UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Division 1. Policy
Section 1. RATIONALE.
(a) Sexual harassment is reprehensible and will not be
tolerated by the University. It
subverts the mission of the University, and threatens the careers, educational
experience, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff.
In both obvious and subtle ways, sexual harassment is destructive to
individual students, faculty, staff, and the academic community as a whole.
When, through fear of reprisal, a student, staff member, or faculty
member submits, or is pressured to submit, to unwanted sexual attention, the
University's ability to carry out its mission is undermined.
(b) Sexual harassment is especially serious when it
threatens relationships between teacher and student or supervisor and
subordinate. In such situations,
sexual harassment unfairly exploits
the power inherent in a faculty member's or supervisor's position.
A supervisor’s or instructor’s control of grades, compensation,
recommendations, promotions, and the like, can have a decisive influence on a
student's, staff member's, or faculty member's career at the University and
(c) Although sexual harassment most often takes place in
situations where a power differential exists between the persons involved, the
University also recognizes that sexual harassment may occur between persons of
the same University status. The
University will not tolerate behavior of a sexual nature by members of the
University community that creates an intimidating or hostile environment for
employment, education, on-campus living, or participation in a University
Section 2. PROHIBITED
CONDUCT – POLICY STATEMENT.
The University of Iowa forbids sexual harassment by any
member of the University community.
Definition of Sexual Harassment. For purposes of this Policy, “Sexual Harassment” means
persistent, repetitive or egregious conduct directed at a specific individual or
group of individuals that a reasonable person would interpret, in the full
context in which the conduct occurs, as harassment of a sexual nature, when:
(1) Submission to such conduct is made or threatened to be made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, education, on-campus living environment, or participation in a University activity;
(2) Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used or threatened to be used as a basis for a decision affecting employment, education, on-campus living environment, or participation in a University activity; or,
Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with
work or educational performance, or of creating an intimidating or hostile
environment for employment, education, on-campus living, or participation in a
Evidence of Sexual Harassment. Behavior that may be considered evidence of prohibited sexual
harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a
condition of employment, work status, promotion, grades, letters of
recommendation, or participation in a University activity;
Direct propositions of a sexual nature;
Subtle pressure for sexual activity, an element of which may be repeated
A pattern of sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes or anecdotes,
whether made orally, in writing, or through electronic media (See also the
Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources policy, Section II.19, University
A pattern of conduct involving:
(a) Unnecessary touching;
(b) Remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body; or,
Remarks relating to sexual activity or speculations concerning previous
A display of graphic sexual material (not legitimately related to the
subject matter of a course if one is involved) in a context where others are not
free to avoid the display because of an employment or educational requirement or
without surrendering a privilege or opportunity that others may reasonably
expect to enjoy in that location.
determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, the
investigator will consider all available evidence and the totality of the
circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident(s) occurred.
Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of sexual
harassment, a single serious incident can be sufficient.
Determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Conduct which constitutes a protected exercise of an individual’s
rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution shall not be
deemed a violation of this Policy.
Section 3. BRINGING A COMPLAINT.
(a) A complaint that this Policy has been violated may be brought through informal or formal channels by any member of the University community, including a third party, or by the University itself. A third party complaint must state specific and credible allegations to warrant an investigation.
(b) Substantial weight will be given to the wishes of a
complainant when determining whether to investigate a complaint, but the
University may investigate a complaint even without the complainant’s consent
if circumstances warrant (such as when there are multiple complaints against the
same person or allegations that are particularly egregious).
(c) Persons who wish to consult with someone about a
specific situation on a confidential basis or learn more about enforcement of
the Policy on Sexual Harassment may contact any of the following offices or
· the Office of the Ombudsperson (for faculty, staff, or students)
· Faculty and Staff Services (for faculty or staff)
· University Counseling Service (for students)
· Women’s Resource and Action Center (for faculty, staff, or students)
Rape Victim Advocacy Program (for faculty, staff, or students)
These offices are exempt from the
reporting requirements set forth in Section 4(d) of this Policy.
Other offices may be required to report allegations as described in
Section 4. INFORMAL RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS
(a) A complaint may be brought informally to any academic
or administrative officer of the University.
