Your Rights and Options

If you were subjected to sexual misconduct, you have options and resources to address what you experienced. Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, sexual or gender harassment, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. You can file a police report with law enforcement and/or a formal complaint with the university about sexual misconduct you experienced.

If you'd like help making a report, call Safe Passage at 815-756-5228 or the NIU confidential advisor at 815-753-1206. Both resources can assist you in making a report to the police and/or filing a complaint with the university. They can also attend your meeting with an officer or investigator.

Reasonable and confidential supportive measures are available to students and employees subjected to sexual misconduct whether or not a formal complaint or police report has been filed. If you are seeking a supportive measure, contact the Title IX coordinator.

Privacy Notice: NIU will not disclose the identity of the complainant (victim/survivor) or respondent (alleged offender), except as necessary, to resolve the complaint, implement supportive measures, or when required by state or federal law.

Questions regarding the Sexual Misconduct Policy, process, and/or complaint procedures may be referred to Sarah Garner, Title IX coordinator, 815-753-5560, titleixcoordinator@niu.edu.

Get more information about sexual misconduct services and resources.

Reporting Options for Sexual Misconduct

You can file a sexual misconduct report or complaint with the university. There are important differences between what happens when a report or a complaint is filed. Responsible employees are required to submit reports. Additionally, any third-party who witnesses or learns of actual or suspected sexual misconduct may submit a report.

If a sexual misconduct report is filed:

  • The Title IX coordinator will contact the identified victim/survivor to discuss the availability of supportive measures and the process for filing a formal complaint.
  • Supportive measures include no-contact orders or changes to campus living, academic, or workplace arrangements.
  • Supportive measures will be kept confidential unless disclosure is necessary to provide them.
  • The filing of a sexual misconduct report will not automatically result in an investigation and the alleged offender also will not be notified that the report was filed.

An individual who has been subjected to sexual misconduct has the right to file a formal complaint with the university. If a complaint is filed:

  • The university's formal grievance process will be initiated, which includes an investigation.
  • Both you and the alleged offender will be notified in writing that the complaint was filed and an investigation has begun.
  • An investigator will gather evidence and separately interview you, the alleged offender, and any witnesses.
  • You and the alleged offender will both receive a report summarizing the evidence obtained during the investigation and have an opportunity to respond to it.
  • When the investigation is finished, a hearing will occur during which you and the alleged offender will be present, with an advisor, so that a hearing officer can make a determination of whether the alleged offender violated the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • During the hearing, you and the alleged offender will be able to ask questions of each other and the witnesses regarding the incident, through your advisor.

You can file a sexual misconduct report or complaint online, or by contacting the Title IX coordinator in-person, over the phone or via email or mail to discuss what happened.

An individual may request to remain completely anonymous or that their name or details surrounding the incident not be disclosed during the investigation process, which is called a request for confidentiality.

If a request of confidentiality is made:

  • The Title IX coordinator will determine if confidentiality can be afforded.
  • Where there is a likelihood of further harm to the complainant and/or the campus community, confidentiality may not be honored. The Title IX Coordinator may also consult with appropriate university officials regarding the request for confidentiality.
  • When confidentiality of the complainant is maintained or the complainant's identity is unknown (i.e. anonymous), the university's ability to respond and take appropriate corrective action may be impeded.
  • Nevertheless, the university will attempt to provide resources as provided herein, take steps to address the misconduct, remedy the effects and prevent its recurrence.

If you wish, a NIU confidential advisor can provide assistance with accessing and navigating campus and local health and mental health services, counseling and advocacy services.

NIU can also assist with speaking to/notifying law enforcement and filing a sexual misconduct complaint, when/if the complainant chooses to do so. To speak with a confidential advisor, contact NIU Counseling and Consultation Services, at 815-753-1206.

Questions may also be referred to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, by contacting OCR.Chicago@ed.gov.

For an emergency, call 911. Otherwise, you may call the non-emergency police department phone number to file a police report. The police department you contact is based on where the incident occurred. Below are the police departments that may be contacted for an incident that occurred in DeKalb.

For incidents that occur off-campus and outside of DeKalb, you are encouraged to contact the local police department in the city where the incident occurred. If you aren't sure which police department to contact, you may call the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety at 815-753-1212 and they will direct you to the appropriate police department.

 

  • You'll meet with a police officer to discuss what happened. The officer will give you information about services and resources.
  • An official police report will be generated. If the incident is determined to be criminal in nature, the police may continue to investigate.
  • When the investigation is complete, criminal charges may be brought against the alleged offender and the DeKalb County State's Attorney may become involved in the matter.
  • A warrant for the alleged offender's arrest may be issued, if they were not already arrested.

A police report or formal criminal complaint are not considered formal complaints with the university. While the Title IX coordinator or designee is advised of all police reports made to the NIU Department of Police and Public Safety involving alleged sexual misconduct, the Title IX coordinator might not be informed of police reports from other police departments or law enforcement agencies.

