FAQ for Complainants
If you, or someone you know, needs help related to relationship or interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct, we encourage you to seek assistance through the many resources at NC State.
Thinking about reporting? Although we encourage you to report, it’s a choice that only you can make. If you do choose to report, Student Conduct can provide strong support for you through a prompt and equitable process that is fair and impartial, as outlined in our Student Discipline Procedures. Participating in the conduct process can help you feel validated, and if found responsible hold a respondent accountable for their behavior. We can connect you with other offices on campus to help support you during this time, as well as provide a safe environment to review all of your questions and options.
Many individuals don’t report because they often think they will get in trouble, be judged, or be required to participate in a lengthy process; none of these misconceptions are true. Below are some commonly asked questions.
Reporting Options & Accommodations
I experienced interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct. What should I do?
How do I report an incident of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct to the University?
If I decide to report to the University, do I still need to report to the police?
No, but it’s another option that you can consider. You have the option of pursuing the matter through the criminal justice system, and our office can provide you with appropriate resources to assist with that process.
Can I report anonymously?
Yes, you can submit a report online anonymously. However, incomplete information may limit the university’s ability to respond to the reported behavior.
I was drinking or using drugs prior to or during the incident. Will I get in trouble?
No. It is not the practice of the university to pursue disciplinary action against a complainant or witness for his or her improper use of alcohol or drugs provided that such student is acting in good faith as a complainant or witness to the alleged interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct behaviors.
Will I be asked about my sexual history?
No. You will be free of irrelevant questions about sexual history.
I identify as male. Can I report an incident of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct?
Interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct affects every demographic, including males. Men may experience the same effects as other individuals, and may also face other challenges that are unique to their identity. Conduct staff are trained to work with students who have experienced trauma, and you will be able to review all of your options in a safe and nonjudgmental environment.
I identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Can I report an incident of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct?
Interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct affects every demographic and every community, including LGBT individuals. LGBT people may experience the same effects as other individuals, and may also face other challenges unique to their identity. Conduct staff have completed Project SAFE training at NC State and support the LGBT community.
Is it possible to be harassed or assaulted by someone of the same gender?
Yes. If you have been subjected to these types of behaviors, the gender of the respondent is irrelevant. Title IX prohibits this type of behavior, regardless of gender.
Do I have to share my story?
The University will take steps to reduce the amount of times that you share your story, and there are a variety of ways in which your perspective can be shared. You do not have to share your story if you don’t feel comfortable doing so; however, it may be necessary if you wish to file a complaint and/or move forward with an administrative process.
I don’t want the respondent to be able to have contact with me. What should I do?
We can issue an administrative No Contact Order between yourself and the respondent.
This will prohibit the respondent from having any contact with you in person, via phone, or online. It will also prohibit unwanted contact from third parties (such as a respondent’s friend contacting you on their behalf). The No Contact Order is designed to separate the parties involved and is usually issued to both parties.
I’ve been harassed or threatened for reporting an incident. What should I do?
If you are experiencing an emergency, you should call University Police immediately at 911 or 919.515.3000.
It is a separate violation of section 10.15 of the Code for any Student, Student Group or Student Organization to retaliate against any person making a report of Interpersonal Violence or Sexual Misconduct, or against any person participating in the investigation procedure involving these reports. Retaliation includes threats, harassment, intimidation, and/or coercion and should be reported promptly to the Office of Student Conduct.
What if the incident occurred off campus?
The Code applies to conduct that occurs on University premises, at University-sponsored activities, and to off-campus conduct (whether in NC, another state or a foreign country) that adversely affects the university community, its mission, programs, the pursuit of its objectives, or poses a serious risk of danger to, or disruption or interference with, a member of the university community. The university will investigate reports of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct which occur on or off campus.
What types of services or accommodations can Student Conduct provide me?
The university is concerned about your safety and access to University services and programs. As a result, we may be able to offer reasonable accommodations to protect that access independent of whether you choose to participate in the conduct process.
These accommodations may include the imposition of a No Contact order between you and the respondent, class schedule changes, or University Housing room assignment changes. Other accommodations may also be possible, based on your individual circumstances.
The Conduct Process
Do I have to participate in a conduct process?
No. It is your choice, and you will not be required to participate in any type of conduct process. As mentioned above, Student Conduct can provide a variety of resources outside of a conduct process.
What happens during my meeting(s) with Student Conduct?
A staff member will be in contact with you to ask if you would like to set up a meeting. During that meeting, a staff member will check in with you to make sure you are safe and see how you are coping, share information about services with you, discuss your rights and options, and review resources.
The staff member that you meet with initially is usually not a decision-maker, but rather a procedural resource person. They are trained in managing Title IX related matters, and will help answer any questions that you have in a safe environment. Depending on the next steps you would like to take, there may be follow-up meetings to help you prepare procedurally for the conduct process.
What are my rights and responsibilities?
Your rights and responsibilities are outlined in Section 3 of the Student Discipline Procedures.
What, if anything, will my parents be told?
