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Gender and Sexual Violence Incidents

University of Minnesota Policy Statement

As a University and as a community we strive to assure the safety and to respect the dignity of each student, staff, and faculty member. Sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking are prohibited at the University of Minnesota. Sexual assault and relationship violence, including threats of sexual assault and related relationship violence, are attacks not only on a person’s body, but also on the person’s dignity, and are not tolerated. To foster a community free from sexual assault and relationship violence, the University provides reporting options for responding, including the police department; victim/survivor assistance; internal mechanisms for discipline and dispute resolution; prevention training; and other related services.

Sexual assault is a violation of the University of Minnesota Student Conduct Code, Section VI., Subdivision 8 (Sexual Assault). An allegation of sexual assault is a serious violation. Should the complainant choose to file a report (whether or not he/she presses criminal charges), an investigation will be conducted by the UMD Title IX Investigator, University police, or local law enforcement. The University can pursue disciplinary action, even if criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute.

The Office of Student Conduct is responsible for investigating charges against students.  The staff will send the respondent a notice of allegation letter requesting to schedule a meeting. The respondent will be treated fairly and given an opportunity to state their side of the story.  The standard of proof used in all student conduct cases (including gender and sexual violence cases) is the “preponderance of evidence.” This means that students will be found in violation of University policy and/or the Student Conduct Code if it is more likely than not that the violation occurred. If found to be responsible, sanctions can be as serious as a suspension or a permanent expulsion from the University of Minnesota. The Office of Student Conduct assures that all parties be granted and receive full due-process rights. For more information, contact the Office of Student Conduct at (218) 726-7255.

Sexual Assault Resources

UWide Sexual Assault Policy

UWide Sexual Assault Procedure

UMD Sexual Assault Protocol

Important Language and Definitions

Accommodations: The University will do its best to make appropriate accommodations for the complainant victim/survivor to end or prevent the reoccurrence of the conduct. These accommodations will be as confidential as possible. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • No contact orders
  • Change housing of accused student
  • Change housing of victim/survivor
  • Alternative or safe housing
  • Restriction of activities 
  • No trespass notice
  • Academic accommodations/class schedule changes
  • Change in work assignment
  • Interim Suspension(s)

Consent: A determination about the existence of consent is a critical element in the investigation of a sexual assault. University policy requires affirmative consent between individuals engaging in sexual activity. Affirmative consent is defined as "informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions." Clear and unambiguous words or actions are those that are freely and actively given by informed individuals that a reasonable person in the circumstances would believe communicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity. The following factors will be considered when determining consent:

  • It is the responsibility of each person who wishes to engage in the sexual activity to obtain consent.
  • A lack of protest, the absence of resistance and silence do not indicate consent.
  • The existence of a present or past dating or romantic relationship does not imply consent to future sexual activity.
  • Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity and may be initially given, but withdrawn at any time.
  • When consent is withdrawn all sexual activity must stop. Likewise, where there is confusion about the state of consent, sexual activity must stop until both parties consent again.
  • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent is not obtained where:
    • There is physical force, threats, intimidation or coercion.
    • There is incapacitation due to the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • There is the inability to communicate because of a physical or mental condition.
    • An individual is asleep, unconscious or involuntarily physically restrained.
    • An individual is unable to understand the nature or extent of the sexual situation because of mental or physical incapacitation or impairment.
    • One party is not of legal age to give consent pursuant to Minnesota state law.

Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but nonconsensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.

Incapacitation: Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be -- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be -- mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy.

This also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at

Investigative Procedure
The investigator will conduct the investigation in a manner appropriate in light of the circumstances of the case. The investigation will include, when available, interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses. As part of the investigation, individuals will be provided an opportunity for the parties to present witnesses and other evidence. The interviews will be supplemented by the gathering of any physical, documentary, or other evidence, as appropriate and available. The investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable gathering of the facts. The investigation will be thorough, impartial, and fair, and all individuals will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect.

