Title IX and College Sexual Misconduct at the University of Denver

The University of Denver is a historic private high-research university located in that Colorado city. The university's website touts the three-hundred-plus academic programs that it offers twelve-thousand students on its attractively green urban campus on 125 acres at the foothills of the spectacular Rocky Mountains. Popular majors at the University of Denver include business, social sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, psychology, and journalism. The university has a law school. Students at the University of Denver live on campus for at least their first two years, in residence halls and apartments.

As attractive of an urban Mountain West environment as the University of Denver offers, students there can face the same behavioral and academic issues as students at other colleges and universities. Those issues can lead to complaints, investigations, and charges for Title IX sexual misconduct, other misconduct outside of Title IX, and other disciplinary matters. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento, who has committed his law practice to helping students overcome misconduct allegations, shares here what to consider when facing sexual-misconduct charges at the University of Denver. Consult the country's leading Title IX attorney.

The University of Denver's Sexual-Misconduct Policies

The University of Denver maintains both a Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedure that it devotes specifically to satisfying its Title IX obligations to prevent sex discrimination and a separate Comprehensive Discrimination and Harassment Procedure addressing sexual and other misconduct beyond Title IX. The university adopted both policies effective August 14, 2020, to meet new Title IX regulations taking effect on the same date. As is typical among many colleges and universities, the University of Denver's two procedures treat Title IX sexual misconduct and non-Title IX sexual misconduct under somewhat different procedures.

Title IX Sexual Misconduct at the University of Denver

The University of Denver's Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedure matches Title IX's scope and meets Title IX's requirements in prohibiting and addressing sex discrimination, as the university must in order to receive federal funding. New 2020 federal regulations interpreting Title IX restricted its sexual-misconduct definition and added procedural protections for the accused. National Title IX attorney Joseph Lento further explains those new regulations and their protections here. Under those new regulations, Title IX reaches only these three forms of sexual misconduct, each of which the University of Denver's Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedure also prohibits:

  • sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking;
  • quid-pro-quo harassment (attempting to trade favors for sex); or
  • unwelcome conduct so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to deny equal access to education based on sex.

University of Denver Sexual Misconduct

As stated just above, the University of Denver defines sexual misconduct more broadly than Title IX. The university's Comprehensive Discrimination and Harassment Procedure prohibits these additional forms of non-Title IX sexual misconduct:

  • discrimination resulting in impermissible negative or different treatment of an individual based in whole or part on the person's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, or pregnancy;
  • sexual exploitation taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another including prostituting another, video or audio-taping sexual activity without consent, posting such activity without consent, exceeding consent, letting someone observe a sexual act without the other party's consent, voyeurism, knowingly exposing another to a sexually-transmitted infection, exposing one's breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals in a non-consensual circumstance or inducing another to do so, incapacitating another for non-consensual sexual activity, inducing sexual activity through abuse of power, or using a fake or stolen identity to deceive or manipulate another into a romantic or sexual relationship;
  • gender-identity discrimination or harassment engaging in a negative course of conduct or different treatment of an individual based on the person's gender identity;
  • retaliation meaning negative treatment such as intimidation, threats, coercion, discrimination, or harassment, for good-faith reporting of or opposition to prohibited conduct; and
  • obstruction intentionally deterring, interfering with, or obstructing reporting or investigation of prohibited conduct.

Broader definitions for consent, gender-based violence, and protected statuses, within the University of Denver's Comprehensive Discrimination and Harassment Procedure further expand the reach of the above non-Title IX sexual-misconduct categories, increasing the risk of vague, ambiguous, and overreaching sexual-misconduct charges.

The University of Denver's Sexual-Misconduct Procedures

While the above definitions of sexual misconduct determine the scope of sexual-misconduct charges, the following procedures determine how the University of Denver resolves those charges. As the above briefly indicates, the University of Denver provides different procedures for resolving Title IX or non-Title IX sexual misconduct. Notice how the Title IX procedures provide greater protection than the non-Title IX procedures that follow.

Title IX Procedures. The University of Denver's Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedure directs complaints of Title IX sexual misconduct to the university's Title IX Coordinator, who first confirms that the complaint alleges misconduct within Title IX. The Coordinator may dismiss or refer a complaint that does not allege Title IX misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator may also offer the parties informal resolution in which the matter resolves only by the parties' agreement.

Complaints having merit that do not resolve informally proceed to the university's Formal Resolution Process. A university investigator gathers evidence and interviews witnesses, sharing the gathered evidence with both parties. The investigator also prepares a final report that the university shares with both parties for their comment. If the parties do not then agree to resolve the matter informally, the charge proceeds to a formal hearing.

A single Hearing Officer decides the charge after the hearing, on a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard. The accused student may bring an attorney advisor to the hearing. The attorney advisor may question and cross-examine witnesses. The Hearing Officer must not consider the statement of any witness who does not appear at the hearing subject to cross-examination. The Hearing Officer makes a written determination of the charges but does not recommend sanctions. The Hearing Officer's report goes to an Outcome Council for determination of the appropriate sanction. The university's procedures provide for appeal by an aggrieved party.

Non-Title IX Procedures. The University of Denver's non-Title IX Comprehensive Discrimination and Harassment Procedure offers procedures similar to its above Title IX procedures except for these significant differences and limitations. The Executive Director of the university's Title IX Office makes the initial assessment of complaints of non-Title IX misconduct. The Executive Director may conclude the process through an initial inquiry or by informal resolution, if the parties agree, except in cases of gender violence.

If the non-Title IX charges proceed to formal resolution, the Executive Director appoints an investigator to interview witnesses, gather evidence, and prepare a preliminary investigation report for both sides' review and comment. The investigator then prepares the final report, determining on a preponderance of the evidence whether misconduct occurred. Throughout these proceedings, the accused student may select and rely on an advisor, including an attorney advisor, but the advisor does not participate directly in any meeting, hearing, or other proceeding. The Executive Director reviews and approves the investigator's final report and finding. The Outcome Council then imposes an appropriate sanction. Once again, an aggrieved party may appeal the outcome.

The University of Denver's Sexual-Misconduct Sanctions

The University of Denver's Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedure and Comprehensive Discrimination and Harassment Procedure each provide that sexual misconduct can result in any of the following status outcomes, including warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal, or educational outcomes, including assignments, worksheets, activities, programs, interventions, restrictions, and referrals.

Don't Proceed Alone; Get the Best Available Help

The most important thing to remember is not to face University of Denver sexual-misconduct charges alone. University of Denver students facing sexual-misconduct charges have so much at stake in their education, career, and future that they need and deserve the representation of national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento. Attorney Lento has a long and impressive record of success helping thousands of students nationwide successfully defend sexual-misconduct charges, academic-misconduct charges, and other disciplinary matters. Attorney Lento does so by drawing on his trial-lawyer skills and his unparalleled experience with misconduct charges in higher education.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the strategic insights and aggressive approach to turn back vague, ambiguous, and overreaching, or outright false and fabricated, sexual-misconduct charges. Trust national Title IX attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm with restoring your reputation and preserving your future against University of Denver sexual-misconduct charges. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation or use the online service.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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