Reporting

Reporting Sexual Misconduct to the Police or the College, or Both

Williams is committed to doing everything possible to prevent sexual assault and other misconduct; mitigate its effects when it occurs; prevent its re-occurrence; and prevent retaliation for reporting or otherwise participating in an investigation of such conduct. The College is best able to accomplish this when it is made aware directly of such conduct. Accordingly all members of the Williams community are encouraged to report – and all responsible employees are required to report – any instances or claims of sexual misconduct, whether or not the person who experienced the misconduct wishes to pursue the case through the College’s disciplinary system.

The College will inform the Williamstown Police of the basic facts of reports made to the College; however, the College will not disclose the name of the survivor unless that person consents to the disclosure of their name.

Williams College encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault.  Under this policy, if an individual reports or seeks care for an incident of sexual misconduct during which they consumed alcohol or drugs, they will not be subject to disciplinary action regarding the alcohol or drug use.

This policy is applicable to any student reporting an incident of sexual misconduct, whether they themselves experienced the incident or whether they observed misconduct against another person.

There are several reasons why it is important to report.  First, as discussed above, the College has resources that you can use for support and accommodation after an incident. Second, it is important for the College to know about an incident in order to maintain the safety of the community. Finally, the College offers a way to discipline the perpetrator if they are a member of the College community.   The police offer a way to pursue prosecution of the perpetrator whether or not they are a member of the Williams community.

To report a sexual assault or other sexual misconduct to the College contact:

  • Campus Safety and Security at 597-4444 (for any member of the community)
  • Any Dean at the Dean of the College’s office 597 – 4261 (for students)
  • Interim Title IX Coordinator, Marlene Sandstrom, 597- 4261 (for any member of the community)
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator Martha Tetrault, 597- 2058 (for staff)
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator Denise Buell, 597 – 4351 (for faculty)

To report a sexual assault to the police contact:

The on-campus option is not exclusive of other reporting options such as reporting to the police, and survivors may choose them concurrently or consecutively.

The wishes of the survivor are likely to predominate in the College’s consideration of whether to investigate and/or pursue disciplinary action, except in particular circumstances where the College has an overriding obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment.  See the discussion of confidentiality and privacy above.

If there is a danger to the community, the Title IX Coordinator will notify all members of the community.  All colleges are required by federal law to provide timely warnings to the college community about certain violent crimes or other threats to campus safety. Usually this is done through an all-campus mailing that provides the general details of the incident (e.g., the time, location, and type of assault and a description of the assailant, if he/she has not been identified. The name of the survivor is never given in these all-campus alerts.  Every effort is made to inform the survivor before the mailing is distributed and to protect her or his identity.

More Information on Reporting to the Police for Potential Prosecution

It is the right of every survivor to pursue criminal prosecution and conviction of the perpetrator. This is done, most often, by reporting the assault directly to the Williamstown Police Department (413 458-5733 or 9-911). Reporting to the police does not commit you to further legal action but does make it easier for the police to investigate the crime if that is your wish. Early reporting will increase the chances of a successful prosecution.

The Williamstown Police Department has two officers who have special training and are certified by the state to investigate sexual assaults and other sexual violence. During your initial meeting with a police officer, you will be asked to tell what happened and what your attacker looked like or who your assailant was, if you know. You may have a friend or other supportive person with you during this or any other interview with the police. A SASS member will be glad to accompany students to the police station and to court.

The police are responsible for investigating and the District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting such crimes. If you decide to prosecute and your case goes to trial, it will be handled by a member of the District Attorney’s Office at the State’s expense. You will incur no costs. In Berkshire County there is a Victim’s Advocate Program which will work closely with you throughout the process.

Massachusetts law requires that the police keep your name in confidence.  Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, § 24C.

There is a period of limitation for filing criminal charges.  That limitation period currently is 15 years from the time of a sexual assault, although it may be longer depending on the circumstances.  Different limitations periods apply to criminal offenses other than sexual assault.

More Information on Reporting to the College for Disciplinary Action

When you report an incident of sexual misconduct to the College, a Sexual Assault Survivor Advisor (for students) or the Title IX coordinators will be available to respond and will listen carefully to what you have to say. The first concern will be that you are taken care of both physically and emotionally. Depending on your needs and wishes, this could include steps such as making sure you get medical attention, having a supportive friend notified and having access to counseling. During this and subsequent meetings the primary role of the SASS member is to be supportive of the student survivor during this difficult time.

Once a report is made the Title IX Coordinator also is notified. As discussed above, the Title IX Coordinator can help in providing accommodations and supports, such as changing your academic, living or work situation if needed, and arranging for a no-contact order with the person or persons involved in the misconduct.

There is no time limit for reporting sexual misconduct to the College.  The disciplinary process can take place at any time, so long as the person accused of the misconduct remains part of the Williams community.

Williams College encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault.  Under this policy, if an individual reports or seeks care for an incident of sexual misconduct during which they consumed alcohol or drugs, they will not be subject to disciplinary action regarding the alcohol or drug use.

This policy is applicable to any student reporting an incident of sexual misconduct, whether they themselves experienced the incident or whether they observed misconduct against another person.