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Sexual Misconduct Response & Resources

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS WHO MAY BE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT:

If you or someone you know may have been a victim of sexual assault or any other type of sexual misconduct prohibited under this policy or applicable laws, you are strongly encouraged to seek immediate assistance. 

Assistance may be obtained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from:

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC):
The SARC can be accessed by calling x8101 on campus, or (719)227-8101 off campus,
or (719)602-0960 for the on call advocate,
or Boettcher Health Center at (719)389-6384

For additional information about seeking medical assistance and emotional support, as well as important contact information, please see below.

Colorado College believes that students have the right to be free from unwanted sexual contact, coercion, abuse, force and violence or threats of violence. The college will not tolerate sexual misconduct between students, including “acquaintance” or “date” rape, other forms of intimate partner violence, stalking, gender or sexuality bias motivated behaviors occurring on- or off-campus. The purpose of this Sexual Misconduct Policy (the “Policy”) is to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring by educating students about behaviors that may constitute sexual misconduct. Where sexual misconduct does occur, this policy guides affected students to support services and resources and explains the procedures for reporting and adjudicating incidents of sexual misconduct.  In order to safeguard the processes associated with this policy, the college upholds standards for protecting privacy and prohibiting retaliation for matters being addressed through this Policy and related processes. 

Actions that result in charges of sexual misconduct under this Policy may also be subject to civil and/or criminal liability under federal and state laws, including but not limited to Title IX of the federal civil rights laws.

Sexual Misconduct:  The college defines “sexual misconduct” as any non-consensual sexual contact between students, ranging from unwanted verbal conduct or sexual touching to sexual intercourse. Sexual misconduct also includes unwelcome sexual conduct that does not include physical contact. Examples of this conduct include, but are not limited to: crude, obscene or sexually offensive gestures or unwelcome sexual comments. In other words, all sexual contact between students must be with each person’s active consent. Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by men against women, women against men, men against men, and women against women. 

“Active consent” means that each person involved in sexual contact not only expressly agrees to the sexual activity but also agrees to such activity freely, willingly, and knowingly. A person who has been threatened or intimidated or whose judgment is substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol or by other physical or mental impairment cannot, by definition, give consent to sexual contact.

A person may not consent if they are:

  • Unconscious;
  • Frightened;
  • Physically or psychologically pressured or forced;
  • Intimidated;
  • Coerced;
  • Impaired because of a psychological condition; or
  • Intoxicated by use of drugs or alcohol.

It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual contact to obtain consent from the other person and to determine whether such consent is freely, willingly, and knowingly given. Engaging in sexual contact with a person whose judgment is substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol, or who is unconscious or asleep, or giving a person drugs or alcohol with the intent to impair their judgment or make them unconscious is a violation of this policy. The initiator of sexual contact will be found in violation of this policy if it is determined that they knew or should reasonably have known that the other person’s judgment was substantially impaired at the time consent was obtained or sexual contact was initiated.

Consent to one form of sexual activity does not provide consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Similarly, neither previous relationships nor prior consensual activities provide consent to future sexual activity.  Consent must be present throughout the activity and can be revoked at any time.  It is important not to make assumptions. 

The best practice is to obtain or give consent verbally in order to avoid misunderstandings inherent in non-verbal communication. Silence or non-communication should never be interpreted as consent.  A lack of communication is a signal to stop and ask a partner verbally what they would like to do.  No contact should be initiated, and sexual contact should be stopped until communications are received.  Additionally, a verbal “NO” or physical resistance, no matter how indecisive or weak or passive, always means NO. If there is any doubt about whether a person’s judgment is substantially impaired or whether a person who initially agreed to sexual contact has changed their mind, sexual contact should not be initiated or should be stopped immediately.

Intimate Partner Violence:  Incidents involving intimate partner violence will also proceed through this process. The college defines intimate partner violence as violence occurring between people who are dating or consider themselves to be a couple at present or in the past.  Intimate partner violence includes but is not limited to pushing, hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, and choking.  Additionally, stalking behaviors are also committed within intimate partner violence.  See below and the FAQ’s for more information.

