Chief Sponsor: Kim F. Coleman

Senate Sponsor: ____________


8     General Description:
9          This bill enacts provisions related to harassment at an institution of higher education.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     defines terms;
13          ▸     enacts requirements related to how an institution of higher education addresses
14     discriminatory harassment;
15          ▸     prohibits an institution of higher education from punishing certain acts of speech
16     that do not constitute discriminatory harassment;
17          ▸     creates causes of action related to discriminatory harassment at an institution of
18     higher education; and
19          ▸     enacts other provisions related to discriminatory harassment at an institution of
20     higher education.
21     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
22          None
23     Other Special Clauses:
24          None
25     Utah Code Sections Affected:
26     ENACTS:
27          53B-27-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953

28          53B-27-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
29          53B-27-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
30          53B-27-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
31          53B-27-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
32          53B-27-204, Utah Code Annotated 1953
33          53B-27-205, Utah Code Annotated 1953

35     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
36          Section 1. Section 53B-27-101 is enacted to read:

Part 1. General Provisions

39          53B-27-101. Title.
40          (1) This chapter is known as the "Campus Individual Rights Act."
41          (2) This part is known as "General Provisions."
42          Section 2. Section 53B-27-102 is enacted to read:
43          53B-27-102. Definition.
44          As used in this chapter, "institution" means an institution of higher education listed in
45     Section 53B-1-102.
46          Section 3. Section 53B-27-201 is enacted to read:
Part 2. Campus Anti-Harassment Act

48          53B-27-201. Title.
49          This part is known as the "Campus Anti-Harassment Act."
50          Section 4. Section 53B-27-202 is enacted to read:
51          53B-27-202. Definitions.
52          As used in this part:
53          (1) "Discriminatory harassment" means student-on-student speech that is:
54          (a) unwelcome;
55          (b) discriminatory on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, religion, age,
56     or sex; and
57          (c) so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts
58     from a student's educational experience, that the student is effectively denied equal access to an

59     institution's resource or opportunity.
60          (2) "Student" means an individual enrolled at an institution.
61          (3) (a) "Student-on-student speech" means verbal, written, or other communication that
62     is:
63          (i) communicated by a student; and
64          (ii) directed at a student.
65          (b) "Student-on-student speech" does not include acts of physical contact between a
66     student and another student.
67          Section 5. Section 53B-27-203 is enacted to read:
68          53B-27-203. Institution duties.
69          (1) (a) If an institution gains actual knowledge of an act of discriminatory harassment
70     in the institution's program or activity, the institution shall:
71          (i) take immediate action to eliminate the known act of discriminatory harassment; and
72          (ii) address the effects of the known act of discriminatory harassment.
73          (b) An institution that is deliberately indifferent to a known act of discriminatory
74     harassment is in violation of this part.
75          (2) (a) An institution may not punish, as discriminatory harassment, student-on-student
76     speech that does not constitute discriminatory harassment.
77          (b) An institution is not liable under this part for failing to punish a student who
78     communicates student-on-student speech that is not discriminatory harassment.
79          (3) Nothing in this part prevents an institution from punishing student-on-student
80     speech that is otherwise not protected under the First Amendment to the United States
81     Constitution.
82          Section 6. Section 53B-27-204 is enacted to read:
83          53B-27-204. Causes of action.
84          (1) The following persons may bring an action in any state court of competent
85     jurisdiction to enjoin a violation of this part:
86          (a) the attorney general; or
87          (b) a person claiming to be aggrieved by a violation of this part.
88          (2) In an action brought under this part, if the court finds a violation of this part, the
89     court:

90          (a) shall enjoin the violation;
91          (b) shall, if a person claiming to be aggrieved brought the suit, award the aggrieved
92     person at least $1,000; and
93          (c) may award a prevailing plaintiff:
94          (i) compensatory damages;
95          (ii) reasonable court costs;
96          (iii) reasonable attorney fees and expert fees; or
97          (iv) any other relief that the court considers appropriate.
98           (3) In an action brought under this part, the court may award a prevailing defendant
99     reasonable attorney fees if the action was vexatious, frivolous, or brought to harass or
100     embarrass the defendant.
101          (4) The state waives immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States
102     Constitution and consents to suit in a federal court for lawsuits arising out of this part.
103          (5) Notwithstanding Title 63G, Chapter 7, Governmental Immunity Act of Utah, an
104     institution that violates this part is not immune from suit or liability for the violation.
105          Section 7. Section 53B-27-205 is enacted to read:
106          53B-27-205. Statute of limitations.
107          (1) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), an action under this part may not be
108     brought later than one year after the day on which the cause of action accrues.
109          (2) For an action alleging a violation of Subsection 53B-27-203(2)(a), the cause of
110     action accrues on the day on which the student receives final notice, from the institution, of
111     punishment that violates Subsection 53B-27-203(2)(a).
112          (3) (a) For an action alleging a violation of Subsection 53B-27-203(1)(b), the cause of
113     action accrues on the day on which the institution receives knowledge of the act of
114     discriminatory harassment.
115          (b) For an action described in Subsection (3)(a), the limitation described in Subsection
116     (1) shall extend to one year after the day on which the most recent known act of discriminatory
117     harassment, involving the same parties as a prior known act of discriminatory harassment,
118     occurs.

Legislative Review Note
Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel