UC Santa Cruz Title IX/Sexual Harassment Office

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What is 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.

Sexual intercourse is considered non-consensual and, therefore, rape when the person is incapable of giving consent because s/he is incapacitated from alcohol and/or drugs, or if a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability renders the victim incapable of giving consent. Whether the accused is a stranger, acquaintance, spouse, or friend is irrelevant to the legal definition of rape (for the Penal Code definition of rape, see Appendix B).

Beside rape, other acts of sexual assault include forced anal intercourse, forced oral copulation, penetration of the anal or vaginal area with a foreign object, and forcibly touching an intimate part of another person. Men as well as women can be victims of these other forms of sexual assault (see Appendix B, Definition of Sex Crimes).Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (statutory rape) occurs when the victim is considered incapable of giving legal consent because they are 17 years old or less, even if the intercourse is consensual. Where the person engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor is not more than three years older than the minor, the crime is a misdemeanor. If more than three years older, then the crime is a felony.If a student, staff person, member of the faculty or other academic appointee is charged with rape, s/he can be prosecuted under California criminal statutes, as well as disciplined under appropriate discipline procedures. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the campus can pursue disciplinary action and the complainant can file a civil suit.In addition to rape, as defined by California law, the University will not tolerate any non-consensual penetration, however slight, or non-consensual fellatio or cunnilingus, and will take appropriate action when such acts are reported.

1. To be consensual, there must be ". . . positive cooperation" and "the person must act freely and voluntarily . . ." (See Penal Code, 261.6 for complete definition.)

Reporting Sexual Assault, Rape and Sexual Harassment to the Title IX Officer.

The UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault applies to all students, staff, and academic appointees, and to members of the off-campus community who are participating in a University sponsored program or event.

Sexual assault, rape, and sexual harassment are violations of state and federal laws, UCSC policy, the Student Code of Conduct, personnel policies for staff members and academic appointees. Any person who is the target of a sex offense should consult with the Title IX/Sexual Harassment Officer (SHO) (459-2462 or rew@ucsc.edu) to receive information about your options and to receive referrals to appropriate resources.

If you have been the target of a sexual assault, including rape, you may request an administrative investigation by the Title IX/SHO (459-2462, 105 Kerr Hall), with or without filing a police report as explained above. In addition to rape, as defined by California law, UCSC will not tolerate any non-consensual penetration, however slight, or non-consensual fellatio or cunnilingus, and the university will take appropriate administrative action when such are reported. A Title IX investigation is not a criminal procedure. The Title IX/SHO will not initiate an investigation without the written consent of the survivor. The Title IX/SHO treats all conversations with students, faculty, and staff with the highest level of confidentiality, and will always respect a survivor's request for anonymity.

The Title IX/SHO will complete a fact-finding report that will be submitted to the appropriate campus officials. Sanctions for the accused may be proposed. In proven cases of sexual assault and rape the sanction will be either suspension or dismissal from UCSC. In addition, the Title IX/SHO will ensure that appropriate actions are taken to aid the complainant, i.e. academic assistance, counseling referrals, housing assistance, permanent no contact restrictions for the accused, and protection from retaliation.

What about Sexual Harassment?

The only threshold a student must meet to receive assistance from the Title IX/SHO is if you are the target of uninvited or unwelcome or unsolicited or unwanted conduct which is being directed at you because of your sex (male or female). The following lists some behaviors which could be construed as sexual harassment.

  • Sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
  • Physical, verbal, or nonverbal behavior that is sexual in nature, is hostile, demeaning,
    or intimidating
  • Terms of endearment
  • Sabotaging a person's work or academic standing
  • Withholding information
  • Exclusion from informal meetings/social events
  • Sexual jokes, comments, or innuendoes
  • Cartoons or visuals that ridicule or denigrate a person's gender
  • Employment or academic decisions that are based solely or partially on a person's sex

The investigatory procedure for sexual harassment is the same procedure discussed in the above section on sexual assault. If you have questions or just want to inquire about sexual harassment or sex discrimination; if you want to make a report or file a complaint; if you want an educational seminar for any campus group or if you want information, advice, referrals, and/or copies of the UCSC Policy on Sexual Assault, the UC Policy on Sexual Harassment, and Procedures for Reports of Sexual Assault(s) and Sexual Harassment or copies of the Sexual Harassment Annual Report please contact the Title IX/SHO.




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