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What is Sexual Harassment?

SEXUAL HARASSMENT is understood to mean unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or status as a student;
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting him or her, or for the awarding or withholding of favorable employment or academic opportunities, evaluations, or assistance; or
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.

It would be difficult to describe the various circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment. In some instances sexual harassment is obvious and may involve an overt action, a threat, or a reprisal. In other instances, sexual harassment is subtle and indirect, possibly even unintentional. Students, faculty, and staff may find themselves feeling pressure or unwanted attention in a variety of perplexing situations, and may be unsure whether an experience is appropriately considered sexual harassment. In circumstances such as these, individuals are encouraged to discuss their concerns with their supervisor, dean, or department chair, the staff in the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity, or one of the other resources listed in this brochure.

Last Updated: 10/22/08