This course covers important issues related to sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment.

These can be sensitive issues for some people. If you feel uncomfortable at any point or want to talk to someone about these issues, we encourage you to seek out resources at your institution.

Introduction

As a valuable member of your institution’s community, your voice, actions, perspective, and personal well-being all matter in creating a healthy school climate. However, there are many issues that can negatively affect you or the people you love and care about.

For example, chances are you know someone who has been directly impacted by sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or some form of harassment.

Even if you haven’t experienced any of these, it’s important for every member of your school community to feel confident in their understanding of these issues and be able to recognize and respond to problematic situations both in and out of the workplace.

This course is designed to help you do just that. It will provide you with an overview of sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and stalking through four scenarios.

You will learn about key legislation around sexual violence and how it affects your institution, as well as your role in responding to and reporting these crimes.

Most of all, this course will provide you with the tools and resources that will allow you to support students, co-workers, and people you care about who are facing situations with sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and harassment.

It is our hope that you leave this learning experience feeling empowered and confident, knowing that you have the tools to create a safe place for students to learn, a workplace that allows you and your colleagues to thrive in, and a positive community for all.

Institutional Commitment

The University of Michigan supports its educational mission by fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. The University is committed to providing a safe and nondiscriminatory learning, living, and working environment for all members of the University community. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities.

The University specifically prohibits sexual assault, sexual and gender-based harassment, intimate partner violence, stalking, retaliation, and violation of interim measures.
 

Letter to the University Community from President Schlissel

Dear Member of the University of Michigan Community,

The University of Michigan is committed to providing a supportive working and learning environment and fostering safe, healthy relationships among our community members. As part of this commitment, we will not tolerate the offenses of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual and gender-based harassment. This program is intended to help you learn more about these issues, because you, along with every other member of our community, play an important role in keeping our campus safe and welcoming.

This course has two parts. This is the first part of the course. Approximately 30 days after you complete part 1, you will receive an email reminder to complete part 2.  

If you have any questions about our policies and procedures addressing these important issues or our resources related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and sexual and gender-based harassment, please contact the Title IX Coordinator within the Office for Institutional Equity at institutional.equity@umich.edu. In addition, if you would like to learn more about the university’s response when concerns about these matters are raised, I invite you to also take the short online course entitled Responsibilities at Michigan: Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence, Stalking and Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment.

We hope this program is helpful to you as we work collectively towards a respectful, safe and welcoming campus environment.

Sincerely,

Mark Schlissel, President

Understanding the Issues

The Problem

Sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and harassment happen more often than people realize, and can jeopardize the mental, physical, and emotional welfare of both students and employees.

These forms of misconduct violate many individuals’ personal values, as well as those of your institution. Their presence creates a barrier to fulfilling your school’s mission and creates a negative environment for all.

Your institution is committed to providing a comprehensive approach to educating students and employees so you, and others, can make positive contributions toward solving these issues and helping those affected.

Addressing the Problem

Modeling healthy relationships, respecting personal boundaries, and engaging in open and honest conversations are just a few actions you can take to create a healthy school climate.

Support Survivors

Most often, victims of crimes fear nothing will happen if they come forward. Many say their worst fear is that they won’t be believed. Students are often ashamed and may not know how to tell others. Employees may fear retaliation, including job loss.

But when sexual assault and other coercive or harassing behaviors are not reported, perpetrators are not held accountable and may continue to harm others.

To create a safe community, it is important you educate yourself about confidential and non-confidential reporting options so you can provide this information to others who need it. Everyone must work together to create an environment where survivors feel safe, supported, and encouraged to report these crimes.

Encourage Bystander Intervention

If you see something, you can do something.

Bystanders to sexual misconduct, abuse or harassment often think they don’t know the whole story, that someone else will act, or that it’s not their problem. If you are a witness to a situation that could lead to an unwanted incident such as sexual assault, if you know someone in an abusive relationship, or if you hear someone using sexist or derogatory language, here is what you can do:

  1. Notice if something’s not right
  2. Identify that someone needs help
  3. Decide to act, and develop an intervention strategy
  4. Intervene safely, either alone or with others

Bystanders can play a huge role in preventing these crimes. Without stepping in, the cycle can’t be broken.

What can reduce the potential for sexual or relationship violence?

One way is to understand perpetrator behavior and decide if you or someone else needs to intervene. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to identify a perpetrator. They can be spouses, friends, or acquaintances. They can be successful, well-liked, and respected. They may use power and coercion rather than physical force to take advantage of someone in subtle or hidden ways.

While anyone can be a perpetrator, most are men. In cases of sexual assault, a perpetrator may use alcohol to incapacitate someone or isolate them from friends to increase vulnerability.

Watch for some of these signs when questioning whether to step in, as they can indicate behavior that may lead to violence: lack of empathy, aggression, need for control, threats of physical harm or negative consequences, lack of emotions, bullying, hostility towards women, sexist or homophobic language.

Legislative History

Over the past 40 years, lawmakers have drafted legislation that has increased school accountability for the critical issues of sexual and relationship violence, while also protecting those who report from being retaliated against.

