2010 Jeanne Clery Act Report: Center for European Studies and Architecture

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Virginia Tech Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report
Center for European Studies and Architecture

The Virginia Tech Police Department has been designated as the department responsible for compiling and publishing the university’s annual security and fire safety report. This document is intended to serve as the annual security and fire safety report, as required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The purpose of the report is to provide information about security on campus to include: campus and community crime statistics, fire statistics and safety information, policy information, safety tips, resource phone numbers and a brief overview of the many services the university provides. Keep this information where it can be easily located; it provides you with a useful reference source of information.

Information for this report is compiled from reports provided by Campus Security Authorities including, but not limited to, the Office of Student Conduct, Environmental Health and Safety, the Dean of Students Office, the Virginia Tech Women’s Center, and the Office of Residence Life. Statistics are also compiled from law enforcement agencies in jurisdictions that Virginia Tech owns, leases or controls property or those with jurisdiction on adjacent property.
Virginia Tech is committed to providing the members of the campus community and visitors with the safest and most secure environment possible, however, even the most extensive initiatives cannot succeed without the awareness and cooperation of the community members who work, study and live on campus. Crime information for the Center for European Studies and Architecture is obtained from the Managing Director of the Facility and the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento. Individuals who want to report crimes for inclusion in the Annual Security Report, or for the purpose of making timely warning reports, should report them to the Managing Director of the Facility.

Campus Overview

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Switzerland – Center for European Studies and Architecture

Virginia Tech’s 250-year old Villa Casa Maderni in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland has been beautifully restored and serves as a Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) on Lake Lugano by the Italian border. The Villa has computers, an architecture studio, a small library, classrooms, and dormitory and dining (professional kitchen) rooms. Language instruction is offered by local professors, while other courses are taught by Virginia Tech faculty. A variety of semester and summer programs are scheduled to offer a learning experience that goes beyond the textbook and classroom to the people, museums, and cultures surrounding the site. Students and faculty live in the remodeled villa or in nearby apartments. All meals are served in the villa family style.

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Law Enforcement Services

Day to day law enforcement services to the CESA are provided by the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento. The Virginia Tech Police Department does not have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento, since the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento investigates all crimes within their jurisdiction. The Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento does not notify Virginia Tech when students are involved in law violations, nor do they submit student conduct referrals.

Policies and Regulations

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Timely Warning / Crime Alerts

Timely Warnings will be provided to the community in the event of a reported crime, either on campus or off, that, in the judgment of the Chief of the Virginia Tech Police Department or a designee, constitutes an ongoing or continuing serious threat to the university community. Timely Warnings can only be issued if the Virginia Tech Police Department receives information either from the Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento or the Managing Director of the CESA.

The warnings are generally written by the Chief of Police or a designee and they are typically distributed to the community via email to anyone who has a vt.edu email address by University Relations. However, because of the fact that the CESA is located in Switzerland, many if not all of the students do not utilize cellphones while at the Villa. Therefore, they might not be in the position to receive a Timely Warning via their vt.edu e-mail address in a timely manner. A Timely Warning for the CESA will be distributed in the same manner as noted above in “Emergency Notifications”. That is, via the email list serve set up by the Managing Director, door to door notification, posting of flyers and a phone tree for the CESA facility and the area apartments. If someone from University Relations is unavailable, there are several administrators in the Virginia Tech Police Department who can initiate a Timely Warning for the CESA. The Timely Warning notices are also posted on the Virginia Tech Police Department website. Updates to the CESA about any particular case resulting in a Timely Warning will normally be distributed in the same fashion as noted above, that is email list serve set up by the Managing Director, door to door notification, posting of flyers and a phone tree for the CESA facility and the area apartments.

Timely Warnings are usually distributed for the following Uniformed Crime Reporting Program (UCR)/National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) classifications: arson, criminal homicide, and robbery. Cases of aggravated assault and sex offenses are considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the facts of the case and the information known by the Virginia Tech Police Department. For example, if an assault occurs between two students who have a disagreement, there may be no on-going threat to other VT community members and a Timely Warning would not be distributed. The Virginia Tech Police Chief or designee reviews all reports to determine if there is an on-going threat to the community and if the distribution of a Timely Warning is warranted. Timely Warnings may also be posted for other crime classifications, as deemed necessary.

The internal process for providing warnings at the Riva Campus is by e-mail, phone or by immediately notifying by voice to the entire community. The community is reachable within a few minutes from the occurrence of the event. All faculty are provided a cell phone (operative worldwide) and can be reached immediately when traveling with students. The CESA maintains a listserv with all e-mail addresses of students and faculty in residency as well as some administrators at Virginia Tech. Students traveling on weekends or breaks can usually be contacted by e-mail or by phone (text or call). All students traveling overnight during the semester must fill out a travel form in order for the CESA to be able to contact them in case of any emergencies.

