Both parties (those who have allegedly experienced sexual violence and those who have been accused of such acts) have various rights, resources, & options afforded to them under federal & state law, as well as TCNJ’s policies. Below provides a generalized overview of what those entail.
You may also find it helpful to visit the various pages listed below, which dive deeper into these specific concepts:
New Jersey Victim Survivor Bill of Rights
Under New Jersey state law, victims and survivors of sexual violence are afforded the following rights under the “Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights,” P.L.1985, c.249 (C.52:4B-34 et seq.) and the “New Jersey Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights Act,” P.L.1994, c.160 (C.18A:61E-1 et seq.):
- To have any allegation of sexual assault treated seriously; to be treated with dignity and compassion; and to be notified of existing medical, counseling, mental health, or other services available for victims of sexual assault, whether or not the crime is reported to law enforcement;
- To be free, to the extent consistent with the New Jersey or United States Constitution, from any suggestion that victims are responsible for the commission of crimes against them or any suggestion that victims were contributorily negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted;
- To be free from any suggestion that victims are to report the crimes to be assured of any other guaranteed right and that victims should refrain from reporting crimes in order to avoid unwanted personal publicity;
- When applicable, to no-cost access to the services of a sexual assault response team comprised of: a certified forensic nurse examiner, a confidential sexual violence advocate, and a law enforcement official as provided in accordance with the Attorney General’s Standards for Providing Services to Victims of Sexual Assault, and the choice to opt into or out of any of the team’s services;
- To be informed of, and assisted in exercising, the right to be confidentially or anonymously tested for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or any other related virus identified as a probable causative agent of AIDS; and to be informed of, and assisted in exercising, any rights that may be provided by law to compel and disclose the results of testing of a sexual assault suspect for communicable diseases;
- To have forensic medical evidence, if collected, retained for a minimum of five years, and to receive information about the status of the evidence upon request;
- To choose whether to participate in any investigation of the assault;
- To reasonable efforts to provide treatment and interviews in a language in which the victim is fluent and the right to be given access to appropriate assistive devices to accommodate disabilities that the victim may have, whether temporary or long term;
- To information and assistance in accessing specialized mental health services; protection from further violence; other appropriate community or governmental services, including services provided by the Victims of Crime Compensation Office; and all other assistance available to crime victims under current law;
- To be apprised of the availability and process by which a court may order the taking of testimony from a victim via closed circuit television in accordance with section 1 of P.L.1985, c.126 (C.2A:84A-32.4); and
- To be apprised of the availability and process by which to seek protections through a temporary or final protective order under the “Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015,” P.L.2015, c.147 (C.2C:14-13 et seq.), if the victim believes that the victim is at risk for re-victimization or further harm by the perpetrator
Afforded Rights to Parties in a College Resolution Process
The following summarizes the rights granted to the parties (meaning the Reporter (the individual who has alleged to experience sexual violence) and the Respondent (the individual who has been accused of violating College Policy) in a College resolution process, per federal law (as of August 14, 2020) and/or TCNJ’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy:
More information regarding rights and procedures within a College Resolution Process can be accessed through the button. Resolution Options
Fair Process: Right to a fair and equitable investigation and resolution of all allegations of Prohibited Conduct after a Formal Complaint has been filed, conducted by Investigators, Title IX Coordinators, and Decision-maker(s) who are qualified and have received relevant and appropriate training.
Respect: Right to be treated with respect by College officials throughout the grievance process.
Advisor: Right to an advisor of choice during all stages of the College resolution process. An Advisor must conduct questioning (cross-examination) during a hearing. See our Advisors page for more information.
Supportive Measures: The right to receive Supportive Measures regardless of whether a Formal Complaint is signed. See our Supportive Measures page for more details.
Law Enforcement: Right to be informed of on an off-campus law enforcement options and to be assisted in reporting to law enforcement. Additionally, the right to not be forced, coerced, or pressured into reporting to law enforcement.
Presumed Not Responsible: Right for the Respondent to be presumed “not responsible” for violating College Policy until a determination regarding responsibility has been made.
Formal Complaint: Right for a Reporter to sign a Formal Complaint, or a Formal Complaint that is signed by the Title IX Coordinator.
Written Notice: Right to receive written Notice of Allegations which includes, but may not be limited to:
- Notice of the party’s rights and options
- Notice of TCNJ’s grievance process
- Notice of TCNJ’s informal resolution process and options
- Notice of the allegations of Sexual Harassment including:
- The identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known,
- The conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Harassment, and
- The date and location of the incident, if known.
- Notice that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
- Notice that the parties may have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be an attorney, and that the advisor may inspect and review evidence as explained in the Policy.
