Sexual Assault Policy
The University is committed to preventing sexual assault through incorporation of educational programming and the adoption of clear guidelines informing students, faculty, and staff of the University's procedures in handling such cases. Sexual assault crimes are heinous, and these crimes occurring on campus will not be tolerated under any circumstances. University community members found guilty of any sexual assault crime will be severely dealt with through the appropriate University office.
The University shall refer to the Louisiana Criminal Law and Procedure Handbook to determine when a sexual assault has occurred.
The Counseling Center will present seminars each semester to promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, and other forcible and non-forcible sex offenses.
Guidelines for Reporting Sexual Assault
Victim of on-campus sexual assault are advised to adhere to the following important guidelines:
Preservation of evidence:
- Do not bathe, shower, douche, or change clothes.
- Do not disturb the crime scene; save all clothing and items involved.
- Do not brush teeth, drink anything, or smoke a cigarette until you have been examined.
Although adhering to the above guidelines is most difficult under such traumatic conditions, the victim aids law enforcement agencies in the preservation of evidence when following these three recommendations:
Procedures for Reporting Assault and Receiving Help
- Report the assault either in person or by telephone (318-670-6349 / Cell: 318-286-6647) to University Police. If the victim chooses a telephone, give present location in order that police may come to the victim and personally take a report in a private atmosphere. University Police will notify the Shreveport Police Department. Even if you don't want to file charges, you can file an informational report that may help the police locate your attacker. A counselor from the SUSLA Counseling Center will be present, if possible, during the taking of the report.
- Following the report given to police, the victim is strongly advised to seek medical assistance from a local hospital. Call the YWCA Sexual Assault 24-Hour Crisis Line at 318-222-0556. A volunteer escort will meet you at the hospital, stay with you through the medical examination and during your conversation with police, and provide support to ease your pain.
- A victim of sexual assault is highly encouraged to participate in follow-up counseling. Failing to openly address the emotional trauma of sexual assault can be devastating to the victim. Usually, victims undergo tremendous stress and fear of normal social interaction following such an assault. Thus, learning to cope with a multitude of feelings and fears can be accomplished through ongoing counseling. The victim may seek help through either of the following agencies:
- SUSLA Counseling Center (318-670-6473), Fine Arts Bldg, Room C-01
- YWCA Sexual Assault Center (318-222-0556), 710 Travis Street, Shreveport
The victim may proceed to take action against the accused by:
- Pressing criminal charges through the District Attorney's Office with the assistance of the University Police. This action is encouraged whether the accused is or is not found to be a University student.
- If the accused is found to be an SUSLA student, the victim may request that University disciplinary proceedings begin for redress of the assault.
University Discipline Procedures
During University disciplinary proceedings, both the victims and the accused are entitled to have an advisor present. Furthermore, both the victim and the accused shall be informed of the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.
The Rights of the Victim in Alleged Sexual Assault Cases
- The right not to have the victim's past sexual history discussed during an investigation or during a hearing;
- The right to choose persons to accompany the victim throughout the investigative and disciplinary proceeding;
- The right to be present throughout the entire disciplinary proceedings;
- The right to have a University restraining order or ban imposed on the accused and/or the accuser's friends to prohibit them from contacting or harassing the victim;
- The right to be informed of the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings dealing with the alleged sexual assault;
- The right to be informed of counseling available on the SUSLA University campus and of counseling available in the community;
- The right to change academic environments after an alleged sexual assault incident;
- The right to be informed of criminal proceedings in the city and district courts.
Penalties for Sexual Assault
The University has the right to take disciplinary action, independent of the criminal justice system, against any students the University finds guilty of sexual assault. The University has jurisdiction in sexual assault cases occurring on the University campus. The University also may take disciplinary action in off-campus cases involving a SUS student as described in the Student Code of Conduct.
The University Police Office maintains all data on sexual assaults occurring on campus. This data is collected from August 1 through July 31 annually. Members of the University community who would also like to obtain this information my contact the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Avoiding the Occurrence of Sexual Assault
All members of the University community are advised to exercise caution while on campus both day and night. Although students, faculty, and staff comprise the majority of people found on campus, many non-University related individuals visit daily. Consequently, students and employees must use good judgment and make wise decisions in the course of daily activities on campus. Special precautions are advised in the following situations:
- Walking to and from parking areas both day and night. Have keys in hand when returning to an automobile and always check the automobile before entering.
- Walking the campus alone at night. Wait for a University Police Officer to walk with you.
- Working late at night in University offices and laboratories. (When possible, keep doors locked and let someone know you are in that area.
- Walking in dimly lit areas of the campus. (All areas needing better lighting should be reported to the University Police.)
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