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Administrative Policy and Procedures Manual
Section 600: Student Affairs
601.4 Relationship and Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Policy
Effective: August 3, 2004
Revised: March 2009
Review Date: March 2011
Responsible Party: Dean of Students


Montana State University-Northern intends to provide a campus atmosphere free of violence and sexual misconduct for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. This policy specifically addresses student conduct in cases of relationship and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, and is complementary to 601.3 STUDENT CONDUCT: VIOLATIONS AND OFFENSES. Non-Student employees of Montana State University-Northern should address such complaints under Policy 1001.1 EQUAL EDUCATION/EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAM.

Relationship and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are prohibited and will not be tolerated at Montana State University-Northern. These acts are crimes and are violations of MSUN policy regardless of race, ethnicity or culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability. The use of alcohol and other drugs in conjunction with an incident of relationship or dating violence, sexual assault or stalking does not lessen accountability for the commission of these acts nor diminish the seriousness of the offense. Montana State University-Northern commits to supporting victims and holding perpetrators accountable to the best of its ability as part of a Coordinated Community Response to domestic and sexual violence. Retaliation against anyone who reports these acts or their friends, family or associates is forbidden under this policy and subject to the same disciplinary action as a primary offender.

Montana State University-Northern’s Assistant Dean of Students accepts and investigates third-party reports/complaints, as described in the PROCEDURES section of Policy 601.3. The University will take action to preserve the safety and security of individuals and the entire campus community, and will aid the enforcement of any legally authorized protective action taken by a student. The University holds violations of Orders of Protection to be a violation of this policy and will initiate disciplinary action without waiting for a court decision, if University officials conclude that a violation has occurred.

Portions of this policy and its definitions may parallel published laws, but are in no way intended to substitute or supplant those laws. This policy observes the STANDARDS OF STUDENT CONDUCT set forth in Policy 601.3. As members of the University community, students are expected to comply with and abide by the University policies and guidelines, in addition to federal, state and local laws whether off campus or on campus. Certain federal laws and regulations require incidents of sexual misconduct to be reported to university official; when a university reporting authority receives such an incident report, s/he must inform the victim of the mandated notification; s/he must also follow through with a report to the designated university authority.

The University’s policy against relationship and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking meets with both the spirit and intent of its philosophy of supporting student victims and holding perpetrators accountable. It complies with the federal CRIME AWARENESS AND CAMPUS SECURITY ACT of 1990. Students found responsible for any of the acts under this policy and under the conditions of the Student Conduct Code, are subject to disciplinary action including but not limited to dismissal from the University. Based upon findings of internal University investigations and judicial process, University disciplinary action may be taken regardless of the status of any separate criminal or civil legal action.


Confidentiality: The assurance to all victim/survivors or third-party observers that information shared in a reporting session is confidential and may not be released to anyone outside the designated reporting office without written consent, with the following exceptions: 1) if the client is a danger to self or others; 2) if federal, state or local laws require designated university officials to report an incident to university administration; or 3) if a party in the incident is under 18 years of age.

Consent: The ability – legally and freely – to agree to an action or course of action, without use of force, threats, intimidation, deception, or coercion, as defined elsewhere in this policy. To give effective, informed consent, individuals must be of legal age (16) and capable of controlling their physical actions, and of making rational, reasonable decisions. Effective, informed consent contains words or actions clearly understood to mean “yes” by both parties and unimpaired by force, threats, alcohol or drugs, or any other incapacitating condition. Examples of the lack of effective, informed consent include but are not limited to the following: 1) persons under the influence of alcohol or other drugs; 2) a person who indicates verbally or by action s/he does not wish further contact with another; 3) a person who resists another’s advances, whether physically, verbally or non-verbally; 4) a person who says, “No,” after s/he has said, “Yes.”

Family Member: Includes mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, and other past or present family members of a household. These relationships include relationships created by adoption and remarriage, including stepchildren, stepparents, in-laws, and adoptive children and parents. These relationships continue regardless of the ages of the parties and whether the parties reside in the same household.

Force: The action, attempt or threat of bodily injury by one person against another, or, the threat of retaliatory action by one person which the threatened person reasonably believed the offender can carry out.

Incident Report: The formal or informal report to an official of the University, HRDC Domestic Violence program or law enforcement about relationship and dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. Under the Student Conduct Code, an Incident Report may be made by the victim/survivor, a witness, or a third party who has knowledge of or suspicion about an incident or situation. If a formal Incident Report is made to a University authority, the Assistant Dean of Students is notified and judicial proceedings may commence under Policy 601.3; if the report is informal, it is kept confidential and on file, except as noted in Confidentiality, above.

Intimate Relationship: An emotional and/or physical connection with another person. This connection may be with friends, roommates or family, and includes people who are dating, cohabiting, married, family members, and/or share a residence. This definition includes current and past relationships and may be an opposite sex or a same sex relationship.

Offender, Perpetrator, or Alleged Perpetrator: Terms variously applied to the person who acts or threatens to act violently against another person, under the definitions of the specifically prohibited acts named in this policy.

Order of Protection: An order of the court for protection of a victim, family member, or witness to relationship or sexual violence. The order may require the following actions: offender’s removal from the residence; transfer possession of property to victim (or prohibit offender from concealing or disposing of property); prohibit any threats, harassment, communication or contact with victim or family members; or order any other relief considered necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of the victim or other designated family members.

