UW SPH Statement on Sexual Harassment

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The UW School of Public Health strives to create a learning and working environment free from sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

What is sexual harassment? UW Presidential Executive Order No. 31 defines it as a form of harassment based on the recipient’s gender or sex characterized by:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person who has authority over the recipient when:
    • Submission to such conduct is made either an implicit or explicit condition of the individual’s employment, academic status or ability to use university facilities and services, or
    • Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for a decision that affects tangible aspects of the individual’s employment, academic status or use of University facilities or services.

— OR —

  • Unwelcome and unsolicited language or conduct that is of a sexual nature or is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance (Executive Order 31).

Sexual harassment committed by a student is defined in the Student Conduct Code, Section 478-121-155.

Additionally, Executive Order No. 51 prohibits domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual assault, which, in many cases, may also amount to sexual harassment. Romantic relationships between students and employees can create a conflict of interest and perceived bias, partiality, or influence that may affect the work of other employees and students. Executive Order No. 54 outlines the UW’s policy prohibiting employee-student romantic relationships that create or could be perceived as creating a conflict of interest, whether through the employee’s authority over the student or otherwise.

Sexual harassment in SPH will be addressed, whether it rises to the level of unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation or not. Executive Order 31 addresses actions the University will take in the event a report is made against an employee of the University, which includes faculty, other academic personnel and staff. The Student Conduct Code and Student Governance and Policies Chapter 210 outline how the University responds to a report made against a student.

Know, also, that SafeCampus is a 24/7 resource able to provide support for, engage in safety planning with, and talk about options if you wish to talk with someone about what you’ve experienced or if you would like to consult with someone about what you’ve learned from another member of the UW community.

The University has specific offices that are designated to investigate complaints of sexual harassment, namely, the Title IX Investigation Office for reports of student misconduct, and the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) or Human Resources for reports of misconduct by faculty or staff.

If you wish to raise an issue or complaint confidentially, we recommend reaching out to a Sexual Assault advocate who can help provide confidential support and safety planning. Working with an advocate does not trigger any investigation or formal reporting process. More information regarding reaching out to advocates can be found here.

To anonymously share concerns about sexual harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation, SPH has an online link that can be used. The link takes you there directly but is also available on the following sites.

For students:

For faculty:

Additionally, an email report can be sent to dcinfo@uw.edu.  This link is monitored by the SPH Assistant Dean for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and the Director of Operations for Student and Academic Services and is not anonymous. Reports made through this email will be reviewed, assessed and addressed if possible.

What happens if a report is made?

We honor and respect the agency of individuals victimized by and surviving sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. Depending on the severity of the case and the desired outcomes of the reporting individual, bias reports may be addressed through a tiered approach of informal coaching, training, or formal disciplinary action.

Thank you for making SPH a sexual harassment-free zone. Please do not hesitate to utilize the resources above to let us know how we can make our school a safer and more collaborative place to work and learn together.