Student allegedly sexually assaulted

By on September 26, 2013

On Sept. 15, the Yale Police received a report that a Yale undergraduate student allegedly  assaulted a Quinnipiac undergraduate student on the Yale campus early that morning, according to a message from Chief of Yale Police Ronnell Higgins. The two were acquaintances.

The Yale Police are heading the investigation, but Public Safety can provide any information necessary to aid the Yale Police, Director of Investigations and Administrative Services Don Distefano said.

The university is also helping the victim in compliance with its Title IX Discrimination and Harassment Policy. This is a protocol designed to ensure the well-being of victims of sexual assault and to investigate the case. Reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, partner violence and stalking all fall under the Title IX Discrimination and Harassment Policy, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Sean Kalagher said.

This alleged sexual assault did not happen on campus, but because it involved a Quinnipiac student, the policy is initiated.

If a visitor sexually assaults a Quinnipiac student, the university can ban the non-student from coming to campus. The university also investigates if a non-student reports that a Quinnipiac student assaulted him or her.

“We would investigate it no differently because we have an obligation to the community to investigate it,” Kalagher said. “Just because the victim’s not a student doesn’t mean that it couldn’t impact our student body.”

Last academic year, there were 14 investigations through the Title IX Discrimination and Harassment Policy, Kalagher said.

“It’s not that there’s an increase in sexual assaults,” Distefano said. “I would say that always stays about the same year to year and we all know that many of them are never reported, but one of the benefits of having a very active Title IX policy is that students feel more comfortable to come forward and report to the university.”

This policy was first implemented last year, after the U.S Department of Education released new guidelines in 2011 for how universities should deal with sexual misconduct, Kalagher said. Quinnipiac and a number of other colleges across the country then created new plans to meet the Department of Education’s requirements.

“Lots of institutions are instituting it in different ways,” Kalagher said. “All the Department of Education says is you have to provide these rights and options to people going through your process. How you do it is up to you, but you need to meet these minimums and these standards.”

Yale has been under fire recently for its policy on sexual misconduct. In August, the university released a report which revealed that the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct did not expel students charged with having nonconsensual sex with other students. One student was given a two-semester suspension, one was put on probation and the others were given written reprimands.

On Sept. 9, Yale clarified their policy toward sexual misconduct in a new report, which contained hypothetical situations describing sexual encounters. The report said whether the university would have considered this incident consensual or nonconsensual sex and what the punishment would have been for the accused.

At Quinnipiac, the punishments for students accused of having nonconsensual sexual intercourse or nonconsensual contact with someone are more severe than written reprimands.

“If someone is found responsible for what we call nonconsensual sexual intercourse, they will be separated from the institution,” Kalagher said. “At the very least a suspension or up to an expulsion, but there is nothing below that.”

The university prefers to use the word nonconsensual sexual intercourse, rather than rape.

“The reason we do not use the word rape is because that’s a criminal word,” Kalagher said. “It has very specific meaning in the criminal statutes.”

Student Affairs wants be able to help students with these issues, Kalagher said.

“We’re here and there’s something available,” he said. “There’s resources and a process available to them and that’s a good thing.”

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Email: editor@quchronicle.com
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Year: 2016
Major: Print journalism