27: Misconduct, Discrimination, and Harassment Based on Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression)

Category: Harassment Policies School: Middle Tennessee State University Statement Rating: Red Last updated: November 1, 2017

Relevant excerpt

Sexual Harassment. Includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual assault, where a tangible employment or educational action is conditioned upon submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances, or where conduct is so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that the individual is effectively denied equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities. Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex.

Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Sex-based harassment includes sexual harassment, which is further defined below, and non-sexual harassment based on stereotypical notions of what is female/feminine v. male/masculine or a failure to conform to those gender stereotypes.

Consistent with the law, this policy prohibits two (2) types of sexual harassment: …

2.  Hostile Environment. A hostile environment based on sex exists when harassment is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to effectively deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or harassment that creates a hostile environment (hostile environment harassment) violates this policy. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a University program or activity (i.e., administrators, faculty members, students, and even campus guests). Mere offensiveness is not enough to create a hostile environment. Although repeated incidents increase the likelihood that harassment has created a hostile environment, a single serious incident, such as a sexual assault, even if isolated, can be sufficient.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following. The examples listed below are not exclusive, but simply represent types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment.

3. Suggestive or inappropriate communications, email, notes, letters, or other written materials displaying objects or pictures which are sexual in nature that would create hostile or offensive work, living, or educational environments;

4. Sexual innuendoes, comments, and remarks about a person’s clothing, body, or activities;

5. Suggestive or insulting sounds;

6. Whistling in a suggestive manner;

7. Humor and jokes about sex that denigrate men or women;

8. Sexual propositions, invitations, or pressure for sexual activity;

9. Use in the classroom of sexual jokes, stories, remarks, or images that are in no way or only marginally relevant to the subject matter of the class;

10. Implied or overt sexual threats;

11. Suggestive or obscene gestures;

12. Patting, pinching, and other inappropriate touching;

13. Unnecessary touching or brushing against the body;

14. Attempted or actual kissing or fondling;

15. Suggestive or inappropriate acts, such as comments, innuendoes, or physical contact based on one’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression;

16. Graphic or written statements (including the use of cell phones and the internet), or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating in a manner related to sex.

Download full policy