Sexual Assault Prevention & Services

At Lesley, we take sexual assault very seriously. We take prompt and effective steps to end sexual assault and misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects, whether or not the sexual misconduct is the subject of a criminal investigation.

We follow university policies and procedures when investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, even if the allegation is the subject of a criminal investigation.

A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence does not relieve Lesley of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.

The university takes steps to protect a complainant, providing support on campus and referrals for off-campus resources. Retaliation against anyone reporting sexual misconduct or against anyone who provides information about sexual misconduct is strictly prohibited.

Lesley follows the Complaint Resolution Procedure in resolving sexual misconduct matters.

What is Lesley’s definition of consent to have sexual contact?

  • Consent means an affirmative, voluntary, and mutual agreement to have sexual contact.
  • Consent must be expressed by outward demonstration; verbally or non-verbally, in a way that is mutually understandable.
  • Consent means agreeing to participate in a particular sexual activity without any coercion, force, fear, or intimidation.
  • Silence is not consent.
  • Lack of resistance is not consent.
  • Consent can be revoked at any time; a person can change her or his mind about continuing with the sexual contact at any step along the way.
  • Revocation of consent must be expressed by outward demonstration; verbally or non-verbally, in a way that is mutually understandable.
  • Consent can never be assumed, even in an established romantic relationship.

It is against the law and against Lesley University's Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy to have sexual contact with someone who does not give his or her consent.

Consent can never be given by someone who is:

  • Under the statutory age of consent (in Massachusetts that is age 16)
  • Asleep
  • Unconscious
  • Incapacitated due to drugs, alcohol, or any other cause

Watch this video for animation of consent.

What should I do if I am sexually assaulted? 

Get away from your attacker and go to a safe place as soon as possible. Call 911 or Public Safety.

Preserve evidence. To assist in proving that the sexual assault occurred, it is important to preserve evidence. If you want evidence collected, do not bathe, shower, brush your teeth, or go to the bathroom. Also, do not change your clothes. If you have changed clothing since the incident, put the clothing you had on at the time of the assault in a clean paper bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless).

Seek medical attention to assess and treat any injuries, screen for pregnancy and any sexually transmitted infections, and collect evidence (if you consent to do so).

Seek assistance from friends and family. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support; feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. Call a trusted friend or family member or contact one of the on- and off-campus resources.

Talk with the Title IX Coordinator about your options for reporting an incident. The Title IX Coordinator can review your options and inform you of or connect you to appropriate on- and off-campus support services. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will provide you information regarding how to file a Title IX complaint through the University or a criminal complaint through local law enforcement (you have the right to decide whether to notify law enforcement authorities).

In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will implement appropriate “interim measures,” if necessary. Interim measures are steps taken that:

  • Allow you to have equal access to the university’s educational program and activities
  • Protect you; and/or
  • Protect the safety of the university community.

Interim measures typically are put into place when an individual notifies the university of possible sexual harassment and remain in place throughout the internal Title IX investigation. Interim measures may be available even if you choose not to file or pursue a complaint.

Interim measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Issuing a no-contact order
  • Imposing interim suspension
  • Changing housing assignments
  • Changing course schedules, and
  • Providing an escort

See below for additional information regarding sexual assault: 

  • What should I do when seeking medical attention?

    If you do decide to seek medical attention:

    • Contact the emergency room at Cambridge Hospital: 617.665.1429, 193 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, or Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 617.754.2323, 190 Pilgrim Road, Boston, MA 02215.
    • Call in advance and request a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, a nurse who is specially trained to collect evidence. Evidence can be collected up to 96 hours after the incident.
    • If you have changed clothing since the incident, take the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean paper bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless).
    • If you have not changed clothes, take a change of clothes with you to the hospital.
    • You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. If you would like someone from Lesley’s staff to accompany you to the hospital, contact Public Safety at 617.349.8888 and ask them to contact the Dean of Student Life and Academic Development.
    • If you go to the hospital, the police will be called but you are not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Collecting evidence will not obligate you to any course of action but can assist the authorities in pursing criminal changes should you decide to do so, now or at a later date.
  • What should I do if I want the sexual assault to remain confidential?

