Support for a Respondent

An individual appointed by the Vice President for Student Life will provide support for students reported to have committed act(s) of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct. This individual will provide the Respondent with information regarding the campus disciplinary process and will assist with other questions and concerns, but does not provide advice or act as legal counsel.

If You Are A Respondent

Any member of the University community who is reported to have committed act(s) of sexual violence may be subject to disciplinary action and/or criminal charges. University disciplinary action may occur whether or not criminal charges are filed.

Both Complainants and Respondents are entitled to a fair, prompt, and equitable process. Students should contact the Dean of Students Office for detailed information regarding the disciplinary process for reports of sexual violence.

My Friend is a Respondent

If a friend or someone you know is reported to have committed act(s) of sexual violence, it is likely that you have questions and may be struggling to understand what has happened. You may be experiencing a range of emotions such as helplessness, anger, confusion or betrayal. If your friend has told you that he/she has been reported to have committed act(s) of sexual violence, he/she may be turning to you for help and support. You may be unsure how to respond to your friend or the situation.

Here are a few ways you can help your friend through this experience:

  • Direct your friend to resources. The Dean of Students office can and will help a Respondent understand what may happen next. Additionally, they can connect the Respondent with a support person. Helping your friend access these resources is a step you can take to provide support in what may be a confusing and emotional time for both of you.

  • Recommend that your friend seek counseling to deal with their emotions. It may also be helpful for you to seek counseling to help you process any emotions and trauma you may be experiencing as a result of the situation.

  • Get educated on the issue of sexual violence. The information on this Web site can answer some of the questions you may have. If you are seeking additional information on sexual violence, please contact the Office of Health Promotion.

  • Be available to listen in a non-judgmental manner. He/she may not feel comfortable talking about the matter, but let your friend know you will listen.

  • Familiarize yourself with the Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Other Sexual Misconduct Policy and the University’s disciplinary procedures for reports of sexual violence.

Remember, being a good friend does not mean:

  • Approving of your friend's actions and/or choices. You can help your friend without making a judgment as to whether or not an act of sexual violence occurred. Determining if a crime or policy violation took place is the responsibility of the legal system and/or campus administrators.

  • Taking action. Violence or retaliation is not the answer to helping your friend. Remember, harassing and threatening behaviors are not helpful and could undermine any court or student conduct proceeding taking place. It could also jeopardize your own standing at the University.

HELPFUL PHRASES to encourage your friend to talk:

  • What do you want to do?|

  • How do you feel about that?

  • What does that mean to you?

  • What do you think about that?

  • What is it that bothers you about that? In what way?

  • What would you like to see happen?

  • What I'm hearing you say is _______.

  • What is the best thing that could happen?

  • What is the worst thing that could happen?
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