The University of Kansas prohibits sexual harassment and is committed to preventing, correcting, and disciplining incidents of unlawful harassment, including sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Sexual Harrassment:“Sexual Harassment” means behavior, including physical contact, advances, and comments in person, through an intermediary, and/or via phone, text message, email, social media, or other electronic medium, that is unwelcome; based on sex or gender stereotypes; and is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a person’s academic performance, employment or equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities or by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment. Sexual Harassment may include but is not limited to:
- Unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
- Unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;
- Threatening to engage in the commission of an unwelcome sexual act with another person;
- Stalking or cyber stalking;
- Engaging in indecent exposure; voyeurism, or other invasion of personal privacy;
- Unwelcome physical touching or closeness;
- unwelcome jokes or teasing of a sexual nature or based upon gender or sex stereotypes; and
- Sexual Violence, as defined below.
Title IX and University Policy prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual Violence:“Sexual violence” means any physical act which is sexual in nature that is committed by force or without the full and informed consent of all persons involved. Sexual violence may include but is not limited to rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual exploitation. Sexual violence can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual violence can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.
Sexual violence is a broad term and includes various forms of sexual misconduct, including but not limited to:
- The deliberate touching of a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering any of those areas);
- Using force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts; penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger, or an inanimate object;
- Taking sexual advantage of another person without consent, including causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person;
- Causing the prostitution of another person;
- Allowing third parties to observe sexual acts;
- Engaging in voyeurism;
- Distributing intimate or sexual information about another person;
- Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, to another person; and/or
- Capturing or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds or images of another person.
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of situations. These are examples of sexual harassment, not intended to be all inclusive:
- Unwanted jokes, gestures, offensive words on clothing, and unwelcome comments and repartee.
- Touching and any other bodily contact such as scratching or patting a coworker's back, grabbing an employee around the waist, or interfering with an employee's ability to move.
- Repeated requests for dates that are turned down or unwanted flirting.
- Transmitting or posting emails or pictures of a sexual or other harassment-related nature.
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, or posters.
- Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos, such as pornography, with co-workers.
- Sending suggestive letters, notes, or e-mails.
- Displaying inappropriate sexual images or posters in the workplace.
- Telling lewd jokes, or sharing sexual anecdotes.
- Making inappropriate sexual gestures.
- Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner, or whistling.
- Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing, or body parts.
- Inappropriate touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person.
- Asking sexual questions, such as questions about someone's sexual history or their sexual orientation.
- Michael is a graduate teaching assistant working on his masters degree. He is finding the course content in an elective course to be challenging and asks to meet with the professor to discuss. The professor suggests that they have dinner together to get to know each other better. Michael feels uncomfortable with this request and declines the invitation. Michael makes additional attempts to meet with the professor during office hours, but the professor always refuses to meet.
- Emily returns to her residence hall room with friends after partying off campus. Emily has been drinking heavily. Sometime in the night, Emily awakes to one of her male friends having sex with her. No one else is in the room. Emily tries to get the friend to stop, but he continues.
- Joe is a student. While walking on Jayhawk Boulevard, he observes a group of women cat-calling to men walking by. The women are with a student organization that has a table in front of Wescoe. The women make a remark about Joe’s physical appearance as he passes them.
- Jill becomes engaged to be married and sets the wedding date for six months later. Her supervisor Jack tells her that she had better enjoy being single while she can and offers to help. This becomes a running joke, with the supervisor saying to her several times a day, “Are you sure I can’t help?” or, “What can I do to help you today?”
- Romeo is the head of a department. He and Juliet have fallen in love. Juliet was recently hired as an administrative assistant for Romeo. Although Romeo and Juliet have tried to keep their relationship discreet, several coworkers have commented on how their relationship interferes with the workplace. The controversy becomes too much for Juliet and she decides to break up with Romeo. Romeo offers to promote Juliet to a higher position if she continues to go out with him.
