Aside from UNH policies and procedures, there are both federal and state laws that apply to gender discrimination including sexual violence (as that term is defined in UNH policy).
State and federal law and University policy require the University to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of students and employees, to respond to allegations of the same, to eliminate the hostile environment caused by sexual harassment, to discipline any individual found to be responsible for such harassment and to remedy any effects.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, (20 U.S.C. Section 1681)and its implementing regulation, 34 C.F.R. Part 106, is a federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender, including sexual harassment and sexual assault. Title IX applies to all public and private educational institutions receiving federal financial assistance.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is a federal law that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The law is tied to an institution's participation in federal student financial aid programs and it applies to most institutions of higher education both public and private. The Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (42 U.S.C. § 13701) established federal legal definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This act also made funding grants for reducing these crimes available to higher education institutions.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education. FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level.
New Hampshire State Law
Following the Schneider Supreme Court Decision of 1999, New Hampshire law holds the University responsible if University employees fail to report suspected cases of sexual harassment (including sexual violence) of students by University employees to appropriate individuals or offices. Any employee (or supervisor who receives a report from another employee) receiving such information should promptly report it to the Civil Rights and Equity Office, and for sexual violence, to UNH Police.
All UNH faculty and staff members, coaches, teaching assistants (TAs), research assistants, hall directors, resident assistants (RAs), community assistants (CAs), and Student Senate Executive Leaders (in the capacity of that role) are required to report sexual assault and related offenses.
New Hampshire’s RSA 632-A, entitled Chapter 632-A: Sexual Assault and Related Offenses, provides a comprehensive description of criminal laws related to sexual violence.
New Hampshire RSA 173-B provides the opportunity for persons impacted by sexual violence and harassment to petition for a court order of protection, which prevents an offender from ongoing contact and protection against further abuse, in particular, these actions:
- Assault or reckless conduct
- Criminal threatening
- Sexual assault
- Interference with freedom
- Destruction of property
- Unauthorized entry
- Cruelty to animals
New Hampshire RSA 633 also permits a person impacted by stalking to get a court order to provide the same protection. New Hampshire RSA 458:16 provides similar protection from former spouses pursuant to a divorce decree and New Hampshire RSA 458:16 provides protection from persons charged in criminal proceedings pursuant to a bail order.
Designated University employees may be able to assist students in seeking a court order of protection and assist those who have concerns about their safety even in the absence of a court order of protection. Students can contact Community Standards, University Police, or SHARPP for further information.
Nothing contained herein, or in information provided by University employees should be considered legal advice regarding any individual community member’s situation.