Sexual Harassment Policy

University at Albany’s Policy Statement and Policy on Sexual Harassment

Policy Statement
The University at Albany (UAlbany) is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which all persons who participate in University programs and activities can come together to learn and work in an atmosphere free from all forms of harassment, exploitation, and discrimination or intimidation, including sexual. It is the responsibility of the University to prevent sexual harassment if possible, to correct it when it occurs, and to take appropriate disciplinary action, as necessary, against behavior that is a violation of the policy. Every member of the University community should be aware that the University strongly opposes sexual harassment and that such behavior is prohibited by law and University policy.

Scope
The scope of this policy applies to all employees, applicants for employment in all positions, students involved in academic or recreational programs, as well as applicants in the admission process and recipients of UAlbany's programs and services. This includes students, staff, and faculty in UAlbany's international programs located in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Definitions
In accordance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations and University policy, UAlbany defines sexual harassment as "unwelcome" 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 instruction, employment, or participation in any other university activity (quid pro quo), or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual (quid pro quo), or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

Central to the definition are two elements: the behavior is unwelcome, and it is sexual in nature as perceived by the recipient.

In the University environment, conduct that may be considered sexually harassing for the same or opposite sex whether physical, verbal, visual, or written, include but are not limited to:

  • lingering or intimate touches
  • sexual jokes or innuendoes
  • flirtations, e.g., repeated requests for dates
  • sexual advances or propositions
  • graphic comments about a person's physique
  • sexually suggestive objects or pictures displayed in areas of common viewing

Quid pro quo sexual harassment means "this for that", and usually occurs by those in a position of authority over a subordinate.

Example:  Quid Pro Quo Lana is a graduate assistant working in the Dental Hygiene Department. Her supervisor has asked her out and she politely refused. Her supervisor makes the comment, "I can make a person's life easier when it comes to a job search in this field. I have connections with numerous agencies that can be a real boost when looking for a job. Likewise, if I want to keep someone from getting a job, all I have to do is pick up the phone and make a call."

Hostile environment is defined as a pattern of unwelcome behavior or a single egregious incident that creates an offensive learning or work environment. A hostile environment occurs when unwelcome conduct, sexual or sex-based, severe or pervasive, that offends, intimidates, ridicules, and insults an individual sufficiently enough to alter his/her work or learning environment. There is no absolute example of a hostile environment, as each incident is given consideration to the record as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the content in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.
What you can do if you feel you are a victim of, or if you observe acts of, sexual harassment:

  • Tell the person that his/her actions are personally offensive. While each individual must decide how to respond, confronting the individual can be very effective.
  • Keep careful records. Document the facts in a journal or on a tape recorder. Record dates, times, places, witnesses (including their names and addresses), and the nature of the offense.
  • Contact University people or community agencies that can help you. Their addresses and phone numbers are listed later in this pamphlet. A friend, staff or faculty member may accompany you.
  • Campus incidents may lead to complaints or grievances. Check with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) to review procedures.
  • Students may wish to talk with a member of the counseling center staff, a residence hall director, an academic advisor, a residence assistant, a faculty member, or a supervisor.

Confidentiality
In accordance with existing policies and laws, every effort will be made to protect the privacy of all individuals throughout all phases of the complaint investigation and resolution process. Information about complaints will be maintained in confidence to the fullest extent possible.

Retaliation
University policy and state law prohibit retaliation against any individual who opposes sexual harassment, files a complaint, or assists or participates in any manner in an investigation or proceeding conducted by the University or an external agency. Violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. Sexual harassment, in any form, will not be tolerated. If you have any questions about UAlbany's policy against sexual harassment, or the procedure for filing a complaint, you may contact the ODI at (518) 956-8110.