Indiana University broadens sexual misconduct policy

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (March 3, 2015)-- Indiana University released a comprehensive sexual misconduct policy on Tuesday. The revised, university-wide policy contains new definitions of consent, specific steps on how to report a crime, and even an outline of the investigative process. It's a project the university system has been working on for months.

"More and more universities have started to look at their own policies," said Michael Hurst, Executive Director, of Legacy House.

Indiana University said they had policies to deal with sexual misconduct in place but believe it was more beneficial for students to gather them under one umbrella.

The most significant parts of the policy include the definition of consent, given for a specific sexual act. The policy states it cannot be based on silence, done under the influence, or assumed by any prior sexual conduct.

The policy also defines responsible employees as those who have an obligation to report sexual misconduct relayed to them, clearly defining their responsibilities and processes to follow. These can include employees like professors, advisors, and residence hall staff.

The policy also maintains system-wide educational programming for students and training for staff that are required to report.

"It provides a very specific procedure for how the investigation should go," said Hurst.

Hurst is working with other universities in Indiana, formalizing more specific plans like Indiana University's, for best practices for dealing with sexual misconduct.

He said it's not surprising universities are toughening policies, with a push coming from President Obama.

"Over the past year or several years, we've had a couple high profile sexual assault incidents, that happened on campuses. And President Obama and the current federal administration have made assaults on campus a priority," he said.

Students told CBS4 they support the extra attention.

"I think it's good to raise that kind of awareness for this stuff," said Samantha Champion.

"I think a lot of people wouldn't know where to go or who to talk to," said Kendra Haste.

Ball State University revised their policy last summer. You can find it here.

Purdue University has a number of policies on the books that pertain to sexual misconduct, but you can find them located at a number of different links, here, here, and here.

Butler University is in the process of a policy revision which is being formalized and posted in the coming days.

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