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Missing Person Policy

If a member of the CESA community has reason to believe that a student who resides at the Villa is missing, he or she should immediately notify the Managing Director of the CESA. The Managing Director is responsible for notifying the Virginia Tech Police Department at 540­231­6411 and the Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento or the United States Embassy. The Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento will generate a missing person report and initiate an investigation.

After investigating the missing person report, should the Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento determine that the student is missing and has been missing for more than 24 hours, the Managing Director of the CESA, or designee, will immediately notify the Virginia Tech Police Department so that they may notify the student’s emergency contact, or confidentially identified individual, no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing. If the missing student is under the age of 18 and is not an emancipated individual, the Virginia Tech Police Department will notify the student’s parent or legal guardian immediately after Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento has determined that the student has been missing for more than 24 hours. As per requirement of the law, the Virginia Tech Police Department will inform the Blacksburg Police Department of any missing student in order to inform them that Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento has conducted an initial investigation and has determined that a student is missing. This notification will be made no later than 24 hours after the student is determined to be missing.

In addition to registering an emergency contact, students residing in on-campus housing have the option to identify, confidentially, an individual to be contacted by Virginia Tech in the event the student is determined to be missing for more than 24 hours. Students who wish to identify a confidential contact can do so through the Hokie Spa web site. This confidential contact information will be accessible only to authorized campus officials and law enforcement and it will not be disclosed outside of a missing person investigation.

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Access to Campus Buildings

Security and access control design standards have been developed for new and renovated buildings owned by the university. Academic and administrative buildings are open to the public from 7:30 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday, during operating hours and are secured after operating hours and on the weekends. All students have a digital key to provide them access to the facility.

Virginia Tech has designed policies and regulations in order to create a safe and harmonious environment for the members of its community. Administrators review security access and address issues related to lighting and other unsafe conditions on a routine basis. On site staff fix any problems noted.

All campus community members and visitors of the university are required to obey these regulations. These policies not only reflect the university’s high standards of conduct, but also local, state and federal laws. Observed and enforced, they create a significant degree of safety for the university community.

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Alcohol and Drugs

Virginia Tech recognizes that the misuse and abuse of alcohol is a persistent social and health problem of major proportion in our society and that it interferes with the goals and objectives of any educational institution. Accordingly, Virginia Tech does not encourage the use of alcoholic beverages and strongly discourages illegal or otherwise irresponsible use of alcohol. Members of the university community are responsible for their decisions regarding their use of alcohol as well as their behavior, which occur as a result of these decisions. In this context, Virginia Tech created a comprehensive policy on Alcoholic Beverages and Other Controlled Substances. This policy can be found in the University Polices for Student Life and on the Web at http://www.studentconduct.vt.edu.

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Alcohol Policy

Virginia Tech fully complies with the alcohol regulations of the Commonwealth of Virginia. All state laws apply to Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff and visitors while in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These laws prohibit possession, distribution and consumption of all alcoholic beverages by persons less than 21 years of age while in the Commonwealth of Virginia. To maintain conditions conducive to a learning environment, and to ensure that all community members are in a safe, productive environment, the university further restricts the use of alcohol within specified criteria. For more comprehensive details, please refer to the University’s Policy on Alcoholic Beverages at http://www.policies.vt.edu/1015.pdf.

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Controlled Substances

The university strictly prohibits the illegal use or possession of any controlled substance. The illegal use of controlled substances is incompatible with the goals of an academic community. Students found guilty of possessing, using, distributing, or selling controlled substances will face serious disciplinary action, which may include suspension and/or dismissal from the university upon the first offense. For more comprehensive details, please refer to the University’s Policy for a Drug Free University at http://www.policies.vt.edu/1020.pdf.

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Pastoral and Professional Counselors

The Center for Eastern European Studies does not have any pastoral or professional counselors, therefore, there are no policies encouraging counselors to inform persons about reporting crimes on a voluntary, confidential basis for inclusion in the annual disclosure of crime statistics.

Emergency Preparedness

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Emergency Notifications

If an emergency notification is required to the CESA community, there are several methods available. These methods include an email list serve, door to door notification, posting of flyers and a phone tree for the CESA facility and the area apartments. These methods may be used singularly or in concert, as the situation warrants. If there is an emergency in the village a siren will sound telling residents to enter the streets and seek additional information from local police and first responders. Emergency notifications may be issued by the Managing Director of the CESA, or the Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento. By means of select email distributions to select groups, University Relations and the Virginia Tech Police Department can send email notifications as needed.

The Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento is primarily responsible for confirming that there is a significant emergency or dangerous situation on campus that could cause an immediate threat to the health and safety of the members of the campus community. The Managing Director or designee could be in a position to confirm certain types of emergencies, such as a pandemic flu outbreak, etc. The Office of University Relations, the Virginia Tech Police Department and/or Director of Emergency Management have access to the systems to notify the campus community of immediate threats that have occurred and necessitate evacuation, shelter in place or other action on the part of students, employees, and campus visitors. These three departments have the authority to determine the appropriate segment or segments of the campus community that will receive alerts, to determine the content of the alert, and to initiate the notification system. The institution typically provides follow-up information to the community using the same systems that were used to send out the original alert.

