Utah State University emails students, faculty regarding 'a number of' sexual assault reports

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Posted at 10:59 AM, Feb 20, 2021

Friday night, Utah State University issued a safety alert to students and faculty, stating that "a number of fondling cases have been reported in the USU Logan campus community."

The email went on to provide resources for those who may have been a victim of sexual assault. No additional information was immediately available.

Sexual assault (fondling) is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without their consent. Utah law prohibits nonconsensual sexual contact, including fondling and attempted fondling, and these actions can carry severe consequences. This behavior is also prohibited by USU Policy 339 on Sexual Misconduct (https://www.usu.edu/policies/339/) and could lead to probation, suspension, or expulsion.

If you have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct, you may report it at any time to USU's Office of Equity at https://www.usu.edu/equity/report or to your local law enforcement agency. For crimes that occur on campus, you may report to USU Police by calling 435-797-1939 or online at https://www.usu.edu/dps/police/report-a-crime. USU Police includes a specialized unit with a confidential SAAVI advocate and a dedicated law enforcement detective to respond to reported incidents of sexual misconduct: https://www.usu.edu/dps/police/sexual-assault.

It is never possible to completely eliminate the risk of becoming the target of a crime, and a crime is never the fault of the victim. Everyone on campus has a responsibility to make our community safe. Here are some suggestions everyone should consider:

- BE AN UPSTANDER. Don't stand by if someone is speaking or behaving in a disrespectful or inappropriate way. Speak up or seek assistance from police or USU employees. Learn more about becoming an Upstander and request an Upstanding bystander intervention training at https://www.usu.edu/sexual-respect/education/upstanding/.

- UNDERSTAND CONSENT and always receive it before engaging in any sexual activity. Learn more at https://www.usu.edu/sexual-respect/education/consent.

- TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. If you feel unsafe on campus, contact USU Police at 435-797-1939 or dial 911. USU police officers provide safety escorts across campus. You can also ask Public Safety to monitor you as you walk home through the Utah State Safe mobile app. Download the Utah State Safe App at https://www.usu.edu/dps/safeapp.
- KNOW YOUR RESOURCES. If you've been sexually assaulted, there are on- and off-campus resources ready to help you. You may report the incident to the police or the Office of Equity. If you are not ready to report to police or to the university, visit with a confidential advocate or counselor. Learn more about these resources at https://www.usu.edu/sexual-respect/.

- DON'T LET FEAR KEEP YOU FROM HELP. The health and safety of the campus community is USU's primary concern, and the university's Amnesty Policy excuses students who report sexual misconduct from facing discipline for a violation of the student code involving drugs and alcohol. Learn more at https://www.usu.edu/sexual-respect/amnesty.

Earl Morris
USU Police Department

This is a developing story.