Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy
It is the policy of UTSA to maintain an educational and working environment that provides equal employment opportunity and equal access to use of University programs, services, and activities. In accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, and veteran status. Likewise, sexual harassment (including sexual violence) in any form will not be tolerated. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression are also prohibited pursuant to University policy. This policy applies to UTSA administrators, faculty, staff, students, visitors, and applicants for employment or admission as a student to UTSA. The Director of Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) serves as UTSA’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Officer and Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational institutions, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) prohibits Intimate Partner Violence pursuant to University policy.
Students may file a complaint online at the following site: EOS/Title IX Reporting Form. The Director of Equal Opportunity Services, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Office of Equal Opportunity Services (EOS) are authorized to investigate complaints. The EOS office is located in the North Paseo Building (NPB), Room 5.130, telephone number 210-458-4120.
The University keeps information confidential to the extent permitted by law. If applicable, an individual’s desire to maintain anonymity will be honored unless it constrains attempts at establishing facts and eliminating unwanted conduct. In such cases, the University balances the individual’s desire for privacy and confidentiality with its commitment to provide an environment free of harassment and discrimination. Relevant information will be provided to those with a need to know in order to achieve resolution of the complaint.
Discrimination, including harassment, is defined as conduct directed at a specific individual or a group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects their employment or education on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Harassment, as a form of discrimination, is defined as verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual or group because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression when such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s or group’s academic or work performance; or of creating a hostile academic or work environment. Constitutionally protected expression cannot be considered harassment under this policy.
Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination and includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or student status; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for evaluation in making personnel or academic decisions affecting that individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance as an administrator, faculty member, staff or student, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Sexual Misconduct, which includes Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence, is a form of sexual harassment which includes sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Sexual Violence is a violation of the Texas Penal Code, UTSA policy, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Behavior that could be considered sexual harassment includes but is not limited to: (1) physical contact of a sexual nature including touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body; (2) acts of sexual violence and intimate partner violence; (3) explicit or implicit propositions or offers to engage in sexual activity; (4) comments of a sexual nature including sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes; (5) remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body; (6) remarks about sexual activity, speculation about sexual experience; (7) exposure to sexually oriented graffiti, pictures, posters, or materials; and/or (8) physical interference with or restriction of an individual’s movements. Such conduct is expressly prohibited and offenders are subject to disciplinary action.
Any person who believes they have been subjected to discrimination or harassment is urged to immediately report the incident to EOS. Faculty and staff are required to immediately report to EOS complaints of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence made to them by faculty, staff, students, or visitors.
A person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment in violation of this policy, may take action through an informal resolution process or a formal complaint process, or both. However, the informal resolution process cannot be used for complaints of sexual violence. The informal resolution and formal complaint resolution process described in this policy are not mutually exclusive and neither is required as a precondition for choosing the other; however, they cannot both be used at the same time.
The informal resolution process may be used as a prelude or an alternative to filing a formal complaint. Informal resolution may be an appropriate choice where the conduct is not of a serious or repetitive nature and disciplinary action is not required to remedy the situation. No formal investigation is involved in the informal resolution process except as determined by EOS. Assistance is provided in an attempt to resolve possible discrimination or harassment if the individual does not wish to file a formal complaint. Such assistance includes: (1) strategies for the individual to effectively inform the offending party that his or her behavior is offensive and should cease; (2) action by an appropriate University official to stop the offensive conduct; or (3) modification of the situation in which the offensive conduct occurred. However, the University may take more formal action to ensure an environment is free of discrimination and harassment. EOS will document informal resolutions and retain such documentation.
(This complaint procedure also constitutes the grievance procedure for complaints alleging unlawful sex discrimination required under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. As used herein, “complaint” is synonymous with “grievance.”)
