Sexual Harassment Policy
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Acts of 1964. Such behavior has the potential of threatening an individual’s academic performance, economic livelihood, career advancement, psychological and spiritual well-being, as well as Houston Baptist University community life. The Federal Equal Opportunity Commission guidelines clearly define sexual harassment:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic advancement.
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual.
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.
Sexual harassment most often occurs in situations where one person abuses the power he or she has over another person, thereby violating the boundaries and trust implicit in that relationship. However, harassment can also occur between equals (i.e., student to student). Any member of the Houston Baptist University community is a possible victim of sexual harassment, although historically women are most often victimized.
Sexual Harassment Can Involve
- Professor and professor
- Professor and student
- Supervisor / superior and employee
- Employee and employee
- Student and student
- Other relationships among colleagues, peers, and co-workers
Sexual Harassment Can Take Many Forms
- Verbal harassment may include innuendo, humor and jokes about sex or gender-specific traits, implied, or blatant verbal threats.
- Physical harassment may include offensive contact (patting, pinching, brushing against the body, etc.), blocking movement, attempted or actual fondling or kissing, or any other form of coerced sexual contact. (A separate section on sexual assault follows the harassment information.)
- Non-verbal harassment may include insulting, whistling, gestures, or leering.
How To Deal With A Sexual Harassment Situation
HBU takes sexual harassment complaints by students, faculty, administration, and staff very seriously. Sexual harassment hurts our whole community when it occurs. In addition to violating the law, as well as University policy, it violates the University goal of developing a community where relationships are based on trust and mutual respect.
Any student believing he/she is being harassed, or otherwise feeling in need of advice or support is encouraged to immediately see one of the following people:
- Vice President of Student Life
- University Minister
- Director of Baptist Student Ministries
- Appropriate personnel in the Office of Human Resources
Faculty, administrators, and staff believing they are being harassed or feeling in need of advice are encouraged to see the Director of Human Resources as soon as possible.
Students are encouraged to seek assistance even if they are unsure that what they are experiencing is sexual harassment. Do not allow sexual harassment to jeopardize your rights and opportunities as a student here at Houston Baptist University for work or education. The University wants to work with students to attempt to resolve sexual harassment issues but cannot do so unless reports are received by the appropriate personnel listed above.
Faculty, administrators, and staff who believe they are being harassed or feeling in need of advice are encouraged to see the University General Counsel or appropriate personnel in the Office of Human Resources as soon as possible, preferably within three work days. Students are encouraged to seek assistance even if they are unsure that what they are experiencing is sexual harassment. Do not allow sexual harassment to jeopardize your rights and opportunities as a student here at Houston Baptist University for work or education. The University wants to work with students to attempt to resolve sexual harassment issues but cannot do so unless reports are received by the appropriate personnel listed above.
Reprisals or retaliation towards any person for alleging sexual harassment or for filing a sexual harassment complaint or charge is illegal and a violation of University policy. Any person who retaliates against a complainant will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including, in the case of a student, expulsion, and in the case of an employee, termination of employment. Knowingly making false allegations of sexual harassment or providing evident with the knowledge that it is false is also a violation of University policy and will subject a person to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or dismissal. Those persons responsible for investigating and resolving complaints of sexual harassment will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of both the complainant and the respondent. All complaints of sexual harassment, investigation documents, and documents relative to the resolution of the complaint will remain confidential. In cases in which it is determined that sexual harassment occurred, the University will take appropriate action with or without concurrence from the complainant.