I have been accused of sexual misconduct and/or relationship violence. what should I do? Should I contact the complainant?
No. Do not contact the complainant. While you may feel the need to ask questions and clear up confusion, contacting the complainant may lead to that individual feeling harassed. Instead, the Office of Student Conduct will assist by gathering information and investigating an incident. You will have the opportunity to voice any concerns you have throughout this process, and also offer your perspective.
What does the term "respondent" mean?
A "respondent" is any student who has been accused of an alleged violation of the Mississippi College policy. A "complainant" is the student who has accused the respondent of alleged violations.
I have been contacted by the Office of Student Conduct because someone has accused me of violating the sexual misconduct and relationship violence policy. What does this mean?
Just because you have been contacted by the Office of Student Conduct about an incident does not mean any decision has been made. It means that the conduct officer would like to talk with you about the incident and also walk through the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence process with you. If you are charged with any violation of the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy, you will be notified after the conclusion of the investigation.
What should I do next?
If you have been contacted by the Office of Student Conduct, follow any instructions outlined in the letter you were sent, most likely via campus email.
In the meantime, you are encouraged to read through the frequently asked questions on this page, as well as the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy. Mississippi College also has a variety of resources available to all students.
May I have an advisor, and can that person be an attorney?
Yes. From Article VI of the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy, Student Rights: The complainant has the right, "To have one advisor accompany the complainant when presenting information to the Chief Conduct Officer or his or her designee, the hearing board and to any other relevant Mississippi College Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy 15 meetings held throughout the student conduct process. An advisor may not participate directly in a student conduct conference and/or hearing process, nor may an advisor address any participant in the student conduct conference and/or hearing process other than the student the advisor represents.
What does my advisor do during the process?
Advisors may attend meetings with you and be permitted to ask questions during the meetings with your hearing officer. An advisor may attend a hearing, but may not address the hearing panel or anyone else in the hearing except you as the complainant. Discussion between you and your advisor should be done quietly.
What if the incident occurred off-campus?
The Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence policy applies to incidents that happen on campus, off-campus, and at MC-sponsored events, regardless of location. Mississippi College will follow the same investigation procedure, regardless.
Are there certain services or accommodations that the Office of Student Conduct can provide?
We are concerned for your personal safety and access to MC services and programs. Any accommodations can be discussed with the officer you meet with regarding the incident. Accommodations are discussed and made on a case-by-case basis to best meet the needs of individual students.
What are my rights as a respondent?
Your rights as the respondent can be found in Article VI of the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy on page 13, as well as here.
What happens during my meeting with a conduct officer?
A staff member will contact you to set up a meeting if a report has been submitted regarding a potential violation of the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy. During that meeting, the staff member would review the "Student Rights" outlined in the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy. The staff member will also review the procedures and process outlined in the policy. The staff member will also be able to answer any questions you may have. Keep in mind that this person is not a decision-maker in the process.
What, if anything, will be told to my parents?
No information can be released to your parent(s) or guardian(s) without a signed release from a student. Although you are not required to contact your parent or guardian, many students often do consult with family members for support.
Will my professors know about the complaint?
Only if you choose to notify them or have them notified. Students sometimes request interim academic measures (such as extensions on assignments or rescheduled exams). This can be discussed on a case-by-case basis with a hearing officer.
Will there be a hearing?
If you are charged with any violation(s) of the Sexual Misconduct & Relationship Violence Policy, a hearing will be held. At the conclusion of the investigation, it will be determined if charges are warranted.
What happens in a hearing? What happens if I am found "responsible"?
This is something that the conduct officer will go over with you in detail. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification on any part of the process, including hearing procedure, sanctions, appeals and anything else you want to discuss.
How long does the process take?
The length of the process depends on each case. For example, the time needed to conduct a thorough investigation, the number of witnesses, any college breaks or university holidays, etc. all have a bearing on the time frame. Generally, the process should take around 60 days or less. The university will usually not wait until the conclusion of a criminal investigation or proceeding to investigate a report of sexual misconduct and/or relationship violence.