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.

What is Sexual Harassment?

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

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic evaluation.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such an individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’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

Policy on Non-Fraternization

Northeastern University strives to provide an environment for students, faculty and staff that is respectful, fair and free of unlawful harassment or discrimination. In keeping with its commitment to provide equal opportunity to students, faculty and staff, and in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, favoritism, exploitation, harassment or breaches of professional standards, the university prohibits romantic or sexual relationships where there is supervision, direction or control between the parties.

No employee shall pursue, have or maintain a romantic or sexual relationship with any undergraduate student. The university strongly discourages romantic or sexual relationships between employees and graduate or professional students. No employee shall pursue, have or maintain a romantic or sexual relationship with any graduate or professional student whom the employee is responsible for teaching, grading, advising or otherwise supervising. In the event such a relationship exists, the involved employee shall report such relationship immediately to his or her supervisor, who shall take appropriate steps consistent with this policy, including the removal of any reporting, grading, teaching, advising or similar relationships between the employee and the student.

No supervisor shall have or pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with any employee who reports to the supervisor or over whom the supervisor has the authority and/or responsibility to hire, promote, discipline, evaluate, assign or direct. If such a relationship exists, both the involved supervisor and involved employee shall report such relationship to the next-level supervisor, to whom the supervisor reports. The next-level supervisor shall take appropriate steps consistent with this policy, including the removal of any reporting or similar relationship between the supervisor and the employee.

Any employee who becomes aware of a relationship prohibited by this policy should report such relationship to their supervisor, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion (“OIDI”), or Human Resources Management (if the involved employee is a staff member), or the Provost’s Office (if the involved employee is a faculty member or graduate assistant). The department receiving the report shall inform OIDI, which shall coordinate with the supervisor of the involved employee(s) to take appropriate action consistent with this policy. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

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.