Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Policy 830 and 829

This resource is intended to answer common questions regarding the Policy 830. Rice University Policy on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct and Policy 829. Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships in the Educational or Workplace Environment.

While this resource is intended to clarify common questions, it should not be regarded as a legal document nor as a comprehensive explanation of all of the processes that may occur during an investigation. This resource is a supporting document to the relevant university policies, which take precedence and should be reviewed carefully.

What types of behaviors are reportable under this policy?

A. Harassment. Harassment is unwelcome conduct (whether physical, verbal, written, or via technology) that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, genetic information, ancestry, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories under the law. Moreover, harassing behavior not based on any of the above discriminatory factors that creates a hostile educational or workplace environment also is unacceptable and subject to corrective action.

i. Harassment violates this policy and is subject to disciplinary action when 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continuing in or receiving benefits in one’s employment or educational program, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work or educational environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Harassment has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational participation.

ii. Bullying is a single significant act or a pattern of acts of harassing behavior that is severe or pervasive enough to create a work or educational environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive or has the effect of physically harming an individual, damaging an individual’s property or placing the individual in reasonable fear of harm to the individual’s person or damage to the individual’s property. It includes cyberbullying, which is bullying done through an electronic communication device, including through the use of e-mail, text messaging, social media or the Internet.

B. Sexual Harassment. Sexual harassment is a particular form of harassment that constitutes illegal employment discrimination or educational discrimination under Federal and State law. It encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical behavior of a sexual or gendered nature. It can include such behaviors as unwanted touching or unwelcome conduct (whether physical, verbal, written, or via technology) of a sexual or gendered nature. Sexual harassment occurs when:

i. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's education or employment; or

ii. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for educational or employment decisions affecting that individual; or

iii. such conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work performance or educational participation, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment.

C. Sexual Assault. Sexual Assault is any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances when the victim is incapable of giving consent. For further discussion of the meaning of consent, see the University’s Title IX Policy.

D. Dating Violence. Domestic Violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined by considering the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

C. Stalking. Stalking refers to a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for one’s safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

What are the procedures for investigating accusations of harassment or sexual harassment?

The Procedures for Investigating Accusations of Harassment and Sexual Harassment may be accessed here: policy.rice.edu/830A

What if I experienced a particularly uncomfortable incident, but I am not sure that this Policy applies to my experience?

If a person is unsure whether a particular experience constitutes harassment or sexual harassment, or any of the other prohibited behaviors, Rice encourages that person to have a discussion with a trusted resource, such as your supervisor, chair, dean, magister, your advisor, or a Resource Navigator, in order to obtain information about the available resources at Rice that can help.

Students with questions or concerns about their experiences are encouraged to contact the SAFE Office. Resource Navigators in that office are available to meet with students and discuss the options for reporting and support at Rice.

Faculty and staff can schedule a consultation appointment to discuss what has occurred to see whether or not the issue constitutes harassment. Other remedies may be available that are not included in the investigation and adjudication process, such as mediation between persons.

Am I required to report an incident that happened to me?

No, faculty and staff are not required to report an incident in which they were the victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking, though the University strongly encourages them to utilize the available reporting mechanisms and resources.

What if I (or an individual who reports to me) does not speak English? (¿Y si no hablo inglés?)

For guidance in Spanish, Click Here. For other languages or concerns please contact titleix@rice.edu.

Haga Clic Aquí para ayuda en Español.

What happens if I am reporting someone who is my superior?

It can be daunting to report someone who has professional power over you, including a supervisor, an advisor, a faculty member, a chair of a department, a dean, the provost, the president of the University, etc.

The feeling of powerlessness can prevent persons from reporting. However, if someone in a position of power is exerting their power through harassment, sexual harassment or any of the other prohibited behaviors, it is serious and will be treated as such by the University.

Before an investigation is launched, you have the right to consultation and you will be given all of the information necessary to make a decision as to whether or not you wish to continue to make the report. This information will include next steps, protections that are in place-including retaliation policies and privacy rights, and how the investigator will proceed.