The investigator may choose to investigate without the participation of a survivor if any of the following circumstances are met: seriousness of the alleged incident, complainant’s age, multiple complainants, respondent’s rights, or multiple perpetrators. The investigation will be documented to resolution of a case involving charges of sex or gender violence including but not limited to: Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare an investigative summary with all the facts gathered, which will be submitted to the Hearing Officer responsible for initiating the Student Conduct Process. The standard of proof used in all student conduct cases (including gender and sexual violence cases) is the “preponderance of evidence.” This means that students will be found in violation of University policy and/or the Student Conduct Code if it is more likely than not that the violation occurred. Upon receipt of the investigation summary, the University will notify all parties that the investigation is complete and provide information about next steps in the process.
All records will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law.

Resolution Procedure
Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare an investigative summary which will be submitted to the Hearing Officer responsible for initiating the Student Conduct Process. Upon receipt of the investigation summary, the University will notify all parties that the investigation is complete and provide information about next steps in the process. Complainants and respondents may have an advisor of their choice present with them at all meetings related to the investigation, hearings, etc. The Women’s Resource and Action Center is available to provide support and assistance to complainants.

If the investigator finds the student respondent violated this policy, the respondent student will receive a charge letter. The complainant and respondent student will have the opportunity to meet separately with a Hearing Officer from the Office of Student Conduct (OSC) where they may accept the finding or request a hearing. If the complainant and respondent student accept the finding, the Hearing Officer will assign a sanction. The complaint and respondent student may request a hearing on the assigned sanction or the investigative findings.

Hearings will be conducted by the UMD Student Hearing Panel in accordance with the procedures published by OSC. During the hearing process, complainants will not be required to appear in the same room with respondents. Complainants and respondents will be given an equal opportunity to present evidence. Complainants and respondents involved in the hearing process may appear at the hearing with a representative or advocate. Both parties will be informed of the decision of the Student Hearing Panel, and both parties may appeal that decision to the UMD Student Appeals Panel.


In Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking cases both the respondent and the complainant have the right to appeal. The Student Educational Experiences (SEE) Committee of UMD Campus Governance administers the appeals process. In the case of an appeal, both parties will receive notice of the decision of the Student Appeals Panel. Appeal petitions are on the same grounds as any other conduct hearing. View the Appeal Petition.

Anticipated Timeline
The University of Minnesota Duluth seeks to resolve all reports of sexual misconduct within sixty (60) days. However, this serves as a guideline and deviations may occur and will be documented in the Investigative Summary. As a courtesy of the law enforcement process, the University may defer the investigative process until the initial criminal investigation is complete. The Investigator will communicate the timeline for this process, the participants’ rights, and any interim measure to ensure safety.   


In the event you are found responsible for a sex or gender based behavior/violation sanctions are more severe than in other circumstances due to the impact on other students and the safety of the community.

Required Compliance- Required compliance means satisfying University requirements, work assignments, community service, or other discretionary assignments.
Restitution- Restitution means making compensation for loss, injury, or damage.
- Suspension means separation of the student from the University for a defined period of time, after which the student is eligible to return to the University. Suspension may include conditions for readmission.
Restriction of Privileges
- Restriction of privileges means the denial or restriction of specified privileges, including, but not limited to, access to an official transcript for a defined period of time.
Expulsion- Expulsion means the permanent separation of the student from the University.
Withholding of Diploma or Degree- Withholding of diploma or degree means the withholding of diploma or degree otherwise earned for a defined period of time or until the completion of assigned sanctions.
Revocation of Admission or Degree- Revocation of admission or degree means revoking a student’s admission to the University or revoking a degree already awarded by the University.

Any sanction not completed by the deadline may result in additional sanctions.  OSC shall monitor deadlines for sanction completion.  Holds will be placed on accounts for students who fail to complete sanctions.

© 2016 University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
Last modified on 08/26/16 09:08 AM
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