Definition of Harassment
The College is committed to maintaining an environment in which all members of the community, staff, students and faculty, are treated with respect and dignity. It is the policy of the College not to discriminate on the basis of sex, including sexual harassment, in any of its programs, activities or employment practices. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct constitute sexual harassment when:
1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic treatment, or is accompanied by implied or overt threats concerning one’s job, grades, letters of recommendation, etc.;
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis of employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
The College also prohibits this type of behavior when it is based on race, color, age, national origin and religion or on any other basis prohibited by law. Harassment on the basis of one’s sexual orientation can also constitute discrimination on the basis of sex.
Behavior That Can Constitute Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can include verbal behavior such as unwanted sexual comments, suggestions, jokes or pressure for sexual favors; nonverbal behavior such as suggestive looks or leering; and physical behavior such as pats, where such behaviors are severe, offensive, and occur repeatedly unless a single instance is so severe that it warrants immediate action.
Some specific examples of behavior that are inappropriate include:
- Continuous and repeated sexual slurs or sexual innuendoes
- Offensive and repeated risqué jokes or kidding about sex or gender-specific traits
- Repeated unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual relations
Definition of Discrimination
Discrimination is unequal or disparate treatment of groups or individuals, including their exclusion from any of the College’s programs or activities, or any attempt to hinder access to the College’s resources on the basis of race, religion, color, age, national origin, physical ability, sex or sexual orientation. Prohibited sex discrimination includes both sexual harassment and sexual violence and discrimination based on sex or gender, including pregnancy and parental status. It is important to recognize that not all conduct that might be offensive to an individual or a group necessarily constitutes discriminatory conduct. Whether a specific act constitutes discrimination must be determined on a case-by-case basis in light of all relevant circumstances.
Individuals Covered Under This Policy
This policy covers all staff members and faculty members as well as students. The College will not tolerate, condone or allow harassment or discrimination, whether engaged in by fellow staff members, students, faculty members or non-employees who conduct business with the College.
Policy Concerning Sexual Relationships between students and staff members
Fulfilling the mission of Bryn Mawr College to provide a rigorous education and to encourage the pursuit of knowledge as preparation for life and work depends upon the existence of a relationship of trust, respect and fairness between faculty or staff members and students. Romantic and/or sexual relationships between faculty or staff members (including teaching assistants) and students threaten this relationship. Further, the unequal nature of their respective roles calls into question a student’s ability to fully consent to a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a faculty or staff member. The College considers such a relationship, even if believed to be consensual, to violate the integrity of the student/faculty or student/staff relationship, and to be unethical and unacceptable.
In acting on complaints regarding sexual relationships that come to the College’s attention, it will be presumed that any complaint by a student against a faculty or staff member is valid if sexual relations have occurred between them. In addition, third parties, including other students, parents, and other faculty/staff members, may report suspected violations of this policy. All complaints will be investigated and should allegations of such a relationship be substantiated, the College will take appropriate disciplinary action against the involved faculty or staff member, up to and including termination of employment.