Office of Public Safety

Sexual Assault Awareness 

Experience has shown that incidents of sexual assault can occur anywhere. The University publishes sexual assault awareness and prevention information in the Student Handbook which is available to all community members.  Public Safety encourages you to read this information. 

Sexual assault is a topic that must be taken seriously by the entire Wesleyan community.  Reducing the risk of sexual assault is not only an institutional responsibility but also an individual one. Prevention of these incidents requires a commitment from all members of the community.  Increased awareness on the part of each member of the Wesleyan community will result in a safer campus for all.

Studies show that the odds are about one in three that a woman will be the target of either an actual or an attempted rape and that more than 80% of all women who experienced assault were acquainted with the men who assaulted them. Men are not immune – it is estimated that 10% of all sexual assaults are committed against men.

Statistically, acquaintance sexual assault on campuses is most often involves against first-year students and often in the first weeks they are on campus. Acquaintance sexual assault, like stranger sexual assault, may include various degrees of force, ranging from emotional coercion to physical restraint, threat of violence, or the use of a weapon.

While the responsibility for any sexual misconduct lies with the perpetrator, there are many actions a person can take to reduce their risk for becoming a victim. 

  • Set your own sexual boundaries and communicate them clearly to a potential sexual partner before becoming intimate.  Be alert to situations that could be misinterpreted.

  • Notice your fears and act on them – our instincts are usually right.

  • Look for signs of a lack of respect.  If someone does not respect your personal space or your wishes, it is possible they won’t respect you in a sexual situation either.

  • Be especially cautious in a new environment with unfamiliar people; this applies whether you are on campus, off campus and when traveling.

  • Avoid walking in isolated areas when alone.  Acquaintances and strangers both could use an isolated area to their advantage, whether it is indoors or outdoors.  Strive to travel in well-lit areas with others.

  • Attend social gatherings with friends and leave with them. Make a plan for the evening and stick to it in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

  • Never leave a party or gathering with someone you don’t know well or accept a ride from a stranger.

  • Select a public place when meeting someone new for the first time. Have a friend with you or drive yourself and prearrange a way to leave the situation if your instincts tell you to do so.  This is particularly true when the person was met via the Internet. 

  • Watch your alcohol and drug use.  Studies of rape indicate that up to three-fourths of all rapists and victims were under the influence of alcohol or other drugs at the time.  For the same reasons it is important to remain sober to control a car, it is equally important to stay sober in order to maintain control of your body.

At times, a person may find themselves in a risky situation they could not anticipate. Anyone who feels uncomfortable with, or threatened by, another person’s behavior should trust that instinctive reaction and take the following steps:

  • Keep the door open or invite another person in.

  • Speak firmly and look directly at the other person when you refuse any activity. Say "NO” firmly and repeatedly. Tell the offender to stop or leave.  A reasonable person will see your rights and listen to a clear “no” message, even if they find it frustrating. 

  • Shout, scream, or use a whistle if they do not listen. Whistles are available free from Public Safety

  • Use self-defense techniques, if appropriate. Some situations provide an opportunity to fight back physically, others may not.

  • Try to get out of the situation in any way possible.

In addition, Public Safety encourages you to take the following precautions on and around campus:

  • Use the Campus Shuttle Service after dark.

  • Faculty and staff members working late should request an escort by Public Safety to their vehicles.

  • Walk with friends. There really is safety in numbers.

  • Use all of the security hardware that is provided in your residence hall, house, or office.

  • Be aware of where the police and emergency fireboxes are located on and around campus and use them in an emergency.

  • Keep your exterior door locked at all times.

  • Walk only in well-lit pathways and stay alert to any sign of suspicious circumstances.

  • Report the sound of a whistle being blown to Public Safety immediately.

  • Report all incidents of harassment, assault, or other crimes to Public Safety.

  • Report suspicious people or incidents to Public Safety by calling 685-3333 or on campus x3333.

  • Faculty and staff members working at odd hours in their offices should inform Public Safety that they are occupying the building and can request than an officer stop by to make sure the exterior of the building is secure.