  • Title IX protects students from discrimination based on sex, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. Students now have many options for recourse, assistance, and protection.
  • The Clery Act articulates many responsibilities, some of which include standards for documenting, publicizing, and handling school crimes, including incidents of sexual violence, in an effort to ensure such reports will not be overlooked. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities participating in federal student aid programs to disclose crime statistics annually and encourages students to report all crimes. This training will touch on a few key elements of the Clery Act, thought it encompasses many more.
  • Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)—With the 2013 reauthorization of VAWA, institutions are responsible for meeting prescriptive requirements around reporting, discipline, and prevention. VAWA continues to encourage a safe culture for education and reporting.
  • Title VII prohibits most workplace harassment and discrimination. It covers all private employers, state and local governments, and educational institutions with 15 or more employees. Title VI encourages a safe, productive workplace.

Understanding Your Role

To increase accountability, legislation requires certain employees report offenses. You may be required to report crimes that you observe or know about.

Two roles that have reporting requirements are:

  1. Campus Security Authority (CSA)—A CSA is someone who has responsibility for campus security and is usually associated with campus police, security personnel, an organization where students and employees can report crimes, or an official who has a significant responsibility for student and campus activities.
  2. Responsible Employee (RE)—A Responsible Employee is a Title IX term that indicates an employee who has the authority to redress sexual violence or who has been given the duty of reporting. It may also be an employee who a student reasonably believes has this duty and authority.

CSAs and Responsible Employees must report specific incidents of sexual violence involving students to the Title IX Coordinator, Clery Compliance Officer, or other appropriate designee.

If you do not have specific obligations for reporting, you can still give others support or refer them to someone who can help. In the coming lessons, you will learn more about how to listen, support, refer, and, if applicable, report incidents.

If you are unsure of your specific role, check with your Title IX Coordinator or speak with your supervisor to understand your responsibilities.

Title IX Resources

Take a look at the Title IX resources available at your school:

Introduction to Scenarios

Now that you know more about the issues, legislation, and reporting roles at your institution, let’s explore a few scenarios.

Next, you’ll be presented with four stories where you, a student, or a colleague is faced with an issue related to sexual misconduct or relationship violence. In the first two stories, you will learn about your reporting obligations for student disclosures. Then, you will focus on two scenarios where you or a colleague is faced with a difficult situation. As you go through this learning experience, think about how you would handle each situation.

  • What would you say if a student came to you to report a crime?
  • What steps should you take if you are required to report incidents involving students?
  • How do you provide support to a survivor?

Let’s find out!

A Student Disclosure

Scenario: What Would You Do if this Happened to You?

This is the second semester that you’ve had Alesha, a sophomore, working for you. She’s hardworking, never late, and always gets her work done on time.

You’ve formed a good working relationship and even talked about her taking on a more substantial position next year. But in the past two weeks, you’ve noticed she seems quieter than usual, even withdrawn.

She also came in late to work a couple of days with no explanation.

Today, she shows up in your office and she’s obviously upset. She says, “If you have a minute, I’d really like to talk with you. I know I’ve been a bit off lately, and I’m sorry. I don’t want to put you in a weird or uncomfortable position, but something bad happened to me a couple of weeks ago after a party. A guy did something … and I really don’t know what to do.”

How Do You Feel?

Take a moment to think about how you would feel and what you would think after Alesha tells you this. You may have any of the following reactions:

  • I don’t know what to say or do next.
  • I’m not sure if this is my job.
  • I’m glad she came to me for help.
  • This makes me uncomfortable.
  • I’m ready to offer her any help she needs.
  • Should I be asking her more about what happened?
  • Is she going to tell me something that I will have to report?
  • Write your own response

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions and reactions at this point. It’s clear Alesha trusts you, which puts you in a good position to help her. She may have been sexually assaulted, but it’s not clear at this point. Let’s find out how you can respond to Alesha, depending on whether or not you have a duty to report.

What Should You Do?

Remember the section on encouraging bystander intervention? The first step is to notice something’s not right, but in this instance, Alesha has brought the issue to you. Now you need to make the decision to act and develop a strategy for doing so. Let’s explore a few ways you can do this.

  1. Affirm:
    • Everyone, whether required to report or not, can offer support by acknowledging the student’s decision to share this information with you.
    • Here is an example of what you can say: “Thank you for sharing this with me. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I care about you, and I want to help you.”
    • If you are required to report, in addition to affirming, you must also interrupt and inform the student of your role and reporting obligations.
  2. Interrupt:
    • Interrupt before details of the incident are revealed. Doing so will give the student the opportunity to decide if and how they want to proceed.
  3. Inform:
    • Next, inform the student of your obligations to report incidents of sexual assault.
      1. Explain that you are required to report because of your role at the school.
      2. Give them the option to stop and talk to confidential resources, like a counselor.
    • At this time, the student may decide not to report the incident to you, or to anyone. While you certainly can encourage them to report or get support, the choice is theirs and should be respected.

