Respect Boundaries

Sexual Harassment

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual Harassment – Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing.
  • Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual.
  • 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 working/academic environment.

Sexual harassment does not include personal compliments welcomed by the recipient and social interaction of relationships freely entered into by students, employees, or prospective employees; however the potential for sexual harassment even in consensual relationships must be recognized, especially in situations where a professional power differential exists (e.g., administrator/student, faculty/student, supervisor/employee, tenured/non-tenured faculty.) Sexual harassment does not include behavior which is considered to be appropriate to an academic discipline for the purpose of instruction or individual safety.

Who perpetrates sexual harassment?

Perpetrator can be anyone regardless of gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status or race. They do not have to be the opposite sex of the victim. This is to include but not limited to the victim's supervisor, a client, a co-worker, a teacher or professor, a schoolmate, a stranger, even a family member.

Who are victims of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status or race. The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be anyone who finds the behavior offensive and is affected by it.

What to do if you have been sexually harassed?

  • Tell the perpetrator in person or other documented way (in a manner or at a time when it is reasonably certain that such action will not jeopardize the student’s personal safety, academic status or professional future)that the behavior is neither humorous nor welcomed and should cease immediately.
  • Keep a written record, documenting, as precisely as possible, what happened, when it took place, the names of witnesses, if any, the student’s response, and any other information that may be helpful later. 
  • Seek advice on how to deal with the situation from a supportive and knowledgeable person.
  • File a complaint regarding the sexual harassment
    • For a student on a student violation contact;
      • UNK Senior Student Affairs Officer (Dean), Memorial Student Affairs Building, #180, (308) 865-8528
      • Associate Dean: Conrad Hall, (308) 865-8519;
      • Associate Director Residence Life: Conrad Hall, (308) 865-8519
      • Title IX Coordinator, Director Human Resources: Founders Hall #1200, (308) 
  • For an employee on a student or employee violation contact;
    • Title IX Coordinator, Director Human Resources: Founders Hall #1200, (308) 865-8388.
  • Talk with a confidential advocate who is trained to assist sexual harassment victims with the emotional and physical impacts of the harassment.  Advocates are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
    • Students can contact:  Women’s Center at (308) 865-8248, Counseling Care at (308)865-8248 (24/7), or contact your local counselor.
    • Employees can contact Best Care EAP at (800) 666-8606 or contact your local counselor.
    • For additional resources go here.
  • Report the incident to the university police at (308) 627-4811 or local police at (308) 237-2104 or 911.   
  • Preserve all physical evidence of the harassment.
  • Students who have been sexually assaulted or harassed or complainants have access to University assistance in changing academic, living, working and transportation situations after an alleged incident.  If the request is made by the student or complainant and if such changes are reasonably available,  accommodations to minimize burden on the student or complainant may include:
  • Additional resources about legal issues, health care, or other concerns related to harassment can be found here.

How to Help a Friend

  • If your friend tells you they have been sexual harassed:  Believe them. Your friend needs to be believed and supported. It is never the fault of the victim for being sexual harassed. Sexual harassment has nothing to do with the victim’s behavior, actions or the reality of the situation.
  • Support and understanding are essential.  Sexual harassment, like stalking and relationship abuse can cause depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, sleeping problems etc… Let your friend talk as much as or as little as they need to. It is important that you listen and believe them.
  • Do not respond to the harasser.
  • Advise your friend to keep evidence and document everything. You can also document any incidence of harassment that you witness. Tell your friend to keep a log of the time, date, place and other details they may find of importance. Tell them to keep all e-mails, phone messages, letters, notes or social media messages. Tell them to photograph any damages to their personal possessions and any injuries they may have incurred.
  • Respect Privacy. Perpetrators can be very clever about getting information so do not give any information out about your friend, no matter what they might say.
  • Help them feel safe. Offer to spend time with your friend so they do not have to be alone.
  • Refer your friend to the Women’s Center, Counseling Care, S.A.F.E. Center, University or local Law enforcement. They can assist you in helping your friend devise a personal safety plan, provide support and advocacy, provide them with information about local laws and University policies, investigate and prosecute the offense. These resources can assess the situation and refer your friend to counseling, legal aid, provide an escort on campus and they can be a safe place on campus where their needs will be heard and responded to. Resources
  • Get Support for Yourself. Sometimes the friends of victims can also feel the impact of the crime and experience emotional and physical reactions. This is called secondary victimization. Hearing about these offenses can be upsetting. You may feel angry, sad, frustrated and helpless. If you have experienced crime or other traumatic events in the past, your friend’s experience might bring up memories and feelings from that time. You may want to talk about your feelings but also respect your friend’s privacy. You can contact the Women’s Center, Counseling Care or S.A.F.E Center to speak to an advocate confidentially. Resources