Delta extends fairness to sexual assault victims, compared to other institutions

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On the evening of Oct. 9, a man exposed himself and made a rude comment to a female student in the Science and Math building. 

The incident was reported to the police, who started an investigation and sent an email notification to Delta College students and faculty. Police followed this up with a video clip of the perpetrator, asking for help identifying the individual. 

How much of a problem is sexual assault on the Delta campus?

Every campus across the country must report their crime statistics in a federally mandated report called the Jeanne Clery disclosure of Campus Security Policies and Campus Crime Statistics Act. 

According to the Clery, Delta had one reported rape on-campus in 2018. There were no cases reported in 2016 and 2017. 

In 2016 there were three cases of forcible fondling; two cases in 2017, and two in 2018.  

There were no cases of rape or sexual assault reported during this period at the Manteca Farm campus, the Mountain House campus, or the Galt Learning Center.  

“There is a perception that Delta College is an unsafe campus. A lot of this is fueled by rumor,” said Sergeant Jim Bock at the Delta Police department. “Keep in mind there are people out there that will be victimized and will not come forward; but for the most part the vast majority of the crimes on this campus are disturbances because people don’t get along, or petty theft issues. When it comes to serious crimes we are statistically so far below even the two malls that are across the street. Perception isn’t always reality.” 

When a rape or sexual assault happens on campus, the police investigate the criminal side of the matter. Every federally-funded school also has a Title IX Coordinator to investigate the administrative side of the incident. 

Title IX is a Federal law requiring schools to investigate rape and sexual assault on any campus in the country. 

When a rape is reported, the police will begin their investigation and then send a report to the school’s Title IX Coordinator.

The University of Michigan (UMich) was recently in the news because of how they chose to implement their Title IX investigation.

An appeals court had given UMich the option of allowing lawyers to come in to cross-examine each witness to find the truth of a complaint, or the less-preferable option of allowing the accused rapist to cross-examine the victim.  

The university decided to go with the cheaper option. In a sexual misconduct proceeding, UMich would only allow cross-examination by the two parties involved – regardless of the trauma it could produce for a victim to be cross-examined by their attacker. 

 “Questioning by personal advisors – often attorneys – is not allowed at U-M out of concern that not all students would be able to afford counsel,” University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said in an article by The College Fix, a non-profit organization of journalists. 

Hiring a lawyer can cost between $100 and $400 per hour in the U.S., and rape cases can take a long time to prepare and litigate. 

“I think that requiring direct cross-examination during a live hearing will discourage complainants from coming forward to report sexual misconduct to their colleges,” said Jennifer Boland, Title IX Coordinator at Delta College, in an email interview.

“I explain rights and obligations to both the complainant and respondent,” said Boland. “In some cases, it may be agreed upon to resolve a complaint through an informal process. If this is not applicable, it is then assigned to an independent investigator who is not employed by the District to investigate. Both the complainant and the respondent may choose to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, which may be an attorney. We do not have a live hearing in which the respondent may cross-examine the complainant or vice versa.”