“Interrupt and Inform” Example

Here is an example of what you could say to interrupt and inform Alesha if your role requires you to report:

“Alesha, thank you for coming to me with this, but I need to stop you for a moment. It sounds like you might have experienced something I may be required to report. I care about you and want you to get the resources you need, but there are certain things that some employees, like myself, have to report, which would include giving your name and some of the details you share with me. I want you to make an informed choice about what you disclose to me today. If you’re going to tell me something that I might have to report, you may instead want to talk to someone who can help protect your confidentiality. I am more than happy to connect you with a confidential resource if you’re not ready to report this officially. If you’d like to go ahead and share information with me, you could be contacted by the school to determine if an investigation needs to occur. I am happy to report this for you, or I can also assist you with reporting this to the institution or to the police.”

Alesha Decides

Let’s see what Alesha decides to do next.

Alesha responds:

“Okay, thanks for letting me know. I’ve thought about it, and I’m okay with reporting it. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. Here’s what happened … A couple of weeks ago, I went home with this guy I sort of know from one of my classes. We had been at a party, and afterward, we went to his room. Things went further than I wanted them to. I tried to stop him. I told him I wanted to go home, but he wouldn’t stop. I can’t believe this happened. I just keep thinking about it, and I don’t know what to do.”

To best understand sexual assault, you must first understand sexual consent. Consent is when someone says “yes,” gives permission, or clearly agrees, through a mutual understanding of words or actions to a specific sexual activity. Sexual assault occurs when one person does not give consent, or the other person does not get consent during the activity.

  • Consent cannot be given if a person is mentally or physically incapacitated. This could be due to use of alcohol and/or other drugs, or due to a mental or physical condition. Perpetrators often intentionally use alcohol to make a person more vulnerable.
  • Consent cannot be given if the victim is coerced in any way or pressured to do something they do not want or agree to. Coercion occurs when a person intimidates, tricks, forces, or manipulates someone into engaging in sexual activity. Perpetrators may also use threats of violence or blackmail, or try to exert their power or authority.
  • Silence, passivity, or lack of resistance does not imply consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any point and should be given for each sexual act.

While it is helpful to have an understanding of consent and sexual assault, it is NOT your role to judge, assume, or attempt to determine if consent was present or if a sexual assault took place.

Neurobiological Impact of Trauma

When a person experiences trauma such as abuse or assault, they may undergo neurobiological effects, or changes in their brain and body, that are out of their control.

For example, a person might freeze up at the time of trauma as a biological reaction to intense fear. This is called tonic immobility.

Trauma can also affect a person’s memory, which may result in accurate but fragmented recall of the event.

This neurobiological effect may also bring about what other perceive to be strange emotional reactions—for example, remaining emotionally flat or experiencing extreme emotional swings while recalling the incident.

Understanding the neurobiological impact of trauma can assist people who experience sexual assault in avoiding self-blame and can help those who want to support them be more patient and understanding.

The Impact

Individuals who experience sexual assault are at increased risk for:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Feelings of self-blame, guilt, and powerlessness
  • Substance abuse
  • Dysfunction in relationships
  • Physical and mental health issues

Students who experience sexual assault may perform poorly academically, miss classes, and are at an increased risk of dropping out.

For employees, these experiences can result in poor job performance, missed work, and loss of social or employment opportunities.

Now that you have an understanding of the impact of sexual assault, let’s look at some of the ways you can support and empower survivors.

Supporting Survivors

If someone shares information about a sexual assault, or any type of unwanted incident with you, there are several things you can do to help:

  1. Listen—Listen to what they are saying without judgment, and try not to interrupt. Refrain from asking additional questions about their experience or interrogating them.
  2. Support—Support the person by responding to their disclosure appropriately. Some helpful phrases to consider include, “I am sorry you’re going through a difficult time.” “Thank you for trusting me.” and “What would be helpful to you right now?” Let them know what happened was not their fault, and provide them with options to get support.
  3. Refer—If a student discloses an offense to you, and:
    1. You are required to report, you can encourage them to seek counseling, medical assistance, or to file a report with the police after you have explained your role and obligations.
    2. You are not required to report, you can encourage them to file a report with the school or police, and seek counseling or medical assistance.
  4. Report:
    1. If your role is required to report, notify the appropriate officials at your school with details of the alleged incident.
    2. If you are not required to report, review options for reporting with the student and discuss the difference between confidential and non-confidential disclosures.

Following these steps will help you best support those who have experienced violence or abuse.

It is important to be aware of legal definitions related to consent where you live:

Section 750.520a
(j) “Mentally incapable” means that a person suffers from a mental disease or defect that renders that person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

(k) “Mentally incapacitated” means that a person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or other substance administered to that person without his or her consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.

(m) “Physically helpless” means that a person is unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

Sexual Assault Policy

Take the time to become familiar with legal definitions related to sexual assault where you live:

State of Michigan Definition of Sexual Assault

750.520b Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree; circumstances; felony; consecutive terms.
(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exists:

(a) That other person is under 13 years of age.

(b) That other person is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and any of the following:

(i) The actor is a member of the same household as the victim.

(ii) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.

(iii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

(iv) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled.

(v) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(vi) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident, and the sexual penetration occurs during the period of that other person’s residency. As used in this subparagraph, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

(c) Sexual penetration occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony.

