Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

On behalf of the policy training team, thank you for taking the time to attend the trainings that SAPAC, OIE, and DPSS conducted this summer on the newly revised University of Michigan Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual & Gender-Based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. We are proud to report that as the summer comes to a close, nearly every staff member in Student Life has received training on this important subject matter. Your support and active participation were key to the success of the trainings!

All Student Life staff members can access information from the training through this Google folder, which contains the PowerPoint presentation, the full policy, a shorter summary of the policy, the campus climate survey, and the Our Community Matters resource guide.

As we begin the 2016 - 2017 academic year, our shared understanding about the policy and our reporting obligations as Responsible Employees and Campus Security Authorities will help us meet our legal requirements. Our collective wisdom about how to respond to sexual and gender based misconduct and other forms of interpersonal violence in a caring and compassionate way will help us continue to build a community of care, respect and inclusivity.

Here are some tools and strategies to take with you as you move forward:

In order to support students in making informed decisions that are best for them, consider sharing your reporting responsibilities with them way ahead of time, before you ever receive a disclosure. You can share this through onboarding trainings, other student meetings, a sign on your office door, or other methods.

Suggested language:

  • “Almost everything we talk about together is confidential - just between us. But, if I learn of an instance of sexual or gender-based misconduct or other forms of interpersonal violence, I will need to share this information with the University. Let me know if you have any questions.”  

Listen: Let the survivor/reporter know of your reporting obligations as early as possible. Allow the survivor to lead the conversation. Avoid questions. Match the terminology of the survivor. Let the survivor know you are glad they told you.  

Suggested language:

  • “It sounds like you may be interested in sharing something personal or sensitive with me. Before we move forward, I just wanted to remind you about my reporting responsibilities as a Responsible Employee and Campus Security Authority.”

  • “Thank you so much for having the courage to share this with me. I am honored that you trust me with this information. I imagine it’s not easy to talk about.”

Support: Fear of not being believed can cause underreporting of prohibited conduct. Affirm the strength and courage of the survivor. Remind them that the incident was not their fault. Be mindful of comments that could convey disbelief. Do not interrogate. Respect the decisions the survivor makes, even if you do not agree with them. Remind the survivor that you do not see them any differently than before.

Suggested language:

  • “I’m so sorry you are going through something difficult right now. I care about you a lot and want to support you in whatever way feels best for you. How can I be helpful?”

Refer & Connect: Refer the student to trained professionals for comprehensive crisis intervention, advocacy, and support. If a student refuses referrals, continue to be supportive and let them make the decision if they want to seek other resources for help.

Suggested language:

  • “I would like to help connect you with resources available on campus if that would be helpful. I am happy to make a phone call with you or walk you there. Is that something you’re interested in right now?”

  • “If now doesn’t feel like the right time to reach out to resources on campus, that’s OK. I can share with you what I know about these resources and if you have any other questions in the future, I’m here to help.”  

Thank you!