For Instructors & TAs
At the VIP Center, we believe that no one has to do everything, but everyone can do something. We specialize in manageable “Green Dots” students, staff and faculty can do to make a big difference in violence prevention on our campus. A Green Dot is any moment when one says or does something to support a culture of nonviolence, which is essential to a successful academic experience. We offer a variety of ways to participate in this mission because we are convinced that the reduction of power-based personal violence (partner violence, stalking, and sexual assault) depends on everyone's commitment.
Shaping a Violence Free Campus:
- Schedule a brief and informative 5 minute class announcement from the VIP Center in your classes!
- Include a statement on a syllabus:
The Violence Intervention and Prevention Center exists to eliminate the perpetration of power-based personal violence including sexual assault, partner violence, and stalking. The VIP Center is a safe space on campus for you to process your experiences and explore your connection to the issue of violence. For more information, contact the VIP Center at 257-3189 or www.uky.edu/studentaffairs/vipcenter.
- Stop by the VIP Center in the lower level of Frazee Hall to pick up a Green Dot button or poster (among other things!) to show your support
- Bring a student or co-worker to the VIP Center if they need help
- Add a support statement to your email signature line: Green Dot: Shaping a Violence-Free Campus, Live the Green Dot so we can all See Blue, or Green Dot Supporter
- Post a Green Dot flyer in your department, office, or classroom and keep some resource cards with you so you can provide a student with a 24-hour crisis line or other contacts for help
- Bring students to the VIP Center to check out the space, find out how to get involved and get some free Green Dot gear
- Attend a Faculty/Staff Green Dot training (offered each semester)
- Invite VIP to a department, faculty or TA meeting to discuss the Green Dot strategy
- Don't Cancel That Class: Invite VIP to present to your class on topics related to this issue if you will be out of town or just because!
Supporting a Survivor
As an instructor, you are very likely to have students in class who have experienced power based personal violence (PBPV) including sexual assault, partner violence and stalking. Staff at the VIP Center work to address a variety of needs including safety, health and housing.
When we work with students, their primary concern is typically their ability to stay on track academically. These tips are designed to give you information and suggestions on how to have a productive and supportive working relationship with a student who may be experiencing PBPV.
- The student may come to you directly to share what they are going through and talk to you about how it is impacting their course work.
- A student may seek services from the VIP Center and request that an advocate contact you to let you know about the situation.
- You may see behaviors that are concerning to you and approach the student to check on their well-being. (I’ve noticed you've been missing class. Is everything ok?)
Respond Sensitively & Appropriately
Students may see instructors as safe people to talk to about their experiences with PBPV. If they are experiencing difficulty with their course work, they may be coming to you out of necessity even if it is very difficult to discuss the situation. Instructors have the responsibility to:
- When a student discloses, they are expecting a safe space, where they will not be judged and people will want to help and support them. Listen without interrupting, maintain eye contact, and smile or nod encouragingly as needed. This may mean being comfortable with crying (having tissues available in Instructors offices is recommended) and strong expressions of emotion, as well as periods of silence. Potential responses are Thank you for sharing with me. That took a lot of courage. or I am sorry this happened to you. This was not your fault, you are not to blame.
- When a student discloses PBPV, regardless of how long ago it occurred, ensure that the student is in no immediate danger. For example: Are you in any danger now? or Do you have a safe place to go after we finish talking?
- If a disclosure is on a written assignment or online, instructors should follow up to ensure that the student is safe and aware of available resources for support.
- The way people respond to disclosures can help or hurt those impacted. In general, avoid questioning their decisions, blaming them for what happened, minimizing what happened or how they are feeling, and telling them what to do.
Find out what they need for the class
Next, determine what the student needs to continue in the course and be successful. This is best handled as a private conversation, perhaps during office hours or by appointment. You may consider:
- Offering accommodations, such as alternative assignments, testing arrangements, or arranging for a student to be able to leave class as needed (but take steps so that the student will not be identified as someone who has experienced PBPV)
- Many students worry about asking for an accommodation resulting in a lower grade or the professor thinking less of them as a student. Reassure the student that is not the case, especially if a student is considering withdrawing. For example, It sounds like you have a lot going on this semester. I am not saying you should withdraw, but if that is an option that you want to consider, please know that I would not think any less of you and I would be happy to see you in another class in a future semester.
Refer to Appropriate Resources
Instructors should be aware of and share the resources for students impacted by violence such as those found here. For example, I am here to listen and support you, but it would also be helpful for you to talk to someone who has specialized knowledge in this area.
The VIP Center is available to provide information in the areas of power based personal violence including partner violence, stalking and sexual assault. Staff are also available to provide consultation regarding disclosures as well as concerns about potential problems that may arise. Contact us at 257-3574 to speak with a staff member.
Support for You
Keep in mind that VIP is a resource for you too. It can be difficult to hear about someone's experience of violence. Sometimes it can trigger memories or reactions to violence you may have experienced. Even if you have never experienced violence, it can raise concerns for you about campus safety, anger that someone you care about has been hurt, fear that you didn't say the right thing. We all have different reactions and it can be helpful to have someone to talk to about it. We can also consult with you if there are situations related to power-based personal violence that you are unsure how to handle.