Know Your Rights

Your guaranteed rights under Title IX and more

An Overview of Your Options

Criminal Court

This process begins with filing a police report, which does not obligate you to press charges and which possibly includes a rape kit.  It then concludes with the accused being found guilty or not guilty by a jury. Your advocate through this process is the Office of the State’s Attorney.

Illinois state definition of sexual assault can be found here and here. [TW: Explicit description of sexual assault]

Civil Court

This process does not require a police report and does not involve the case being brought before a jury. Instead, the plaintiff describes to the court what injury the accused has (allegedly) committed and asks the court to order the accused to provide monetary compensation or stop the conduct that is causing the harm. Civil court proceedings include suing the accused under the Gender Violence Act or requesting a Civil No-Contact Order/Order of Protection. Your advocate through this process is a private lawyer; there are pro-bono resources available which we describe later in this booklet.

For more information on what constitutes sexual assault as per the Gender Violence Act, see here. [TW: Explicit description of sexual assault]

Disciplinary Proceedings at UChicago

These procedures include the time when the survivor first discloses their experience of sexual trauma(s) to the Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call, a Resident Assistant / Head, or other mandatory reporter, up through the process of taking disciplinary action against the accused (if found guilty) according to the spirit of or stipulations enforced by Title IX and other legislation.

Please keep in mind that no University representative described in this process can promise complete privacy, except for Student Counseling.  At the very least, all players are required to document the event anonymously, according to a federal law called the Clery Act, in which university community members are secured the right to be kept apprised of crime taking place in their area.  The disciplinary proceedings section also describe steps that UChicago is required to take to protect and inform you (with caveats, which we describe) from the moment you file a complaint through the rest of your time at UChicago.  In some cases, the University is required to enact internal disciplinary procedures without the consent of the survivor in the interest of public safety.

For more information on what constitutes sexual assault at UChicago, as well as an overview of the administration’s guiding principles in resolving cases of sexual assault, see here. [TW: Explicit description of sexual assault]