- Janet and her coworker, Marvin, engaged in a consensual affair. As often happens, the two part ways, but Marvin has trouble moving on. Marvin continues to pursue Janet, telling her that he cannot live without her and begging for her to reconsider. Janet resists. Marvin continues with his pursuit, urging Janet to at least agree to enjoy one more passionate night together. Despite Janet’s reservations, Marvin persists and Janet eventually relents and gives in to his advances.
If you receive a complaint of and/or become aware of a situation that may involve sexual harassment, including sexual violence and/or sexual assault, you must contact the Title IX Coordinator in Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access (IOA) at email@example.com or (785) 864-6414. You should not attempt to determine the validity of the complaint or to initiate an investigation without the involvement of IOA.
It is important that you document all information related to the complaint/situation that you receive, including the date, time, person(s) involved, details of the event(s) ,and potential witnesses. You should also note the date you receive the information and the source of that information. This information should be provided to the Title IX Coordinator and with IOA. You may also direct the individual to www.sexualharassment.ku.edu for more information about current resources and support services, both on and off campus.
It is important to keep in mind that while some you speak with may be interested in pursuing a complaint, some may not. When you have been notified of a situation of sexual harassment, you should notify the individual of your obligation to report the incident.
All complaints concerning sexual harassment, including sexual violence and sexual assault, will follow the University’s Discrimination Resolution Process. The full policy is located at https://documents.ku.edu/policies/IOA/DiscriminationComplaintResolutionProcess.htm.
A summary of the Discrimination Resolution process is as follows:
- Complaint Evaluation Upon receiving a complaint, IOA as the Title IX Coordinator shall conduct an initial evaluation of the merits of the complaint and determine the appropriate investigatory action required.
- The investigation will include the following steps:
- Contact with the Complainant - If the investigator did not speak with the complainant at the time that the complaint was received by IOA as the Title IX Coordinator, and then the investigator will meet or speak with the complainant to gather the facts relating to the complaint and give the compliant the opportunity to provide a statement.
- Notice to Respondent and opportunity to be heard - The respondent will be provided with a statement of the complaint in writing, and the complainant will be provided a copy of this notification. The respondent will be afforded the opportunity to meet with the investigator and respond to the complaint in writing.
- Notice regarding Retaliation - All parties to a complaint (complainant, respondent, witnesses, and appropriate administrators or supervisors) will be informed during first contact with the investigator that retaliation by an individual or his/her associates against any person who files a complaint or any person who participates in the investigation of a complaint is prohibited.
- Representation- In any meeting with the investigator, the parties to the complaint (complainant and the respondent) may bring a representative to the meeting.
- Information relevant to Investigation - The investigator will provide a written summary of their findings to the respondent and the complainant within a reasonable time following the conclusion of the investigation. In addition, the investigator(s) will provide a written report of the investigation findings and recommendations to the appropriate administrators within the University who will determine the appropriate action to be taken in light of the investigation findings and recommendations.
- Findings of Investigation - The investigator will provide a written summary of their findings to the respondent and the complainant within a reasonable time following the conclusion of the investigation. In addition, the investigator(s) will provide a written report of the investigation findings and recommendations to the appropriate administrators within the University who will determine the appropriate action to be taken in light of the investigation findings and recommendations.
- Confidentiality- All complaints will be handled discreetly but IOA cannot guarantee confidentiality or anonymity because the University has an obligation to investigate complaints, and to maintain a safe environment free from harassment and discrimination. Because of its obligations under the law, KU will not be able to honor all requests for confidentiality or all requests that a complaint not be investigated and pursued. There are instances where a complaint may be investigated on an anonymous basis. Please visit www.ioa.ku.edu or call (785)864-6414 for more information.
University employees who have received a report of sexual harassment shall refrain from disclosing information about a complaint to anyone who does not have a legitimate, business need or right to know. Such disclosures are inappropriate and unprofessional and may result in disciplinary action.