Sexual Violence Policy Pertaining to Students

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

This policy is designed to address the issue of sexual violence aimed at students as described in the U.S. Department of Education’s “Dear Colleague” letter dated April 4, 2011. As stated in the letter, “Sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.” It further states that “. . . this letter explains that the requirements of Title IX pertaining to sexual harassment also cover sexual violence, and lays out the specific Title IX requirements applicable to sexual violence.” It also states that “A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.”

Therefore, because the University stands against such behaviors and intends to be in compliance with Title IX, the University will take prompt, decisive action to: investigate allegations of sexual violence; initiate the disciplinary process if appropriate; and issue appropriate sanctions against any student found responsible for acts of sexual violence whether the behavior occurred on campus or off campus. The University of Tulsa respects the privacy of consensual relationships among its students and does not intend to become intrusive in these relationships. However, if these relationships should lead to a charge of sexually violent behavior or if a student is involved in an unwanted or non-consensual sexual act, then the University will assist the student who presents him/herself as a complainant as necessary and make available its conduct process to hear a complaint against an alleged perpetrator.

Furthermore, these acts may constitute violations of other University policies and regulations that may require additional proceedings. Complaints against non-student alleged perpetrators who are employed by the University may also be filed under the appropriate faculty or staff conduct-policy. Students are advised that some acts of sexual violence also may constitute a violation of Oklahoma statutes. Therefore, students may wish to pursue the matter through the state’s civil, and/or criminal systems as well as through the University.

Sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, includes a variety of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature ranging from uninvited and unwanted sexual advances, touching, requests for sexual favors, other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature including forced intercourse. As stated in the “Dear Colleague” letter, sexual violence may occur when any such act is committed “against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual may also be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability.” It can occur between persons in dating, previously non-sexual, or sexual relationships and between persons of the same sex.

Persons engaging in these behaviors, with either a stranger or friend, may be charged with and prosecuted for sexual violence under this policy or state law. An allegation of sexual violence is very serious. The reputation of both the complainant and the accused within the University community, possible legal action, and many other issues are at stake. Therefore, a knowingly false complaint will be viewed as a breach of the Student Code of Conduct and may result in a formal complaint against the student who complains falsely.

II. DEFINITIONS

A. Sexual harassment: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

B. Sexual violence: A form of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) broadly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Sexual violence is viewed under the law as an extreme form of hostile environment/sexual harassment and must be addressed. When an institution "knows or reasonably should know" about a hostile environment, they are required "to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence and address its effects." Institutions must adopt and publicize policies as well as designate at least one Title IX coordinator to respond to their obligations under the law.

C. Consent to a sexual act: A clear expression of consent to a sexual act. Consenting persons must act freely, voluntarily, and have knowledge of the act or transaction involved. Consent will not be implied by silence, mere passivity from a state of intoxication or unconsciousness. Lack of consent is implied if there is a threat of violence, if violence is in fact used, or if the accused has taken advantage of a position of influence which that person has over the complainant.

D. Non-consent to a sexual act: A lack of clear expression of consent to a sexual act.

E. Forcible sexual offense: Involvement without consent in any sexual act in which there is force, expressed or implied, or use of duress or deception upon the complainant. This may include, but is not limited to rape, sexual penetration, sodomy, or any other act as defined in this policy. This may also include forced penetration by a foreign object (including a finger). Note: For the purposes of this policy, it is emphasized that Forced Sexual Intercourse is defined as rape and includes the terms commonly referred to as "date rape" or "acquaintance rape".

F. Non-forcible sexual offense: Involvement without consent in any sexual act when the complainant is unable to give consent due to the use of drugs, alcohol, intellectual deficiency or other disability.