Stalking:  Incidents involving stalking will also proceed through this process. The college defines stalking as a course of conduct that directly or indirectly targets a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  Stalking includes any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instill fear in a victim, and/or threaten their safety, mental health, or physical health.  Such behaviors include but are not limited to unwanted in-person contact, surveillance, and unwanted telephone or other electronic contact. Please see FAQ’s for additional examples of behavior.

Gender and/or Sexuality Bias:  Incidents involving gender or sexuality bias motivated behavior will also proceed through this process.  The college defines a gender or sexuality bias incident as any physically or verbally harmful act directed against a person, group, or property because of the person’s (or group’s) identifying or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sexual preference or sexual behavior in the past or present.   Examples of this conduct include, but are not limited to, defacing signs, graffiti, verbal epithets, threats and violent acts that target a person or community.

Confidentiality: Students should expect their privacy and confidentiality to be respected as they move through any campus judicial process, especially in formal circumstances where the demands for confidentiality have been made clear (e.g., Honor Council, Student Conduct Committee, sexual misconduct processes, student employment, and SOSS: Student Organization for Sexual Safety).  Breaches in confidentiality relating to sexual misconduct cases or situations can be pursued through the sexual misconduct process. As noted, below, there are a number of confidential campus resources, including the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, SOSS, the Chaplains, and the Boettcher Health and Counseling Center.  Students can talk with any of these confidential resources before, during or after deciding to go through a formal judicial process.

Retaliation:  Any retaliatory action or behavior taken toward an individual as a consequence of their decision to report a violation, pursue action or criminal prosecution, or any retaliatory action or behavior taken toward any individual who cooperates in an investigation is prohibited.  Retaliation may result in immediate disciplinary action.  As stated in our Student Code of Conduct, we expect all students to follow procedures designed to enable individuals and departments to support and further the mission of the college.  Any student conduct related to a sexual misconduct report, investigation or case or motivated by gender bias that interferes with the functioning of the college processes will be investigated and adjudicated under the sexual misconduct process, including, but not limited to:

    1. Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the informal or formal processes for addressing potential acts of sexual misconduct;
    2. Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of any member of the college community, including a complainant or respondent supporters, investigators, adjudicators or appeal panel members prior to, during, and/or after a campus conduct proceeding; 
    3. Retaliation (coercive, threatening, intimidating, or interfering behavior) toward any member of the college community for reporting information, making a charge, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, hearing, or other process for addressing potential acts of sexual misconduct.

Filing a Complaint

A formal complaint may be brought forward to the college as long as the person accused (the respondent) is a student at Colorado College. The college reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary and appropriate to respond to a charge of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ safety, physical and mental well-being, and individual rights. Such measures include, but are not limited to, immediate modification of living arrangements, summary removal from campus pending a hearing, and reporting to the local police. The college considers all acts of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, stalking, or gender/sexuality bias to be serious and it reserves the right to impose appropriate sanctions, ranging from education to warnings to probation, suspension or expulsion. Sanctions may vary depending on the nature of the conduct.  The college will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the respondent of sexual misconduct.

Support Resources and Options

If you believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, stalking or gender bias motivated behavior, you have a number of choices in terms of support, information and remedy. The following are resources you may contact for assistance and options you may choose to pursue.  Students who are survivors of sexual misconduct should give strong consideration to reporting the incident.  Reporting is best done as soon as possible after the sexual misconduct occurs, but it may be done at any time.

First Response

The resources listed here are the most common points of contact as a first or immediate response to a suspected incident of sexual misconduct:

  • Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
    The SARC can be accessed by calling x8101 on campus, or (719)227-8101 off campus, or (719)602-0960 for the on call advocate, or Boettcher Health Center at x6384. A CC staff member, experienced in working with victims of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking or gender bias motivated behaviors and with educational programs designed to prevent misconduct, serves as the initial, confidential point of contact for students who want assistance from the college in handling their situation.

