Harassment is the creation of an offensive, degrading, or intimidating environment, in which conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, their educational or working environment by negatively affecting the person physically or emotionally. 

Harassment can be uninvited or unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct directed at the individual's or a group of individuals' putative nationality, race, ethnicity, color, language, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, cultural identity, social origin, socioeconomic status, educational level, disability, genetic trait, mental or physical health condition, or any similar ground. 

Verbal conduct may be either oral or written words, such as epithets. Physical conduct may include inappropriate touching, physically interfering with, blocking or impeding an individual’s normal movement, assault or battery among other things. Visual conduct may include drawings, pictures, cartoons or images among other things. 

Sexual harassment is a particular form of harassment with specific distinguishing characteristics. Conduct that constitutes sexual harassment can be verbal, visual or physical. It may be direct or explicit or it may be inferred from the conduct, circumstances and relationship of the individuals involved. Sexual harassment need not be intentional. The intent of the person who is alleged to have committed sexual harassment is not relevant in determining whether sexual harassment has occurred. Sexual harassment generally consists of unwelcome sexual advances, explicit or implicit requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an offensive, intimidating, or hostile University environment; or 

  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance, or status; or 

  • submission to or rejection of such conduct is an explicit or implicit term or condition of education, employment, or participation in other University activities; or 

  • submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for an employment, academic, or research decision affecting the individual.