The University of Colorado Boulder today is releasing an external review report of its policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault and compliance with Title IX.
On July 24, 2013, Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano announced that CU-Boulder was the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) into a complaint concerning the university’s handling of a sexual assault involving a student. On this same day, DiStefano called for an external review of the campus’s Title IX policies and procedures.
The university hired law firm Pepper Hamilton to conduct this review. Representatives from Pepper Hamilton, widely respected as national Title IX experts, visited the campus in September 2013 and interviewed 29 employees who are responsible for implementing the university’s policies on sexual harassment and sex assault policies. Individuals impacted by sexual harassment or assault were also interviewed.
The report found that “the University’s policies and practices satisfy current legal requirements. We observed a strong level of commitment and dedication demonstrated by the individual implementers we encountered.” Furthermore, Pepper Hamilton was impressed with CU-Boulder’s Title IX response team.
“In particular,” the report states, “we note that the University currently has an effective investigative model designed to achieve adequate and reliable investigations and a streamlined adjudicative process designed to provide prompt resolution of reports.”
The chancellor said he was pleased with the report’s findings, but wants to see the university exceed federal law requirements.
“This report shows that we are following the law and we take reports of sexual harassment and assault seriously,” DiStefano said. “At the same time, we can always improve upon our practices.”
DiStefano has instructed his cabinet to begin implementing three key recommendations from the report:
1. Create a new Title IX coordinator position with ultimate campuswide oversight for all complaints (rather than the current practice of separate coordinators for student and employee cases). The coordinator will report to a senior administrator in the chancellor’s cabinet.
2. Enhance coordination and communication among the university’s Title IX response team.
3. Increase existing training, education and prevention programming for students, faculty and staff required by Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act.
The university will further review the report and take additional steps to improve upon its strong Title IX practices, DiStefano said.
“My administration is committed to acting upon recommendations in this report that will ensure a campus environment that is one of equality and fairness for all,” he said.
See the review report.
News Media Contact:
Ryan Huff, CU-Boulder spokesperson, 303-492-1042