University Policy on Relationship Violence & Sexual Misconduct

Category: Harassment Policies School: Michigan State University Statement Rating: Green Last updated: September 8, 2017

Relevant excerpt

“Sexual harassment” means unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment violates University policy when: … Such behavior is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that a reasonable person would find that it: a. Alters the terms or conditions of a person’s employment or educational experience, or b. Unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or performance in a course, program, or activity, thus creating a hostile or abusive working or educational environment. A person’s subjective belief alone that behavior is offensive does not necessarily make that behavior sexual harassment. The behavior must also be objectively offensive.

Many kinds of behavior may fit within the preceding definition of sexual harassment. Speech and expressive conduct can also be sexual harassment. The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of behavior that might fall within the preceding definition of sexual harassment:* …

  • Unwelcome sexually explicit material sent by email, text message, or other electronically transmitted communication …
  • Unwelcome and persistent sexually explicit statements or stories that are not legitimately related to employment duties, course content, research, or other University programs or activities
  • Repeatedly using sexually degrading words or sounds to a person or to describe a person …
  • Recurring comments or questions about an individual’s sexual prowess, sexual deficiencies, or sexual behavior

*These behaviors must meet the definition of sexual harassment contained in Section VIII.A of the policy in order to constitute prohibited sexual harassment.

Download full policy