Should you wish, you can make an anonymous report through Ethics Point, available at www.rice.edu/ethics.

If I know of this happening to someone else, who do I contact?

All faculty and staff who receive information, directly or indirectly, regarding harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking by or against a University student or employee must promptly report the incident to EEOP/AA or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Generally, reports should be made within 24 hours of receiving the information. When making a report, faculty and staff should communicate all relevant information, including whether the alleged complainant has expressed a desire for confidentiality.

This mandatory reporting obligation not only covers incidents that occur on campus, but also incidents that occur off-campus where there is a connection to the employment or educational activities of Rice University (e.g., sexual harassment during field work or a student organization trip, or at a work conference).

To make a report, please fill in this form or contact the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinator by phone or email.

Dr. Richard Baker
713-348-6405
richard.a.baker@rice.edu

Allison Vogt, LMSW
713-348-2273
avogt@rice.edu

Stacy Mosely
713-348-5829
mosely@rice.edu

How Do I Report Anonymously?

No, You may fulfill your obligation to report by reporting all available information using the Rice University Ethics Line, which is managed by the third party vendor Ethics Point. Reports may be submitted anonymously and confidentially, in English, Spanish, and many other languages. Reports will be directed to the appropriate University official for investigation. Reports will not be directed to any individual who is named within the report.

After you complete your report you will be assigned a unique code called a "report key." It is very important that you write down your report key and password and keep them in a safe place. This key will allow you to log in at any time, from any place, and follow up on your report. It will also allow you to anonymously access and answer follow up questions from Rice (if you are comfortable doing so).

This key is also your record that you fulfilled your obligation under the law.

To report anonymously, you may either call 1-866-294-4633 (toll free), or go online at at www.rice.edu/ethics (will redirect to the secure Ethics Point site)

How will my information be shared?

During the course of an investigation, information may be shared between Student Judicial Programs (student specific), RUPD, Title IX officials, human resources, EEO, and the proper persons who have a specific need to know.

If there is an investigation or adjudication, the complainant will aslo be made aware of how and to whom the information will be shared throughout the entire process.

What information about the investigation will I have access to?

If you are making a mandatory report about a situation you have been made aware of, you will not receive any more information about the case other than the report has been taken.

If you are reporting on behalf of yourself you will be told of the process, and steps being taken. There may be some pieces of information that the complainant may not have access to, including disciplinary steps taken toward the respondent. This will be clearly explained to you throughout the process.

Do the protections under this policy cover me while I’m at field work, study abroad and conferences?

The policy and rights associated with the policy is protective of students, faculty and staff when they are away at Rice sponsored events, including but not limited to conferences, study abroad and field work. These rights and protections extend even when students, faculty and staff are in their downtime-meaning that just because the conference, study, fieldwork is over for the day, it does not mean that behaviors that may be harassing are no longer subject to investigation and adjudication through the University process.

In some cases, students, faculty and staff may need to find immediate remedies, including needing to be removed from the situation. If you are experiencing harassing behaviors while off campus, you have the right to ask for immediate assistance. Please contact your immediate supervisor, Human Resources, or the Rice Wellbeing and Counseling Center at 713-348-3311.

When would sexual harassment be raised to the level of criminal charges?

While sexual harassment in itself is not criminal under the Penal Code, some behaviors that may occur during harassing may be criminal, including forcible touching with or without penetration.

Harassing behaviors, such as bullying, can become criminal if physical hitting, shoving, pinching, slapping, amongst other assaultive behaviors, occur (eg. throwing items, displaying or threatening weapons, or threatening bodily harm).

If you feel that the level to which you have experienced harassment has reached the level of a crime, you can make a report through the Police, including Rice University Police Department. 713-348-6000

For students:

If you wish to discuss this option and have a Navigator assist you, please contact The SAFE Office.

The SAFE Office:
titleixsupport@rice.edu
713-348-3311

What happens if I want to end the process?

