Sexual assault and harassment in college

Shelby Senesac, News Editor

Imagine having your innocence stolen, your body violated, and your mind left emotionally traumatized. It happens all the time on college campuses, UNF being one of them. It’s crucial for students to understand their rights and know the steps to take if they’ve been sexually assaulted and/or harassed.

Last year, UNF fraternity Kappa Sigma underwent an intense rape investigation, which resulted in a member of the fraternity being found responsible for sexual misconduct, harassment, endangerment, and other allegations. Kappa Sigma Fraternity was also removed from UNF’s campus. The incident took place at an off-campus fraternity party.

The year before, in 2019, a student in UNF’s U.S. Army ROTC program alleged she was sexually harassed by the program’s Assistant Military Science Professor. According to Spinnaker’s article that covered the story, the female student stated that Lt. Col., an instructor in the ROTC program, stood over her while she was doing sit-ups and inappropriately touched her legs without consent. The Lt. Col. was removed from the position.

As hard as UNF and other colleges work to provide students, faculty, staff, visitors, and others with a safe environment free from any form of sexual misconduct, it still happens. RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) reported that 13 percent of all college students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.

UNF’s policies and regulations explain that UNF specifically prohibits sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX “covers all forms of sexual harassment, and sexual violence is considered a form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment under Title IX includes any unwelcome sexual misconduct, such as an unwelcome sexual advance, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.”

If you experience sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus, you can report the incident to the university. Title IX explains that the university is required to take steps to stop the harassment and prevent its recurrence. This can include taking disciplinary measures against the perpetrator. “Additionally, you may (but are not required to) file a police report about the incident, and your rights under Title IX will not be affected either way,” (Title IX).

Many victims stay silent out of fear. However, after the #MeToo movement received global recognition, the movement has helped to encourage victims of sexual assault and harassment to speak up. It’s important to remember that help is available and justice can be served. 

While sexual harassment and assault can’t always be prevented, there are some safety precautions that students can take.

CollegeStats listed the following safety precautions:

– Consider taking a self-defense class

– Let your friends and/or family know where you are and where you’ll be

– Use your campus escort service, especially if you’re alone at night

– Review your social media privacy settings

– Keep on hand a whistle and/or pepper spray


UNF Police Department sponsors a Safety Ranger program to escort students to and from parking lots weekday evenings from sundown until 10 p.m. During all other times, UPD will be the escorts. Students can request a Safety Ranger or officer by calling (904) 620-2800 or using a Code Blue Phone.

To view all UNF policies and regulations regarding sexual misconduct, click here.


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