Sexual Harassment

Western Michigan University is committed to an environment which encourages fair, humane, and beneficial treatment of all faculty, staff, and students. In accordance with that fundamental objective, the University has a continuing commitment to assure equal opportunity and to oppose discrimination because of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, handicap, height, weight, or marital status.

Therefore, in that same perspective, sexual harassment will not be tolerated behavior at Western Michigan University. It is expected that each member of the University community will consider himself/herself responsible for the proper observance of this policy.


Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual conduct which is related to any condition of employment or evaluation of student performance. This definition is intended to include more than overt advances toward actual sexual relations. It applies as well to repeated or unwarranted sex-related statements, unwelcome touching, sexually explicit comments, and/or graphics.

All persons should be sensitive to situations that may affect or cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation or may display a condescending sex-based attitude towards a person. Sexual harassment is illegal under both state and federal law. In some cases, it may be subject also to prosecution under the criminal sexual conduct law.

Conduct will be defined as sexual harassment when any or all three of the following conditions exist:

  • The sex-related situations are unwelcome by the recipient.†
  • A specific or implied connection with employment or student status is involved.
  • The sexual harassment continues after the recipient has made clear that the conduct is unwelcome.†

Depending upon the seriousness of the misconduct, informal corrective action may be adequate.

Complaint procedure

Sexual harassment constitutes acts of misconduct. Therefore, whenever such acts are reported and confirmed, prompt disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including discharge. However, to enable the University to act through these formal procedures, employees and students are encouraged to report such incidents. Employees and students should report such conduct to the Office of Institutional Equity.

The Office of Institutional Equity shall investigate thoroughly any complaints of alleged sexual harassment, and then report the results of such investigations to the President of the University.

† In cases of overt physical sexual contact, a blatant threat if sexual favors are not given, or promised reward in exchange for sexual favors, no notice that the conduct is unwelcome shall be necessary and a finding of sexual harassment may be based on a single occurrence.