Information for International Students
Welcome to Cal Poly! Moving to a new country can be confusing and overwhelming - especially when the laws and rights may differ from your home. It is important to know as a student in the United States that you are granted the same rights and protections as every other college student in the United States - you deserve to feel safe, secure, and confident on this campus.
Unfortunately, sexual assault is a massive issue on college campuses across the country. Definitions, laws, and regulations regarding sexual assault differ greatly around the world, and Safer wants to provide you with essential tips, clear definitions, and your rights as a student here at Cal Poly.
Tips/What you need to know:
- If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately – this is the United States’ emergency dispatch hotline.
- The age of consent in California is 18; minors 17 and younger cannot legally give consent to sexual intercourse. Therefore, all sexual activity with a minor is considered sexual assault and a criminal offense.
- California adopted a “yes means yes” sexual consent law in 2014, replacing the more commonplace “no means no” law. “Yes means yes” takes the burden off of the victim to prove resistance, and instead requires an enthusiastic, sober, clear “yes” from both parties engaging in sexual activities. This law also holds California universities to a higher standard in preventing sexual assault.
- Remember: If you are a victim of sexual assault, you are not alone, and it is not your fault. Regardless of your clothing, sobriety, relationship status, or sexual history, sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. Nobody asks to be assaulted.
- As a Cal Poly student, you are protected under Title IX, a United States federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in education - encompassing a multitude of issues, from sports funding, to pregnancies, to females in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Among these many other protections, Title IX also strictly prohibits sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, or any gender-based discrimination. Cal Poly is required by the federal government to make the university a safe space for students in this respect, and thus if you experience any sexual misconduct you may file a Title IX report to prompt an investigation, both preventing further harassment and providing appropriate accommodations for you.
- You are not required to be a U.S. citizen to file a Title IX report; the form does not ask for a social security number. However, Title IX regulations and immigration status are not often explicitly stated in the law.
- To learn more about the intersection of immigration status and sexual violence, check out https://www.knowyourix.org/college-resources/title-ix-immigration/.
- Additional resources available to international/immigrant/undocumented students:
- To read more about the details of Title IX, visit knowyourix.org.
- There are both confidential and non-confidential options in reporting sexual misconduct and receiving counseling – you can reach out to Safer to find the best path for you. Safer and Cal Poly Counseling Services are the only two confidential services on campus; you may talk to other trusted campus employees, but be aware they are required by law to file a report with Title IX.
- You have the right to file a report with Title IX through the university, or SLO Police Department off-campus, and to have someone accompany you throughout the entire filing process. Safer can provide an advocate for you.
- You have the option to anonymously report a sexual assault to Safer through their confidential drop box in Building 65 (UU) Room 217, or to University Police by texting or emailing the tip line at firstname.lastname@example.org. These reports will remain anonymous.
- Rape is an act of non-consensual sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal) that may or may not involve coercion, the threat of force, violence, immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. The accused’s relationship to the person (such as family member, spouse, friend, acquaintance or stranger) is irrelevant.
- Sexual assault is broader in definition than rape. Any non-consensual sexual act may be sexual assault. This may include unwanted oral intercourse, penetration of the anus or vagina with a foreign object, or unwanted touching on an intimate area of a person’s body. Sexual assault can include unwanted kissing or bodily contact that is sexual in nature. Sexual assault is a felony in the state of California - sentencing can include up to 10 years in prison, fines, and psychiatric treatment.
- Consent means an informed, affirmative, sober, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. To establish that someone has consented to sexual activity, the person must receive consent verbally or nonverbally in an unambiguous way. Consent cannot be established simply on the basis of a current or previous dating or romantic relationship. In addition, consent may be withdrawn at any time during the sexual act. Consent consists of words or conduct indicating a freely given and present agreement to perform a particular sex act with the initiator.
- Remember that whoever is initiating the sexual act has the responsibility of confirming consent.
- If someone is pressuring you into sexual activity, don’t be afraid to be assertive in setting your boundaries and saying no.
- Cal Poly University Police offers an escort van and walking escort services to students travelling alone on campus at night – if you are feeling unsafe, please feel free to utilize these services. More information on hours, locations, and contact can be found at https://afd.calpoly.edu/police/safety/escortvan.
- For a full list of community and campus partners, visit our community partners page.