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EO

Office of Equal Opportunity

Update on efforts addressing sexual misconduct

Oct. 1, 2014

To: University of Denver community

From: Kathryne Grove, director, Equal Opportunity and Title IX

Dear University of Denver Community,

The University of Denver strives to create and maintain a community in which all of us—students, staff and faculty—are treated with dignity, decency and respect. Our environment should be one of mutual trust, freedom of inquiry and expression, and absent intimidation, oppression and exploitation. We should all be able to work and learn in a safe and intellectually engaging atmosphere. With this in mind and in light of our values, the University will not tolerate sexual misconduct.

This is the first of a series of updates about our ongoing efforts to both address sexual misconduct and create a more compassionate and supportive community. Please know that all new information and updates will follow via email and social media. Additionally, we are working to develop a Title IX (of the Education Amendment Act of 1972) specific website where additional information can be found. Our goal going forward is to ensure that our entire campus community is aware of the improvements that we have already made and our continuing dedication to address the issue of gender violence.

Over the past few years, the University has taken numerous steps to provide both a safer, compassionate environment for our entire community and to more comprehensively support individuals who have expressed concern regarding sexual assault and harassment. Expanded support services, altering the investigative model for prompt and equitable resolution of concerns, and new bystander training are just a few examples. Below are some details of the steps we have taken by both following best practices around the country and fully implementing the 2011 guidelines from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

Oct. 2011

Designation of a Title IX coordinator and establishment of a team of University administrators to focus on Title IX compliance.

June 2012

Additional University funding for the CAPE (the Center for Advocacy, Prevention and Empowerment) to hire a new director with an advanced degree and training. This allowed for expanded support for victims.

July 2012

Altered the investigative model to alleviate duplicative processes and to decrease the chances of re-victimization, while still ensuring due process.

Sept. 2013

Board approval of University policy revisions including the implementation of new procedures addressing harassment, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.

Sept. 2013

Creation of an outcome council comprised of trained University professionals who determine the sanctioning of students found responsible for violating discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct policies. As a result, student representatives no longer participate in the sanctioning of other students.

Summer 2013

Creation of the B.O.S.S. program, a workshop series that teaches practical bystander-intervention skills for preventing violence and encouraging community engagement. See http://www.du.edu/health-and-counseling-center/cape/boss.html

Dec. 2013

Retreat with Title IX consultant Scott Lewis for evaluation of our investigative/adjudicatory model, interim measures, resources and support for individuals impacted by gender discrimination.

Summer 2014

Engagement of nationally recognized consultants Leslie Gomez and Gina Smith, of the law firm Pepper Hamilton, to review University process and to ensure that our infrastructure, support and resources are as robust as possible. This report is scheduled for completion in early 2015.

Summer 2014   

Creation of two new University positions—full-time Title IX coordinator and a second full-time investigator. These will be in place no later than January 2015.

Lastly, many have asked about the University being included in an OCR list, released last spring, of 55 universities who had unresolved complaints that were under investigation. The University of Denver is on the list because an individual in our community has exercised the right to file a complaint. This complaint is still pending and we are fully cooperating with the OCR in its review. The OCR has made very clear that being on this list is not a determination that the University has done anything wrong, but only that a complaint has been filed.  

Most importantly, only through continuing conversation and community engagement can we come together to improve our campus. In the coming weeks, look for town halls to facilitate ongoing discussion. As referenced above we are also planning a resource page on the University website.

We will continue our ongoing commitment to make the University of Denver a leader both in providing support to victims and in creating a safe, compassionate environment for everyone. Sexual assault, harassment and other issues related to Title IX impact all of us as a community, and we must continue to work together to raise consciousness and discuss these issues.

 

Resources:

DU Emergency & Crisis Number – 303-871-3000
www.du.edu/emergency/crisis

Campus Safety – 303-871-2334 (non-emergency)
www.du.edu/campussafety

Center for Advocacy, Prevention and Empowerment (CAPE) – 303-871-3853
www.du.edu/CAPE

Health and Counseling Center – 303-871-2205
www.du.edu/health-and-counseling-center

University Chaplain – 303-871-4488
www.du.edu/studentlife/religiouslife

University Office of Equal Opportunity – 303-871-7420
www.du.edu/equalopportunity