UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH POLICY 07-06-04
SECTION: Employee Support
SUBJECT: Sexual Harassment
EFFECTIVE DATE: June 29, 2015 Revised
This document establishes policy and procedures pertaining to the University's prohibition
of sexual harassment.
The University of Pittsburgh is committed to the maintenance of a community free from sexual
harassment. Sexual harassment violates University policy as well as federal, state and local
laws. It is neither permitted nor condoned. The coverage of this policy extends to all faculty,
researchers, staff, students, vendors, contractors and visitors to the University.
It is also a violation of the University of Pittsburgh's policy against sexual harassment for any
employee or student at the University of Pittsburgh to attempt in any way to retaliate against
a person who makes a claim of sexual harassment or provides information in an investigation
of sexual harassment.
Any individual who after a thorough investigation is found to have violated the University's
policy against sexual harassment will be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited
to, reprimand, suspension (with or without pay), termination or expulsion.
A. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN GENERAL
Sexual harassment may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or
other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
1. Submission to such conduct is an explicit or implicit condition of employment or of
participation in a University program or activity;
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for an employment or
3. Such conduct is severe or pervasive and objectively and subjectively has the effect of:
a. Unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or equal access to education; or
b. Creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment; or
4. Such conduct, if repeated, is reasonably likely to meet the standard set forth in number
3 immediately above.
While sexual harassment most often takes place where there is a power differential between
the persons involved, it also may occur between persons of the same status. Sexual
harassment can occur on University premises or, under limited circumstances, off campus.
It can occur between members of the same gender as well as between members of different
B. SEXUAL HARASSMENT STANDARD WHEN CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED SPEECH
When constitutionally protected speech is implicated, this policy will be applied only to the
extent consistent with the First Amendment.
In addition to meeting the standard set forth in III. A. above, to rise to the level of prohibited
sexual harassment when constitutionally protected speech is implicated, the law requires a
tenable threat of material and substantial disruption of University operations or interference
with the rights of others.
Section IX below provides guidance on application of this Policy in the academic setting,
which is an area where constitutionally protected speech could be implicated.
IV. CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS
Personal relationships must not be allowed to interfere with the academic or professional
integrity of the teacher-student, staff-student, supervisor-employee or other professional
relations within the University. The University's policy on Faculty-Student Relationships
(Policy 02-04-03) prohibits intimate relationships between a faculty member and a student
whose academic work, teaching or research is being supervised or evaluated by the
faculty member. If an intimate relationship should exist or develop between a faculty
member and a student, the University requires the faculty member to remove himself/
herself from all supervisory, evaluative, and/or formal advisory roles with respect to the
student. Failure to do so may subject the faculty member to disciplinary action.
V. COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
Any faculty, staff or student who believes he or she has been sexually harassed or retaliated
against for complaining of sexual harassment or for providing information in an investigation
or sexual harassment should contact a department chair, dean, director, supervisor, the Office
of Affirmative Action, the Office of Human Resources, the Office of the Provost, the
Coordinator of the University Student Judicial System, or the person(s) listed at the end of this
document at one of the regional campuses. The complaint will either be handled by the
person/office receiving the complaint or referred to the Office of Affirmative Action.
All complaints will be given serious, impartial and timely consideration. When an
administrator or supervisor receives a complaint, oral or written communication with the
person whose action the complainant found offensive may resolve the problem. If that
does not resolve the matter, an investigation will be undertaken. The complainant and the
accused will be informed of the findings of the investigation. While every effort will be
made to protect the privacy rights of all parties, confidentiality cannot
If an individual is found to have violated the University's policy against sexual harassment,
steps will be taken to stop the harassment and the violator will be subject to disciplinary
sanctions, including, but not limited to, oral or written warning, required education program,
mandatory counseling, reprimand, suspension, reassignment of responsibilities,
termination of employment or expulsion from the University. If it is found that the complaint
is without reasonable foundation, the parties will be so informed and will also be informed
that no further action is warranted. A record of the findings and the action taken must be
the unit that handled the complaint.