  • SOSS:  Student Organization for Sexual Safety ... (719)236-0526
    A student-led organization whose members can support you and act as a source of information and referral. A SOSS member is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call and can explain your options in clear terms, and help you in the decision-making process. SOSS members are not required to report your identity to the college.
  • Campus Safety...ext 6707; (719)389-6707
    Campus safety personnel are here to help you. The officer can make contact with a SOSS member, the SARC or other college staff, and the Colorado Springs Police Department. All calls to Campus Safety are reported to selected college staff on a limited, need-to-know basis.
  • Boettcher Health Center ... ext. 6384; (719)389-6384
    Nurses, physicians, and counselors are available to assist you in a confidential manner with your medical and emotional needs. They are not required to reveal your identity to other college staff.
  • Chaplain ... ext. 6638; (719)389-6638
    The college chaplains are a confidential resource who can assist with emotional and spiritual needs. They are not required to reveal your identity to other college staff.
  • Colorado Spring Police Department ...  (719)444-7000
    Dial 9-1-1 for any life-threatening emergency.
    The Colorado Springs Police Department also has an officer who works specifically with Colorado College.  They can be reached at:  cspdofficer@coloradocollege.edu

Follow-up Response

After you initiate the first response, you may continue down three different paths for responding to sexual misconduct. You may take any one of these paths or all three may be pursued; the choice is yours.

  1. Informal Support System
    The informal support system provides students an opportunity to make decisions about filing or defending a formal complaint in the college’s judicial system, seeking personal counseling, finding community resources to assist in dealing with the issue and, possibly, filing criminal assault charges. The informal reporting process provides one-on-one counseling for all parties involved in a sexual misconduct complaint. This process is initiated by contacting any of the resources/individuals described above. Levels of confidentiality vary based upon the individual or group you choose to contact.
     
  2. Student Conduct Process 
    When the respondent is a Colorado College student, the complainant is encouraged to pursue formal college discipline charges. The discipline system is an internal administrative process and can be used to establish violations of the code of student conduct, but not to determine whether a criminal act has been committed. When an individual believes that a crime has been committed, it is recommended that charges be filed with local police. Possible college judicial sanctions include  warnings, referral for an education program, counseling, disciplinary probation, suspension for a period of time, and expulsion. Although there is no time limit on the filing of charges, prompt reporting is recommended in order to assist in the investigation and judicial process.

    In making the decision whether to file formal disciplinary charges, the complainant may want to confer with the SARC, SOSS members or other campus staff. In all cases of alleged sexual misconduct, the respondent and the complainant will be informed of the outcome. Each student will have an advisor who will assist them in preparing a formal complaint and/or responding to such a complaint. Once a formal written complaint is filed, the matter goes to an investigator who investigates the allegations and reports to the adjudicator. Following the investigation, the adjudicator adjudicates the matter. Appeals of the investigative report or the adjudication of the matter will be granted on a limited basis at the discretion of the college President, and are heard by the Sexual Misconduct Appeal Board. The advisors for either student may continue to assist the student throughout the investigative, adjudication and appeal phase.
     
  3. Colorado Springs Police
    Colorado College encourages students to report sexual assaults to the local police. You may report a sexual assault to the police as well as seek internal college support and/or disciplinary action. Campus Safety is available to arrange a meeting place for your initial contact with the police and, if you wish, a representative of the college will accompany you. The college has no control over the investigative and legal process that may result when you report a crime to the police, and is not required to wait until an external investigation is finished before pursuing internal disciplinary processes. Such internal and external processes can occur simultaneously.

Colorado College and Title IX Federal Law
Colorado College is committed to responding to incidents of sexual misconduct, harassment and gender or sexuality bias incidents in order to eliminate any hostile environment, prevent recurrence of sexual misconduct and address its effects.  Students can seek appropriate remedies to the impact of these kinds of experiences on their educational experience through the Informal Support System outlined above or they can contact the college’s Title IX Coordinator to seek appropriate remedies and/or to file a grievance.  The Title IX coordinator is Gail Murphy-Geiss (Office: Palmer 131A. Phone: 719-389-6868. E-mail: gmurphygeiss@coloradocollege.edu).