(d) The actor is aided or abetted by 1 or more other persons and either of the following circumstances exists:

(i) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(ii) The actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the circumstances listed in subdivision (f).

(e) The actor is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.

(f) The actor causes personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:

(i) When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.

(ii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats.

(iii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute this threat. As used in this subdivision, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.

(iv) When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.

(v) When the actor, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.

(g) The actor causes personal injury to the victim, and the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(h) That other person is mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and any of the following:

(i) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.

(ii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

750.520c Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree; felony.
(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree if the person engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exists:

(a) That other person is under 13 years of age.

(b) That other person is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and any of the following:

(i) The actor is a member of the same household as the victim.

(ii) The actor is related by blood or affinity to the fourth degree to the victim.

(iii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and the actor used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

(iv) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled.

(v) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(vi) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident and the sexual contact occurs during the period of that other person’s residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

(c) Sexual contact occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony.

(d) The actor is aided or abetted by 1 or more other persons and either of the following circumstances exists:

(i) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(ii) The actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual contact. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the circumstances listed in section 520b(1)(f).

(e) The actor is armed with a weapon, or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead a person to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.

(f) The actor causes personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the circumstances listed in section 520b(1)(f).

(g) The actor causes personal injury to the victim and the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(h) That other person is mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and any of the following:

(i) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.

(ii) The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

(i) That other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections.

(j) That other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, a private vendor that operates a youth correctional facility under section 20g of the corrections code of 1953, 1953 PA 232, MCL 791.220g, who knows that the other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections.

(k) That other person is a prisoner or probationer under the jurisdiction of a county for purposes of imprisonment or a work program or other probationary program and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of or a volunteer with the county or the department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the county’s jurisdiction.

(l) The actor knows or has reason to know that a court has detained the victim in a facility while the victim is awaiting a trial or hearing, or committed the victim to a facility as a result of the victim having been found responsible for committing an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, and the actor is an employee or contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the facility in which the victim is detained or to which the victim was committed.

750.520d Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree; felony.
(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree if the person engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:

(a) That other person is at least 13 years of age and under 16 years of age.

(b) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes but is not limited to any of the circumstances listed in section 520b(1)(f)(i) to (v).

(c) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(d) That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual penetration occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(e) That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(f) That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(g) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual penetration occurs during that other person’s residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

750.520e Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree; misdemeanor.
(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:

(a) That other person is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that other person.

(b) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:

(i) When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.

(ii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute that threat.

(iii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute that threat. As used in this subparagraph, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.

(iv) When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes which are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.

(v) When the actor achieves the sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise.

(c) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(d) That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual contact occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(e) The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within 2 years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution under this subdivision. A prosecution under this subsection shall not be used as evidence that the victim is mentally incompetent.

(f) That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(g) That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(h) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual contact occurs during that other person’s residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

Survivor Resources

Here are some of the resources available at your school for survivors of sexual assault.

Questions to Consider

What if you receive second-hand information about an incident through another student, a parent, a faculty member, social media, or rumors?

In these situations, reach out to your Title IX Coordinator or supervisor.

What if the sexual violence reported to you occurred off-campus?

Schools must respond to sexual violence connected to the school’s education programs and activities, including academic, educational, extracurricular, and athletic activities.

  • These incidents can take place in an off-campus residence, at an off-campus class, at fraternity or sorority houses, during athletic team travel, or at events for school clubs that occur off-campus.
  • If you are a Responsible Employee or CSA, this is a reportable incident. Follow your institution’s reporting policy.

What if the alleged perpetrator was visiting from another school?

If you are make aware of an incident involving a perpetrator from a different school:

  • First, focus on assisting the person who was assaulted during the incident.
  • Connect him or her to campus support services so they understand their rights and the actions that can be taken.
  • Encourage them to file a report with the police.
  • If you are a Responsible Employee or CAS, this is a reportable incident. Follow your institution’s reporting policy.

How can I stop a situation that could lead to sexual assault or unwanted behaviors?

You can intervene in both direct and indirect ways. The important thing is to do something.

  • Direct Approach: If you feel comfortable, directly approach the perpetrator or the victim. For example, if you are at a social event and you see someone pressuring another person with physical advances who looks uncomfortable, you can ask the person if they need help, or advise the potential perpetrator to back off.
  • Delegate: If you are not comfortable with the direct approach, get others involved. You can still help the situation by asking others how they feel, finding a friend of the person who may be in danger, or even contacting an authority or the police.
  • Distract: There are many ways to cause a distraction to get the person away from the situation. For example, casually interrupt or join the conversation, say another friend needs help at a different location, tell the perpetrator his or her car is being towed, or spill a drink on one of them! Oops!

How can I have a positive impact on the attitudes of community members toward sexual violence?

