Policy Procedures for Addressing the Issues Concerning Sexual Harassment
Revision Date: 12/14/2011
Responsible Office: Student Affairs
Reference: University of Louisiana System, Policy M-(11)a, Board Rule Chapter 3, Section XIX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination.
Louisiana Tech University is committed to providing a workplace free from sexual harassment through appropriate training and providing a means to remedy sexual harassment that employees/students feel they may have experienced. Training is scheduled annually; training resources are also available in the Center for Instructional Technology and Distance Learning on the 10th floor of the Library.
Members of the University community--students, staff, faculty, and administrators--are entitled to a professional working environment, free of harassment or interference for reasons unrelated to the performance of their duties (See Policy 1438 and 1439). Since some members of the community hold positions of authority that may involve the legitimate exercise of power over others, it is their responsibility to be sensitive to that power, so as to avoid actions that are abusive or unprofessional. Faculty and supervisors, in particular, in their relationships with students and fellow employees need to be aware of potential conflicts of interest and the possible compromise of their evaluative capacity. Because there is an inherent power difference in these relationships, the potential exists for the less powerful person to perceive a coercive element in suggestions regarding activities outside those appropriate to a strictly professional relationship. It is the responsibility of faculty, staff, and supervisors to behave in such a manner that their words or actions cannot reasonably be perceived as suggestive or coercive. It is also the responsibility of any employee who is aware of or who is made aware of the occurrence of sexual harassment to consult with an appropriate university officer (see procedure, Policy 1437 and 1450).
Sexual harassment is illegal. It is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when
- Sexual harassment - submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic status, or of participation in activities or events sanctioned by the University; or
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment - submission to or rejection of such contact by an individual is used as a basis for employment or academic status, or other decisions about participation in activities or events sanctioned by the University; or
- Hostile environment sexual harassment - such conduct has the purpose or effect of threatening an individual's employment, interfering with an individual's work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive working or educational environment.
Although there is no universally agreed upon definition of sexual harassment that fits all contexts and circumstances, there is agreement that it can be verbal, non-verbal or physical, and that it can occur once or several times. The following are examples of behaviors generally viewed as sexual harassment when they are unwanted:
- direct or indirect threats or bribes for unwanted sexual activity;
- sexual innuendo and comments;
- asking or commenting about a person's sexual activities or sexual orientation;
- humor or jokes about sex or females/males in general;
- sexually suggestive sounds or gestures;
- pestering a person for dates or sexual behavior;
- touching, patting, pinching, stroking, squeezing, tickling or brushing against a person;
- giving a neck or shoulder massage;
- ogling or leering;
- spreading rumors about a person's sexuality;
- name calling;
- letters, notes, telephone calls or materials of sexual nature;
- sexist or stereotyped comments;
- displaying pictures, calendars, cartoons or other materials with sexual content;
- leaving obscene messages on campus computers;
- stalking a person either outside or inside an institution; and
- abusive speech
- attempted or actual sexual assault
False accusations will be treated as serious offenses.
If it is the belief that the nature of the behavior rises to the level of criminal activity, it should immediately be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
All faculty, staff, and administrators will be held accountable for compliance with this policy. While each case of allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination and its resulting effect on the mission of the University must be considered on its own, violations of this policy may lead to disciplinary action to include suspension or removal.
Retaliation against any person for exercising legal rights is prohibited and illegal (See Policy 1441).
Intimidation and harassment are inconsistent with the maintenance of academic freedom on campus; therefore, nothing contained in this policy shall be construed either to limit the legitimate exercise of the right of free speech or to infringe upon the academic freedom of any member of the University community.
Any questions regarding either this policy or a specific situation should be addressed to the appropriate University administrator (e.g., Title IX Coordinator (See Policy 1445 for contact information), Affirmative Action Officer, Dean of Student Life, Dean of Student Development, Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Academic Affairs, or Human Resources Director).
Although this policy statement establishes Louisiana Tech University policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment, employees have the right to seek redress of unlawful discrimination (of which sexual harassment is one example) by filing charges directly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Procedures for Resolution of Sexual Harassment Complaints are found in Policy 1437.