Virginia Tech will immediately notify the campus community upon the confirmation, from the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento or authorized staff member at the CESA, of a significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or staff occurring at the Villa. One of the three listed departments above will, without delay, and taking into account the safety of the community, determine the content of the notification and initiate the notification system based on information received from the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento, unless issuing a notification will, in the professional judgment of first responders, compromise efforts to assist a victim or to contain, respond to, or otherwise mitigate the emergency. The typical first responders to an incident that causes an immediate threat to the health and safety of the Virginia Tech community at the CESA include the Repubblica e Cantone TicinoDipartimento.

In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended and Section 23-9.2:11 of the Code of Virginia, the university has implemented a comprehensive communications system, VT Alerts, to provide prompt warning notifications and alerts of immediate threats to the health and safety of members of the campus community using a variety of methods, including but not limited to: email notices; phone, cellular phone, and text messages; and university website notices. VT Alerts is not currently available for the CESA campus.
Annually, the Offices of University Relations and Human Resources provide communications to the university community regarding university procedures for authorized closings and receiving emergency alerts. Additional information about the “Alert” process can be found in the University Safety and Security Policy at: http://www.policies.vt.edu/5615.pdf.

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Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness and information on what to do in an emergency can be found on the “Emergency Preparedness…It’s Every Hokies’ Responsibility!” flyer at: http://www.emergency.vt.edu/Emergency_Preparedness_Poster.pdf. More in depth information is contained in the Virginia Tech “Emergency Information Desk Reference” at: http://www.emergency.vt.edu/EmergencyGuidelines.pdf. The desk reference provides response guidance for students, faculty, staff and visitors for a many emergency scenarios. In an emergency it is important to remember three important things: do not take unnecessary risks; there is no substitute for remaining calm; and always use common sense.

University departments and satellite campuses are responsible for developing emergency action plans and continuity of operations plans for their staff and areas of responsibility. The University conducts numerous emergency response exercises each year, such as table top exercises, field exercises, and tests of the emergency notification systems on campus. These tests are designed to assess and evaluate the emergency plans and capabilities of the institution. Testing of these systems may be announced or unannounced. See Table 1 below for drills and emergency response training conducted in 2010.

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Table 1: Drills and emergency response training conducted in 2010

Drill Date Time
Evacuation/Fire Drill January 16, 2010 1115
Evacuation/Fire Drill January 19,2010 1115
Evacuation/Fire Drill May 19, 2010 1100
Evacuation/Fire Drill May 20, 2010 2200
Evacuation/Fire Drill May 26, 2010 2100
Evacuation/Fire Drill May 31, 2010 2100
Evacuation/Fire Drill June 4, 2010 2100
Evacuation/Fire Drill June 28, 2010 2100
Evacuation/Fire Drill August 17, 2010 1115

When a serious incident occurs that causes an immediate threat, the first responders to the scene at the CESA campus will be the Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento (police) as well as other jurisdictions, as applicable. These agencies work together to manage the incident.

General information, about the emergency response and evacuation procedures for Virginia Tech, is publicized each year as part of the institution’s Clery Act compliance efforts.

Virginia Tech will notify the university community of its emergency notification, emergency response and evacuation procedures via email, in conjunction with at least one drill or exercise each calendar year. Information related to emergency notifications and emergency guidelines can be found at http://www.emergency.vt.edu. Information related to evacuation procedures can be found at http://www.ehss.vt.edu.

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Emergency Evacuation Procedures

Emergency response and evacuation procedures are tested at least annually and may be announced or unannounced. The purpose of the drills is to provide staff practice in the event there is ever a real fire or other evacuation emergency. The evacuation drills prepare building occupants for an organized evacuation in case of a fire or other emergency. Evacuation drills are used as a way to educate and train occupants on fire safety issues specific to their building. During the drill, occupants familiarize themselves with procedures and the location of exits and the sound of the fire alarm. Alarms and other components of the fire safety system are also checked to see that they are working properly. Be sure you know what to do when the fire alarm sounds, and always evacuate!

Each university department or unit must develop an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that outlines the actions occupants in the building must take during emergencies. Evacuation planning is a part of each department's EAP. Once you have reviewed your evacuation and fire prevention plans with your employees, practice drills are recommended to ensure that the employees are prepared for emergencies. Satellite campuses may have a management company that creates and maintains plans and documentation for the entire facility.

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Shelter-in-Place Procedures – What it Means to Shelter-in-Place

If an incident occurs and the buildings or areas around you become unstable, or if the air outdoors becomes dangerous due to toxic or irritating substances, it is usually safer to stay indoors, because leaving the area may expose you to that danger. Thus, to shelter-in-place means to make a shelter of the building that you are in, and with a few adjustments this location can be made even safer and more comfortable until it is safe to go outside.

