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Tutor Training: Working Safe

Working Safe

Employees, faculty, and students are entitled to work and study in a safe environment. Violence, threats, harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behaviors are not tolerated. We recognize that violence often begins with harassing acts or disruptive behaviors that can then escalate into threats to personal security.

Do not ignore situations that feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Do not second-guess how you are feeling. Do not let it escalate. Do not put yourself or others at risk because you do not want others to think you are overreacting to a situation or cannot handle a situation. Your safety, as well as the safety of those around you, should be your top priority. 

Resources for Work Safety

Protective Services provides the University of Saskatchewan with a sense of security and safety. Their staff and peace officers are trained to help staff and students handle difficult and sometimes threatening situations. They patrol campus on foot, on bike, and in marked vehicles 24/7. Protective Services keeps records of incidents and misbehaving people on campus, so it's important to report threats to safety so they have that knowledge to help prevent future situations. Furthermore, they want students and staff to be cautious and call, rather than hesitate and potentially be unsafe. Dismissing or minimizing incidents may cause the situation to escalate and put individuals, including yourself, at a higher risk. 

When you call Protective Services, a dispatcher answers and asks for information, such as the nature of the problem, your location, and if the situation is an emergency. The dispatcher will inform you how soon to expect the peace officers. You may be given instructions and it is important to follow them. Do not hang up unless instructed to do so. 

In the case of an emergency, a tutor can approach library desks, which have panic buttons that are wired into the dispatcher's system. When pressed, the dispatcher will immediately send officers to that specific library desk. This is considered an emergency situation. At the Murray Library, one will be installed at the Ask Us Desk on the 1st floor.

Peace officers are very professional and approachable as well as discreet. They will talk to you, and possibly your supervisor, regarding the incident. They will also talk to the misbehaving person and if necessary, escort them off-campus. 

Protective Services can be reached 24/7 at 5555 from a campus phone, 306-966-5555, or by email.


Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Services (DHPS) provide students, staff, and faculty with information and resources to help address instances of harassment and safety issues in the university setting. Their website describes what is and is not harassment as well as provides instructions and links to report harassment to the Harassment Prevention Office. DHPS offers confidential consultations and support should you choose to file a complaint. They are committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for everyone and foster trust and understanding with those who come to them. 

Harassment Prevention Office can be reached at 4936 from a campus phone, 306-966-4936, or by email.


Safewalk is a free service offered by the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union and Protective Services for students, staff, faculty, and campus visitors all year round (hours may vary). During the school year, between approximately 8:30 pm to 1:00 am, student volunteers can escort you to your car, bus stop, or even your home (provided it's within a 30 minute radius of campus). When student volunteers are unavailable and during the spring and summer months, Protective Services provides walking escorts.

When you call for a Safewalk, the dispatcher will ask for your first name, a pick-up location and time, and destination. You can also call in advanced to book a walking escort for a different time. There are also patrolling teams on campus that can accompany you if you run into them.

You can arrange a student volunteer to meet you by calling SAFE (7233) from a campus phone or 306-966-SAFE (7233).

Reporting an Incident

Your supervisor is here to help and support you. Reporting an incident ensures that, if necessary, vital information can be passed to the appropriate people, such as library staff, other tutors, and/or Protective Services. You are not only protecting yourself, but also others when you report the incident to your supervisor. Do not feel you are escalating the situation by talking to your supervisor or documenting it. 


If the incident is not a security issue:

  • Report the incident to Liv or an SLS staff member in person or by email as soon as possible
  • Include as much information about the incident as you can
    • Describe the individual(s); include NSID(s) if possible
    • Describe what happened - who, what, where, when, and why

If the incident is a security issue:

  • Call Protective Services (306-966-5555)
  • Report the incident to Liv as soon as possible, either in person or by email
    • You can also contact the SLS staff if Liv is unavailable
    • They will give you further instructions and advice, as well as lend an ear to any concerns you have
  • Liv or the SLS staff will give you a Library Incident Report Form to fill out immediately following the incident,
    • Be as brief and specific as possible
    • Describe the individual(s); include NSID(s) if possible
      • Describe what happened - who, what, where, when, and why
    • If you need help navigating the form, Liv or the SLS staff can help you
  • Give the Incident Report to your supervisor

Types of Situations

Feeling Uncomfortable But Not Unsafe

These are situations that typically involve minor disruptive behaviors, such as noisy groups, frustrated students, or a student that won't stop visiting with you while you're trying to work. Your work is being disrupted but there is no immediate threat to your personal safety. It's important to deal with this situation calmly and attentively to prevent escalation into a more dangerous situation. 

