UC Santa Cruz Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office

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UCSC Policies

UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault and UC Policy on Sexual Harassment

The University strongly reaffirms the values of free and open exchange of ideas and the creation and dissemination of knowledge. We recognize the constitutionally protected right to free speech enjoyed by all members of our community and especially uphold the principles of academic freedom for our faculty and students. To sustain such freedom and openness requires of members of the university community the highest standards of objectivity, mutual trust, and confidence; it requires the absence of coercion, intimidation, or exploitation. The standards of conduct within our community require that all of its members understand that there is no legitimate place for sexual offenses of any kind (sexual harassment or sexual assault) in this environment. Such behaviors are inimical to achievement of the objectives of a university, and therefore have no place at UC Santa Cruz.

Students, faculty, and staff have the right to work and learn free from unwanted sexual advances. Advances made by faculty toward students or by supervisors toward subordinates unfairly exploit the power inherent in those relationships. Unwelcome sexual conduct between students interferes with the ability to participate in and benefit from University programs. In both obvious and subtle ways, the very possibility of sexual assault or harassment can be deeply destructive to individual members of our community and can poison their academic and career relationships. 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.

Primary responsibility for maintaining high standards of conduct resides especially with faculty and supervisors, since they exercise significant authority and power over others. If the highest standards of professional conduct are to be maintained, however, all members of the campus community should understand that sexual advances or sexual comments by a teacher or supervisor toward a student or employee may be unprofessional conduct. (Consensual relations policies and information Appendix C)

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The University of California has two policies: the UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault and the University of California Policy on Sexual Harassment. Each policy has its own set of procedures that provide information to the campus community on the reporting of sexual assault and the reporting of sexual harassment respectively. They are included together in this booklet in order to facilitate the dissemination of information and the reporting of incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. The policy and procedures apply to students, academic and non-academic appointees, and members of the off-campus community when that person has experienced sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape by a university student, staff, or faculty member while visiting the campus.

Any student, staff, or academic appointee who wishes to complain about sexual assault or sexual harassment, but who cannot make a determination about which procedure to use, should consult with the Title IX/SHO as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of the offending action. The Title IX/SHO will designate an alternative resource to receive reports in the event the Title IX/SHO is unavailable.

Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape (which includes stranger rape and acquaintance/date rape) are violations of State and Federal laws, University of California policy, UCSC policy, the Student Code of Conduct, staff personnel policies, and the Faculty Code of Conduct. Besides requesting an investigation and action from the UCSC administration, complainants of sexual assault and rape can file criminal charges against the perpetrator; and complainants of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape can sue the accused in civil court.

As with other university policies and procedures, the UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault , and the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment and the Procedures for Reporting Sexual Assault(s) and Sexual Harassment incorporate due process protections provided by State and Federal constitutions. The essence of due process protection is twofold: the accused's right to notice of the action to be taken and the basis for the action, and the right to respond. Accordingly, if the University intends to take adverse action against an individual, based on allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape, the individual has a right to understand the nature of the allegations, including who brought them, and the right to respond to those allegations. This right to notice and to respond are incorporated into the Rule Book and various university policies related to discipline and corrective action.

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Sexual assault is a prominent issue throughout the country. Such incidents cause enormous pain to the individuals who are directly involved and to the community whose peace is shattered. While these incidents are not restricted to the college or university environment, sexual assault is a serious issue on campus (especially acquaintance rape). Colleges and universities play important educational and administrative roles in addressing the problem of sexual assault and, consequently, many campuses have been leaders in the development of educational programs on sexuality, communication, and sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a general term which covers a range of crimes, including rape. As defined under California law, rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse that involves the use of threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress.

Any person who is the target of unwanted sexual behavior should immediately consult the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Officer (SHO) for advice, informal counseling, and help about how to deal with a sexual assault, or to stop the harassment by informal or formal means. Violations of the campus policy prohibiting sexual assault and harassment will result in disciplinary or corrective action, ranging from a warning to dismissal, depending on the nature of the violation. All complaints which involve sexual assault or sexual harassment should be directed to the Title IX/SHO. Individuals who think they might at some point be interested in pursuing criminal prosecution are advised to report any physical or sexual assault as soon as possible to the UCSC Police Department. Please see the UCSC Procedures For Reports of Sexual Assault(s) found in the policy booklet.

