Support Person Program
The College's Support Person Program is intended to provide accusers, as well as the accused, with the option to request a professional staff member to assist them in navigating the College's disciplinary process related procedures, as well to provide support during a highly challenging time. Over the years we have found that during incidents of alleged sexual misconduct, students on both sides are overwhelmed by the potential enormity of the situation and the different courses of action and processes they must navigate.
A support person is “someone that you can rely on to help you manage your phobia. Although the term can refer to your therapist or other member of your treatment team, it is most often used to describe a close friend or relative who plays the roles of advocate, confidant and cheerleader."
For our campus, a support person is:
- A professional staff or faculty member specially trained in the area of sexual misconduct, sexual assault and sexual violence.
- A person who provides confidential counsel and helps a student understand the options available to them.
Any student who has a concern regarding sexual misconduct or assault may contact a support person. Support persons can be helpful to students who have:
- been the victim of sexual misconduct or assault and are ready to talk about their concerns,
- recently been assaulted,
- had past experiences and are ready to talk about their concerns, or
- students being charged with violating any form of sexual misconduct.
A support person will listen and provide non-judgmental support, guidance, and explain options for the many different issues that occur when a student has been a victim of, or accused of, sexual misconduct. The College and legal system provides many different options for students when they have been a victim of sexual misconduct. Their role as Support People is to help the student understand all of their options and help them make the right decisions for his/her situation. Their role is about providing support and not necessarily advocacy; essentially they are a guide on the side. Support People assist in making appropriate referrals to counseling and other campus/local resources. Finally, they also provide a safe place and resource for a student to consult with during the process.process.
Confidentiality is an ethical principle of discretion associated with the professions, such as licensed counselors, medical professionals and lawyers. In these fields, communications between the client and the professional are often referred to as “privileged.” Legally, their conversations cannot be discussed with third parties. As college employees, the Family Educations Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) govern our communications (see FERPA For Student PowerPoint). While FERPA allows you to share information with employees provided they have a legitimate purpose or reason to know, most of your communications should be treated confidentially. Confidentiality is not absolute, exceptions include when:
- The student poses a danger to self or others or is gravely disabled (i.e., unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter).
- The report of elderly or child abuse
- Court-issued subpoena for your records
- To individuals with the “need to know” or to coordinate campus resources or support or when a signed release is provided by the student
- To anonymously report the incident to Campus Safety (only broad/generic information about the incident will be shared for Campus Reporting requirements.)
Support people cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, but can guarantee privacy. Information should only be disclosed to select officials who have an essential need to know in order to carry out their College responsibilities. In many cases this can be done without disclosing the identity of the victim. Therefore, depending on the seriousness of the alleged incident, further action may be necessary, including a campus security alert. The alert, however, would never contain any information identifying the student who brought the complaint.
Obligation to Report
Sexual assault is the most under reported crime crimes in our society. The victim always has the option to report the incident, you DO NOT. While the first priority is to attend to and ensure the well being of the victim, federal law requires the reporting of any incident of sexual misconduct. This report can be done confidentially with Campus Safety where the reporter only discloses general details about the incident. An additional benefit of confidential reporting is that it allows for the documentation of the incident while providing some personal space and time for the victim to full consider their options and begin the healing process.
PLEASE NOTE THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL AND HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONERS ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT ALL INCIDENTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.
Who are the Support People and How Do I Contact Them?
Please use the information below to contact a Support Person.
Coordinator of Disability Services
Lower Level of Library
Assistant Director of CAAS
Lower Level of Library
Director of Conference Services
Director of Cultural Center
Associate Director of Foundation Relations
Assistant Director of LEAP
Assistant Director of International Programs
2nd Floor, Platner Hall
HR and Student Work Placement Coordinator