Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
• Quid Pro Quo: a person’s submission to such conduct is implicitly or explicitly made the basis for employment decisions, academic evaluation, grades or advancement, or other decisions affecting participation in a University program; or
• Hostile Environment: such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, adversely limits, or interferes with a person’s participation in or benefit from the education, employment or other programs and services of the University and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating or offensive.

Consideration is given to the totality of the circumstances in which the conduct occurred. Sexual harassment may include incidents:
• between any members of the University community, including faculty and other academic appointees, staff, student employees, students, coaches, residents, interns, and non-student or non-employee participants in University programs (e.g., vendors, contractors, visitors, and patients);
• in hierarchical relationships and between peers; and
• between individuals of any gender or gender identity.

Sexual harassment by faculty may be very overt or very subtle. Under the University of California Faculty Code of Conduct (APM 015) it is unacceptable for a faculty member to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship with any student for whom a faculty member has, or should reasonably expect to have in the future, academic responsibility (instructional, evaluative, or supervisory).

Sexual harassment may be verbal, physical, or visual and may include:
• Derogatory, offensive, threatening or intimidating comments, epithets, slurs or jokes;
• 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 you become aware that a student is a victim of sexual harassment:


  1. When possible, talk to the student in private, and begin by letting the student know that there are confidential resources on campus, such as Campus Advocacy Resources & Education (CARE), Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), or the Office of the Ombuds, but that any disclosure to you must be reported to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance because that is your responsibility as a “responsible employee” under UC policy.*
  2. Be aware that when a student discloses information about sexual harassment to you, s/he is demonstrating trust in you and the desire for help.
  3. Take the report seriously.
  4. Validate the student’s feelings and experience.
  5. Listen and sympathize, but don’t judge.
  6. Provide the student with a copy of the “Resources for Those Impacted by Sexual Violence or Sexual Harassment” available at
  7. Inform the student that there is an office on campus, CARE, dedicated to providing assistance to anyone impacted by sexual violence or sexual harassment, and offer to immediately call a confidential CARE Advocate to join the meeting to discuss reporting options, accommodations, and resources. A CARE Advocate is the appropriate person to speak with the student about available assistance, how to repot, and what to expect when a report is made. Unlike most other staff and faculty, CARE Advocates are a confidential resource, so a student can share their story and/or explore their options with a CARE Advocate without a formal report being made.
  8. Suggest that the student contact CAPS for counseling and psychological support, or offer to call the CAPS office together to set up an appointment.
  9. Refer the student to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance if they wish to make an official report to the University.
  10. Refer the student to the Campus Police if the student wants to make a police report and the harassment has occurred on campus or UCSB-owned property. If the harassment has occurred in Isla Vista, refer the student to the Isla Vista Foot Patrol.
  11. Inform the student that the University of California’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures can be accessed online at Policy for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence. Printed copies are available through a CARE Advocate or in the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance.
  12. Follow up with the student the next day to ensure that they are getting the assistance they want and need. 


  1. Ignore or minimize the student.
  2. Judge whether the behavior is or is not sexual harassment.
  3. Assure the student that you can ensure confidentiality. Once a responsible employee knows about the existence of potential sexual harassment, our institution is officially “on notice.”
  4. Delay reporting the incident(s) to the Office of Title IX/Sexual Harassment Policy Compliance.

*More information about your reporting obligations as a “responsible employee” under the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment is available at: