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We work to provide a safe and secure environment for living, learning and working. Learn more about ways you can stay aware of your surroundings, protect yourself, and empower yourself with resources and tools on our campus.

  • Safety Awareness
  • Sexual Assault
  • Stalking
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Hate Crimes
  • Heat Exhaustion and Prevention
  • Safe Place
  • R.A.D.
  • Freshman Safe Start

Sexual Assault on Campus: Awareness, Safety, and Help

Sexual assault of college students remains a topic of considerable concern across the nation’s campuses, particularly when it comes to how colleges handle sexual assault cases. One in five students experience some form of sexual assault while attending college, according an April 2014 report by The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Another recent study found that less than one-third of students found responsible for sexual assault are expelled from college. But what exactly is considered “sexual assault” and what does one do if he or she becomes a victim of it?

Understanding Sexual Violence

Broadly speaking, the term sexual violence refers to any sexual act or activity committed against an individual without freely given consent. Both women and men can be victims of sexual violence. It is important to note that although such acts can happen in a number of different ways, this guide will focus only on the types of sexual violence that occur most among college students.

Sexual Harassment

This is defined as any unwanted sexual attention or advances from an individual or group and can be verbal and/or physical. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission reports that it’s against the law to harass someone or make unwanted advances that are verbally hostile, suggestive, or demeaning because of their sex. Offenders and victims include both men and women.

On campus, sexual harassment can occur in class, within college organizations, or at social activities.


Stalking is defined as repeated and unwanted attention, contact, or harassment, particularly when it causes an individual to feel unsafe or fearful. This can happen with or without a person’s knowledge. Examples include following a person, watching from a distance, waiting for someone at a certain location, or contacting a person’s family and friends without permission. Stalking can also be done via repeated phone calls, social media messages, texts, and unwanted gifts. According to RAINN, the majority of stalking victims in the United States are between 18 and 24 years old.


Any type of significant pressure used to force an individual to freely and willingly give consent. This often includes behavior such as threats or blackmail.

Sexual Assault

An umbrella term, sexual assault is any form of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without freely given consent of the recipient, man or woman. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, activities that fall under sexual assault include forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, fondling, attempted rape, incest, and child molestation.


Legally defined as any form of sexual penetration–with anything–without complete and freely given consent. Rape is a type of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. Additionally, while rape can be committed by a stranger, it is important to also note that it can happen anywhere and can be done by anyone, even an individual that the victim knows. Over 96 percent of rapes are committed against women; however, men can also be victimized by persons of all ages, gender, and sexual orientations.

For the college-aged population, the most common types of rape are:

Diminished Capacity Rape

Diminished capacity rape happens when one person forces sexual penetration on another person who is unable to adequately evaluate what’s happening and, therefore, cannot give his or her proper consent. A person may have diminished capacity if he or she has behavioral or intellectual challenges. It can also happen if an individual is intoxicated.

Acquaintance Rape

Also called “date rape,” acquaintance rape can occur in the early stages of a relationship or with a friend or someone the student knows. It is important to note that even if these individuals were in a prior relationship, consent can be revoked at any time, which means rape can also happen any time. Two thirds of all rapes, according to Healthy Place, are committed by someone the victim knows.

Partner Rape

Partner rape, sometimes referred to as “marital rape”, is a type of rape that happens with a partner, current spouse, or former partner. This type of sexual assault can be further categorized into three types:

Battering rape, which combines physical and sexual violence against a partner.

Obsessive/Sadistic rape, which involves violent behavior that centers on inflicting harm.

Force-only rape, which is the act of imposing power and control over the other individual.

What to do if You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted

All sexual violence is punishable under federal, state, and local laws. In some cases, victims may fear reporting the crime for a number of personal reasons. Keep in mind, however, that reporting a sexual assault does not mean the victim must press charges. But failing to report the violence and pursue legal action has its own consequences, including the assailant continuing to assault other individuals. Survivors that report crimes may be eligible to receive financial support for medical treatment and counseling under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA). There are also state victim compensation programs, but these often require that the crime be reported within 72 hours. Many college psychologists argue that reporting and pressing charges is a step towards regaining personal power and healing. Still, choosing to press charges is an individual choice.

In the short hours after a crime, whether a person wants to press charges or not, survivors should do all they can to preserve physical evidence for law enforcement. But before any of that happens, victims need to ensure their immediate safety and physical/emotional well-being.

Below are some basic tips on what to do after a sexual assault:

Find a Safe and Secure Location

Following a sexual assault, the victim should to go to a safe, secure location. These may include the campus police department, a dormitory, or a trusted friend’s apartment.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

After an assault, it is extremely important to receive a medical exam, even if there are no visible wounds, to test for STDs, pregnancy, or other health-related concerns. Victims can call the police, 911, or the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (NSAT) at 800.656.HOPE (4673).

Counselors offer immediate emotional support, including talking victims through what happened and offering free confidential guidance to local medical facilities and counseling. Students can receive care from local medical facilities recommended by NSAT hotline counselors or visit the campus health center or local hospital. Emergency rooms will still treat rape victims without collecting evidence at the student’s request. Survivors who intend to report the rape and press charges should avoid bathing or showering until after they receive care.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) are professionals that conduct forensic exams to collect DNA with the victim’s consent.

Get Support From Family, Friends, and/or Counselors

Survivors often report insomnia, headaches, panic attacks, and sometimes shame following a sexual assault. Talking to others can be a form of healing, but some students may need more than crisis counseling to work through their experiences. Campus counseling centers, college health centers, and community counseling organizations can be instrumental in supporting a student through the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault.

Talk to a Legal Professional or Administrator and Consider Legal Action

In most cases, victims can choose to submit a formal report and press charges through the police or they can pursue disciplinary action through their college or university. Victims should talk to a legal professional or college administrator to learn about the process and his or her options.
Sexual Assault Resources

In addition to the steps above, there are several online resources available to victims of sexual violence or assault, as well as their family members and friends. Some concentrate specifically on college students, while others may focus on the larger population, which includes those on campus. Below are some examples of such resources:

  • 1in6. Support for men who have been victims of sexual abuse and assault.
  • Clery Center. Providing information for victims and their families about university Clery Act and Title IX compliance, as well as a comprehensive, by-state list of resources for victims.Culture of Respect. Help for individuals, friends and family members who have been victims of on-campus sexual assault, including finding immediate help or legal aid.
  • Joyful Heart Foundation. Helping survivors of sexual violence reclaim their lives and heal.
  • Male Survivor. Special help and resources for male victims of sexual violence and victimization.
  • National Alliance to End Sexual Violence. Steps, resources and information for survivors, plus a listing of state coalitions and links to their Rape Crisis Centers.
  • National Center for Victims of Crime. Help for victims of crime 24/7 via their Connect Directory with listings for specific kinds of help.
  • National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Links and resources regarding violence against women.
  • National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Working to prevent and respond to violence against members of the LGBTQ community, with a 24/7 hotline available at 212-714-1141.
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Resources, news and information to help victims of sexual violence.
  • Not Alone. Information for students and universities on responding to and preventing sexual assault on campus, plus a search tool allowing students to find resources and services local to them.
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). Offers 24/7 help to victims via their online hotline or by calling 800-656-HOPE.
  • SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape). Empowering students to help their universities become free of sexual violence.
  • Stalking Resource Center. Safety tips, help and resources for victims of stalking.
  • VRLC (Victim Rights Law Center). Law center dedicated specifically to helping victims of sexual assault.

Safety Precautions to Consider
When it comes to safety, there are some things individuals can do to help reduce risks and increase their sense of security. The following are steps all college students should keep in mind:
1 Consider taking a self-defense course. Many campuses (or local community centers such as the YMCA) hold regular self-defense courses that emphasize awareness of one’s surroundings as well as basic defense techniques.
2 Check in with family and friends. Your friends and family don’t need to know where you are or who you’re with at all times, but if you’re going out of town with friends or taking a solo trip somewhere—something different from your normal routine—it’s always a good idea to let your loved ones know where you’ll be and when you plan to come back. If you encounter any problems while away, they’ll have an idea of where and how to reach you so they can help, if needed.
3 If you’re alone, considering using your campus escort service. Campus escort services provide students and faculty alike a free, safe and reliable way to travel on-campus after dark. Know the contact information for the service and save it in your phone for easy access.
4 Carry a whistle or alarm, and pepper spray. A whistle or phone app that acts as an alarm is a fast and loud way to signal help in case of emergency. Additionally, pepper spray can be purchased in discreet, portable containers – some that will even fit on your keychain – and can be used for personal self-defense.
5 Set your social media privacy settings. It may be second nature to check-in on various social media platforms or to update your network with plans for the evening. It’s one thing to let friends and family know these details, but if your accounts are open to the public, everyone can have access to this information. Take the time to adjust the privacy settings on all your social media accounts so that only those you trust know your information and whereabouts, and check these settings often–settings can sometimes change automatically whenever a platform incorporates new features or updates.
Turning to Tech: Apps to Keep Students Safe
While students should be sure that all important emergency numbers are programmed into their phones, sometimes an extra level of precaution in the form of safety apps can give assurance and a sense of security on campus. These apps provide a number of resources and capabilities, are available cross-platform and are free to download.
bSafe (iOS and Android) Assign “Guardians” from your contacts that will be able to monitor your progress home, and who will be alerted with your GPS location if the SOS button is activated. The app also allows the user to set an automated alarm, alerting your Guardians if you fail to check in after a set amount of time, and comes with a fake phone call functionality to help remove yourself from uncomfortable situations. bSafe also recently made all of its premium features free to users.
Circle of 6 U (iOS and Android) Building off the success of the original Circle of 6 app, the U version has been created specifically with university students in mind. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable or risky situation, two taps on your phone will activate an alert to your circle, including your GPS location. The U version of the app includes campus-specific resources for students, with both phone numbers and links to a variety of hotlines and help centers local to them.
OnWatch (iOS and Android) Designed for college students, OnWatch incorporates designated groups of friends with the ability to also call local and campus police simultaneously. With the “Watch my Back” function, you can program a timed session that will alert your emergency groups should you not respond to the alarm when the clock runs out.
React Mobile (iOS and Android) Using a predetermined contact circle, React Mobile allows users to send out an emergency contact blast to the entire group – without having to first unlock the phone. The app also allows friends or family to virtually “walk” you home, keeping tabs on your progress using GPS technology.
Watch Over Me (iOS and Android) Offering both free and subscription services, the concept behind Watch Over Me is simple: set a time frame and activity you’d like the app to “watch” you for, and periodically check in via a button to confirm your safety. Should the button hit zero without a check-in, your designated friends will be contacted, alerting them to your GPS location. The app also includes a one tap emergency contact button, and the ability to report witnessed crimes in the paid version.


Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes in California

In California, you are considered a victim of a hate crime if you have been targeted because of your “real” or “perceived” race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. People belonging to these groups are referred to as “protected classes.” All people are members of a protected class.

Hate Crimes versus Hate Incidents

hate incident is an action or behavior that is motivated by hate, but is protected by the First Amendment Right to freedom of expression. Examples of hate incidents can include: name calling, epithets, distribution of hate material in public places, and the display of offensive hate-motivated material on one’s own property.

The freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, such as the freedom of speech, allow hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If this type of behavior escalates to threats or criminal activity against a person or property, then it would be classified as a hate crime.

hate crime is a criminal act, or attempted criminal act committed against a person or his or her property because the person is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class.

Hate crimes should be reported to the CSU, Chico Police Department.

If these hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement, the perpetrators will continue to act on their beliefs and continue to pose a threat to society.

What Kinds of Acts are Forbidden by Law?

  • Verbal or written threats 
  • Physical assault or attempted assault
  • Vandalism or property damage, including graffiti

The following are indicators that a hate crime may have been committed:

  • Perception by the victim that he/she was selected by the perpetrator because of his/her membership in a protected class.
  • Written or oral comments by the perpetrator that may indicate a bias.
  • Date of incident coincides with a day that is of significance to the victim’s protected class.
  • Differences between the race or religion, for example, of the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Organized hate group activity in the area.
Persons who commit these types of acts can be held criminally and/or civilly responsible. Civil remedies are available even if criminal violations cannot be proven.

Your Rights

  • You have certain rights under the California Constitution’s Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing.
  • You may be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.
  • You are also protected under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act. Under these acts, you could receive up to $25,000 in punitive and compensatory damages in civil court.
  • Persons who commit these types of acts can be held criminally and/or civilly responsible. Civil remedies are available even if criminal violations cannot be proven.

What Laws Apply?

The following is a list of California Penal Code statutes relating to hate crimes:

  • Penal Code Section 190.2(a)(16): Allows the death penalty for murder based on the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality, or national origin.
  • Penal Code Section 302: Provides it is a misdemeanor to willfully disturb a group of people meeting to worship.
  • Penal Code Section 422.6(a): Provides it is a misdemeanor to interfere by force or threat of force with a person’s statutory or constitutional rights because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Penal Code Section 422.6(b): Provides it is a misdemeanor to damage a person’s property because of his or her race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Penal Code Section 422.7: Provides that actions which are normally misdemeanors can be treated as felonies if committed because of bigotry.
  • Penal Code Section 594.3: Provides it is a felony to knowingly vandalize a place of worship.
  • Penal Code Section 1170.8: Provides additional punishment for robbery or assault of persons , or arson, within a place of worship.
  • Penal Code Section 1170.85(b): Provides additional punishment for felonies committed against the aged or disabled.

Services Available to Hate Crime Victims

  • You have certain rights under the California Constitution’s Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing.
  • You may be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.
  • You are also protected under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act. Under these acts, you could receive up to $25,000 in punitive and compensatory damages in civil court.

CSU, Chico Resources

Police Department

Community Legal Information Center (CLIC)

Counseling & Wellness Center

Student Conduct, Rights, and Responsibilities

Diversity & Inclusion Office

Community Resources

Butte County District Attorney’s Office(opens in new window)

Butte County Victim Witness(opens in new window)
530-538-7340 or 530-891-2812

California Attorney General’s Office of Victims’ Services(opens in new window)

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