Sexual Misconduct Policy

POLICY STATEMENT

The purpose of this policy is to stop sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, remedy its effects, and apply sanctions to individuals who violate this policy.

Texas Woman’s University (“TWU” or the “University”) is committed to creating and maintaining an academic, residential, and work environment free from sexual misconduct and other forms of sex discrimination. Sexual misconduct, which is defined by this policy, includes sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, aiding/facilitating prohibited conduct, stalking based on sex, and sexual harassment.

Sexual misconduct is prohibited by this policy, as well as by Federal and State laws, and includes all forms of discrimination based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.

The University is legally and ethically obligated to investigate each reported violation of this policy.  Each investigation must be prompt, thorough, and equitable.  If a person is found responsible for any form of sexual misconduct outlined in this policy, TWU must take appropriate and timely corrective action, including the possibility of dismissal from the University (student) or termination of employment (faculty or staff).

When used in this policy, “employee” refers to both faculty members and non-faculty staff members.

TWU is committed to creating and maintaining a culture of awareness, education, prevention, and rapid response in pursuit of the goal of eliminating sexual misconduct. Any member of the TWU community who has been a target of, or who has witnessed, or who has information about acts of sexual misconduct or other forms of sex discrimination by a student, employee, vendor, contractor, or other campus visitor should report the incident to a Campus Authority, whose positions are identified in this policy, or to any Responsible Employee as defined in this policy.

An individual who prefers to make an anonymous report of sexual misconduct may also use the TWU Ethics and Compliance Hotline online at www.lighthouse-services.com/TWU or by calling 844.406.0004.

TWU will respond promptly and effectively to all reports of sexual misconduct, including providing resources and support services for each individual who has been affected by sexual misconduct. TWU will hold an individual who violates this policy accountable through the Title IX Investigation and Adjudication process as outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Regulations and Procedures Guide.  Additionally, TWU will provide ongoing training and education to the TWU community to raise awareness of Title IX related issues.

Throughout the Investigation and Adjudication process every reasonable effort will be made to protect the privacy of the participants and the confidentiality of information while protecting the interests and safety of the University and its community members.

TWU is committed to treating both a student or employee Complainant and a student or employee Respondent with dignity, care, and respect. A student will have access to TWU Student Health Services and the TWU Counseling Center, and an employee will have access to resources through TWU Employee Benefits including the Employee Assistance Program.

After a report of sexual misconduct is received, the University will consider reasonable interim measures for either party pending completion of the Investigation and Adjudication process including but not limited to interim suspension; contact/communications restrictions for both parties; and, adjustments to academic, employment, or residential housing arrangements.

Nothing in this policy is intended to deny or interfere with an individual’s right to also report and pursue a criminal charge through a law enforcement agency for those types of sexual misconduct in the preceding list that are also prohibited by criminal law.

Nothing in this policy shall be construed to abridge the academic freedom of inquiry, free speech, or free expression of any member of the TWU community.

Nothing in this policy shall affect the right of the University to take such actions as it deems appropriate to further its educational mission and to protect the safety and security of the TWU community.

Retaliation

Retaliation is prohibited and is a stand-alone policy violation without regard to any finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct.  Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person for making a good faith report under this Policy or participating in any proceeding under this policy. Retaliation includes threatening, intimidating, harassing, coercing, or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this policy. Retaliation does not include good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report filed under this policy. 

Campus Authorities

All members of the TWU community are strongly encouraged to report information about any type of possible sexual misconduct involving a student or an employee. Making a good faith report of possible sexual misconduct will not affect the reporting party’s grades, academic standing, work assignments, or employment.

Reports may and should be made to any of the following Campus Authorities, or through a Responsible Employee, with assurance that the report will be immediately redirected to the most appropriate person, whose names and contact information can be accessed in the Sexual Misconduct Regulations and Procedures Guide.

  • University Title IX Coordinator/Administrator
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators
  • Executive Director of Public Safety

Investigation and Adjudication

Once the Title IX Coordinator has received and reviewed a report of alleged sexual misconduct and determined whether the allegations appear to meet the severe, pervasive, or persistent standard as set forth under Title IX, an investigation will begin.

The investigation process will be overseen by the Title IX Coordinator and, in most instances, will be completed within sixty (60) days of receipt of the complaint. However, all time frames expressed in this policy are guidelines rather than rigid requirements. In any particular case, circumstances may require extending this timeframe. Considerations may include the complexity or scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening University break, or other unforeseen but significant circumstances.

Throughout the Investigation and Adjudication process all written communications to the Complainant and Respondent will be delivered simultaneously including the Notice of Investigation, No Contact Notice, Notice of Findings, and Notice of Sanctions (if any).

A more detailed description of the Investigation and Adjudication process for this policy can be found in the Sexual Misconduct Regulations and Procedures Guide.

DEFINITIONS

Campus Authority – specific administrative leadership positions that are accountable for receiving and addressing complaints of sexual misconduct including development of policies and preventative programs; providing education and training; ensuring proper investigations; adjudication, if appropriate; and, compliant recordkeeping.

Responsible Employee – any regular or temporary employee of the University, each of whom has a duty to promptly report (“shall report”) incidents of sexual misconduct to a Campus Authority.  There are exceptions for an employee in a position for which there are legal confidentiality obligations.

Consent – a voluntary, mutually understandable agreement between individuals that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in each instance of sexual activity. Refer to the Sexual Misconduct Regulations and Procedures Guide for an expanded definition including essential information.