During the course of an investigation, you will be communicated with about all next steps. Should you decide that you would like to terminate the process, it is your right to do so. However, there may be instances in which the University will need to proceed with the case for community safety. This will be clearly explained to you by the Investigator.

What are my rights to take civil remedies?

An individual who believes that they have been subjected to unlawful harassment, sexual harassment or any of the other prohibited behaviors has the right to file a complaint with an appropriate local, state, or federal agency, such as the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within applicable time limits. Individuals have a right to take civil or criminal remedies as they see fit. For cases in which civil or criminal investigations are concurrent, the University must proceed independently.

What are my rights to take criminal remedies?

An individual who believes that they have been subjected to sexual assault, dating violence or stalking, is encouraged to contact Rice University Police Department. 713-348-6000.

What is a “Responsible Employee/Mandatory Reporter”, and what happens when they make a report?

Rice will always treat with discretion any reports and details about sexual misconduct or other Title IX violations. Federal law, however, imposes obligations on many Rice employees (called “Responsible Employees” under Title IX guidance/”Mandatory Reporters under State of Texas Law) to convey reports they receive to a Title IX Coordinator.

In contrast, “Confidential Employees” are employees who are not required to convey to one of Rice’s Title IX Coordinators reports of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct or relationship violence. Students should consider this distinction when deciding to discuss with a Rice employee an occurrence of sexual misconduct.

Rice will first make sure the student is safe, and tend to any of their immediate needs. The first response is to make sure the student is safe, and to talk with the student about whether the student needs medical attention, assistance of the police or other crisis services, or other immediate and practical responses.

I have begun a relationship with someone else here at Rice, what should I do?

These relationships are covered by Policy 829. Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships in the Educational or Workplace Environment. The first step is to disclose the relationship. Types of relationships that must be disclosed:

  • A romantic or sexual relationship between a faculty member and any graduate student over whom that faculty member has either direct or indirect professional responsibility is presumed to constitute a conflict of interest, even if consensual, and to violate professional ethics and this faculty statement. That faculty member is subject to disciplinary action, including such severe sanctions as suspension or dismissal, under University Policy no. 201.
  • A romantic or sexual relationship between a faculty member and any undergraduate student is presumed to constitute a conflict of interest, even if consensual, and to violate professional ethics and this faculty statement. The faculty member is subject to disciplinary action, including such severe sanctions as suspension or dismissal, under University Policy no. 201.
  • Accepting or exercising professional responsibility for any graduate or undergraduate student with whom a faculty member has had a previous sexual or romantic relationship within the previous three years is presumed to create a conflict of interest, and to violate professional ethics and this faculty statement, unless there is prior full disclosure of the relationship to the Dean or the Provost and development of an acceptable plan to manage the conflict.
  • A current romantic or sexual relationship between a student engaged in teaching functions and a student over whom they have direct professional responsibility is presumed to constitute a conflict of interest even if consensual. The student teacher is subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct.
  • A previous romantic or sexual relationship between a student engaged in teaching functions and a student over whom they have direct professional responsibility is presumed to create a conflict of interest unless there is prior full disclosure of the relationship to the cognizant faculty supervisor, department chair and/or program director and development of an acceptable plan to manage the conflict
What monetary costs are associated with making a report?

There are no costs associated with making a report.

I would like extra support while I go through this process, who can assist me?

For students:

Title IX Resource Navigators:

Rice offers the assistance of Resource Navigators (who are all Responsible Employees) to help students who have experienced or have been accused of sexual misconduct, dating violence, stalking, or sex discrimination. Students may call The SAFE Office (713) 348-3311 and ask to speak with a “Resource Navigator.” Resource Navigators are available during business hours to talk with students about resources and accommodations Rice can offer on an interim or final basis as a result of a Title IX investigation. Resource Navigators are available to discuss possible supportive interim measures. Resource Navigators can also assist students reporting sexual misconduct in seeking medical treatment, hospital transport, or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) exams after a sexual assault, as well as facilitating contacts with appropriate law enforcement officials. Resource Navigators can also accompany a student and provide support through Rice’s disciplinary system or through the criminal complaint process. A Resource Navigator’s presence in disciplinary meetings and hearings may be in addition to the single support person allowed in the meeting or hearing. Resource Navigators are “Responsible Employees” for Title IX purposes and are obligated to disclose reports to a Title IX Coordinator.

