title ix

help for complainants

People who have experienced sexual misconduct or sexual violence can react in very different ways. It is not unusual to feel scared, anxious, sad, angry, numb, or confused. You may feel one of these feelings at one time or another, or all of these feelings at the same time. Every person will process their experience in their own way and at their own time.

Seek Safety and Talk to Someone

As soon as you are in a safe location, talk to someone you can trust about the incident—like a family member, friend, or counselor. 

You do not have to cope alone. MCLA encourages you to consider talking with a counselor on or off campus. While you may not feel ready to talk about what happened, a mental health counselor or counselor recognized by a religious order/denomination can provide a confidential and safe space to explore any feelings or challenges that have arisen for you after your experience. On campus confidential resources are available to all members of the MCLA community (including employees upon request) seeking advice and assistance regarding sexual harassment. They will listen, discuss concerns, provide suggestions about possible courses of action, and assist or accompany you if you need support filing a formal complaint. You can call the Elizabeth Freeman Center no cost 24-hour hotline at 866-401-2425, and you will be connected to a confidential advocate to help you think about next steps. MCLA Counseling Services can also connect you with an on-campus counselor if you contact them via email or at 413-662-5331. 

Contacting one of more these confidential resources does not prevent you from deciding to file a formal complaint in the future to Justin MacDowell, Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity.

Seek Medical Attention

MCLA Health Services is completely confidential. MCLA encourages you to seek immediate medical attention even if you are unsure whether you have any physical injuries, including an examination by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) if you’ve experienced sexual assault or a visit to a nearby ER for injuries related to other types of violence. SANE Programs provide trauma-informed, expert forensic nursing care to sexual assault survivors. They will assist you by treating any injuries and explaining options of taking medications to help prevent an assault-related pregnancy or Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) including HIV. You can also choose to be tested for STIs.

If the assault occurred within the past 5 days, you may also choose to have a medical forensic examination and forensic evidence collection kit (Kit) completed. While all emergency departments are trained to do a medical forensic exam and Kit, specific hospitals are designated as “MA SANE sites.” If you choose to receive care at a SANE site, a SANE will travel there to care for you when called by the hospital.

A medical forensic exam and Kit can be done whether or not you wish to report the assault to the police. If you are unsure, the Kit will be stored for at least 15 years during which time you can choose to report or not report.

A Rape Crisis Advocate will also come to the hospital to be with you and to offer services to help you going forward. Don’t worry about remembering everything. When you get to a hospital, the SANE or emergency room provider can explain all of your options.

If the assault has occurred within 5 days, it is best if you do not shower, bathe, or change your clothes—even if you did, you can still have evidence collected and receive medical care, including emergency contraception, medication, and STI testing. If you have changed clothes, please bring the clothes you were wearing during the assault to the hospital with you.

If you would like more information about SANE services and where they can be obtained, check out: www.mass.gov/ma-sexual-assault-nurse-examiner-SANE-program. Medical attention can reduce the risk of injury, pregnancy, and/or infection. 

Preserve Evidence

If the incident you experienced has occurred within the last 72 hours, if possible, try to preserve any evidence before your medical exam by not washing or changing clothes and bedding, brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, eating, or any other actions that might compromise evidence. Gathering evidence may still be possible if more than 24 hours has passed, and it is certainly possible to still evaluated for other injuries and be tested for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. You should preserve relevant electronic evidence like social media, text messages, or photos. Collecting and preserving evidence does not obligate you in any way to file a formal complaint with MCLA and/or the police. Collecting and preserving evidence allows you to save that information for use if you decide to take such actions in the future.

Report the Incident

MCLA strongly encourages you to report the incident, either to the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office, the police, or both. Multiple resources and reporting options are included in this brochure. The Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity can help with accommodations and protective measures – making adjustments to assist you with academics, housing, or employment. There is no time limit for reporting. When you decide you’re ready, you can report to the university, to law enforcement, or to both. Remember: You have the right not to report to the police and/or MCLA.

For resources for students, check out the Resources for Students section here.

MCLA Title IX Staff

MCLA Title IX Coordinator

Justin MacDowell
Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity
Office Location: Amsler Campus Center 106
Phone: 413-662-5571
Email: Justin.MacDowell@mcla.edu 
Mailing Address: 375 Church Street, North Adams, MA 01247

MCLA Deputy Title IX Coordinators:

Barbara Chaput
Director of Human Resources and Payroll
Office Location: Eldridge Hall - Suite 209-210
Phone: 413-662-5599
Email: Barbara.chaput@mcla.edu 

Laura Mooney
Director of Athletics
Office Location: Campus Center 101C
Phone: 413-662-5411
Email: Laura.mooney@mcla.edu

Reports to MCLA Title IX staff is private, but not confidential. . This means that the information you share may be shared with other individuals on a need to know basis in order to provide supportive measures and/or to facilitate the investigation and resolution process.

Questions? Contact Us

Justin MacDowell
Director of Title IX and Equal Opportunity
Office Location: Amsler Campus Center 106
Phone: 413-662-5571
Email: Justin.MacDowell@mcla.edu 
Mailing Address: 375 Church Street, North Adams, MA 01247