UC Santa Cruz Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office

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Frequently Asked Questions

Check out links on the left for the three most asked questions:

For more questions please see below. If you can't find the information you're looking for on the website, please contact the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Officer, see bottom of page for contact information.

Q: What is the best way to prevent sexual harassment?
Know your rights. Members of our university community have the right to work and learn in an environment that is free from verbal or physical sexual conduct which might either interfere with an individual's performance, or create a work or educational climate that is hostile, intimidating, or offensive, whether that conduct originates with an instructor, a supervisor, or a peer.

Q: What are some examples of sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is conduct that is unwelcome or uninvited. Examples include (not exhaustive):

  • verbal, non-verbal, and physical sexual behaviors;
  • coerced sex; sexual jokes and innuendoes;
  • remarks about a person's body;
  • turning discussions inappropriately to sexual topics;
  • whistling or cat calls; looking a person up and down or staring in a sexually suggestive manner;
  • invading someone's personal space or blocking her/his path;
  • sexually explicit visuals such as pin-ups;
  • suggestions of sexual intimacy;
  • repeated requests for dates; unwanted letters, electronic mail or other computer communications;
  • unwanted gifts;
  • touching, hugging, massaging, and other gestures or sounds that a reasonable person of the same sex as the recipient would find offensive.

Q: Who should I talk to if I'm being harassed?
A: If you are a UCSC student:
Talk to the Title IX officer (9-2462), a professor you trust, a person at your college, a friend, or a counselor at Counseling & Psychological Services (9-2628).

If you are staff or an academic employee: Talk to the Title IX officer (9-2462), a friend, your supervisor or other manager, or a counselor at the Employee Assistance Program (1-866-808-6205)

Q: How are sexual harassment complaints resolved?
The Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office utilizes both informal and formal procedures for resolving sexual harassment complaints. We encourage early reporting of concerns or complaints regarding sexual harassment because complaints are most effectively resolved at the earliest possible stage. Resolution options depend on the circumstances and may include education programs for particular individuals and mediation between the parties only if both desire mediation. Where informal resolution is unsuccessful or inappropriate, a formal complaint may be filed and a formal investigation undertaken. There is no prescribed sequence, so choosing one option first does not prevent a complainant from choosing a different option for resolution later on. Individuals may get advice or assistance without filing a complaint.

If an informal solution is not appropriate or possible the Title IX office will:

Initiate a fact-finding investigation with the complainant's permission. For information on fact-finding investigations for both sexual assaults and sexual harassment in the Title IX office please see the "ucsc policies" link at the top of the home page. Go to the link for "The UC Santa Cruz Sex Offense". Click on the link for "UC Santa Cruz Procedures For Reporting Sexual Assaults." Click on Section V. "procedures for the resolution of sexual assault complaints".

Q: What do I do if I'm being accused of sexual harassment?
If the behavior is brought to your attention, apologize, ask for a description of what was offensive and who found it offensive.
Consider the following actions:

  • If you realize that you have been inappropriate, apologize as soon as possible.
  • Change your behavior.
  • Recognize that other steps may need to be taken.
  • Be careful of inappropriate advice that would lead you to minimize or ignore this issue.
  • Seek the advice of appropriate University resources.
  • Attend sexual harassment training.
  • Know the policy on sexual harassment.

Q: Is the complaint process confidential?
Any person needing assistance about sexual assault or sexual harassment may call or make an appointment with the Title IX office. You will not be required to give your name or anyone else's name to receive information and advice on your options and referrals. Resources are available for advice and information regarding reports of sexual harassment or sexual assault that are totally confidential. Examples of confidential resources include counselors in the Employee Assistance Program for employees and at Counseling and Psychological Services for students. Individuals who consult confidential resources must be advised that their discussions in these settings will not be considered reports of sexual harassment and will not, without additional action by the individual, result in any action by the University to resolve their concerns.

Procedures provide for protecting the privacy of individuals involved in a report of sexual harassment to the extent allowed by law and University policy. A report of sexual harassment may result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the University community. While such information is considered confidential, University policy regarding access to public records and disclosure of personal information may require disclosure of certain information regarding a report of sexual harassment. In such cases, every effort will be made to redact the records in order to protect the privacy of individuals.

Individuals wishing to make reports of sexual harassment must understand that certain University employees, such as the Title IX/Sexual Harassment officer, managers, supervisors, and other designated employees responsible for reporting or responding to reports of sexual harassment, have an obligation to respond to reports of sexual harassment, even if the individual making the report requests that no action be taken. The expressed wishes of individuals regarding the confidentiality of reports of sexual harassment will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such wishes will be considered in the context of the University's legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation, although requests for confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible.

Contact Rita Walker , Title IX Officer: 105 Kerr Hall . email: rew@ucsc.edu . phone 831.459.2462 * 831.459.4825