NIU attacks sex crimes

By Paul Wagner and Daron Walker

Editor’s note: This is the last of a four-part series about alcohol-related problems in the Greek Row area. Part four focuses on sexual assault at NIU.

While NIU cannot prosecute cases of sexual assault, the judicial board can take action against persons found guilty of sexual assault.

Jon Dalton, vice president for student affairs, said many little sister programs and Ladies Night Out activities sponsored by fraternities involve heavy drinking by minors. “This is a situation where a lot of date rape occurs,” he said.

NIU Judicial Office Director Larry Bolles said most reported cases of sexual assault are aimed at women. Many are reluctant to file formal complaints with the police because they fear their names will be made public, he said.

“Some students (who have been assaulted) do come in and say they want to do something but don’t want to go to the criminal court system,” Bolles said. Because NIU judicial records are confidential, details of the case, including names, cannot legally be made public, he said.

Bolles said he encourages victims to file complaints with the judicial office and police. “We can remove them (violators) from the university (by expulsion) and ban them from the campus.” Criminal courts have the authority to sentence violators to jail terms, he said.

Student Association Welfare Adviser Julie Stege said there were 13 sexual assaults reported at NIU last year, but she said most assaults are not reported.

Dalton said the number of reported assaults have increased this year after advertising efforts were increased. There have been 15 to 20 complaints this year, he said.

Stege said she would like to see more education as to what assault is and how it can be prevented. Such a program might increase the number of people who come forward and decrease the number of assaults, she said.

Bolles said the Student Judicial Code does not specifically define sexual assault, but it is included under “sexual harassment.” The code states harassment is “intentionally harassing, coercing, intimidating, threatening or seriously embarrassing any person through conduct which would offend a person.”

Determination of whether a person is guilty of sexual assault is made by the judicial board, Bolles said.

Stege said sexual assault is not confined to one area of campus. “This happens everywhere. Obviously, acquaintance rape happens in the residence halls (and elsewhere),” she said.

Bolles would not comment on where complaints of sexual assault he has received took place. “I don’t want to single out anybody or any area,” he said.

Stege said many people can avoid sexual assault by knowing their drinking limits and not exceeding them.

Individuals who have been assaulted should contact NIU counseling offices, Stege said. “The most important thing is that they (victim’s of assault) get counseling.”