If you are involved in an investigation of sexual assault
An investigation of sexual assault is a very serious matter and can initiate a whirlwind of emotions and questions. These tips are designed to inform and help you manage the situation.
- Write down your recollection of the event as soon as possible. Try and remember as much detail as possible. Make a list of who saw you, when and where, and gather their contact information to give to the Investigator.
- Do not confront the other party involved in the investigation. Do not encourage people you know to confront the other party. Under University policy, a party may be issued a no contact order. If you are the Respondent, you are strongly discouraged from direct or indirect contact of the other party. If the other party attempts to contact you as the Respondent or the Complainant, keep detailed notes and notify the Investigator.
- Consult an advisor or support person. This can be anyone that you deem appropriate and he or she may be an attorney. A support person can help you understand and navigate through an investigation and present your case efficiently. While a support person may not speak for you during an investigation, a support person can provide support and advise you through the process. Purdue University encourages you to be as well advised as possible and always encourages you to contact the assigned Investigator directly if you have questions about policies or procedures.
- Get emotional support. An investigation of sexual assault can bring a multitude of emotions that may be difficult to handle on your own. Keep in mind that only a certified mental health professional can promise total confidentiality. The University offers counseling services and encourages you to contact the Office of the Dean of Students, the Employee Assistance Program, or another organization listed on the Campus Resources (West Lafayette), Campus Resources (IPFW), Campus Resources (Calumet), and Campus Resources (North Central) pages.
- Ask questions so you understand the process. The Investigator who contacts you can answer any questions about the process you may have.
- Respond as promptly as possible to any questions the Investigator may have. If you are a Complainant, failure to furnish information requested by the Investigator can result in a dismissal of the Complaint. A Respondent’s repeated refusal to cooperate may result in the University determining that if an interview were conducted with the Respondent, it would prove adverse to the Respondent.
General information about a sexual assault investigation
- Investigators are assigned by the University and are impartial. He or she will have no connection to either the Respondent or Complainant. The Investigator’s job is to identify if a violation of University policy has occurred and make recommendations if appropriate. The determination of a violation of University policy will be based on a preponderance of evidence. After you receive the letter notifying you of the formal investigation, the assigned investigator will contact you to schedule a meeting.
- The University Investigator will interview both the Complainant and the Respondent. The Investigator will generate a report of his or her findings from his or her analysis which will be presented to the Chancellor or Director of the Office of Institutional Equity and the three panel members selected from the Advisory Committee on Equity.
- Although the parties are not required to attend, Respondents and Complainants are each invited to meet with the panel from the Advisory Committee on Equity in order to share their experience in their own words and answer any questions the panel may have of them.
- The University’s investigation is different from a criminal investigation. The University is seeking to determine if a violation of University policy has occurred. A criminal investigation is focused on investigating if a violation of Indiana law has occurred.
- You may have an advisor or support person with you. The advisor is not allowed to speak for you but he or she may be an attorney.
- The policy the University will follow for the investigation is outlined in the Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment. If you have questions about the University investigation process, please contact the appropriate office for your campus indicated below:
- West Lafayette:
- The Office of Institutional Equity 765-494-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office of the Vice President for Human Resources, 765-494-7395
- Office of the Dean of Students, 765-494-1747 or email@example.com
- The Office of Affirmative Action/EEO, 219-989-2337
- Office of the Dean of Students, 219-989-4141
- Department of Human Resources, 219-989-2251
- Fort Wayne:
- The Office of Institutional Equity, 260 481-6106
- Office of the Dean of Students, 260-481-6601 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Department of Human Resources, 260-481-6840
- North Central:
- The Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Office, 219-785-5545
- Dean of Students Office, 219-785-5230
- Human Resources, 219-785-5354
- In some cases, Purdue University will initiate an investigation when a party has not filed a complaint. The alleged victim will be encouraged to cooperate with the Investigation and will receive notification of the outcome.
Summary of the procedure
The Respondent’s conduct is being investigated pursuant the Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment. A copy of the Procedures will be included with the initial letter provided to the Respondent and the policy is also available online. The process consists of an investigation wherein a University Investigator will meet with parties, any witnesses, and review materials in order to understand what occurred. Additionally, after the Respondent meets with the Investigator, the Respondent will have ten (10) calendar days to provide a written response regarding the allegations against him or her to the Chancellor of Purdue North Central, the Chancellor of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, the Chancellor of Purdue Calumet or the Director of the Office of Institutional Equity at Purdue West Lafayette, depending on the Respondent’s affiliated campus. The Investigator then prepares a report, which will go to the Chancellor or the Director, as the case may be.The Chancellor or Director then meets with a panel of three members selected from the Advisory Committee on Equity, which is a standing committee composed of faculty and staff members. At least two of the members of the panel selected from the Advisory Committee on Equity are chosen from the campus where the formal complaint or University initiated investigation originated. The panel from the Advisory Committee on Equity and the Director or Chancellor, as the case may be, may ask questions of the University Investigator during the meeting. The Respondent and Complainant are invited to meet with the panel and Director or Chancellor, and if one or both choose to attend, both will have an opportunity to make a brief statement. The Respondent and Complainant will never be in the meeting at the same time. The panel and the Director or Chancellor may ask questions of the parties. The role of the panel members is to provide the Director or Chancellor with advice and recommendations; however, the decision as to whether or not there has been a violation of policy is ultimately the Chancellor’s or the Director’s. If he or she concludes there has been a violation, an appropriate sanction will be imposed. The sanctions possible for students are set forth in the Student Code of Conduct. There is also an appeal mechanism if the Respondent and/or the Complainant is not satisfied with the Director or Chancellor’s determination and, should a violation be found, any sanctions imposed. This information would be provided to the Respondent and the Complainant in the determination letter sent to them once the investigation is concluded.