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 our Houston Baptist University community life. According to the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission guidelines:

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:

  • Associate Vice President for Student Life
  • Director of Residential Life
  • University Chaplain
  • Director of Student Ministry
  • Directors of Residence Colleges
  • University Counselor
  • Director 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.

Houston Baptist University’s Response to Sexual Harassment

Because of the sensitivity of sexual harassment issues, each case will be promptly and thoroughly investigated in the strictest confidence to determine whether sexual harassment has occurred. All investigations will be designed to protect the privacy of and minimize suspicion toward, all parties concerned.

Any student found guilty of violating Houston Baptist University’s Sexual Harassment Policy will be subject immediately to appropriate disciplinary action. These sanctions, which also may be combined include:

a. Disciplinary warning
b. Disciplinary sanctions
c. Disciplinary probation
d. Residence College suspension
e. Disciplinary suspension
f. Disciplinary dismissal