Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation

Category: Harassment Policies School: Harvey Mudd College Statement Rating: Yellow Last updated: December 19, 2017

Relevant excerpt

Prohibited harassment is defined as any conduct directed toward an individual based on a protected characteristic (or based on a perception that an individual has the protected characteristics or associates with others who have, or are perceived to have, the protected characteristic) which is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter or interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work, educational, or living environment. … Conduct alleged to constitute harassment will be evaluated according to the objective standard of a reasonable person. Thus, conduct that is objectionable to some, but that is not severe or pervasive enough to create an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive environment, is beyond the purview of this policy.

Harassment can take many forms and will vary with the particular circumstances. Examples of harassment prohibited by this Policy may include, without limitation: (1) verbal conduct, such as epithets, derogatory jokes or comments, or slurs directed at an individual or group of individuals because of a protected characteristic; (2) visual displays, such as derogatory posters, photography, cartoons, or drawings not protected by policies on academic freedom and freedom of expression which ridicule or demean an individual on the basis of a protected classification; and/or (3) physical conduct, including unnecessary and unwanted touching and intentionally blocking normal movement. Generally, statements and/or conduct legitimately and reasonably related to the College’s mission of education do not constitute harassment.

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Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, adversely limits, or interferes with a person’s participation in or benefiting from the education, employment, or other programs and services of the College and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating.

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In determining whether sexual harassment occurred, the conduct alleged to constitute harassment is evaluated from both the perspective of the targeted individual and the perspective of a reasonable, similarly situated person, in consideration of the context of the behavior.  A single, isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, particularly if the conduct is physical.

Examples of behavior that might be considered sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: (1) pressure for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship; (2) unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging; (3) pressure for or forced sexual activity; (4) unnecessary and unwelcome references to various parts of the body; (5) belittling remarks about a person’s gender or sexual orientation; (6) inappropriate sexual innuendoes or humor; (7) obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature; (8) offensive sexual graffiti, pictures, or posters; (9) sexually explicit profanity; and (10) use of email, the internet, or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above-referenced behaviors.

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