No agent, supervisory personnel or faculty member shall exercise his or her responsibilities or authority in such manner as to make submission to sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature an explicit or implicit term or condition of evaluation, employment, admission, advancement or reward within the University.

Neither shall any agent, supervisory personnel or faculty member make submission to or rejection of such conduct the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting any employee or student. Neither shall any agent, supervisory personnel or faculty member conduct himself or herself with respect to verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature where 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 work or classroom environment.

Download a PDF of Sexual Harassment Resources and Information.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment isdefined as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbalor physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term orcondition of an individual’s employment or academic evaluation.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basisfor employment or educational decisions affecting such an individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with anindividual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating,hostile or offensive work or academic environment.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

  • Sexual comments or remarks about your body, your hair, your clothing
  • Sexual jokes in the classroom or workplace
  • Physical gestures such as stroking your hair or arm, massaging your shoulders, kissing you or rubbing, touching or brushing against your body
  • Verbal harassment such as the use of names like “broad,” “bitch,” “bimbo” when referring to a specific woman or to women in general
  • Requests for sexual favors that may be subtle or overt but particularly when you suspect the requests are linked to career advancement or academic reward
  • Physical assault of a sexual nature such as the touching of intimate body areas and rape
  • Sexual intercourse may occur through physical force (rape) or by coercion where you feel that certain consequences will follow if you refuse (or agree) to submit to the harasser’s request or demand

Consensual Relationships

Consensual romantic or sexual relationships between supervisors and employees, and between faculty or staff and students are potentially exploitative and must be avoided. They raise serious concerns about the validity of the consent, conflict of interest and unfair treatment of others.

The University’s anti-nepotism policy precludes individuals from evaluating the work performance of others with whom they have intimate familial or close personal relationships, or from making hiring, salary or similar financial decisions concerning such persons. The same principles apply to supervisor-employee, staff-student or faculty-student relationships in the context of work or academic evaluation.

Therefore no faculty or staff member involved romantically or sexually with a student may teach or supervise that person either individually or as part of a group in any activity connected to the University. In addition, a supervisor will be prohibited from evaluating an employee’s job performance if he or she is romantically or sexually involved with that employee.

Violations of the University’s consensual relationship policy, if proved, will result in the imposition of corrective actions and/or disciplinary sanctions, up to and including dismissal from the University’s employ.

Why Harassment Isn’t Reported

Many victims do not report sexual harassment because:

  • They have no knowledge of the University’s policy or grievance procedure
  • they believe the harassment will stop if the behavior is ignored
  • they are afraid no one will believe them
  • they are afraid of retaliation
  • they lack faith in the system
  • they suffer from feelings of guilt and self-doubt

When sexual harassment goes unreported, the harasser’s behavior goes unchecked and countless suffer needlessly.

Effects of Sexual Harassment

As a victim of sexual harassment, you may experience feelings of anxiety, anger, self-doubt and betrayal. Sometimes these feelings can cause headaches and stomach disorders as well as other physical problems.

When you suffer alone, you may also experience an increasing sense of hopelessness, powerlessness and isolation. Feelings like these usually interfere with your ability to study or do your job. When that happens, you may decide to drop a course, leave school or quit your job. We don’t want that to happen to you.

What Can You Do?

Call us. We can help.

Contact our office to report the incident immediately. Under no circumstances are you expected to endure behavior that is offensive or in any way interferes with your ability to do your work. The University cannot guarantee confidentiality but will do everything possible to protect your confidentiality while discussing with you the nature of the behavior, the feelings you have about the incident, and the options available to you on an informal basis to stop the harassment. If an informal resolution fails to resolve the matter for you, you will have the opportunity to file a formal complaint with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

Protection of Rights

The University will not allow any form of retaliation against you for making what you believe is a justifiable complaint. In accordance with the University’s policy, a grievance procedure has been established to provide you with the opportunity to seek internal resolution without fear of reprisal or recrimination.

Sexual harassment is a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and MGL 151B.