Responding to Allegations of Sexual Misconduct
MSU Denver complies with Title IX by striving to provide a fair, impartial, and prompt investigation and conduct process. As the Respondent, you have the right to provide information and evidence that may support you in responding to the complaint. You have the right to confidentiality so that only those with a need to know may have access to the information. Both you and the Complainant have the right to receive written notification of the outcome of an investigation. You also have the right to appeal the finding from the conduct process. If either you or the Complainant do not participate in the investigation or student conduct process, the process may move forward even if a party does not participate.
Both you and the Complainant of a sexual misconduct case are eligible to have an advisor of their choice support them during the Title IX investigation and conduct process. However, the advisor may not speak on your behalf. If an advisor is also a witness in the case, you must identify an alternate advisor as an advisor cannot also be a witness [See the MSU Denver Student Code of Conduct for more information about the use of an advisor].
Resources, such as the MSU Denver Counseling Center, are available to both you and the Complainant involved in a sexual misconduct case. MSU Denver strongly encourages those involved to access support resources in order to manage the stress related to their involvement. Support services and other resources can be found at the back of this resource guide.
The University conduct process is intended to be educational, not punitive. Our goal is to help students found responsible of a policy violation to better understand the impact of their actions and to help them take steps towards repairing the harm done to the University community. Sanctions are not predetermined, but rather are developed with consideration given to the individual circumstances of the case and any previous disciplinary history. Overall, the University conduct process is much less formal than criminal proceedings.
For more information on how MSU Denver implements Title IX and the related policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct, look at Article V in the Student Code of Conduct along with downloading the Guide for Students Responding to Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Related to Title IX.
Whenever a student is accused of a policy violation, emotional responses will differ from person to person, especially if the policy violation in question is associated with sexual misconduct. Being accused of sexual misconduct can be a traumatic and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to these accusations are normal reactions to a difficult situation. If you are accused of sexual misconduct, you may encounter several different feelings. Below are a few feelings that one may experience:
- Anger: Anger is a common emotion whenever someone has been accused of sexual misconduct. This is an appropriate response; however the important factor to consider when dealing with anger is how you process through the anger. There are several ways you can vent any anger you are experiencing. Internalizing your anger could lead you to become irritable, anxious, or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to result to unhealthy manners of coping including the consumption of alcohol, the use of drugs, causing harm to yourself or others, or destructive behavior.
- Fear: Fear can take many forms. You may be experiencing fear of the unknown as the outcome of the investigation can impact your status as an MSU Denver student. You may also fear how those closest to you perceive you along with other members of the MSU Denver community. Also, it is common to have fear of someone retaliating against you. If you feel as though you are being retaliated against, please see the “Retaliation Policy “below.
- Impact on Your Daily Life: With the feeling of all the emotions listed, your daily life may also feel the impact of the sexual misconduct allegation. While participating in an investigation, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with your coursework. Other areas of your life that may be impacted include: sleep routine, change in appetite, increase in anxiety, and depression. If you have questions regarding accommodations, please contact the MSU Denver Dean of Students Office at 303-615-0220.
- Feeling Alone: Being accused of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone since the allegation is against you. Taking on the burden of the allegation may cause you to withdraw from your support networks because you may feel like it is “your problem”. It is common for students who are accused to prefer not to discuss the situation with anyone for fear of embarrassment or how you may be perceived by the individual. However, talking with a confidential resource may offer assistance with processing your experiences and feelings.
- Disorientation: After learning of the sexual misconduct accusation, you may experience feelings of disorientation. Disorientation can come in multiple forms. You may feel shocked and caught off-guard. Other emotions associated with shock include (but are not limited to): frustration, anxiety, crying, anger, feeling nervous, or not acknowledging the allegation.
All these emotions can be overwhelming and it is important to remember there are services here at MSU Denver and off-campus that can assist you.
As a Respondent, you are guaranteed several rights through the Title IX Investigation process. Below are the rights you are guaranteed:
- The right to a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation.
- The right to share information from your perspective.
- The right to present information relevant to the allegation(s), including providing evidence and the names of witnesses.
- The right to have an advisor/support person to accompany you to all meetings, as described in Article IV, Section B (under Advisor) of the MSU Denver Student Code of Conduct.
- The right to have the outcome of the investigation decided by a preponderance of the evidence.
- The right to be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation.
- The right to appeal the finding, as described in Article IV, Section F of the MSU Denver Student Code of Conduct.