For purposes of this Policy, “academic or administrative officer”
means any collegiate dean, any faculty member with administrative
responsibilities at the level of Departmental Executive Officer (DEO) or above,
or a student’s advisor; the Director of Affirmative Action, any Vice
President, or the Provost; and any director, supervisor, or human resources
(b) A person to whom a complaint is brought will counsel
the complainant as to the options available under this Policy and, at the
complainant's request, will (i) help the complainant resolve the complaint
informally and/or (ii) refer the complainant to the Office of Affirmative Action
so that the complainant may choose either to pursue informal resolution through
that office or to bring a formal complaint.
The Office of Affirmative Action is available to assist persons to whom
complaints are brought in determining whether there is a potential policy
violation and whether reporting pursuant to paragraph (d) below is required.
Section 5. INVESTIGATION OF FORMAL COMPLAINTS.
(a) A formal complaint pursuant to this Policy must be
brought to the Office of Affirmative Action, which will conduct an
(b) The purpose of the investigation is to establish
whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that a violation of this
Policy has occurred. In conducting
the investigation, the Office of Affirmative Action may interview the
complainant, the respondent, and other persons believed to have pertinent
factual knowledge, as well as review
any relevant documentary evidence. At
all times, the Office of Affirmative Action will take steps to ensure
confidentiality to the extent possible.
(c) When a formal investigation begins, the respondent will
be informed of the allegations, the identity of the complainant, and the facts
surrounding the allegations. The
investigation will afford the respondent a full opportunity to respond to the
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Office of Affirmative Action will
issue a written finding which will summarize the evidence gathered and state
whether or not there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of this
Policy has occurred. All parties to the complaint will receive a copy of the
written finding, which is to remain confidential as defined by Section 11(b) of
If the Office of Affirmative Action finds reasonable grounds to believe that a
violation of this Policy has occurred, the matter will be referred to the
appropriate administrative official for further consideration as outlined in
Section 6 below.
Section 6. PROCESS FOR FORMAL DISCIPLINARY ACTION.
(a) The appropriate administrative official as defined in
Subsection (b) of this Section will review the finding of the Office of
Affirmative Action and will decide whether to pursue formal disciplinary action.
(b) The decision to initiate formal disciplinary action in cases in which:
(i) a faculty member or other instructional personnel (except graduate assistants) is the respondent will be made by the Office of the Provost;
(ii) a staff member is the respondent will be made by the office of the Vice President or Dean responsible for the unit employing the person charged;
(iii) a student is the respondent will be made by the Office of the Vice President for Student Services and Dean of Students;
(iv) a graduate assistant is the
respondent will be made by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate College.
(c) The administrative official may (i) determine that the
allegations are not warranted; (ii) reach a negotiated settlement of the
complaint; or (iii) initiate formal disciplinary action.
(d) Violations of the Policy on Sexual Harassment may lead
to disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination or separation from The
University of Iowa.
Section 7. APPLICABLE PROCEDURES.
Except as specifically modified by other provisions of this
Policy, formal disciplinary action
resulting from violations of this Policy by:
(a) faculty members will be governed by the Faculty Dispute
Procedures (see Section III.29, University
Operations Manual) and that portion of those procedures dealing with faculty
ethics (Sec. III.29.7).
(b) staff members will be taken by the Vice President or
Dean (or designee) responsible for the unit employing the respondent.
Appeals of any formal disciplinary action against covered non-organized
Professional and Scientific staff members are governed by Section III.28.4 of
the University Operations Manual as
applicable. Appeals of any formal
disciplinary action against an Exempt Merit staff member are governed by Section
III.28.1 of the University Operations Manual. Staff covered by a collective
bargaining agreement should refer to the relevant contract for any contractual
grievance procedure. Non-organized merit staff have a procedure available under
Regents Merit System Rules;
(c) graduate assistants, when dismissal is sought, will be
governed by the procedure for dismissal of graduate assistants (Sec. III.12.4, University
Operations Manual). When
disciplinary action other than dismissal is taken by the Dean of the Graduate
College, a graduate assistant may appeal through any existing contractual
(d) students will be governed by Judicial Procedure for
Alleged Violations of the Code of Student Life. Both the Code of Student Life and the Judicial Procedure are
published and distributed to students annually in the “Policies and
Regulations Affecting Students.”
Section 8. ISOLATED
(a) Members of the University community who engage in
isolated behavior of the kind described in Section 2(b), which does not rise to
the level of sexual harassment but which if repeated could constitute sexual
harassment, demonstrate insensitivity that may warrant remedial measures.
