If you experience sexual misconduct of any kind while at the University of Utah, the Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Title IX (OEO/Title IX) is here to provide support.
The purpose of OEO is to help fulfill the university’s commitment to provide a safe, fair and equitable environment for students and employees to pursue their academic and professional goals and preserve equal access to university programs.
Title IX is a federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual harassment or sexual violence. It is the responsibility of the U’s OEO/Title IX office to ensure the university is in compliance with federal, state and local anti-discrimination laws and provide processes to fairly and effectively resolve complaints, provide supportive measures and take steps to remedy and prevent misconduct.
All reports of sexual misconduct on campus go through the OEO/Title IX office. Any member of the campus community—student, faculty or staff—can file an OEO report. Members of the community around campus may also file a report against a campus community member, but those cases may be referred to law enforcement, or other university and college OEO/Title IX offices. More information about the services OEO/Title IX provides and definitions of certain behaviors can be found here.
Incidents reported to OEO/Title IX are rarely reported to the police. Exceptions may occur when circumstances raise concerns about the safety of others, including the broader campus community. Incidents reported to the University of Utah police are reported to OEO/Title IX.
When a violation of university policy has occurred, sanctions may be implemented by the appropriate sanctioning body. Criminal and university administrative processes are independent of one another and may result in different outcomes and resolutions.
The FAQ below explains the responsibility of OEO/Title IX, the university’s sexual misconduct reporting and investigating policies and what to expect if you are part of that process.
What is sexual misconduct?
As defined by University Rule, R1-012: Discrimination Complaint Rule, “Sexual misconduct is a broad term used to encompass a range of behaviors including sexual or gender-based harassment, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, nonconsensual sexual contact and nonconsensual sexual penetration.”
Sexual misconduct also includes the crimes of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, as defined by state and federal law. Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination. You can read more about each of these prohibited behaviors on the OEO/Title IX website.
If you are unsure of whether or not an incident you experienced is sexual misconduct, an OEO/Title IX report can still be submitted. Through OEO’s review process, staff can help determine what occurred, if there was a policy violation and what resources are available for your circumstances.
Which members of campus are required to report sexual misconduct?
All University of Utah faculty and staff, except confidential resources, such as mental health counselors and chaplains, are mandatory reporters under federal law and are required to inform the OEO/Title IX office when they are made aware of incidents of sexual misconduct, discrimination and related retaliation. Mandatory reporting ensures that impacted individuals receive information about their options for reporting and accessing supportive resources.
What type of events may lead a mandatory reporter to make a report to OEO/Title IX?
Incidents may come to the attention of faculty and staff in multiple ways—through face-to-face conversations; admissions or scholarship applications or essays; a written class assignment or paper; class discussions; emails, texts or social media posts. The obligation to report applies regardless of where or when an incident occurred, including if it occurred off campus and/or before the reporting victim is a member of the campus community.
How can I report sexual misconduct to the OEO/Title IX?
Sexual misconduct reports can be made to OEO/Title IX via this online form. This form can be used by individuals wanting to make a report on their own behalf, or on behalf of someone else. Reports can be made anonymously, though that may limit the amount of follow-up the university can conduct if there is not sufficient information. The office can also be reached by phone at 801-581-8365 or by email at email@example.com.
The information reported to OEO/Title IX is private and will only be shared with people who need to know, however, these reports are not confidential. Students, staff or faculty who would like to speak with someone confidentially should contact the victim-survivor advocates. Students can also contact the Counseling Center or the Women’s Resource Center for support.
Making a report to OEO/Title IX does not constitute a formal complaint.
How do reports differ from formal complaints?
All reports of sexual misconduct at the university are received by OEO/Title IX. About 40% of sexual misconduct cases made to OEO involve students and about 42% involve employees. Because of the university’s mandatory reporting policy, reports received by OEO/Title IX include a wide range of incidents, ranging from microaggressions to severe sexual misconduct. Not all reports state a potential violation of policy.
When OEO/Title IX receives a report, a preliminary review will gather more information about the incident. If a violation of policy is identified, the individual who was impacted by the violation (the complainant) has the option of submitting a formal complaint, which starts an investigation. If it is determined that a violation of policy did not occur, a formal complaint will not be filed, but OEO/Title IX investigators can still direct individuals to other resources, such as the Counseling Center. The complainant also has the option to appeal this decision.
The following is a summary of the OEO/Title IX investigative process and how it applies to sexual assault cases. For more in-depth information about the process, and how it applies to other types of complaints, click here.
- A formal complaint of misconduct is filed by a complainant. An investigation begins.
- Notice is provided to the respondent (the person the complaint is filed against).
- OEO investigators conduct interviews and gather documents. A draft report is written and provided to the respondent and complainant, who can respond or provide additional information in writing.
- A three-person hearing committee is appointed and a hearing is scheduled.
- Both the complainant and the respondent may have an attorney or other advisor to provide support and conduct a cross-examination of the other party and any witnesses.
- Within 10 days of the hearing, the committee will issue a decision—for “cause” or “insufficient evidence.”
- If either party disagrees with the finding, they must appeal within five days. If no appeal is filed, the decision becomes final.
According to policy, the university will endeavor to conclude the complaint resolution process within 150 days of the filing of a formal complaint, with 60 days for completion of the investigation and 90 days for hearing and appeal.
What support is provided to individuals through the formal complaint process?
The university provides equitable resources and campus services to all parties involved. When an incident is brought to the attention of OEO/Title IX, complainants and respondents have access to a variety of resources and supportive measures aimed at protecting safety and minimizing disruption to academic pursuits. These are available regardless of whether or not a complaint is filed or of the resulting outcomes. You can find a list of those resources here.
How are formal complaints resolved?
There are five ways a formal complaint can be resolved. They are as follows:
- Alternative Resolution: Parties can voluntarily and mutually resolve formal complaints through alternative resolution in a way that is agreeable to both parties.
- Cause: There is cause to believe that a violation of policy has occurred and the person accused has been found responsible for the violation.
- Insufficient Evidence: There is insufficient evidence to believe that a violation of policy has occurred and the person accused has been found not responsible for a violation.
- Dismissed: Cases can be dismissed for multiple reasons—at this stage, typically cases are dismissed because the accused is no longer affiliated with the university.
- Withdrawn: The person who experienced the behavior can withdraw their complaint at any time.
When a complaint is resolved and the cause is found, the respondent will receive a university sanction. If this individual is a student, the Office of the Dean of Students is asked to recommend sanctions. Sanctions are intended to provide an appropriate institutional response when a student is found responsible for violating university policy and include educational elements while holding students accountable for their actions. For example, students may be suspended or expelled, depending on the policy violation.
In cases of egregious misconduct, sanctions will reflect the severity of the alleged behavior and implement protective, developmental, and restorative components as appropriate. Ultimately, the goal is to end the behavior, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects on the victim-survivor and the campus community.