If you have been the victim of these behaviors, the following information (although not comprehensive) is intended to help you navigate the many support resources that are available to you.
Sexual harassment, sexual violence and other gender-based or sex-based harassment occurring in the college setting implicates a federal law called Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities and which triggers certain responsibilities on the part of CU Boulder.
The University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) prohibits Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination or Harassment based on gender or sex, including Intimate Partner Abuse and gender-based or sex-based stalking and provides institutional procedures for resolving reported incidents.
CU Boulder is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working and living environment. When sexual harassment or sexual violence has occurred and is brought to the attention of the school, CU Boulder will take steps to end the harassment or violence, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its effects. The following resources detail CU Boulder’s policies and practices as they relate to these behaviors:
If you have been the victim of sexual assault, sexual harassment or discrimination based on gender or sex, there are several places you can turn. Keep in mind that in some cases, there may be time-sensitive considerations for reporting, such as the option to have medical or other evidence collected and preserved.
The Equity Office has the authority to address these complaints in a non-criminal context. The CU Boulder process, used by the Equity Office, is completely separate from the police and courts.
The Equity Office will review the allegations and determine an appropriate course of action. Some cases can be handled informally and outside of the formal investigative process, although CU Boulder will not mediate cases of sexual violence even on a voluntary basis. For cases that result in an investigation, those investigations are conducted by individuals who have received specialized training in those types of investigations. In general, if the Equity Office conducts an investigation into a complaint, the investigation will include interviews with the complainant and respondent, interviews with relevant witnesses, and the identification, solicitation and review of any documentation relevant to the investigation including available police reports. All investigations will be conducted in a prompt, thorough and impartial manner.
Note: If a report is initially made with UCPD, UCPD will provide information about the report to the Equity Office. In cases of sexual assault, UCPD will disclose the victim’s name only with his or her consent.
OVA can help you understand your different options for reporting a complaint to the university or to law enforcement, and can help you seek orders of protection through the courts.
In addition, you may choose to pursue both the CU Boulder process through the Equity Office and the criminal process simultaneously.
The complainant and respondent each have the option to bring an advisor during any meeting. The advisor may be an attorney or any support person. In CU Boulder’s process, the complainant and respondent will not be permitted to directly question each other and are not required to be present together at any point. Both a complainant and a respondent have the right to identify witnesses and provide other information relevant to the investigation. CU Boulder will decide the case based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (whether or not it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred). At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigators will prepare a written report, which shall be presented to a standing review committee for review. The final report as approved by the standing review committee shall be provided to the complainant and the respondent. There are no appeals for sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and protected class discrimination and harassment including intimate partner abuse or gender-based or sex-based stalking.
In most cases, CU Boulder will not wait until a criminal case is resolved before proceeding with the case. In addition, if a CU Boulder official has a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, she or he may be obligated to report that to law enforcement if police have not already been notified. CU Boulder’s fact-finding investigation may be delayed for a short period of time upon a request from law enforcement, but we will promptly resume the investigation as soon as possible. CU Boulder will use best efforts to resolve these complaints within 60 days. CU Boulder will keep the parties advised as to the status of the case as they desire and as is reasonable. The complainant and respondent will be informed of the outcome of the case in writing.
CU Boulder will take interim steps to protect a complainant while the case is pending. Depending on the case and the complainant’s wishes, these steps may include changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations if such accommodations are reasonably available. In addition, these steps may include directing a respondent to not have contact with the complainant, excluding a respondent from parts of campus, or providing a complainant with an escort to accompany a complainant on campus. Any adjustments made will be designed to minimize the burden on the complainant’s educational program. Some of these actions may also be remedies in those cases resulting in a finding of a policy violation. If someone chooses not to bring a complaint forward, the Office of Victim Assistance can still assist that person with navigating academic systems, discussing alternate housing and applying for a civil protection order.
Because the school’s primary concern is student safety, minor alcohol and drug violations by a complainant will be handled informally whenever possible. The complainant’s use of alcohol or other drugs does not make the complainant at fault for being a victim of sexual violence.
CU Boulder prohibits retaliation against any employee or student who reports an incident of alleged sexual harassment or sexual violence, or any employee or student who testifies, assists or participates in a proceeding, investigation or hearing relating to these allegations. Respondents are informed of this provision, and any retaliation should be reported immediately to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.
The complainant is not required to participate if the complainant chooses not to; however, this may limit CU Boulder’s ability to respond to the incident, including pursuing any disciplinary action. If the complainant requests that his or her name or other identifying information not be used in an investigation, CU Boulder will consider that request in light of the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.
In most cases, information including a complainant’s name may be shared with the respondent, witnesses and with University officials who have a legitimate need to know. Beyond that, CU Boulder will take steps to protect the identity of the complainant and the identity of all individuals involved.
The only exception to the obligation to report applies to confidential counseling resources including the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP), and Psychological Health and Psychiatry (PHP).
We encourage you to contact the free and confidential Office of Victim Assistance at CU Boulder as you process your options. They can offer counseling and advocacy in a supportive setting.
A list of on-campus and off-campus resources, most of which are available to students for no or low cost, is available on the Resources Page.
The Executive Director of Institutional Equity and Compliance & Title IX Coordinator issues sanctions for students and reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the event of mitigating factors or egregiously offensive behavior.