Sexual Harassment – 201.2

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: Sexual Harassment
Policy Number: 201.2
Effective Date: April 1, 2010 (reviewed)


All individuals should be able to work and study in an environment unfettered by any form of sexual discrimination. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock explicitly condemns sexual harassment as a violation of an individual’s human rights and dignity and as a form of discrimination based upon sex. Members of the university community neither commit nor condone sexual harassment in any form. This prohibition applies equally to male and female staff, faculty and students, to all other persons on premises subject to university control and to those engaged to further the interests of the university.

Employees and students who engage in sexual harassment will be subject to applicable disciplinary processes. Sexual harassment is unlawful and may also subject those who engage in it to civil and criminal penalties.

The university is committed to providing an environment free from sexual harassment. Therefore, the university administration strongly encourages all University of Arkansas at Little Rock community members to report incidents of sexual harassment. To that end, reporting and investigating procedures are supporting of and sensitive to the alleged victim. At the same time, they adequately safeguard the rights of the alleged offender.

Policy Rationale

Sexual harassment is reprehensible. It subverts the mission of the university by threatening the careers, educational experience and general well-being of every member of the university community. In both obvious and subtle ways, sexual harassment destroys an individual’s ability to function at his or her highest level and has a harmful effect on one’s ability to study, work, or engage in leisure activities within the university community.

Although sexual harassment often takes place when the people involved have unequal power (as between a supervisor and employee or between a teacher and student), sexual harassment also occurs between people who have equal power and status in the university community (as between students or between co-workers). The purpose of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s sexual harassment policy is to educate members of the university community about the harms caused by sexual harassment and about behaviors which constitute harassment based on an individual’s sex or gender. Finally, and most importantly, the purpose of this policy is to eradicate sexual harassment within the university community.

Sexual Harassment Defined

Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted, unwelcome, inappropriate or irrelevant sexual or gender-based activities or comments when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is either explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment with the university or a factor in the educational program or university-related activities of a student; or
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for an employment or educational decision affecting such individual; or
  3. Such conduct has the appearance or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance; or
  4. Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or demeaning environment.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

The university takes the broadest possible view consistent with law and reason regarding conduct encompassed by the phrase “sexual harassment.” The inclusion of examples and descriptions in this policy statement is not intended to exclude other conduct from being deemed sexual harassment. They are provided to inform the university community of expected standards of professional and responsible conduct. A determination of the occurrence of sexual harassment is based upon the nature and context of the conduct.

All members of the university community have a responsibility to behave in such a manner that their words or actions cannot reasonably be perceived by the recipient of those words or actions as coercive, abusive, or exploitive. Regardless of the specific intent of the alleged harasser, conduct having the characteristics or effect of sexual harassment will be treated as sexual harassment. Where there is a rational connection with university processes, and operations, off campus conduct is subject to this policy.

  1. Sexual harassment creates a hostile, abusive, demeaning, offensive, or intimidating environment. It is manifested by verbal and/or physical actions including gestures and other symbolic conduct which may be, but are not necessarily, aimed at a particular individual. Examples include verbal harassment and abuse of a sexual or gender-specific nature, such as sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes; display of sexually demeaning objects or pictures; and remarks about sexual activity or speculations about previous or future sexual experience. Sexual harassment includes unnecessary or unwelcome touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body; staring at or ogling of a person’s body; and inappropriate comments about one’s body or clothing. It includes unwanted sexual activities, sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, and physical assault.
  2. Sexual harassment also includes slurs about one’s gender, contrived work or study assignments, and assigning more onerous or unpleasant tasks predominately to employees or students of one gender.

Consensual Relationships

Incidents of sexual harassment may involve persons having unequal power, authority, or influence. Threats of adverse consequences or promises of reward may be implied solely by circumstances of unequal power. Therefore, the university recognizes an inherent conflict of interest when an individual exercises supervisor, educational or other institutional authority over an individual and makes sexual overtures toward that individual.

For this reason, no faculty member shall begin an amorous relationship with a student who is enrolled in a course taught by the faculty member or whose academic work (including work as a teaching assistant) is supervised by the faculty member. Furthermore, a faculty member who has had or is currently involved in an amorous relationship with a student shall, to the extent possible, withdraw from participation in instructional activities or decisions which may regard or penalize that student. Finally, the university strongly recommends that no faculty or staff member participate in an amorous relationship with a student or an employee of the university who is being supervised by that faculty or staff member.

Decisions affecting employees and students should be made solely on the basis of merit. This includes, but is not limited to, decisions affecting an employee’s job responsibilities, promotion, pay, benefits, or other term or condition of employment; a student’s grades, academic progress, benefits, or other term or condition of academic evaluation or student status; and recommendations, references, referrals, and opportunities for further study, employment, or career advancement.

Source: University Administrative Memo, September 9, 1992; UALR Classified Employee Handbook; UALR Faculty Handbook; UALR Student Handbook 2009
Revised: May 26, 2006; April 1, 2010 (reviewed)
Approved By: Annette Murdock-Tangye
Custodian: Department of Human Resources