POLICY

Sexual harassment is prohibited at Mount Allison University. There is a Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Policy that outlines all University definitions, roles, and procedures. This policy takes precedence over the explanatory information offered below.

DEFINITION

Sexual harassment is a type of discrimination based on sex. When someone is sexually harassed in school, it can undermine their sense of personal dignity and safety, disrupt their education, and interfere with their ability to reach their full potential in life. If left unchecked, some forms of sexual harassment have the potential to escalate to violent behaviour, including sexual assault.

In broad terms, sexual harassment involves a person or group engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome to another person or group. In some cases, one incident could be serious enough to be sexual harassment. In other cases, sexual harassment may involve from a series of behaviours which create an unwelcome environment based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation. At Mount Allison University and under the New Brunswick Human Rights Code homophobia, transphobia, and sexism all fall under the definition of sexual harassment. 

In the simplest terms, sexual harassment is behaviour which is:

  • sexual
  • offensive
  • unwanted

In some cases, one incident may constitute sexual harassment. In many cases it is a repeated pattern of behaviour after someone has been told they find the behaviour offensive and unwelcome.

EXAMPLES

Examples of sexual harassment may include unnecessary touching, jokes of a sexual nature, inappropriate use of suggestive material,or intimidating behaviour such as expecting sexual favors in return for something else (paying for dinner, grades, promotion, etc.). 

Sexual harassment can occur whenever somebody says or does something sexually related that you don’t want them to say or do, regardless of who it is.  Whether such unwelcome sexual behavior is sexual harassment depends on the circumstances in which the behavior occurs.  For example: 

When someone:

  • Talks about their sexual experiences.
  • Asks you to talk about yours.
  • Tells sexual jokes, innuendos, and stories, or comments (about your clothes or body, or someone else’s).

Such behavior can constitute sexual harassment if:

  • it interferes with your work or educational performance
  • it creates an intimidating or hostile environment for your employment, education, on-campus living
  • it impedes your full participation in any University activity

Sexual harassment also occurs when someone:

  • sexually touches you without your consent
  • threatens, pressures, or forces you to have sex or engage in sexual touching
  • requests or pressures for sex in exchange for getting or keeping a job, getting a better grade, for other special treatment, or to escape physical violence.

Other examples:

  • Inappropriate conversations with sexual content
  • Leering or inappropriate staring or whistling
  • Gender related verbal abuse or taunting
  • Inappropriate gifts
  • Bragging about sexual prowess
  • Obscene phone calls
  • repeatedly asking for or demanding dates, and not taking “no” for an answer
  • demanding hugs
  • Comments about an individual’s physical characteristics
  • Sexually suggestive acts
  • Propositions of physical intimacy
  • making unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching
  • using rude or insulting language or making comments toward someone because they are female, male, trans*, queer or other-identified
  • calling people sex or gender-specific derogatory names
  • making sex or gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or actions
  • saying or doing something because you think a person does not conform to sex- or gender-role stereotypes
  • Suggestive or offensive remarks about members of a specific sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation
  • posting or sharing pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually explicit graffiti, or other sexual images (including online)
  • making offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature
  • leering, whistling, cat calling
  • bragging about sexual prowess
  • bullying based on sex or gender
  • spreading sexual rumours or gossip (including online)
  • discrimination on the basis of sex or gender identity.
  • And more!>

SEXUAL HARASSMENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS (how it affects people)

Effects on academic performance: 

  • stops doing schoolwork, sudden drop in grades
  • stops participating in school-related or extracurricular activities
  • skips or drops classes
  • withdraws enrolment

Psychological effects may include: 

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • disrupted sleep
  • loss of appetite
  • inability to concentrate
  • lowered self-esteem
  • loss of interest in regular activities
  • social isolation
  • feelings of sadness, fear or shame
  • overuse or abuse drugs and/or alcohol to cope
  • In extreme cases, talking about or even attempting suicide

Physical effects are “stress symptoms” which may include: 

  • depression
  • raised blood pressure
  • body pain, tense muscles>
  • Insomnia
  • Nervous stomach, digestive issues

ELECTRONIC HARASSMENT

More and more, students are being sexually harassed online. Technology, such as e-mail, blogs, social networking sites, chat rooms, dating websites, text messaging features, etc., provides new frontiers for sexual harassment.

Using technology to harass someone may constitute a poisoned environment. There will be consequences for anyone using a University account such as e-mail, Moodle, etc. to sexually harass someone. Use of private devices on campus to harass someone is also an offense.

Mount Allison’s Computer Network Usage Policy stipulates that using a Mount Allison account to harass another member of the University community will result in loss of privileges.