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Victims Rights

Western Carolina campus


At Western Carolina University we care about the safety of those in our campus community, and it is our priority to support our students. If you choose to disclose a recent crime, or imminent or ongoing criminal threat including sexual assault, University personnel must report such information to University Police. If you choose not to disclose such information to University personnel, you have numerous resources available to you, including WCU Counseling and Psychological Services (828-227-7469) and REACH of Macon County (828-586-8969).

Crime Victims' Rights Explained

Federal and state laws offer rights to victims of crime including those inflicted with pain, suffering, property loss and physical loss due to domestic violence, sexual assault, drunk driving, elder abuse, robbery, physical abuse and other crimes.The federal law, known as the Justice for All Act, was signed by President George W. Bush on Oct. 30, 2004. The act contains four major sections related to crime victims and the criminal justice process. The first section of the act establishes the rights of crime victims in federal criminal proceedings and provides mechanisms for enforcing these rights.

In November 1996, North Carolina voters amended the State Constitution by adding Section 37 of Article 1, Declaration of Rights, establishing the Rights of Victims of Crime. The amendment provides that victims of crime, as prescribed by law, shall be entitled to certain basic rights.

Both federal and state law provides a definition of a victim. It is important to know whether or not you meet the legal definition of a victim in order to receive mandated services and notification.

Sec.37. Rights of victims of crime

1. Basic rights. Victims of crime, as prescribed by law, shall be entitled to the following basic rights:

  • The right as prescribed by law to be informed of and to be present at court proceedings of the accused.
  • The right to be heard at sentencing of the accused in the manner prescribed by law, and at other times as prescribed by law or deemed appropriate by the court.
  • The right as prescribed by law to receive restitution.
  • The right as prescribed by law to be given information about the crime, how the criminal justice system works, the rights of victims, and the availability of services for victims.
  • The right s prescribed by law to receive information about the conviction or final disposition and sentence of the accused.
  • The right as prescribed by law to receive notification of escape, release, proposed parole or pardon of the accused, or notice of a reprieve or commutation of the accused's sentence.
  • The right as prescribed by law to present their views and concerns to the Governor or agency considering any action that could result in the release of the accused, prior to such action becoming effective.
  • The right as prescribed by law to confer with the prosecution.

2. No money damages; other enforcement. Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a claim for money damages against the State, a county, a municipality, or any of the agencies, instrumentalities, or employees thereof. The General Assembly may provide for other remedies to ensure adequate enforcement of this section.

3. No ground for relief in criminal case. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service provided under this section may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case, an inmate, or any other accused as a ground for relief in any trial, appeal, post-conviction litigation, habeas corpus, civil action, or any similar criminal or civil proceeding. (1995, c. 438, s. 1.)

A CSA is defined as "an official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline, and campus judicial proceedings." Western Carolina University has identified our officials who meet these criteria and has informed them of their responsibilities. This can be found outlined in Campus Policy 116 VIII.

The University CSAs must immediately verbally report via telephone at (828) 227-8911 information about potential crimes, including Clery Crimes, to the University Police Department in accordance with this Policy for investigation, if possible, and potential inclusion in the Annual Security Report. CSAs who are unsure whether an incident is a Clery Crime should report it. Notice to the University Police Department should be made orally where circumstances demand, but shall be followed with written notice. All documentation of a crime report shall be preserved pursuant to federal, state and local law as well as University policy.

The Chancellor, members of the Chancellor's Executive Council, and Deans shall identify persons within their areas who are designated as CSAs under this Policy. The names of all identified persons shall be provided to the Clery Coordinator no later than August 1 of each year. Employees who are hired after August 1 and are designated as CSAs under this policy must be immediately identified to the Clery Coordinator and must receive CSA training within thirty (30) calendar days from the employee's start date.

CSA's are defined by their University function; not by job title. If someone has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, he or she is a CSA. While an individual's ordinary responsibilities and functions at the University would not classify them as a CSA, the individual may take on a responsibility which would then qualify them as a CSA, for example, if an employee or volunteer organizes or helps lead a student trip or outing. Individuals who have responsibility for campus security, other than University Police or the Director of Emergency Management, are also CSAs, such as security personnel at athletic events.



University Police;

Athletic coaches and assistant coaches;

Student Crisis Response Team  members;

Athletic trainers

Residential Living staff, including Resident Assistants, 

Resident Directors, and administrative staff

Building coordinators

Health Services staff

Director of Highlands Biological Station

Emergency services staff

Director of Cherokee Center

Counseling and Psychological Services staff

Director of Programs at Biltmore

Advisors to Recognized Student Organizations

Advisors to club sports

Intercultural Affairs staff

Student Support Services staff

Other Student Affairs Professional staff,

designated by the Vice Chancellor 0f Student Affairs

Academic Success Centers staff

Athletic Director and Assistant Athletic Directors

Deans, Associate/Assistant Deans and their administrative staff

Office of Undergraduate Studies staff

Director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Programs

Advising Center staff

Disability Services staff

Emergency Line


Counseling & Psychological Services


Health Services


Intercultural Affairs


Student Affairs


Student Community Ethics


Residential Living


University Police


Jackson County Department of Public Health


Jackson County Sheriff's Office


MedWest Harris


Sylva Police Department


Smoky Mountain Counseling Center


Center for Domestic Peace


Reach of Haywood County


WNC Mobile Mental Health Crisis Line


District Attorney’s Office


Our Voice


Help Mate


Rape Victim Assistance Program





800.342.2437   (English)   800.344.7432 (Spanish)

National Sexual Assault Hotline


North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault


30th Judicial District DV-SA Alliance


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