Providing Support

We recognize that it takes tremendous courage to come forward and report an incident of harassment or assault. We want to make sure that members of our community not only feel safe in coming forward themselves but also have the tools they need to support colleagues or students who come forward.

Below are basic recommendations for providing support to a student, colleague or community member. These are by no means all encompassing. If you have additional resources for providing support to students or staff that you would like to share, please send to Amy Martasin.

Always say:

  • Thank you for telling me. 
  • I appreciate your trusting me enough to bring this to my attention. 
  • We take these things seriously. 
  • What you described shouldn’t happen to anyone.
  • We will take steps to get to the bottom of this right away. 

Never say: 

  • Why are you just bringing this forward now? 
  • I have a tough time believing… 
  • What was your part in it? 
  • Why do you think they did those things?
  • Have you told them to stop? 

Elements of Effective Report Handling

  • Do not pass the person off to another staff member; responding to a report is not someone else’s job. Additionally, they have come to you because they feel comfortable in doing so and feel a level of trust with you.
  • Do seek expertise and support when needed.
  • Don’t judge. Ask open-ended questions until the impulse to judge goes away.
  • Listen. Listen more.
  • Don’t debate or argue.
  • Name the feelings/get clarification about feelings.
  • Don’t cast blame or assign responsibility.
  • Give them all the time they need and then some more.


Keep brief notes when there is any type of conflict brought to your attention

  • Who, what, when?
  • What did you do about it (or recommend they do)? Did you follow up?
  • Be sure to keep a running narrative for each step you take. You will be glad you did.