By definition, sexual harassment is
- unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
- sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
- unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities
It is important to note that harassment can occur in a variety of contexts, including face-to-face interactions, emails, and other forms of written communication, social media, etc.
Examples of Harassment
Most of us are familiar with the general concept of sexual harassment, yet the term has a wide range of meanings. Clearly, it is unacceptable to utilize sexualized words or actions that create discomfort for others. Thus, inappropriate touching, comments, gestures, or other behaviors that reasonably make another individual uncomfortable enough to interfere with their ability to fully participate in their educational program or unemployment would constitute sexual harassment. It could include attempts to: coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; repeatedly subject a person to inappropriate, unwelcome sexual attention; punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; or condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances. The key notion is not what you intend – it’s about the other person’s interpretation.