Sexual Assault Education

All members of the Canisius University community are entitled to and responsible for maintaining an environment of civility that is free from disparagement, intimidation, harassment and violence of any kind, including sexual violence. All new Canisius University students are required to complete an online sexual violence prevention training program. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator and the Counseling Center staff conduct presentations on sexual violence prevention for all new students and parents during New Student Orientation. The Title IX Coordinator also does sexual assault prevention trainings for Campus Security Authorities. The Title IX Coordinator gives sexual assault prevention and consent presentations to all student-athletes, student leaders, and student clubs and organizations.  Other students participate in the bystander intervention program through presentations to clubs and organizations. 




  2. CALL PUBLIC SAFETY at 711 (campus phone) or 716.888.2330 (cellphone or off-campus). This will alert Public Safety to the alleged offense. Victims may also contact the Buffalo Police at 911 or 716.851.4494, or the New York State Police Hotline at 1.844.845.7269. 
  3. GET MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. It is extremely important that the victim seeks immediate medical evaluation following a sexual assault. The best place for this evaluation is a hospital emergency room. In addition to treating any injuries, evaluating and treating for possible exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, the emergency room staff is expertly trained to collect valuable medical evidence. This evidence may be used in the event that the victim wishes to have the perpetrator prosecuted at a later time. Without this evidence, it is very difficult to obtain a conviction. Remember, do not drink, bathe, douche, brush teeth, change clothes or comb hair. It is only natural to want to do these things but doing so may destroy evidence. If changing clothes is necessary, all clothing worn during the assault should be placed in a paper bag and taken to the hospital. The victim may wish to have a friend or family member accompany them to the hospital or if the victim wishes, someone from the college can accompany them.
  4. SEEK COUNSELING. Regardless if whether the assault is reported, it is often helpful to seek counseling for the traumatic experience. The Canisius University Counseling Center 716.888.2620 or Crisis Services 716.834.3131 can provide confidential support. The Canisius Sexual Assault Liaison is Eileen Niland, MS, LMHC, NCC, Counseling Center, Bosch 105, 716.888.2620.
  5. DOCUMENT THE INCIDENT. If Law Enforcement is to be involved and criminal charges are filed, this information is crucial. A victim should write down every detail about the attack as accurately as possible, including: 
    1. Who was present? (Attacker, bystanders, etc.)
    2. What happened? (Not only during the assault, but before and after?
    3. When the attack occurred. (Time, date, during a sequence of events?) 
    4. Where the attack occurred. (Did the assault occur in more than one location?)
    5. How the attack happened. (Including, were you injured?)
  6. DECIDE HOW TO PROCEED. The decision to prosecute the suspect and/or initiate internal judicial proceedings lies with the victim. The victim can choose to make a report to Canisius University Public Safety or local law enforcement or both. If the victim wishes to report the incident to local law enforcement the Buffalo Police Department (911 or 716-851-4494) or the New York State Police 1-844-845-7269 should be contacted.

If the alleged perpetrator is a member of the Canisius University community and the reporting individual would like to have the incident investigated and adjudicated by Canisius University officials, the reporting individual should contact the Title IX Coordinator Debbie Owens, 716.888.3781, email: @email. The Title IX Coordinator will assign a Title IX Investigator to work with Public Safety to investigate the incident and proceed with the appropriate judicial proceedings. Details related to the hearing processes can be found in the Student Handbook.

  • Judicial Process – External: If the victim wishes to have the assailant prosecuted criminally, the police and the District Attorney’s office will handle the legal proceedings.
  • Judicial Process – Internal: If the alleged perpetrator is a member of the college community, the victim also has the option to file a complaint through the college’s disciplinary system. Any campus proceeding will be handled with sensitivity and with respect for confidentiality. The complainant and the respondent are entitled to have an advisor present during the hearing. At the conclusion of the internal judicial hearing, both the complainant and the respondent shall be informed of the outcome (decision and sanction). Sanctions that may be imposed range from a formal warning to expulsion from the college. Detailed procedures concerning the campus disciplinary hearings, including the rights of the complainant and respondent, are contained in the title IX/community standards sections of the Student Handbook.

Whether the victim chooses the external or internal process, a college representative will be available to assist the victim throughout the process and provide transportation to off campus sites.


Academic and living arrangements may be made to accommodate the victim’s needs. For example, if the victim and the accused are in the same class or residence hall, arrangements may be made to separate the two.


All students have the right to:

  1. Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
  2. Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
  3. Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/ or criminal justice process free from pressure by the institution;
  4. Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  5. Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available;
  6. Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
  7. Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
  8. Be protected from retaliation by the institution, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution;
  9. Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination; 
  10. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; and
  11. Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the institution.


If a bystander of an act of sexual violence (sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking) on campus or in the campus area would like to report the incident while keeping the identity of the victim private, the Title IX Coordinator, Debbie Owens should be contacted at 716.888.3781, or by email: If a campus security authority wishes to report an incident of sexual violence, the Title IX Coordinator should be contacted. The Title IX Coordinator will take steps to keep the victim’s identity private. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the circumstances of the crime pose a danger to the campus community, she will communicate with Public Safety or local police.


If the victim or bystander of an act of sexual violence wishes to receive confidential support from Canisius University staff, the Canisius University Counseling Center should be contacted at 716.888.2620 during regular business hours. Outside of regular business hours a victim or bystander can call Public Safety at 716.888.2330 to request a response from the Counselor on-call. The victim or bystander can give Public Safety a contact number without revealing any additional information and Public Safety will contact the Counselor on-call; the counselor will call the contact number given. If a victim or bystander of an act of sexual violence wishes to receive confidential support from someone outside Canisius University, Crisis Services may be contacted 24/7 at 716.834.3131.


The campus community can obtain up-to-date law enforcement agency information provided by the State of New York concerning registered sex offenders from the New York State Sex Offender Registry.


The complete policy statement on sexual assault and information on preventing sexual assault is available in the following offices: Student Life, Student Affairs, Public Safety, Student Health and the Counseling Center.

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault can be defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or without consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity. Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. It includes sexual acts against people who are unable to consent either due to age or lack of capacity.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Dating Violence

Dating Violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.


Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.