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Basic Shelter-in-Place Guidance

If an incident occurs and the building you are in is not damaged, stay inside in an interior room until you are told it is safe to come out. If your building is damaged, take your personal belongings (purse, wallet, Hokie passport, etc.) and follow the evacuation procedures for your building (close your door, proceed to the nearest exit, and use the stairs instead of the elevators). Once you have evacuated, seek shelter at the nearest University building quickly. If police, fire department or other first responder personnel are on the scene, follow their directions.

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How You Will Know to Shelter-in-Place

A shelter-in-place notification may come from several sources, including the Virginia Tech Police Department, Housing Staff members, other University employees, or other authorities. VT Alerts will be the primary means of disseminating the notification however other means of communication may also be employed.

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How to Shelter-in-Place

No matter where you are, the basic steps of shelter-in-place will generally remain the same. Should the need ever arise; follow these steps, unless instructed otherwise by local emergency personnel:

  1. If you are inside, stay where you are. Collect any emergency shelter-in-place supplies and a telephone to be used in case of emergency. If you are outdoors, proceed into the closest building quickly or follow instructions from emergency personnel on the scene.
  2. Locate a room to shelter inside. It should be:
    1. An interior room;
    2. Above ground level; and
    3. Without windows or with the least number of windows. If there is a large group of people inside a particular building, several rooms maybe necessary.
  3. Shut and lock all windows (tighter seal) and close exterior doors.
  4. Turn off air conditioners, heaters, and fans.
  5. Close vents to ventilation systems as you are able. (University staff will turn off the ventilation as quickly as possible.)
  6. Make a list of the people with you and ask someone (House Staff, faculty, or other staff) to call the list in to the Repubblica e Cantone Ticino Dipartimento so they know where you are sheltering. If only students are present, one of the students should call in the list.
  7. Turn on a radio or TV and listen for further instructions.
  8. Make yourself comfortable.
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Reporting a Crime or Getting Emergency Assistance

Individuals are responsible for being aware of and complying with university policies/procedures, and applicable law. Employees and students are encouraged and obligated to accurately, voluntarily and promptly report crimes, emergencies, potential threats, or risks to the appropriate law enforcement agency or university office(s). Crimes and other emergencies should be reported to the Canton Ticino Police at: 117 or Center UIR (Unità di Intervento Regionale) in Mendrisio at: 0041 91 815 94 01. Students may also seek assistance through the US embassy/consulate. To view all option visit: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1034.html#victim and scroll down to “Information for Victims of Crime” chapter.

The CESA Campus does not have any policies or procedures that allow victims or witnesses to report crimes on a voluntary, confidential basis for inclusion in the annual disclosure of crime statistics.

The Virginia Tech Police Department encourages everyone that has become a victim of crime to come forward and report to the police. However, on occasion and depending on the nature of the crime the victim refuses to press charges. This is the victim's option. Students also have the option of contacting other university resources on the main campus, such as the Virginia Tech Women’s Center, Office of Student Conduct, Cook Counseling Center, McComas Health Center, or academic advisors who will assist with notifications, if desired. Crimes can also be reported to the Virginia Tech Police Department for the purpose of making a timely warning reports and the annual statistical disclosure.

Services and Prevention Information

All Virginia Tech students have access to services offered on the main campus regardless of the location of the extended campus where they are taking classes. Crime prevention, safety and security, sexual assault and other programs are available upon request.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Services

The Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center, located in 147 McComas Hall is the university resources for alcohol abuse prevention. They may be contacted at 540-231-2233 or CAAPC@vt.edu. Drug education prevention is provided by A.D.A.P.T. (Alcohol and Drug Prevention Team). ADAPT Peer Educators are dedicated to addressing alcohol and other drug abuse issues in the Virginia Tech community.

ADAPT members promote awareness through educational programs and outreach, while serving as accessible resources for fellow students. ADAPT members strive to minimize the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in an effort to encourage students to pursue positive behavioral changes, and to promote a healthier environment at Virginia Tech. They can be contacted through the Office of Student Conduct in Suite 141 New Hall West or at 540-231-3790.

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Safety and Security Programs

The Virginia Tech Police Department has a full time crime prevention unit that provides educational programming, security surveys, and other crime prevention functions to the university community. Educational programs located on the Blacksburg campus include Student Police Academy, Alcohol Awareness, Bicycle Safety, Drug Awareness, Operation ID, Personal and Property Safety (basic crime prevention and personal safety), Rape Aggression Defense and Women's Awareness and Safety. All programs are available to faculty, staff and students upon request or if a need becomes apparent. While the Virginia Tech Police Department will not present programming to the CESA, they may forward information via the mail, internet or email, upon request.