  • Be aware of cultural factors that contribute to sexual assault. Interrupt sexist jokes, avoid gender stereotypes, challenge sexist media portrayals, and choose your words carefully.
  • Have conversations with family, friends, and colleagues about issues concerning sexual violence. Ensure that the people you work with receive training and education.
  • If you are a faculty member, consider opportunities to educate students about these issues in class lectures or projects.
  • Get involved with prevention or activism efforts on campus. For example, attend events, participate on a task force, or support research initiatives.
  • Provide support to survivors. Listen and connect them to resources.
  • Be an active bystander. Look for opportunities to notice and take action.
  • Model healthy, respectful, and appropriate behaviors to students and colleagues.

What rights do complainants and alleged perpetrators have if disciplinary action is taken?

If disciplinary action is taken in cases of sexual assault, stalking, relationship violence, or other forms of violence, your institution is required by law to offer students proceedings that:

  • Include a prompt, fair, and impartial process
  • Are conducted by officials who are trained on investigating these issues
  • Provide both the complainant and the alleged perpetrator opportunities to be accompanied by an advocate, advisor, or their support person of their choice

The complainant and the alleged perpetrator should receive simultaneous notification of:

  • The result of the proceedings
  • Information on how to appeal the result
  • Any change to the result
  • When the result becomes final

Refer to your school’s disciplinary or grievance procedures for more information.

Always Around

Scenario: What would you do if this happened to you?

You are an associate professor. John is a first-year graduate student in your program. He’s always friendly and has a smile on his face. You and your colleagues all speak very highly of him. John shows up in your office during office hours to talk about a highly personal matter.

John says, “I don’t know how to say this, but someone who works in your department has started to act odd around me. At first, I thought it was maybe just a crush … but lately it feels more serious … like a fixation almost.”

John continues, “I thought maybe you could help me sort out what to make of it.”

How Do You Feel?

You might have any of the following reactions:

  • He should just talk to the colleague.
  • My colleague’s behavior doesn’t seem appropriate.
  • I’m not sure if this is my business.
  • What does he expect me to do?
  • I want him to know he can be protected.
  • I wonder how serious this is.

This issue is definitely worth exploring. Remember, the second step of bystander intervention is identifying that someone needs help. It is clear that John is seeking your help. Let’s find out more about this issue and review what you must do if you are required to report.

Stalking

What John has described could be stalking. Stalking is a type of harassment that can occur inside or outside of a relationship. It can happen between ex-partners, friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, or strangers.

It is a pattern of behavior that is repeated, unwanted, and causes a person to be fearful or to suffer substantial emotional distress. It is a crime in all 50 states.

Here are some typical stalking behaviors:

  • Using social media to track someone’s behaviors and social circles
  • Following someone
  • Watching them from a distance
  • Waiting at a workplace, home, or neighborhood
  • Unwanted communication in person, on the phone, in texts, through gifts, or online

It’s important to be aware of legal definitions related to stalking where you live.

State of Michigan Definition of Stalking

Section 750.411h
(d) “Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

What Should You Do?

Remember, when responding to a student disclosure, there are certain steps Responsible Employees and CSAs are required to take, and there are steps that everyone can take, regardless of their role.

Everyone:

  • Affirm—Affirm the student’s decision to disclose.
  • Refer—Refer the student to school resources.

Responsible Employees and CSAs:

  • Interrupt—Interrupt before details are revealed.
  • Inform—Inform student of your role.
  • Report—Report incident details to school officials.

The Rest of John’s Story

Now that you know what to do and have informed John of your reporting obligations, let’s see how the rest of John’s story goes.

John continues, “Thanks for being so upfront; I really appreciate it. Given the nature of the situation, maybe I should speak to an advocate or counselor. I didn’t know you had to report it if I told you. I don’t know if I’m ready to get that deep into it. But now I know I can come to you if I need to. Thanks.”

Options

For someone who has experienced an incident, reporting can be challenging, and the decision to come forward is up to the individual. However, when incidents are reported, alleged perpetrators can face criminal charges and/or school punishments such as disciplinary hearings, suspensions, expulsions, etc.

It’s important to be ready to respond to survivors by understanding the reporting and support resources available to them. Reports can be made to a variety of confidential and non-confidential resources:

  • Local law enforcement or Campus Police
  • Non-confidential reporting sources, including: Responsible Employees, Campus Security Authorities, Title IX Coordinators
  • Confidential sources such as licensed professional counselors and pastoral counselors who do not have to report offenses
  • Some schools also designate anonymous reporters, such as non-professional counselors and advocates, who must report offenses but do not need to include identifying information

The individuals in these roles may vary from school to school, and it is important for you to be aware of the resources specific to your community.

Your Next Steps

Now that John has decided to contact a confidential resource, here is what you should do next to support him:

  • Refer—Provide John with the information that he needs next, most likely the names or offices of school and community resources. You can also encourage him to file a report with the police and to save any evidence that can be used to prove the offense or to obtain a protection order. This can mean preserving and documenting any communication with the offender such as emails and texts, and saving clothing that was worn or having a forensic medical exam, which can be offered at a local hospital and maybe a campus clinic or health center.
  • Move Forward—Don’t try to determine who the colleague is, and don’t try to address him or her directly. You’re risking John’s confidentiality and potentially interfering with an investigation, if he ends up reporting.

