Chapter 21: University Policies

Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment Policies

Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Santa Clara University is committed to providing an environment free of gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence and assault, relationship (dating and domestic) violence, and stalking. The University provides resources and reporting options to students, faculty, and staff to address concerns related to gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct prohibited by Title IX and University policy, and, through training and education, works to prevent its occurrence. The University seeks to provide a consistent, caring, and timely response when sexual and gender-based misconduct occurs within the University community. When the University becomes aware of allegations of sexual misconduct, it will take prompt and effective action. This action may include an initial assessment of safety and well-being, implementing interim remedies at no cost to the complainant for protection and support, discussing how the complainant wishes to proceed, initiating an investigation, and identifying appropriate avenues for resolution. The University's response will be overseen by the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.

The University's Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all students, faculty, and staff, and includes any individual regularly or temporarily employed, studying, living, visiting, or serving in an official capacity at Santa Clara University (including volunteers and contractors). The policy applies to both on-campus and off-campus conduct and to online actions that have a potential or actual adverse impact on any member of the University community, or which substantially interferes with a person's ability to participate in University activities, or which could affect a substantial University interest or its educational mission. For more information about reporting, response, and adjudication, please see the University's Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy or contact the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX,

NOTE: The Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations to be effective August 14, 2020. The University will update relevant policies and procedures including the Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy to ensure compliance and will post revisions online at

The University adheres to California's definition of affirmative consent for sexual activity. Affirmative consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.

For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.

Consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced. The question of whether the responding party should have known of the reporting party's incapacity is an objective inquiry as to what a reasonable person, exercising sober judgment, would have known, in the same or similar circumstances.

Consent is not voluntary if forced or coerced. Force is the use of physical violence or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening, asleep, or unconscious for any reason. A person violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone they know to be, or should know to be, physically or mentally incapacitated. This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, or the consumption of incapacitating drugs or alcohol. Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g. to understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of their sexual interaction).

Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual's state and is not synonymous with (under the) influence, impairment, intoxication, inebriation, blackout, or being drunk. It is not an excuse that the responding party was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the reporting party.

Reporting Options

There are confidential and non-confidential reporting options available. Confidential Resources include on and off campus mental counselors, health service providers, local rape crisis counselors, domestic violence resources, and members of the clergy and chaplains. Confidential on-campus resources include CAPS, Cowell Center, 408-554-4501; Wellness Center, 862 Market Street, 408-554-4409; and members of the clergy or chaplains. Confidential means that what a reporting party shares will not be communicated with anyone else unless except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or abuse of a minor.

Reporting to Law Enforcement

For immediate, emergency assistance or to report a crime of sexual violence, including sexual assault, domestic/dating violence (intimate partner violence), and stalking students, contact the Santa Clara Police Department, dial 911, or contact Campus Safety Services at 408-554-4444.

Reporting to the University

To report an incident to the University, students may:

  • Report directly to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX
  • Report online at
  • Report anonymously using EthicsPoint at

Other campus non-confidential reporting options: Students may report incidents and seek support from other University officials, including:

  • The Office of Student Life,
  • The Office of Residence Life (including Community Facilitators, Resident Directors, Assistant Resident Directors, Neighborhood Representatives, and Assistant Area Coordinators),
  • Spirituality Facilitators,
  • The Office of Housing,
  • Athletics and Recreation,
  • The Center for Student Leadership,
  • The Drahmann Center,
  • Office of Accessible Education (OAE),
  • The Career Center, and
  • Campus Ministry.

These University resources are required to report incidents to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, who will oversee the investigation and resolution process. At the time a report is made, a complainant does not have to decide whether or not to request or participate in an investigation or University resolution process.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

Santa Clara University's fundamental principles of academic excellence through diversity and inclusion is central to the University's Jesuit, Catholic values, and requires us to provide a workplace and educational environment free from discrimination. In accordance with federal and state law, Santa Clara University does not discriminate and prohibits discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, registered domestic partner status, veteran or military status, physical or mental disability (including perceived disability), medical condition (including cancer related or genetic characteristics), pregnancy (including childbirth, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions), or other protected classes under the law. This policy therefore affects employment policies and actions, as well as the delivery of educational services at all levels and facilities of the University including in admissions, scholarships and loan programs, athletics, hiring, promotion, job assignment, retention, and compensation. The University will promptly investigate all complaints of protected class discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and related retaliation in accordance with University's Policy on Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct and applicable federal and state laws.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Santa Clara University is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination based on sex and provides a number of resources and services to assist students, faculty, and staff in addressing issues involving sex discrimination. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or forms of sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking also prohibited by University Policy.

Inquiries regarding the University's equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the Director for the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX who serves as the University's designated Title IX Coordinator and ADA/504 Coordinator, and Affirmative Action Officer.

Belinda Guthrie, Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX
Santa Clara University
Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Office Location: Loyola Hall, Suite 140, 425 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053
Main Office: 408-551-3043 | Direct Line: 408-554-4113

Sex discrimination claims or other inquiries concerning the application of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and its implementing regulations may also be directed to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, the Assistant Secretary, Office for Civil Rights or both, and to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and/or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).

Americans with Disabilities Act / Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

Santa Clara University, in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) does not discriminate on the basis of disability in administration of its education-related programs and activities. The University is committed to providing individuals with disabilities including those with learning disabilities, ADHD, chronic health conditions, traumatic brain injuries, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, psychological disorders, visual impairments, and other health impairments equal access to academic courses, programs, activities, services and employment opportunities, and strives in its policies and practices to provide for the full participation of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of University life.

For information concerning policies and procedures for students with disabilities, see the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) website, Students with disabilities who are registered with the OAE office may be qualified to receive accommodations, auxiliary aids or services based on supporting documentation. To register with OAE, contact the Director at 408-554-4109 or by email at Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources for information on how to request employee disability-related accommodations, auxiliary aids or services,

Students, faculty, and staff who believe they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability, or have been denied access to services or accommodations required by law, should contact the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX,

Drug-free Policies

It is the goal of Santa Clara University to maintain a drug-free workplace and campus. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, and/or use of controlled substances or the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol is prohibited on the Santa Clara University campus, in the workplace, or as part of any of the University’s activities. This includes the unlawful use of controlled substances or alcohol in the workplace even if it does not result in impaired job performance or in unacceptable conduct.

The unlawful presence of any controlled substance or alcohol in the workplace and campus itself is prohibited. The workplace and campus are presumed to include all Santa Clara premises where the activities of the University are conducted.

Violations will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment for faculty and staff or expulsion of students. A disciplinary action may also include the completion of an appropriate rehabilitation program. Violations may also be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.

The program information is distributed on an annual basis to all faculty, staff, and students. New staff employees are given a copy at New Employee Orientation. New faculty employees are given a copy at New Faculty Orientation. The program is reviewed at least biennially by the Office of Student Life, Affirmative Action Office, and the Department of Human Resources.

Policy For Withdrawal For Health Reasons

Withdrawal for Health Reasons

Students may experience an illness, injury, or psychological condition that significantly impairs their ability to function successfully or safely in their role as students. In these instances, the Policy for Withdrawal for Health Reasons allows time away from the University for treatment and recovery until functioning is restored to a level that will enable the student to return to the University. The purpose of this policy is to set forth the procedures for student withdrawals from the University for reasons of health and/or safety. The University has designated four categories relating to withdrawal. They differ according to who initiates the action, whether it is voluntary or not, and the re-enrollment procedures.

The Vice Provost for Student Life or designee, in consultation with the appropriate mental and medical health professionals and other staff as deemed necessary, is responsible for the implementation of this policy as stated in the Student Handbook.

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