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Sexual Harassment FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Harassment

1. What is sexual harassment? +

Answer: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct determines one’s employment or academic success; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment. This is also known as a hostile work environment claim.
2. What does sexual assault have to do with sexual harassment? +

Answer: Sexual assault is the most extreme form of sexual harassment.

3. What are some examples of sexual harassment? +

Answer: Sexual harassment is a form of illegal sex discrimination. The University of Connecticut’s Policies protect all genders equally from harassment, including same-sex harassment. Staff, faculty and students are protected from harassment by any other staff, faculty, student or visitor/contractor to the University. Prohibited acts that constitute sexual harassment may take a variety of forms. Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct;
  • Making threats or insinuations that a person’s employment, wages, grade, promotional opportunities, classroom or work assignments or other conditions of employment or educational life may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances;
  • Engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations, and flirtation;
  • Using unwelcome sexually degrading language, sexual jokes, innuendos, or gestures;
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videos, graffiti and/or visuals that are not germane to any business or academic purpose;
  • Displaying or transmitting sexually suggestive electronic content, including inappropriate e-mails;
  • Stalking or cyberbullying;
  • Making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact, such as hugging, rubbing, touching, patting, pinching, or massages;
  • Engaging in sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, or sexual coercion;
  • Making unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds, such as whistling and cat calls;
  • Giving unwelcome personal gifts, such as flowers;
  • Asking about a person’s sexual fantasies, sexual preferences, or sexual activities;
  • Unwelcome comments on a person’s body, dress, appearance, gender, sexual relationships, activities, or experience; or
  • Repeatedly asking someone for a date after the person has expressed disinterest.
4. I don’t think I’ve been sexually assaulted, but another student has directed sexual behavior at me all
semester that has really started bothering me. Could that be a violation of University Policies?

Answer: It could. University Policies prohibit conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcome and so severe, persistent or pervasive that a “reasonable person” would find that it altered their educational or work experience. To discuss filing a claim under the policies, please contact the Office of Community Standards. You can also review

5. I am being harassed by someone who is not an employee or student of the University, but who comes on the University’s campus to conduct business. Is there anything I can do? +

Answer: The University’s Policies protect you from sexual harassment by vendors, contractors, and third parties you encounter in your University employment, living, and learning environment. If you believe that you have been subjected to conduct that violates the policies, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Institutional Equity as soon as possible. See:

6. What if I am sexually harassed by a co-worker or a student but we are off-campus when the
harassment occurs?

Answer: It is possible for off-campus conduct between University colleagues and/or students to contribute to a hostile working or academic environment, or to constitute quid pro quo sexual harassment in violation of the University’s Policies. Please seek help from the University if you believe you were sexually harassed either off-campus or on-campus. See:

7. What if I witness inappropriate conduct that may be sexual harassment, but it is not directed at me? +

Answer: Anyone who witnesses inappropriate comments or conduct, even if it is directed at someone else, can still feel uncomfortable and harassed. If you witness conduct that you believe might be sexual harassment, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity. If you are a Dean, Department Head, or a supervisor, you are obligated to seek advice and help if you witness conduct that may violate the University’s harassment policies. See:

8. Do supervisors have any special responsibilities under the sexual harassment policies? +

Answer: Yes. Individuals with supervisory authority or individuals who may reasonably be perceived to have supervisory authority are obligated under the University’s Policies to contact the University if they witness or are told about conduct that may violate the University’s harassment policies. See:

9. What should I do if I’m being sexually harassed? +
Student Health Services (Confidential)
860-486-4700 (24 Hours)
Counseling & Mental Health Services (Confidential)
860-486-4705 (24 Hours)
UConn Police
860-486-4800 (24 Hours)
Office of Institutional Equity
Office of Community Standards