Sexual Misconduct/Title IX

Rice University takes any allegations of sexual misconduct seriously. Under Rice policy, there are several types of sexual misconduct that are prohibited in order to preserve a safe working and learning environment at the university. Please find the definitions and types of prohibited conduct below.

Advisor

An individual who is selected by a party (Complainant or Respondent) and who may help the party prepare a formal complaint and prepare for meetings and hearings and also accompanies the party in any hearings under this policy, and advises the participant during the appeals process.

Complainant

An individual who claims to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or sexual misconduct (as defined in this policy).

Confidential Resource Employee

Rice employee designated as a person with whom students may speak confidentially. At Rice, these employees are the staff of a counseling or health center when acting in their capacity as a counseling or health professional. These employees must communicate to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator the type and number of incidents reported to them, but do not report information that would violate the Complainant’s expectation of privacy, except as required by law. If faculty or staff would like to speak with a confidential resource, they should contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Consent

For purposes of this Policy, consent is defined as an active, ongoing, and voluntary agreement by each participant to engage in sexual activity or sexual contact, communicated by clear actions or words. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.

Dating Violence

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, including sexual or physical abuse, or threats of such abuse. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence

Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Education Program or Activity

The locations, events, or circumstances over which Rice exercises substantial control over both the parties and the context in which the sexual harassment or sexual misconduct occurs, including but not limited to classrooms, residential colleges, and online course platforms. This also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by Rice.

Formal Complaint

A formal complaint is a written document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct against a Respondent and requesting that Rice investigate the allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct.

Incapacitation
  • A person is incapacitated (not legally competent) and cannot consent to sexual activity if the person is unconscious or otherwise unable to resist; the person is unaware that sexual activity is occurring; or the person does not have the legal capacity to consent (for example, if they are under statutory age for consent, which in the State of Texas is 17 years old.
  • Rice will consider a variety of relevant factors when determining if someone is incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drugs. Those factors include, but are not limited to, the ability to control one’s physical movements such as stumbling or falling, the lack of awareness of the current circumstances or surroundings, slurred or incomprehensible speech, the ability to communicate, combativeness or other emotional volatility, vomiting or incontinence. The determination of incapacitation is based on objective and reasonably apparent indications of incapacitation when viewed from the perspective of a sober, reasonable person.
Mandatory Reporter(or “Responsible Employee)
  • Any individual who is employed by Rice University is considered a Mandatory Reporter, and has a duty to report information they receive, directly or indirectly, regarding harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking by or against a University student or employee, unless they have been designated as a Confidential Resource Employee. Students, student workers, or teaching assistants are not Mandatory Reporters, however, they are strongly encouraged to report.
  • All Mandatory Reporters are required by Texas law to report information relating to sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator (see https://aeeo.rice./sexual-harassment).
Reporter

Any person who reports incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault or other forms of unwanted sexual contact, dating violence, and stalking to any responsible employee. A reporter who is reporting activity that happened to them personally is also considered a Complainant.

SAFE Office

Provides interpersonal misconduct prevention and support services to students who are reporting an incident of interpersonal violence perpetrated against them, and to students who have been accused of perpetrating interpersonal violence.

Sexual Assault

Any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by federal or state law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent, and any offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reporting program. This term includes the following:

  • Rape -The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  • Fondling -The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  • Incest -Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory Rape -Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent (which in the State of Texas is at least seventeen (17) years old).
Sexual Harassment (Title IX)

For the purpose of Title IX and this policy, sexual harassment is conduct on the basis of a person’s sex or gender that is one of the following:

  • A Rice employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or a service on anindividual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Rice’s education programs or activities.

Note: Employees must also be aware that employee conduct may also be subject to adjudication under Policy 830, which has a different definition of sexual harassment (based on Title VII and state law)

Sexual Misconduct (Title IX)

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Sexual Misconduct (Non-Title IX)

Unwelcome conduct that is based on sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation, but that is not explicitly prohibited under Title IX. This includes any conduct that is severe or pervasive and is reasonably regardedas offensive and has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the educational or work opportunities of students, staff, faculty or colleagues, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment. Sexual Misconduct (Non-Title IX) is prohibited and will be adjudicated under other policies (including Policy 830 Harassment and Discrimination or the Code of Student Conduct). Specifically, prohibited Sexual Misconduct (Non-Title IX) includes:

  • Continued unwelcomecontact, advances, or requests that are sexual in nature
  • Unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that is sexual in nature
  • Non-consensual touching or kissing (that does not meet the definition of fondling)
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Lewd or inappropriate sexual verbal comments, or online postings
  • Sexual harassment that does not meet the definition under Title IX, but that still rises to the level of severe or pervasive conduct that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive
Stalking

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and on the basis of sex that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. A “course of conduct” may be established when an individual directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

Student

An individual who is either currently enrolled or attempting to enroll in a Rice University academic program or activity. This term includes undergraduate or graduate students who are working on campus, teaching or researching (provided they are enrolled).

Supportive Measures

Supportive measures are actions or services offered by Rice to aid or comfort a reporter, Respondent, or witness. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary and non-punitive, and will be as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the individual. Supportive measures are available before or after the filing of a formal complaint, or where no formal complaint has been filed.

Title IX Coordinator

The person who has been designated at Rice to coordinate efforts to comply with and implement this policy. The Title IX Coordinator may designate one or more Deputy Title IX Coordinators. These Title IX Coordinators are available to discuss options, provide support, explain University policies and procedures, and provide education on relevant issues. To contact a Title IX Coordinator, please email: titleix@rice.edu.

The person who has been designated at Rice to coordinate efforts to comply with and implement this policy. TheTitle IX Coordinator may designate one or more Deputy Title IX Coordinators. These Title IX Coordinators are available to discuss options, provide support, explain University policies and procedures, and provide education on relevant issues. To contact a Title IX Coordinator, please email: titleix@rice.edu.

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