University policy outlines a range of behaviors that are prohibited under the Sexual Misconduct Policy. These behaviors may also be a violation of the Colorado law. People who are impacted by these kinds of abuses have options for reporting to law enforcement or the university.

What is Sexual Misconduct?

  • Sexual assault, exploitation, and harassment
    • Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, sexual contact, or sexual penetration without affirmative consent or through use of coercion or force. Examples can include:
      • Vaginal or anal penetration and any contact between a mouth and genitals that is not consensual.
      • Non-consensual recording of sexual activity, invasion of sexual privacy, or distributing photographs of another person's intimate parts.
      • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
      • Learn more about supporting a male friend who is sexually assaulted.
  • Intimate partner abuse
    • Behaviors in an intimate, sexual, dating, partnered or marital relationship directed at a person that are controlling, demeaning, intimidating or threatening. This includes threats, assault, violence, property damage, and violence or threat of violence to one's self or to the loved ones of the person when used as a method of coercion, control, punishment, intimidation, or revenge. Read more about healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships. Or visit Love Is Respect to to learn more.
  • Stalking
    • A pattern of conduct directed at someone that would cause them to fear for their own safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress, including causing a person to alter their daily activities.

Learn more about consent

CU Boulder has an affirmative consent standard. This means that consent for sexual activity must be clear, knowing, and voluntary. Consent must include words or actions that create mutually understandable, clear permission conveying acceptance of the conditions of the sexual activity and willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Consent conveys enthusiastic participation.

  • Consent must be clearly established through words or actions.
  • A person who does not want to consent to sex is not required to resist.
  • Consent to some forms of sexual activity does not imply consent to other sexual activities.
  • Silence, previous sexual relationships, or the existence of a current relationship do not imply consent.
  • Consent cannot be implied by how someone is dressed or inferred from the giving or acceptance of gifts, a ride, money, or other items.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time during sexual activity and need not be a verbal withdrawal, as long as it is conveyed clearly.
  • Under Colorado law, a person under the age of 15 cannot legally consent to sex with someone who is 4 or more years older than they are. A person who is 15 or 16 cannot legally consent to sex with someone who is more than 10 years older. 

Incapacitation is when a person is unable to give consent due to effects of alcohol or other drug use, or other factors such as sleep, illness, or disability.

Incapacitation is a state where a person cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the capacity to understand the who, what, when, where, why, or how of a sexual interaction. The use of alcohol or drugs, in and of itself, does not render a person incapacitated, nor is it a defense against an allegation of sexual misconduct. 

Signs of incapacitation that would indicate a person is unable to consent:

  • Disorientation, this could include, a person losing track of where they are or who they are with, being confused or unable to remember basic information, or repeating themselves (lack of short-term memory)
  • Loss of motor control, which means a person may not be able to do basic things like insert a key in a lock, not be able to get something out of a wallet, not be able to dress or undress themselves, or walk on their own
  • Unconsciousness, including being asleep or passed out

These factors are used to determine a person's capacity to consent to sexual activity. 

When is someone required to report?

All employees who have the authority to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, grade, formally advise, or direct faculty, staff or students are considered "responsible employees" and are required to report to OIEC.

  • A responsible employee who becomes aware of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, exploitation and harassment, intimate partner abuse, and stalking), discrimination, or harassment involving any member of the CU community must report it to OIEC.
  • This applies whether the member of our community is the person who was subjected to the misconduct or the person accused of the misconduct.
  • This applies regardless of where or when an incident occurred, including if it occurred off campus and/or before they were a member of the campus community.
  • This applies regardless of how the information was conveyed to a responsible employee (whether spoken, written, or through a third party).

The purpose of mandatory reporting is to ensure safety, offer support and resources (such as the Office of Victim Assistance), understand the scope of the concern, and to get the behavior to stop.

When in doubt, contact OIEC for further guidance at 303-492-2127 or report at cureport@colorado.edu.