Office of Student Affairs
Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Dating Violence, & Stalking
Faculty and staff members have a responsibility to provide resources and support for victims who disclose their experiences of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, or stalking.
More detailed information can be found in the Concerned Persons Sexual Assault Resource Guide and on the Macalester College Harassment Committee website. Faculty and staff who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment in the workplace themselves should contact a member of the Macalester College Harassment Committee for guidance.
Sexual Assault is defined as any sexual contact made without consent. Consent needs to be given freely, with overt words or actions, and clearly communicates a person’s sexual boundaries and desires.
Sexual Harassment is a pattern of sexual behavior that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive environment.
Dating/Domestic Violence refers to an ongoing pattern of controlling and abusive behaviors that individuals use against their intimate partners. These behaviors include physical, sexual, or emotional attacks and /or economic control.
Stalking is repeated behaviors directed at a specific person that cause a reasonable person to feel intimidated and afraid. These behaviors could include following the victim, sending the victim unwanted items, or contacting the victim through phone, email, social media or letter.
The role of faculty and staff in responding to student victims
Faculty and staff frequently serve as the initial contact person for victims’ disclosure of their experiences with sexual assault, harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. Most students do not choose to disclose or file reports with law enforcement officers, often because they do not think the incident was serious, they are afraid of parents and friends finding out, or because they fear that they will not be believed or will be treated with hostility. If they are sharing it with you, they likely consider you a trusted adult.
Individuals with authority (i.e., Directors, Deans, Supervisors) are required by law to take reasonable measures to prevent sexual harassment and take immediate and appropriate action when they learn of allegations of sexual harassment. Consult with the Office of Student Affairs or a member of the Macalester College Harassment Committee when an incident is reported to you.
What to do if a student discloses to you
Listen, without judgment. Listening is the single most important thing you can do. No one deserves to be the victim of violence, regardless of the circumstances. Avoid blaming the student for what occurred and asking questions that could imply fault, such as “How much were you drinking?” or “Why didn’t you call the police?” Instead say something like, “I’m sorry that this happened to you. Thank you for telling me.” Let the victim know that he or she is not to blame for what happened. “It’s not your fault.”
Tell victims that you believe them. Victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment dating/domestic violence, and stalking are often met with disbelief when they decide to tell someone. Furthermore, their trust in someone they know has been broken. Remember, you are not an investigator tasked with determining if this happened or who is responsible but a trusted confidant. Let them know that you believe and will support them.
Refer the victim to resources on campus and in the community that are specifically designed to deal with these issues. You are not expected to be an expert on these issues; however, you can direct the victim to people who are. If the incident involved bodily harm, advise them to get immediate medical attention.
Support the student’s decisions about how to proceed. Avoid giving advice or telling the victim what that person “should” or “must” do. You can encourage the victim to report the incident, while still respecting that the final decision is for the victim to make. One of the most important things you can do is let victims take back the power they lost in the incident(s).
Submit a third-party report to the Dean of Students or another member of the Macalester College Harassment Committee. As a Macalester employee, you are required by law to report any disclosures of sexual assault or harassment to campus authorities. These reports are confidential and do not include identifiable information about the individual victim. Reports may either be made with the victim or after the victim has left your office. Reports should include the date, time, location (on or off-campus) of assault, and whether or not the victim and/or perpetrator are Macalester students.
Don’t be afraid to follow up with the student after the disclosure. Letting students know that you take their disclosure seriously and that you care about their well-being can be extremely validating for a victim. For example, begin the conversation with “I was thinking about the conversation we had the other day. How are you doing?”
Be sure to obtain information and support for yourself as a helper. Being exposed to issues related to sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking can be difficult. It is not uncommon for first responders to experience secondary/vicarious trauma, and it can be helpful to discuss your experiences or feelings with another professional.
Concerned Persons Sexual Assault Resource Guide
provides more detailed information about how to support a victim of sexual assault
Macalester College Harassment Committee (MCHC)
information on committee members, campus policies, and investigation procedures
Office of Student Affairs, 651-696-6220
Campus Security, 651-696-6555
Health and Wellness Center, 651-696-6275
Center for Religious and Spiritual Life, 651-696-6298
Off Campus Resources
Emergency police or medical, 911
St. Paul Police Department, non-emergency, 651-291-1111
Regions Hospital Emergency Room, 651-254-5000
United Hospital Emergency Room, 651-241-8260 (24 hrs.)
Sexual Offense Services, 651-643-3006 24 hr. crisis hot line; business line, 651-643-3022
Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 651-209-9993
Adapted from a Resource Guide compiled by Meredith Bourne, Project Assistant 2009, University Health Service, UW-Madison