4.20 Amnesty for Complainants and Witnesses

The University of Iowa community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by complainants and witnesses. Sometimes, complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to University of Iowa officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be in violation of certain policies, such as underage drinking or use of illicit drugs at the time of the incident. Respondents may hesitate to be forthcoming during the process for the same reasons.

It is in the best interests of the University of Iowa community that complainants choose to report misconduct to University of Iowa officials, that witnesses come forward to share what they know, and that all parties be forthcoming during the process.

To encourage reporting and participation in the process, the University of Iowa maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations — such as underage consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs — related to the incident.

Amnesty does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug distribution. The decision not to offer amnesty to a respondent is based on neither sex nor gender, but on the fact that collateral misconduct is typically addressed for all students within a progressive discipline system, and the rationale for amnesty — the incentive to report serious misconduct — is rarely applicable to the respondent with respect to a complainant.

Sometimes, students are hesitant to assist others for fear that they may get in trouble themselves (for example, an underage student who has been drinking or using marijuana might hesitate to help take an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct to the University of Iowa Police Department). The University of Iowa maintains a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the University of Iowa may provide purely educational options with no official disciplinary finding, rather than punitive sanctions, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.