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Frequently Asked Questions

What is sexual misconduct?

In UNM’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy, “sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated with force or coercion against a person’s will; or where a person has not given consent as defined in this policy or is unable to consent due to his or her use of alcohol or drugs, or disability, or age.” Sexual violence is a crime. What constitutes sexual violence can be confusing. Sometimes people are unsure if what has happened to them is sexual violence; possibly even feeling that it wasn’t “violent” enough to be “real” sexual violence.

Can there still be an assault if I consent to some sexual activity, but then say no to other sexual activity?

Yes. If you decide that you don’t want to continue a sexual act with someone, and that person continues without your consent, that is sexual misconduct. UNM’s sexual misconduct policy requires consent for each and every sexual act and consent can be withdrawn at any time.

Can I be assaulted by my boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or acquaintance?

Yes. Just because two people have had sex in the past does not mean that they have agreed to have sex at any other time. Even if the victim is in an intimate or romantic relationship with the perpetrator and he or she does not consent to the current sexual act, it is sexual assault which is a violation of UNM’s sexual misconduct policy.

When is someone incapable of giving consent?

A person who has been using alcohol or drugs, or is incapacitated in any other way is not capable of consenting to sexual activity, even if he or she seems to be a willing partner.

I’ve either been assaulted or know someone who has experienced sexual violence, who should I talk to about it?

If sexual misconduct occurs, there are a variety of resources at the University of New Mexico to utilize. Below are different resources here to support survivors of sexual misconduct or sexual violence and the implications of speaking with each after such an incident:
In an Emergency situation – Call 911
University of New Mexico Police Department
If sexual misconduct is reported to the UNMPD directly, an official police report will be filed, including the name and identifying information of the complainant. A filed police report does not obligate one to press charges, but keep in mind that if the police determine that the suspect may pose a threat to the campus community, they will be obligated to disclose the case to other departments on campus, even if he/she prefer not to have the case investigated.

UNM Faculty and Staff
Under Title IX, all UNM staff and faculty have a legal obligation to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Office of Equal Opportunity
Once the University of New Mexico is made aware of possible sexual violence or misconduct, it has a legal obligation (under Title IX) to investigate the matter regardless of whether the person wishes the University to pursue the complaint. The Office of Equal Opportunity is a neutral party that serves to investigate all reported incidents of sexual violence that occur with their jurisdiction. Reports made to the Office of Equal Opportunity will remain confidential to the fullest extent possible throughout the course of an administrative investigation.

Anonymous and Confidential Reporters
UNM has designated three advocacy centers on campus where an individual can speak anonymously – they will not share details or concerns with anyone without one’s signed permission. These advocacy centers are staffed with professional advocates who have received specialized training in order to provide this service to students.
---LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center---
---Women’s Resource Center---
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Additionally, those persons on campus who are acting as a medical provider (such as Student Health and Counseling) or are otherwise bound by licensure, do not disclose reports of sexual misconduct.

External Resources
If you choose to report to an off-campus, community resource, no information will be shared with the University of New Mexico. Unless you choose to file a report, no action will be taken by the University of New Mexico to resolve concerns.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a national law that protects individuals from discrimination based on sex in any educational program or activity operated by recipients of federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

What are possible discipline/sanctions in relation to a violation of the UNM Sexual Assault policy?

A student who violates the Student Code of Conduct can receive a sanction ranging from mandatory training or probation to a suspension or expulsion from the university.

What is a confidential and anonymous reporter?

Anonymous and Confidential reporting locations on campus provide a safe space for individuals to discuss their resources, options and concerns before filing an official report with the University of New Mexico. All reports and disclosures of sexual misconduct made at an anonymous reporting location are confidential to the extent allowable and required under state and federal law. This means that reports of sexual misconduct will not be discussed with people who do not have a “legitimate need to know” of that report and will only be shared as required under state and federal law.

Does it matter when I report the incident?

No. You can report an incident of sexual violence to the police and/or the University at any time, regardless of when it occurred. Keep in mind that the sooner you file a report, the more likely it is that the police/University will be able to identify and speak to witnesses, and be able to conduct a meaningful investigation.

After I report sexual misconduct or sexual violence, what happens?

Depending on who the sexual violence or misconduct was reported to originally, the complainant may have the option to decide if he/she would like to pursue a criminal investigation, an administrative investigation, both, or neither.

More frequently asked questions will be added soon. 

Still have questions? Call us at the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center at 505-277-2911

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Under Title IX, sexual violence is a severe form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the University of New Mexico. Sexual violence may be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance or someone with whom the victim is involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Victims of sexual violence are encouraged to report what happened to law enforcement and seek assistance from any of the resources, on and off campus, listed in this publication. 

Please contact UNM's Title IX Coordinator, Heather Cowan, at hbcowan@unm.edu for more information about Title IX.