BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) – CU Boulder addressed investigations of ongoing sexual assault at an off-campus fraternity house in a letter Thursday, saying the university wanted to share resources and processes to support the community.
This is the letter the university provided in its entirety:
We have received a number of questions recently about how CU Boulder handles sexual assault, cares for victims and survivors and holds those responsible for perpetrating sexual assault accountable. We’re writing to share our campus’s resources and processes to support our community and provide resources to report issues of sexual assault and misconduct for those who choose to do so.
It is important that we start by addressing victims and survivors of sexual violence in our campus community. Sexual assault is a very real problem at CU Boulder and at most college campuses across the country. It has devastating impacts on victims and survivors and our campus 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 continuously improving our prevention and education efforts and ensuring that our response resources meet the needs of our campus community.
In most cases, we cannot publicly share the details of conduct findings in specific cases due to privacy laws.”
Prevention and awareness
Sexual violence prevention plays a critical role on campus.
CU Boulder’s Don’t Ignore It page is an excellent resource to bookmark. It offers an overview of what we mean when we say “sexual misconduct,” and provides information about the different offices and services involved in addressing sexual assault 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 particularly important in situations where someone is being targeted by a perpetrator because of their level of intoxication, or if a person has been intentionally drugged in an attempt to facilitate a sexual assault. Impaired or incapacitated people are usually unable to protect or advocate for themselves. That is why increasing students’ ability to identify these high-risk situations and effectively intervene has the greatest potential for preventing sexual assault.
Don’t Ignore It also has information about 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 responds matters.
Where you can get help
The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) provides free and confidential information, consultation, support, advocacy and short-term counseling services to CU Boulder community members who have experienced a traumatic event, including sexual assault. OVA is the confidential trauma center on campus.
It is important to note that OVA does not investigate or adjudicate cases, which is the role of the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) and police.
OVA acknowledges that traumatic events, such as sexual assault, happen every day in all communities and CU Boulder’s community is not exempt. Impact can vary and OVA strives to mitigate the impact of traumatic experiences by decreasing barriers and empowering victims and survivors in making informed decisions.
If someone decides to report an experience that happens on campus to CU Boulder Police (CUPD), they may also work with an embedded victim advocate through a new program introduced this fall.
Reporting misconduct or crimes
There are several offices that may be involved when the university receives a report of sexual misconduct, including OIEC, the Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution (SCCR), OVA and CUPD. Every case is different, and many times the process will be guided by how a victim chooses to proceed.
If a victim or survivor chooses to report sexual misconduct for investigation as a possible violation of university policies, OIEC will always conduct an initial inquiry. OIEC acts as a neutral, objective fact finder when adjudicating a complaint. Based on the desires of the person reporting, OIEC can:
Conduct a formal adjudication, consisting of an investigation, sanctioning and appeal, as applicable.
Resolve the issue through an informal resolution process.
Offer support and safety measures regardless of what action is taken.
Student and staff misconduct adjudications are separate from the criminal process. Reports can be made to CUPD at any time, though investigators recommend reporting as soon as you are 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, collaborating and partnering where and when needed.
We recognize there are many reasons someone may choose to not report or not to proceed with an adjudication process. We reiterate that campus resources, like OVA, are still available if someone chooses not to report. Also, OIEC may still take action to ensure campus safety and provide supportive measures, even if a victim decides not to proceed with an investigation.
Students found responsible during investigations may face various disciplinary actions based on the severity of their actions. We often hear confusion over what suspension, expulsion or other sanctions mean at CU Boulder. More information about sanctions in sexual misconduct cases can be found starting on page 36 of the OIEC resolution procedures.
Staff and faculty found responsible face different potential consequences, up to possible termination. Campus sanctions can occur separately and in addition to any potential legal sanctions.
In most cases, we cannot publicly share the details of conduct findings in specific cases due to privacy laws.
Looking to the future
We are always looking to improve our processes to ensure better results for the campus community.
In October, campus community members began receiving email invitations to take the Campus Culture Survey. Undergraduate students will find a section specific to sexual misconduct. Filling out this anonymous survey before Nov. 21, 2021 will help us better understand these issues over time, and guide the campus’s efforts to build a more just, diverse, equitable and inclusive campus community.
We hope the information above helps our students, faculty and staff better understand the robust resources focused on supporting you throughout your time at CU Boulder.
Dean of Students
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor and Title IX Coordinator, OIEC
Chief of Police, CUPD