The University of Pittsburgh is committed to the maintenance of a community free from all forms of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment violates University policy as well as federal, state, and local laws. It is neither permitted nor condoned. The coverage of this policy extends to faculty, researchers, staff, students, vendors, contractors and visitors to the University.
It is also a violation of the University of Pittsburgh's policy against sexual harassment for any employee or student at the University of Pittsburgh to attempt in any way to retaliate against a person who makes a claim of sexual harassment.
Any individual who after a thorough investigation is found to have violated the University's policy against sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, reprimand, suspension, termination, or expulsion. The disciplinary action taken will depend upon the severity of the offense.
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is an explicit or implicit condition of employment or academic success;
- Submission to or rejction of such conduct is used as the basis for an employment or academic decision; or
- 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.
While sexual harassment most often takes place where there is a power differential between the persons involved, it also may occur between persons of the same status. Sexual harassment can occur on University premises or off campus at University sponsored events. It can occur between members of the same gender as well as between members of different genders.
Personal relationships must not be allowed to interfere with the academic or professional integrity of the teacher-student, staff-student, supervisor-employee or other professional relations within the University. The University's policy on Faculty-Student Relationships (Policy 02-04-03) prohibits intimate relationships between a faculty member and a student whose academic work, teaching or research is being supervised or evaluated by the faculty member. If an intimate relationship should exist or develop between a faculty member and a student, the University requires the faculty member to remove himself/herself from all supervisory, evaluative, and/or formal advisory roles with respect to the student. Failure to do so may subject the faculty member to disciplinary action.
Any faculty, staff or student who believes he or she has been sexually harassed should contact a department chair, dean, director, supervisor, the Office of Affirmative Action, or the Office of Human Resources. The complaint will either be handled by the person/office receiving the complaint or referred to the Office of Affirmative Action.
All complaints will be given serious, impartial, and timely consideration. While every effort will be made to protect the privacy rights of all parties, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
If an individual is found to have violated the University's policy against sexual harassment, steps will be taken to stop the harassment and the violator will be subject to disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to, oral or written warning, required education program, mandatory counseling, reprimand, suspension, reassignment of responsiblilities, termination of employment or expulsion from the University. If it is found that the complaint is without reasonable foundation, the parties will be so informed and will also be informed that no further action is warranted. A record of the findings and the action taken must be kept in the unit that handled the complaint.
Any faculty, staff or student who believes that he or she has been sexually harassed should first seek a resolution of this problem as outlined above. If that is not satisfactory, the complainant or accused can then appeal through the appeal procedure.
For Additional Information
The Affirmative Action Office, 121 Blackington Hall, ext. 7119 and the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, 241 Blackington Hall, ext. 2078 are available to answer questions and to provide assistance on this and related matters.