September 27, 2017

To:        All Faculty, Staff, and Students

From:        Diana Natalicio

Subject:    University Policy Statement on Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment and Consensual Relationships

The University of Texas at El Paso (“University” or “UTEP”) is committed to an academic and employment environment free from inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination and will not be tolerated.  Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, and or dating violence.  The University policy is applicable to faculty, staff, students, and third parties. It applies to conduct regardless of where it occurs, including off University property, if it potentially affects the individual’s education or employment with the University.  The University strictly prohibits and condemns such conduct and will take prompt disciplinary action against any individuals, or organizations within its control who are found to have engaged in sexual misconduct and/or sexual harassment.

Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing a range of non-consensual sexual activity or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature.  

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:
•    The submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s student status, employment or participation in University activities.
•    Such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s education, employment, or participation in University activities, or creates an objectively hostile environment.    
•    Such conduct is intentionally directed towards a specific individual and has the effect of unreasonably interfering with that individual’s education, employment or participation in University activities, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance. Title IX applies to issues of program equity such as in college athletics. Title IX also applies to sex discrimination in the form of sexual harassment or sexual violence.  Sexual violence may include rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, stalking, and relationship violence.  

UTEP is also committed to maintaining learning and work environments as free as possible from conflicts of interest and favoritism.  UTEP’s Consensual Relationships Policy applies to all University administrators, faculty, staff, and students.  The following consensual relationships, even if a single event, are prohibited:    

a)    A consensual relationship between a supervisor (defined to also include faculty members) and supervisee regardless of whether the supervisory relationship is direct or indirect, unless the supervisor discloses the relationship in advance and a management plan is in effect.       
b)    A consensual relationship between a coach or athletic staff and any student athlete or student assigned to or associated with the athletics department, such as interns and student employees.  
c)    A consensual relationship between a faculty member and a student who is enrolled in the faculty member’s course or otherwise under the supervision of the faculty member.

This policy is not intended to discourage the interaction of faculty and students or supervisors and employees where it is appropriate and ethical; however, it is intended to clarify that romantic or sexual relationships in the academic and employment environments often create situations that lead to sexual harassment, conflicts of interest, favoritism, and low morale.  

Complaints of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or Title IX should be made to the Equal Opportunity (EO) Office, Kelly Hall, Room 302.  To the extent legally possible, complaints will remain confidential, and information will be provided only to those persons who must know in order to achieve a timely resolution of the complaint.  Harassment or retaliation against an individual filing discrimination charges is illegal and will not be tolerated.  A copy of the complaint procedure is available at the EO Office or electronically at: www.admin.utep.edu/eoaa.

Complaints regarding a possible violation of UTEP’s Consensual Relationships Policy should be made to the Office of Human Resources.