Sexual Assault Policy
As a private or independent University of higher education, as those terms are defined by Section 61.003 of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Howard Payne University (University) shall abide by Texas S.B. No. 968 and SECTION 1. Section 51.9363, Education Code by implementing this sexual assault policy effective January 1, 2018.
This policy is applicable to each enrolled student and each employee of the University. The University shall make this sexual assault policy available to students, faculty, and staff members by:
- including the policy in the University’s Student Handbook and Administrative Policies of Howard Payne University; and
- creating and maintaining a web page on the University’s Internet website dedicated solely to the policy.
The University shall require each entering freshman or undergraduate transfer student to participate in a program on the University’s sexual assault policy before or during the first semester or term in which the student is enrolled at the University. The University shall establish the format and content of the program.
The University shall develop and implement a public awareness campaign to inform enrolled students and employees of the University of this sexual assault policy. As part of the campaign, the University shall provide information regarding the protocol for reporting incidents of sexual assault by providing the name, office location, and contact information of the University’s Title IX coordinators, and:
- e-mailing the information to each student at the beginning of each semester or other academic term; and
- including the information in the program session.
As part of the protocol for responding to reports of sexual assault, the University shall:
- to the greatest extent practicable based on the number of counselors employed by the University, ensure that each alleged victim or alleged perpetrator of an incident of sexual assault and any other person who reports such an incident are offered counseling provided by a counselor who does not provide counseling to any other person involved in the incident; and
- notwithstanding any other law, allow an alleged victim or alleged perpetrator of an incident of sexual assault to drop a course in which both parties are enrolled without any academic penalty.
Each biennium, the University shall review the University’s sexual assault policy and, with approval of the University’s governing board, revise the policy as necessary.
Definitions of Prohibited Behavior
- Dating violence is defined as abuse or violence, or a threat of abuse or violence, against a person with whom the actor has or has had a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
- Sexual assault is defined as sexual contact or intercourse with a person without the person’s consent, including sexual contact or intercourse against the person’s will or in a circumstance in which the person is incapable of consenting to the contact or intercourse.
- Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome, sex-based verbal or physical conduct that:
in the employment context, unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment; or in the education context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities.
- Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Behavior Expectations and Sanctions
The University is exempt from certain regulator provisions of Title IX and may discriminate based on religion in employment in order to fulfill its mission.
The University is also exempt from certain regulator provisions of Title IX pertaining to student rules of behavior. The University welcomes all students into a safe and supportive environment in which to discuss and learn about a variety of issues, including those of sexuality and gender. The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality and gender as gifts from God.
Using the Bible and documents affirmed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas as the foundation for institutional policies and practices; the University affirms fidelity in marriage, purity/celibacy in singleness, marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and God’s creation of male and female through biological gender assignments. University students and employees are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with these standards of Christian morality. Students and employees who engage in behavior that violate these standards including, but not limited to, sexual activity outside of marriage, sexual activity with a person of the same sex, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and stalking are subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including:
- For students – expulsion from the University, and
- For employees – termination of employment.
Electronic Reporting Option for Certain Offenses
The University shall provide an option for an enrolled student or an employee of the University to electronically report to the University an allegation of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking committed against or witnessed by the student or employee, regardless of the location at which the alleged offense occurred. The electronic reporting option must:
- enable a student or employee to report the alleged offense anonymously; and
- be easily accessible through a clearly identifiable link on the University’s Internet website home page.
The University may contract with a third-party vendor to provide the electronic reporting option.
Amnesty for Students Reporting Certain Incidents
The University may not take any disciplinary action against a student enrolled at the University who in good faith reports to the University being the victim of, or a witness to, an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking for a violation by the student of the University’s code of conduct occurring at or near the time of the incident, regardless of the location at which the incident occurred or the outcome of the University’s disciplinary process regarding the incident, if any.
This section does not apply to a student who reports the student’s own commission or assistance in the commission of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.
The University may investigate to determine whether a report of an incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking was made in good faith. The University has discretion to determine good faith, but in no event will good faith exist if the student is found responsible for sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking at or near the time of the incident.
A determination that a student is entitled to amnesty under this policy is final and may not be revoked.
This policy may not be construed to limit the University’s ability to provide amnesty from application of the University’s policies in circumstances not described by this policy.