Sexual harassment occurs when unwanted attention of a sexual nature interferes with
a student’s ability to obtain an education, work, or participate in recreational
or social activities at UCSB. Sexual harassment is an abuse of informal or formal
power or authority. In the few studies that have examined student-to-student harassment
at colleges, as many as ninety percent of undergraduate women reported at least
one negative experience in interactions with a male student.
Sexual harassment on the part of faculty may be very overt or very subtle. It is
a violation of the Faculty Code of Conduct (APM 015) for a faculty member to engage
in a romantic or sexual relationship with a student for whom he or she has academic
responsibility or should reasonably expect to have such responsibility in the future.
Sexual harassment may be verbal, physical or visual and may include:
- Derogatory, offensive, threatening or intimidating comments, epithets, slurs or
- References to gender, physical appearance, attire, sexual prowess, marital
status, or pregnancy;
- Sexual advances, propositions or demands;
- Displayed or
circulated derogatory or offensive posters, cartoons, drawings, photographs, pin-ups,
computer images or electronic media transmission;
- Unwelcome or unnecessary and
offensive touching such as assault, battery, kissing, hugging, patting, rubbing,
groping, pinching, brushing up against;
- Staring, leering, gesturing, whistling,
impeding or blocking movement;
- Pressure to spend time with a professor/teaching
assistant/staff member/other student outside the academic setting, to get romantically
involved or date, or personal questions that make a student feel uncomfortable;
- Asking a student directly for sexual favors in exchange for a better/passing grade,
assignment, or a favorable recommendation.
Students who are sexually harassed can be confused, worried, or angry that they
don’t know how to handle the situation. They may fear retaliation. Many are worried
that they are to blame for the situation. When dealing with a student who complains
of sexual harassment:
- Take the report seriously.
- Validate the student’s feelings and experience.
- Listen and sympathize, but don’t judge.
- Assure the student that the university
takes sexual harassment seriously and will not tolerate it.
- Respond to the student’s
concerns. Assure the student that the institution will do everything in its power
to ensure confidentiality as far as possible (but make no promises), to prevent
retaliation and stop further harassment.
- Refer the student to either a sexual harassment advisor (list available on-line
at http://www.shot9.ucsb.edu or the Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment/Title
IX Compliance, 3217 Phelps Hall, (893-2701).
- Follow up with the student the next day to ensure that he or she is getting the
assistance they want and need.
- Ignore the student.
- Minimize the situation.
- Judge whether the behavior
is or is not sexual harassment.
- Assure the student that you can ensure confidentiality.
Once an agent of the University knows about the existence of potential sexual harassment,
our institution is officially “on notice.”
- Delay referring the student to a sexual
harassment advisor or the Office of Equal Opportunity & Sexual Harassment/Title
IX Compliance. Delays of even a few days can make it more difficult to resolve the
situation or send a signal to the student that the University is not taking the
complaint or problem seriously.
On-line sexual harassment training is available to the entire campus community. It is easily accessible at http://shpe.sa.ucsb.edu/. For more information about the Sexual Harassment Prevention Education Program, contact the coordinator at 893-3442 or e-mail
The University of California systemwide sexual harassment policy and a procedure
for handling complaints are available at: