A DEN article released today shared the story of an EIU student who filed a sexual misconduct claim with the University in September 2019. Her right to remain anonymous in detailing her story is fully supported by the University.
Sexual misconduct is any physical act of a sexual nature without the consent of the individuals involved. Behaviors include intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing to sexual penetration without consent.
Any EIU student who chooses to report or share accounts of sexual misconduct has an inherent right to privacy and confidentiality, afforded to them by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Student privacy rights are both a critical priority and a legal requirement of the University. They are intended to allow accusers to report incidents of misconduct—and allow the accused their right to due process—without fear of shame or retribution. For that reason, those safeguards are intensely upheld by the University.
The same safeguards—innately meant to protect our students’ confidentiality and privacy—also vastly limit EIU from sharing specific information about situations involving its students. That remains true in this case, and will remain true in the future.
Details EIU can share include the following.
The policies and procedures Eastern Illinois University has in place to address and investigate claims of sexual misconduct are methodical and comprehensive, and allow all parties due process. When a report is filed by a student seeking a formal resolution, it begins a step-by-step process that may include a thorough university investigation, a possible finding of conduct violation by EIU’s Board of Student Standards; and a corresponding recommendation for disciplinary action by the Director of EIU’s Office of Student Accountability and Support. The findings and disciplinary recommendation are then reviewed by EIU’s Vice President of Student Affairs. Once a disciplinary decision is made, it can be appealed by either party, which regularly results in a subsequent review. Disciplinary actions can take many forms, up to and including student expulsion.
To be absolutely clear, EIU’s policies and procedures do not and have never included input on disciplinary recommendations or decisions from coaches and/or athletic administrators. Nor do those policies or procedures allow external individuals to broadly overrule any disciplinary decisions resulting from a multi-layered review. Claims to the contrary are inaccurate and entirely false.
EIU continues to value and uphold the health, safety, and inherent privacy rights of all of its students. Then and now, claims of sexual misconduct are taken very seriously at EIU and its Athletic Department.
Students need to have a protected voice. The policies and procedures EIU has in place will continue to ensure those voices remain protected in the future.