 

Follow-up Care

Regardless of whether a student chooses to report sexual misconduct, it is important that they obtain appropriate medical attention and emotional support.  Students can contact any of the listed campus resources for confidential help in deciding what to do next or for assistance in accessing other resources.  

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Colorado College’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures:

Does the case remain confidential?

The confidentiality of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct will be preserved to the maximum extent possible. Under the informal support system, the SARC serves as a confidential resource. However, once the college receives a formal complaint of sexual misconduct from a student, or other college personnel it has an obligation to fully investigate the complaint and may disclose information pertaining to the complaint to others on a limited need-to-know basis. Violations of confidentiality by either the complainant or the respondent may lead to disciplinary action by the college.

In all cases of sexual misconduct in which a formal complaint is filed, the respondent will be informed of the charges and the respondent and the complainant will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the college also may choose to make a brief announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, using no names. The college is also required by federal law to report the occurrence on campus of any of six major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.

If you seek assistance from the SARC, campus chaplains, individuals within SOSS, or the Boettcher Health Center, in dealing with an issue of sexual misconduct, these individuals are not required to report your identity to the college unless you request that they do, and therefore do serve as a confidential resource. You have the option of deciding whether to pursue a formal complaint or to withdraw a formal complaint once it has been lodged. The college reserves the right to pursue a complaint on its own behalf without the complainant’s cooperation where it believes the health, safety or welfare of the campus community is threatened, or is otherwise appropriate.

Will my parents be told?

Whether you are the complainant or the respondent, Colorado College’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in a life-threatening situation or in certain other emergency situations, or if a responding student has signed the acknowledgment at registration, which allows such communication.  In all cases, such reporting shall comply with both or either the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”), as the case may be.  The college reserves the right to inform parents of circumstances affecting a student when that student has been claimed as financially dependent according to IRS guidelines.

Do I have to name the person who subjected me to sexual misconduct ?

Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint.

What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

You will be contacted by the associate dean of students’ office to inform you that a complaint has been filed against you and to discuss the Sexual Misconduct investigation and disciplinary process with you and provide you with an advisor/support person. You may also contact the associate dean of students and/or the college’s legal counsel who can further discuss with you the college’s policies and procedures for dealing with sexual misconduct complaints.

Will I have to pay for counseling/or medical care?

You should not let the cost of treatment deter you from seeking treatment as the college can assist with costs.  Our primary concern is that students receive the treatment they need. Hospital and off-campus fees are covered according to your own insurance policy. Boettcher Health Center charges reasonable fees for care provided by the medical director, nursing staff and counselors. Emergency money may be available through the director of student loans and accounts (loans) and the dean of students (emergency grants), and/or the SARC office (emergency funds). You may also be able to get your expenses paid from the Victim’s Compensation Fund through the local district attorney’s office if you file criminal charges.

What do I do about legal advice?

Victims of criminal sexual assault who report an incident to the police need not retain a private attorney because legal issues will be handled through a legal representative from the district attorney’s office. If you are the accused or are considering filing a civil action against the alleged perpetrator, the college recommends that you retain an attorney.

What kinds of safety and support services are available?

Student victims of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence and stalking are entitled to reasonable accommodations.  Some of the accommodations that may be available to you include: 

  • Campus no-contact agreement
  • Civil protection order
  • Services of a student victim advocate
  • Academic accommodations
  • Provision of alternative housing opportunities
  • Provision of resources for medical and/or psychological support

For assistance in obtaining these safety accommodations, please contact the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator at (719) 227-8101.  If safety is an immediate concern, you are encouraged to contact Campus Safety at (719) 389-6707 or Colorado Springs Police Department at 911.

What about changing residential rooms?

If you want to move, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is the college’s policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you do not want to disclose any information about the incident, the wait list process is also an option for you. If you want the respondent to move, and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue Colorado College disciplinary action. You may then request that the respondent be moved immediately. The permanence of such action will be based upon the outcome of the discipline hearing.

In the definition of sexual misconduct, reference is made to a person whose judgment “is substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol.” What does this mean and what is my responsibility for assessing the other person’s physical or mental state?