    Professional staff members at Lesley’s Counseling Center and Health Services will not, with limited exceptions, share your information without your permission. Other university staff members and faculty members will keep information as private as possible, but must share information about any possible sexual misconduct with the Title IX Coordinator. Sharing information with the Title IX Coordinator is important to: 1) take appropriate steps for the safety of the university community; 2) provide assistance to the individual reporting the sexual misconduct; and 3) allow the university to track trends.

    In some instances, the university can speak with the accused party without mentioning the name of the individual making the allegations or moving forward with a formal complaint. In other cases, issues of confidentiality must be balanced against the university’s need to investigate and to take appropriate action.

    If an individual requests that his or her name not be revealed to the alleged perpetrator, or asks that the school not investigate and the university determines that it can honor that request, the university’s ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator, may be limited.

  • What should I do if I want to pursue a university investigation?

    When Lesley receives a complaint, the institution is obligated by law to investigate the matter, and will promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate complaints in a fair and expeditious manner. Lesley investigates to determine what happened, whether the university’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy was violated, and then take appropriate steps, if any. For detailed information on the procedure, please review Lesley University's Complaint Resolution Procedures.

  • What should I do if I want to report the sexual assault to local law enforcement?

    Reports of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence may be made to the Cambridge Police Department or the Boston Police Department by calling 911.

  • What is retaliation?
    • Retaliation is any adverse action, such as harassment, that is made against a person because he/she made a complaint or participated in a university investigation or lawsuit. Retaliation also is any action that is made against an individual because he/she has a reasonable objection to an act, policy, or practice believed in good faith to constitute a violation of the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy or relevant law.
    • Retaliation is prohibited by Lesley University.
    • Any student found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
    • Any employee found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
  • What should I do if someone retaliates against me?

    Contact:

    Dean of Student Life and Academic Development and Interim Title IX Coordinator: 617.349.8539; nmays@lesley.edu

    Director of Human Resources: 617.349.8785; hr@lesley.edu

    Title IX Coordinator: 617.349.8507; equalopportunity@lesley.edu

    Public Safety: 617.349.8888

What should I do if I am sexually harassed or stalked?

An individual can be sexually harassed even if she/he has not experienced sexual violence. For example, someone may have made unwelcome sexual advances, requested sexual favors, spread sexual rumors about you, made lewd remarks about you or someone else, displayed sexually explicit pictures, or stalked you. If you have experienced non-violent sexual harassment, you may have questions regarding what actions and services are available to you.

See below for additional information regarding sexual harassment and stalking: 

  • Who can I report sexual harassment to at Lesley University?

    Talk with the Title IX Coordinator about your options for reporting an incident. The Title IX Coordinator can review your options and inform you of or connect you to appropriate on- and off-campus support services. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will provide you information regarding how to file a Title IX complaint through the University or a criminal complaint through local law enforcement (you have the right to decide whether to notify law enforcement authorities). The Title IX Coordinator will also implement appropriate “interim measures,” if necessary. Interim measures are steps taken that: 1) allow you to have equal access to the university’s educational program and activities; 2) protect you; and/or 3) protect the safety of the university community. Interim measures typically are put into place when an individual notifies the university of possible sexual harassment and remain in place throughout the internal Title IX investigation.

    Interim measures are available even if an individual chooses not to file or otherwise pursue a complaint. Interim measures include, but are not limited to, issuing a no-contact order, imposing interim suspension, changing housing assignments, changing course schedules, providing an escort, and increasing security in certain locations.

  • What should I do if I want the sexual harassment to remain confidential?

