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George Mason University
2002-03 University Catalog

General Policies

Sexual Harassment Policy

Sexual harassment is unacceptable conduct and is not condoned in any form at George Mason University. This policy is part of the university's efforts to maintain learning and work environments free from sexual harassment. While this problem can seriously affect all members of an educational community, sexual harassment can be particularly devastating for our student population. A sexual harassment experience can affect a student's emotional well-being, impair academic progress, and even inhibit the attainment of career goals. This problem can likewise affect employees and applicants for both employment and admission to the university in the same manner. George Mason University, therefore, must move to eliminate this problem from the community.

It is generally agreed that what constitutes and defines sexual harassment can vary under particular circumstances and events. Nevertheless, using the definitions of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, the university defines sexual harassment as follows:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute harassment when:

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's academic performance or employment

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions about academic evaluation, employment, promotion, transfer, selection for training, performance evaluation, or selection for academic awards or benefits, etc.

  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment or substantially interferes with a student's academic or an employee's work performance

While the definition quoted above reflects the historical fact that the majority of sexual harassment complaints involve a male harasser and a female complainant (or victim), the definition applies equally to female harassers and male victims as well as same-sex harassment.

George Mason University is committed to eliminating sexual harassment from the campus while ensuring basic protection for all parties. The Office of the Vice President and University Equity Officer (a.k.a. Equity Office) is specifically charged to assist in the investigation and resolution of allegations of discrimination and harassment including sexual harassment. Further, the office exists, in part, to ensure that members of the campus community understand their responsibility to create and maintain an environment free from discriminatory actions and behaviors.

For more information, contact the University Equity Office at (703) 993-8730 or (703) 993-8787 (TDD).