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FAQ for Witnesses

If someone you know needs help related to interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct, we can help. Below are some commonly asked questions.

General Questions

My friend told me that they experienced interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct. How can I help?

Allow and encourage them to make decisions for themselves whenever possible. Encourage them to share what they’re feeling, but don’t press for details or force a discussion. Communicate your understanding, acceptance, and support. You can visit the Women’s Center for more tips on how to support a friend. You can also show them resources, but remember that it’s ultimately their decision to utilize a resource.

My friend has been accused of  interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct. How can I help?

Do not contact the complainant, and do not attempt to dissuade someone from reporting. While it is normal to want to ask questions to clear up any confusion, this may lead to an individual feeling harassed. It may be helpful for you to show your friend the variety of resources available to them on campus. There is also a helpful FAQ for respondents on our page.

I’m worried about a friend. How can I help?

Students who are in crisis or who are exhibiting concerning or worrisome behaviors often need additional attention in order to ensure they are safe, the community is safe, and that they continue to be successful while at NC State. We work closely with other campus partners to help identify and support these students. Show you care. 

The Conduct Process

I’ve been asked to meet with a staff member at the university because I’m a witness in an interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct related matter. Am I in trouble?

No. When an incident is reported to the university, it is the university’s responsibility to gather as much information as possible. Sometimes, that involves reaching out to individuals who were involved, witnessed an incident, or may have additional information about what happened. Speaking to you helps give the university a full understanding of what occurred.

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 her or his improper use of alcohol or drugs provided that such student is acting in good faith as a complaint or witness to the alleged interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct behaviors.

What are my rights and responsibilities?

Your rights and responsibilities are outlined in Section 3 of the Student Discipline Procedures. In short, it is our expectation that you will attend any requested meetings with Student Conduct, be honest and candid in your conversations with us, and be civil and respectful.

What can I expect during my meeting(s) with Student Conduct?

A staff member will usually check in to see how everything is going in your life, give you an opportunity to share your perspective of an incident, ask some follow up questions, and help answer questions that you may have.

Student records are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act; therefore, staff will be unable to share specific information about a complainant, respondent, or particular case.

Am I going to have to share my opinion or make a decision?

No. You will never be asked to draw any types of conclusions or speculate what happened. Questions that are asked are usually factual in nature.

Will I be asked to attend a hearing?

Maybe. If you’re needed to participate in a hearing, a staff member from Student Conduct would notify you of the day, time, and location of a hearing ahead of time. A staff member can also help answer questions that you have about the process or your role.


Knowing an individual who has experienced violence, or who is involved in the conduct process, can result in many different emotions of your own. Witnesses may also experience a range of emotions stemming from a particular incident. It’s important and okay to take care of yourself too.

If you are finding that you are having difficulty focusing on your daily activities or that stress resulting from your college experience is manifesting itself in other negative ways in your life, please contact the Counseling Center at 919.515.2423.