Frequently Asked Questions
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The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with the college's obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the respondent may lead to conduct action by the college. In all complaints of sexual misconduct, the complainant and respondent will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. Certain college administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy. If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to Human Resources, and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, campus police and/or local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that the complainant must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The institution also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes (Clery Report), including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the complainant or the respondent, the college's primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents and/or next of kin. College officials may directly speak with parents and/or next of kin when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation.
Yes, if you file a formal complaint and you state your name. Sexual assault/misconduct is a serious offense and the respondent has the right to know the identity of the complainant. If there is a hearing, the college does provide options for questioning without confrontation, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.
Yes, and it will be investigated but by being anonymous you limit SMC's ability to respond comprehensively and may restrict how much the college can do regarding its investigation, sanctions and discipline.
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the respondent. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the complete confidentiality procedure above to better understand the college's legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials). Complainants should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution's ability to respond comprehensively.
DO NOT contact the complainant. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as your adviser. If you are a student you may also contact either Compliance Administrator/Title IX Coordinator or the Dean of Discipline. If you are an employee you may contact the Director of Human Resources or Compliance Administrator/Title IX Coordinator for an explanation of the college's procedures for addressing sexual assault/misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor, your union or seek other community assistance.
No, if you are receiving counseling or care at SMC. SMC provides confidential support services through the Wellness and Wellbeing Center and Health Center. If a complainant is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will usually be at the cost of the individual and will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc.
Survivors of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney's Prosecutor's office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are the alleged accused/respondent or are considering filing a civil action. The respondent may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution and/or the campus conduct proceeding.
Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the complainant's person within 120 hours (5 days), though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. In order to preserve evidence, you should not wash yourself or your clothing. 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). Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the complainant decide later to exercise it.
If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should call the police in the city the assault took place. If you report to the Santa Monica College Police Department, they will support and can provide transportation to the Santa Monica Rape Treatment.
For more information go to Preserving Evidence.
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the respondent's responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the complainant's memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. A person bringing a complaint of sexual misconduct must either remember the alleged incident or have sufficient circumstantial evidence, physical evidence and/or witnesses to prove their complaint. If the complainant does not remember the circumstances of the alleged incident, it may not be possible to impose sanctions on the accused without further corroborating information. The use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused student.
Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the SMC sexual assault policy, you should contact either the Director of Human Resources, Compliance Administrator/Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Deputy. They can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.
Please visit the "Learn About Title IX" page.
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Please visit the SMC Police website.
Working together, safety at Santa Monica College is everyone's business. No community, of course, can be totally risk-free in today's society. Students, faculty/staff and visitors are partners in creating an atmosphere that is safe and conducive for teaching and learning. Whether you are a victim or a witness, you have the responsibility to report crime. If a crime occurs on or around campus, report it immediately to the Santa Monica College Police Department (SMCPD).
The Santa Monica College Police Department is the primary agency for reporting and investigating all crimes that occur on Santa Monica College Campuses. Any instances of criminal activity occurring on the Santa Monica College Campus should be reported to the Santa Monica College Police Department.
You may contact the police department by calling 310-434-4300, dialing 4300 from any on-campus College telephone, pressing the 9-1-1 button on any campus pay phone, using any Emergency phone located throughout the campus and in the parking structures, or coming to the police department which is located at 1718 Pearl St.
The Emergency phones are directly linked to SMCPD. Crimes in progress and crimes that have just occurred should be reported immediately. Whenever possible, the actual victim or witness of the crime should call directly. First-hand information is always more accurate and complete. If someone merely gives you the information and leaves, please include that persons information in your call to the police.
The SMCPD Communication Center is staffed 24-hours a day by trained police dispatchers. The dispatchers constantly receive calls from the 9-1-1 and business lines. They assign the appropriate police officers, paramedics or emergency worker to handle the calls. When calling to report a crime or incident, please be ready to give information such as:
- a brief description of the occurrence,
- when and where the incident occurred,
- weapons the suspect(s) carried,
- where and when the suspect(s) was last seen,
- description of the suspect(s) (including gender, race, age, height, weight, hair color/length, clothing, facial hair, tattoos/scars) and any other relevant information.
- In addition to the importance of reporting, timely information assists in developing information and warnings for the campus.
When a crime is reported to the Santa Monica College Police Department, a police officer will take a report outlining the circumstances of the incident, as well as any other pertinent information. The officer receiving the report is also responsible for following through on the case until conclusion.
In all instances of criminal activity, the police department works to determine the exact nature and perpetrator(s) of the crime for the purpose of developing a viable criminal case to be forwarded to the District Attorney's or City Attorney's Office for prosecution.
In all cases where a student is considered a suspect, the police department will also forward the case information to the Office of Student Judicial Affairs for review and action as a possible violation of the Rules for Student Conduct.
Please visit the "SMC and Community Resources" page.
Please visit the "Confidentiality and Reporting" page.