Introduction

The University of West Georgia is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for all. In order to comply with newly enacted federal laws, policies and procedures have been created and adopted to prevent and/or respond to incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking involving members of our campus community. These policies apply to all students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors.

Definitions of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking

Sexual assault is any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent, as well as incest or statutory rape.

Domestic violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim.

Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim.

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Reporting an Incident

If a student, employee or visitor has been the victim of a sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking on the campus, they should immediately notify the University Police at 678-839-6000 and an officer will be dispatched to meet with you. If you are in immediate danger, get to a safe location and wait for an officer to arrive. If off campus within Carroll County, notify the responsible local law enforcement agency by calling 911. Students and staff may also report the incident to the following staff in Office of Student Services, Human Resources or Athletic Administration:

Melissa DeGrandis
Campus Discipline Officer
271 Parker Hall
678-839-4733

Nicole Kogan
Residence Life - Conduct Coordinator
East Commons
678-839-6426

Laura Clayton
Assistant Athletic Director - Compliance
Athletic Administration Building
678-839-3964

Juanita Hicks
Executive Director - Human Resources
Aycock Hall
678-839-6424

Willie Black
Human Resources - Campus Social Equity Officer / Title IX Coordinator
Aycock Hall
678-839-5344

These offices will assist a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in notifying law enforcement, (University of local police), if they elect to do so. Victims are not required to report to law enforcement in order to receive assistance from or pursue any options with the University.

Written Notification Of Rights and Options

Any student or employee who reports an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, whether the incident occurred on or off campus, shall receive a written explanation of their options and rights as provided for under this policy.

Procedures Victims Should Follow

If an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking occurs, it is important to preserve evidence so that a successful criminal prosecution remains an option.

A student who is a victim of a sexual assault has the option of seeking treatment at Health Services (678-839-6452) or at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton (770-836-9586). If the victim chooses to utilize the resources of Health Services, victim should come to the Health Services located off Parker Drive and notify the desk attendant they are a victim of sexual assault. If the victim does not want to divulge that to the desk attendant, they should ask to speak with a patient advocate. If the victim wishes to access resources after normal business hours, contact University Police at 678-839-6000 and the Dispatcher will contact the on-call staff members. Health Services will see student victims regardless if the assault occurred on or off campus.

Note: University Health Services employ certified sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) who are specially trained to deal with the physical and emotional needs of sexual assault victims. The SANE will collect all evidence and as required by law and will provide it to the University Police to store. The victim will determine if there is to be a prosecution but by collecting the evidence and storing it within the police department, the chain of evidence is preserved. This provides the victim the option to prosecute now or at a later date without fear of losing the evidence needed in court. This applies to assaults that occur on or off campus.

Staff and visitors who are victims of sexual assault will receive treatment and support at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton (770-836-9586). They can also receive support from the Carroll Rape Crisis Center located at 128 W Center St, Carrollton, GA 30117. Their 24 hour number is (770) 834-7273.

When possible, a victim should not bathe, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing prior to a medical exam – which is important both to address any health issues that may arise and for evidence collection. Additional information that may be helpful to a victim can be found on the UWG Police Web page, under Victim Services / Sexual Assault.

Evidence of violence, such as bruising or other visible injuries, following an incident of domestic or dating violence should be documented by taking a photograph. On Campus this will be handled by either University Police or Health Services. If the event occurred off campus, the local police agency will handle the documentation. Evidence of stalking including any communication, such as written notes, voice mail or other electronic communications should be saved and not altered in any way. Provide this to the law enforcement officer who responds to your call.

On & Off Campus Resources

Both the University of West Georgia and the Carrollton community offer other important resources to the victims of sexual violence including medical treatment, counseling and advocacy they may wish to utilize. The UWG Social Equity Officer/Title IX Coordinator (678-839-5344) is available to assist any student or employee free of charge and will help them consider their options and navigate through any resources or recourse they elect to pursue.  A victim need not make a formal report to law enforcement to access these resources that include the following.

University Counseling Center
678-839-6428
Row Hall

Tanner Medical Center
770-836-9586
705 Dixie Street
Carrollton, GA 30117

Carroll Rape Crisis Center
770- 834-7273
128 W Center St
Carrollton, GA 30117

UWG Housing and Residence Life
678-839-6426
East Commons Building
The Housing Office can assist with hall changes or other accommodations for victims of sexual assault.

