Support and Intervention
Look and listen to what is happening. Assess your surroundings. Are there others nearby who can support? Can you move to a safer or less stressful place?
Identify options and include others. Work in a team if others are available to assist. Make eye contact with the person being harassed; ask if they want support. Move yourself near the person being harassed. If safe, create distance or a barrier between that person and the harasser.
Observe the person being harassed and offer support with verbal or nonverbal cues. Is the person engaging with the harasser or not? Make suggestions such as “Would you like to walk with me over here?” Then, follow their lead. Notice if they are resisting in their own way, and honor that.
Notify authority figures when when critically necessary. Bringing authority figures into the situation in real time may make the person being harassed feel even more vulnerable.
Stay safe. Refrain from further inflaming emotions in the situation. The goal is to remove someone from the situation safely rather than increase emotions. “It’s not about you” being a hero, but being there for the person.
Practice what you can say or do in response to situations.
Recognize your strengths and limitations. Consider safety and know you can ask someone with more perceived authority or who is more comfortable to say something or you can ask the person being harassed afterwards if there is anything you can do to support them.
Inform yourself of what sexual and dating violence, as well as discrimination and harassment look like.
Don’t ignore the comments and behavior you witness. Silence is dangerous, it communicates approval of the behavior and leaves the victim feeling isolated. If you feel too nervous to speak out, communicate your support with your body. You can also offer support after the incident to the person who was being harassed.
Educate those around you. Patterns of accepted behavior that harm others can threaten our campus culture. Social pressure and organizational consequences drive behavioral change. Use your actions to communicate to others that harming and harassing others isn't accepted at UCCS.
Someone has just disclosed an incident of abuse or violence to you. What’s next?
- Empathize with the survivor’s situation and ask whether or not they believe that they are currently safe.
- Do not overshare regarding your own personal experiences (if you have them).
- Ask if that individual has contacted Campus Police, or would like to, at the time of your conversation.
- It is okay if they are not ready to contact Campus Police. This always remains as an option, even in the future.
- If the survivor is currently with you, offer to call the OIE together.
- Ask the survivor how you can provide additional support.
- (Optional, but best practice) Check in with the survivor at a later date to see if there is anything else that you can do to assist them.
“I know that was really difficult for you to share. Thank you for sharing with me.”
“I can see how hard this has been for you. It’s not your fault. You are not alone.”
“I want you to get the help you need. There are offices on campus that can help; would you like their information?”
- It is important to communicate empathy and understanding to someone when they are telling you their story of harassment or violence.
- Be open to hearing what that person has to say. It is helpful to simply sit and listen without offering advice or direction.
- Ask how you can provide support to the individual.
- Allow the individual to make their own decisions regarding the next steps.
- Know your limits – Do not attempt to be someone’s counselor.
- Offer to get them in contact with someone that will be able to address their concerns.
- Refer to the OIE at (719) 255-4324.
- Refer to confidential on- and off-campus support resources.
- Avoid victim blaming statements.
OIE encourages individuals who experience prohibited conduct to report the matter to the OIE as soon as possible. Individuals who wish to report they are the victim of a crime can also report to the UCCS Police Department.
Employees who are aware of prohibited conduct are required to report to the OIE.
If you are a mandatory reporter...
What is the Mandatory Reporting Policy?
A Responsible Employee who witnesses or receives a written or oral report alleging that a member of the University community has been subjected to or has committed an act of sexual misconduct, protected class discrimination and harassment, or related misconduct must promptly report it to the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). A failure to report this information promptly to the OIE is a policy violation.
If an individual discloses an incident to a Responsible Employee who by definition is a mandatory reporter, but the individual wishes to maintain privacy and requests that no resolution process be pursued, that no disciplinary action be taken, or that the allegation not be reported to law enforcement, the Responsible Employee remains required to report all relevant information to the OIE.
Who is a Responsible Employee?
A responsible employee is any employee who:
- Has the authority to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, grade, formally advise, or direct faculty, staff, or students;
- Has the authority to take action to redress prohibited conduct; and/or
- Has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students to the Director of Institutional Equity.
Examples of responsible employees include, but are not limited to: faculty, teaching assistants, residence advisors, academic advisors, coaches, supervisors, and anyone who leads, administers, or directs University programs.
*This does not include any medical, mental health, Ombuds, or counseling office personnel, in addition to any other offices covered by a statutory privilege or designated in campus procedures as not subject to mandatory reporting to the University.
What information does a Responsible Employee need to report?
The Responsible Employee is required to promptly report to the OIE all known details about the alleged prohibited conduct, including:
- Name(s) of the complainant(s);
- Name(s) of the respondent(s);
- Name(s) of any alleged witnesses; and
- Any other relevant facts, including the date, time, and specific location of the alleged incident.
If the Responsible Employee does not know all the above details, the Responsible Employee must still make a report with the available information. If the Responsible Employee is unable to provide this information at the time of making an initial report, but later becomes aware of additional information, the Responsible Employee must supplement the prior report.
*Responsible Employees are not required to report prohibited conduct to which they have been personally subjected to the OIE, but are nonetheless encouraged to report.
How does a Responsible Employee report to OIE?
Office of Institutional Equity
Main Hall Room 312
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918
Director Of Institutional Equity
Title IX Coordinator
Main Hall Room 312
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80918
Why does a Responsible Employee need to report?
The University views reporting misconduct as fundamental to its ability to provide a campus environment that allows equal access to educational and employment opportunities. By reporting to the OIE, a Responsible Employee is:
- Ensuring the Complainant is safe. In addition to addressing the concerns, the Office of Institutional Equity often partners with other UCCS resources to ensure the Complainant is receiving all the support the individual needs during a time where they are often anxious, stressed, and confused.
- Allowing the OIE to understand the true nature and scope of the Complainant’s concerns. Often, Complainants only tell the responsible employee a fraction of what has been going on with the Respondent(s). The OIE provides a safe environment for the Complainant to discuss their concerns in depth. In exchange, the OIE can address those concerns by learning who is involved, what has been occurring, why the Complainant believes the conduct is occurring, and what the Complainant would like to see happen.
- Helping get the behaviors to stop. In order to enforce the policies, the OIE must be aware of the concerns. The OIE has been tasked with ensuring individuals are acting in accordance with the policies and is in the best position to promptly and consistently address concerns across the campus.