Information for Incoming Students

College can be a fun and exciting new experience for incoming freshmen, but it can also come with some challenges. Safer is here to answer questions and provide support during this time of transition. In order to help your move into this new environment, here are some commonly asked questions regarding topics Safer addresses:

Commonly Asked Questions from Incoming Students

What exactly is considered sexual assault?

  • Sexual assault is broader in definition than rape. Any nonconsensual sexual act, such as touching or kissing, can be sexual assault. Rape is an act of nonconsensual sexual intercourse that may involve coercion, threat of forces, violence, immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress.
  • Central to understanding sexual assault is understanding consent. Consent is a verbal agreement in which people ask and get permission to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be communicated both before and during this activity, and the responsibility of getting consent is with the person that is initiating the act.
  • When asking for consent, clear and enthusiastic permission is necessary. Answers that are not examples of consent:
    • “NO”
    • “I’m not sure”
    • “I think so”
    • “I don’t know”

Or if the person does not respond at all and is silent. These are not consensual answers, and if the initiator receives one of these answers, it is an indication that they should stop what they are doing and communicate more.

Is sexual assault actually a problem here? Does it happen more often at Cal Poly than at other universities?

  • Sexual assault at Cal Poly is no more prevalent than at any other university. Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while in college (National Sexual Violence Resource Center). Sexual assault or rape can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, ability, sexual orientation, economic status, or gender identity. Safer exists to provide resources for those who do experience any type of sexual violence, as well as promote campus-wide education on these topics.

How can I reach Safer?

The Safer office is located in the University Union, Building 65, Room 217. Office hours are from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. You can email Safer at or call at 805.756.2282.

For after hours help, contact:

  • Cal Poly Counseling Center: 805.756.1211

    • Physical Location: Building 27, Room 135

  • RISE: 24-hour crisis line, 855.886.7473

    • 51 Zaca Lane #100 San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (off-campus)

  • Stand Strong: 24-hour crisis line, 805.781.6400

    • 51 Zaca Lane #150, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 (off-campus)

  • RAINN Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network: 1.800.656.HOPE 

    • This 24 hour national hotline will automatically connect you to your nearest crisis center.

How can I get involved with Safer?

  • Safer has several ways in which you can get involved. It is important to become educated and involved with these topics early on in your time at Cal Poly, so that you are better prepared to speak with your peers and support them surrounding these issues. For more information on how you can get involved, visit here.

What is Title IX?

  • Title IX of the Education Amendments prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational institutions. Title IX protects all people, regardless of their gender or gender identity, from sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment and violence. Individuals that experience sexual violence have the choice to report to the Title IX office and begin an investigation. To learn more about the Title IX process and your rights as a student, visit here.

What is the Clery Act?

  • The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges to report crimes that occur “on campus” and school safety policies. The Clery Act also requires schools to evaluate if there is a serious or ongoing threat to the campus community to determine if a timely warning needs to be issued to all staff and students. Each year, Cal Poly issues an Annual Security Report. Incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking are included under the Clery Act. To learn more about the Clery Act and view Annual Security Reports, visit here.

Where can I find more information about general safety at Cal Poly?

University Police Department offers several services to ensure campus safety, including:

Blue Light Emergency Telephones
Safety Escort Van Service
Mustang Patrol
Housing Resource Officers

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