Rutgers Board Adopts Universitywide Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and Violence

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—In October 2015, Rutgers University's Board of Governors approved a new article to the student code of conduct that prohibits various behaviors such as sexual harassment, stalking and violence.

The policy, 10.3.12, was devised by the school's Title IX Committee, with representatives from all three major campuses of the university, and was announced by University President Robert Barchi in a campuswide email on February 4.

"I am pleased to announce a new University-wide policy that will help to protect our students from sexual violence and which reaffirms our commitment to fostering an environment that is safe, secure, and free from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault and all other forms of sexual misconduct," wrote Barchi.

Titled "Student Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Related Misconduct," the policy was drafted in an effort to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

"Title IX" requires gender equity in educational institutions that receive federal funds, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 requires prompt, fair and impartial investigation and resolution of allegations of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.

Rutgers recognizes that it is their civic responsibility as an institution the students and parents have put their trust into, to protect all students from experiencing any and all cases of harassment and abuse within the university. 

According to the official policy statement, “The University recognizes its responsibility to increase awareness of such misconduct, prevent its occurrence, support victims, deal fairly and firmly with offenders, and diligently investigate reports of misconduct. In addressing these issues, all members of the University must come together to respect and care for one another in a manner consistent with our deeply held academic and community values.” 

This policy applies to any incident that happen on university grounds, make university students feel unsafe at the institution, or involve a victim who is currently a student of the university.

In any circumstance where students from multiple Rutgers campuses are victim, the disciplinary process would be undertaken at whichever university location the person accused is affiliated with.

For definitional purposes, this policy defines sexual harassment as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct, or communication of a sexual nature when it negatively affects the victim’s education or student life such as grades, ability to join clubs, and harming their sense of security at the institution.

Forms of sexual harassment include non-consensual intimate touching, or any type of non-consensual penetration in which the victim is unable to give consent (drunk, sleeping, etc.), is being threatened, or is being forced. This includes forcing the victim to perform sexual actions as well.

Relationship violence refers to cases of physical, sexual, or psychological harm involving current partners, former partners, or any two people who had a child together.

According to the university policy consent must be given while both parties are able to give consent (conscious and not under influence or drugs, alcohol, etc.), can be taken away at any time, and does not accept the absence of resistance as meaning consent.

According to New Jersey law, the official age of consent is sixteen years old.

The University strongly encourages students, faculty and staff to report all prohibited conduct directly to a University official, to a Title IX Coordinator, or to the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) as promptly as possible.

Reports may be made in person, in writing, via telephone, via electronic mail, or online.

Victims are also allowed to report incidents to the other police departments, but the disciplinary process of the school and the government are completely separate.