During John’s talks with the counselor, he shares that your colleague has been calling and texting multiple times a day, even driving by his house. When he’s out and posts pictures on social media, she then appears where he is. Even though he’s asked her to stop, she continues. It’s good you referred him to the appropriate resources. This is a complex issue, potentially a case of stalking, and he needed help.

Stalking Policy

It is important to be aware of your institution’s stalking policy. Review your school’s below.

Stalking Resources

Take a look at the resources available at your school for people who experience stalking.

Questions to Consider

While this is just one story of stalking, you may be confronted with other situations.

What should I do if I am being stalked?

  • End all communication with the person who is stalking you. Don’t get into arguments or pay attention to them—that’s what they want.
  • Talk to someone you trust, or an advocate at your institution or in your community, who can help you explore your options and decide how to deal with the situation.
  • Consider contacting the police if the stalking behavior persists or gets worse.
  • Let family, friends, and your employer know you are being stalked. Share a picture of the person.
  • Write down the times, places, and detailed summaries of each incident. Keep all emails, texts, posts, and tweets.

How can I help prevent stalking in my community?

  • Promote positive social norms. For example, interrupt a conversation about hacking into someone’s social networking account.
  • Interrupt “jokes” about stalking, and discourage the use of the word “stalking” as casual or funny. It’s a serious issue.
  • Respect the rights and privacy of others. Encourage friends and coworkers to do the same.
  • Show others how to use the privacy settings on their computer, phone, and social media sites.

What if my friend is the one who is potentially doing the stalking?

  • Tell your friend his or her behavior is unacceptable.
  • If you know someone who is having a hard time with a breakup or seems a little too obsessed with another person, encourage him or her to get help.
  • If it is clear his or her actions are unwanted, warn him or her about the dangers of continuing the behavior.
A Concerned Co-worker

Scenario: What Would You Do if this Happened to You?

You’ve noticed your co-worker, Tim, has been acting a little different lately. He’s nervous and agitated. He’s on the phone a lot, checking in with his partner. His agitation level seems to get worse after those phone calls, and he gets a lot of phone calls and text messages from his partner that often seem to upset him.

You’ve overheard him talking with other colleagues about his partner, too. It seems like Tim makes a lot of excuses about his partner’s temper and aggressive behavior, saying he’s really passionate and cares a lot about Tim.

Now your co-workers all seem to be concerned, too. Tim used to be happy and confident, and now he’s always upset. You don’t want to overreact, but you’re getting worried. Something doesn’t seem right here. You don’t want to overreact, but you’re getting worried. Something doesn’t feel right here.

How Do You Feel?

You might have any of the following reactions in this situation:

  • I want to respect his privacy.
  • I want to be there for him.
  • I don’t want to make things worse.
  • I wish he would just leave him.
  • I hope he knows he deserves better.
  • Is this any of my business?

It’s not unusual in situations like this to feel a variety of ways. You may want to help, but you also don’t want to overstep boundaries. Remember what we’ve discussed about bystander intervention. If you don’t help Tim—directly or indirectly—who will?

Intimate Partner Violence

You think it’s possible Tim could be in an abusive relationship. Here’s what you should know about Intimate Partner Violence, also referred to as Dating or Domestic Violence:

  • It occurs when a person uses violence, coercion, threats, and isolation to dominate and control another person. The violence or abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, or financial.
  • It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, and sometimes physically as well.

Signs of Abuse

How can you identify someone who shows signs of abuse? They might:

  • Seem afraid of or very anxious to please their partner.
  • Go along with everything their partner says and does, and feel they can’t say no.
  • Check in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing.
  • Receive frequent, harassing phone calls or messages from their partner.
  • Talk about their partner’s temper, jealousy, controlling behavior, or possessiveness.

Physical Violence

Warning signs of physical violence:

  • Having frequent injuries
  • Frequently missing work, school, or social occasions, without explanation
  • Disguising injuries as accidents; dressing in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (e.g., wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors)
  • Experiencing aggressive physical behavior from their partner

Isolation

Warning signs if someone is being isolated from others:

  • Being restricted from seeing family and friends
  • Rarely going out in public without their partner, or needing to ask permission to do so
  • Having limited access to money, credit cards, or the car

Psychological Abuse

Warning signs of psychological abuse:

  • Having very low self-esteem, even if they used to be confident
  • Showing major personality changes (e.g., an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
  • Being depressed, anxious, or suicidal

It’s important to be aware of legal definitions related to domestic violence where you live.

Section 400.1501
(b) “Dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement. Dating relationship does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary fraternization between 2 individuals in a business or social context.

(d) “Domestic violence” means the occurrence of any of the following acts by a person that is not an act of self-defense:
(i) Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family or household member.
(ii) Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental harm.
(iii) Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress.
(iv) Engaging in activity toward a family or household member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

(e) “Family or household member” includes any of the following:
(i) A spouse or former spouse.
(ii) An individual with whom the person resides or has resided.
(iii) An individual with whom the person has or has had a dating relationship.
(iv) An individual with whom the person is or has engaged in a sexual relationship.
(v) An individual to whom the person is related or was formerly related by marriage.
(vi) An individual with whom the person has a child in common.
(vii) The minor child of an individual described in subparagraphs (i) to (vi).

