Duquesne University understands the complexity and emotional trauma that can accompany incidents of sexual assault. To lessen the anxiety or confusion around getting help for our survivors, Duquesne University provides many resources for students related to sexual misconduct. 

Trigger Warning: The information and resources under the topics under this heading are related to sexual harassment and misconduct, which may be upsetting to some individuals. Resources to help are available. Please notify Alicia Simpson at (412) 396-2560 or via email at simpsona8FREEDUQUESNE.


What is Consent?

Consent means a knowing, voluntary, active, present, and ongoing agreement. In order for there to be consent, both parties who have the capacity to act freely must receive verbal agreement and positive cooperation. A verbal "no," even if it may sound indecisive or insincere, constitutes a lack of consent. The absence of a verbal "no" does not mean "yes." Lack of protest does not imply consent. Past consent does not imply ongoing and/or future consent or consent to other acts.

There is not capacity to consent under the following circumstances: unconsciousness; incapacitation due to drugs, alcohol, or sleep; physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion; and/or otherwise without capacity to provide consent due to intellectual or other disability or condition reasonably knowable to the other party. Regarding incapacitation due to drugs or alcohol, the University will consider whether a reasonable person, who was sober, should have known that the other party was incapacitated. Alcohol and other drugs impact individuals differently, and determining whether an individual is incapacitated due to the effects of drugs or alcohol requires an individualized and fact-specific determination.

Watch this short video to learn more about what consent means.

Tea Consent video copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios
How can I support someone who has experienced Title IX Sexual Harassment or non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct?
  • Remain Calm. While you may be experiencing shock, outrage, or fear for the person, it is important to keep your feelings in check and remain a calm presence.
  • Be There for Them. Make sure they know you are there to support them.
  • Support Their Decisions. Allow them to make decisions about what to do next. Offer alternatives, but don't tell them what to do.
  • Let Them Talk. There may be anger, sadness, or even silence. Just be there to listen.
  • Understand Your Role. Are you a confidential resource or do you have a reporting obligation?
  • Share Resources. Share information about the Title IX Office, the University Counseling Center and other resources.
  • Be Patient and Understanding. Allow them to process their experience on their own time. Never tell someone to get over it.

Here to Help

The Here to Help Card lists contact information for University and Community Resources. You can also pick up pocket-sized copies of these cards at the Office of Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response in the Union, Room 339.
What is a Bystander?

A bystander is someone who notices concerning behavior and situations and who is faced with the choice to help, do nothing, or contribute to the negative behavior.

What is Bystander Intervention?

Bystander intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome.

What is the Bystander Effect?

The term "bystander effect" refers to people being less likely to offer help when they are in a group than when they are alone. There are many possible reasons for this, including thinking that nothing is really wrong because no one else in the group seems concerned, or assuming that someone else will step in to offer help if there is a real problem.

How to Intervene

It is important to consider how you might respond when you identify a potentially harmful situation or interaction. To counteract the bystander effect, it's important to do the following:

Pay Attention: Be alert to what is going on around you and to things that make you feel uncomfortable.

Decide: Does someone need help?

Make A Plan: If a situation looks concerning, do something. Don't wait for your friend, neighbor, teammate, or classmate to act.

Make It Happen: Stay calm. Here's how to help:
  • Direct: Step in when something doesn't look right. Share your concerns and offer assistance.
  • Delegate: Get others to assist with the situation. Call for help from someone you trust or Public Safety.
  • Distract: Divert attention away from the situation to let those at risk move to safety.

Other Techniques to Try

Think Small: Small interventions can be the most effective. Use humor and creativity. Act early. Act often.

Disrupt The Situation: Intrude. Make a joke. Change the topic. Spill something. Be a third wheel.

Offer Help: Signal your concern and willingness to act. It's OK if you are turned down at first or altogether. Simply offering to help changes the dynamics.

De-Escalate: Be calm, respectful. Shift the focus away from the problem.

Think Big: Most interventions are small. But some problems are so deeply entrenched that they require sustained action. Find allies and make plans.

