Tips for Faculty and Staff

University policy requires faculty and staff to report sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. Reporting ensures that students, faculty, and staff are connected with appropriate resources and helps to protect the campus community.

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 and offer support and resources for you. However, I want to make sure you know that I am not confidential, and there are certain kinds of information I am required to share. If what you are going to share is sexual in nature, I need to eventually share this with a St. Thomas colleague (Title IX Coordinator). My colleague will help me to appropriately help you. If you want to talk with a confidential resource, I can get you connected with someone.”

*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-judgmental 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 expressions 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 Title IX Coordinator or a confidential resource, so that the student has access to the resources and assistance they need.
  • 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 the Title IX Coordinator. Follow the link to the Title IX Report Form where you can share information directly with the Title IX Coordinator who will respond to your report within 24-business hours. Contacting Public Safety to report (651-962-5555) or sending an email to the Title IX Coordinator ( is also a fine way to make contact.

If the student requests that you keep the information confidential:

Tell the student you are required to tell the Title IX Coordinator about incidents that are sexual in nature that may fall in line with the Sexual Misconduct policy.  Assure the student that the University treats these matters confidentially and private consistent with its need to respond in order to protect the community.  Explain that the Title IX Coordinator can help ensure that the student has access to available resources and assistance.

Under Title IX, the University must eliminate and prevent sexual misconduct from happening; so, when we hear about it, we must address the behavior, to prevent the re-occurrence, especially when we know who caused the harm. When we know a member of our community has been impacted by sexual misconduct, we must provide support to those harmed. It is the Title IX Coordinator’s responsibility to lead these response efforts and supportive measures.