Crime prevention programs for satellite campuses are supplemented by local law enforcement agencies. The administration of the CESA should be contacted to determine what types of classes are available. Any requests for programs will be forwarded by the administration at the CESA to the resource best suited to meet the request. There has not been any crime prevention programs conducted during the previous three years.

Sexual Assault and Prevention

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Sexual Assault/Sex Offenses

Sexual Assault is a crime punishable by both civil and criminal legal action. The University Student Conduct System administered through the Office of Student Conduct adjudicates, at the request of the victim, all cases involving sex offenses in which the alleged perpetrator is a Virginia Tech Student. Virginia Tech also encourages victims to prosecute alleged perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law. There are several avenues for assistance if a person becomes the victim of a sex offense.

Victims of sexual assault tend to feel a variety of conflicting emotions: rage, fear, depression, relief to have survived, numbness, and exhaustion, to name just a few. Two key points to remember are that the assault was not your fault and there is help available.

The Virginia Tech Police Department is always available and ready to assist if needed. The Virginia Tech Police Department is a valuable resource for information. The department has educational literature available on prevention methods and procedures to follow if you should become the victim of a sex offense. The department provides educational programs on women’s awareness, personal safety and instructs Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes upon request. RAD classes are self-defense classes for women only and consist of awareness, safety tips and progresses into hands on attack simulations at the end of the class. RAD classes are not currently available at the CESA.

The Police Department’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program protects the rights of victims and witness of crimes. Referral information is accessible at all times regarding area services available for general counseling, medical attention, emergency housing or financial assistance. Responsiveness to the needs of crime victims is a department priority.

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If Sexual Assault Happens to You

  • Contact the police for assistance and information or to report the incident. The Cantonal police should be contacted for all incidents occurring in Switzerland. The Virginia Tech Police will assist the victim in contacting the correct law enforcement agency, if requested.
  • Go to the nearest hospital- if you are on the Virginia Tech campus in Riva San Vitale it will be the Ospedale Beata Vergine located in Mendrisio. A qualified physician or nurse will examine you for injuries and collect physical evidence that could be used in judicial proceedings if you decide to prosecute.
  • If possible, do not change your clothes, shower, eat or drink between the rape and the trip to the emergency room. Preserving evidence is critical and can assist in prosecution. Bring a change of clothes with you because the police will need the clothes you were wearing for evidence.
  • Even if you do not wish to prosecute, it is important that you have a physical exam after the attack. Besides bruises or other physical injuries, the perpetrator might have passed on a sexually transmitted disease that requires treatment. An HIV/AIDS test may also ease your mind, although six months must elapse after an attack to accurately detect the presence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
  • Seek counseling from a local Center UIR (designated by State law to assist sexual assaulted victims) in Mendrisio or a private counselor (information on counseling centers is also provided by the Hospital and / or by the Police). If you are not comfortable talking with a counselor, consider talking with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Consider your judicial options if you have not done so already. Although there are statutes of limitation on criminal cases, they are often longer than you think. You also have the option of campus and civil charges (See Judicial Options).
  • If the assault and its aftermath are interfering with your ability to complete your academic work, talk with the Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center, Women’s Center at Virginia Tech, or the academic dean of your college about academic relief. The Dean of Students will also assist in changing academic and living situations after an alleged sexual assault incident, should the victim request such assistance and such changes are reasonably available.
  • Remember that it is never too late to deal with a sexual assault, and that you can heal from this significant trauma. People are ready and able to help you, but they can’t if you don’t ask.
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Medical Care

As mentioned above, victims of very recent assaults should go to the emergency room of the nearest Hospital (Ospedale Beata Vergine if you are at the CESA) for a physical exam and the collection of evidence. All victims, past or present, should be seen by a qualified physician or nurse to check for sexually transmitted diseases, physical trauma, and possible pregnancy. Female victims may prefer to see a female physician, and should request one if that will increase their comfort, though in the emergency room that may not always be possible.

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Counseling Options

Students coping with a sexual assault have at least three counseling options that are free of charge. Two of those options are on-campus: The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech and the Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center. The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech offers short-term crisis counseling and sexual assault support groups. The Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center offers both short-term and long-term individual and group counseling. The Women’s Resource Center in Radford offers a 24-hour crisis line, individual and group counseling, and legal advocacy. These three agencies frequently collaborate to provide services to victims of sexual assault and these services are CONFIDENTIAL. These two options may not be practical for students at the CESA. Many other options exist which have some cost associated with them, such as private therapists. Counseling is often crucial to the recovery process, and victims should be encouraged to seek the assistance of qualified professionals, even if many years have elapsed since the assault. As always, the choice to seek counseling should be the victim’s.

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Legal and Judicial Options

Sexual assault victims have four options from which to choose: filing criminal charges, filing campus judicial charges, requesting an administrative investigation and filing a civil suit for monetary damages. Victims are not limited to just one of these options, but can choose any combination including filing all three types of charges. Below is a brief description of each type of judicial process.

