CU-Boulder Releases Sexual Harassment Policy Report

Published: Dec. 11, 1997

A report released today by the University of Colorado at Boulder summarizes the activities and findings of the first 18 months of the campus’ Sexual Harassment Committee under the current sexual harassment policy.

The report, covering the period of Dec. 1, 1995 through May 31, 1997, was submitted to Chancellor Richard L. Byyny by committee Co-Chairs Shari Robertson and Neil Ashby.

“This report will be instrumental in our ongoing efforts to address the issue of sexual harassment on the Boulder campus,” said Byyny. “Sexual harassment is prohibited in this university community, and we intend to use all available tools, including education, training and policy enforcement, to eliminate it from our environment.”

During the report’s time period, about 3,400 CU-Boulder employees had received training in handling sexual harassment issues. Robertson said hundreds more have participated in the two-hour and four-hour training sessions in the intervening period.

Among the report’s findings were:

• Fifty-one individuals had “intake interviews” with the co-chairs, in which a person may report incidents of perceived sexual harassment.

• Twelve of these individuals then presented written allegations of sexual harassment to the co-chairs.

• Nine “investigative panels” were convened to review the allegations. The other three written allegations were determined by the co-chairs not to be allegations of sexual harassment.

• Of the nine panel investigations, four allegations were substantiated and five were not substantiated.

Administrative actions taken in the substantiated cases included such reliefs as formal reprimand, placement on notice, required training on sexual harassment issues, placement of letter in personnel file, and continued monitoring of situation.

Of the remaining intake interviews, six remain timely but without written allegations to date; 12 presented no written allegations and are no longer timely; and 24 were otherwise handled by the co-chairs. In cases handled by co-chairs, numerous resolutions were employed, such as: referral of complainant to appropriate office; provision of information requested; consultation with a department head; and allegations resolved with a termination.

Robertson said the experiences of the policy’s first 18 months were valuable in planning for the future. “For example, we learned that the use of formal convened investigation panels makes it hard to respond quickly to an allegation.”

The current policy is being updated based on lessons learned from the first 18 months. For example, the co-chairs recommended the campus consider enlisting the help of individuals trained in investigation and reporting of written allegations.

The report also recommends:

• Establishing a process for updating involved individuals on the status of an investigation;

• Assigning one co-chair to a full-time responsibility for implementing the campus sexual harassment policy;

• Educating the faculty about the policy in a variety of formats

• Listing the Ombuds Office in the appendix to the policy.