At the University of Minnesota, Morris a vast majority of students, over 70% of graduating seniors, identify a faculty member in their majors as their primary mentor/ advisor while at UMM.
Your willingness to respond to students in distress will undoubtedly be influenced by your personal style and your particular beliefs about the limits of responsibility for helping students deal with such personal and emotionally charged issues. You simply may not be comfortable discussing sexual assault, relationship violence and/or stalking with a student. If you are not, please refer her/him immediately to the Violence Prevention Program by calling 320-589-6061.
If you choose to be the student’s initial source of information and support, this brief guide provides assistance about how to help someone who tells you she/he is or has experienced a sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking. It focuses on what you might do and say and some of the options available for both you and the survivor.
As a staff and faculty member, your goal is to offer support and help the student access the appropriate professional resources.
Look for potential signs of trouble, some of which may include:
- An abrupt attendance problem
- A sudden change in classroom participation
- Missing assignments when this has not previously been a problem
- Unusual patterns of coming late to class and/or leaving early
- Signs of bruising or injuries
- Reasons for absences include multiple hospital or doctor visits
Approach the student—let him or her know you are supportive and can be trusted
Ask the question - most victims welcome your concern and have been hoping someone would notice.
Some examples of questions to ask include:
- “I hope you don’t mind my asking, but is some thing going on that concerns your safety?’
- “I have noticed that you’ve been missing class for ___days now which is unusual for you. If there is something going on that you would like to talk about, I’m here.”
- “I have noticed that you’ve had a lot of bruises lately. Is everything ok, or is something happening that you need to talk about?”
Be supportive—try using one of the following statements:
- “I am so sorry this happened to you.”
- “You are not alone—there is help.”
- “You are very courageous for sharing this with me—thank you.”
- “How can I help?”
Refer student to the UMM Violence Prevention Coordinator and/or Someplace Safe
The Violence Prevention Coordinator can help students obtain information about all the available resources.
Violence Prevention services are free and confidential.
Additional resources are listed in this brochure to aid students who may request specific services
Let students know you are a safe person to approach with concerns
- Talk about these issues in your classes
- Relate them to your course outline. For example a management class could discuss measures to take when workplace violence becomes a threat to an employee. An English class could incorporate articles on sexual assault to stalking as reading assignments.
- Invite the Violence Prevention Coordinator to your class
- The Violence Prevention Coordinator can relate these issues to topics in your course. It will show the students that you, as a faculty member, can and are willing to talk about issues currently facing them. The Violence Prevention Coordinator often co-presents with campus and community partners.
What to possibly expect…
When someone is victimized by sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking, her/his life has been impacted in such a way that it will never be the same again. Typically, several key issues surface at this point:
- Concerns about confidentiality
- She/he often feels a deep sense of embarrassment, shame and fear, which makes it difficult to talk about what has happened. The person is usually very concerned that any disclosures be treated with the utmost care and respect for privacy.
- Fears for personal safety
- She/he usually wonders whether his/her current housing situation is safe and whether or not she/he can move around on campus and in the community without danger.
- Health concerns
- The student often worries about whether she/he has contracted STD's, HIV, or could be pregnant.
- Loss of sense of control
- Usually she/he feels that decisions about her/his life have been made by others without the her/his choice; often feelings of helplessness and depression follow such a violation of personal control.
UMM Violence Prevention Program
The following programming and resources are available through the Violence Prevention Program.
- Available Monday–Friday by calling 320-589-6061. After hours Someplace Safe Advocates are on call 24/7 by calling 320-589-3208 or 1-800-974-3359 (advocates will come to campus to meet with students).
- Meetings to discuss student(s) you are concerned about. These are confidential and no names need to be disclosed. If the student wishes, the Violence Prevention Coordinator can visit your location to talk about concerns she or he may have as well.
- Accommodations, Resources and Referrals
Providing options and accurate information for students, staff and faculty.
- Accompaniment to Health Services or Stevens Community Medical Center for physical exam and treatment.
- Confidential Counseling and related assistance.
- Accompaniment and support while filing police reports.
- Arrangements for safe housing.
- Legal Advocacy, including support in attaining restraining and harassment orders; accompanying people to court.
- Assistance with Student Behavior Committee/campus judicial processes.
- Help in accessing other campus support including academic accommodations (coursework extensions, changes in course sections, class excuses for related absences, course withdrawal, and scholastic appeals) and residence hall relocation.
- Educational Programming
- The Violence Prevention Coordinator can come to your class or department meeting to speak on any number of topics - sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and healthy relationships.
Violence PreventionViolence Prevention
Wellness Center and Clayton A Gay Hall 16A (across the lobby from Health Services)
Staff: Bridget Joos, Violence Prevention Coordinator
The Violence Prevention Program provides advocacy services to students who are victim/survivors and concerned persons affected by sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. The Violence Prevention Program can help coordinate care on and off campus (academics, housing, medical care, etc.), assist in filing police reports, and assist with the campus judicial process. The Violence Prevention Program also provides prevention and awareness education.
Student CounselingStudent Counseling
Student Counseling helps students cope with mental illnesses, recover from alcohol or drug abuse, and manage any type of personal crises or stress. Student Counseling also deals with emergencies, such as suicide threats and sexual assault. After hours, students in need of emergency services can call campus police at 589-1155, or 911.
Campus PoliceCampus Police
Campus Police is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment for the community. Campus Police provides proactive patrol, crime prevention and safety programs, safe escort services, investigations, parking and law enforcement, building access and security, and emergency services. Campus Police can also coordinate access to mental health services.