Title IX and UT Tyler

Sexual Harassment

The University of Texas at Tyler

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights ACT of 1964.

Definition: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome, unreciprocated and unwanted sexual attention, gestures or touching, occurring to an extent in which they adversely interfere with your life because of their severity and persistence.

The UT Tyler sexual harassment policy states, "The University of Texas at Tyler is committed to the principle that the university learning and working environment be free from inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated and individuals who engage in such conduct will be subjected to disciplinary action," whether on or off campus.

Understanding who is the target of sexual harassment:

  • According to "Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus" (AAUW Educational Foundation 2005), males and females reported having experienced sexual harassment at similar rates, but the types of harassment they experience are different.
  • Men as well as women are protected, including when the harasser and victim are of the same sex, and regardless of either person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Third parties are protected when harassment is directed at others, or when offensive sexual conduct between consenting participants adversely affects the third party's work or learning environment.
  • Supervisors, instructors and other persons in positions of authority are protected against sexual harassment by their subordinates.

What about the consensual relationship?

(Review with team. The HOP states it is prohibited between faculty and students.)

The University of Texas at Tyler strongly discourages consenting romantic or sexual relationships between members of the university community when one person has power of authority over the other. Romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty and students, staff and students, or supervisors and subordinate employees have the potential for adverse consequences.

With consent of both parties there may be perception of conflicts of interest or unfair treatment of others. Because faculty and staff have the power to give or withhold rewards such as praise, grades and recommendations, this further limits the extent to which a sexual relationship between faculty, staff and students can be considered truly consensual.

There are similar problems with an apparently consenting relationship between supervisor and employee. Even if a subordinate student or employee does not appear to object to a sexual relationship, this does not mean the person welcomes the relationship. Moreover, someone else may claim that the participant in a consenting relationship received preferential treatment and may file a complaint of sex discrimination against the faculty member or supervisor.

For more information on consensual relationships please refer to the Handbook of Operating Procedures, Section 2.4.6, Consensual Relations.

What to do when sexual harassment happens to us or someone we know:

  1. Say "NO." Tell harasser firmly and clearly that the comments are unwelcome. Don't think harassment will go away if you ignore it, and don't think it is your fault.
  2. Keep record of all dates, times, places and the types of incidents that have occurred, and make a note of any witness. This information can be used to support a complaint. Be accurate and thorough.
  3. Believe what has happened; do not judge. Questioning or disbelieving your friend will only increase the pain. Be supportive and let the survivor know she/he is not to blame. Be available, patient and understanding.
  4. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What are the effects of sexual harassment?

All effects of sexual harassment are harmful. Sexual harassment is not funny. It is degrading and upsetting. It is not "just the way things are." Victims often drop out of school. Those who stay may have problems concentrating, studying or attending classes. They may decline academically.

People who are subjected to sexual harassment often feel powerless to stop the situation. They have constant fear of running into the perpetrator, and often avoid academic and social activities. They may develop clinical symptoms of trauma or anxiety that affects their mental and physical health (PTSD).

Who can help?

Students may report an incident of sexual harassment to the director of any office in the Division of Student Affairs or to any faculty member or administrator with whom the complainant feels comfortable in discussing the matter.

A faculty member, administrator, supervisor or staff member may report an incident of sexual harassment to an immediate supervisor or to any other faculty member, supervisor or administrator with whom the complainant feels comfortable in discussing the matter.

More information on reporting sexual harassment or assault; discrimination; or student misconduct.