Coercion - coercion includes the use of pressure and/or other oppressive behavior, including express or implied threats of harm, or severe and/or pervasive emotional intimidation which places an individual in fear of immediate or future harm or physical injury or causes a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. A person’s words or conduct amount to coercion if they wrongfully limit the other’s ability to freely choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Coercion also includes administering a drug, intoxicant, or other substance that impairs the person’s ability to give consent.

Incapacitation – any condition that prevents an individual from having the capacity to give consent to another including but not limited to being under the influence of intoxicants (alcohol or drugs), being asleep or otherwise unconscious, or having an intellectual or other disability.

Complainant – an individual who alleges she/he has been the target of sexual misconduct.

Respondent  –  an individual who is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct.

Preponderance of Evidence – the civil legal standard for weighing the aggregate of written statements by the Complainant, Respondent, and any witnesses; available forensic evidence, if any; and any other information that assists in determining “whether it is more likely than not” that the alleged conduct by the Respondent is supported by the available facts and constitutes a violation of this policy.  This standard is in contrast with the criminal legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Responsible/Not Responsible – after the completion of an investigation, a conclusion or finding about whether the Respondent is determined to be responsible for the alleged sexual misconduct based on the preponderance of evidence.

Sexual Misconduct – for purposes of this policy includes the following prohibited conduct:

  1. Sexual Assault
  1. Related to Attempted or Actual Penetration: Having or attempting to have non-consensual vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g. penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact. This includes sexual intercourse or attempted intercourse under circumstances including:
  1. Where the use or threat of force or coercion is involved
  2. Where the other person is incapacitated and that incapacitation should be apparent to a reasonable person in the same situation who is not under the influence of intoxicants including alcohol or drugs
  3. Where the other person does not consent
  4. Where the other person is under the age of 17
  1. Related to All Other Forms of Sexual Contact: Having or attempting to have any non-consensual, non-accidental touching of a sexual nature. This touching can include, but is not limited to, kissing, touching the intimate parts of another or causing the other to touch the person’s intimate parts. This includes sexual contact under circumstances including:
  1. Where the use or threat of force or coercion is involved
  2. Where the other person is incapacitated and that incapacitation should be apparent to a reasonable person in the same situation who is not under the influence of intoxicants including alcohol or drugs
  3. Where the other person does not consent
  4. Where the other person is under the age of 17
  1. Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence is also referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence, and includes any act or threatened act of violence against an individual by a person who is, or has been, involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship with that individual. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior, including but not limited to physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and economic abuse. It can take the form of threats, assault, property damage, and violence or threats of violence to oneself, one’s former or current sexual or romantic partner or to the family members of the sexual or romantic partner.

  1. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is a person taking sexual advantage of another person for his/her own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the initiator. Examples of sexual exploitation include recording, photographing, or transmitting images of another person of a sexual nature via webcam, camera, Internet, etc. without the knowledge and consent of all persons; knowingly exposing HIV or another STD to an unknowing person or to a person who has not consented to the risk; causing or attempting to cause incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to sexual assault; allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts; and voyeurism.

  1. Aiding/Facilitating Prohibited Conduct

Knowingly and intentionally aiding or facilitating any act of sexual misconduct, before or after the fact, is also a violation of this policy.

  1. Stalking (based on sex)

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of bodily injury or to experience substantial emotional distress. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to: acts made directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, or device, including following:  monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about another person, or interfering with another person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish. Stalking includes cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking using electronic media such as the Internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices or forms of contact.

  1. Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, when the conditions outlined in paragraphs a., b., or c. are present; and includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise.

 

  1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a person’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any University programs and/or activities or is used as the basis for University decisions affecting the individual (often referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment).
  2. Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the University’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent, or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective. In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the University will consider the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:
    1. The frequency, nature, and severity of the conduct
    2. Whether the conduct was physically threatening
    3. The effect of the conduct on a person’s mental or emotional state
    4. Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person
    5. Whether the conduct arose in context of other discriminatory conduct
    6. Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with a person’s educational or work performance and/or University programs or activities
    7. Whether the conduct raises concerns related to academic freedom or freedom of speech
  1. A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single incident of sexual assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression, standing alone, is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.

THOSE AFFECTED BY THE POLICY

Each member of the TWU community, including students and employees, is protected by these laws and this policy.  And, each TWU community member is expected to comply with this policy.

Each student and employee of the University is responsible for her/his conduct, whether sexual misconduct takes place on campus or in a different location. This policy applies to on-campus conduct, as well as to off-campus conduct, that has a reasonable connection to TWU. Vendors, contractors, and others who are present on the University campus are also expected to comply with this policy. These parties, most of whom are notified of this policy through their contractual relationships with TWU, are held to the same standards.

RATIONALE AND NEED FOR POLICY AND SPECIAL NOTES

Sexual misconduct is prohibited by Federal law, State law, and by this policy.

The original Federal law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, follows:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

INTERNAL CROSS-REFERENCES AND RELATED MATERIALS

Sexual Misconduct Regulations and Procedures Guide

Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Program Title IX

Links List

https://www.twu.edu/campus-sexual-assault-prevention-program-title-ix/ 

https://servicecenter.twu.edu/TDClient/KB/ArticleDet?ID=40226 

Details

Article ID: 34867
Created
Tue 8/8/17 10:50 AM
Modified
Thu 2/14/19 3:10 PM