Harassment is defined as unwelcome hostile or intimidating remarks, spoken or written (including, for example, e-mail, text messages, postings on electronic message boards, voicemail messages), or physical gestures directed at a specific person based on that person’s race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, parental status, marital status, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.
FREE SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY POLICY
1. Policy Statement
The primary purpose of an academic community is to search for truth. Indispensable to that search is the freedom to think as you wish and to speak as you think. Therefore, in keeping with the purpose of the University of Maine System there shall be no restrictions, on any of its campuses, placed on the fundamental rights of free speech and assembly except those necessary to protect the rights of others and to preserve the order necessary for the University to continue its function as an institution of higher education.
The entire outdoors of the campus is open to any form of expression or opinion by students, faculty, staff, and invited guests; the only limitations being that normal University functions may not be disturbed and the free flow of traffic may not be disrupted. Individuals or groups wishing to use outdoor facilities shall contact the vice president for administration within a reasonable time in advance for permission of their use. Inside facilities that are used for scheduled meetings are also to be made available on a nondiscriminatory basis; these shall also be scheduled through the Office of Administrative Services.
What is Sexual Harassment?
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, pinching, caressing
* 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.