code of community responsibility

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, which is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The law and Colby-Sawyer policy prohibit all forms of sexual harassment: men harassing women, women harassing men, men harassing men, and women harassing women. Sexual harassment includes unwanted or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of an individual's employment or educational experience;

  • Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting that individual's employment or educational performance;

  • That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work, academic performance, or participation in co-curricular activities;

  • That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, learning, social, or residential environment; or

  • The conduct or communication implies a discriminatory hostility toward an individual because of her or his sex or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment laws are designed to 1) protect people with less power (employees, subordinates, interns, students) from those with more power (employers, supervisors, managers, teachers), and 2) prevent the creation of a “hostile environment” that might result from unwanted sexual comments and advances, even among peers.

Positions of Power

Although all college students are, as students—peers, there are recognized positions of power among students, such as resident assistants, athletic team captains, student government officers, class officers, and honor students. Just as important, there are informal differences in power and influence between students. Sometimes being part of a certain social group or one's year in college will result in social power differences between students. All members of the Colby-Sawyer community should bear in mind that positions of power and status among student peers—formalized or not—are opportunities to demonstrate good citizenship, and should never become the basis for abuse or harassment. Such behavior is against the Code of Community Responsibility.

Hostile Environment

The Colby-Sawyer Code of Community Responsibility prohibits creation of a hostile living or learning environment. This can occur between students with no discernible difference in status or power. The Colby-Sawyer community is grounded in mutual respect and goodwill, and each is responsible for recognizing when she or he may present an intimidating or unwelcome presence, or when she or he may be contributing to a hostile environment for another community member.

Examples of Sexual Harassment may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Sexual innuendoes, comments or bantering;

  • Comments about an individual's body, clothing, or lifestyle which have sexual implications;

  • Repeated questions, derogatory statements and/or jokes that are related to gender and/or sexual orientation or identity;

  • Sexually degrading words or gestures used to describe an individual;

  • Subtle or blatant pressure for sexual activities;

  • Unwanted touching, patting, pinching, or brushing against a person's body or clothing;

  • Leering or ogling or other non-verbal “comments” about an individual's appearance;

  • Making sexually suggestive gestures or sexual sounds;

  • Sending sexual mail, notes, e-mail, or making sexually explicit phone calls or voice mails;

  • Sending, giving, showing or displaying material (objects, pictures, cartoons, articles, books or magazines) that are sexually explicit; or

  • Direct or indirect threats or bribes for sexual favors.

Where and How Sexual Harassment Could Occur

Sexual harassment could occur on campus or at off-campus Colby-Sawyer sponsored events. It could occur in the classroom (student to student, faculty to student, student to faculty), the work setting (supervisor to employee, employee to supervisor, employee to employee), and the living and social environment. It could occur at an internship or practicum site on or off-campus.

In addition, an employee or student could experience sexual harassment from a salesperson, vendor, parent of a student, alumnus, visitor, or any other members of the extended college community or visitors who have contact with Colby-Sawyer faculty, staff, and students at the college or college sponsored events.

Sexual harassment could occur to a third party when that person is negatively affected by unwelcome or welcome sexual conduct between other individuals in that third party's work setting or classroom—or any other setting that requires a Colby-Sawyer employee or student be present for work or learning purposes or, in the case of students, in that person's living environment.

The college considers any romantic, physical, or sexual relationship between employees of the college and students to be a conflict of interest and potentially sexual harassment due to the potential for abuse of power, harassment, bias, and favoritism. Therefore, the college prohibits all faculty, staff, and contract employees from pursuing sexual relationships with any student of the college. Any relationships that precede the student's enrollment should be disclosed to the director of Human Resources.

Prevention Programs and Resources for Victims/Survivors

Colby-Sawyer College offers sexual misconduct/assault and sexual harassment prevention programs each semester. For more information regarding these programs and resources for victims/survivors, click here.

Policy revised July 2013 by the vice president for student development and dean of students and the associate dean of students and director of citizenship education.

  • Our living and learning community is based on equality and respect and though at Colby-Sawyer College we respect free expression, we do not condone that expression when it is demeaning or harassing behavior.

  • Community members must be able to expect a reasonable level of personal safety in order to attain academic and personal excellence.

  • Violence of any kind has no place in our community as it harms the targeted student(s) and, by ripple effect, instills a level of fear and suspicion that is detrimental to the community as a whole.

  • Excellence
  • Interconnectedness
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Stewardship