Throughout the year, Boise State students may face issues of harassment by peers. Unfortunate as these circumstances can be, students have the right to file complaints against those who create a hostile learning environment.
Boise State alumni and recently appointed title IX/504 coordinator for the Office of the Dean of Students Annie Kerrick helps students who feel they have been a target for harassment or discrimination by fellow students.
“Someone can call the office here, they can walk in, or email me about the situation and then I would set up a meeting over the phone or in person,” Kerrick said.
Located in room 116 on the first floor of the Norco building, Kerrick’s office handles a handful of grievances.
“I deal with two types of complaints. The first is the title IX complaint and that would be sexual harassment or discrimination. That’s a lot of what we would be seeing.”
Issues like sexual assault and discrimination can be addressed through Kerrick, even if the events took place off campus.
“Potentially, if something happened off campus, but there were on campus effects, my office could handle those matters,” Kerrick said.
Kerrick does not report alleged criminal activity to the proper authorities, instead, she allows victims to do so themselves.
“I do not contact the police department, I will leave that up to the person reporting,” said Kerrick. “I would encourage them to, but that’s not my decision to make.”
When incidents are reported, Kerrick logs them with campus security in order to provide documentation should the issue arise again.
Those who come forward with 504 complaints can register them through Kerrick as well.
“That’s discrimination on the basis of disability,” Kerrick said. “Things I would see a lot for that is that students feel they are not receiving the accommodations they needed, parts of campus aren’t physically accessible.”
Students who contact Kerrick with a problem are not required to disclose their identity should they feel it unnecessary.
“If the person does not want to come forward but just wants to notify the university of a complaint, they can file it anonymously through a third party,” Kerrick said.
That third party is Kerrick, who can initiate a university investigation on the matter.
“I am working on an anonymous reporting form to go up on the dean of students website,” Kerrick said. “So people can just get online and make reports if they want to.”
Kerrick highlighted the lack of reporting incidents like harassment on campus and urged students to come forward when a problem arises.
‘The important thing is, we receive the information so we can do something to remedy the situation,” said Kerrick.
Kerricks office cannot guarantee those accused of student misconduct have the same rights they would have in the American legal system.
“Remember that we are not dealing in the criminal realm,” said Kerrick. “Your right to face your accuser may or may not apply.”
When filing a complaint, Kerrick urges alleged victims to do so with factual proof, otherwise her office may be limited in its actions.
“I would tell anyone who wanted to file a complaint anonymously that my ability to investigate and move forward may be limited based on what evidence we could gather,” said Kerrick.