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 firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 document (PDF) for help.
How Do I Know it is Stalking?
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’sspecific behavior, pay attention to your instincts! Seek help.
What Can I Do as a Stalking Victim?
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.