A college or university in a free society must be devoted to the pursuit of truth and knowledge through reason and open communication among its members. Academic communities acknowledge the necessity of being intellectually stimulating where the diversity of ideas is valued. Its rules must be conceived for the purpose of furthering and protecting the rights of all members of the university community in achieving these ends. The boundaries of personal freedom are limited by applicable state and federal laws and institutional rules and regulations governing interpersonal behavior. In creating a community free from violence, sexual assault, and non-consensual sexual contact, respect for the individual and human dignity are of paramount importance. The state of New Jersey recognizes that the impact of violence on its victims and the surrounding community can be severe and long lasting. Thus, it has established this Bill of Rights to articulate requirements for policies, procedures, and services designed to insure that the needs of victims are met and that the colleges and universities in New Jersey create and maintain communities that support human dignity.
II. Bill of Rights
The following rights shall be accorded to victims of sexual assault that occur:
- On the campus of any public or independent institution of higher education in the state of New Jersey; and
- Where the victim or alleged perpetrator is a student at that institution; and/or
- When the victim is a student involved in an off-campus sexual assault.
“Campus authorities” as used in this act shall mean any individuals or organizations specified in an institution’s statement of campus security policy as the individuals or organizations to whom students and employees should report criminal offenses.
A. Human Dignity Rights
- To be free from any suggestion that victims must report the crimes to be assured of any other right guaranteed under this policy.
- To have any allegations of sexual assault treated seriously; the right to be treated with dignity.
- To be free from any suggestion that victims are responsible for the commission of crimes against them.
- To be free from any suggestion that victims were contributorily negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted.
- To be free from any pressure from campus personnel to:
- Report crimes if the victim does not wish to do so.
- Report crimes as lesser offenses than the victim perceives the crime to be.
- Refrain from reporting crimes.
- Refrain from reporting crimes to avoid unwanted personal publicity.
B. Rights to Resources On/Off-Campus
- To be notified of existing campus- and community-based medical, counseling, mental health, and student services for victims of sexual assault whether or not the crime is formally reported to campus or civil authorities.
- To have access to campus counseling under the same terms and conditions as apply to other students in their institution seeking such counseling.
- To be informed of and assisted in exercising:
- Any rights to confidential or anonymous testing for sexually transmitted diseases, human immunodeficiency virus, and/or pregnancy.
- Any rights that may be provided by law to compel and disclose the results of testing of sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases.
C. Campus Judicial Rights
- To be afforded the same access to legal assistance as the accused.
- To be afforded the same opportunity to have others present during any campus disciplinary proceeding that is allowed the accused.
- To be notified of the outcome of the sexual assault disciplinary proceeding against the accused.
D. Legal Rights
- To have any allegation of sexual assault investigated and adjudicated by the appropriate criminal and civil authorities of the jurisdiction in which the sexual assault occurred.
- To receive full and prompt cooperation and assistance of campus personnel in notifying the proper authorities.
- To receive full, prompt, and victim-sensitive cooperation of campus personnel with regard to obtaining, securing, and maintaining evidence, including a medical examination when it is necessary to preserve evidence of the assault.
E. Campus Intervention Rights
- To require campus personnel to take reasonable and necessary actions to prevent further unwanted contact of victims by their alleged assailants.
- To be notified of the options for and available assistance in changing academic and living situations after an alleged sexual assault incident if so requested by the victim and if such changes are reasonably available.
F. Statutory Mandates
- Each campus must guarantee that this Bill of Rights is implemented. It is the obligation of the individual campus governing board to examine resources dedicated to services required and to make appropriate requests to increase or reallocate resources where necessary to ensure implementation.
- Each campus shall make every reasonable effort to ensure that every student at that institution receives a copy of this document.
- Nothing in this act or in any “Campus Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights” developed in accordance with the provisions of this act, shall be construed to preclude or in any way restrict any public or independent institution of higher education in the state from reporting any suspected crime or offense to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.