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? One of the University of Washington’s policies 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.
  • 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).

Another definition of sexual harassment may be found in the Student Conduct Code. This definition applies to prohibit specific behaviors by students.

Additionally, Executive Order No. 51 defines specific acts, including domestic violence, relationship violence, stalking, and sexual assault; in many cases, these actions may amount to sexual harassment. Romantic relationships between students and employees can create a hostile environment by creating a conflict of interest and perceived bias, partiality or influence that affects the work of other employees and students.  UW President Ana Mari Cauce has addressed this issue in Executive Order No. 54, which outlines the policy prohibiting employee-student romantic relationships.

Sexual harassment in SPH will be addressed, whether it rises to the level of unlawful discrimination, harassment, retaliation or not. The UW 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.

The University has offices designated to investigate complaints of sexual harassment. If you wish to report a student, you may contact an advocate to discuss your options and/or make a report directly to the Title IX Investigation Office. If you wish to report a staff member, you may contact the University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) or Human Resources. These offices have some capacity to keep your name anonymous. 

If you wish to raise an issue or complaint anonymously, Health Sciences has an internal Sexual Misconduct Prevention Coordinator (SMPC) who can help you navigate various options for moving forward, support you through the reporting process, and connect you to resources. Additionally, SPH has an anonymous online form that can be used to share concerns about sexual harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. The link takes you there directly but is also available on the following page:

For faculty…click here.

Additionally, a confidential, non-anonymous 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 Student and Academic Services. Reports made through this email will be addressed. For confidential support and safety planning, you can reach out to the Health Sciences SMPC or to a Sexual Assault advocate. Connecting with the SMPC or an advocate does not trigger any investigation or formal reporting process.

What happens if a bias report is made?

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

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.

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