Education & Assessment

Active Bystander

Everyone has a role in preventing and addressing sexual misconduct

Ashland University encourages all members of the Ashland Community to take responsibility for preventing and addressing sexual misconduct within our community. By being an Active Bystander, it is possible to speak out against sexist attitudes, rape myth beliefs, and sexual violence itself. Commit to being an Active Bystander at Ashland University by taking the following steps:

  • Notice the situation. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Interpret it as a problem. Do I recognize that someone needs help?
  • Feel responsible to act. See yourself as being part of the solution to help.
  • Know what to do. Educate yourself on what to do.
  • Intervene safely. Take action but be sure to keep yourself safe.

How to Intervene Safely

  • Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.
  • Ask a person you are worried about if he/she is okay. Provide options and a listening ear.
  • Distract or redirect individuals in unsafe situations.
  • Recommend to others that someone has had too much to drink.
  • Ask the person if he/she wants to leave. Make sure that he/she gets home safely.
  • Call the police (911) or someone else in authority.

Maintaining Personal Safety

Before acting in a situation, ask yourself:

  • How can you keep yourself safe in this situation?
  • What are all of the options available to you?
  • Who else might be able to assist you in this situation?
  • What are the pros and cons of acting?
  • How can you avoid violence in this situation?

To Enhance Safety When Out with Friends

  • Have a plan. Talk with your friends about your plans BEFORE you go out. Where do you want to go? Having a clear plan ahead of time helps friends look after one another.
  • Go out together. Go out as a group and come home as a group; never separate and never leave your friend(s) behind.
  • Watch out for others. If you are walking at night with friends and notice a person walking by themselves in the same direction, ask them to join you so they don’t have to walk alone.
  • Diffuse situations. If you see a friend coming on too strong to someone who may be too drunk to make a consensual decision, interrupt, distract, or redirect the situation. If you are too embarrassed or shy to speak out, get someone else to step in.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation or person doesn’t seem “right” to you, trust your gut and remove yourself, if possible, from the situation.
  • Take care of each other.

* Adapted from University of New Hampshire’s “Bringing in the Bystander.”

Risk Reduction

Risk reduction tips can be perceived as victim-blaming, even unintentionally. Only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act. We offer the tips below with no intention to victim-blame, with recognition that these suggestions may nevertheless help you to avoid the risk of committing a non-consensual sexual act:

  1. If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
  2. Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
  3. Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  4. Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  5. Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions.
  6. Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  1. Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
  2. Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  3. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
  4. Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not know how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable. Be aware that this timeline can change.
  5. Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even when the alcohol/drugs are ingested voluntarily.
  6. Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you or fearful of you. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.
  7. Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
  8. Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
Steps To Take If You Are Sexually Assaulted

Stay Warm

  • Persons who experience sexual assault may be in a state of shock. The person is advised to stay warm by wrapping in a blanket or coat.

Preserve Evidence and Do Not Clean Up

  • Persons who experience sexual assault are advised not to wash, shower or bathe, brush teeth or gargle, remove tampons/pads, urinate or defecate, change or wash clothes, eat/drink or smoke. Avoiding cleaning up make it less likely that physical evidence is disturbed.
  • Clothing worn at the time of an assault should be placed in a paper or plastic bag and brought to the emergency department.
  • Take steps to preserve physical evidence (such as towels, sheets) at the location of the assault, if possible.
  • In order to avoid forgetting important details, write down the facts about the accused and the assault.

Get to a Safe Place and Seek Emotional Support

  • Talking with a trusted friend, relative or someone who is professionally trained to deal with sexual assault can aid an individual in making better decisions.
  • Whether one decides to call local law enforcement or campus Safety Services, it is extremely important to attend to one’s emotional needs.
  • Professional counseling and support can be beneficial immediately or months/years later. One can seek counseling on campus, through the Ashland Theological Seminary Smetzer Counseling Center, as well as seek support through the 24/7 Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven hotline or staff. In addition, staff in Christian Ministry and Student Health Center may offer support.

Seek Medical Attention

  • Staff from the local Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven can accompany the individual to the emergency department or health provider.
  • It is important to seek medical attention at the emergency department as soon as possible. A medical examination will ensure appropriate medical treatment. The individual should take a change of clothes as those worn during the assault will be collected as evidence.
  • A medical examination will also allow for the collection of physical evidence by way of a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE), which will ensure that needed physical evidence is preserved in the event of a report to city law enforcement. A SAFE can be obtained within 72 hours of an assault.
  • If person who has experienced sexual assault goes to the emergency department, local police are notified by the hospital. However, the reporting party is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. However, having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to the individual with obligation to them for any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the individual decide later to do so.
Educational Opportunities

In-Person Trainings

If interested in schedule an in-person training, please contact The Title IX Office will tailor a presentation to meet your needs on the following topics:

  • Bringing in the Bystander
  • One Love Foundation- movie screening and discussion
  • Green Dot Community Training
  • Domestic Violence in the Workplace
  • Title IX Overview

On-Line Trainings

  • Culture of Respect (Students)- are required to take this on-line training during their on-line orientation
  • CITE on Blackboard (Employees)- are required to take the Title IX on-line training

Spring 2020 Campus Climate Survey results coming soon

2018 Campus Climate Survey Results

2016 Campus Climate Survey Results


Title IX Coordinator

Joshua Hughes
Director of Human Resources and Legal Affairs
Title IX Coordinator (employees)
106 Founders Hall

Robert Pool
Vice President of Student Affairs,
Title IX Coordinator (students)
244 Hawkins-Conard Student Center