Student Groups and Sexual Misconduct

The University of Minnesota has a deep and longstanding commitment to the health, wellness, and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and entire campus community. Sexual misconduct has impacts across contexts during a University experience, even student groups. Student groups are encouraged to create a culture of prevention, response, and restoration.

The University of Minnesota has a policy on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence. This policy applies to all University community members, including students, faculty and staff as well as student groups at the University of Minnesota when:

  • the conduct occurs on University property;
  • the conduct occurs at a student group function, meeting, or event;
  • the conduct occurs off University property and outside the context of the student group’s program or activity, but has a continuing adverse effect on or creates a hostile environment for students or third parties while on University property or in any University employment or education program or activity; or
  • the conduct indicates that the respondent may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of the student group’s members.

The purpose of this webpage is to direct student groups to University resources, recommend action steps aligned with the group’s context, and educate student groups regardless of the group’s familiarity with the University’s sexual misconduct policies and processes. The recommendations on this webpage are intentionally interconnected and may be listed in multiple categories. It is important to keep in mind that student groups should not attempt to adjudicate University policy, local, state, or federal laws. Student groups may take action within their group’s context to address communal concerns.

Student groups with concerns may schedule advising appointments with a Student Activities Advisor at z.umn.edu/studentgroupadvising.

PREVENTION

Sexual misconduct prevention requires an awareness of the harmful behaviors that make up sexual misconduct, in addition to understanding the underlying social and cultural norms that either allow sexual violence to persist within our communities. While the mission or purpose of an individual group may or may not relate directly to sexual misconduct, there are ways every group can help contribute towards preventing sexual misconduct and supporting survivors. Student groups should have discussions about preventing sexual misconduct with their entire membership. Groups should consider what prevention could look like in their respective contexts such as general meetings, events, mass communications, and online presence.

Recommended Practices

  • Review the University’s policies related to the current Title IX regulations.
  • Request a Prevention Workshop through The Aurora Center.
  • Consult with The Aurora Center on what your group may need on your group’s climate and procedures.
  • Create sexual misconduct guidelines for your group. Students may reference sua.umn.edu for other recommended topics.
  • Regularly practice active listening in small groups of three people where members can provide feedback on how they experience the group.
  • Determine your group’s standards of acceptable behavior as they relate to sexual conduct. Ensure that these are documented and shared with membership.
    • Is there a policy on members, officers dating one another?
    • Have you defined acceptable interpersonal interactions in meetings?
    • Are mechanisms in place for reporting improper behavior of students in leadership positions?
    • Review your group’s constitution for membership removal policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct.
    • Reference the University’s policy on Nepotism and Personal Relationships which governs conflicts of interest that arise due to personal relationships.

Schedule a general appointment with a Student Activities Advisor at z.umn.edu/studentgroupadvising with any questions regarding the above information.

RESPONSE

The Student Activities Office is committed to sharing resources and support to student groups in the event that an incident of sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct occur. The Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) addresses reports of discrimination, harassment, nepotism, sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence) and related retaliation. Any University member may report an incident of sexual misconduct directly to the Title IX Office.

Student groups can learn more information by contacting the following University departments for more resources:

The Aurora Center

  • 612-626-9111 (24 Hour Helpline)

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA)

  • 612-624-9547

Office for Community Standards (OCS)

  • 612-624-6073

Student Unions and Activities (SUA)

  • 612-626-6919

University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD)

  • 612-624-2677

Emergency Response

  • 911

It is important to keep in mind that student groups should not attempt to adjudicate University policy, local, state, or federal laws, but rather report to the appropriate entity. Student groups may take action within their group’s context to address communal concerns.

