As defined by law, the term “sexual harassment” refers to uninvited and unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal behavior of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it interferes with an individual’s participation in a University program or activity or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, sexual advances, repeated date requests, sexual gestures, sexual cartoons or images, discussions about sexual activity, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Whether the harassing conduct is considered severe or pervasive depends upon the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location(s) in which the behavior occurred, as well as, the identity, number, and relationships of the persons involved.
While not all-inclusive, the following behavior is generally considered “conduct of a sexual nature” that, if unwelcome, may be characterized as sexual harassment:
- Sexual Comments, Questions, Discussions, or Statements: Comments regarding physical attributes, sexual or “dirty” jokes, discussions about sexual activity or sexual performance, distributing sexually explicit pictures, drawings, or written material, and sexual hand and facial gestures.