BOULDER, CO (KDVR) – CU Boulder handled investigations for Ongoing sexual assault in off-campus fraternity home In a letter Thursday, she said the university wants to share resources and processes to support the community.
We have received a number of questions recently about how CU Boulder deals with sexual assault, cares for victims and survivors and holds those responsible for committing sexual assault to account. We write to share our campus resources and operations to support our community and to provide resources for reporting sexual assault and misconduct issues to those who choose to do so.
It is important to begin by addressing victims and survivors of sexual violence in our campus community. Sexual assault is a real problem at CU Boulder and at most universities across the country. It has devastating effects on victims, survivors, and our university community as a whole.
CU Boulder has dedicated resources for confidential support and advocacy, safety measures, and investigative response regardless of whether incidents occur on or off campus. We are committed to the continuous improvement of our prevention and education efforts and to ensuring that our response resources meet the needs of our campus community.
In most cases, we are not able to publicly share details of behavior outcomes in specific cases due to privacy laws.”
Prevention and awareness
The prevention of sexual violence plays an important role on campus.
CU Boulder’s Don’t Ignore It page is an excellent resource for bookmarking. It provides an overview of what we mean when we say “sexual misconduct,” and provides information about the various offices and services involved in addressing sexual abuse at CU Boulder. There is also a section on how to help others, which includes skills for how to be an effective bystander.
Bystanders are especially important in situations where a person is targeted by the offender because of their level of intoxication, or if the person has been deliberately drugged in an attempt to facilitate sexual assault. People who are disabled or incapacitated are usually unable to protect themselves or stand up for themselves. This is why increasing students’ ability to identify these high-risk situations and effective intervention has the greatest potential to prevent sexual assault.
Don’t Ignore It also contains information on how to help a friend if they tell you about a traumatic experience. People are more likely to tell a friend about a sexual assault, and how that friend is responding to things.
Where can you get help
The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) provides free and confidential information, counseling, support, advocacy and short-term counseling services to members of the CU Boulder community who have experienced a traumatic event, including sexual assault. OVA is a confidential on-campus trauma center.
It is important to note that the OVA does not investigate or adjudicate cases, which is the role of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) and the police.
OVA acknowledges that traumatic events, such as sexual assault, occur every day in all communities and the CU Boulder community is no exception. Impact can vary, and OVA strives to mitigate the impact of traumatic experiences by lowering barriers and enabling victims and survivors to make informed decisions.
If someone decides to report an on-campus experience to CU Boulder Police (CUPD), they may also work with a victim advocate through a new program introduced this fall.
Report misconduct or crimes
There are several offices that may be involved when a university receives a report of sexual misconduct, including the OIEC, the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (SCCR), OVA and CUPD. Every situation is different, and many times the process will be guided by how the victim chooses to proceed.
If a victim or survivor chooses to report sexual misconduct to the investigation as a potential violation of university policies, the OIEC will always conduct a preliminary investigation. The OIEC acts as an impartial and objective fact-finding body when adjudicating a complaint. Depending on the wishes of the person reporting, the OIEC can:
A formal judgment procedure, consisting of an investigation, punishment and appeal, as appropriate.
Solve the problem through an informal settlement process.
Provide support and safety measures no matter what action is taken.
Provisions for student and staff misconduct are separate from the criminal process. Reports can be submitted to the CUPD at any time, although investigators recommend reporting as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. CUPD is the primary investigative police agency for on-campus incidents, while the Boulder Police Department has primary jurisdiction for off-campus incidents. Both police agencies work well together, cooperating and engaging wherever and whenever necessary.
We understand that there are many reasons someone may choose not to report or not to pursue the arbitration process. We reiterate that campus resources, such as OVA, are still available if someone chooses not to report. Also, the OIEC may continue to take action to ensure the safety of the campus and provide supportive measures, even if the victim decides not to proceed with the investigation.
Students found responsible during investigations may face different disciplinary actions depending on the severity of their actions. We often hear confusion about the meaning of suspension, expulsion, or other penalties in CU Boulder. More information about penalties in cases of sexual misconduct can be found starting on page 36 of the OIEC Decision Procedures.
Staff and faculty members found responsible face various potential consequences, up to potential dismissal. Campus penalties can occur separately in addition to any potential legal penalties.
In most cases, we are not able to publicly share details of behavior outcomes in specific cases due to privacy laws.
Looking to the future
We are always looking to improve our operations to ensure better outcomes for the campus community.
In October, members of the campus community began receiving email invitations to conduct a campus culture survey. Undergraduate students will find a section on sexual misconduct. Filling out this anonymous survey before November 21, 2021 will help us better understand these issues over time, and guide campus efforts to build a more just, diverse, equitable and inclusive campus community.
We hope the information above will help our students, faculty, and staff better understand the powerful resources focused on supporting you throughout your time at CU Boulder.
Dean of Students
Fill in Pomeroy
Interim Associate Vice President and Coordinator of Title IX, OIEC
CUPD Chief of Police