Any faculty, staff or student who believes that he or she has been sexually harassed
should first seek a resolution of this problem as outlined above. If that is not satisfactory,
the complainant or accused can then appeal through one of the procedures indicated
VI. APPEAL PROCEDURE
The complainant and the accused have the right to appeal. To do so, he or she must file
a formal written appeal either (1) to the University's Sexual Harassment Board or (2)
according to existing grievance procedures for faculty, staff or students. Existing
grievance procedures are described in the Faculty Handbook, Staff Handbook, Guidelines
on Academic Integrity and Student Code of
Conduct and Judicial Procedures.
Once a written appeal has been filed according to one of the procedures identified above,
the same appeal may not be filed through an alternative
procedure within the University.
The University Sexual Harassment Board
The Sexual Harassment Board is appointed by the Chancellor on advice of the Provost,
the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences and the Executive Vice Chancellor.
The Board consists of three individuals, two of whom, one faculty member and one staff
member, are appointed for three-year terms. One member, representing the complainant's
faculty, staff or student status, is
appointed upon receipt of that individual's appeal.
The Board has responsibility for investigating appeals filed with it and conveying its findings
and recommendations to the appropriate dean or director within ninety (90) days of receipt
of an appeal. Copies of Board findings are provided to the complainant, the accused and
the Office of Affirmative Action.
A dean or director must take action within thirty (30) days of receiving the recommendations
of the Board. The complainant, the accused, the administrator receiving the original
complaint and the Office of Affirmative Action must be
informed of the specific action taken.
Appeals of Board Findings and/or Sanctions
Findings of the Board and sanctions imposed by a dean or director may be appealed by
any party to the complaint. Within thirty (30) days of the presentation of finding and/or
imposition of a sanction, appeals must be submitted in writing to the appropriate senior
officer of the University, i.e., the Provost or Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences
in complaints where a faculty member is the accused, the Executive Vice Chancellor in
complaints where a staff member is the accused, or the Vice Provost and Dean of Students
in complaints where a student is the accused. The senior officer then has thirty (30) days
to the appeal. Decisions resulting from such appeals to a senior officer are final.
VII. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Pittsburgh Campus Bradford Campus
Pamela W. Connelly Tracee Howell
Associate Vice Chancellor Hanley Library
Office of Affirmative Action, Diversity (814) 362-5121
500 Craig Hall
(412) 648-7860 Greensburg Campus
Jane Volk Mary Anne Koleny
Office of Human Resources 108 Lynch Hall
500 Craig Hall (724) 836-9902
Alberta M. Sbragia
Office of the Provost Laura Perry-Thompson
801 Cathedral of Learning 248 Blackington Hall
(412) 624-2137 (814) 269-7070
Barbara D. Ruprecht Titusville Campus
Student Conduct Officer
University of Pittsburgh Elaine Osborn
737 William Pitt Union Broadhurst Science Center
(412) 648-7910 (814) 827-4474
VIII. FOR COUNSELING SERVICES
University Counseling Center
Nordenberg Hall Wellness Center
Sexual Assault Services
Nordenberg Hall Wellness Center
G-10 Student Union
Faculty and Staff Assistance Program
504 Medical Arts Building
(412) 647-3327 or (866) 647-3327
IX. APPLICATION OF POLICY IN THE ACADEMIC SETTING
Consistent with section III. B. above, this Policy does not prohibit legitimate academic activities,
such as lectures, classroom debates, reading assignments, presentations, coursework and
publications, involving content of a sexual or gender-related nature that is reasonably related to
the academic topic. For example, a class on human sexuality will necessarily involve reasonably
related content of a sexual or gender-related nature that does not violate this Policy.
Of course, there are situations when sexual harassment may occur in an academic setting.
For example, failing a student for refusing to exchange sexual favors for a better grade would
not be protected by the First Amendment and would violate this Policy.
The Statement on Academic Freedom of the University’s Ad Hoc Committee on Academic
Freedom may provide useful guidance in determining whether the conduct at issue is reasonably
related to the academic subject matter.
Policy 02-04-03, Faculty-Student Relationships
Policy 07-01-03, Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action
The Statement on Academic Freedom of the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Freedom at the
University of Pittsburgh found at http://www.pitt.edu/~provost/afstatement.html