HSSU Policy on Sexual Assault


HSSU is committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment conducive to the academic pursuit and healthy personal development of all persons. All members of the University community share responsibility for fostering this environment by adhering to standards of conduct. Any form of sexual assault is a serious violation of these standards and will not be tolerated.

It is the University’s desire to create a supportive climate that will encourage individuals to report incidents. Reporting of these incidents is the only mechanism by which offenders can be officially sanctioned by the University, thereby reducing the risk of repeat occurrences. In the absence of formal reporting, informal reporting is essential for the University to acquire an accurate account of the campus environment. Any reporting provides the opportunity for the University to provide compassionate, effective intervention, support and remediation, and most importantly, to help prevent such incidents from occurring.


The procedures outlined in handling sexual assaults are designed to achieve the following goals:

•             Provide prompt and compassionate support services.

•             Provide a comprehensive framework in which the needs and decisions of all parties concerned are central in determining further administrative response and assistance.

•             Create a campus environment that both facilitates and expedites the prompt reporting of sexual assault.

•             Cultivate a climate of community empowerment and education in which behaviors that contribute to sexual assault are not tolerated.

•             Ensure that appropriate steps are followed when sexual assault is reported.

•             Protect the rights of the reporting Party, the accused party, and other parties involved in or affected by the case.


This Policy applies to all behavior in which the accused party is a student. In the event the accused party is no longer subject to the University’s process or other University policies and procedures, the reporting party will be referred to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. In the event the accused is faculty, staff, or a non-University affiliated party, the reporting procedures and resources are the same as set forth in this Policy.

The following individuals or entities across campus have been designated to receive reports of sexual assault: Campus Public Safety; VP of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; and the Director of Res Life.


Procedures for Reporting Incidents of Sexual Assault Assistance and Medical Care

The priority response to any complaint of sexual assault is to address the safety of the victim. The University will help the reporting party get to a safe place and assist the reporting party in seeking immediate medical treatment and to preserve evidence for any complaint process the victim may choose to pursue.


Reporting and Support

The University encourages the reporting of all incidents of sexual assault. Any threat of retaliation or other attempt to prevent the report or investigation of an incident of sexual assault, or prevent participation in proceedings relating to sexual assault, is itself prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.


Confidential Reporting

The only reporting option that affords complete confidentiality is speaking with a licensed counselor in Student Affairs. Speaking confidentially with a counselor in Student Affairs may also be helpful in deciding how to proceed because a counselor will provide information regarding additional reporting options to include filing a report with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police.

Other Reporting Options and Support Resources

A criminal report may be filed with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, or appropriate jurisdiction.  Campus Public Safety is available to provide assistance with contacting the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, or other appropriate jurisdiction. An individual may file a report with both the University and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, or other appropriate jurisdiction, as the systems operate independently.

Regardless of the reporting option(s) used by the victim, the first priority is to receive prompt medical attention to treat any medical injuries and preserve evidence in the event the reporting party chooses to pursue a complaint at a later date. Please note that the first 96 hours after a sexual assault is a critical time frame for gathering the most complete medical evidence.

In addition to the reporting options and conduct process, there are a variety of other services available, which include follow-up medical care, academic assistance, alternative housing, a “cease and desist” order (i.e., a no contact order) from the Dean of Student Affairs, or an Order of Protection with the St. Louis City Circuit Court (Civil Courts Building, 9th Floor, Adult Abuse Office, 10 N. Tucker), or other appropriate jurisdiction.


Counseling Services

HSSU provides confidential, professional counseling and referrals for students needing assistance for problems related to sexual assault. Students may obtain information and assistance by calling the Director of Counseling Services, Dr. Vicki Bernard at (314) 340-5089.  If calling after hours, Campus Public Safety can also contact Dr. Bernard in an emergency situation.




Sexual violence - involves any physical sexual act which is perpetrated against a person’s will or done without valid consent (such as when the person is incapacitated).  The primary motivation for sexual violence is not sexual gratification but rather the assertion of power; this inevitably leads to a hostile environment for the victim. 


Domestic Violence is violence that occurs between partners who are married and /or are living together for long periods of time. The pattern of abusive behavior is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner. Many forms of abuse are included in the definition of domestic violence including behaviors that injure, hurt, manipulate, intimidate, humiliate, blame, isolate, terrorize, coerce, threaten or wound someone.


Dating violence is committed by a person in a social, romantic, or intimate relationship with the victim. The existence of such relationship is determined using the following factors: The length of the relationship, the type of relationship, the partners’ frequency of interaction.


Stalking is a pattern of repeated unwanted attention, harassment or contact that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking can include following the victim, spying, watching, harassing, sending gifts, collecting information, making phone calls, leaving written messages, or appearing at a person's residence or workplace. Cyberstalking refers to online action or repeated emailing that inflicts substantial emotional distress in the recipient.

