New law requires Rice employees to report any sexual misconduct

Employees must acknowledge policy by Oct. 11

A new law passed by the Texas Legislature now requires all university employees to promptly report any incident of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence or stalking they witness or are made aware of to the university.

Senate Bill 212 also makes it a criminal offense and requires termination of employment for a knowing failure to report an incident or making a false report. A revised Rice Policy 830 on Harassment and Sexual Misconduct, which does not require employees to report incidents in which they are the victim, was approved by the Rice Board of Trustees Sept. 11.

Employees must complete an online form acknowledging the revised policy by Oct. 11 at https://policy830.rice.edu.

In a letter to the campus, President David Leebron said that when the Texas law was passed, a working group chaired by Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby and Professor Julie Fette had already been reviewing university policy and consulting with stakeholders.

“The result was a thoughtful revision to our existing harassment policy, a new policy on consensual relationships and enhanced resources to support individuals throughout the process,” Leebron wrote. “After the new Texas law was enacted, a separate task force revised the working group’s draft to ensure it met the requirements of the new statute.”

“We want to make sure that everyone knows their responsibilities under this new law,” said Chief Compliance Officer Ken Liddle, “but speaking up has always been part of our culture.”

The revised Policy 830, as well as the new Policy 829 on consensual relationships, frequently asked questions and other resources, are available at https://policy830.rice.edu/.  The site also includes a form that can be used to make any required reports.

A series of in-person question and answer sessions will be held over the next month.  Employees are invited to attend one of the sessions or email titleix@rice.edu with questions.

 

About Arie Passwaters

Arie Wilson Passwaters is a Web editor in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.