Pregnancy and Parenting Non-Discrimination Policy for Students

Policy Statement

The University of Tulsa (University) is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals enjoy freedom from discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sex, as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). Sex discrimination, which can include discrimination based on pregnancy or parental status, is prohibited. This policy is meant to ensure the protection and equal treatment of students who are pregnant, have pregnancy-related conditions, and/or are new parents.

Scope of Policy

This policy defines the rights of students to be free from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or parental status and applies to all aspects of the University’s programs, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs and activities, extracurricular activities, hiring, leave policies, employment policies, and health insurance coverage.

Definitions

  1. “Medical necessity” is a determination made by a health care provider of a student’s or employee’s choosing.
  2. “Pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions” include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, conditions arising in connection with pregnancy, and recovery from any of these conditions, in accordance with federal law.
  3. “Pregnancy discrimination” includes treating an individual affected by pregnancy or a pregnancy related condition less favorably than similar individuals not so affected, and includes a failure to provide legally mandated leave or accommodations.
  4. “Pregnant student/Birth-parent” refers to the student who is or was pregnant. This policy and its pregnancy-related protections apply to all pregnant persons regardless of gender identity or expression.
  5. “Reasonable accommodations” for the purposes of this policy are changes in the academic environment or typical operations that enable a pregnant student or student with a pregnancy related condition to continue to pursue their studies and enjoy equal benefits of the University.

Policy

  1. Non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation of students affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions
    1. The University and its faculty, staff, and other employees shall not require a student to limit their studies or participation in extracurricular activities due to pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions.
    2. The benefits and services provided to students affected by pregnancy shall be no less than those provided to students with temporary medical conditions.
    3. Students with pregnancy-related disabilities, like any other student with a disability, are entitled to reasonable accommodation so they will not be disadvantaged in their courses of study or research, and may seek assistance from the Title IX Coordinator. However, nothing in this policy requires modification to the essential elements of any academic program.
    4. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
      1. accommodations requested by the pregnant student to protect the health and safety of the student and/or their pregnancy (such as allowing the student to maintain a safe distance from hazardous substances);
      2. modifications to the physical environment (such as accessible seating);
      3. mobility support;
      4. extending deadlines and/or allowing the student to make up tests or assignments missed for pregnancy-related absences;
      5. allowing extra breaks during class to use the restroom;
      6. excusing medically-necessary absences; and
      7. granting leave.
    5. Breastfeeding students must be granted reasonable time and space to pump breast milk in a location that is private, clean, and reasonably accessible. Bathroom stalls do not satisfy this requirement.
    6. Pregnant students’ on-campus housing will not be altered based on pregnancy status unless requested by the pregnant students.
    7. Pregnant students cannot be channeled into an alternative program or school against their wishes.
  2. Modified Academic Responsibilities Policy for Parenting Students
    1. Students with parenting responsibilities who wish to remain engaged in their coursework while adjusting their academic responsibilities because of the birth or adoption of their child or placement of a foster child may request an academic modification period of up to one semester beginning within the first six months of the child entering the home.
    2. Extensions may be granted where additional time is required due to medical necessity or extraordinary parenting responsibilities.
    3. During a modification period, the student’s academic requirements will be adjusted and deadlines postponed as appropriate, in collaboration with the Title IX Coordinator, the student’s academic advisor, and the appropriate academic department(s).
    4. Students seeking a period of modified academic responsibilities may consult with their adviser or the Title IX Coordinator to determine appropriate academic accommodation requests. The student will work with their adviser and professors to reschedule course assignments, lab hours, examinations, or other requirements and/or to reduce the student’s overall course load, as appropriate.
    5. Students can request modified academic responsibilities under this policy regardless of whether they elect to take a leave of absence.
    6. While receiving academic modifications, students will remain registered and retain benefits accordingly.
  3. Academic Leave of Absence
    1. Faculty, staff, or other employees shall not require a student to take a leave of absence, or withdraw from or limit their studies due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
    2. The University shall treat pregnancy and related conditions as a justification for a leave of absence for as long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by a student’s physician.
    3. A student taking a leave of absence under this policy shall provide notice of the intent to take leave thirty days prior to the initiation of leave, or as soon as practicable.
    4. Intermittent leave may be taken with the advance approval of the student’s department, or when medically necessary due to the student’s health condition.
    5. Students who elect to take leave under this policy can elect to keep their health insurance coverage and continue residing in university housing, subject to the payment of applicable fees.
    6. To the extent possible, the University will take reasonable steps to ensure that upon return from leave, the student will be reinstated to their program in the same status as when the leave began.
    7. Continuation of the student’s scholarship, fellowship, or similar university-sponsored funding during the leave term will depend on the student’s registration status and the policies of the funding program regarding registration status. Students will not negatively impact or forfeit their future eligibility for their scholarship, fellowship, or similar university-supported funding by taking leave under this policy.
  4. Retaliation and Harassment
    1. Harassment by any member of the University community based on sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, or parental status is prohibited.
    2. Faculty, staff, and other University employees are prohibited from interfering with a student’s taking leave, seeking reasonable accommodation, or otherwise exercising rights under this Policy. Faculty, staff, and other University employees are prohibited from retaliating against a student for exercising the rights articulated by this Policy, including imposing or threatening to impose negative educational outcomes because a student requests leave or accommodation, files a complaint, or otherwise exercises rights under the Policy.
  5. Compliance
    1. Reporting: Any member of the University community may report a violation of this Policy to any supervisor, manager, or the Title IX Coordinator. Supervisors and managers are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to the Title IX Coordinator.
  6. Related Policies
    None.
  7. Approval
    1. This Policy is approved by the undersigned and effective as of the date written below.

Effective Date: 07/21/2020
Supersedes: N/A
Issuing Authority: Chief Compliance Officer
Responsible Officer: Title IX Coordinator

This policy is not a contract.  The University of Tulsa reserves the right to modify, revise, rescind or grant exceptions to this policy.