For minor situations:

  1. Report incident to supervisor in person or by email as soon as possible
  2. Remember to include as much information as you can
    • Describe the individual(s); include NSID(s) if possible
    • Describe what happened – who, what, where, when, why
  3. Supervisor may ask you to fill out Library Incident Report Form for tracking purposes

Some uncomfortable situations can escalate and may require more action, especially if they threaten your safety.


Feeling Uncomfortable And Unsafe

Escalated interactions with a student can be indicated by:

  • tone of voice
  • volume of voice
  • profanity or abusive language (such as gender or racially-based)
  • movement into your personal space
  • aggressive physical movements
  • an unwillingness to accept "no" as an answer
  • a "gut feeling"

It is important to listen to your "gut feeling." It means you do not feel safe in the current situation and you should treat that seriously.

Some situations require calling Protective Services (306-966-5555), such as:

  • you are feeling harassed either in person or by email.
  • you receive an obscene or abusive telephone call.
  • you receive unwanted/inappropriate attention from a student.
  • you observe person acting in a suspicious manner.
  • you observe someone viewing pornography on the Internet.

If you require immediate assistance from Protective Services, excuse yourself from the student and call them. Talking to the dispatcher may be daunting to some, but just remember that they are there to help you! Just take a deep breath and briefly describe the situation and your location. Answer any questions the dispatcher may have. If you're unsure how to begin the conversation, just remember one of the following prompts:

  • "Hello. I have a situation that requires assistance..."
  • "I need help dealing with..."
  • "I'm a Writing Help tutor and my student is..."

If you cannot remove yourself from the immediate vicinity of the student and feel unsafe calling Protective Services in front of the student, approach the library desk, explain the situation to the library staff, and ask them to call for peace officers or, in the case of an emergency, push the panic button found at their desk. Protective Services can send peace officers who are trained to handle a multitude of situations. While waiting for them to arrive, remain calm, keep your distance, and if possible, keep a physical barrier between yourself and the student. As there is safety in numbers, you can wait for the officers with library staff. You should report the incident to your supervisor as early as possible. Once the peace officers arrive, excuse yourself from the student once more and simply walk up to the officers to explain the situation to them. If you're flustered or unsure how to engage with the officers, remember the following prompts:

  • "Hello. I was the person who called. There was an individaul..."
  • "I needed help with a student who..."
  • "Hi, I'm a Math and Stats tutor. I called because a student..."

Again, it's important to remember that the peace officers are there to act as mediators that can intervene if the interaction between you and the individual is detrimental. They can also address the issue themselves, without involving you, if the situation calls for it. Follow the officers' instructions and fill out any incident reports they require. If you feel unsafe walking to your car, bus stop, or home (if it's nearby), you can request an escort from Safewalk (306-966-7233) or Protective Services. 

Example Situations

If you are feeling harassed or receive a harassing email:

  • If the offender persists, call Protective Services immediately.
  • If the offender has ceased, report the incident to Protective Services via email or phone (306-966-5555)
  • Harassing emails can be forwarded to Protective Services (protective.services@usask.ca)
  • Feel free to contact the Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Office for support and follow-ups

If you receive an obscene or abusive phone call:

  • Do not engage with the caller – hang up immediately.
  • Report to Protective Services.

If you see someone looking at pornography on the Internet:

  • Call Protective Services at 306-966-5555 immediately.
    • Protective Services want to be involved so they can keep up-to-date logs of individuals and see if someone is moving from library to library to do the same thing.
  • It is important to consider that some individuals might need to look at pornographic material for their class or research. Protective Services will talk to the person and decide if the person has a valid reason for viewing the material.

If you see someone acting in a suspicious manner:
(e.g. confused, wearing a hospital gown, in a restricted location, trying to access a locked area, behaving uncomfortably)

  • Call Protective Services at 306-966-5555 immediately.
  • Generally, do not engage with the suspicious individual yourself.
  • If you are comfortable with doing so, you can approach a person who looks confused or wearing a hospital gown and ask if they are lost or require assistance.
    • You can also inform the library staff, who will look into the issue.