All policies in Section II. below from C. through to the end apply to both the local UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault and the systemwide UC Policy on Sexual Harassment.

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A. Introduction

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all persons who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the University community should be aware that the University is strongly opposed to sexual harassment, and that such behavior is prohibited both by law and by University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and if necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this policy.

This policy applies to the University of California campuses, the DOE Laboratories, the Medical Centers, and the Office of the President, including Agriculture and Natural Resources, and all auxiliary University locations.

B. Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects a person’s employment or education, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment.  In the interest of preventing sexual harassment, the University will respond to reports of any such conduct.

Section 102.09 of the Code of Student Conduct:

Harassment, defined as conduct that is so severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so substantially impairs a person’s access to University programs or activities that the person is effectively denied equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is motivated  on the basis of  a person’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, marital status, ancestry, service in the uniformed services, physical or mental disability, medical condition, or perceived membership in any of these classifications. Pursuant to section 104.90, sanctions may be enhanced for conduct motivated on the basis of the above classifications.

Student Employees: When employed by the University of California, and acting within the course and scope of that employment, students are subject to the University of California Policy on Sexual Harassment.  Otherwise, Section 102.09, above, is the applicable standard for harassment by students.

For both student and/or employee sexual harassment, please refer to the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment and the University of California, Santa Cruz Procedures For Reporting Sexual Harassment. 

Sexual harassment may include incidents between any members of the University community, including faculty and other academic appointees, staff, coaches, housestaff, students, and non-student or non-employee participants in University programs, such as vendors, contractors, visitors, and patients.  Sexual harassment may occur in hierarchical relationships or between peers, or between persons of the same sex or opposite sex.

In determining whether the reported conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record of the conduct as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the conduct occurred.

This policy covers unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Consensual romantic relationships between members of the University community are subject to other University policies, for example, those governing faculty-student relationships are detailed in the Faculty Code of Conduct. While romantic relationships between members of the University community may begin as consensual, they may evolve into situations that lead to charges of sexual harassment, subject to this policy.

Harassment that is not sexual in nature but is based on gender, sex-stereotyping, or sexual orientation also is prohibited by the University's nondiscrimination policies if it is sufficiently severe to deny or limit a person's ability to participate in or benefit from University educational programs, employment, or services. While discrimination based on these factors may be distinguished from sexual harassment, these types of discrimination may contribute to the creation of a hostile work or academic environment. Thus, in determining whether a hostile environment due to sexual harassment exists, the University may take into account acts of discrimination based on gender, sex-stereotyping, or sexual orientation.

C. Retaliation

This policy also prohibits retaliation against a person who reports sexual harassment, assists someone with a report of sexual harassment, or participates in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a sexual harassment report. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, reprisals, and/or adverse actions related to employment or education.

D. Dissemination of the Policy, Educational Programs, and Employee Training

As part of the University's commitment to providing a harassment-free working and learning environment, this policy shall be disseminated widely to the University community through publications, websites, new employee orientations, student orientations, and other appropriate channels of communication. The locations shall make educational materials available to all members of the University community to promote compliance with this policy and familiarity with local reporting procedures. In addition, the locations shall designate University employees responsible for reporting sexual harassment and provide training to those designated employees. Generally, such persons include supervisors, managers, academic administrators, deans, department chairs, student advisors, graduate advisors, residence hall staff, coaches, law enforcement officers, student judicial affairs staff, counselors, and health center staff. Each location shall post a copy of this policy in a prominent place on its website.

E. Reports of Sexual Harassment

Any member of the University community may report conduct that may constitute sexual harassment under this policy. In addition, supervisors, managers, and other designated employees are responsible for taking whatever action is necessary to prevent sexual harassment, to correct it when it occurs, and to report it promptly to the Title IX Compliance Coordinator (Sexual Harassment Officer) or other appropriate official designated to review and investigate sexual harassment complaints. An individual also may file a complaint or grievance alleging sexual harassment under the applicable University complaint resolution or grievance procedure (University of California Procedures for Responding to Reports of Sexual Harassment,
Appendix I: University Complaint Resolution and Grievance Procedures).

