If you have or are being bullied, or if you have witnessed bullying, there are a number of people and offices that can help you decide what to do next.
A helpful first step can be talking to Bryan Hanson, the Ombudsperson, who is a confidential, impartial, informal, and independent resource.
The office provides a safe place for graduate students to be heard and to receive impartial attention without fear of loss of privacy. Consultations are kept confidential, unless the student grants the ombudsperson permission to discuss issues with involved parties or administrators.
After listening to you, Bryan can talk you through the next steps that are available and discuss the potential outcomes for different actions. He can point you to different resources to help you meet your needs or resolve your issues. He can coach you in communication strategies to help you approach situations or meetings with more clarity and confidence. He can also facilitate meetings between you and someone with whom you are having difficulties.
To set up a meeting with the Ombudsperson:
- Call 540-231-9573
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- You can also stop by. See the receptionist in room 120 of the GLC.
If you want to tell someone about experiencing or witnessing academic bullying, you also may submit this form to share as much or as little information as you wish.
Further Support Resources and Information Related to Other Forms of Disrespectful Behavior
If the bullying you are experiencing or witnessing is based on age, color, disability, gender (including pregnancy), gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status and unreasonably interferes with the person's work or academic performance or participation in university activities, or creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, threatening or intimidating, it could qualify as discriminatory harrassment.
- Mistreating someone due to their race, religion, or sexual orientation
- Making fun of a person’s disability
- Telling unwelcome jokes about someone’s identity such as race or national origin
- Putting down people who are older, who are pregnant, or who come from other countries
- Urging religious beliefs on someone who finds it unwelcome
Issues around sexual harassment are handled by the Office of Equity and Accessibility.
Conduct of any type (oral, written, graphic, electronic, or physical) that is based upon a person’s sex (including pregnancy), and unreasonably interferes with the person's work or academic performance or limits participation in university activities, or creates a working or learning environment that a reasonable person would find hostile, threatening or intimidating.
Conduct of a sexual nature, including conduct consisting of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions affecting an individual. This policy includes sexual violence, gender- based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as forms of sexual harassment.
Examples of possible sexual harassment, if unwelcome, repeated, or severe include:
- Unwanted touching
- Sexually suggestive messages, letters, posters, or pictures
- Comments about a person’s clothing, his or her body, or personal appearance
- Sexual advances or propositions
- Repeated requests for dates
- Pressure for sexual activity
If the bullying you are experiencing is sexual harassment, you have a couple of options.
The professional staff of the Cook Counseling Center, Schiffert Health Center, and the Virginia Tech Women’s Center are confidential resources and are not required to report allegations of possible sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. If you wish to talk to someone confidentially about what you are experiencing and your options, contact
Note: All other Virginia Tech employees, GTAs, GRAs, and RAs are mandatory reporters and must notify the Title IX or deputy Title IX coordinator immediately about matters of possible sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
More resources are listed on our Student Services page