Policy statement: A supportive, congenial and professional environment is essential to Lewis & Clark College's academic mission. For this reason, the college strives to sustain an atmosphere in which individual dignity is respected. Sexual harassment at Lewis & Clark College will not be tolerated.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment:
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes 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 advancement; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment. In evaluating conduct of the sort described above, the interference and/or the environment will be viewed through the eyes of a reasonable person in the position of the victim of the alleged harassment.
This definition is not intended to limit the free exchange of opinions or the vigorous debate of ideas. All members of the college community are entitled to use speech to convey disagreement, agreement, inquiry or commentary in keeping with the principles underlying constitutionally protected free expression. In particular, speech that is related to or uttered in connection with academic affairs or the expression of non-anonymous opinions in classrooms, open forums, papers, newspapers or pamphlets will not constitute sexual harassment under (3) above unless it is so severe or pervasive as to interfere unreasonably with an individual's work or academic performance or unreasonably create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.
Sexual harassment as a concept encompasses a broad range of conduct, from the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures to coerced sexual relations. Whether or not particular conduct constitutes sexual harassment will depend on the context in which the conduct arises, the relationship of the parties, and the severity and frequency of the conduct.
Not all sexual conduct is sexual harassment. Sexual conduct, to be a violation of this policy, must be unwelcome and must be sufficiently severe or pervasive that it meets the definition in this policy. Sexual harassment is not limited to heterosexual harassment. Retaliation for complaining about any violation or perceived violation of this policy may lead to dismissal.
Where one party is in a position to extend academic or employment benefits to another, even a completely welcome, consensual romantic or sexual relationship raises at least the appearance of impropriety and can create an unwelcome appearance of favoritism and bias. Such a relationship can lead to sexual harassment allegations if it later becomes unwelcome. Sexual harassment is not limited to situations where there is an unequal power relationship between the parties, but such a relationship may make sexual harassment more likely.
Conduct occurring off campus can lead to a violation of this policy if it unreasonably interferes with a person's academic or work environment.
See also Discrimination and Complaint Procedures.
Approved by the Board of Trustees, November 21, 1997.