Recognizing Concerning Behavior

Sex- and gender-based harassment can include a wide variety of behaviors. While there are behaviors that are severe enough to meet the criteria for a policy violation with one act (ex. sexual assault), most conduct will require more than a single act to reach the threshold necessary to violate a policy.

Our goal is to prevent situations where a pattern of behavior may result in disciplinary action because it is not recognized, interrupted, or addressed proactively. Recognizing, interrupting, and reporting concerning behavior helps all of those involved access the information, guidance, coaching, and resources that can help create a safe and successful learning and working environment for everyone.

Even when a behavior may happen only once or twice in your classroom, it may be happening in other classes as well, so reporting helps the college understand what may be happening throughout campus and events. Reporting concerning behavior is important for this reason as well. 

The following are examples that may include, but are not limited to, conduct that can be considered harassment and, if ongoing, can become actionable under this policy. 

Faculty and Staff Responses

Faculty are often on the receiving end of student disclosures when they are providing context for a late assignment or missed class. Staff may learn about situations during advising or other service consultations.

When a student discloses things that indicate they have been or are currently dealing with personal violence (physical or otherwise), it is critical to report. The Title IX office can help provide support to that student including navigating academic needs, safety planning, and external resource referrals.

Some of the ways in which faculty and staff have received disclosures include:

  • Comments in papers,
  • Requests for extensions,
  • Discussing personal situations,
  • Requesting assistance, 
  • Explaining an absence, and
  • Sharing during a class discussion.

Some of the information disclosed may include comments about needing to hide or flee, that they are in fear of their safety, have been assaulted, need(ed) to attend a court hearing, had their computer taken away by a family member, and other forms of control. If you find yourself on the receiving end of such a disclosure, the following tips may be helpful:

  • Validate the person’s experience. It is ok to say, “I am sorry this has been your experience.” or “I am so sorry this is happening to you.”
  • Thank them for feeling safe enough to share with you. 
  • Don’t ask questions about the situation. If the student discloses, it is ok to listen as long as you are comfortable. Make notes of what you discussed and contact Title IX for assistance. 
  • Let the person know that you will help them get support (from Title IX). 
  • Inform the student that you have a reporting obligation and that you will be contacting Title IX staff who can help with support and resources. Let the student know that they should expect to be contacted by Title IX staff. You can also offer to walk them over and help get them connected. 

Many people are surprised by these disclosures and find themselves processing it just after the conversation. Reach out to the Title IX office and they will help you navigate the situation.

Last Updated September 30, 2021