Resources for International Students

The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center is dedicated to serving all students including international students, DACA students, and undocumented students. We recognize that there are particular challenges that you may face as an undergraduate, graduate, or professional student here at Washington University in St. Louis that other students may not encounter when navigating resources. This landing page is here to provide you with some basic information about concepts of sexual violence and our confidential services through the RSVP Center, which will not affect your visa status, as well answer some common questions you may have about utilizing our services.

As a reminder, the RSVP Center has counselors that provide confidential counseling (meaning your situation will not be reported to anyone at the University without your consent) for issues or concerns related to relationship and sexual violence. This means you can utilize RSVP Center services if you have questions about relationship violence, you are experiencing violence, or someone close to you is experiencing violence. Our goal is to provide you with support, resources, and a safe space to talk through your experience and get the help you want.

Any service you receive from the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Center will not be reported to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) or to the United States government. In addition to referrals to Student Health Services, the RSVP Center can refer you to community organizations and work with you to find long-term counseling care if needed through your student health insurance or other insurance plans.

If you or a friend has experienced sexual assault or relationship violence and you would like to speak with a confidential resource about how to process your experience or learn about University and non-University options you have, please consider setting up an appointment via telephone by calling our office at 314-935-3445.

University Definitions

How does WashU define Sexual Harassment?

How does WashU define Sexual Violence?

How does WashU define Stalking?

How does WashU define Domestic Violence?

Frequently Asked Questions

What does confidential mean?

Confidential resources are campus professionals who can maintain legally-protected confidentiality within the University. This means that you can speak with Kim Webb or Jen Austin at the RSVP Center and that they will not inform any other persons within the University unless they have your consent. Our staff may need to report if they believe that you or someone near you is in imminent danger or if they become aware of child sexual abuse. In either of these situations, our staff will inform you of their reporting requirements and walk you through potential outcomes of that reporting process. Again, we hope that the RSVP Center can serve as a resource for you if you are processing an experience, concerned about a friend, or in need of emergency support.

What are my options for sexual violence support?
See Evaluate Your Options for Sexual Violence Support
Can I drop below full time without it affecting my visa?

The RSVP Center staff can support you in reducing below full-time status if you are experiencing temporary illness or medical conditions. This temporary drop below full time is usually till the end of the semester. Because visa requirements are different for each visa, it is best to contact Kim Webb or Jen Austin for more specific information.

Are there consequences for dropping below full-time student status?

If you can be approved for temporary medical conditions, there is no negative consequence for dropping below full time. Our priority is your safety and well being and to make sure that your case is well documented and that it is documented before the semester in question is over to avoid affecting your visa status.

What happens if I choose to go on medical leave?

As an international student, you can request medical leave as long as you are able to document it and demonstrate need for medical leave. The request of your medical leave can be facilitated by RSVP Center and we will work with Habif Health Wellness Center to ensure optimal care for you. The appropriate Reduced Course Load (RCL) or Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) based on your condition will be coordinated by Habif Health Wellness Center. Once you are approved to drop below full-time (either taking a reduced courseload or not taking any courses at all) with the notification from Habif Health Wellness Center, the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) can help you proceed with the RCL/MLOA. The medical leave is authorized on a semester basis by OISS. Once you are officially on medical leave, you do not need to do anything to extend it.

What happens if my partner threatens my visa? What are my options?

In the United States, there are two ways for us to support survivors that are experiencing abuse and are on a dependent or non-permanent visa status. VAWA and U Visas offer opportunities for legal residence in the United States. Each option has certain requirements and associated criteria. These measures should be taken in conjunction with support and feedback from OISS and the RSVP Center jointly.