Non-student reports sexual assault on campus

Christina Shaman

A non-student was allegedly sexually assaulted on April 24 at 3 a.m. in a residence hall on campus, according to an email sent out by Lafayette College Public Safety to the campus community.

The email stated that the alleged assault was committed by a person known to the victim. It is unclear at this time whether the accused is a student at the college. The victim of the alleged assault reported it to public safety, according to the email.

The incident is being investigated by public safety, according to Director of Public Safety Jeffrey Troxell. It is not being externally handled by Easton police, he said.

When an incident occurs on campus, colleges and universities must determine if a timely warning or emergency notification must be disseminated to the campus community, according to the Clery Center for Security on Campus, a nonprofit organization aiming to make campuses safe.

Troxell said that he made a judgment call to report the incident through a Clery email because there was a non-student involved. He decided to distribute it as a cautionary release, he said.

Sexual assault is strictly prohibited by Lafayette’s code of conduct. Public safety will investigate potential violations of the code whether the person that reports is a student or non-student, Director of Student Conduct Jennifer Dize wrote in an email. Investigations can include collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses and more, she wrote.

Typically, cases of sexual assault would also be investigated by the Title IX coordinator. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program and has evolved to include sexual assault as a form of sex based discrimination.

But in cases where the person who reports a sexual assault is a non-student, the incident is not investigated as a Title IX issue, since there is not a deprivation of federally funded educational rights, Title IX and Equity Coordinator Amy O’Neill wrote in an email.

“That being said, the focus switches to issues like safety and support,” O’Neill wrote.

Troxell could not comment further on the details of the case due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The college investigates allegations made against any of their students, whether the allegation is made by a student or a non-student, Vice President for Campus Life Annette Diorio wrote in an email.

“In contrast, if allegations are made against a non-Lafayette student (from one of our students or someone outside the community) the College Conduct process is not the venue we would use because we have no due process obligation to a non-student,” she wrote.