- Notice of the TCNJ’s Policy provision that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
Informal Resolution: Right to request an informal resolution (when the matter does not involve an employee Respondent and a student Reporter) after a Formal Complaint has been signed but not be pressured, forced, or coerced into an informal resolution process. See our Alternative Resolution Process page to learn more about this resolution option.
Sufficient Notice: Right to receive sufficient notice of any meeting or interview, including the names of individuals who will be in attendance at the interview or meeting and the reason for the meeting.
Provide Information and Witnesses: Right to provide investigator(s) with information to review and present witnesses for the investigator(s) to interview, as deemed relevant.
Inspect and Review Evidence: Right to inspect and review relevant evidence and information directly related to the allegations and the opportunity to provide a written response within ten (10) days to the Investigator(s).
Investigative Report: The right to be provided with an investigation report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence obtained during the investigation at least ten (10) days prior to a hearing with an opportunity to respond to the investigation report in writing.
Hearings: The right to a live hearing for all formal complaints of Prohibited Conduct that have not been dismissed or resolved by informal resolution. At the request of either party, or at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the live hearing may occur with parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision-maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the other party or witnesses answering questions.
Privacy: The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and permitted by law.
Closed Meetings: The right for all meetings, interviews, and hearings to be closed to the public.
Challenge Impartiality or Bias of Title IX Officials: The right to challenge the impartiality or bias of the Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s).
Preponderance of the Evidence: The right for the allegations to be resolved using a preponderance of the evidence standard.
Present: Right to be seen and heard in person, or via technology, during all the hearing and including the right to see and hear the opposing party.
Questions: Right to ask questions of the opposing party and witnesses through an Advisor at the hearing.
Written Determination: Right to receive a written determination after the hearing which includes:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Sexual Harassment or other forms of Prohibited Conduct;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the Formal Complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the Policy to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions that TCNJ imposes on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to TCNJ’s education program or activity will be provided by TCNJ to the Reporter; and
- The procedures and permissible bases for the Reporter and Respondent to appeal.
Final Resolution: Right to be informed when the determination becomes final.
Appeal: Right to appeal the written determination or the dismissal of a Formal Complaint.
Expectations for the Campus Community
The College values the individual contribution of every member of the community and expects students to:
- Engage in responsible social conduct that reflects credit upon the College community both on and off campus, and is consistent with a safe and healthy environment;
- Respect the rights of others to pursue an exceptional education free from harassment, bullying, defamation, and discrimination;
- Conduct oneself with personal integrity and in an honest manner that makes them worthy of the trust of others;
- Model good citizenship in any community by committing to actions that benefit the community and others, and do not impede the educational mission of the College or individual pursuits of knowledge;
- Recognize that respect for the ideas and contributions of all persons allow for diverse and creative intellectual inquiry;
- Do no harm and do not present a threat of harm to self, others, or personal or institutional property;
- Seek assistance, resources, or aid for self or others in a timely manner when health, safety, or wellness is at risk;
- Respect the right of fellow students to participate in College or outside organizations, associations, or relationships with other students without fear, threat, or act of hazing;
- Conduct oneself professionally and with civility in all pursuits of knowledge in and outside the classroom;
- Be responsible and held accountable for one’s decisions and actions, and the impact on self and others; and
- Be fully acquainted and comply with the College’s published policies and procedures and local, state, and federal law.
Further, students at the College have the same rights and protections under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of New Jersey as other citizens. These rights include freedom of expression, press, religion, and assembly. The College has a tradition of student activism and values freedom of expression, which includes voicing unpopular views and dissent. As members of the College community, students have the right to express their own views, but must also take responsibility for respecting the same right of others.
All members of the community have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex/gender (including pregnancy), marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, religion, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or disability, and as revised in the Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace/Educational Environment. The College has a strong commitment to pluralistic education. Accordingly, the College will not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of protected group status.
Members of the campus community have the right to have access to the College policies that affect them. The College is committed to providing parties with a balanced and fair system of accountability and dispute resolution. Accordingly, members of the community will be provided appropriate procedural standards that are administrative in nature and should not be equated with procedures used in civil or criminal court.
The rights of students also include those outlined in Student Rights and Freedoms and other published College policies. Violation of College policy, including but not limited to the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy or the Student Conduct Code, may result in forfeiture of such rights when necessary to preserve the safety of the College community or to achieve the orderly execution of the educational mission of the College.
Along with rights come certain responsibilities. All members of the College are expected to act consistently with the values of the College community to preserve a safe and vibrant environment that encourages scholarship and personal growth.
Any questions regarding these rights should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Chelsea Jacoby:
Brower Student Center