If I report a sexual assault, what is the difference between confidentiality & privacy?

Conversations with the Title IX Coordinator are kept as confidential as possible, but information about incidents of sexual misconduct must be shared with relevant administrators if the WVSOM needs to take action for reasons of community safety. In all cases, the wishes of the person initiating the conversation are given full consideration.

The Title IX Coordinator attempts to balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace. Confidentiality is an aspiration, but is not always possible or appropriate. An individual's requests regarding the confidentiality of reports of discrimination, or harassment including but not limited to sex offenses will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such requests will be considered in the dual contexts of the institution's legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or sexual misconduct and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source.

Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation and to insure that the institution meets its obligations under Title IX. The institution may be limited in its response and investigation if confidentiality is requested. 

What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?

In addition to supporting individual students affected by sexual misconduct, WVSOM takes all incidents seriously and has a responsibility to address misconduct. When sexual misconduct involves criminal behavior, students are strongly encouraged to report the situation to law enforcement. The Director of Student Affairs will assist the student in notifying WVSOM security and/or local law enforcement if the student so requests.

An incident can be reported even if the student has not decided whether to take legal action. Nonetheless, students are always free to report and are encouraged to share instances of such behavior with the Title IX Coordinator or the Director of Student Affairs (contact information below) regardless of whether or not they choose to press formal criminal charges with law enforcement. Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible. This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved.

 WVSOM can take action only if made aware of the behavior. If a WVSOM administrator becomes aware of a complaint or other violation of this policy, the administrator should bring the information to school so that concerns are heard and services can be offered to the affected students. WVSOM strongly encourages prompt reporting of complaints and information rather than risking any student's well being. Although there is no time limit on the reporting of formal charges with WVSOM, we may ultimately be unable to adequately investigate if too much time has passed or if the accused student has graduated. Factors that could negatively affect WVSOM's ability to investigate include the loss of physical evidence (e.g., prompt medical examinations are critical to preserving the physical evidence of sexual assault), the potential departure of witnesses, or loss of memory. WVSOM strongly encourages students to report concerns to either or both of the following offices:

  • For emergencies, contact 911.
  • For non-emergencies, or if criminal behavior is involved, students are encouraged to contact the WVSOM security office by telephone at (304) 647-8911 or in person at A-216 Main Building.
  • WVSOM has a contract with the West Virginia State Police (WVSP) whereby the WVSP provides 24/7 security services for the campus and the Robert C. Byrd Clinic.
  • Contacting WVSOM security does not mean you must pursue charges. The WVSP will advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options.

To seek assistance and support, or to report misconduct, contact the Title IX Coordinator:

Rebecca Morrow
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
(304) 793-6591

What are the benefits of reporting a sexual assault to the police?

Contacting the local Police or WVSOM security does not mean you must pursue charges. The West Virginia State Police (WVSP)  can advise you of your options and can also preserve evidence while you consider your options. WVSP can also advise you on safety planning techniques. For emergencies, contact 911. For non-emergencies students are encouraged to contact the WVSOM security office by telephone at (304) 647-8911 or in person at A-216 Main Building.

What if I'm an employee at WVSOM and I have become aware of an incident of sexual misconduct?

As a member of the WVSOM community, you may be called upon to provide support to a victim of sexual assault and to refer this person to professional resources. These steps are designed to help you best support and inform someone of the resources available to assist with the person's physical and emotional needs. Some things to remember about your conversation with this person:

  • Recognize that it can be an enormous step for someone to talk with another person about a sexual assault and that this person has placed trust in you by revealing the experience. That being said, remember that you are not a counselor, an investigator, or a state-certified victim advocate. Acknowledge the boundaries on your relationship with this person while helping her or him access the resources and assistance that can offer the best support and care.
  • Given the trust the person has placed in you, please respect the person's privacy. Do not share the person's experience with others except for the  Title IX Coordinator , as explained below.
  • Believe the person, support the person's choices, and refer the person to the appropriate resources listed below..
  • You can assure the person that no records or reports of sexual assault are kept in the victim's permanent academic or personnel records.

Share the following information:

  • Let the person know she or he can contact the Family Resource Center to speak with a confidential, state-certified victim advocate who is trained to work specifically with victims of sexual assault.
  • The advocate can explain all of the options available to the person and also support the person through any of the next steps, which may include counseling, medical, WVSOM disciplinary processes, or law enforcement notification.
  • If possible, offer the person the use of your phone and a private space to make the call.
  • Let the person know there are other resources in addition to the Family Resource Center. Again, if possible, offer the person the use of your phone and a private space to make the call, or offer to walk with the person to any of the on-campus offices.
     

Medical Services:

The person may want to seek confidential medical attention to care for her or himself or to preserve evidence of the assault in the event criminal charges might be contemplated later.

Robert C. Byrd Clinic
400 North Lee Street
Lewisburg, WV 24901
(304) 645-3220

Greenbrier Valley Medical Center
202 Maplewood Avenue,
Ronceverte, WV 24970
(304) 647-4411

Counseling Services:

The person may want to speak with a professional counselor in a confidential setting.

