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Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is prohibited by federal and state law and by Brown University policy. Such conduct seriously undermines the atmosphere of trust and respect that is essential to a healthy work and academic environment. Sexual harassment is discriminatory, unlawful and will not be tolerated at Brown. This page includes information on reporting options as well as confidential resources for support.

What is sexual harassment?
Federal law defines sexual harassment as:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favors
  • Other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when
    • submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic success or
    • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individuals or
    • the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or sexually offensive working environment.

It is important to understand that sexual harassment can be blatant or it can be very subtle. It can take the form of one serious incident or more subtle acts that continue over time. Sexual harassment can be intentional or unintentional.

Who can be a victim of sexual harassment?
The victim may be male or female. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex of the harasser. The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

How can I help a friend who’s experienced sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment can be very confusing and difficult to sort out, and most people will turn to friends for help. Click here to learn about ways to support someone.

Where do I go for help?

Sexual Harassment by Faculty or Staff
If a student would like assistance or wishes to report sexually harassing behavior by faculty or staff, s/he can contact the Sexual Harassment Information Liaisons:
Gail Cohee,Sarah Doyle Women's Center, 401.863-1781
Dean Maria Suarez, Office of Student Life, 863-3145

Student-to-Student Sexual Harassment
To report sexual harassment between students, contact Dean Allen Ward at the Office of Student Life, 401.863-3145.

Psychological Services
Clinicans provide confidential crisis support, follow-up appointments, and 24-hour on-call services. Located at J Walter Wilson, Room 516.

Office of Student Life/Administrator-on-Call
863-3145 (after hours, 863-4111)
The Administrator-on-Call will provide support to any student reporting sexual assault, sexual harassment or abuse in a relationship. The student will be connected with medical, counseling and legal resources. A student can choose to file a complaint in the non-academic discipline system if the complaint is against another student.


Office of Institutional Diversity
This web page provides extensive information on the definition of sexual harassment, available resources at Brown and the options for informal resolutions and disciplinary options. It also explains confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality when sexual harassment is reported.

Health Education
The sexual harassment page on Health Education’s web site includes ways to help a friend as well as on-campus and off-campus resources.