Are you new to Campus? Here is some helpful information.

Information for New CU-Boulder Students

While it’s hard to imagine bad things happening when you are starting college, like any large community, we too sometimes have people experience life disruptive or disturbing events.  We know that students are more likely to tell each other first when they need help, so we’ve compiled this list of basic information so you can be a resource for whoever may need it.

The Office of Victim Assistance (OVA) offers free confidential information, support, advocacy, and short-term counseling to students, faculty and staff at CU, including their significant others.  OVA is a separate office, not connected to the police department.  Our office primarily focuses on situations involving traumatic events, including, but not limited to physical assault and hazing, bias motivated incidents, death, discrimination and harassment including sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, serious accidents, sexual assault, and stalking.  We can help people learn about resources and assess their options in these situations.

We are able to support and consult with people as they make their way through systems, and we refer to and collaborate with campus and community resources who also work with these issues.  We talk with people who want to help friends or significant others who are experiencing these situations.  We collaborate with other offices on campus as well.

We can talk about academic or work questions, medical questions, reporting questions, counseling and informational questions.To send a general question to our office:  assist@colorado.edu

Some information about some of the things our office can help you with:

Bias motivated incidents involve behavior that is motivated by bias based on perceived race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, disability, age, veteran status and/or sexual orientation and has a negative impact. Incidents of bias can take many different forms and the impact can vary.  Comments or actions that are degrading or devaluing may be considered to be bias incidents.  The important thing to note is the impact on the person experiencing the incident.  For more information click here.

Experiencing or anticipating the death of a loved one or community member takes on many different meanings for people.  While every person grieves every loss differently, people may experience a number of changing emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, shame, ambivalence, and confusion.  Grieving people are often uncomfortable and embarrassed at the changes they are experiencing and how they respond to things. For more information click here.

Harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment, are pervasive and can take place in many different contexts.  Some harassment and discrimination is a clear violation of university policy or other laws, and some is not covered by policy but still has an impact.  Regardless, the impact of the harassment and discrimination is a concern of the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA).  OVA and many other resources on campus are available to help you explore your options and resources whether harassment and discrimination has happened on or off campus, is presently happening, or has taken place in the past.  For more information click here.

Intimate partner abuse occurs in a relationship that is or has been intimate.  There is a pattern of one person inflicting emotional or physical pain on another in order to control them.  The people involved could be involved romantically, boyfriend, girlfriend, past or present, partners, spouses, or co-parents of a child.  People of any gender or sexual orientation can end up in a destructive relationship.  It can be hard to look at relationships and ask, “What crosses the line?”  For more information click here.

If you were the victim of hazing, or were the target of a disproportionate physical assault, you may have unique concerns, especially depending on whether you know the people who attacked you, or other factors involved in the situation.  Hazing is any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.  OVA is a resource for people who have been hazed or physically assaulted.  For more information click here.

OVA is a resource for people who have been in serious accidents which are incapacitating and seriously disrupt your ability to function in the academic environment.  OVA can consult with you about the various issues you may need to deal with in the situation, and provide some resources to help.  For more information click here.

Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact.  If you’ve had something happen, you may not know what to call it.  Was it a sexual assault? rape?  bad sex?  being groped?  You don’t have to know what to call it in order to get help.  For more information click here.

Stalking or “persistent unwanted behavior” describes repeated harassment or intrusive behavior.  Stalking may cause fear, annoyance or anger in the person who is being targeted.  Stalking may also cause people to change or alter their every day life or normal activities they regularly participate in, i.e. school, work, social activities, etc.  Sometimes the targeted person may minimize the situation, but friends and/or family may see it as dangerous or concerning.  Stalking can occur in or out of relationships, between acquaintances, friends, or complete strangers.  For more information click here.

Assessing prevalence is more complicated than you might think.  One way is to look at “reports,” but that leads you to the question of what is reporting, why do people do it or not do it, and who are people likely to “report” to, or tell?  To learn more about the various ways of gathering information and thinking about prevalence, click here.

Some information about reporting:

There are several options to consider: In the University the Student Code of Conduct is administered by the Office of Student Conduct (303- 492-5550).  In addition, the Office of Discrimination and Harassment (303-492-2127) or the Office of Labor Relations (303-492-0956) can give you information that may apply to your situation.  If you are seeking a confidential, informal resolution, students can talk to OVA (303-492-8855).

If you wish to make a confidential report online, you can go to www.colorado.edu/studentaffairs/confidentialreporting.  This will not constitute a report to the University or to the police, but if you wish to be contacted by a confidential office (OVA), you can leave contact information.

Outside the University: What happened to you might be a crime.  These cases are investigated by the police, and if there is enough evidence that a crime has been committed, the District Attorney’s office takes the case on your behalf.  The University of Colorado Police Department number is 303-492-6666.  Civil Law: Much of the policy that governs behavior inside the university derives from various Federal and State laws and so you may decide to seek recourse against an individual or organization under those laws.  Contact the Office of Victim Assistance for more information, or click here for more information on reporting.

If someone you know has had a bad experience there are ways you may be able to help.

  • First, take the situation seriously and try not to overreact.
  • Offer to get information and learn about options.
  • Their response may be different from what you’d expect, but give it room and time.
  • Consider referring the person to professional support like, the Office of Victim Assistance.
  • Remember OVA is also a resource for you as you support your friend through this difficult time.
  • For more information on trauma and how to help a friend click here.