Make Space: Separate the person at risk from the source of danger. Set some alternative plan in motion, or create a diversion.

Name the Problem: Acknowledging that things aren't right can go a long way.

Slow Things Down: Give people time to extricate themselves, if that's what they want.

Be Safe: If you think you are in danger, step back and get help.

In an emergency, call Public Safety: (412) 396-2677

Together We Can Create a Safe and Supportive Campus Culture

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual University-wide collaboration to raise awareness about sexual violence and to educate the University community on how to prevent it. This month of events is devoted to supporting survivors, educating the campus community on sexual violence, and creating a campus culture that is empowered to address sexual violence.

Throughout the months of March and April, events will take place throughout campus, covering topics such as survivor support and resources, self-expression, prevention, healthy relationships, and advocacy and allyship. SAAM is a time for us to respect and support each other and those who have experienced trauma. 

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is open to all students, faculty, and staff. Regardless of your knowledge base or experience, we encourage you to attend at least one event to learn how you can prevent sexual violence, support the healing process, and advocate for survivors.

SAAM programs, workshops, events, and resources are being offered to:

  • Raise awareness about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault
  • Educate the Duquesne community on how to prevent sexual violence
  • Empower all to practice consent in healthy relationships
  • Support the healing process
  • Raise awareness of the resources and work being done on Duquesne's campus


Questions about SAAM events can be directed to Alicia Simpson at simpsona8@duq.edu

Other Events Throughout April

Turn Campus Teal

Teal is nationally recognized as the awareness color for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Turn the Campus Teal is the university-wide initiative encouraging members of the community to bring teal into the month to raise awareness of all forms of sexual violence. Duquesne's campus fountain will be colored teal in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Show your support for survivors and to end sexual violence by:

  • Wearing teal - you can pick up a teal ribbon on March 29th or April 5th at Title IX's tabling event
  •  Access our Social Media Tool Kit - Change your Zoom background and spread awareness by posting on social media
  • Writing a message of support for survivors by visiting the Title IX tabling events on March 29th, April 5th, and April 11th

Comfort Clothing Drive

Donate new comfort clothing items (i.e. sweatpants, sweatshirts, leisure clothing items) for survivors of sexual assault whose clothing may be taken as evidence while at the hospital.

Donations may be brought to the Women's Lacrosse Teal Game on April 10th or dropped off to the Title IX Office (Union Room 339). Please contact Sherene Brantley at lemoniass@duq.edu for additional clothing drop-off times and locations.


Join advocates, activities, survivors, and supporters who are getting involved in Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April on Instagram. Daily prompts encourage creative ways for you to raise awareness, educate, and connect with others - plus you have a chance to win prizes every day you participate.

Daily activities, instructions, and prize information can be found at nsvrc.org/saam.

Sponsored by: NSVRC (National Sexual Violence Resource Center)

PAAR's Wellness Series

Throughout the month of April, Pittsburgh Action Against Rape's Wellness Series is hosting several events, including Zen Painting, Energy Healing online workshop, SETpoint Self-Defense Workshop, Purrfectly Relaxing Raja Yoga, and Tea for Wellness.

Additional details and sign-up information can be found at paar.net/calendar.

Sponsored by: Pittsburgh Action Against Rape

Resource Reminder

For Immediate Help:
• Off-Campus Emergencies Call: 911
• On-Campus Emergencies Call: (412) 396-2677 (Duquesne University Police)
• Go directly to the closest hospital near you. UPMC Mercy Hospital is the closest to campus.

Confidential University Resources Include:
• Counseling Services: (412) 396-6204
• Health Services: (412) 396-1650
• Psychology Clinic: (412) 396-6562
• Spiritan Campus Ministry: (412) 396-6020

Office of Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention
• Report any violations to the University's Title IX Coordinator and Director of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response, Alicia Simpson, at (412) 396-2560 or simpsona8@duq.edu or on the University's Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Anonymous Reporting Form.


Alicia M. Simpson

Title IX Coordinator and Director of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response

Alicia M. Simpson