Laws & Policies
The University of Florida is committed to providing all members of our community with fair and equitable treatment, regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. As such, the University strives to protect our students, employees, volunteers, and visitors from any form of discrimination or unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. These behaviors will not be tolerated at the University and any individual who engages in such conduct will be subject to disciplinary action.
University of Florida Policies
Gender Equity Policy
The Gender Equity Policy and its associated guidelines and procedures are designed to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory educational and work environment and to meet the legal requirements set forth in the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX Amendments of 1972. This umbrella policy identifies the behavioral expectations that will meet the goal of establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment – free from all forms of gender inequity -– for all individuals working, learning, residing, volunteering, and visiting our community. Implicit in this goal, is the expectation that all members of the University community act toward this commitment by promptly reporting any suspected violation of this policy.
The University is bound by state and federal law on most matters relating to discrimination and harassment. However, UF has adopted its own regulations and standards outlining expectations for conduct that go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the law. For example, the UF Regulation identifying protected classes addresses those who may not be protected by applicable state and federal law.
Protected classes are generally described as groups of people who have historically faced discrimination and harassment. In a university context, the focus is typically on such treatment in employment and education settings. UF Regulation 1.006 expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations, genetic information, and veteran status as protected under the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act.
Prohibited Consensual Relationships Policy
It is the policy of the University that faculty adhere to the proper role as teacher, researcher, intellectual mentor, and counselor and not engage in conduct that calls into question the integrity of the evaluative or other academic processes related to students. It is also the policy of the University that faculty refrain from exploiting or coercing students or creating the appearance of exploitation or coercion. UF Regulation 1.0065 expressly prohibits the following romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and students:
- Sexual or romantic relationships between faculty and undergraduate students, regardless of academic discipline, department, or college affiliation; and
- Sexual or romantic relationships between faculty and graduate or professional students when both parties are affiliated with the same field, degree program or department, and under any circumstances in which the faculty member directly or indirectly exercises academic, evaluative, or supervisory authority over the student, or may be reasonably expected to do so in the foreseeable future.
- Faculty who have, or have had, a sexual or romantic relationship with a student are prohibited from directly or indirectly exercising academic, evaluative, or supervisory authority over that student. Relationships that pre-date one or both parties’ affiliation with the University and that would otherwise be prohibited under this regulation shall be promptly disclosed by the faculty member to his or her dean or designee.
Violations of this regulation by faculty will result in disciplinary action up through dismissal.
Breastfeeding in the Workplace Policy
The University of Florida supports and encourages breastfeeding for nursing mothers upon their return to work. Supervisors of such employees are responsible for making appropriate accommodations to allow employees the flexibility and privacy to express (pump) breastmilk, as needed.
Upon returning to work after the birth of a child, nursing mothers may request an area to express (pump) breastmilk in the workplace during normal business hours. Since this activity requires a private location and short periods away from their duties, supervisors should make every effort to support their employee’s request. Supervisors are to allow these employees the ability to flex their schedules during this transition.
Chosen and Legal Name and Gender Change Policy
The University of Florida recognizes that students, faculty, and staff may wish to use a name other than their legal names as recorded on official university documents, and UF recognizes the need for members of the university community to refer to themselves by a name other than their legal name. This policy also informs current and former employees about when and how they may change their legal name and/or identified gender at the University of Florida and how they may change their display and directory name.
Department of Education – Title IX Policy
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity in federally funded educational programs and activities. Under Title IX, universities are required to respond to reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX, has recently provided detailed guidance on how educational institutions, like the University of Florida, must investigate and respond to complaints of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (The Clery Act) is part of the Higher Education Act. The goal of this federal law is to ensure that students, prospective students, parents, and employees have access to accurate information about crimes committed on campuses, campus security procedures, and information, as well as information about prevention programming. The Clery Act requires institutions of higher education that receive federal financial aid (Title IV) to report statistics on specified crimes on or near college campuses and to provide other safety and crime information to members of the campus community. This information must also be reported to the federal Department of Education by October 1 of each year. The spirit of the Clery Act is transparency; schools must inform employees, students, parents, and potential students and employees of crimes that are occurring on or around university campuses so that they can make informed education and employment decisions.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) was passed on September 13, 1994. VAWA provided federal money for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women. Crimes defined by VAWA include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
In 2013, the VAWA amendments were added to the Clery Act. These amendments require that institutions create and publish statements of policy regarding how they will handle VAWA crimes that are reported to university officials. Intuitional officials who investigate, coordinate hearings, and adjudicate VAWA crimes for the university are required to participate in VAWA-specific training on at least an annual basis. The VAWA amendments also require institutions to offer a variety of prevention programs for students and staff which aim to prevent sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking.