If a student discloses an incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, or stalking to you, you can follow these three steps to support the student and fulfill reporting obligations: Care, Connect, and Call.
Respond to the student in a caring and supportive manner. It is not your job to investigate what happened, rather to listen with empathy. The student is not required to share any more information than they feel comfortable with, either with you or with any other Rice employee, including the name of the perpetrator or any specific details.
Students who have experienced interpersonal violence (or have been accused of committing interpersonal violence) may be experiencing high levels of stress. Remaining calm and explaining clearly to the student what the next actions will be is important. Many employees have a "Responsible Employee" designation and should explain to the student, who has experienced interpersonal violence, that they will be connecting them to The SAFE Office, as it is a federal requirement.
Connect the student to resources that can help them understand their options and get any support they may need. Rice believes in empowering students, and encourages you to not give advice or tell them what to do, but to let them make the best decision for themselves. You can read about some of the options for students on campus here.
As an employee of Rice University, once you know about any incident of sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, stalking, or another non-consensual interpersonal behavior, Rice Title IX personnel need to know so they can act to support the student and to keep our community safe.
This means making sure the student has the resources and support they need to be safe and to take any action steps they may want, such as filing a report or seeking Title IX accommodations. Rice employs domestic and sexual violence expert professionals to address student concerns; it is important to communicate with one of them any concern you have about a student.
Talking to a Navigator about the Title IX process allows students who have experienced interpersonal violence the ability to learn their reporting options without having to take action steps. It is important to Navigators that students make their own choices. In the majority of cases, the student will get to decide whether or not they wish to make a report through the student judicial process or make a report with a policing agency, specifically RUPD.
Some students may feel more comfortable speaking to a confidential resource first. Rice University offers confidential counseling through the Rice Counseling Center and has working agreements with Houston community support resources off campus: HAWC or the Montrose Center (LGBT+ specific).
It is important for employees designated as a "Responsible Employee" to note that they must make a report to the Title IX Coordinator regardless of other referrals made. If you have questions about the "Responsible Employee" designation, contact Richard Baker, Title IX Coordinator.
Email us or call us (713) 348-3311. Every situation is unique. We will work with you to address the student's concerns and yours.