Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I or a friend may have been sexually assaulted at BSC?

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Call Bismarck State College Campus Safety and Security at 701-224-2700 and they will help you or your friend get the care you need.  You may also want to consider calling a member of the BSC Counseling and Advising Center for confidential counseling. During the day you may call 701-224-2449.  If you need assistance after hours, the Abused Adult Resource Center (701-222-8370) and West Central Human Services Center (701-321-8888) both provide confidential rape crisis counseling to men and women, 24 hours a day. 

If you wish to pursue a complaint against the alleged perpetrator, or if you wish to discuss your options, you should consult with the College's Title IX Coordinator or one of the Title IX Deputies.

What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?

Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim's person within 72 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time.  If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room, before washing yourself or your clothing.  Having the evidence collected in this manner will help keep all options available, but will not obligate you to any course of action.  Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should you decide later to exercise it.  If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless).  If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. 

What should I do if I am uncertain about whether what I experienced constitutes sexual assault?

If you believe that you have experienced a non-consensual sexual contact, you should contact the Counseling Center on campus, the Abused Adult Resource Center or the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.

Does the complaint remain confidential?

BSC will make every attempt to safeguard the privacy of the complainant and/or recipient of the behavior; however, it is important that complainants recognize that BSC cannot ensure confidentiality in all cases. BSC must weigh the request for confidentiality against its obligation to protect the safety and security of the entire campus. Depending on the circumstances of the offense (the severity of the offense, the number of victims involved, involvement of a minor, etc.), BSC may be required to respond to an incident, even if confidentiality has been requested. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. BSC will observe state and federal privacy laws.

The College is required to document all reports of sexual misconduct and to report statistics of crime on campus consistent with the Clery Act. No personally identifiable information will be shared for the purpose of maintaining these statistics. Identities and specific fact patterns will remain anonymous.

Can I make a report anonymously?

Anonymous complaints will be accepted by the College. BSC's ability to investigate and resolve anonymous complaints will be limited if the information contained in the anonymous complaint cannot be verified by independent facts. 

Do I have to name my assailant?

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged assailant.  No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint.  Survivors should be aware that not identifying the assailant may limit the College's ability to respond comprehensively.

Will the accused student know my identity?

Yes, if you file a formal complaint.  Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused student has the right to know the identity of the complainant/alleged victim.  The answer is only no if no specific name or identity is provided.  In this situation, the issue is tracked in the College's reporting data, but no formal investigation or confrontation can be conducted.

If I report my assailant, I am afraid that I will be subject to retaliation from the assailant or his/her friends.  What kinds of protection can Bismarck State College provide to me?

It is a violation of College policy to retaliate in any way against an individual or a group because the individual or group of individuals reported an allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct. Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person because of their participation in a protected activity. Retaliation against an individual for alleging sexual misconduct, supporting a complainant or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of sexual misconduct will be treated as another possible instance of harassment or discrimination. Any acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy and will be promptly investigated. BSC is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may have been subjected to retaliation. 

What if I have a relationship with the person who assaulted me?

It is never okay to force, threaten or coerce someone into having sex against his/her will, even if they are in a relationship.  Just because you have been intimate with someone in the past does not automatically mean you give consent for any and all future sexual activity.

Will my parents be told?

Whether you are the complainant or the accused student, the College's primary relationship is to the student and not the parent.  However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents.  College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in certain instances where a health or safety emergency exist, or if the College determines such communication is necessary.

What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

Do not contact the individual(s) bringing forth the allegations.  You should contact the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy, who can explain the College's procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints, explain the rights and responsibilities of the complainant and respondent, explain the prohibition against retaliation, and explain the investigation process.

My assailant lives in my residence hall or attends one of my classes.  I am also having difficulty concentrating on my coursework.  How can I change my residence hall and receive help with my courses? 

When warranted by the circumstances surrounding a complaint of sexual misconduct, the College may implement interim measures until its investigation concludes. Violation of these interim measures may be considered grounds for additional complaints of sexual misconduct or as retaliation for the ongoing investigation of sexual misconduct. Potential interim remedies include, but are not limited to: 

a) Providing an escort to the complainant so that he/she may move safely on campus; 

b) Issuing a no contact order to the parties, prohibiting any contact between them; 

c) Moving the complainant and/or accused to different BSC housing; 

d) Altering the class schedule of the parties so that they do not attend the same classes; 

e) Providing counseling services;

f) Providing academic support services; and

g) Restraining order assistance and/or enforcement on campus.

If an accommodation is requested and determined necessary, the College will work with the appropriate administrative office(s) to make the change(s) on your behalf. 

Will a student be punished when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if he/she has illegally used alcohol and/or other drugs?

