What is Sexual Harassment?

Verbal or physical  conduct that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment is considered harassment.  Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Both the victim and the harasser can be either a  woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be same sex. For more information, visit the EEOC.

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • an instructor suggests that a higher grade might be given to a student if the student submits to sexual advances
  • a supervisor implicitly or explicitly threatens termination if a subordinate refuses the supervisor’s sexual advances
  • a student repeatedly follows an instructor around campus and sends sexually explicit messages to the instructor’s voicemail, email, or cell phone
  • a student or employee touches you in an unwelcome, sexual manner without your consent
  • a student employee repeatedly makes unwelcome comments about your body in person, or on the phone, or in any other way
  • a student or employee records you engaged in sexual activity without your consent
  • students in a residence hall repeatedly draw sexually explicit graffiti on the whiteboard on your door
  • a student or employee exposes their sexual organs to you without your consent and in an unwelcomed manner

The USF System recognizes that consensual, amorous, or sexual relationships between two people of unequal position or power (e.g. between a supervisor and an employee, faculty member and student) may occur. Such relationships may become exploitative, or lead to charges of sexual harassment, or being accused of having a conflict of interest. To address this, the USF System has adopted a policy governing consensual relationships, USF Policy 1-022 Consensual Relationships.