24 hour resources: You can also contact these resources 24 hours a day, seven days per week:

RUPD
(713) 348-6000 (answered 24 hours a day)
dispatch@rice.edu

Rice Counseling Center
(713) 348-3311 (answered 24 hours a day)
rucc@rice.edu

Houston Area Women’s Center
(713) 528-RAPE (7273) (answered 24 hours a day)
www.hawc.org

the Montrose Center (LGBT Specific)
(713) 529-0037 (answered 24 hours a day)
www.montrosecenter.org

During business hours: You can contact these resources during normal business hours:

The SAFE Office
(713) 348-3311
titleixsupport@rice.edu

Student Judicial Programs
(713) 348-4786 (normal business hours)

For Faculty and Staff:

Employee Assistance Program:

With the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Rice employees and their loved ones can access free, convenient, and confidential services on a variety of different topics. Some of the services Rice’s EAP offers include counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional, legal and financial resources, WorkLife referrals, and more. All EAP services are private and completely confidential, and are available to you, your family members, dependents, or anyone significant in your life. An experienced consultant is just a phone call away!

The Rice University EAP is administered by the University of Texas’ Employee Assistance Program (UTEAP), located in the Texas Medical Center. UTEAP provides experienced consultants offering face-to-face sessions on specific issues, free informational booklets, audio recordings, and referrals to resources and services in your community. Every Rice employee (including anyone significant in your life), has access for 3 free counseling sessions per issue, in addition to the other resources available online. Rice’s EAP is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You may contact a UTEAP consultant at (713) 500-3327 or toll-free at (800) 346-3549 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you may access Rice’s EAP online portal (Username: owls; Password: owls) to take advantage of helpful resources.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact us at (713) 348-4791 or email Employee Relations at employeerelations@rice.edu.

Houston Area Women’s Center
(713) 528-RAPE (7273) (answered 24 hours a day)
www.hawc.org

the Montrose Center (LGBT Specific)
(713) 529-0037 (answered 24 hours a day)
www.montrosecenter.org

If I do not agree with the outcome of the investigation, what is the appeals process?

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation, you have the right to appeal. You also have a right to have the appeals process explained to you. Below is information about the processes. Please note the information provided below is provided to help you understand the process and you should verify the steps with the adjudicator before making your appeal. Finally, appeals have timeframes, which will be explained to you and should be considered absolute.

For Students:

Decisions made under the Code of Student Conduct are appealable by either the reporting or responding party.

Procedures for appeal. Except as otherwise noted, a student eligible to appeal and who wishes to appeal must do so, in writing, within 10 business days of the date of the written notification of the decision. The student appealing should explain the basis of the appeal in writing. The judicial official or body may respond in writing. Normally there are no oral presentations during the appeals process; the appellate decision is made based on the written presentations and the record of the proceedings. An oral presentation may be made if the person deciding the appeal believes an oral presentation would be helpful. Students should limit the page length of their appeal statement to five standard letter–sized pages or less. The path of appeals varies based on the decision-maker.

For Faculty :

Depending on your situation you may fall under one of two processes:

Rice University Policy 201 8.b.3

A faculty member who believes that an imposed sanction that has been described as minor is actually a severe sanction, or that a minor sanction has been unjustly imposed, may submit a grievance petition to the Faculty Senate Convenor of Appeals and Grievances for such action as may be appropriate. Grievances arising from normal salary administration will not be covered by this policy.

Faculty Senate Rules for Appeals and Grievances:

On the recommendation of the Convenor of Appeals and Grievances, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate may constitute panels of faculty to investigate appeals of decisions on promotion and tenure.

