Domestic violence can be misunderstood in a college setting, as some might assume this only occurs between people in a committed relationship who are living together. The truth is that domestic violence has a much broader, and necessary, definition.
Under the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policies, informed by state law, domestic violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed against a victim by:
- current or former spouse,
- current or former cohabitant,
- person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or
- anyone else protected under applicable domestic or family violence laws.
The university defines dating violence (still legally defined as domestic violence) as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
For a complete definition of the state’s Domestic Abuse Act, see Minnesota Statutes Section 518B.01 et seq.
In other words, you do not have to be living with someone you are in a romantic/intimate relationship with in order to be charged with the crime of domestic violence or a violation under the university’s policy. Similarly, you do not have to be in a relationship with someone you are living with in order to be charged with the crime of domestic violence or a violation of the university policy.
Stalking is closely associated with domestic violence, but the elements regarding past/present relationship status or cohabitation are not necessary to establish an offense under law or the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
The university defines stalking a (1) a course or pattern of unwelcome and unwanted conduct (2) that a person knows or has reason to know (3) would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed or intimidated or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking behavior includes, but is not limited to:
- Repeated, unwanted and intrusive communications by phone, mail, text message, email and/or other electronic communications, including social media.
- Repeatedly leaving or sending the victim unwanted items, presents or flowers.
- Following or lying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work or recreational facilities.
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim or the victim’s children, relatives, friends or pets.
- Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Unreasonably obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim’s garbage, following the victim, or contacting the victim’s friends, family, work or neighbors.
For a complete definition of the state stalking statute, see Minnesota Statutes Section 609.749.
If you are a victim
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or any violation under the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, we encourage you to report the matter to Public Safety or the Dean of Student’s Office.
You can file a police report directly by calling 911. Public Safety can assist you with filing a police report; visit the Public Safety office on the first floor of Morrison Hall.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233.