  • Several buildings are equipped with portable panic alarms, which alert Public Safety.  If your building has such a device, you are encouraged to carry it if you are working alone at night.

Sexual misconduct is a violation of University policy and encompasses harassment, coercion, intimidation and/or sexual assault.  Sexual Misconduct includes any sexual activity for which consent is not given.  All members of the Wesleyan community are encouraged to review the information on sexual assault contained in the Student HandbookFaculty Handbook, or the Administrative Handbook

Wesleyan adjudicates alleged violations of the Code of-Non Academic Conduct via judicial boards.  The evidentiary standard for such boards is fair preponderance of the evidence presented.  Wesleyan has four avenues to address alleged violations of Wesleyan's rules and regulations including sexual assault.

Disciplinary sanctions will be imposed on students and employees found to have violated University standards.  Possible sanctions for students may include disciplinary probation, suspension and dismissal.  Possible sanctions for employees may include warnings, reprimands, probation, suspension with or without pay, and termination of employment.

The entry point for complaints by or against students, regardless of which committee or board will hear them, is the clerk of the judicial system.  While the Office of the Clerk can be used for cases involving faculty, administrators, and/or staff, the dean of the college and the director of human resources may also receive formal complaints for forwarding to the appropriate bodies.

If the complainant wishes to make a formal complaint against an under-graduate student or groups of students, the complaint is handled by the Student Judicial Board.  The Graduate Judicial Board will hear complaints against graduate students.  If the complainant wishes to pursue a formal complaint against a member of the faculty, the complaint may be submitted directly to the Faculty Committee on Rights and Responsibilities.  If the complainant wishes to make a formal complaint against a non-faculty employee (i.e., administrator or staff member) of the University, the complaint is forwarded to the person’s supervisor.

In each case involving students, the accused and the accuser are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during disciplinary proceedings and to be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceedings alleging a sexual offense.  More detailed information on the process and procedures of each board or committee is outlined in the Student Handbook, and the Faculty Handbook.

As is the case with all crimes and emergencies, the University urges members of the community to report sexual offenses promptly to the Office of Public Safety (685-3333) and to the Middletown police (911). The Office of the Public Safety is available for assistance following a sexual assault and will provide transportation to the Davison Health Center and/or Middlesex Hospital for medical attention, treatment, and the preservation of medical evidence. The importance of preserving such evidence for legal proof of criminal sexual assault is emphasized. The Office of Public Safety will also assist students who choose to file a report with the Middletown Police Department.

When a sexual assault is reported to the Office of Public Safety, the office will share the identity of the victim only with the Dean of the College, whose role is to facilitate appropriate follow-up and counseling. Appropriate follow-up may include a change of academic and/or living arrangements, if requested by the victim, and if such changes can be reasonably implemented.

In addition to the safety awareness and crime-prevention programs detailed in the Student Handbook, educational programs to promote awareness and prevention of sexual assault and other sexual offenses are available. These programs, sponsored by the Dean's Office include presentations to new students during Orientation and workshops in the residence halls each fall term.

Counseling, mental health, and student services are available for victims of sexual assault both on and off campus.  On campus counseling services include those offered by the Office of Behavioral Health.  Services also may be sought at Health Services which offers a safe confidential setting and primary care and support. The Health Services Staff will outline resources and options available to sexual assault victims including the option to be assisted in notifying Public Safety and the Middletown Police Department of alleged incidents.  For services off campus, students are referred to the Central Connecticut Sexual Crisis Center (1-888-999-5545) and to Middlesex Hospital (347-9471).   Additional resources are listed in the current Student Handbook

In compliance with the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act of 2002, members of the Wesleyan University community may contact the Connecticut State Police for information concerning registered sex offenders. 

The Campus Crimes Prevention Act passed in 2000 and which became effective on October 28, 2002, requires convicted and previously registered sex offenders to notify their state if they are enrolled as a student or employed at a college or university.  This information is then forwarded to the local law enforcement agency wherein the college or university is located.  Anyone with questions regarding information on registered sex offenders may contact the Middletown Police Department located at 222 Main Street, Middletown, CT.  The phone number is (860) 344-3200.