 2222 or 657-2147, or in person at the University Police Department, located in the Southwest corner of the Parking Garage.
Records of Sexual Assault
In compliance with the Clery Act, the University is required to provide annual statistics on sexual assault incidents that occur on or near campus. These statistics are public information; however, victims/survivors will not be identified by name. To facilitate the annual reporting of these statistics, the Title IX Coordinator will maintain confidential records of all reports of sexual assault on or near campus.