Preventing Sexual Harassment on Campus
Please visit The Office of Diversity and Equity for more information.
Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. The University believes all members of the campus community have the right to a working and learning environment that is free from harassment and intimidation. The University's sexual harassment policy works to preserve a respectful academic and employment environment free from all forms of discrimination. Here are some commonly asked questions relating to sexual harassment on campus.
Q. What is sexual harassment?
The University's policy prohibiting sexual harassment states that sexual harassment is any repeated, unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or conduct of a sexual nature when:
1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly the basis, term, or condition of any individual's employment, or a factor in an individual's grade, evaluation, promotion, or retention;
2. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning or working environment.
Q. How should one respond initially to being sexually harassed?
If you believe that you have been sexually harassed, take action. Firmly tell the harasser you do not like the inappropriate behavior and want it to stop. If the behavior has been severe and/or repeated, or the harasser does not cease after the warning, report the behavior to the Office of Diversity and Equity, the Ruthe Boyea Women's Center, or the Counseling and Wellness Center.
Q. What is the process to report sexual harassment?
A student, faculty member, or staff person may contact the Office of Diversity and Equity to report the incident. The Chief Diversity Officer will meet with the complainant to discuss the alleged sexual harassment and offer assistance to stop the alleged behavior. The Director will then conduct an investigation into the reported harassment, ensuring that the complainant is protected and supported. The Director will also make recommendations for appropriate remedial action.
Q. How does the University determine whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment?
The University looks at the totality of circumstances, whether the conduct was sexual, whether it was unwanted or unwelcome, whether it was offensive from the perspective of a reasonable person, and whether it was severe and/or pervasive. (A complainant need not expressly reject a sexual advance in order for the advance to be considered unwelcome.)
Q. What protections exist against retaliatory behavior?
University policy and federal and state law prohibit retaliation against a person who opposes an allegedly discriminatory act. That includes any acts relative to their jobs or to their education. Persons may file separate retaliation complaints with the Office of Diversity and Equity.
Q. How can sexual harassment be prevented?
The best prevention is education and training of all members of the campus community and a speedy response to any and all complaints. Mandatory training is ongoing for all newly hired or promoted managerial and supervisory staff.