Substantial impairment generally means that a person cannot make a reasonable or rational decision about an important matter, such as the decision to have sexual intercourse with another person. Before you engage in sexual contact with another person, you are responsible for assessing whether the other person is freely, willingly, and knowingly agreeing to such contact. If you know or should know that the other person has had too much to drink or has taken drugs or if you suspect at any time that they have, you must refrain from and stop all sexual contact even if they say “yes” to sexual contact and even if such contact has already started. Even if you do not know for sure how much a person has had to drink or if they have taken drugs and you were not with them when such actions occurred, you may be found responsible for violating this policy if you should have known they were substantially impaired because of behaviors they displayed or circumstances surrounding the contact.

What do I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?

Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected within 72 hours. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to Memorial Hospital emergency room (1400 East Boulder Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909), before washing yourself or your clothing. The sexual assault nurse examiner (a specially trained nurse) at Memorial Hospital is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week (call the emergency room at (719)365-5221 if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you). The police will be notified by hospital staff. The SARC (call (719)602-0960), a SOSS volunteer (call (719)236-0526) or other college staff can also accompany you to Memorial Hospital and campus security can provide transportation.

What kinds of behaviors are included in the definition of stalking?

It is important to recognize that context is extremely important in determining whether a behavior is stalking or not.  Stalking offenders often engage in behavior that will have specific meaning for their victims.  However, stalking behaviors can include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted (non-consensual) communication including in-person communication, telephone calls, voice messages, text messages, email messages, social networking site postings, instant messages, posting of pictures or information on web sites, written letters, gifts or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear
  • Following, pursuing, waiting or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom or other locations frequented by a victim
  • Surveillance and other types of observation, whether by physical proximity or electronic means
  • Use of electronic devices or software to track or obtain private information
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism
  • Direct physical and/or verbal threats against a victim or a victim’s loved ones
  • Non-consensual touching
  • Gathering of information about a victim from family, friends, co-workers and/or classmates
  • Manipulative and controlling behaviors such as threats to harm oneself, or threats to harm someone close to the victim
  • Defamation or slander against the victim

What should I do if I am receiving unwanted communications?

It is recommended that you do not engage with the person sending you unwanted communication.  In other words, do not respond to any emails, social media posts (e.g. Facebook and Twitter), or text messages; if the communication is a phone call, do not engage in conversation.  It is also important to document these kinds of unwanted communications.  It is recommended that you keep any emails, text messages, or social media posts (e.g. Facebook and Twitter) without altering or forwarding them.  If the communication was verbal, try to write down verbatim what was said.  A stalker tracking sheet is available through the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, as well as on-line at http://www.ncvc.org/src/AGP.Net/Components/DocumentViewer/Download.aspxnz?DocumentID=39028

The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator can also assist you in documenting communications and/or making decisions about safety planning, reporting options, etc.

What should I do if I believe I have been a target of a gender or sexuality bias motivated behavior?

It is important to document the incident.  Documentation should include the date, time, location and names of people involved, as well as a description of what occurred.  It is best not to erase or remove graffiti, vandalism or public postings until a campus official and/or police officer has seen and documented it.  If the incident was verbal, try to write down verbatim what was said.  Keep any emails in your in-box.  Do not delete, alter or forward them. Take a “screen shot” or print the webpage with any social media messages. The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator can also assist you in making decisions about safety planning, reporting options, etc.

Will I be punished when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if I was illegally using drugs or alcohol?

The severity of the infraction will determine the nature of the college’s response, but whenever possible the college will respond educationally rather than punitively to the illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and the college does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.

Will the use of drugs or alcohol by either myself or the other person affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct judicial case?

Alcohol and drug use is not an excuse for a violation of the college’s sexual misconduct policy, and it is the college’s policy that a person who is impaired from their use of alcohol or drugs CANNOT give consent to sexual activity.  Additionally, alcohol and/or drug use may affect the complainant’s and the respondent’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the case.  

What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?

If you believe that you have experienced a non-consensual sexual contact, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the college’s sexual misconduct policy, you may contact the SARC, a member of SOSS and/or Boettcher Health Center to assist you in deciding which, if any, options to pursue.