In the unfortunate event that a sexual assault does occur, on campus the victim should:
If an assault occurs on campus or is perpetrated by a student, contact the Campus Safety staff by using one of the outside emergency phones on campus or by dialing (601) 974-1234.
Reporting to Campus Safety Helps:
Although it can be difficult to describe the experience again, doing so can help with the recovery process and is an important step in providing a safe community for the victim and others in the community. Campus Safety can take added safety precautions for the victim only if they have been made aware of an incident.
When the incident is reported, a person from the Campus Safety Department will take a statement from the victim regarding the incident which will include (but not be limited to) questions about the assailant(s), possible witnesses, the scene of the incident, and what happened before and after the events. The victim will be informed of possible on campus and off campus reporting options. Please understand that reporting an incident and pursuing on campus disciplinary action or off campus criminal action are separate, distinct steps. Campus Security staff will keep the victim's identity confidential other than notifying supervisors over them who will maintain confidentiality. The incident will be reported anonymously in their crime statistics. Seek counseling and emotional support. Counseling is an important part of the healing process for the victim. Having a safe, confidential setting in which to openly discuss feelings and experiences and to develop coping skills with an objective professional will generally speed up the recovery process.
The College Counselor can assist in a crisis situation and help victims address the emotions and behaviors that follow sexual assault. The College Chaplain is also available to provide emotional support to victims. These professionaly are charged solely with providing emotional support and information about actions that can be taken on and off campus; they are not part of Millsaps investigative or disciplinary procedures. They are not obligated to report your experience to any other person or agency unless you are in clear and imminent danger. Both can also provide names of professionals and information on sexual assault survivor support groups (when available) if a victim would prefer to see someone off campus.
The Rape Crisis Center of Jackson has volunteers available on their 24 hour hotline to provide information and confidential counseling regarding options and actions that need to be taken such as medical treatment. The Center also has a volunteer on call at each of the hospital emergency rooms to provide counseling through the medical treatment process. The assault victim may continue working with this volunteer counselor if s/he desires. The hospitals also have social workers available to talk with victims.
College Disciplinary Procedures
Any member of the Millsaps community who is charged with sexual misconduct may be prosecuted under Mississippi criminal statutes. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the College can pursue disciplinary action . This disciplinary action could range from probation to expulsion from the College. Additionally, the College may elect to suspend the accused during the investigation.
Millsaps has an obligation to uphold the laws of the larger community of which it is a part. While activities covered by state and federal laws and those covered by the Colleges rules may overlap, those laws and the Colleges rules operate independently and do not substitute for each other. Millsaps College may pursue enforcement of its own rules whether or not legal proceedings are underway or in prospect, and may use information from third party sources, such as law enforcement agencies and the courts, to determine whether College rules have been broken. Millsaps College will make no attempt to shield members in the College community from the law, nor would it intervene in legal proceedings on behalf of a member of the community. Membership in the Millsaps community does not exempt anyone from local, state, or federal laws, but rather imposes the additional obligation to abide by all of Millsaps College's regulations.
Victims are encouraged to inform the College so that immediate action can be taken to protect the her/him as well as others in the College community. College disciplinary proceedings do not follow the same rigid procedures as criminal cases and discipline may be imposed upon a finding of clear and convincing evidence of violation of College rules.
Reports concerning sexual assault should be made without fear of self incrimination concerning violations of visitation or alcohol policies. If a student has already been caught violating the visitation or alcohol policy and the violation is connected with a report of sexual misconduct, the visitation or alcohol violation remains a separate issue. If a student reports sexual misconduct and a violation of the visitation or alcohol policy was not already reported, the student cannot self incriminate. A member of the Millsaps community who wishes the College to consider disciplinary action should contact one of the following informed College representatives:
After one of these representatives has been contacted, he must inform the President of the College that an assault has been alleged and the President will ask that a written complaint be filed. When the President receives the written complaint, he will appoint an investigative committee . This investigative committee is selected from the Sexual Assault Board which is composed of women and men who are members of the faculty and professional administrative staff all of whom should be trained annually in the issues of sexual assault. The Dean of Students and the Director of Campus Safety will be ex officio members of the Committee.
The accuser as well as the accused will be notified by the committee of charges and asked to make a statement concerning the events. Each party, the accuser and the accused, may select her/his own advocate who is a member of the Sexual Assault Board but not a member of the investigative committee. Members of this committee will question both the accuser and the accused, individually and at length, about what happened.
All proceedings of the committee will be held in confidence and the accuser as well as the accused may ask that the committee hear from someone s/he believes possesses pertinent information concerning the case. The accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during a disciplinary proceeding. After the committee hears from all critical parties, the committee makes a recommendation to the President and she, in consultation with the committee, will render a decision as to whether or not an act of misconduct occurred and what, if any, disciplinary action is to be taken. Then the Dean of Students will contact the accuser and the accused to notify them of the decision as well as any disciplinary action.
After an alleged sexual assault, the students involved may request a change of either or both the academic and living situations if such changes are reasonably available.
Criminal Investigation and Charges
The Mississippi State Code offers several classifications of rape and sexual battery, which is the equivalent charge in Mississippi to sexual assault. Additional information about legal aspects may be found in the Mississippi State Code in the reference section of most libraries.
If the victim wishes to file criminal charges against her/his assailant, Campus Security will assist the victim in notifying the appropriate authorities. It is in the victims best interest for safety reasons that Campus Security know when charges are filed by a student against anyone where the student victims safety or well being may later be in jeopardy. The case would come under the jurisdiction of a county sheriffs office or the City of Jackson, depending on where the crime occurred.
After the victim files charges, a judge must issue an arrest warrant. The assailant may be jailed at that time or released on bond if bail is allowed and made. If the victim is contacted by the assailant or feels threatened in any way, (s)he should notify Campus Security immediately. Bail can be revoked and/or additional charges filed if an assailant takes some action against a victim who has filed charges.
A lawyer from the District Attorney's Office in the county in which the assault occurred will be appointed to handle court proceedings. (S)he will keep the victim as informed as possible and work with her/him throughout the process. It might also be in the victims best interest to seek legal advice from a personal or family attorney. Filing or not filing criminal charges would not prevent a victim from pursuing civil tort action against the assailant for injury suffered as a result of a rape or sexual assault.
On Campus Resources
Legal and Law Enforcement Resources