What is Sexual Harassment?

According to the Ferris State University Student Handbook...

Based on the definition contained in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines, adapted to include educational environments, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or 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 advancement;
  • Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a factor in employment or academic decisions affecting such individuals; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, living or academic environment.

While sexual harassment most often takes place in situations of power differential between the persons involved, sexual harassment may also occur between persons of the same status (e.g., student-to-student). The person exhibiting sexually harassing conduct need not realize or intend the conduct to be offensive for the conduct to constitute sexual harassment.