Unsure of whether to report an act of sexual violence at Tufts? These questions and answers can help clarify the process of reporting.

The Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault Policy (Title IX) can be found here. Disciplinary complaints alleging a violation of this policy are adjudicated under the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process (SMAP).  The SMAP for AS&E can be found here. 

1. To whom can I report my assault?

  • Any University administrator can help you report your assault. Resident Assistants (RAs), coaches, Deans, and Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) are all available and trained to support you. They will forward your report to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) who will initiate an inquiry into your assault.
  • Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Reporting Liaisons also have specific training to receive reports concerning sexual assault, and a list of them can be found here.
  • You may also directly contact the Office of Equal Opportunity (617-627-3298), which is the office in charge of all inquiries into your report.
  • Reporting your assault does not automatically involve you in taking disciplinary action against the perpetrator.

2. Who can I contact if I want to initiate a disciplinary complaint?

  • To start a disciplinary complaint, feel free to contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs (Dean Veronica Carter or Dean Bruce Reitman) or OEO.
  • To initiate a disciplinary complaint, you will need to fill out three forms: a Complainant’s Statement, a Complaint Form and a Confidentiality/Non-Retaliation Acknowledgment.
  • The Complainant’s Statement is a comprehensive, detailed statement containing all the details of the facts surrounding the assault (including any witnesses and documents).  This document will not be given to the Respondent (accused student) until after they have submitted their Respondent’s Statement in response to the complaint.
  • The Complaint Form will be given to the Respondent before s/he completes their statement.  This form is not as comprehensive as the first, but should include just enough information that the Respondent understands the complaint against him/her (who, what, when, etc.) so they can respond.

3. What can I do if I want to anonymously report a complaint?

  • To anonymously report complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct, you can fill out a report online through EthicsPoint.
  • Through EthicPoint, you will be able to anonymously chat with OEO about your complaint.

4. Who will I be in contact with during the investigation if I wish to take disciplinary action?

  • You will be sure to meet with a Title IX investigator from the Office of Equal Opportunity who serves as a fact-finder throughout the process.
  • You will also see either Dean Veronica Carter or Dean Bruce Reitman in order to complete the forms described above.

5. If I choose to initiate disciplinary action over an assault, will I be forced to come into contact with my assailant?

  • No. As soon as you file a complaint, a “no-contact order” will be issued and the assailant will be notified that they cannot contact you in any way. They also sign a Confidentiality/Non-Retaliation Acknowledgment stating that they understand that retaliation will subject them to additional discipline.
  • The administration will work with you in an attempt to change or manipulate academic schedules so that you have as little contact as possible with the perpetrator.
  • Throughout all stages of the investigation, both parties are interviewed separately by the Investigator and each will provide their own witnesses.
  • You will never be forced to tell your story in front of the assailant—there is no formal “hearing” process. You will only be interviewed by the Investigator.

6. What is the difference between handling my case through the University and starting a criminal investigation?

  • An internal investigation within Tufts involves school administrators determining whether the Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault Policy has been violated.  A student perpetrator faces academic disciplinary consequences such as probation, suspension or expulsion.
  • A criminal investigation is handled by the police and the District Attorney’s Office determining if the conduct is a violation of criminal law.  A perpetrator would face criminal consequences such as probation or incarceration.
  • You have the option to pursue either, or both, types of investigations.

7. To whom can I confidentially disclose my assault without initiating an inquiry?

  • Health services, mental health services, and religious figures on campus are considered confidential resources that students can disclose to without initiating an inquiry about the assault.
  • All other school administrators are considered “mandated reporters” under Title IX and must report the incident to the Office of Equal Opportunity.
  • Once reported, the Office of Equal Opportunity will make an effort to reach out to the student to offer resources, but will never force them to initiate action.

8. What if I have been drinking underage or have been using illicit drugs during the time of my assault?

  • The Sexual Misconduct Policy states that the University will “exercise leniency” towards students who might have violated other misconduct codes.
  • The University is first and foremost concerned with the safety and well-being of its students.
  • Drinking underage or using drugs should not deter you from reporting an assault.

