The University of Pittsburgh values the safety and health of all members of the Pitt community and seeks to foster an environment in which its students and employees treat other persons with respect, civility, and dignity. Any behavior that involves sexual assault or harassment, relationship violence, or stalking of another person is prohibited.
If substantiated, such behavior may result in criminal charges if reported to the Pitt police department and/or University disciplinary action if the Title IX Office or the Office of Student Conduct investigates a complaint or referral. The University will use these processes to investigate and resolve reports of sexual assault, harassment, relationship violence, and stalking. In cases involving sexual assault, the University understands the victim may request confidentiality. In these situations, the University may not be able to honor a victim’s request in order to provide a safe, nondiscriminatory environment for all community members, including the victim. If the University honors the request for confidentiality, a victim must understand that the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s)
may be limited.
Accused students or employees should know that the initiation of any University proceedings does not preclude the possibility of criminal charges. Indeed, parallel University and criminal proceedings are not uncommon.
In addition to using these processes, the University will continue to engage in prevention programs and training for students, faculty, and staff in an effort to prevent sexual assault and harassment, relationship violence, and stalking. Pitt’s Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) provides counseling to victims of sexual assault, assists victims in obtaining medical care, and offers support in all aspects of the recovery process. Under the direction of Michele Welker, the office also coordinates the University’s educational programs and active approach to preventing sexual assault on campus.
More detailed information about these programs, processes, and procedures can be found in the Student Code of Conduct and at share.pitt.edu.
Consent is an informed, affirmative decision made freely and actively by all parties to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity. Consent is given by clear words or actions and may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone. Existence of a current or previous dating, marital, and/or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent to additional sexual activity. Consent to one type of sexual activity does not imply consent to other types of sexual activity.
Someone who is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition, cannot give consent. Consent cannot be obtained by force, intimidation, threat, coercion, isolation, or confinement. Agreement obtained under such conditions does not constitute consent.
For definitions of sexual assault, relationship violence,
and stalking, see 2015 Pittsburgh Campus Annual Disclosure of Crime Statistics.
a. General rule: The consent of the victim to conduct charged to constitute an offense or to the result thereof is a defense if such consent negates an element of the offense or precludes the infliction of the harm or evil sought to be prevented by the law defining the offense.
b. Consent to bodily injury: When conduct is charged to constitute an offense because it causes or threatens bodily injury, consent to such conduct or to the infliction of such injury is a defense if:
c. Ineffective consent: Unless otherwise provided by this title or by the law defining the offense, assent does not constitute consent if:
West's Pennsylvania Criminal Justice 2015 Pamphlet, Eagen, Minn.: Thomson Reuters, 2016
The University has a comprehensive array of prevention and educational programs aimed at ending sexual assaults and harassment, relationship violence, and stalking that include the following:
- speaking up when someone discusses plans to
take sexual advantage of another person;
- confronting people who seclude, hit on, try to make out with, or have sex with people who are incapacitated;
- calling police when a person is yelling at another
and it is not safe for you to interrupt;
- refusing to leave the area and calling police if a
person is trying to get you to leave so they can
take advantage of another; and
- ensuring friends who are incapacitated do not
leave the area with someone unknown.
Q What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?
A Many times, victims of sexual assault feel traumatized or blame themselves and are reluctant to seek help and proper medical care;
it is not the victim’s fault. If an individual has been the victim of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking, or think they may have been, there are several options for reporting the incident (see reporting options below) and for obtaining the information, assistance, and support needed for all aspects of recovery, both emotional and physical.
Physical Safety: Your immediate safety is the top priority. As quickly as possible, find a safe place away from the perpetrator or any other potential danger.
Q Does contacting the police mean I have to press charges?
A No. You have the right not to press charges if you call the Pitt Police. However, in the event of a safety concern to the victim and/or campus community, Pitt Police have an obligation to investigate. Pitt Police will report any Title IX incidents to the Title IX Office in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Q If I report a sexual assault, will my name become public? What happens to the information?
A Security personnel will file an anonymous record of any on-campus assault among Pitt’s crime statistics in order to give an accurate representation of crime on campus and to help prevent further crimes of this nature.
Q Do I have to get medical attention?
A Although you are not required to seek medical care, it is highly encouraged. Taking care of your physical and medical state is an important role in the healing process. You may have internal or external injuries as a result of an assault that require medical care. Additionally, you may want to explore options for preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and/or pregnancy. The Student Health Service has staff that can confidentially assess pregnancy risk; test and treat for STDs; and assess, treat, and/or offer/give referrals for physical injuries.
Several options are available for you to pursue if you want to report sexual violence.
In the aftermath of a sexual trauma, although it may not be foremost on your mind, the preservation of evidence is strongly encouraged. Even if you do not think you want to pursue a criminal or civil proceeding, preserving evidence keeps your options open in case you change your mind. To preserve evidence, do not shower, douche, or change clothes or bedding before you seek medical attention. Also, if oral contact took place, do not brush teeth, smoke, or eat. Optimally, evidence collection should occur within 72 hours of the assault, and there are medical facilities in Oakland that can assist you:
Seeking emotional support in the aftermath of sexual violence is very important for recovery. Pitt’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education coordinator Michele Welker offers specialized counseling services designed to assist students who have experienced sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, harassment, and stalking. The coordinator also can assist with referrals to specialized counseling services off campus. Additional counseling resources include the University Counseling Center (412-648-7930) and Pittsburgh Action Against Rape (1-866-363-7273).
Pitt’s Student Health Service provides ongoing confidential medical treatment for any physical problems related to an assault. The Student Health Service can assess for pregnancy risk; test and treat for sexually transmitted diseases; and assess, treat, and/or offer/give referrals for physical injuries. Student Health Service is located in the Wellness Center in Mark A. Nordenberg Hall, 119 University Place, 412-383-1800.
Pitt students can contact their
resident assistant, resident director, or other residence life staff member for support (available 24 hours
Any member of the University community also may contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 412-648-7860 or firstname.lastname@example.org. This office investigates allegations
of sexual misconduct, among other things.
No victim is ever to blame for being assaulted or abused. Below are some warning signs of potential abusive behavior:
- Being isolated from friends and family
- Watching what you say to avoid a “blow-up”
- Hiding bruises or injuries from family and friends
- Being afraid of your partner
- Being forced to do things that you don’t want to do
- Having your partner monitor where you go, what you do, and who you meet
If you do not want to call the police after an incident but feel the need to leave the current environment, Pitt’s SafeRider program may be able to offer you transportation back to your residence by calling 412-648-CALL (2255). More information about SafeRider can be obtained at pc.pitt.edu/transportation/saferider.php.
Community resources include Pittsburgh Action Against Rape at 1-866-363-7273 (answers 24 hours a day) and the Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh at 1-866-644-2882 (answers 24 hours a day). Both groups provide an advocate/escort to accompany victims through the medical and/or legal process. Students who seek assistance from these organizations are not obligated to press charges against the assailant.
University of Pittsburgh Police
or Noncampus Phone
General Assistance 4-4040
Office of Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE)
Student Health Service
University Counseling Center
(Phones answered 24 hours a day/seven days a week)
Environmental Health and Safety
City of Pittsburgh
Police, Fire, Ambulance
Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
Center for Victims
of Public Welfare
ChildLine for abuse reporting
Re:solve Crisis Network
Mental Health Crisis Intervention
1-866-7-YOU CAN or 1-888-796-8226
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