Sexual Assault Policy
I. Statement of Purpose:
The Houston Christian University Sexual Assault Policy has been developed to ensure that a consistent procedure and coordination of University and community resources takes place when dealing with victims of sexual assault. The policy intends to meet the medical, legal, confidentiality, safety, and psychological needs of a victim and applies to both resident and off-campus students or visitors to the campus.
The policy also provides for pro-active measures and a structure that will deal with the prevention of sexual assault through educational programming as well as a continuing institutional dialogue to assess services for victims.
II. Definition of Terms:
In dealing with the issue of sexual assault it is often helpful to define terms. The formal definition of rape is adapted from the Textbook of Emergency Physicians:
“Rape is the carnal knowledge, to a lesser or greater degree, of a victim without consent and by compulsion, through fear, force or fraud, singly or in combination. Thus there are three elements of rape:
- carnal knowledge,
- nonconsensual coitus, and
Carnal knowledge can consist of anything from complete coitus to slight penile penetration of female genitalia irrespective of seminal emission. Non-consent must be an integral part of coitus unless the victim is a minor (under statutory age of consent), intoxicated, drugged, asleep, or mentally incompetent. Finally, there should be compulsion or fear of great harm, threats with real or alleged weapon, or use of threat of brute force. Any use of intimidation invalidates any consent on the victim’s part.”
In addition to rape, the spectrum of sexual assault for both men and women shall include but not be limited to the following unwanted acts: inappropriate disrobing and nudity; genital exposure; fondling of breasts or genitals; single or mutual masturbation; fellatio, cunnilingus and/or sodomy; and digital or object penetration of the anus and/or vagina.
The following procedures should be followed when dealing with victims of sexual assault. A detailed explanation of this step-by-step process follows.
Knowledge of Sexual Assault
Self reported or via University service unit, individual faculty, staff, students and/or Community agencies.
Encourage Immediate Medical Attention to:
- Rape Crisis Program Hotline – 713-528-7273
- Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Emergency Room – 713-456-5000
- HCU Student Health
- HCU Campus Police
Notify Vice President of Student Life, Director of Student Ministries, your Resident Director, University Minister, or Police
Confidentiality insured and safety concerns addressed.
Campus Response/Coordination of Services
Any of the above listed personnel will notify appropriate officers, link students with necessary services and personnel and inform victim of his/her option to report incident to police and/or pursue campus judicial action.
To ensure that needs are being met.
Immediate Medical Attention:
Personnel receiving the sexual assault information will encourage the victim to seek immediate medical attention at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Emergency Room and/or Rape Crises Program. Because of the extent of physical specimens required legally in cases of sexual assault, a complete and timely examination is necessary. If desired University Police will provide transportation to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital Emergency Room.
Since initial information regarding a sexual assault may come forth from a variety of campus and community sources, it is necessary that the Vice President for Student Life, the Director of Student Ministries, or the Resident Director be notified and serve as the administrator charged with coordinating services. Exceptions to this notification process occur when the victim refuses to release information about the incident and/or is protected by the ethical and legal “confidentiality privilege” afforded to the Health Services staff or the University Minister.
The victim will be assured that any referral will be confidential and is intended to help the victim meet his/her needs during this time of crisis. The victim will also be assured that he/she will be in control of decisions regarding formal charges and nothing “automatic” will take place by nature of being referred to the appropriate personnel listed above. This approach will hopefully reduce potential fear and anxiety levels about being referred to an administrative office and reinforce that this procedure is strictly enacted to assist the victim.
Further, the Vice President for Student Life will assist with arrangements for alternate housing if the victim feels his or her safety is in jeopardy. The Vice President for Student Life will be the University representative in discussions with parents and/or significant others when the victim so requests and in all cases in which a minor (person under 18 years of age) is involved.
Campus Response/Coordination of Services:
The appropriate Student Life personnel listed previously, once informed about a sexual assault case, will work with the victim either directly or indirectly (via other University and/or community personnel) to link students with appropriate services. In order to provide a comprehensive approach to the victim’s needs the following departments will serve as the “front line” for sexual assault cases. The following is a listing of specific areas of responsibility and assistance they each have and/or can provide for the victim upon request.
- Health Services will contact the Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital or the Rape Crisis Program Hotline for medical evaluation and treatment. The Student Health Clinic will make a referral for AIDS counseling and testing, treatment for positive cultures, supportive treatment for physical ailments resulting from abuse, pregnancy testing, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases as appropriate.
- The Resident Director or University Minister will provide referral resources for psychological assessment. If immediate attention is requested by the victim, he/she will be referred to Rape Crisis Program 713-528-7273, otherwise, guidance will be provided the next business day.
- The University Police will establish the date, time, and location of the alleged assault. The Police will conduct the preliminary investigation, including collection and verification of all available facts and circumstances and will contact the Houston Police Department based on the victim’s wishes. With the victim’s consent, the Vice President for Student Life will receive an incident report.
- The Vice President for Student Life will explain the campus disciplinary process options available through the Houston Christian University Student Handbook and/or the formal criminal system. Assistance will be provided to HCU students who have been victims of sexual assault on another college campus including coordination with appropriate authorities at that location. In cases occurring off-campus, the appropriate Student Life personnel listed previously will maintain a liaison with the University Police and the Houston Police Department. Information regarding the University’s discipline process and criminal system is also available to the alleged perpetrator (assuming they have student status).
Shortly after initial contacts are made with the University personnel outlined in this document, the Vice President for Student Life or his/her designee will initiate a follow-up inquiry directly with the student or indirectly (if the student is still working with one of the services) to ascertain if the student has received or is receiving appropriate psychological, medical or general support attention.
As needed, the Vice President for Student Life will convene a meeting of appropriate personnel to discuss sexual assaults and related campus violence incidents. The goals of this group would be:
- To evaluate procedures regarding cases of sexual assault and insure that victims’ needs are being met through proper institutional responses and delivery of services.
- To gather information on the frequency and nature of sexual assault cases/incidents on campus. The goal of gathering this information would be the assessment of the campus environment and the development of prevention efforts.
- To develop and coordinate educational programming efforts for a campus-wide approach to the prevention of sexual assault. Ongoing programs are encouraged and available to students throughout the year through the University Police, Student Health Office, Student Involvement Office, Residence Life Office, and Student Life Offices.
V. Houston Christian University Enforcement
Specific disciplinary policies and procedures are outlined in the Code of Conduct section of The Student Handbook. Houston Christian University sanctions will be issued by the Vice President for Student Life. These sanctions, which also may be combined, include (1) expulsion from the University; (2) suspension from the University; (3) eviction from the Residence Colleges; (4) required evaluation/counseling; (5) disciplinary probation; (6) educational projects. In compliance with the Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights (July 23,1992), both the accuser and the accused are entitled to be informed of the outcome of the hearing(s).
VI. Information on Registered Sex Offenders
Information regarding registered sex offenders provided by the State of Texas may be obtained directly from the State of Texas Department of Public Safety registered sex offenders website at https://publicsite.dps.texas.gov/SexOffenderRegistry/Search.