VI - 1.20 - Policy on Sexual Harassment

Bowie State University (BSU) is committed to maintaining a working and learning environment in which faculty, staff and students can develop intellectually, professionally, personally and socially free from intimidation, fear, coercion and reprisal.

Sexual harassment is an infringement on the individual's right to work and study in an environment free from unwanted sexual attention and sexual pressure of any kind. Sexual harassment by BSU faculty, staff and students is expressly prohibited.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by both Federal and State law. Sexual harassment is defined by the U.S. EEOC (29.C.F.R.1604) as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:

1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic standing;

2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual; or

3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working/academic environment. 
Unwelcome actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, may in and of themselves meet the definition of sexual harassment or contribute to a hostile work environment. The following list is not exhaustive:

  • Sexual pranks or repeated sexual teasing, jokes or innuendo, in person or via e-mail;
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature;
  • Touching or grabbing of a sexual nature;
  • Repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person;
  • Repeatedly asking a person to socialize during off-duty hours when the person has said no or has indicated he or she is not interested (supervisors in particular should be careful not to pressure their employees to socialize);
  • Giving gifts or leaving objects that are sexually suggestive;
  • Repeatedly making sexually suggestive gestures;
  • Making or posting sexually demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace; and or
  • Off-duty, unwelcome conducts of a sexual nature that affects the work environment.

A victim of sexual harassment can be a man or a woman. The victim can be of the same sex as the harasser. The harasser can be a supervisor, co-worker, other BSU employee, student, vendor or member of the general public conducting business with BSU.
Any employee, applicant, student, vendor or member of the general public conducting business with the University who believes he or she has been the target of sexual harassment, is encouraged to inform the offending person orally or in writing that such conduct is unwelcome and offensive and must stop.
If BSU receives an allegation of sexual harassment or has reason to believe sexual harassment is occurring, it will take the necessary steps to ensure that the issue is promptly investigated and addressed.  If probable cause is found, BSU will take immediate and effective measures to end the unwelcome behavior.  BSU is committed and obligated to take action if it learns of possible sexual harassment, even if the individual does not wish to file a formal complaint.

Supervisors and other responsible BSU officials, who observe, are informed of or reasonably suspect incidents of possible sexual harassment, must immediately report such incidents to the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)/Affirmative Action (AA) Officer who will either initiate or oversee a prompt investigation.  Failure to report such incidents to the EEO/AA Officer will be considered a violation of this policy and may result in disciplinary action.

Sanctions against BSU faculty and staff for sexual harassment may range from reprimand to termination, depending on the severity of the conduct and the circumstances of the particular case.  Likewise, sanctions against BSU students for sexual harassment may include suspension or expulsion from BSU programs.

Any employee, who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual harassment, should report the alleged conduct immediately to his or her supervisor or to the BSU's EEO/AA Officer.  Any student, who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual harassment, should report the alleged conduct immediately to the BSU's Student Conduct Officer in Student Affairs or the EEO/AA Officer, directly.  Vendors, applicants, and members of the general public conducting business with the BSU, may contact the EEO/AA Officer directly.  A confidential investigation of the complaint will be conducted in accordance with the "BSU Procedures for Complaints of Sexual Harassment."

Allegations of sexual harassment are extremely serious, with potential for great harm to all persons if ill-conceived or without foundation.  BSU is committed to protecting the rights of the alleged harasser as well as the complainant.  BSU is also committed to protecting the subject of sexual harassment from retaliation.

BSU will seek to protect the identities of the alleged victim and harasser, except as reasonably necessary (for example, to complete an investigation successfully).  BSU will also take the necessary steps to protect from retaliation employees, who in good faith, report incidents of possible sexual harassment.  It is a violation of both Federal and State law and this policy to retaliate against someone who has reported possible sexual harassment.  Violators may be subject to discipline.


Effective Date:  01/10/2002
Revised Date:  04/17/2012