Both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the State of New York regard sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and, therefore, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. The College has adopted the following definition of sexual harassment, in order to address the special environment of an academic community, which consists not only of employer and employees, but of students as well.[i]
Sexual harassment is unwelcome, sexual or gender-based verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct.[ii]
Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any College program is encouraged to report it immediately to the College’s Title IX Coordinator or to any deputy coordinator.
Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment, and may be subject to discipline when it is severe or persistent/pervasive and it:
- has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting employment opportunities or the ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational, social and/or residential program, and is
- based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation.
[i] Also of relevance is the Office of Civil Rights 2001 statement on sexual harassment, “Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment Of Students By School Employees, Other Students, Or Third Parties, Title IX,” which can be found at http://www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2001-1/011901b.html, as well as the April, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on Campus Sexual Violence, which can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/dear_colleague_sexual_violence.pdf
[ii] Some examples of possible Sexual Harassment include:
- A professor insists that a student have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student accedes to the request.
- A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list s/he created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
- Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor’s office or on the exterior of a residence hall door
- Two supervisors frequently ‘rate’ several employees’ bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
- A professor engages students in her class in discussions about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. She probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
- An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend, turning him into a social pariah on campus
- Male students take to calling a particular brunette student “Monica” because of her resemblance to Monica Lewinsky. Soon, everyone adopts this nickname for her, and she is the target of relentless remarks about cigars, the president, “sexual relations” and Weight Watchers.
- A student grabbed another student by the hair, then grabbed her breast and put his mouth on it. While this is sexual harassment, it is also a form of sexual violence.