Tips for Faculty and Staff

Talking with Students Who Report Sexual Misconduct

Know that you can’t promise complete confidentiality, but the University will respect privacy. University policy requires faculty and staff to report sexual misconduct to a Trained Responder (listed below). Reporting to a Trained Responder ensures that students, faculty, and staff are connected with appropriate resources and helps to protect the campus community. Trained Responders treat reports as confidentially as possible, consistent with the need for the University to respond.

If you think a student is going to tell you something about sexual misconduct:

Consider a gentle reminder that you are not a confidential resource but that confidential resources are available. For example:

“I want to hear what you have to say. I also want to make sure you know that there are some kinds of information I am required to share with UST. If you want to speak with someone who has the ability to keep information completely confidential, I can help you find the right person.  Do you want to talk now, or would you like to speak with a confidential resource first?” 

* Note: the Counseling Center and Health Services are mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse under Minnesota law and are not confidential resources as to reports of suspected child abuse.

If a student discloses sexual Misconduct to you:

  • Listen non-judgmentally and support the student. Accept the experience as the student describes it. Articulate clearly that you and the University want to provide support to the student. Don’t press for details and avoid “why” questions, which may cause the student to feel judged.  Use the words the student uses (“taken advantage of” “violated” “raped” or other general terms such as “harm.”)  Do not comment on what could have been done differently or make statements that imply that the student could have avoided the assault.  Do not comment on alcohol or drug usage.
  • Assure the student that it is not their fault. Self-blame is common among victims of sexual violence.
  • Be sympathetic and supportive. Do say something like “I’m so sorry that you have to go through this.”  But, avoid expression of shock, anger, or outrage, which may silence the survivor or distract them from talking about their own needs. 
  • Remember your role.  You are not the investigator or the judge.  Your role is to support the student and to help them connect with the Trained Responder, so that the student has access to the resources and assistance he or she needs.  
  • Offer company. If the student is hesitant to get help, even from those who you know are supportive and helpful, offer to accompany them to those who can help. Sometimes that is all it takes to help a student begin to take action. Make a call to the Dean of Students for the student or walk with the student to the Counseling Center. 
  • Contact a Trained Responder. Faculty and staff who receive credible reports of sexual misconduct must contact one of the following Trained Responders:

    UST Public Safety:  2-5555 (emergencies) 2-5100 (non-emergencies)

    Dean of Students (Student Concerns) 2-6050

    Title IX Coordinator (Danielle Hermanny) 2-6882

    HR Partner (Employee Concerns)  



 If the student requests that you keep the information confidential:

Tell the student that you’re required to tell a Trained Responder about potential violations of the Sexual Misconduct policy.  Assure the student that the University treats these matters as confidentially as possible consistent with its need to respond in order to protect the community.  Explain that a Trained Responder can help ensure that the student has access to available resources and assistance. A Trained Responder may also be able to identify whether there are any other victims.  Assure the student that the University cares and that there are people who can help.