Whether or not a student or employee reports to law enforcement and/or pursues any formal action, if they report an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking the University of West Georgia is committed to providing them as safe a learning or working environment as possible. Upon request, the University will make any reasonable, available change to a victim’s academic, living, transportation, and or working situation. Students may contact Student Services (678-839-6423) for assistance, and employees may contact the Social Equity Officer/Title IX Coordinator (678-839-5344) for assistance.

If a victim reports the incident to the University Police, they will assist them in obtaining a temporary protective order through the superior court. The University of West Georgia is committed to ensuring that any such order is fully upheld on all institutionally owned and controlled property. The University is also committed to protecting victims from any further harm, and may issue and no-contact order though the Office of Student Conduct.

Victim Confidentiality

The University of West Georgia recognizes the often-sensitive nature of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents. We are committed to protecting the privacy of any individual who makes a report. Different officials and personnel are, however, able to offer varying levels of privacy protection to victims. Reports made to law enforcement, including if criminal prosecution is pursued, may be made public though by law, the victim’s name cannot be released to the press. However, if a criminal prosecution is initiated, the victim’s name, the accusation, including witnesses must be shared with the accused.

Reports made to University of West Georgia officials will be kept confidential, and identifying information about the victim shall not be made public.  However, general information about the crime may be distributed as a timely warning if it meets the criteria required by the Clery Act. Victim’s name and other personal information is never part of a timely warning.  Information about the crime and victim will only be shared with institutional personnel as needed to investigate and effectively respond to the report. Every effort will be made to limit the scope of information shared to keep it to a minimum of detail, and only when absolutely necessary. Reports made to medical professionals, licensed mental health counselors, pastoral counselors if available, and will not be shared with any third parties except in cases of imminent danger to the victim or a third party.

Education Programs

The University of West Georgia is committed to increasing the awareness of and prevention of all forms of violence. All incoming students and new employees are provided with programming and strategies intended to prevent rape, acquaintance rape, other forms of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking before it occurs through the changing of social norms and other approaches; that includes a clear statement that the University of West Georgia prohibits such acts, their definitions, the definition of consent, options for bystander intervention, information about risk reduction, and our policies and procedures for responding to these incidents. Ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns are also offered throughout the year. These programs include:

a) UWG 1101

b) New employee orientation

c) Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) – taught by the University Police

d) Residence Hall floor programs

Conduct Proceedings

The University of West Georgia strictly prohibits all acts of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Incidents involving accused students will be handled by the Student Conduct Specialist and incidents involving accused employees/affiliates will be handled by the Title IX coordinator located in the Human Resources Office. In addition to facing criminal investigation and prosecution, students and employees may also face disciplinary action by the University. Students found responsible for having committed such a violation may face probation, suspension or permanent expulsion from the University, or other penalties as dictated by the Student Conduct Expulsion. The responsible student may also be ordered to have no contact with the victim and pay appropriate restitution for any loss or cost to the victim.

Staff and faculty members found responsible may face probation, suspension, or termination of employment. Vendors can be expelled from campus and prohibited from bidding on future work. Any student, staff or vendor expelled from the campus will also be criminal trespassed from the campus.

All conduct proceedings, whether the conduct is reported to have occurred on or off-campus shall provide a prompt, fair and impartial investigation and resolution. All investigations and proceedings shall be conducted by officials who have received annual training on the nature of the types of cases they are handling and how to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation.  The investigation and proceedings will be conducted in a manner that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability. Investigations shall be conducted within 60 days unless there are mitigating circumstances in which case the accuser and accused shall be notified, provided an explanation for the delay, and the amount of additional time required.

Determinations shall be made within seven business days unless there are mitigating circumstances in which case the accuser and accused shall be notified, provided an explanation for the delay, and the amount of additional time required.Determination of responsibility shall be made by using the preponderance of the evidence standard (which means that it is more likely than not that the alleged misconduct occurred).In all proceedings, including any related meetings or hearings, both the accused and accuser are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present. This includes the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice.

Both the accused and accuser shall simultaneously be informed in writing of the outcome of the proceeding, of procedures and time-frame for appealing results of the outcome, of any change to the results that occurs prior to the time that the decision become final, and when such results become final. Disclosure of the outcome shall be made to both parties unconditionally, and each shall be free to share or not share the details with any third parties. For additional information about student conduct proceedings please consult the UWG student handbook available at http://www.westga.edu/handbook/.  For additional information about employee conduct proceedings please consult the employee handbook.