Take the time to become familiar with the legal definitions related to dating violence where you live.

State of Michigan Definition of Dating Violence

Section 400.1501
(b) “Dating relationship” means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement. Dating relationship does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary fraternization between 2 individuals in a business or social context.

(d) “Domestic violence” means the occurrence of any of the following acts by a person that is not an act of self-defense:

(i) Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family or household member.

(ii) Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental harm.

(iii) Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress.

(iv) Engaging in activity toward a family or household member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

How Can You Help Tim?

As a bystander, here is how you can help Tim:

  1. Seek support.
    1. Consider talking to a knowledgeable person such as a prevention professional, connecting with other concerned colleagues, or calling a relationship violence helpline to learn more about the kinds of help that are available and to learn how you can be an effective and supportive friend.
    2. Your institution has a Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP) or other counseling resources that can help. There are also a range of online resources related to domestic violence that can provide information and strategies.
  2. Plan your approach.
    1. Don’t wait for him to come to you. Approach Tim when it’s safe and confidential. Start by expressing concern:
      1. “You seemed pretty upset today after that phone call.”
      2. “I’m worried about your safety. I’m concerned about you.”
      3. “No one deserves to be hurt by anybody. If you want to talk about it, I’m here to listen.”

Understand that Tim could be resistant to such outreach and may defend his partner’s behavior. His abuser may be tearing down his self-esteem. A person who has been abused often feels upset, depressed, confused, and scared. It is important for him to know you are there for him if he needs assistance or support.

The Rest of Tim’s Story

You make a plan to talk to Tim. You feel confident you know how to approach him and offer support. But before you get your chance, something else happens. Tim’s partner shows up at work. Tim’s partner goes over to Tim, making questioning and angry gestures. He’s clearly angry, and he’s yelling at Tim in front of you and your co-workers. Tim is embarrassed and very nervous. When Tim asks his partner to leave, you witness Tim’s partner grab him forcefully by the arm and drag Tim from the office.

Now what should you do?

What Should You Do?

  1. Call the police. You have witnessed a physical altercation at your place of work. Any kind of violence in the workplace should be reported. This is the best solution, especially if the situation is violent or escalating quickly. The police can also protect Tim after the incident.
  2. Report the incident to your supervisor. In addition to calling the police, report the incident to your supervisor. Your supervisor can work with local authorities and your institution to address concerns you or other employees may have.
  3. Continue to support your co-worker. Let your coworker know you care about and support him. You want him to feel safe in his workplace. Listen and encourage him using the information you’ve learned in this course. Don’t give unsolicited advice. Only Tim knows what’s best for himself.

Intimate Partner Violence Policy

It is important for you to be aware of your school’s policy regarding dating violence.

Policy & Procedures on Student Sexual & Gender-Based Misconduct & Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence

IPV Resources

Take a look at the resources available for survivors or those seeking to support others affected by Intimate Partner Violence.

Questions to Consider

While this is just one story of intimate partner violence, you may be confronted with other situations.

What if a student is experiencing intimate partner violence?

  • Follow the appropriate steps of listening, supporting, referring to resources, and if required, reporting,
  • Provide the student with resources and/or refer to support services as soon as possible.
  • If you are required to report, follow your institution’s reporting policy.

How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship?

  • Does your partner:
    • Ridicule or insult you?
    • Keep you financially dependent?
    • Prevent you from seeing your friends and family?
    • Become extremely jealous?
    • Destroy your property?
    • Hurt, make threats, or act physically aggressive towards you or your children?
    • Force you into unwanted sexual situations?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be in an abusive relationship. Refer to your portfolio for additional information on how you can obtain help, or talk to a trusted person who is knowledgeable about the subject.

What can I do if I am the victim of intimate partner violence?

  • Consider going to a place you feel safe, and remove yourself from the dangerous situation as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if you are hurt, even if you are not sure if you want to file a report.
  • Talk to someone you trust, like a friend, co-worker, or parent.
  • Contact your local confidential domestic violence program for information or help, including safety planning, obtaining orders of protection, or involving law enforcement. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

How can I help create a safe community for survivors of intimate partner violence?

  • Know the signs of intimate partner violence.
  • Reach out to friends or colleagues who may need support.
  • If you are witnessing a threat requiring immediate response, call 911.
  • Provide support to those affected; listen and help connect them to resources for help.
  • Participate in school awareness and prevention events, and have conversations with family, friends, and colleagues.
  • Be aware of cultural factors that contribute to intimate partner violence, such as gender stereotypes, harmful language, and sexist media representations.
Unwanted Attention

Scenario: What would you do if this happened to you?

You moved into a new role at your school about a year ago. A promotion! You were excited to begin a new position you had worked so hard for. About three months ago, you got a new supervisor. Things started out okay in the beginning. Your supervisor was really friendly and supportive of you.

Then, things started getting uncomfortable. First, your supervisor wanted to be friends on social media and started asking pretty detailed questions about your personal life, which you didn’t want to answer. Then, you were frequently invited to lunch. The situation escalated, and your supervisor started using pet names, unprofessional language, and some sexual innuendo. Things even got physical, a touch on the shoulder or the arm from time to time.