    Professional staff members at Lesley’s Counseling Center and Health Services will not, with limited exceptions, share your information without your permission. Other university staff members and faculty members will keep information as private as possible, but must share information about any possible sexual misconduct with the Title IX Coordinator. Sharing information with the Title IX Coordinator is important to: 1) take appropriate steps for the safety of the university community; 2) provide assistance to the individual reporting the sexual misconduct; and 3) allow the university to track trends.
     
    In some instances, the university can speak with the accused party without mentioning the name of the individual making the allegations or moving forward with a formal complaint. In other cases, issues of confidentiality must be balanced against the university’s need to investigate and to take appropriate action. Note that if an individual requests that his or her name not be revealed to the alleged perpetrator, or asks that the school not investigate and the university determines that it can honor that request, the university’s ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator, may be limited.

  • What should I do if I want to pursue a university investigation?

    When Lesley receives a complaint, the institution is obligated by law to investigate the matter, and will promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate complaints in a fair and expeditious manner. Lesley investigates to determine what happened, whether the university’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy was violated, and then take appropriate steps, if any. For detailed information on the procedure, please review Lesley University's Complaint Resolution Procedures.

  • What should I do if I want to report the sexual harassment to local law enforcement?

    Reports of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence may be made to the Cambridge Police Department or the Boston Police Department by calling 911.

  • What is retaliation?
    • Retaliation is any adverse action, such as harassment, that is made against a person because he/she made a complaint or participated in a university investigation or lawsuit. Retaliation also is any action that is made against an individual because he/she has a reasonable objection to an act, policy, or practice believed in good faith to constitute a violation of the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy or relevant law.
    • Retaliation is prohibited by Lesley University.
    • Any student found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
    • Any employee found to be engaging in retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from Lesley University.
  • What should I do if someone retaliates against me?

    Contact:

    Dean of Student Life and Academic Development and Interim Title IX Coordinator: 617.349.8539; nmays@lesley.edu

    Director of Human Resources: 617.349.8785; hr@lesley.edu

    Title IX Coordinator: 617.349.8507; equalopportunity@lesley.edu

    Public (Campus) Safety: 617.349.8888

What should I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

  • DO NOT contact the complainant.
  • DO NOT ask anyone to intercede on your behalf and contact the complainant.
  • The Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Student Life, and the Director of Human Resources can explain Lesley's Complaint Resolution Procedure for addressing sexual misconduct. These resources also can provide information regarding the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy, the investigative process, and the range of sanctions for violations of the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence Policy.
  • Individuals accused of sexual misconduct may want to seek confidential counseling through Lesley’s Counseling Center (617.349.8545).
  • Individuals accused of sexual misconduct are encouraged to contact their parents about the accusation and possibly a lawyer.

See below for additional information regarding sexual misconduct: 

What is an active bystander?

An active bystander is a person who is aware that another person may be in danger and decides to get involved, intervenes, and stops the event from occurring. The Lesley community is a place where we take care of each other; we "step up and step in" to address inappropriate behavior. 

All university community members have certain responsibilities if they observe or hear about possible sexual misconduct. If you observe possible sexual misconduct, you are an active bystander. In addition, if someone reports possible sexual misconduct to you or you are otherwise aware of possible sexual misconduct, you may be required to report this to the Title IX Coordinator.

Before you take action to address inappropriate behavior, determine whether it is safe for you and others to do so. Do not take any action if it puts your safety or the safety of others at risk. Call 911 instead of taking any of the steps below if you feel that your safety and/or the safety of others would be compromised by doing so.

  • What can an active bystander say?

    Say statements like:

    • "That’s not funny."
    • "What you said [or did] isn’t right."
    • “That type of language [or behavior] isn’t okay."


    If you are uncomfortable calling out bad behavior, try interrupting a risky situation by distracting and redirecting the people involved by saying:

    • "I think [insert any name] is looking for you."
    • Say something positive, such as "nice shoes!" to anyone involved. The goal is simply to change the subject.
  • What can an active bystander ask?

