Letter from the Director:
In a society of differing generations, cultures and backgrounds, what is
acceptable behavior to one person may be unacceptable to another, and it
may be illegal.
If you believe you are being sexually harassed, or know someone who is,
you should act promptly. Correcting the situation immediately or at least
talking with someone familiar with the issues and ways to respond is in everyone's
best interest. Ignoring the situation and hoping that it will correct itself
allows the harassment to continue.
Nor should you be afraid that if you talk with someone about the situation,
you will be subject to retaliation, particularly if the person causing the
harassment has power over you (a supervisor, a teacher, etc.). Under no circumstances
will Stanford allow reprisals against a person who in good faith reports
or provides information about sexual harassment or behavior that might constitute
sexual harassment. In some instances, you may simply want to talk to someone.
Perhaps you are not sure that the other person's behavior is wrong, or maybe
you know that it is wrong, but you are unsure what to do about it. Similarly,
if you are not sure about your own interactions with someone in your office,
classroom or dormitory and are concerned that they have been misunderstood,
you should consider talking with someone to see how the situation can be
As the attached policy indicates, there are several ways that you can talk
with people on campus, including anonymously, to help you sort out your own
thoughts or decide what action can be taken to correct the situation. Sexual
harassment advisers are available to help you understand your options. Each
school, administrative unit and student housing unit has its own adviser.
While these advisers may be most familiar with the issues and options for
a particular setting, you are free to seek consultation from any adviser.
Click to see a list of advisers.
In addition to confidential discussions, the policy describes other options,
including intervention by neutral third parties, and the formal grievance
and disciplinary procedures.
Here is how Stanford defines sexual harassment: "Unwelcome
sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal or
physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- It is implicitly or explicitly suggested that submission to or rejection
of the conduct will be a factor in academic or employment decisions or
evaluations, or permission to participate in a University activity; or
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering
with an individual's academic or work performance, or creating an intimidating,
hostile or offensive academic, work or student living environment."
If you think someone is sexually harassing you or someone you know, or
if you are troubled by the definition quoted above as it may apply to your
own behavior, you should read the following policy and consider what actions
I encourage you to take advantage of the resources described in the policy
and take responsibility for getting the situation corrected. If you have
any questions, please feel free to contact me at 723-1583 or 327-8259, or
by E-mail: email@example.com
Dr. Laraine T. Zappert
Director, Sexual Harassment Policy Office