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Title IX Coordinator

Virginia Tech’s Director for Compliance and Conflict Resolution serves as the university’s Title IX coordinator. This position, which is in the Human Resources Equity and Access office, is responsible for overseeing administrative investigations in compliance with Title IX requirements and may be contacted by calling 540-231-9331.

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A police report must be generated before an investigation can begin and charges can be placed. If the assault happened on campus, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Cantonal Police (Ticino for the Campus of Riva San Vitale).

Many victims believe that if they do not file criminal charges immediately, they lose that option. This may not be the case. There are statutes of limitation for filing criminal charges, but they are typically several years in duration. Certainly, it is best to go to the police as soon as possible after an assault, in order to preserve as much evidence as possible. The police will arrange for the victim to be seen at the Ospedale Beata Vergine Hospital for medical care and evidence collection. However, even if some time has elapsed, the police still encourage victims to come forward. Criminal cases may take considerable time to proceed through the justice system. Typically, the press protects the identity of the victim, although the identity of the accused perpetrator is not protected.

Additional information about criminal procedures in Switzerland is available at: http://www4.ti.ch/di/pol/prevenzione/reati-sessuali/. The victim should immediately contact the police at either 112 or 117. In case of sexual assault the victim has the RIGHT to be interrogated by a person of the same sex. The victim also has the right to be assisted by doctors and psychologist, and receive a juridical advice by a counseling center recognized by the Swiss authorities. If the victim does not feel like seeing the police first she should immediately see a physician and contact the Center UIR (Unità di Intervento Regionale) in Mendrisio at 0041­91­815­94 01. Victims may also see the police in Mendrisio (only during office hours) and have them arrange a consultation through the UIR or go to the nearest Hospital open 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

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Campus judicial charges can only be filed if the alleged offender is a Virginia Tech student. The referral agent is typically a member of the Virginia Tech community as well. The campus judicial system examines violations of university policy. Campus judicial hearings do not replace or substitute for criminal prosecutions, and students who choose campus judicial hearings are also encouraged to seek redress through the criminal justice system and civil court. So long as the accused student is enrolled in school, there is no statute of limitations on filing judicial charges. The student accused of sexual misconduct may choose between an administrative hearing and a panel hearing. The hearing typically takes place within two weeks of the time the complaint-called a referral of student conduct-is filed by the referral agent. At the hearing, the alleged offender and the referral agent each have the opportunity to present their side of the story and to call witnesses. Each also may have a support person/advisor present. The burden of proof is lower than in a criminal court. The hearing officers will base their decision on a preponderance of the evidence. Both the accuser and the accused will be notified of the outcome of the judicial hearing.

Upon written request Virginia Tech will disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense, the report on the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by such institution against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such a crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of such crime or offense, the next of kin of such victim shall be treated as the alleged victim for purposes of this paragraph.

Sexual misconduct is classified in the Student Code of Conduct as a violation of the Abusive Conduct Policy. Depending on the circumstances of the case, students who are found in violation of the abusive conduct policy may receive sanctions that include suspension for one or more semesters or dismissal from the university. If a student is found guilty of a sexual assault involving penetration, the minimum sanction will be one year’s suspension.

Students found in violation of the university sexual misconduct policy do have the right to appeal. The victim also has the right to the appeal process. Notification of judicial action taken against students is made on a need to know basis. This includes the Office of the Graduate School in cases involving graduate students and international students, the Athletic Department in cases involving varsity athletes, the Director of the Office of Student Programs, in cases involving residence hall students, and victims of violent crime, including sexual assaults, involving student perpetrators. Other university agencies or organizations may be required to obtain written release before they can receive notification. Copies of all judicial sanction letters are archived in the Office of Student Conduct. Additional information can be located in the University Policies of Student Life or by contacting the Student Life & Advocacy Office.

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Civil Court

Sexual assault victims have the right to sue the perpetrator or other involved parties for monetary damages. This type of prosecution, which may be pursued alone or in conjunction with criminal and/or campus judicial charges, does require an attorney. As with campus judicial action, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. Victims considering this type of prosecution are advised to consult Student Legal Services or a private attorney for information. The UIR office in Mendrisio (cited above) can provide assistance in explaining the Swiss system.

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Sex Offender Registry and Access to Related Information

Switzerland does not have a sex offender registry. In the United States, the federal “Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act,” enacted on October 28, 2000, went into effect October 28, 2002. The law requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement agency information provided by a State concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in a State to provide notice, as required under State law, of each institution of higher education in that State at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, volunteers services or is a student. Information about the Sex Offender registry can be found at http://sex-offender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/, or can be accessed through the Virginia Tech Police Department homepage at http://www.police.vt.edu.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, convicted sex offenders must register with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. The Registry was established pursuant to § 19.2-390.1 of the Commonwealth's Criminal Code. Every person convicted on or after July 1, 1997, including juveniles tried and convicted in the circuit courts pursuant to § 16.1-269.1, whether sentenced as adults or juveniles, of an offense for which registration is required shall be required as a part of the sentence imposed upon conviction to register and reregister with the Commonwealth's Department of State Police as provided in this section.