    Ask questions like:

    • "Is this person bothering you?"
    • "Is there anything I can do to help?"


    If you are uncomfortable calling out bad behavior, try interrupting a risky situation by distracting and redirecting the people involved by asking:

    • "Can you show me where the restroom is?"
    • An unrelated question about a class assignment, a TV show, the weather, or their plans for the weekend. The goal is simply to change the subject.
    • If they are ready to leave.
  • What action can an active bystander take?

    Take action:

    • Stand next to someone so they know they are not alone.
    • Look disapprovingly at a person who is harassing someone else.
    • Don't join in or laugh.
    • Tell someone, either now or later, why you thought what he/she did or said wasn’t right.


    If you are uncomfortable calling out bad behavior, try interrupting a risky situation by taking the following action.

    • Get others involved (stand up and step in) to help interrupt and prevent an incident from happening.
    • Tell the Resident Director (RD), Community Advisor (CA), or another staff person right away.
    • Seek out appropriate campus resources.
    • In an emergency, call 911 for the police or x8888 for Public Safety (617.349.8888).


    Call 911 instead of taking any of the above steps if you feel that your safety and/or the safety of others would be compromised by doing so.

    Note: Any manager who witnesses possible sexual misconduct and is not under a statutory obligation of confidentiality MUST immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator to inform the Title IX Coordinator of possible sexual misconduct. If you are unclear about your reporting requirements, contact the Title IX Coordinator to review your responsibilities.
     

  • Active Bystander Video

    There is a current video that demonstrates actions that an active bystander can take to prevent potential sexual assault.
     
    The video is the creation and collaborative effort of several organizations in Wellington, New Zealand: Tū Pakari Ora – Sexual Assault Assessment and Treatment Service, Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, Wellington Sexual Health, Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, Radio Network Wellington, Hutt Rape Counselling Network, Wellington Police, Doctors for Sexual Abuse Care, and Regional Public Health.
     
    Trigger Warning:
    This video shows a fictional scenario leading up to a rape.
    It does not show the rape itself, but may be triggering to some people.
    Please take this into consideration before viewing the film.

    Watch the “Who Are You” video.

  • What do you do when an individual speaks to you about sexual misconduct?

    Acknowledge their feelings about the incident without overreacting to their experience. Do not judge the individual. Do not try to "fix" the situation. Do not try to reassure the person that everything is "okay" or tell them you know how they feel.

    Say:

    • "I'm sorry this happened to you."
    • "It wasn’t your fault."
    • "You survived; obviously you did the right thing."
    • "Thank you for telling me."
    • "I'm always here if you want to talk."

    Suggest that she or he speak with the Title IX Coordinator for Lesley University.

    Do not say:

    • "It was your fault."
    • "You could have avoided it if you had_______."
    • "You wanted it."
    • "It’s not a big deal; it happens all the time."
    • "It’s been so long. Get over it."
    • "I don’t believe you."


    Any manager who learns of possible sexual misconduct and is not bound by a statutory obligation of confidentiality MUST contact the Title IX Coordinator immediately to inform the Title IX Coordinator of possible sexual misconduct. If you are unclear about your reporting requirements, contact the Title IX Coordinator to review your responsibilities.

Title IX

Title IX is a federal civil rights act that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, including sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. It also includes sexual harassment other than sexual violence. As an institute that receives federal funding, Lesley University must comply with Title IX.

See below for additional information regarding Title IX: 

  • Who is protected by Title IX?

    Title IX protects any person—female, male, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, staff, and third parties—from any sexual harassment that occurs on or off campus that is sufficiently serious to limit or deny the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational program and activities.

  • What is sexual harassment?

