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Policy on Sexual Misconduct
I. General Policy Guidelines
It is the policy of the University of Texas at Austin to provide an educational and working environment for students, faculty members, staff members, and visitors that is free from sexual misconduct. The University encourages students, faculty members, staff members, and visitors to promptly report incidents of sexual misconduct and will respond appropriately, including taking disciplinary action when warranted, in response to sexual misconduct by its students, faculty members, staff members, visitors, and contractors.
Sexual misconduct is behavior or conduct of a sexual nature that is unprofessional and/or inappropriate for the educational and working environment.
Behaviors that may constitute sexual misconduct include but are not limited to
- Repeatedly engaging in sexually oriented conversations, comments, or horseplay, including the use of language or the telling of jokes or anecdotes of a sexual nature in the workplace, office, or classroom, even if such conduct is not objected to by those present
- Gratuitous use of sexually oriented materials not directly related to the subject matter of a class, course, or meeting, even if not objected to by those present
- Failure to observe the appropriate boundaries of the supervisor/subordinate or faculty member/student relationship, including the participation of a supervisor, teacher, adviser, or coach in an unreported consensual romantic or sexual relationship with a subordinate employee or student
II. Procedures for Reporting and Responding to Sexual Misconduct
There are a number of ways in which concerns or complaints related to sexual misconduct can be addressed; however, no student, faculty member, staff member, or visitor is required to report or allege a violation of the sexual misconduct policy to the person who is the subject of the complaint. Concerns will be kept confidential to the extent permitted under the law.
Reporting to Equal Opportunity Services
Faculty members, staff members, students, and visitors who wish to complain about sexual misconduct may raise their concerns directly with Equal Opportunity Services (EOS). Incidents should be reported as soon as possible after the time of their occurrence, preferably within ninety days. EOS will work with affected University units to resolve the concern. If the complainant is a student, EOS will work with the dean of students’ office to determine how the complaint will be handled.
Reporting to the Office of the Dean of Students
Students may also complain of sexual misconduct directly to the Office of the Dean of Students, which will work with Equal Opportunity Services to determine how the complaint will be handled. Incidents should be reported as soon as possible after the time of their occurrence, preferably within ninety days. Allegations of sexual misconduct that concern another student will be handled through Student Judicial Services, in accordance with chapter 11 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities (Appendix C).
Reporting to a Supervisor, Administrator, or University Official
University faculty and staff members may also bring an allegation of sexual misconduct to their immediate supervisor or to another University administrator or official in their supervisory chain. The reports should be made as soon after the incident as possible, preferably within ninety days. Supervisors, administrators, and University officials are responsible for promptly contacting Equal Opportunity Services to discuss incidents of sexual misconduct prior to taking action in response to them.
Supervisors, administrators, and University officials who become aware of possible sexual misconduct on the part of faculty members, staff members, or students do not need to wait for a complaint to respond to it; however, they need to consult with the Office of Equal Opportunity Services about the matter before taking action.
Equal Opportunity Services will document the existence and resolution of incidents of sexual misconduct. It will maintain the confidentiality of those documents to the extent permitted by law.
Grievance of a Disciplinary Action
A faculty or staff member receiving discipline as a result of this policy may file a grievance/appeal through the use of the appropriate grievance/appeal procedure.
Any student receiving discipline as a result of this policy may file an appeal through the use of the appeal process outlined in subchapter 11–600 of the Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities (Appendix C).
For assistance: Students with questions regarding this policy are directed to the Office of the Dean of Students. All other questions may be addressed to Equal Opportunity Services.
Source: Revised Handbook of Operating Procedures, Policy 4.A.3