Note: Issues pertaining to criminal investigations can be complicated and confusing. This webpage is intended only to provide a brief outline of a complainant's rights and options in a criminal investigation and is not meant to serve as legal advice.

Sexual Misconduct Policy Overview

NIU can provide supportive measures such as changes to your academic, living, transportation, or work situations. Examples include:

  • Transferring to a different section of a class, or withdrawing and taking a class at another time.
  • Moving to a different room or residence hall.
  • Issuance of a campus no-contact order.
  • Changing your work hours or location.
  • Parking in a different location or getting a safety escort.

You don't need to file a formal complaint with NIU or the police in order to request supportive measures. You may contact the Title IX Coordinator to request supportive measures confidentially. The NIU Confidential Advisor or Safe Passage can also help you request supportive measures.

For more information on supportive measures, please view the complete Sexual Misconduct Policy.

If a formal sexual misconduct complaint is filed:

  • The university's formal grievance process will be initiated, which includes an investigation.
  • Both you and the alleged offender will be notified in writing that the complaint was filed and an investigation has begun.
  • An investigator will gather evidence and separately interview you, the alleged offender, and any witnesses.
  • You and the alleged offender will both receive a report summarizing the evidence obtained during the investigation and have an opportunity to respond to it.
  • When the investigation is finished, a hearing will occur during which you and the alleged offender will be present, with an advisor, so that a hearing officer can make a determination of whether the alleged offender violated the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • During the hearing, you and the alleged offender will be able to ask questions of each other and the witnesses regarding the incident, through your advisor.
  • If it is determined that a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy occurred, appropriate sanctions and/or discipline may be imposed.

Any investigation will proceed independently of any criminal or other legal proceedings. Further, the university reserves the right to forward any sexual misconduct complaint to the appropriate law enforcement agency for review if there is a concern for the safety of the complainant or campus community.

For more information on the investigation process and procedures, please view the complete Sexual Misconduct Policy.

The complainant and respondent may each have one support person present at any proceeding, other than the hearing, to provide support. Support persons may not speak on behalf of the party in any proceeding; however the complainant or respondent may consult with the support person during the proceeding.

The complainant and respondent may also have an advisor of their choice present during any stage of the formal grievance process including the hearing. Advisors are responsible for attending a hearing, if any, with the party and for conducting cross-examination during the hearing; whereas, support persons are not permitted to attend a hearing or conduct cross-examination. An advisor is required if the grievance process results in a hearing.

For more information on support persons and advisors, please view the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

What to Do if You are a Victim of Sexual Assault

Get to a Safe Place

Get away from the alleged offender as soon as possible. A safe place might be a friend's house, a domestic violence shelter or a police station.

Talk to Someone You Trust

NIU Counseling and Consultation Services provide confidential, no-cost support and advocacy to all students regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. This includes assistance navigating resources and legal options.

Preserve Physical Evidence

Physical evidence may be necessary to prosecute the offender and be helpful in obtaining an order of protection. If at all possible, do not bathe, wash your hands, use the restroom, drink, smoke, change clothing or brush your teeth following an assault.

Seek Medical Attention

Northwestern Medicine-Kishwaukee Hospital provides free emergency room medical services and evidence collection kits. Alternative medical services are also provided on campus by NIU Health Services. For severe injuries call 911 immediately.

Report the Incident

Victims are encouraged to report incidents of sexual assault to NIU Police and Public Safety or to the DeKalb Police Department. This is not a requirement. Students have additional reporting options that can be discussed with the NIU Advocacy Coordinator in Counseling and Consultation Services, Campus Life 200, 815-753-1206.

Retaliating against anyone who reports sexual misconduct is strictly prohibited. Reports of retaliatory behavior should be made to titleixcoordinator@niu.edu and will be addressed immediately.

Resources

Campus

NIU Title IX Coordinator
Sarah Garner
Health Services Building 230
815-753-5560

NIU Police and Public Safety
395 Wirtz Drive
815-753-1212

NIU Student Conduct
Campus Life Building 280
815-753-1571

Confidential Campus

NIU Confidential Advisor
Counseling and Consultation Services
Campus Life Building 200
815-753-1206

NIU Employee Assistance Program
Holmes Student Center, 7th Floor
815-753-9191

Other Campus

NIU Health Services
375 Wirtz Drive
815-306-2777

NIU Ombudsperson
Holmes Student Center, 601
815-753-1414

Local Community

Safe Passage (confidential)
DeKalb County 24-hour Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Violence Shelter
815-756-5228
815-393-1995 (text only)

KishHealth Behavior Health Services (confidential)
12 Health Services Drive
815-756-4875

Northwestern Medicine-Kishwaukee Hospital
1 Kish Hospital Drive
815-756-1521

DeKalb Police Department
700 West Lincoln Highway
815-748-8400

In case of an emergency call 911