Policies and procedures help to ensure safety on the FHSU campus

Fort Hays State University administrators received notification on Tuesday of an alleged sexual assault that occurred on Sunday morning, Sept. 20, in a residence hall on campus. As of Wednesday, the alleged sexual assault was being investigated by FHSU's Title IX investigative team. In the event of a report to University Police, law enforcement officers would begin a criminal investigation.

We urge our students and other members of the FHSU family to remember that consensual sex occurs when both partners agree to engage in sexual activity. Consent should always be mutual, voluntary, enthusiastic, and given without pressure, intimidation or fear.

The most common type of sexual assault is not committed by a stranger but by someone known to the victim, typically a date or other acquaintance. If you feel uneasy about a situation, trust your instincts and attempt to interrupt the chain of events. Here are some strategies:
• Create a distraction and involve others.
• Make a commitment to ensure everyone has a safe way home.
• Remember that being an active bystander does not require you to put yourself at risk.

The FHSU Gender-based Violence Misconduct Policy may be found at www.fhsu.edu/judicial/gender-based-violence-misconduct-policy/.

No form of sexual assault will be tolerated at Fort Hays State. This policy prohibits acts defined as sexual assaults as well as attempts to coerce an unwilling person to engage in sexual activity. In order to implement this policy, the university engages in timely educational activities to inform members of the community about the types of sexual actions deemed unacceptable and how assaultive situations can be prevented and avoided. The university takes action against those who violate this policy.

FHSU staff respect the confidentiality of the sexual assault victim and the alleged offender as much as possible, consistent with the university's legal obligations. As noted below, students who wish to report or discuss sexual misconduct incidents should be aware that employees on campus have different reporting responsibilities and different abilities to maintain confidentiality or privacy, depending on their roles at the university.

Staff who are considered confidential generally would only share information if there was imminent risk to self or others. Staff who are private can share information with others on a "need to know basis," which is a lower threshold than confidential sources. Victims may choose their reporting method. Some victims may prefer to speak with a confidential source first, while others may want to pursue a more formal, non-confidential reporting approach right away.

All complaints may be reported by telephone, in-person, or via the online Incident Report It form, which may be found at https://publicdocs.maxient.com/incidentreport.php?FortHaysStateUniv. The report-it form can be confidential or non-confidential depending whether or not you list your name. You may choose to report an incident in two ways: confidentially or non-confidentially.

Confidential reporting gives the victim the opportunity to speak confidentially with a professional who works in a health-care or counseling role.
• Kelly Center, 785-628-4401
• Student Health Center, 785-628-4293
• Options Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, 785-625-4202

Non-confidential reporting means that an investigation will occur with an outcome. Details of the report will be shared only with individuals on a need-to-know basis. Privacy will be protected to the extent possible. To file a non-confidential complaint, please contact:
• Keegan N. Nichols, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator
Sheridan Hall, Room 208
Email: knnichols@fhsu.edu
Phone: 785-628-5824
• Dixie Balman
Senior Woman Administrator and Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance
Cunningham Hall, Room 134
Email: dbalman@fhsu.edu
Phone: 785-628-4372

All victims are encouraged, but not required, to file a police report by calling 911 or 785-628-5304.

We strongly encourage victims to seek medical attention immediately, even if there are no obvious physical injuries. A sexual assault examination is free and conducted by a specially trained nurse. An examination does not obligate someone to an investigation; however, it allows evidence to be collected and preserved in the event someone chooses to authorize a criminal investigation at a later time. Victims may also receive medication for prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

In the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault, the most important thing is for the victim to get to a safe place. Whether it is the victim's home, a friend's home or with a family member, immediate safety is what matters most. When a feeling of safety has been achieved, it is vital for the victim to receive medical attention and strongly recommended for the victim to receive a forensic examination.

Preserving DNA evidence can be key to identifying the perpetrator in a sexual assault case, especially those in which the offender is a stranger. DNA evidence is an integral part of a law enforcement investigation that can build a strong case to show that a sexual assault occurred and to show that the defendant is the source of biological material left on the victim's body.

Victims should make every effort to save anything that might contain the perpetrator's DNA, therefore a victim should not:
• Bathe or shower,
• Use the restroom,
• Change clothes,
• Comb hair,
• Clean up the crime scene, or
• Move anything the offender may have touched.

This information is provided in accordance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses, including timely warnings of crimes that may represent a threat to the safety of students or employees.

More information about how individuals can protect themselves is available on the University Police website at: www.fhsu.edu/university-police/Safety-Tips/.

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