F. Response to Sexual Harassment

The locations shall provide a prompt and effective response to reports of sexual harassment in accordance with the University of California Procedures for Responding to Reports of Sexual Harassment (Procedures). A prompt and effective response may include early resolution, formal investigation, and/or targeted training or educational programs. Upon findings of sexual harassment, the University may offer remedies to the individual or individuals harmed by the harassment consistent with applicable complaint resolution and grievance procedures (Procedures, Appendix I: University Complaint Resolution and Grievance Procedures). Such remedies may include counseling, an opportunity to repeat course work without penalty, changes to student housing assignments, or other appropriate interventions. Any member of the University community who is found to have engaged in sexual harassment is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal in accordance with the applicable University disciplinary procedure (Procedures, Appendix II: University Disciplinary Procedures) or other University policy. Generally, disciplinary action will be recommended when the harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits the opportunity to participate in or benefit from educational programs. Any manager, supervisor, or designated employee responsible for reporting or responding to sexual harassment who knew about the harassment and took no action to stop it or failed to report the prohibited harassment also may be subject to disciplinary action. Conduct by an employee that is sexual harassment or retaliation in violation of this policy is considered to be outside the normal course and scope of employment.

G. Intentionally False Reports

Because sexual harassment frequently involves interactions between persons that are not witnessed by others, reports of sexual harassment cannot always be substantiated by additional evidence. Lack of corroborating evidence or "proof" should not discourage individuals from reporting sexual harassment under this policy. However, individuals who make reports that are later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously without regard for truth, may be subject to disciplinary action under the applicable University disciplinary procedure (Procedures, Appendix II: University Disciplinary Procedures). This provision does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report cannot be substantiated by an investigation.

H. Free Speech and Academic Freedom

As participants in a public university, the faculty and other academic appointees, staff, and students of the University of California enjoy significant free speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section I of the California Constitution.  This policy is intended to protect members of the University community from discrimination, not to regulate protected speech.  This policy shall be implemented in a manner that recognizes the importance of rights to freedom of speech and expression.  The University also has a compelling interest in free inquiry and the collective search for knowledge and thus recognizes principles of academic freedom as a special area of protected speech.  Consistent with these principles, no provision of this policy shall be interpreted to prohibit conduct that is legitimately related to the course content, teaching methods, scholarship, or public commentary of an individual faculty member or the educational, political, artistic, or literary expression of students in classrooms and public forums.  However, freedom of speech and academic freedom are not limitless and do not protect speech or expressive conduct that violates federal or state anti-discrimination laws.

I. Additional Enforcement Information

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) also investigate complaints of unlawful harassment in employment. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigates complaints of unlawful harassment of students in educational programs or activities. These agencies may serve as neutral fact finders and attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of disputes with the parties. For more information, contact the nearest office of the EEOC, DFEH or OCR listed in the telephone directory.

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The Title IX/SHO will maintain confidential records of all reports and complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault(s). Two types of files will be maintained:

A. Formal Complaint File

A formal complaint file will be maintained by the Title IX/SHO by the last name of the accused. This file will contain all formal review documents, such as the complaint form, the Title IX/SHO investigation report, any response by the accused to the report, any record of appeal by the complainant of the Title IX/SHO findings and/or remedies and the result of the appeal, and a record of correspondence notifying the complainant and accused of actions taken and the progress of the complaint.

B. Education/Report Files

Files will be maintained by the Title IX/SHO on all reports of sexual harassment, whether they result in a formal investigation or not. These files will be maintained by the last name of the accused and will include a summary of the report and the resolution of the problem, including any education the accused received as a result of the report.

Access to Title IX/SHO Files: Title IX/SHO records are considered "confidential" for purposes of access and will be maintained in a secure location. Both the complainant and accused may have access to the record to the extent permitted by existing law. The name of any complainant or informant requesting confidentiality will not be included in the file. Other University officials may have access if the disclosure is relevant and necessary in the ordinary course of the performance of their official duties and is related to the purpose for which the information was acquired. Access may also be given in response to a subpoena, court order or other compulsory legal process; before the disclosure, the Title IX/SHO should reasonably attempt to notify the individual to whom the record pertains, if the notification is not prohibited by law.

Records Retention: All Title IX/SHO files will be retained until five years after separation of the accused from university employment or in the case of a student until five years after graduation; provided there has been no further report or complaint concerning the conduct of the accused for five (5) continuous years, from the date of the last report or complaint, the file will be destroyed. All records pertaining to pending litigation or a request for records shall be maintained in accordance with instructions from legal counsel.

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UCSC Policies

UCSC Procedures



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