As a JMU student, the student handbook is one of the most important documents governing the student body. Whenever changes are made the Judicial Control Board made up of the Dean of Students, a faculty member, the current student body president and another student must convene to vote on approving the changes. The Office of Judicial Affairs recently underwent changes in policy regarding sexual assault with the help of President Pat Watral and a recent SGA member Colby Kammerman.
The changes to the sexual assault section include:
- When determining a charge of sexual assault, The Office of Judicial Affairs will not refer the charge to mediation and restorative justice.
- The harassment section was amended to include: J16-104 Conduct of a sexual nature that seriously and/or repeatedly affects an employee’s or student’s performance or creates a hostile work or study environment. (Note: Harassment falling under this section will follow the same processes as sexual assault cases.)
- If a student believes they have been harassed by faculty or staff theymust bring the charge to the Office of Equal Opportunity,1017 Harrison Street, MSC 5802,Harrisonburg,VA22807, 540-568-6991.
- The individual being accused has the right to utilize an attorney who can be anyone licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The rights of the accuser are still the same and begin with what is probably the most important aspect: The right to a fair and impartial hearing. If you are unsure as to if sexual assault or abuse has taken place, still talk to someone about it. Even the smallest thing has the potential to run a college experience. JMU is fortunate enough to have the Varner House function as a counseling and student development center right on campus.
Taking the first step in understanding your rights as a student comes from reading over policies and understanding what you can do if a situation arises. Educate yourself and be proactive.