Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Penn State University is committed to an open, sensitive, understanding, and responsive campus environment. The single most important key to opening the doors wider to all people is to create an environment in which everyone feels welcome. To do this, we must eliminate intolerance and harassment within what should be an enlightened community of faculty, staff and students.

We must all work together to discourage behavior within our community that is dehumanizing, including sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment - What is it?

Sexual harassment has been defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

Submission to such conduct is a condition for employment, promotion, grades or academic status.
Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting an individual.
Such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with individual's employment, education or access to University programs, activities and opportunities. To constitute prohibited harassment, the conduct must be such that it detrimentally affects the individual in question and would also detrimentally affect a reasonable person under the same circumstances.

Examples of Sexual Harassment:

  • pressure for sexual activity
  • requests for sexual favors
  • unwelcome patting, hugging, or touching a person's body, hair or clothing
  • sexual innuendos, jokes or comments
  • disparaging remarks to a person about her/his gender or body
  • sexual graffiti or visuals
  • asking about a person's sexual fantasies, sexual preferences, or sexual activites
  • making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements

These examples are not all-inclusive of the types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment. Each situation must be considered in light of the specific facts and circumstances to determine if sexual harassment has occurred.

Adapted from the Affirmative Action Office.

In addition to contacting University Police, if you believe that you have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment please contact the campus Sexual Harassment Officers: 

Joan Humphrey 
309A Sharon Hall

Matthew Ciszek 
Lartz Memorial Library