Dean of Students

Grad Student Studying in the Law Library

It’s not unusual to feel a heightened sense of worry when reading a U-M crime alert, walking across the Diag on a dark winter evening, entering a parking structure, or leaving a crowded bar.  Do you know what to do if you feel threatened?  Have you practiced doing it? 

And what about the even more common, and often more difficult, situations which many graduate students face?  Do you ever wonder if it’s OK to say no to a request from your advisor?  Have you ever felt uncomfortable around a colleague, student, or supervisor?  You may know how to stop a stranger on a bus from touching you, but what about someone you have to work with for the next few months or years? Personal Safety Education (PSE) can help with all of these situations.  Any graduate student may attend a free, 90 minute PSE workshop. 

Graduate students often face challenges quite specific to their role on campus.  In addition to learning emergency physical techniques, in Personal Safety Education workshops graduate students can practice professional and social safety skills like:

  • Speaking up when someone else takes credit for your work.
  • Communicating assertively, passively, or aggressively, depending on the context.
  • Setting physical boundaries with a student, peer, or supervisor.
  • How to get confidential help if you think you might be experiencing sexual harassment.

Personal safety education offers comprehensive skills, strategies, and tactics for the prevention of interpersonal violence.  PSE includes awareness, body language, social, verbal, and physical skills, including choices for avoiding, de-escalating, and responding to potential harm from people we know and people we don’t. 

The Rackham workshop is open to graduate students of all genders, identities and physical abilities. We will not be learning martial arts, and you do not have to be physically fit to participate. Survivors of violence are welcome; you're invited to participate in whatever way works for you.

Fore more information about the 90 minute PSE course, please contact Katy Mattingly at

Co-sponsored by the Division of Student Life, the Dean of Students Office, and Rackham Graduate School