Sexual Harassment

LET’S BE CLEAR...

There are two forms of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, when the conditions for Hostile Environment Harassment or Quid Pro Quo Harassment, as defined below, are present.

 

Hostile Environment Harassment: Discriminatory harassment that is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, deprives, or alters the terms or conditions of education (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment); employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment); or participation in a university program or activity (e.g., campus housing), when viewed from both a subjective and objective perspective.

 

In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the university will consider the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • The frequency, nature and severity of the conduct;
  • Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
  • The effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state;
  • Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
  • Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct or other misconduct;
  • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the complainant’s educational or work performance and/or university programs or activities; and
  • Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech.

 

A hostile environment can be created by pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical.  An isolated incident, unless sufficiently serious, does not amount to Hostile Environment Harassment.

 

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Discriminatory harassment where submission to or rejection of unwelcome conduct is used, explicitly or implicitly, as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment); employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment); or participation in a university program or activity (e.g., campus housing).

 

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests or attempts to extort sexual favors
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Suggestive comments
  • Public display of pornographic or suggestive calendars, posters, or signs
  • Acts that do not necessarily involve conduct of a sexual nature but are based on sex or sex-stereotyping and which may include physical aggression, intimidation or hostility are considered gender-harassment and are similarly prohibited.