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Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

The University of Texas at Brownsville is committed to providing a professional working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment has been declared a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1972 and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, Chapter 21, “Texas Labor Code,” and it is illegal, and actionable under civil and criminal law. The university maintains a strict policy and will not tolerate sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in any form. Any person who engages in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action, including termination. The university encourages students, faculty, staff and visitors to promptly report sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.

1. Sexual Harassment
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal and written comments, or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual harassment when such conduct:

(a) is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in a university activity

(b) is used to be a basis for academic or employment decisions or evaluations or

(c) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance; or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive university environment. In addition to the above definition, behaviors that may constitute sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Intentional touching
  • Explicit or implicit propositions to engage in sexual activity
  • Gratuitous comments of a sexual nature such as explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes
  • Remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body
  • Remarks about sexual activities or speculation about sexual experiences;
  • Exposure to gratuitous sexually suggestive visual displays such as photographs, graffiti, posters, calendars or other materials
  • Deliberate physical interference with or restriction of an individual’s movements
  • Persistent, unwanted sexual/romantic attention;
  • Subtle or overt pressure for sexual favors
  • Deliberate, repeated humiliation or intimidation based upon the sex of an individual.

2. Sexual Misconduct
In addition to prohibiting sexual harassment as defined by law, the university also prohibits conduct of a sexual nature that, although not so serious or pervasive that it rises to the level of sexual harassment, is unprofessional and/or inappropriate for work sites and teaching locations. Behaviors that may constitute sexual misconduct include but are not limited to:

  • Failure to observe the appropriate boundaries of the supervisor/ subordinate or faculty/student relationship
  • 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 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

3. Reporting Locations
Any employee or member of, or visitor to, the university community who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct should report the incident to the appropriate supervisor of the accused faculty member or employee or to the vice president for Business Affairs, EEO/ADA/Compliance Officer. Students are encouraged to report such incidents to the Office of the Dean of Students. Complainants should report such incidents as soon as possible after the time of their occurrence. No student, faculty or staff member, or visitor is required to report or make a complaint of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct to the person who is the subject of the complaint. The complete policy regarding Sexual Harassment can be found in the HOP sections 3.3 and 3.6.

Consensual Relationships
The policy concerning consensual relationships is found in the HOP 3.5. This policy prohibits consensual amorous or sexual relationships between faculty or staff members in positions of authority with their subordinates or their students. Reporting inappropriate consensual relationships that do not contain clear elements of sexual harassment should follow university policies and procedures normally used in dealing with misconduct of faculty and staff.

Sexual Offense
Complaints involving sexual assault that are not of a sexual harassment nature are reported to Campus Police, the Brownsville Police Department, or to the dean of students. Services such as pre-complaint counseling are available for students in the Student Health Services.

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