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University of Colorado Boulder: Case Study in Student Support

Unfair treatment. Unwelcome sexual attention. A classmate who appears to be distressed or depressed. These are among the concerns that could—and should—be reported at the University of Colorado Boulder, even if students are unsure it’s something the university could address or what outcome they’d like to see.

Through the university’s “Don’t Ignore It” campaign, the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance encourages students to use its website to explore the options for reporting a concern. Launched in 2016 in response to its 2015 Sexual Misconduct Survey for all students, the website was revamped to help students better understand their options for reporting and seeking confidential support. The school plans a two-phased rollout of the site through an awareness campaign in spring and fall 2017.

The new website will focus on sexual misconduct issues, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, intimate partner abuse, and stalking, along with identity-based discrimination and harassment. In addition to outlining the options for reporting, the site will focus on bystander intervention, creating a “buddy system” to look out for one another, and how to effectively respond to friends and peers who disclose a traumatic event.

These efforts will be evaluated through pre- and post-launch surveys assessing students’ knowledge of policies and resources as compared to the university’s fall 2015 survey results. Ongoing measurement will allow the university to continue to adjust and improve its efforts to best meet students’ needs.