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Sexual Harassment

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:

  • The submission by an employee or student to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or scholastic achievement.
  • The submission to or rejection of such conduct by an employee or student is used as the basis for employment or scholastic decision affecting that individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or scholastic environment.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for employees and under Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 for students.

What is Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual misconduct includes sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed towards another individual that does not rise to the level of sexual harassment but is unprofessional and inappropriate for the workplace or classroom.

The University of Texas at Arlington Policy on Sexual Harassment & Sexual Misconduct (HOP Section 5-513)

The University of Texas at Arlington is committed to maintaining a learning and working environment that is free from discrimination based on sex in accordance with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits sex discrimination in employment; and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act. Sexual Misconduct, as defined in this policy, is a form of sex discrimination and will not be tolerated. As stated in the definition, Sexual Misconduct, includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and/or dating violence. Individuals who engage in sexual misconduct and other inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature will be subjected to disciplinary action.

The University will take prompt disciplinary action against any individuals or organizations on the campus who violate this Policy. The University encourages any student, faculty, staff or visitor to promptly report violations of this Policy to any individual identified in Section II C.7. of this policy.

What are the Types of Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be verbal, non-verbal, or physical and can range from an overt suggestion that a person could get a higher grade or salary increase by submitting to sexual advances to an advance or suggestion implied from the conduct, circumstance, and relationship of the individuals involved. Such conduct may create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or scholastic environment.

A third party can also claim sexual harassment when his or her employment or educational opportunity has been adversely affected by "sexual favoritism" in the workplace or academic environment.

Verbal harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Sexual innuendoes, comments and sexual remarks about clothing, body, or sexual activities
  • Repeated sexually oriented kidding, teasing, joking or flirting
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
  • Derogatory or demeaning comments about women or men in general, whether sexual or not
  • Suggestive or insulting sounds
  • Offensive crude language
  • Sexual propositions, invitations, or other pressure for sex
  • Whistling in a suggestive manner

Non-verbal harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Offensive obscene gestures
  • Ogling
  • Displaying objects or pictures which are sexual in nature that would create a hostile or offensive work environment

Physical harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Patting, pinching, and any other inappropriate touching or feeling
  • Brushing against the body
  • Attempting or actual kissing or fondling
  • Coerced sexual intercourse
  • Assault

What You Can Do About Sexual Harassment

Ignoring sexual harassment does not make it go away. Indeed, it may make it worse because the harasser may misinterpret no response as approval of the behavior.

You may be afraid that:

  • You will suffer retaliation from the harasser.
  • People will think you "asked for it".
  • You have misread the harasser's intentions.
  • You are some how responsible for the harasser's behavior.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Don't accept these actions as the "way things are." You do not have to endure abuse from other people.

YOU CAN TAKE ACTION. Here are some of your options:

  • Know Your Rights
    Sexual harassment is illegal. The University of Texas at Arlington has a specific policy prohibiting sexual harassment. Familiarize yourself with this policy. 
  • Speak Up at the Time
    Say "NO" clearly and firmly. Tell the harasser that their advances are unwelcomed and you want them stopped. Don't delay. Pay attention to cues or comments indicating harassment. If a person's behavior makes you uncomfortable, say so.
  • Keep Records
    Keep a journal and any letters or notes received. Note the dates, times, places, witnesses, and the nature of the harassment — what was said, the tone, and how you responded.
  • Seek Advice
    To determine whether your discomfort is really sexual harassment, seek help — the earlier the better.  Contact the Title IX Coordinator. Michelle Willbanks