Consent - Missouri Section 556.061 states consent or lack of consent may be expressed or implied. Assent does not constitute consent if:

(a) It is given by a person who lacks the mental capacity to authorize the conduct charged to constitute the offense and such mental incapacity is manifest or known to the actor; or

(b) It is given by a person who by reason of youth, mental disease or defect, intoxication, a drug-induced state, or any other reason is manifestly unable or known by the actor to be unable to make a reasonable judgment as to the nature or harmfulness of the conduct charged to constitute the offense; or

(c) It is induced by force, duress or deception.


Sexual Assault and/Rape Acquaintance Rape - Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities such as forced intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.


Victims’ Rights and Responsibilities


Victims have:

•             The right to investigation and appropriate resolution to all credible complaints of sexual misconduct made in good faith to the University

•             The right to have complaints of sexual misconduct responded to quickly and with sensitivity by campus public safety

•             The right to be treated with respect by University officials

•             The right to choose to report or not report an assault to either or both on-campus and off-campus authorities

•             The right to not have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence in a campus hearing

•             The right to be notified of available counseling, mental health or student services for victims of sexual assault both on campus and in the community

•             The right to notification of options for changing academic and living situations after an alleged sexual assault incident if requested by the victim

•             The right to have any complaint of sexual assault mediated as opposed to adjudicated

•             The right to a “NO Contact Directive” against another student who has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing or other improper behavior that presents a danger to the welfare of the complaining student or others


Accused Rights and Responsibilities


                Accused have:

•             The right to investigation and appropriate resolution to all credible complaints of sexual misconduct made in good faith to the University

•             The right to have University policies and procedures followed without material deviation

•             The right to be treated with respect by University officials

•             The right to be notified of available counseling, mental health or student services for victims of sexual assault both on campus and in the community

•             The right to a hearing on the complaint, including timely notice of hearing date , and adequate time for preparation

•             The right to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence in a campus hearing

(The preceding list is limited. For full list of student rights and responsibilities refer to Student Handbook)


A Bystander is a person who intervenes when they see something happening around them they know is wrong. They are neither the victim nor perpetrator but rather a third party who feels something is not quite right about a situation and may find it difficult to speak out because they are “not directly involved.”


Bystander intervention- means safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than such individual.

Bystanders have the power to stop crimes from occurring and to get help for people who have been victimized. If you find yourself in this situation, follow the below Tips and Options for intervening in a situation potentially involving a crime.


Tips & Options:


•             Keep yourself safe

•             Approach everyone with respect

•             Avoid using violence

•             Be honest and direct whenever possible

•             Redirect the focus of one person somewhere else

•             Try to split up the parties involved

•             Do not be antagonistic

•             Recruit help if necessary

•             If things get out of hand or become too serious, contact the police


How to Lower Your Risk of Sexual Assault (adapted from RAINN)

Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way to get out of a bad situation.

•             Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.

•             Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.

•             Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.

•             Try not to load yourself down with packages or bags as this can make you appear more vulnerable.

•             Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged and that you have cab money.

•             Don't allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t trust or someone you don’t know.

•             Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone

•             When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.

•             Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).

•             Don't leave your drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one.

•             Don't accept drinks from people you don't know or trust. If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.

•             Watch out for your friends, and vice versa. If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately.

•             If you suspect you or a friend has been drugged, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.). Be explicit with doctors so they can give you the correct tests (you will need a urine test and possibly others).


Sexual Assault, Alcohol and Drugs

•             80-90 percent of sexual assaults on college campuses are acquaintance rape and involve drugs and alcohol

•             Alcohol and drugs facilitate sexual assault: 21 percent of college students report using alcohol to impair their dates


Alcohol and Drugs can cause perpetrators to:

•             Feel more social and Confident

•             Misinterpret verbal and nonverbal cues

•             Misperceive friendliness, physical contact, going to their room, drinking etc., as a person’s desire to have sex

•             Feel justified in forcing sex on someone they believe has been” leading them on”


Alcohol and Drugs can cause victims to:

•             Ignore or miss cues that would help them evaluate their safety

•             Be seen as more willing to have sex than someone who is not drinking

•             Notice attempts to isolate them

•             Unsuccessfully resist an assault, either verbally or physically

•             Be encouraged to drink more as a way to facilitate an assault

(Adapted from “Sexual Violence Protect Yourself with Facts, “Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault,


What To Do if Sexually Assaulted

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, or think you have been but are not sure, it’s important to talk to someone. You can always call Campus Public Safety at (314) 280-9971. Counselors are available on campus at the Office of Counseling Services in Gillespie Residence Hall, Room 111.You can reach Counseling Services at (314) 340-5089 or (314) 340-5068. Counselors can help you recover from the assault and can assist you in finding legal services and pressing charges if you choose to do so. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone face-to-face there are a number of anonymous hotlines available. Remember, these resources are not just available for women, or people of certain groups; no matter whom you are you have the right to talk to someone.


