How Can I Avoid Behavior That May Be Seen As Harassing?
Here are some guidelines:
o Treat all co-workers and students with respect.
o Be careful about touching others.
o Avoid jokes, words, and gestures that have sexual
connotations or demean or trivialize any person
o Keep compliments casual and impersonal.
o Leave sexually provocative pictures and language
Ask yourself if:
o Others seem uncomfortable with your comments
o It is behavior you would want to appear on the
o You would want a member of your family to be
treated in the same way.
When in doubt don’t do or say it!
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;
2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual; or
3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational or living environment.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention that is a form of illegal sex discrimination under federal and state law. It is usually repeated behavior, but could be one serious incident. Sexual harassment may be
blatant, as in
– deliberate touching,
– attempts to fondle or kiss,
– pressure for dates or sex,
– requests for sex in exchange
for grades or promotions.
Or sexual harassment may be more subtle –
like staring, sexual jokes, or teasing, sexually demeaning remarks.
Although such forms of harassment may be unintentional, persistent or severe sexual behavior and words are harassing if a reasonable person would find them intimidating, hostile, or offensive, or if they unreasonably interfere with a person’s academic or work performance. When the harassing conduct is not sexual, but is based on someone’s gender, it can also contribute to creating a hostile environment.
How Does Academic Freedom Relate to Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment includes verbal conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment. Verbal expression that is relevant to course subject matter is not regarded as sexual harassment. However, classroom language which is hostile and derogatory and which is directed at an individual because of his or her sex may constitute sexual harassment and may violate University policy.
Academic freedom requires an environment in which no person is exploited or coerced. Sexual harassment hampers academic freedom. The University’s policies and procedures for dealing with sexual harassment ensure academic freedom while protecting the rights of all members of the University community.