VI-1.20 (A) University of
Maryland Policy And Procedures On Sexual Harassment
Approved by the President 1 August 1991
UM is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment in which students, faculty, and staff can develop intellectually, professionally, personally, and socially. Such an environment must be free of intimidation, fear, coercion, and reprisal. The Campus prohibits sexual harassment. Sexual harassment may cause others unjustifiable offense, anxiety, and injury. Sexual harassment threatens the legitimate expectation of all members of the Campus community that academic or employment progress is determined by the publicly stated requirements of job and classroom performance, and that the Campus environment will not unreasonably impede work or study.
Sexual harassment by University faculty, staff, and students is prohibited. This constitutes Campus policy. Sexual harassment may also constitute violations of criminal and civil laws of the State of Maryland and the United States. For the purpose of this Campus policy, sexual harassment is defined as: (1) unwelcome sexual advances; or (2) unwelcome requests for sexual favors; and (3) other behavior of a sexual nature where:
a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or participation in a University-sponsored educational program or activity; or
b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment.
In assessing whether a particular act constitutes sexual harassment forbidden under this policy, the standard shall be the perspective of a reasonable person within the College Park Campus community. The rules of common sense and reason shall prevail. Allegations of sexual harassment shall be judged with attention to the facts particular to the case and the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.
Conduct prohibited under this policy may manifest itself in many different ways. Sexual harassment may, for example, be as undisguised as a direct solicitation of sexual favors, or solicitation accompanied by overt threats. Harassment may also arise from behavior which has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment. In this regard, the following types of acts, if pervasive and continuous, are more likely-than-not to result in allegations of sexual harassment: unwelcome physical contact, sexual remarks about a person's clothing, body or sexual relations, conversation of a sexual nature or similar jokes and stories, and the display of sexually explicit materials in the workplace or used in the classroom which are without defensible educational purpose.
Sexual harassment may occur within a variety of relationships. It may occur among peers. It may occur where no relationship exists between the parties other than being co- employees or co-students. Especially injurious, on the other hand, is harassment in relationships characterized by inequality of power, where one party has institutional authority over the other. Inherent in these relationships is the power and fear of reprisal. Typically, such relationships are found between employer and employee; senior faculty and junior faculty; graduate teaching assistant and undergraduate; and faculty and student, when the student is enrolled in a faculty member's class or when the student is in a continuing position to require evaluation of work or letters of recommendation from the faculty. Such relationships can be immediate, here and now, or based upon future expectations, e.g., the need for future evaluations and references. Sexual harassment may occur between persons of the same or different genders.
Education and awareness are the best tools for the elimination of sexual harassment. The Campus is committed to taking appropriate action against those who violate the provisions of the policy. The Campus is committed to protecting targets of harassment from retaliation.
Individuals who believe themselves subjected to an incident of sexual harassment should be aware that there are many ways to bring it to the attention of the University, and, where proper, obtain redress or protection. There is an informal route. There are also more formal procedures of long-standing which are sufficiently broad to deal with sexual harassment. Preventing sexual harassment is a responsibility of the entire Campus community. The Campus has made this a priority, but ultimately, no satisfactory investigation or resolution of a complaint can occur without the initiative and continuous cooperation of the person who feels injured. Similarly, allegations of sexual harassment are extremely serious, with potential for great harm to all persons if ill-conceived or without foundation. Procedures which implement Campus policy recognize the potential. The Campus is committed to protecting the rights of the alleged offender as well as the offended.
1. Informal Consideration
An incident of sexual harassment may be reported to:
a. any Campus or University official or faculty member, including an individual's supervisor, the department chair or dean;
b. the Director of Personnel (405-5648);
c. a Departmental or College equity officer;
d. the Director of the Office of Human Relations (405-2839); or
e. the President's Legal Office (405-4945).
When an individual receives a report of sexual harassment, he or she will notify the Legal Office prior to taking any action to investigate or resolve the matter informally. The Legal Office will normally manage and coordinate all matters relating to complaints. Complainants will be advised of relevant campus policies and procedures, and the informal and formal means of resolving the matter will be explained. While a written complaint is not required to initiate an informal investigation, the Legal Office generally will ask for a signed complaint from the offended person. If the matter is to be investigated, consideration shall be given to the situation and the wishes of the complainant. The investigation of a complaint will include discussing the matter with the person accused of sexual harassment. The findings of the investigation shall be confidentially reported as required to the President and to the relevant vice president, dean, chairman, or supervisor for any necessary action. Sanctions for sexual harassment may range from reprimand to termination, depending upon the circumstances of the case.
2. Formal Complaints
Formal grievance procedures for resolving sexual harassment complaints are available based on the classification of the aggrieved person.
a. Faculty members may file with the dean of their academic unit under the Faculty Grievance Procedure contained within the Faculty Handbook of the College Park Campus, University of Maryland.
b. Associate Staff employees may file with the Employee Specialist under the Associate Staff Grievance Procedure contained within the Personnel Policies and Rules for Associate Staff Employees of the University of Maryland, Office of Personnel, Chesapeake Building (405-5651).
c. Classified employees may file with the Employee Specialist under the Classified Grievance Procedure contained within the Handbook of Classified Employees, Office of Personnel, Chesapeake Building (405- 5651).
d. Students may file under the Code of Student Conduct, Office of Judicial Programs, 2108 Mitchell Building (314-8204).
e. Faculty, associate staff, classified employees, and students may file under the UM Human Relations Code with a Campus unit equity administrator or the Campus Compliance Officer, Office of Human Relations Programs, 1130 Shriver Laboratory (405-2839).
Following is a Statement on Sexual Relationships and Professional Conduct. While sexual relationships in the supervisory context are not prohibited in the sense that penalties attach to such conduct, all members of the Campus community are urged to consider the ethical concerns that may arise as a result of such relationships.
STATEMENT ON SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
The basic function of a university is the discovery and transmission of knowledge, activities which are founded upon the free and open exchange of ideas. In order for productive learning and the work that supports it to occur, members of the Campus community--faculty, students, and staff personnel--should pursue their responsibilities guided by a strong commitment to principles of mutual trust and confidence and professional codes of conduct.
It should be understood by all members of the Campus community that sexual relationships that occur in the context of educational or employment supervision and evaluation are generally deemed very unwise because they present serious ethical concerns. Many professional codes of conduct prohibit sexual relationships that occur within the context of one's profession. Accordingly, faculty and supervisors are warned about the possible costs of even an apparently consenting relationship. The element of power implicit in sexual relationships occurring in the supervisory context can diminish a subordinate's actual freedom of choice. There is doubt whether any such relationship can be truly consensual. In addition, sexual relationships between a professor or supervisor and subordinate create an environment charged with potential conflict of interest. Questions of favoritism frequently arise. As a result, such conduct may subvert the normal structure of incentives that spurs works and learning advancement and interjects attitudes and pressures which are not consonant with the education and employment policies and principles to which the Campus is committed.