For more information, please follow the link below:

https://senate.rice.edu/sites/g/files/bxs1911/f/Rules%20for%20A%20and%20G%20Senate%209.28.2011.pdf

I have been accused of harassment/sexual harassment, sexual assault dating violence or stalking. What happens next?

Being accused of harassment can be stressful. It may require that you take time from your typical activities to go to meetings, answer emails, etc. The process will be explained fully to you as you move through the investigation and your right to privacy will be respected.

For responding students:

You can contact The SAFE Office to request a Title IX Resource Navigator who will act as a supportive resource. This person will be able to help you determine what your next steps are, give you information about the process, and will accompany you to any meetings you may have with Student Judicial Programs.

You may also choose to have someone else act as your support person, such as a friend, family member, or other trusted person. You can have both a Resource Navigator and an additional support person.

Your Resource Navigator can assist you with referrals for additional support through the Rice Counseling Center, Academic Advising, the Student Wellbeing Office and off-campus referrals if you choose.

Your wellbeing and safety are important to us. If you feel you are being threatened as a result of the accusation, we can assist you with a Rice-specific safety plan. It is also important that you cease contact with the accuser.

To schedule an appointment, email us or dial x. 3311/ (713) 348-3311 or come by the Wellbeing and Counseling Center any time Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

You can find out more about the process you will work through with Student Judicial Programs in the Sexual Misconduct Policy or by contacting Student Judicial Programs at x. 4786/ (713) 348-4786.

For responding faculty and staff:

You will be contacted by the appropriate entity investigating the allegation, which may be the

Director of EEO or Human Resources. At this point they will describe the allegation and the process in which the matter will be investigated, including taking a statement from you and next steps. You will be made aware of the persons in which the entity will need to communicate with in order to further investigate.

Should you wish, you may contact the support person of your choice, including legal counsel.

You may also contact the University’s EAP Program. Employee Assistance Program:

With the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Rice employees and their loved ones can access free, convenient, and confidential services on a variety of different topics. Some of the services Rice’s EAP offers include counseling sessions with a licensed mental health professional, legal and financial resources, WorkLife referrals, and more. All EAP services are private and completely confidential, and are available to you, your family members, dependents, or anyone significant in your life. An experienced consultant is just a phone call away!

The Rice University EAP is administered by the University of Texas’ Employee Assistance Program (UTEAP), located in the Texas Medical Center. UTEAP provides experienced consultants offering face-to-face sessions on specific issues, free informational booklets, audio recordings, and referrals to resources and services in your community. Every Rice employee (including anyone significant in your life), has access for 3 free counseling sessions per issue, in addition to the other resources available online. Rice’s EAP is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You may contact a UTEAP consultant at (713) 500-3327 or toll-free at (800) 346-3549 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you may access Rice’s EAP online portal (Username: owls; Password: owls) to take advantage of helpful resources.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact us at (713) 348-4791 or email Employee Relations at employeerelations@rice.edu.

Who will know about my report?

It is Rice University’s goal to involve as few persons at the University as possible in all reports. The staff tasked with investigating the report will communicate with the reporting person who they will need to communicate with in order to complete a thorough investigation, including the appropriate administrators, witnesses, and the respondent.

If English is not my first language, can I ask for a translator?

Yes. Rice University understands that any form of harassment or assaultive behaviors can be difficult to talk about and it may be especially difficult to effectively the nuances of a case in a second language. If you feel you would be better understood with the help of a translator, please communicate this with the investigator assigned to your case.

I have a question that I do not see answered here, who do I communicate with?

Should you have a question about the policy or about a specific case, you can email, call or send a letter to one of the Title IX Coordinators.

Dr. Richard Baker
713-348-6405
richard.a.baker@rice.edu

Allison Vogt, LMSW
713-348-2273
avogt@rice.edu

Stacy Mosely
713-348-5829
mosely@rice.edu