Counseling assistance is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week from:

  • Family Refuge Center (FRC), a community-based domestic violence project serving Pocahontas, Greenbrier, and Monroe Counties in southeast West Virginia committed to ending physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in families. FRC encourages and promotes healthy family life based on mutual respect and support for all family members. 304-645-6334 http://www.familyrefugecenter.org
  • Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) http://www.rainn.org/

West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine also offers the services of on campus licensed professional counselors for student issues. If you would like professional counseling services please contact the Aspire Office:​

You do not have to formally report an incident to seek medical attention or receive support services.

Law Enforcement:

The person may wish to contact law enforcement even if the person has not decided whether to pursue criminal charges. Police can advise the person of options, help preserve evidence while the victim considers those options, and assist in safety planning and consideration. Contacting law enforcement does not mean the person must pursue criminal charges.

Larry Ware
Security Officer - VP for Finance & Facilities
(304) 647-6220 

WV State Police - WVSOM Security
A-216 Main Building
(304) 647-8911

WV State Police - Troop 6 Lewisburg Detachment
381 Greenbrier Road
Lewisburg, WV 24901
(304) 647-7600

  • Let the person know that you need to disclose the assault to the WVSOM Security Coordinator for purposes of complying with the Clery Act (a federal law requiring that campuses report and track crime statistics). This disclosure can be as broad or narrow as the person wants -- you do not need to disclose the name of the person you are meeting with if that person does not give permission to do so. In that case, simply report as much about the assault as you can (date, location) without identifying the person.
     
  • Let the person know about the Sexual Misconduct webpage -- consider showing the person the web page in your office and printing off a copy. The webpage has many resources and other helpful information for a person who has experienced a sexual assault.
     
  • Let the person know you believe and support her or him, and that you hope they will take some steps to help and care for her or himself.
     

Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual misconduct?

The Title IX coordinator can assist a student in filing formal complaints or, if the student does not want to file a formal complaint, the staff can work with the student to address concerns over housing, class assignments or schedules, leaves of absence, withdrawal or other academic concerns.

The office staff can also assist the student in notifying local law enforcement, if the student so requests. The Title IX compliance officer will make a student services staff member available to a student with a complaint if the student would like assistance throughout any WVSOM investigation or adjudication process.

This staff member serves as a point of contact to answer questions and explain processes, join the student in meetings, and make sure the student's expressed needs are being addressed.

This staff member is not an "advocate" nor is that staff person a representative who will speak on behalf of the student in any investigatory or adjudication process.

In all situations, the WVSOM's goal is to treat the student who reports misconduct with sensitivity and fairness, while also ensuring the accused individual receives due process if any disciplinary action is to be imposed.

The Title IX coordinator and WVSOM security may take immediate interim actions to protect the safety of the WVSOM community, to enable students with complaints and witnesses to continue studies, and to ensure the integrity of an investigation. These actions may include:

  • Interim suspension of the accused student
  • No-contact notices
  • Modifying class or work schedules
  • Addressing other academic concerns (e.g., absences, assignments, grades, leaves of absence, withdrawal)

Should I report a sexual assault if I was drinking  when it occurred?

Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of, or share information about, sexual misconduct as soon as possible.

This is true even if the student with a complaint or a witness may have concern that his or her own alcohol or drug use, or other prohibited activity were involved. 

Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?

No, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment policy covers both on-campus and off-campus conduct, as those terms are described below.

  • On-Campus Violations: The campus includes the geographic confines of the WVSOM, including its land, institutional roads and buildings, its leased premises, common areas at leased premises, the property, facilities and leased premises of organizations affiliated with the WVSOM, such as WVSOM housing (Rotation House), and WVSOM-recognized housing.
     
  • Off-Campus Violations: Students should be aware that off campus violations that affect a clear and distinct interest of the WVSOM community are subject to disciplinary sanctions. As examples, sexual misconduct and harassment are within the WVSOM's interests when the behavior:
    • Involves conduct directed at or by a WVSOM student or other member of the WVSOM community;
    • Occurs during WVSOM-sponsored events;
    • Occurs during the events of organizations affiliated with the WVSOM, including the events of student organizations;
    • Occurs during a international rotation or other international WVSOM sanctioned travel; or
    • Poses a disruption or threat to the WVSOM community.

Why should I seek medical attention when I haven't decided whether I want to report the assault to the police or to WVSOM?

Seeking medical attention can help you in many ways. First, seeking medical attention can help you take care of your own health by checking for injuries, treating those injuries, and addressing the possibility of sexually transmitted infections.

Second, a forensic medical exam can preserve evidence of the assault.

This is important even if you are currently undecided about your next steps because you may later decide to pursue criminal charges or WVSOM disciplinary charges - that evidence can help in both situations. A medical exam is not, however, required before pursuing criminal or WVSOM disciplinary charges.

Where can I find information about WVSOM crime statistics?

Where can I find information on how to reduce my risk of being a victim of sexual assault?