In addition, all persons convicted of violations under the laws of the United States or any other state substantially similar to an offense for which registration is required shall provide to the local agency all necessary information for inclusion in the State Police Registry within ten days of establishing a residence within the Commonwealth. Any person required to register shall also be required to reregister within ten days following any change of residence, whether within or without the Commonwealth.

Nonresident offenders entering the Commonwealth for employment, to carry on a vocation, volunteer services or as a student attending school who are required to register in their state of residence or who would be required to register under this section if a resident of the Commonwealth shall, within ten days of accepting employment or enrolling in school in the Commonwealth, be required to register and reregister pursuant to this section. For purposes of this section "student" means a person who is enrolled on a full-time or part- time basis, in any public or private educational institution, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, or institution of higher education.

Information concerning offenders registered with the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry may be disclosed to any person requesting information on a specific individual in accordance with the law. Information regarding a specific person requested pursuant to the law shall be disseminated upon receipt of an official request form that may be submitted directly to the Commonwealth's Department of State Police or to the State Police through a local law-enforcement agency. The Department of State Police shall make Registry information available, upon request, to criminal justice agencies including local law- enforcement agencies through the Virginia Criminal Information Network (VCIN). Registry information provided under this section shall be used for the purposes of the administration of criminal justice, for the screening of current or prospective employees or volunteers or otherwise for the protection of the public in general and children in particular. Uses of the information for purposes not authorized by this section are prohibited and a willful violation of this section with the intent to harass or intimidate another shall be punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The Commonwealth's State Police maintains a system for making certain Registry information on violent sex offenders publicly available by means of the Internet. The information made available includes the offender's name; all aliases which he has used or under which he may have been known; the date and locality of the conviction and a brief description of the offense; his date of birth, current address and photograph; and such other information as the State Police may from time to time determine is necessary to preserve public safety. The system is secure and is not capable of being altered except by or through the State Police. The system is updated each business day with newly received registrations and re-registrations.

There is no registry available for the CESA campus area.

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Important Phone Numbers

This section has attempted to offer an overview of sexual assault issues, and the available options on the Virginia Tech campus. No one publication can be entirely comprehensive. Sexual assault is a complex issue; no two cases will have exactly the same results or the same course of action. The university therefore offers a variety of services so that victims can get the assistance they most need. A good starting point for a victim, or family and friends of a victim, is with the Sexual Assault Education Coordinator who is based in The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech. For further explanation or elaboration of the information in this section, contact the agencies whose numbers are listed here (numbers market as such * are as dialed in Switzerland).

Canton Ticino Police (Polizia Cantonle)* 117 (preferably, service available 24/7)
112 (general emergency, service available 24/7)
Emergency Ambulance (in Ticino)* 144
CESA Managing Dir. Cell phone* 0041 79 208 46 36
VT Dean of Students 540-231-3787
VT Office of Student Conduct 540-231-3790
Virginia Tech Police Department 540-231-6411
VT Women’s Center 540-231-7806
VT Office of Student Programs 540-231-6204
Schiffert Health Services 540-231-6444
Thomas E. Cook Counseling Services 540-231-6557
VT The Women’s Center at Virginia Tech 540-231-7806
VT Thomas E. Cook Counseling Center 540-231-6557 (8:00am - 5:00pm EST)
540-231-6444 (5:00pm - 8:00am EST)
Title IX Coordinator 540-231-8771 (8:00am - 5:00pm EST)
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Safety Tips

Security doesn't begin and end with the police. It takes the entire university, faculty, staff and students to make our campus a safe and secure place to live, work, and play. What can you do to help? The number one thing you can do is to take a few precautions and follow a few safety tips that will help us, help you.

  • Trust your instincts. If a place or situation doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
  • Avoid working or studying alone in a building at night.
  • Avoid shortcuts and isolated areas when walking after dark.
  • Don't walk alone after dark.
  • Don't leave personal property lying around unattended.
  • Carry a whistle or other noisemaker.
  • Never prop open exterior doors.
  • Keep your room door locked when leaving even for "Just a minute" and when sleeping.
  • Lock windows and close shades after dark.
  • Never attach your name and address to keys, if lost or stolen they could lead to theft.
  • When traveling in your vehicle keep windows up and doors locked.
  • Engrave your valuables.
  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to the police and report all crimes.
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Center for European Studies and Architecture Crimes Statistics


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Virginia Tech Villa Maderni Campus Switzerland
Fire Safety Annual Compliance Report for 2010

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The properties located on the Switzerland Campus of Virginia Tech, the Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA), consist of Villa Maderni (an approx. 260 years old building), annexed stables (used as storage areas) and a large garden. All of the properties listed belong to Virginia Tech Foundation. The main building was renovated in 1993. In addition to the Villa Maderni, the CESA also maintains rental contracts for apartments at the Piazza Grande 11, via Franscini 2, via Carlo Maderno 1 and via Settala 7, via G. Motta 15, Piazza Grande 10 apt 8 and apt. 31, via Don Guanella 7.