When academic or administrative officers become aware that such behavior
has occurred in their areas, they should communicate to those who have engaged
in the behavior that the behavior is not acceptable and should cease, and the
potential consequences if such behavior persists, and should recommend, as
appropriate, that they undertake an educational program designed to help them
understand the harm they are causing.
(b) If a person continues to engage in the conduct
described in Subsection 8(a), he or she may be deemed to have engaged in sexual
(c) This section addresses isolated behavior that does not
rise to the level of a violation of this Policy. However, it should be understood that a single incident can
under certain circumstances constitute sexual harassment.
Section 9. PROTECTION OF COMPLAINANTS AND OTHERS.
(a) Complainants will be informed fully of steps taken
during the investigation.
(c) Retaliation against complainants and/or witnesses who
provide information during an investigation pursuant to this Policy is
prohibited. All reasonable action
will be taken to assure that complainants and/or
witnesses will suffer no retaliation as the result of their activities with
regard to the process.
(d) Steps that may be taken to protect complainants, witnesses, and others from continued harassment and/or retaliation might include:
(i) lateral transfers of one or more of the parties in an employment setting and a comparable move if a classroom setting is involved, and
(ii) arrangements that academic
and/or employment evaluations concerning the complainant or others be made by an
appropriate individual other than the respondent.
(e) Any retaliation
against complainants or witnesses should be reported to the Office of
Affirmative Action for further investigation.
If retaliation occurs, it may result in disciplinary action against the
person committing the retaliatory act(s).
(f) In extraordinary circumstances, the Provost, a Dean, a
DEO, or any Vice President may, at any time during or after an investigation of
a sexual harassment complaint, suspend or restrict from employment any employee
accused of sexual harassment if the Provost, Dean, DEO, or Vice President finds
that it is reasonably certain that (i) the alleged sexual harassment has
occurred and (ii) serious and immediate harm will ensue if the person continues
his or her employment. Similarly,
if the respondent is a student, interim sanctions may be imposed pursuant to
Section 10 of the Judicial Procedure for Alleged Violation of the Code of
Section 10. PROTECTION OF THE RESPONDENT.
(b) In the event the allegations are not substantiated, all
reasonable steps will be taken to restore the reputation of the respondent if it
was damaged by the proceeding.
Section 11. CONFIDENTIALITY.
(a) In order to empower community members to voice concerns
and bring complaints, the confidentiality of all parties will be protected to
the greatest extent that is legally possible.
However, legal obligations may require the University to take some action
once it is made aware that sexual harassment may be occurring, even when the
complainant is reluctant to proceed. The Office of Affirmative Action will be
consulted (see Section 4(d)) and information will be shared only with those
individuals who need to know it to implement this Policy.
Section 12. EDUCATION AS A KEY ELEMENT OF UNIVERSITY
Educational efforts are essential to the establishment of a
campus milieu that is free of sexual harassment. There are at least four goals to be achieved through
education: (a) ensuring that all victims (and potential victims) are aware of
their rights; (b) notifying individuals of conduct that is proscribed; (c)
informing administrators about the proper way to address complaints of
violations of this Policy; and (d) helping educate the insensitive about the
problems this Policy addresses.
PREPARATION AND DISSEMINATION OF INFORMATION.
(a) The Office of Affirmative Action is charged with
distributing information about this Policy to all current members of the
University community and to all those who join the community in the future.
An annual notification from the Office of Affirmative Action is provided
to all faculty and staff to remind them of the contents of this Policy.
A copy of the Human Rights Policy will be included in student orientation
materials, including those distributed to students in professional schools.
In addition, information about that Policy will be made available
continually at appropriate campus centers and offices.
(b) The Office of Affirmative Action offers courses for
persons who are likely to receive complaints that this Policy has been violated,
including, but not limited to, such persons as residence hall resident advisors,
academic advisors, supervisors, DEO’s, and faculty advisors.
Academic departments are encouraged to provide training for graduate
assistants and other instructional personnel with assistance from the Office of
(c) The Office of Affirmative Action offers courses
designed to educate the University community about sexual harassment prevention.
The Office of Affirmative Action also offers courses designed to inform
those whose behavior does not rise to the level of a violation of this Policy as
defined in Section 2, but if repeated could rise to the level of a violation, of
the problems they create by their insensitive conduct.
The course may be recommended for those described in Section 8 and may be
an element in the resolution of a complaint.
It also may be mandated for persons found to have violated this Policy.