    Sexual harassment is a type of harassment and form of discrimination based on gender. It is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and all other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. The following is a list of some, but not all, examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment:

    • Sexual advances, whether they involve physical touching or not.
    • Requests or demands for sexual favors accompanied by implicit or explicit promised rewards or threats concerning an individual’s admission, advancement, academic decisions, grades, job benefits, evaluations and reviews, salary, promotions, health and welfare benefits, or continued employment.
    • Unwelcome jokes, verbal abuse, comments, conduct, or innuendo of a sexual nature.
    • Use of sexual epithets, verbal or written references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding an individual’s sex life, or comments concerning an individual’s body, sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess.
    • Displaying sexual objects, pictures, or cartoons.
    • Offensive, suggestive, or obscene letters, notes, emails, and invitations of a sexual nature.
    • Leering, patting, grabbing, pinching, and brushing against the body, sexual gestures, or suggestive or insulting comments.
    • Inquiries into an individual’s sexual activities.
    • Sexual violence or coerced sexual acts including, but not limited, to rape, stalking, and relationship violence.


    Refer to the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence policy for a complete definition.

    Note that sexual harassment may occur regardless of:

    • the intention of the person engaging in the conduct
    • whether the individuals involved are of the same or a different sex
  • What about consensual relationships between supervisors and supervisees or between students and faculty members?

    Because of the inherent risk of impropriety or harm, Lesley University prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between students and employees (including faculty). This includes relationships that occur when the university is not in session or the employee or student is on leave. Examples include, but are not limited to, relationships between:

    • Faculty and student
    • Adjunct faculty and student
    • Teaching assistant and student


    Lesley also prohibits romantic or sexual relationships between members of the Lesley community when one of those individuals has an advisory, supervisory, or managerial responsibility over the other.

    Please refer to Lesley University’s Unequal Consensual Relationships policy.

  • What is stalking?

    Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed toward a person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety, or the safety of others, or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

  • What is dating violence?

    Dating violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor.

  • What is domestic violence?

    Domestic violence means violence committed by a current or former spouse, intimate partner, or certain domestic partners.

  • What are Lesley University’s general obligations under Title IX?
    • Notify the university’s community members that Nathaniel Mays, Dean of Student Life and Academic Development, is the interim Title IX Coordinator with the following contact information:

      29 Everett Street
      Cambridge, MA 02138
      617.349.8539
      nmays@lesley.edu
      equalopportunity@lesley.edu
       
    • Notify the university’s community members about its policy regarding sexual harassment, and the procedures to investigate complaints of sexual harassment.
    • Train community members regarding sexual harassment, the prohibition against sexual discrimination (including sexual violence), reporting responsibilities, the resources available for individuals having experienced sexual harassment and for those accused of sexual harassment, and the procedures in place for reporting and responding to allegations of sexual harassment.
    • Take steps reasonably calculated to ensure the safety of the members of its community.
    • Take steps reasonably calculated to ensure equal access to the university’s programs and activities, regardless of sex.
  • What evidentiary standard is used during Title IX investigations?

    Lesley uses the preponderance of the evidence standard in determining whether an individual violated a university policy regarding sexual misconduct. Under this standard, to conclude that an individual violated university policy regarding sexual misconduct, the university must find that it is more likely than not that an individual engaged in the prohibited conduct.

  • What is the purpose of a Title IX investigation?

    The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred so that the university can stop any sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

  • What are the possible outcomes of a university investigation?
    • The university finds it more likely than not that sexual misconduct occurred in violation of one or more university policies:
      • The university may impose sanctions for violation of university policy that include but are not limited to, required counseling, suspension from campus, and dismissal from the university.
      • The university will determine whether and what remedies are necessary to remedy the effects of the sexual misconduct.
      • Note that this is not a determination that a crime has occurred. Rather, it is a determination that university policy has been violated. Only the police and district attorney can pursue a crime.
    • The university determines that based on the preponderance of the evidence, the information is insufficient to find that sexual misconduct occurred and therefore insufficient to find that an individual violated university policy.
Contact Sexual Assault & Prevention Services