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Preservation of Evidence

Cornell recognizes that making the decision to report gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, or other forms of sexual misconduct often takes time.  Nevertheless, pending the decision to report, individuals are strongly encouraged to take immediate steps to preserve all evidence that might support a future report or an investigation by the Police, by Cornell, or both.

Such evidence may include:

  • A forensic sexual assault examination
  • Any clothing, sheets or other materials (items containing bodily fluids should be stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags)
  • Electronic exchanges (e.g., text messages, emails, and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media posts, to the extent that they can be captured or preserved)
  • Photographs (including photographs stored on smartphones and other devices)
  • Voice-mail messages and other physical, documentary and/or electronic data that might be helpful or relevant in an investigation
  • Electronic and photographic evidence that may be lost through the upgrade or replacement of equipment (including smartphones), software and/or accounts or may simply be lost to the passage of time
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