Partner(s): Persons who are spouses, former spouses, who have a child in common, and persons who have been or are currently in an intimate relationship. The relationship may be opposite sex or same sex.

Relationship violence: A pattern of behavior in which one partner uses fear and intimidation to establish power and control over the other partner, often including the threat or use of violence. Also known as domestic abuse or battering and including dating violence. Forms of relationship violence may include but are not limited to actions that cause bodily injury through physical, emotional, psychological, economic, or sexual means; and may cause reasonable fear of harm on the part of the victim/survivor, or threaten children or pets. Such violence may be done knowingly or negligently on the part of the perpetrator.

Reporting authority: Any person employed by MSU-Northern in a capacity giving him or her authority over MSUN students, and/or who might receive a report of, or have knowledge of, an incident prohibited under this policy; further, one who may be required by laws and regulations to report such an incident to university officials. Examples of such positions include, but are not limited to, residence life staff, coaches and athletic directors, faculty, staff members of Student Affairs, Judicial Affairs, Student Activity and campus security departments. Certain positions are exempted from the regulation (e.g., licensed counselors, pastoral counselors, victim advocates), if they are acting in that capacity when receiving the report. For example: A counselor who teaches a course as an adjunct faculty member receives a student’s revelation of abuse as the result of a class activity; unless the student is in counseling with the teacher in the teacher’s capacity as a counselor outside the adjunct position, the adjunct may be required to report the incident. A report of abuse against a person under the age of 18 must, by law, be reported to state family services officials.

Sexual assault: An act in which one person knowingly subjects another person to any sexual contact without effective, informed consent, including use of physical force, intentional deception and/or coercion, or if the victim is mentally or physically disabled or incarcerated. Persons under 16 years of age in Montana may not legally give consent to sexual activity, unless married. Also known as sexual misconduct and rape. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to: 1) sexual contact performed without effective, informed consent; 2) ignoring another’s objections to sexual contact, by verbal or non-verbal means; 3) causing another’s impairment by intoxication or use of drugs and engaging in sexual behavior; 4) engaging in sexual behavior by taking advantage of another person’s incapacitation by intimidation, helplessness or other inability to consent; 5) engaging in sexual intercourse without consent.

Sexual contact: I Includes touching sexual or other intimate body parts of a person directly or through clothing.

Sexual Intercourse without Consent: Engaging in the act of sexual intercourse without the consent of the other person in order to cause bodily injury or to humiliate, harass or degrade another or to arouse or gratify the sexual response or desire of another. Resistance by the victim is not required to show lack of consent; force, fear, or threat is sufficient. Also known as rape, statutory rape, and sexual assault.

Sexual Intercourse: Penetration of the vulva, anus, or mouth of one person by the penis or other body part of another person; also penetration of the vulva or anus of one person with a foreign object manipulated by another person. Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient.

Stalking: Purposely and knowingly causing another person substantial emotional distress or reasonable fear of bodily injury or death by repeatedly following, or by harassing, threatening or intimidating the victim and/or the victim’s family members or friends. Montana law prohibits stalking in person or by mail, electronic communication, or any other action, device, or method. Stalking includes attempts to contact or follow the victim after the stalker is given notice that the victim does not want to be contacted or followed.

Student: Any person who has been accepted by or is currently enrolled at Montana State University-Northern at any MSUN campus or teaching location. This policy has no jurisdiction over students from other educational institutions, public or private, nor over visitors to campus. If an MSUN employee is also a student, this policy applies when that person is engaged in activities specifically related to his or her student status and does not apply during performance of work duties.

Survivor: Term referring to the person who lived through the commission of the prohibited act. Typically used outside the disciplinary context, intended to further empower a victim of violence.

Third-Party or Bystander Report: An Incident Report made by a person not personally involved in the incident being reported. A third party may make an Incident Report to the Assistant Dean of Students about an incident witnessed either on or off campus and may lodge a complaint through the judicial process if s/he believes a violation of University policy has occurred. The judicial process for such reports or complaints may be found in Policy 601.3. Third-party reports made without a request for judicial process are kept confidential and on file, except as noted in Confidentiality, above.

Victim: Term referring to the person against whom one of the prohibited acts was allegedly committed. Typically used in the disciplinary context of discussing the incident. A primary victim is the person against whom the act is committed; a secondary victim is a person affected by the abuse, such as a friend or child who witnessed the act, but was not the target of the act.


  1. 1. MSU-Northern Administrative Policy and Procedures Manual 601.3 Student Conduct, 1001.7 Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation
  2. MCA Title 40 Family Law: Chapter 15: Partner and Family Member Assault, Sexual Assault, and Stalking -- Safety and Protection of Victims, Title 45 Crimes: Chapter 5: Offenses Against the Person, and Chapter 8: Offenses Against the Public Order.
  3. The Criminal Justice System and You: An Informational Guide for Victims of Crime. Montana Attorney General’s Office of Victim Services and Restorative Justice, Revised July 2003
  4. The University of Virginia Sexual Assault Policy.
  5. Saundra K. Schuster, Assistant Attorney General, State of Ohio, and General Counsel, Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.
  6. Leslie Taylor, Montana State University Legal Counsel.