If you have been raped or sexually assaulted here’s What You Can Do:


If the assault occurred in the last 72 hours:

•             Go to a safe place.

•             Call someone you trust to be with you and give you support.

•             If you live in a residence hall, contact an RA or RD for support.

•             Preserve all physical evidence of the assault. Do not shower, bathe, douche or brush your teeth.

•             If the assault took place in your residence room or home, do not rearrange or clean-up anything. Preserve all evidence until you have filed a report with Campus Public Safety.

•             Write down as much as you can remember about the circumstances of the assault, including a description of the assailant.

•             Ask the hospital for an evidence collection, also known as a rape kit/exam, emergency contraceptive and testing for STD’s and pregnancy. It is important to receive this exam even if you are not planning to make a police report. If you suspect you may have been drugged, ask for a urine test.

•             If you want to report an assault contact Campus Public Safety at (314) 340-3333 immediately.    


Continued Education

Through the division of Student Affairs, Harris-Stowe State University provides on-going education regarding sexual assault prevention through a variety of programs. The 0n-line program is required of all new students prior to completion of registration.  There are educational opportunities for faculty and staff throughout the academic year as well. The following resources can assist you in your on-going responsibility to stay informed and educated on the important issue of sexual violence.


Circle of 6

Free phone app that prevents violence before it happens

Winner of the White House/ HHS Apps Against Abuse Technology Challenge


Green Dot Campaign

Bystander intervention programs and research


Know Your IX

Informational video providing quick reference materials about the importance of Title IX


No More

A symbol to end sexual assault and domestic violence, supported by the Joyful Heart Foundation


The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network

A website for national statistics, laws, and governance


Red Flag Campaign

A national campaign to promote the public awareness of dating violence on college campuses


Not Alone

What House Council on Woman and Girls


Off-Campus Resources


Alternative to Living in Violent Environments

(314) 993-2777


Crime Victim’s Advocacy Center of St. Louis        

(314) 652-3623


Life Crisis

(314) 647-4357 (24 hours a day)


St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Center               

(314) 726-6665


United Way Information and Referral Service

211 or (314) 421-4636


Women’s Safe House                                   

(314) 772-4535


Safe Connections                                            

(314) 531-2003


UM-St. Louis Center for Trauma Recovery           

(314) 516-6738


Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network         

(800) 656-4673


Crime Victim’s Advocacy Center of St. Louis

(314) 652-3623


LAAW 9 (Legal Advocates for Abused Women)

(314) 664-6699 or (800) 527-1460 Life Crisis (24 hour Hotline) (314) 647-4357


Rape Hotline

(314) 531-RAPE (7273)


United Way Information and Referral Service

211 or (314) 421-4336


You have the option to request, and will be provided assistance, to change academic and living situations in the University’s Res Life system after an alleged sexual assault incident, if such changes are reasonably available. To do so, call the Director of Res Life at (314) 340-5300.  In addition, the University reserves the right to change living arrangements of any person involved in sexual assault incidents to the extent necessary to protect the safety, well-being, or property of the members of the residence hall community, to protect a student’s own physical or emotional safety and well-being, or to preserve the orderly functioning of the residence halls or operations of the University.


Possible Sanctions

Possible sanctions the University may impose following a final determination of disciplinary proceedings regarding rape, acquaintance rape, or other forcible or non-forcible sex offenses include: expulsion, suspension, probation, restitution, fines, restricted access or residence hall contract termination.


Disclosure to Victim of a Crime of Violence or a Non-forcible Sex Offense

The University will, upon written request, disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence, or a non-forcible sex offense, the results of any disciplinary hearing conducted by the University against the student who is the alleged perpetrator of the crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of the crime or offense, the University will provide the results of the disciplinary hearing to the victim’s next of kin, if so requested.


Educational Programs

Educational programs to promote awareness of sexual assault, acquaintance rape and other sex offenses are offered through Student Affairs.



State law mandates that the Missouri State Highway Patrol shall maintain a sex offender database and website on the Internet that is accessible to the public. Additional information and verification may be obtained from the Chief Law Enforcement Official of the City of St. Louis (Chief, City of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department) for those sex offenders who reside in the City of St. Louis. Members of the Saint Louis University community may contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Sex Offender Registry website for information concerning registered sex offenders or the Missouri State Highway Patrol website: (

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