What to do if you have experienced sexual harassment
As a student, faculty or staff member, if you believe you are being or have been sexually harassed, there are steps you can take to get help:
- 1. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), ignoring sexual harassment does not usually work to stop the behavior. Because of that, you are encouraged to seek support and resources. Confidential resources are available and can be a good place to start.
- 2. Document the behavior as soon as it occurs, including as many details as possible. For example, you can keep a record of the incident(s) in a journal.
- 3. Only if you feel comfortable doing so, tell the person who is harassing you to stop. Be direct, professional, and provide reasons why you find the behavior offensive. If you do this via email, be sure to keep a copy of the exchange. If you do it in person, keep notes of the conversation.
- 4. If you do not feel comfortable confronting the person engaging in the behavior directly, or if the behavior does not stop:
- Consider filing a report with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE). More information on what to expect when you report to OIE can be found here.
- For employees, you can talk with your own supervisor or the supervisor of the person who is harassing you. Explain what has happened and ask for help in getting the behavior to stop. The supervisor you speak with likely has reporting responsibilities to notify the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) of the information you share.
- For students, you can talk with a University employee you trust (instructor, academic advisor, resident assistant, etc.). Please know, the employee or resident assistant you speak with may have reporting responsibilities to notify the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) of the information you share.
- If you wish to obtain confidential support and advice that will not trigger a reporting responsibility to OIE, information regarding confidential resources can be found here.
- University policy and the law protect you from retaliation (any adverse actions) for filing a complaint about harassment. You have a right to report harassment and/or participate in a harassment investigation without being retaliated against for doing so.
Adapted from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/harassed_at_work.cfm
Depending on the affiliation with the University of the person engaging in the problematic behavior, one or more offices may have the ability to investigate:
- Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) – investigates when the accused individual (respondent) is an employee (including graduate or teaching assistants when the alleged conduct occurs in the context of their employment).
- Office of Community Standards – investigates when the respondent is a student.