You don’t want to risk the promotion you worked so hard to get, but this is making you really uncomfortable. Some days, you don’t even feel like coming to work. When you are at work, you are anxious and tense, which is affecting your performance.

How do you feel?

You might have any of the following reactions if this happened to you:

  • This feels really weird.
  • I wish my boss would just stop.
  • Maybe I should quit.
  • I should report this.
  • Am I supposed to put up with this?
  • I wish I knew what to do.
  • If I say something, should I be worried about my job?

Sexual Harassment

This story sounds a lot like sexual harassment. What is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual behavior that interferes with your ability to do your job, perform academically, or feel comfortable in your environment. It can be verbal, such as sexist jokes, homophobic language, comments about one’s body or appearance, or requests for sexual favors. It can be nonverbal, like sexual gestures, inappropriate texts or emails, or sexually explicit material. It can also be physical, like unwanted touching, sexual assault, or rape. It doesn’t have to be sexual. Aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender or sex-stereotyping is also harassment.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

It is important to be aware of the definitions related to sexual harassment in your area.

State of Michigan Definition of Sexual Harassment

Section 37.2103
(i) Discrimination because of sex includes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature under the following conditions:

(i) Submission to the conduct or communication is made a term or condition either explicitly or implicitly to obtain employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.

(ii) Submission to or rejection of the conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting the individual’s employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing.

(iii) The conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment, public accommodations or public services, education, or housing, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, public accommodations, public services, educational, or housing environment.

Sexual Harassment Policy

Take a look at your school’s policy regarding sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment Policy (SPG 201.89)

Policy & Procedures on Student Sexual & Gender-Based Misconduct & Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence

Sexual Harassment Resources

Take the time to become familiar with your school’s resources regarding sexual harassment.

Four Options

What can you do if you or a co-worker has experienced sexual harassment?

Option 1

Consult your employee handbook or policies. Refer to your employee handbook for specific information about your school’s policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment.

Option 2

If you feel comfortable, directly speak to the harasser. Make sure he/she knows you consider their conduct to be unwelcome.

  • Tell the harasser their attention or behavior is bothering you
  • Be specific about which behaviors
  • Ask the harasser to stop the behavior

If you are not comfortable directly addressing the behavior, you can let the harasser know their conduct is unwelcome by moving away from physical contact and refraining from responding to inappropriate emails, messages, or conversations.

Option 3

Report the harassment. Tell human resources or someone who can take action to address and end the harassment. Notify them in writing, and keep a copy of any written complaint you make to your employer.

Option 4

Put complaints in writing. Take notes on the harassment and be specific—where and when it happened, what was said and done, and who witnessed it. Keep a record of the behavior, in case it is needed in the future.

Following these four options will ensure the harassment is reported and assist your institution in the process of following up on complaints.

Questions to Consider

This scenario is just one example of sexual harassment; you may encounter others.

Can sexual harassment only occur when one person has authority over another?

Sexual harassment may occur between any two members of the campus community—for example, between faculty and students, faculty to faculty, students and staff, and student to student.

While sexual harassment often occurs when there is a power differential between the two people, it can also happen between peers or colleagues.

Are students protected from harassment?

Yes, students are protected from harassment–whether carried out by an employee, another student, or a third party. If you have notice of possible harassment of a student, report it immediately to your institution.

Every school is required to have a Title IX Coordinator who is responsible for addressing sexual harassment for students. This person will be able to provide useful information and can take action if needed to address offenses.

Your institution should take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate and determine what occurred, regardless if the student decides to file a formal complaint.

The school will decide the most appropriate approach to address the harassment.

Can a single incident constitute sexual harassment?

A single incident, if severe enough, can constitute sexual harassment.

There are two generally two forms of sexual harassment:

  1. A single sexual advance may constitute harassment if it is linked to the granting or denial of employment or academic progression.
  2. The sexual harassment creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic or workplace environment. A hostile-environment claim usually requires proof of a pattern of offensive conduct. However, a single incident that is severe could create a hostile environment.

Can my boss punish me if I complain?

No. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employers from retaliating against you for filing a charge of harassment or speaking out. It also protects you if you participate in an investigation or a hearing on behalf of a coworker. Don’t be afraid to speak up or to speak with someone who can help you decide what to do, if you think harassment has occurred in your workplace.

Course Summary

Through these four stories, we hope you better understand how to:

  • Support those who are affected by sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner violence, and harassment
  • Intervene in potential situations of harm
  • Fulfill your reporting responsibilities

Everyone has a role to play in building a safe and healthy school environment.

If you want to learn more about these issues, please speak to your supervisor about additional training opportunities and resources.

Thank You

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual harassment, and stalking. Now you know how you can be a part of the solution in creating a safe, healthy community and preventing future violence.

In the coming weeks, you will receive an email containing instructions to complete one additional survey. This survey is very important, as it helps us evaluate course effectiveness and determine future educational needs and opportunities.

Thanks for your time, and thank you for your commitment to making your school a safe place for everyone.