The primary Villa Maderni building includes classroom spaces, office spaces, a library, a housing facility with residential space for 28 students, dining facility (with a professional kitchen), storage, and a built-in independent apartment. The Fire Protection Equipment in the primary building was upgraded during the last renovation in 1993 in order to meet all applicable Swiss laws and regulations.

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Villa Maderni Housing Fire Safety Equipment

All the areas of the Villa Maderni are equipped with fire extinguishers and/or blankets in order to block the rapid spread of fire. All fire protection equipment is strictly maintained and tested in accordance with applicable Swiss laws. The electrical system is fully inspected and tested every 5 years and all devices operating with natural gas are inspected and maintained annually. There are no sprinkler systems, smoke detection, or fire alarm systems present in any of the subject buildings. Table 2 provides information about the fire equipment in each facility.

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Table 2: Fire Protection Systems in VT Riva San Vitale Campus Residential Facilities and town Apartment rentals

Building Number / Lease number Building Name Onsite Fire Alarm Monitoring (VTPD) Partial Sprinkler System (*) Full Sprinkler System (**) Smoke Detection Fire Extinguishing Devices Evacuation Plans & Signs Number of Fire Drills each calendar year
Student Apartments
208-L0168 APT. Piazza Grande 11              
208-L0169 APT. via Franscini 2              
208-L0374 APT. via Carlo Maderno 1              
208-L0375 APT. via Settala 7              
208-L0430 APT. via G. Motta 15              
Faculty Apartments
208-L0256 APT.via Don Guanella 7              
208-L0344 APT.8-Piazza Grande 10              
208-L0379 APT.31-Piazza Grande 10              
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Fire Safety Education, Training and Fire Drills

All Villa Maderni residents and non-residents (e.g. students and faculty who live in town and commute for classes and meals) receive comprehensive fire safety training at the beginning of each semester or, in the case of short-stay groups, during the summer semester at arrival. A mandatory fire drill is conducted during the training session at the beginning of each semester. All students are required to evacuate the building upon being notified that there is a fire. The CESA staff receives comprehensive safety training, which includes specific instructions on operating different fire safety equipment present in their area of work. Two drills were conducted in 2010.

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Statistical Report for Fire Response to Villa Maderni

The fire response statistics for Villa Maderni are summarized in Table 3 below. There were no fires reported in 2009 or 2010 for any of the housing facilities.

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Table 3: Statistical Report for Fire Response to Residence Facilities, Villa Maderni Campus Switzerland

Building Number/ Lease Number Building Name Unintentional Fire¹ Intentional Fire Undetermined Fire
Student Apartments
208-L0168 APT. Piazza Grande 11 0 0 0
208-L0169 APT. via Franscini 2 0 0 0
208-L0374 APT. via Carlo Maderno 1 0 0 0
208-L0375 APT. via Settala 7 0 0 0
208-L0430 APT. via G. Motta 15 0 0 0
Faculty Apartments
208-L0256 APT. via Don Guanella 7 0 0 0
208-L0344 APT. 8 Piazza Grande 10 0 0 0
208-L0379 APT. 31 Piazza Grande 10 0 0 0

¹ Unintentional fires, if they occur, will be classified as being one or more of the following: cooking, smoking materials, open flames, electrical, heating equipment, hazardous products, machinery/industrial, natural or other.

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Specific Fire Prevention Related Policies and Programs

Based on the nature of the programs hosted at the Villa Maderni (small programs), the only policy that has been implemented is a No Smoking policy. Kitchen, Maintenance and Custodial Services Personnel monitor all of their designated areas for safety infractions. They report all identified hazards to the managing director, who is in charge of taking appropriate corrective measures. The CESA staff access student living quarters and all other areas of the building for general cleaning/maintenance on periodic basis and will report any identified hazards in those areas as well. Students and faculty are encouraged to discuss any special furnishing or decoration they may need for special projects with the CESA administration. The yearly maintenance services to various Villa Maderni fire protection systems and equipment are also utilized in order to identify and correct additional deficiencies.

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Fire Reporting

If a fire has occurred, it should be reported to Daniela Doninelli, Managing Director, Center for European Studies and Architecture at +41 91 648  3652 or by email to daniela@vt.edu.

The fire log can be viewed during regular business hours at the Center for European Studies and is maintained by Daniela Doninelli.

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Plans for Future improvement

The CESA is currently collaborating on a renovation project to upgrade the existing fire protection system in order to enhance and improve the capabilities of the system components and equipment.