Stalking

TUFTS UNIVERSITY POLICY ON STALKING

Stalking and cyber stalking are behaviors prohibited by University policy and Massachusetts law. In Massachusetts such conduct are felonies. M.G.L. c. 265 § 43.  Stalking includes a willful and malicious knowing pattern of conduct or acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys the person and which causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury.
Stalking can be accomplished by mail, telephone, electronic mail, internet communications, and facsimile. Conduct which does not include a threat of death or bodily injury is also illegal and considered harassment by University policy and Massachusetts law. M.G.L. c. 265 § 43A.

Students, staff and faculty may turn to a Title IX Liaison (available to receive reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment and discrimination, including stalking) listed in the Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault for help in dealing with incidents
of stalking or harassment. A list of the Title IX Liaisons can also be found at  http://oeo.tufts.edu/. This conduct can also be reported to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity (617-627-3298 oeo@tufts.edu).

The Stalking, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault policies can be found at: http://oeo.tufts.edu/.

WHAT IS STALKING?

Stalking is defined as threats, along with repeated harassing behavior, such as: 

  • Following a person
  • Appearing at a person’s home, class or work
  • Making harassing phone calls and e-mails
  • Leaving written messages or objects
  • Vandalizing a person’s property

It can include the use of regular mail, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, posting on social websites and/or faxes.

WHO ARE VICTIMS OF STALKING?

 Anyone can be stalked, including college students from any economic, ethnic, or religious group. A few victims are picked at random by their stalker, but most stalking victims know their stalker, usually having had some type of present or past relationship. The perpetrator can be an intimate partner or former partner, classmate, roommate, or other acquaintance. A victim can be stalked for several days or for many years. The stalker’s actions can also affect family, friends, and coworkers. Stalking and criminal harassment can be difficult to distinguish. Talk to one of the individuals listed on our Resource page for help.

HOW DO I KNOW IT IS STALKING?

 Example:

  • Every time I went to my Poli Sci class, this guy would sit next to me. He kept trying to talk to me even though I told him I wasn’t interested. Then he started showing up everywhere—outside my residence hall, in the Campus Center, even in the library, and threatening me if I don’t go out with him. Am I being paranoid?
  • I dated this woman a couple of times but then wasn’t interested in seeing her again. She said someone would get hurt if I broke up with her. “If I can’t have you, no one else can,” she told me. We weren’t in contact for a while, but now she keeps sending me e-mails. Sometimes I don’t answer her. I changed my address, but she found out what the new one was. I wish she would stop.
  • Two weeks ago someone left me an anonymous “secret admirer” note in the library in one of my books while I was studying. Last week I was studying in the campus center and got up to stretch. When I came back, I found a cup of coffee with a note, “I am always watching you.” This morning there were flowers outside my room. My friends don’t know who is doing this, and it feels creepy!

If you or someone you know is experiencing a similar situation, please get help by contacting any of the resources listed in this brochure for more information.

If you feel frightened or uncomfortable about someone’s specific behavior, pay attention to your instincts! Seek help.

WHAT CAN A STALKING VICTIM DO?

  • Report the stalking to the Tufts University Police, or the police in your area, and follow their advice
  • Inform others close to you (family, friends, residential life staff, coworkers) about the stalking
  • Do your best to safely avoid all contact with the stalker
  • Keep a journal or log of all incidents connected to the stalking
  • Keep any letters, packages, taped telephone messages, or e-mails received from the stalker
  • Provide police with photographs of the suspect, a description, and other information
  • Inform the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs on the Medford/Somerville campus and learn about other options including a Stay Away Request, safe housing and privacy requests at the university
  • Follow basic safety tips
    • Try not to walk alone
    • Know your surroundings and locations of emergency phones and panic buttons
    • Lock your car and house doors when alone
    • Consider using different routes to drive or walk to class or other routine places, keeping close friends informed
    • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas
    • Check your vehicle including front and rear passenger seat areas before getting in
    • Change locks to your home and car
    • Use the GoSafe service by calling the Tufts Police

Stay Away Requests – can be sought from the Dean of Student Affairs Office.