UTSA encourages any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment to immediately report the incident to his or her supervisor, EOS, Human Resources, or Student Conduct and Community Standards. The complainant will be advised of the procedures for filing a formal complaint of discrimination. Complaints should be filed as soon as possible after the conduct giving rise to the complaint within 30 days after the event occurred. In the case of a currently enrolled student, if the last day for filing a complaint falls prior to the end of the academic semester in which the alleged violation occurred, then the complaint may be filed within thirty (30) calendar days after the end of that semester. Complaints involving sexual violence do not have to be reported within the 30 day window, but should be reported as soon as possible.
In order to initiate the investigation process, the complainant should submit a signed, written statement setting out the details of the conduct that is the subject of the complaint, including the complainant’s name, signature, and contact information; the name of the person directly responsible for the alleged violation; a detailed description of the conduct or event that is the basis of the alleged violation; the date(s) and location(s) of the occurrence(s); the names of any witnesses to the occurrence(s); the resolution sought; and any documents or information relevant to the complaint. While an investigation may begin on the basis of an oral complaint, the complainant is strongly encouraged to file a written complaint. Complaint forms are located on the Office of Equal Opportunity Services website.
Within ten (10) working days of receipt of a complaint, EOS may either dismiss the complaint or authorize an investigation. A complaint may be dismissed if the facts alleged would not constitute discrimination or harassment; the complaint fails to allege facts relevant to discrimination or harassment; or the appropriate resolution or remedy has already been achieved or offered and rejected. If a complaint will not be investigated, EOS will notify the complainant to explain the reason for the dismissal and inform the complainant that, within fifteen (15) working days of the notification, he or she may appeal the decision not to proceed with a complaint investigation to the Chief Legal Officer, explaining why the decision was in error. A response will be sent in twenty (20) working days from receipt of the appeal. The Chief Legal Officer’s decision is final.
As part of the investigation process, the accused individual will be provided notice of the complaint and allowed a reasonable time to respond in writing. The complainant and accused individual may present documents or information believed to be relevant to the complaint. Any persons who may have relevant information will be interviewed and such interviews will be appropriately documented. The investigation will be conducted as soon as possible and, upon completion of the investigation, a written report will be issued. The report shall include: a recommendation of whether a violation of the policy occurred, an analysis of the facts discovered during the investigation, any relevant evidence, and recommended disciplinary action if a violation of the policy occurred. For employees, the report will be sent to the appropriate vice president who has authority over the respondent, and a copy will be provided to the complainant and the respondent. Title IX complaints for student on student sexual harassment will be provided to the Dean of Students (DOS) for disposition; however, in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), in complaints involving student-on-student conduct, neither the complainant nor the respondent will receive a copy of the report. In keeping with FERPA, the student complainant and student respondent will be provided letters summarizing the findings and recommendations included in the report provided to the Dean of Students (DOS). The complainant and respondent will also be allowed to review the report.
The complainant and respondent have seven (7) working days from the date of the report to submit comments regarding the report to the appropriate party for review. Within ten (10) working days of receiving any comments submitted by the complainant or respondent, the appropriate vice president for employees or the DOS for students will take one of the following actions: (1) notify both the complainant and respondent that a review is in progress; (2) request further investigation into the complaint; (3) dismiss the complaint if the results of the completed investigation are inconclusive or there is insufficient reasonable credible evidence to support the allegation(s); or (4) find that the policy was violated. A decision that the policy was violated shall be made based upon the record provided by the investigator and any comments submitted by the complainant or respondent.
The complainant and the respondent shall be informed in writing of the administrative official’s decision. If it is determined that the policy was violated, the appropriate vice president for staff or the DOS for students will refer the matter for disciplinary action under the applicable disciplinary policies and procedures. NOTE: Applicable disciplinary policies and procedures depend on the status of the respondent (i.e., student, faculty or employee).
During the complaint process, a complainant or respondent may be accompanied by a person of his or her choice; however, this individual may not actively participate in a meeting or interview.
An administrator, faculty member, student, or employee who retaliates in any way against an individual who has brought a complaint pursuant to this policy or an individual who has participated in an investigation of such a complaint is subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal. Individuals shall not be penalized, disciplined, or prejudiced who in good faith report a violation or policy, procedure or law. The Office of Equal Opportunity Services will document complaints and retain such documentation.