No. Bismarck State College's primary concern is the health and safety of its students.  When conducting an investigation of an alleged sexual assault, the College's focus will be on addressing the sexual assault and not the lesser policy violations that may be discovered or disclosed.  The College may, however, provide referrals to counseling or other educational options.

Will the use of alcohol or other drugs affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct complaint?

The use of alcohol or drugs by either party will not diminish the responsibility of the accused.  However, alcohol or other drugs are likely to affect memories and may affect the outcome of a case. 

Will either party's prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?

Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.

If I engage in a sexual activity with someone who has been drinking, can I be accused of sexual assault?

Yes. It is against Bismarck State College's Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Compliance policy to engage in any sexual activity with someone who is mentally or physically incapacitated, and therefore incapable of giving consent.  Alcohol may cause such a state of incapacitation. When one or both parties is intoxicated, people can misinterpret another's sexual intentions and often proceed before the issue of consent has been clarified. When one or both parties are intoxicated, it is unwise to engage in sexual activity while intoxicated.  

Can I file a complaint with the College and also with the police?  Can I do one and not the other?

Yes. You may take action through both the campus disciplinary system and the criminal justice system. The College encourages complainants to pursue criminal action for incidents of sexual harassment or misconduct that may also be crimes under North Dakota law. The College will assist a complainant in making a criminal report and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law.  However, a complainant may also choose not to pursue criminal action, and under most circumstances, the Bismarck Police Department will not force a complainant to pursue charges if he/she is not willing to do so.

How do I file a complaint?

A person, who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, as defined in the Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Compliance Policy, may file a complaint. To submit a complaint or violation, contact the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy.

What is the role of the Investigator?

The Title IX Coordinator will designate an Investigator to conduct a thorough, impartial and fair investigation.  The Investigator chosen will have specific training and experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct.  The Investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the complainant, respondent, and other individuals or entities with relevant information regarding the complaint using any of the following processes. In addition to reviewing any documents submitted by the complainant and respondent, the Investigator will try to obtain such other physical or medical evidence relevant to the investigation as the Investigator determines, in his or her judgment, to be necessary, including but not limited to documents, police records, electronic or other record of communications between the parties or witnesses, records or other relevant information.  In obtaining such evidence, the Investigator will comply with applicable laws and BSC policies.  The Investigator may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written or photographic documentation.  The Investigator will interview the complainant and the respondent separately and may interview one or both more than once as necessary.  The complainant and respondent may be accompanied by their respective support representative.  The Investigator will make a good faith effort to contact and interview any witnesses identified by the parties or in the documentation, including those no longer at the College.  The Investigator may also interview any other individual he or she finds to be potentially relevant to the allegations of the complaint.  The Investigator will inform each witness or other individual interviewed that they are prohibited from retaliating against the complainant and respondent or other witnesses.  The Investigator may contact any expert the Investigator determines is necessary to ascertain the facts related to the complaint.  An expert witness may be contacted for an informal consult or for a professional opinion regarding information learned from the investigation.  The Investigator will prepare an Investigative Report summarizing and analyzing the relevant facts determined through the Investigation, referencing any supporting documentation or statements.  The Investigative Report may include summaries of interviews with the complainant, respondent, third-party witnesses, experts, and any other individuals with relevant information, photographs of relevant sites or physical evidence, electronic records and forensic evidence.  The Investigator may provide a summary of his/her impressions including context for the evidence, but will not make a determination as to whether a violation occurred, reserving that decision for the Title IX Coordinator.  

Who will be responsible for determining the sanctions?

The Title IX Coordinator and the appropriate administrative officer will determine the sanctions.

What is the time frame for resolution?

BSC offers both informal and formal resolution of sexual misconduct complaints involving BSC students, faculty or staff. Independent of the path chosen by the recipient of the behavior, BSC will conduct an impartial, fair, and prompt investigation into the allegations, and ensure that actions will be taken to prevent similar actions in the future. All parties have a responsibility to provide truthful information during the process. Typically, investigation/resolution of the complaint will occur within 60 calendar days from the time the case is assigned to investigators. If it is anticipated that the investigation/resolution process will take longer than 60 calendar days, parties will be notified in writing indicating the reason(s). 

What should I do if I or a friend experiences sexual misconduct on another campus?

If you experience sexual misconduct on any college campus, regardless of the institution, it is highly recommended you report the incident. Generally, sexual misconduct complaints are handled and, if the victim chooses this route, adjudicated by the college where the alleged perpetrator is enrolled.  All colleges and universities are required to have a designated Title IX officer on campus to help with the reporting of sexual misconduct and to also help survivor's access resources.  Any member of BSC's Title IX team can assist you with understanding your options if you have experienced sexual misconduct on any college campus. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.