Amnesty Policies

Adopted from Montana State University

Purpose

Montana State University recognizes that certain barriers may exist that would prevent students from seeking medical assistance for themselves or others when someone’s health and/or safety is at risk due to alcohol and/or drug use, or where other health issues arise where alcohol or drugs are being used. Therefore, in order to ensure that students receive prompt and appropriate attention for urgent medical situations, and to ensure there are no impediments to seeking such assistance, Montana State University implemented this Medical Amnesty policy.

Policy

  • To promote the safety, health, and well being of students at Montana State University, the University expects its students and organizations to immediately contact university staff, emergency medical services or law enforcement when they have reason to believe a fellow student is too impaired/intoxicated from alcohol/drug use to seek competent professional medical help on their own, or otherwise in need of urgent medical attention. Students should act immediately and not wait for any conditions to worsen when the health and safety of someone is at risk.
  • Montana State University students and organizations who seek out and respectfully and fully comply with university, medical, or law enforcement personnel when having violated the alcohol and/or drug policy outlined in the Student Conduct Code will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions nor have conduct files created for the related alcohol/drug violations. However, if other violations occur concurrently with the alleged violations, students will be held accountable for those violations.
  • Amnesty for the reporting of sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, can be found in the Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence Stalking and Retaliation policy.
  • Students assisting and/or those in need of assistance must affirmatively contact university staff, emergency medical services or law enforcement and request their presence in order to receive amnesty. Bringing a medical issue to the attention of law enforcement or emergency medical services after they are on scene for other purposes will not result in amnesty protection. If students and organizations involved do not reach out to emergency medical services or law enforcement, they may be subject to disciplinary measures.
  • The Dean of Students or a designee will record the names of students or organizations involved in the incident for the purpose of accurate recording and future evaluation of each student’s conduct. These records shall be maintained separately from any disciplinary records but may be considered as relevant information in future decision making. In order for this provision to apply, students involved in the incident may be required to participate in an alcohol/drug education program or seek medical treatment for alcohol and/or drug abuse, but these requirements will not be recorded as sanctions.
  • Repeated use of this Medical Amnesty Policy for the purpose of avoiding disciplinary action by the University will be considered interference with the conduct process and may lead to additional disciplinary measures at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee.

»»  Amnesty Policy

Filing Reports

It is the survivor’s choice whether or not they want to file a criminal or campus report. If the survivor decides to file both, it is important to know that both investigations (criminal and campus) run parallel to one another and do not cross over boundaries.

A criminal investigation, unlike a Title IX investigation, is intended to determine whether a defendant violated criminal law.  If, at the conclusion of the criminal investigation, the defendant is tried and found guilty, the defendant may be sentenced to jail or prison, or subject to other criminal penalties. In addition, government officials responsible for criminal investigations (such as law enforcement, police, and prosecutors) generally have discretion as to which complaints, made by the public, they will investigate. 

In contrast, Title IX cases are investigated and determined by a preponderance of evidence, a “more likely than not” determination. If a survivor decides to file a Title IX investigation, they are not mandated to also file a police report. Again, a criminal investigation and a Title IX investigation are separate and different. The Phoenix Center encourages people to utilize their services to discuss in depth the pros and cons of filing either report.

Filing a police report

IMPORTANT: Filing a police report is separate and different from filing a campus report.

MSUB UPD can assist with filing an order of protection.

  1. If you are in immediate danger, call 911
  2. MSUB UPD:
    (406) 657-2147 (non-emergency)
    (406) 657-2222 (emergency)
  3. Billings Police Department
    (406) 657-8200 (non-emergency)
    911 (emergency) 

A message from Montana State University Billings University Police Department

“First, we want a survivor to know that there is NOTHING he/she did to deserve being sexually assaulted. As a police officer, we are here to help you tell your story; in doing so, it’s our hope to help you restore your strength and confidence and ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice and held responsible for the damage he/she has done.”  - MSUB UPD

What to do immediately after someone has been sexually assaulted:

  • Get to a safe place
  • Contact someone you trust: police, a friend, family member, MSUB Phoenix Center, Billings YWCA, hospital, or any resource that supports survivors.
  • Do not:
    • Shower,
    • Eat or drink
    • Use the bathroom, if possible
    • Brush your teeth
    • Douche
    • Change your clothes, no matter how dirty or violating it may make you feel.

These activities destroy important physical evidence in the event that you decide to prosecute the person who assaulted you. However, if you cannot refrain from urinating before seeking help, urinate into a clean glass jar. If you must change your clothes before seeking help, place them (including underwear) in a brown PAPER bag. Placing clothes or all other possible pieces of evidence in a plastic bag will chemically render them useless during evidence collection procedures.

  • If able, secure the scene where the assault took place.
  • Do not clean, tidy, or remove anything from the location the assault took place.
  • Get medical attention.
    • You may have hidden injuries and may want to explore options for preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. The decision to undergo a sexual assault medical exam is most often performed by a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). The exam is free. The decision to complete an exam does not hinge upon the immediate reporting of the sexual assault to law enforcement. The evidence will be sealed and frozen immediately after completing the procedure, and can be stored within a medical facility for up to two years after being collected. During this two year period, it may be used as admissible evidence in the event that a survivor feels that he/she wants to report their experience to law enforcement.
    • Write down everything that you remember happening, with as much detail as possible. This can help in any legal action you might decide to take. This is also helpful if a survivor decides to report immediately to law enforcement. The process of reporting will involve questions calling for distinct detail about the sexual assault. The more detail a survivor can recall about their experience, the stronger their case may become when presented to the County Attorney’s office.

Filing a campus report

Colleges and universities nationwide receive federal funding and are required to enforce Title IX policies. This includes the requirement to investigate reports of interpersonal violence and they must take steps to address the reports. Significant federal funding is at stake, and the federal government, through the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, holds colleges and universities accountable to handle reports accurately.  If a school fails to properly investigate and respond to Title IX complaints, the school will be found out of compliance with Title IX policies, and as a result, be fined, or lose some of their federal funding.

1)     Contact MSUB’s Title IX Coordinator either by phone, email, or via MSUB’s webpage.

  1. Phone: (406) 657-2221
  2. Email: discrimination@msubillings.edu
  3. MSUB webpage link

SOME PROS

  • Accessing resources for safety (adjusting class schedule, specific walking paths, moving residence halls)
  • Confidential support and understanding from faculty and staff
  • Campus investigation can begin (different from criminal investigation)
  • No-contact orders can be placed
  • Safety escorts
  • Preponderance of evidence (the accused is more likely than not, to have committed the crime)

SOME CONS

  • Potential re-victimization (survivor re-telling story)
  • Fear of others knowing (peers, professors, etc.)
  • The situation can feel out of the survivor’s control
  • Not feeling validated or believed if the accused is not found responsible
  • Clery reporting: only requires institutions to report on campus violations