Policies and Definitions
Policy Against Discrimination or Harassment
The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor does not unlawfully discriminate in admissions or any of its programs or activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. The university reserves the right to take its religious convictions and principles into account in connection with its policies and decisions.
The University strives to create a campus environment that is free of unlawful discrimination and harassment for all of its students and employees. Students who violate the university’s discrimination and harassment policies are subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including expulsion and/or termination of student employment status, and may be subject to criminal charges.
On and Off-Campus Conduct: Students and employees are expected to comply with the university’s policies that prohibit unlawful discrimination, including sexual harassment, gender harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and stalking whether on or off campus. Any student who witnesses or experiences such conduct on campus or off-campus by someone who is a member of the university community is encouraged to report the matter as described on the section about Reporting.
Harassment is verbal or physical conduct by any individual which creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment. If harassment involves age, race, color, sex, gender, disability, national origin, or religion, it may be a form of illegal discrimination. Harassment is contrary to the Christian standards of conduct expected of all members of the university community. The university strictly prohibits harassment directed at any student, employee, or visitor to UMHB whether or not that conduct is illegal in the eyes of the law.
Examples of harassment include:
- communicating verbally or non-verbally, through any medium of communication, offensive or degrading jokes, comments or gestures to, about, or in the presence of another person
- degrading jokes, comments or gestures to, about or in the presence of another person
- using abusive language or directing abusive conduct toward a particular person or group
- communicating rumors, defamatory statements or inflammatory comments, verbally or non-verbally, through any medium of communication concerning a particular person or group
- Harassment, including verbal and nonverbal behaviors that convey insulting, hostile and degrading attitudes about persons based on their gender.
- Bullying (any kind of conduct, speech, gesture, communication or other act which causes or is intended to cause one to suffer fear of physical harm, alarm, intimidation, humiliation or embarrassment, or which creates a hostile environment). Bullying can be a form of unlawful harassment. Whether the conduct is illegal or not, bullying is prohibited by the university.
- Sexual Harassment, including sexual violence (see below for more information)
- Retaliation for having reported the harassment.
More about Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence “Sexual harassment” is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
One kind of sexual harassment occurs when decisions about a student’s grades, educational opportunities, or university employment depend on the student’s response to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. At other times sexual harassment may create an environment which is hostile to education or university employment. Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment whenever it is sufficiently severe or pervasive to interfere with a person’s work or educational performance or to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, benefits, services, or opportunities. Even a single instance may be sufficient to constitute a hostile environment (for example, in the case of a sexual assault). Sexual harassment is defined by the perception of the person who feels harassed: does it involve sexual conduct unwelcome to that person? In other words, sexual harassment is subjective and it is “in the eye of the beholder.” Conduct can be sexual harassment whether or not any sexual harassment or hostile feelings were intended.
Examples of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment may take many forms, including but not limited to:
- Verbal Conduct such as epithets, derogatory comments, slurs or unwanted sexual advances, invitations or comments. Other examples include such conduct as persistent, unwanted sexual or romantic attention; discussing or rating another’s sexual attributes, attractiveness, or clothing; or asking or commenting about someone's sexuality or sex life.
- Visual/Electronic Conduct such as derogatory posters, cartoons, calendars, drawings, pictures, or text, whether disseminated through hard copy or electronically through e-mail, internet, or other mediums.
- Physical Conduct such as unnecessary touching, patting, hugging or brushing against another’s body; assault; blocking normal movement; or interference with work that is sexual in nature and directed at an individual because of his/her gender.
- Threats and Demands to submit to sexual requests in order to keep a job, or academic status, or to avoid some other loss, and offers of job benefits or academic opportunity in return for sexual favors.
Sexual Violence, Sexual Misconduct, and Stalking
Sexual violence refers to a broad range of physical sexual acts perpetrated without a person’s consent, including where a person is incapable of giving consent due to an intellectual or other disability or to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. 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 when they occur on campus or when students experience the continuing effects of off-campus sexual harassment in the educational setting.
Stalking is engaging in a pattern of threatening conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her own safety; the safety of a family member; the safety of someone the person is dating; or the safety of property belonging to any of those persons. Stalking violates the university’s code of conduct and is a felony under Texas law. Stalking may also be a form of sexual harassment when it occurs on campus or when students experience its continuing effects in the educational setting.
UMHB will be guided by the understanding that human sexuality is a gift from the creator God and that the purpose of this gift includes the procreation of human life and the uniting and strengthening of the marital bond in self-giving love. These purposes are to be achieved through heterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God’s gift will be understood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication, and homosexual behavior.
UMHB will strive to deal in a constructive and redemptive manner with all who fail to live up to this high standard. Nothing will be done to encourage abortions or other drastic actions that might bring great harm to those involved. Dealing individually with each case, efforts will be made to counsel and assist those involved. Constructive forgiveness will guide all efforts. Consistent with the statement of UMHB concerning sexual misconduct, the university shall thoroughly review the facts and circumstances of each allegation of sexual misconduct involving a student and determine if the allegation is supported by credible evidence. The university may impose a sanction against the individual that is appropriate for the act committed. In doing so, the university shall offer counsel and assistance to the individual so that the sanction imposed may be a catalyst for redemption in his or her life.
The Importance of Consent
Students must also be aware that engaging in conduct of a sexual nature without the consent of both persons involved may constitute sexual assault. Consent is an active agreement to engage in a certain act or be exposed to a certain situation. Sexual activity without meaningful, explicit, and ongoing consent may be a violation of state and local law. This includes forcing, threatening or coercing an individual into sexual contact under duress and/or against his or her free will. When consent is requested verbally or physically, the absence of any explicit verbal or physical response constitutes lack of consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time, but once consent has been established a person who changes his or her mind should communicate the withdrawal of consent through words or actions.
A person may be incapable of giving consent due to age, an intellectual or other disability, being asleep or unconscious, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If a person is incapacitated (that is, lacking the physical or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments) to the extent that he or she cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there can be no consent. Sexual activity becomes sexual assault if a sober, reasonable person in the position of the person who is initiating further sexual activity would have known that the other person was incapable of consent.
Because incapacity may be difficult to discern, students should err on the side of caution. When in doubt, assume the other person is incapacitated and unable to give effective consent. The responsibility for establishing true consent falls on the initiator of further sexual activity, even if that person has also been drinking.
Being impaired by alcohol or drugs is never a defense to a complaint of violating the university’s policy on sexual misconduct.
Susan Owens, Title IX Coordinator
900 College Street, Belton, TX 76513
email@example.com • (254) 295-4527
Page last updated September 27, 2018