9. What if I am assaulted while abroad?

  • Tufts is here to support you even if you are physically not on campus. If you are on a Tufts Abroad Program, the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy still applies to all actions committed abroad.
  • Other schools may have different policies, but the Office of Equal Opportunity is here to guide you and can help find you resources abroad.
  • The process of reporting can be followed as described above, and you also have the option of reporting to your local abroad program Director, who should take immediate action to help you.

10. If I’ve been accused of an assault/rape, will I get a fair hearing?

  • The investigation will be conducted by an impartial investigator from the Office of Equal Opportunity.  The decision on the complaint will be made by trained panel of 3 administrators who have no conflict of interest in your case.
  • All parties involved in the adjudication of sexual misconduct are focused on getting to the truth of the matter and making sure that all parties get a fair and impartial process, as mandated by federal law (Title IX).  Having a process that is fair to all parties is in the best interest of the student body.
  • In some cases, the administration may hire a fact-finder from outside the University to conduct an investigation if necessary.

11. What if I willingly left a location with the person whom I wish to report?

  • Consenting to one activity does not automatically imply consent to another.
  • Leaving a party with someone, inviting them back to your room, or even engaging in other forms of sexual activity with someone does not allow them to engage in any other kind of sexual activity without your consent.
  • Consent is a dynamic process and should be enthusiastically and explicitly given throughout all stages of sexual engagements.

12.  Will my parents find out if I start an investigation?

  • In most cases, no. The University treats students as adults and respects their right to privacy.
  • If you are under the age of 18 and wish to be transported to a hospital due to an assault, the Dean or the hospital must contact your parents to request consent for them to treat you because you are a minor. They will not, however, necessarily disclose the reason for treatment.
  • Please also keep in mind that although the evidence collection exams are free, students who are not minors but are still on their parents’ insurance plan will get a bill sent home for any other procedures during the hospital visit.
  • Students of any age who are transported to the hospital by Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS) due to alcohol consumption will also have their parents notified.

13. Is there a way to get time off academically/extensions on work if I do not take disciplinary action after my assault?

  • Yes. Students should report to their academic Dean in order to be granted any kind of academic exemption.
  • Once this initial report is given, students do not need to pursue the case or be a part of an investigation.

14Is there somewhere I can move if I no longer feel safe in my housing?

  • Yes.  Residential Life has space available to accommodate students who need to move from their housing situations.
  • You can contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs or OEO to begin the process of setting up safe housing.

15. Can I end an investigation once I’ve already reported?

  • Students may end their involvement in a report at any point.
  • In some cases, the administration may continue to investigate the case without using your personal details if the named perpetrator is a repeat offender, or if the administration feels it is necessary to take disciplinary action to ensure the safety of others on campus.

16. Is there a victim advocate to help me through the process?

  • You are entitled, and encouraged, to have a “support person” with you throughout the disciplinary process to help and support you when you meet with administrators such as the Title IX Investigator and/or Dean of Student Affairs.
  • This support person can be from a victim’s advocacy agency, such as the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC, see below), a friend, a family member, a professor, etc.
  • The support person cannot be an attorney or witness for your case.

17. What are some resources outside of Tufts than I can utilize if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

  • The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) provides free and confidential services and has a 24-hour hotline: (800) 841-8371. Someone can help you find resources, provide additional information, and begin the healing process.
  • You may find additional resources here.

18. I’ve just been assaulted. Should I go to the hospital?

  • If you have any immediate concerns about your health or would like to collect evidence from the assault, it is advised that you find a health center near you.
  • Once at the hospital, you can receive medical services for any injuries you may have obtained during the assault, and can also receive preventative treatments against pregnancy and various sexually transmitted infections.
  • A journey to the hospital does not initiate legal action.
  • If you would like to have evidence collected, it is advised you attend one of the following hospitals that are especially equipped to handle sexual assaults and have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) on staff:

-Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

-Boston Medical Center

-Brigham and Women’s Hospital

-Cambridge Hospital

-Children’s Hospital

-Massachusetts General Hospital

-Newton-Wellesley Hospital

  • You have the right to refuse any part of the forensic exam, and some parts are much less invasive than others (e.g., you can hand over clothing as evidence but refuse the genital exam).
  • If you think you might want the exam performed, try not to shower and place all belongings in a paper bag (plastic destroys evidence).
  • Evidence collection kits will be held in the crime lab for six months if within that time you choose to press charges. Extensions can also be granted upon request.
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