NC State’s primary relationship is to you, the student, and not to your parent or guardian. Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and will not be shared 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?
No. Students sometimes request interim academic measures (such as extensions on assignments or rescheduled exams). In order to preserve the privacy of students, we often work with Student Ombuds Services, which can assist with academic flexibility requests to instructors.
May I have an attorney?
Yes. NC State does allow the participation of licensed attorneys and other advocates in Title IX related cases. Despite the presence of attorneys or other advocates as part of the disciplinary process, NC State’s conduct process remains non-adversarial and educational in nature.
What does my attorney do during the process?
Licensed attorneys and other advocates may fully participate in disciplinary procedures only to the extent afforded to the student or student organization they represent. An attorney or other advocate may be present with you for a meeting and/or hearing, they may assist in preparing you for a disciplinary procedure, and they may speak or ask questions on your behalf. The conduct process remains student-centered.
Will there be a hearing?
Yes, if there are charges of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct. A case that results in charges of this nature will most often be referred to an administrative hearing.
Do I have to be there?
While a complainant is not required to participate in a hearing, many choose to do so after reviewing the process with Student Conduct staff. If a student does not wish to participate in the conduct process or hearing, it may limit the university’s ability to respond to the reported behavior.
Will I have to see the respondent?
No. If you participate in the hearing, you can choose to participate in a variety of ways. Some students prefer to participate in the hearing in person, in the same conference room as the respondent. Many students choose to participate in the hearing via Skype. A staff member will help you review these options, and make the accommodations for you.
Is a hearing like a trial?
No. While the student conduct system does incorporate some principles associated with the legal system, it is fundamentally an administrative review process and should not be compared to the system of resolution offered in the court system. Neither the rules of civil procedure nor the rules of evidence applies.
NC State’s responsibility is to provide a safe environment for all members of the university community, to educate students about appropriate conduct, and to provide a fair hearing process. Hearings are held in a conference style room.
Will I be grilled with questions from attorneys like I see on TV court dramas?
No. Since this is not a criminal process, what occurs here is not like what you see on TV. It’s important for you to know that you will be treated with respect throughout the process. Although attorneys are permitted, they often play a small role in the hearing itself.
All questions will be directed to the hearing officer, who will filter the questions to make sure that they are relevant and appropriate. There is no direct cross examination or direct dialog between parties. Instead, this element of the process is managed by the hearing officer. It is the expectation that all parties participate in a manner that is civil and respectful.
Will students be involved in the hearing?
No. Cases that involve charges of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct are referred to an administrative hearing. Unlike the student conduct board, students do not participate in the administrative hearing process.
How should I prepare for the hearing?
First, you can familiarize yourself with both the Code of Student Conduct and Student Discipline Procedures. It’s helpful to attend any meetings with a conduct staff member, who will acclimate you to the process and help you prepare for the hearing. You may consult with your support person, a staff member from the Women’s Center, or with an attorney or non-attorney advocate.
What information and materials will I receive about the case and the complaint in order to best prepare for the hearing?
A staff member from the Student Conduct will briefly review the concerns that the university has received during one of your first meetings. Additionally, you will receive a full copy of the current case file prior to any hearing procedures. Other resources, including rights and responsibilities as well as other relevant forms, are sent to students through electronic correspondence from Student Conduct.
Who can I bring to the hearing with me?
You may be represented by an attorney or non-attorney advocate. You may also have a non-participatory observer as support during the hearing. An observer cannot serve as a witness in the hearing.
If a respondent is found responsible, will I have a say in the sanction?
Yes. You may write a statement of impact to be used during the sanctioning phase of a hearing, should the respondent be found responsible. You can include in this statement, for example, the ways in which you’ve been impacted by the behavior, how this has affected your life, and what you feel may be an appropriate response to the behavior. Your impact statement will be considered by the hearing officer before they make a sanctioning decision.
What if the respondent is found not responsible? Does this mean the university doesn’t believe me?
The decision to find a respondent responsible for a charge or charges will be based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, that is, whether the respondent “more likely than not” engaged in the alleged misconduct. If a student is found not responsible, it doesn’t mean that the University does not believe you or thinks you’re lying. It means that the evidence in the case doesn’t meet the standard of proof threshold.
Will I be notified of the outcome of the hearing?
Yes. You will have full access to the results of the hearing. This includes whether a respondent was found responsible or not responsible, any sanctions which were imposed (if applicable), and a rationale for why a decision was made.
Do I have the right to appeal a decision?
Yes. You will receive information about your appellate rights with the hearing outcome letter. Information about appeals can also be found in Section 7 of the Student Discipline Procedures.
How long will 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. The university will usually not wait until the conclusion of a criminal investigation or proceeding to investigate a report of interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct.
What resources are available to me?
Please see a full list of resources available to you on our website.
Students involved in the student conduct process often feel a great deal of stress. For some students, the additional time taken by an investigation or hearing process further aggravates their discomfort.
If you are finding that you are having difficulty focusing on your daily activities or that stress resulting from the conduct process is manifesting itself in other negative ways in your life, please contact the Counseling Center at 919.515.2423.