Title IX Sexual Harassment
Under Department of Education regulations (see 34 C.F.R., Part 106) issued in 2020 to implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., the University is required to prohibit certain forms of sexual harassment as defined in those regulations. Title IX Sexual Harassment is Prohibited Conduct of the following types committed by or against Students and/or Employees in an education program or activity of the University, in the United States:
Prohibited Conduct meets the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment when:
- An Employee conditions the provision of an aid, a benefit, or a service on another Employee's or a Student's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment); or
- A Student, Employee, or Third Party (to the extent applicable) engages in unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that would be determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies another person equal access to the University's programs or activities; or
- A Student, Employee, or Third Party engages in Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Sexual and/or Gender-based Stalking as defined below; and
- The alleged conduct was perpetrated against a person in the United States; and
- The conduct took place within the University's programs and activities.
Conduct takes place within the "University's programs and activities" when that conduct occurs:
- in a location, at an event, or in circumstances where the University exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the conduct occurs; or
- in any building owned or controlled by a student organization recognized by the University. Events that occur off campus or in locations with no connection to the University are unlikely to be considered a University program or activity.
Conduct that does not meet the parameters above to constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment is still prohibited by this policy if it otherwise constitutes Prohibited Conduct as further defined below.
The following Prohibited Conduct definitions apply for purposes of the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment.
Title IX Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex by which an employee of the University conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on a student's or employee's participation in unwelcome sexual contact.
Title IX Severe, Pervasive and Objectively Offensive Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that is effectively denies a student or employee equal access to the University's education program or activity.
Title IX Sexual Assault includes rape, fondling without consent, incest or statutory rape, defined as follows:
- Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral genital contact of another person without consent.
- Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without consent.
- Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
- Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. Under Texas law, individuals younger than 17 years of age are legally incapable of giving consent to sexual penetration of contact by an adult (someone 18 years of age or older) who is three or more years older than the individual.
Title IX Domestic Violence is conduct that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant; by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner; by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
Title IX Dating Violence is conduct that constitutes violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the parties' statements and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual and physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Title IX Stalking for purposes of the Title IX Sexual Harassment definition is conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Non-Title IX Misconduct
Non-Title IX Sexual Assault is sexual assault (i.e., rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape) as defined in the Title IX Sexual Assault definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the University in the United States.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional touching of a person's breast(s), buttock(s), groin, genitals, or other intimate parts without consent. Touching may be over or under clothing and may include the respondent touching the complainant, the respondent making the complainant touch the respondent or another person, or the respondent making the complainant touch the complainant's own body.
Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, and/or other unwelcome, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the conditions outlined in (a), (b), or (c), below, is present.
Gender-Based Harassment 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, even if the acts do not involve contact of a sexual nature, when one of the conditions outlined in (a), (b), or (c), below, is present.
(a) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of a person’s instruction, academic standing, employment, or participation in any University program, activity, or benefit, but which does not fit within the definition of Title IX Quid Pro Quo.
(b) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions, in circumstances that do not fit within the definition of Title IX Quid Pro Quo.
(c) Such conduct creates a hostile environment. Under Texas Education Code §51.281(4) a hostile environment exists:
- in the employment context, when it unreasonably interferes with a person's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or
- in the education context, when it is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational programs or activities.
Sexual Exploitation is any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another, but that does not fall within the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment. Sexual exploitation may include:
- surreptitiously observing another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
- recording, photographing, transmitting, showing, viewing, streaming, or distributing intimate or sexual images, audio recordings, or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
- providing alcohol or drugs to a complainant with the intent to facilitate Prohibited Conduct; or
- exposing one's genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in non-consensual circumstances.
Non-Title IX Domestic Violence is domestic violence as defined in the Title IX Domestic Violence definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the University in the United States.
Non-Title IX Dating Violence is dating violence as defined in the Title IX Dating Violence definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the University in the United States.
Non-Title IX Stalking is stalking as defined in the Title IX Stalking definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the University in the United States, or that otherwise fits within the definition of stalking but does not fall within the Title IX Stalking definition because the reported conduct is not directed at the alleged victim on the basis of sex.
Retaliation means intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations for this policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding Prohibited Conduct (including both Title IX Sexual Harassment and Non-Title IX Misconduct).
Concerns or questions about retaliation should be immediately reported to the University's Title IX Coordinator.
Complicity is any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of Prohibited Conduct by another person.