Recommended Practices

  • Clearly articulate expectations for how student group officers will respond to a report of sexual misconduct.
  • Offer personal support to victims/survivors without judgement.
  • Direct students to The Aurora Center. This is a good first step for someone who is seeking help or interested in reporting an incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking or relationship violence. The Aurora Center provides a free and confidential space for survivors to get support, guidance, and to explore their options as they move forward.
  • Submit a Student Group Incident Report through the Student Activities Office if it is believed that a student group has violated a policy, violated the group’s internal procedures, or otherwise acted inappropriately. Any individual may report the alleged violation to Student Unions and Activities (SUA). Students can find more information about this process at sua.umn.edu. Be aware that this is a separate process from EOAA.
  • Connect students who have been accused with Student Advocate Services and Student Counseling Services.
  • Consult with the Student Activities Office and EOAA in determining supportive measures your group can make regarding your events and general meetings to ensure individual members’ safety.
  • Regularly practice active listening in small groups of three people where members can provide feedback on how they experience the group.

Schedule a general appointment with a Student Activities Advisor at z.umn.edu/studentgroupadvising with any questions regarding the above information.

RESTORATION

Student groups are encouraged to connect with University resources to create intentional space for their members to process their experience in the event that an incident of sexual assault or sexual misconduct has occurred. The Student Activities Office recommends the following practices to set up for prevention efforts the group can implement moving forward.

Recommended Practices

  • Utilize the services of restorative practices at the Student Conflict Resolution Resource Center (SCRC).
  • Create an annual review process of your sexual misconduct guidelines with all members.
  • Host a conversation circle with general members discussing how members experience power dynamics within the group.
  • Determine your group’s standards of acceptable behaviors.
    • Is there a policy on members, officers dating one another?
    • Have you defined acceptable interpersonal interactions in meetings?
    • Are mechanisms in place for reporting improper behavior of students in leadership positions?
    • Review your group’s constitution for membership removal policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct.
  • Regularly practice active listening in small groups of three people where members can provide feedback on how they experience each other.
  • Provide regular surveys for students to submit feedback anonymously.

Schedule a general appointment with a Student Activities Advisor at z.umn.edu/studentgroupadvising with any questions regarding the above information.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are student groups required to have sexual misconduct guidelines listed in their constitution?

Student groups are not required to have sexual misconduct guidelines in their constitution. The University encourages student groups to develop sexual misconduct guidelines that align with their context. Students may reference sua.umn.edu for other recommended topics.

Who can our group talk to if there are concerns that sexual misconduct has impacted our group?

Student groups with concerns should schedule an advising appointment with a Student Activities Advisor at z.umn.edu/studentgroupadvising.

I have concerns about confidentiality. Where can I access confidential services?

The Aurora Center provides a free and confidential space for survivors to get support, guidance, and to explore their options as they move forward.

Are student group officers required to report incidents of sexual misconduct?

Student group officers are not mandated reporters. The University strongly encourages students to immediately report incidents of sexual misconduct that they experience, witness or lean about to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative action (EOAA). Officers should be familiar with all the Officer Responsibilities listed in the Student Group Handbook.

Student employees who learn about sexual misconduct in the course of their University employment must report any sexual misconduct to EOAA. Student employees may reference the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) of the Employees’ Obligation to Report Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence to the Campus Title IX Office policy for more information on their reporting obligations.

Is there a sexual misconduct guideline sample available for student group constitutions?

The University does not have a sample for sexual misconduct guidelines.

What is the difference between a Student Group Incident Report and a Title IX Report?

Student Group Incident Reports should be submitted if it is believed that a student group has violated a policy, violated the group’s internal procedures, or otherwise acted inappropriately. Any individual may submit an Incident Report Form to report the alleged violation to Student Unions and Activities (SUA). Students can find more information about this process at sua.umn.edu.

When EOAA receives a report of sexual misconduct, that office will reach out to the impacted person to provide resources for personal support and inform the student about the University’s procedures for investigating and addressing sexual misconduct. More can be learned about EOAA’s role and processes at eoaa.umn.edu.

Where can my group find more information about amnesty related to sexual misconduct?

Students may reference the Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence for more information about amnesty.

What are sanctions? Who determines if sanctions are necessary?

Sanctions are actions intended to eliminate prohibited conduct that does not meet the Board of Regents Student Code of Conduct standards for acceptable behavior, prevent its recurrence, and promote accountability while supporting the University’s educational mission and legal obligations. EOAA will determine if sanctions are necessary. As a reminder, student groups should not attempt to adjudicate University policy, local, state, or federal laws.