Announcement of University's Sexual Harassment Policy

Our University of Washington community is committed to maintaining a civil and compassionate environment. To that end, our community does not condone or tolerate sexual harassment. The University's non-discrimination policy is guided by state and federal laws that prohibit sexual harassment, including the Washington State Law Against Discrimination (RCW 49.60); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. With that in mind, the University is pleased to announce the recent updating of its policy definition of sexual harassment, which now reads as follows:

"Sexual harassment"is a form of harassment based on the recipient's sex that is characterized by:

  1. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person who has authority over the recipient when:
    1. Submission to such conduct is made either an implicit or explicit condition of the individual's employment, academic status, or ability to use University facilities and services, or
    2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as the basis for a decision that affects tangible aspects of the individual's employment, academic status, or use of University facilities; or
  2. Unwelcome and unsolicited language or conduct that is of a sexual nature or that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance (University Handbook, Volume Four, Part I, Chapter 2).

Sexual harassment is illegal. Faculty, staff, and students who engage in sexual harassment will be subject to corrective or disciplinary action. Violations can lead to severe penalties, up to and including termination of employment or termination from educational programs, as well as possible personal liability.

Because consensual relationships between students and instructors may interfere with the learning relationship, the Faculty Senate has adopted a policy that states:

No faculty member, teaching assistant, research assistant, department chair, dean, or other administrative officer should vote, make recommendations, or in any other way participate in the decision of any matter which may directly affect the employment, promotion, academic status, or evaluation of a student with whom he or she has or has had a familial, sexual, or romantic relationship (University Handbook, Volume Two, Part II, Chapter 24, Section 24-33, Footnote: Faculty/Student Relationships and Conflicts of Interest).

The University will promptly respond to and take appropriate action concerning allegations of sexual harassment. In addition, the University also prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting, cooperating with, or participating in the University's complaint process regarding allegations of sexual harassment (University Handbook, Volume Four, Part I, Chapter 2 and Administrative Policy Statement 46.3).

The University provides a number of resources to members of the campus community who either have been subjected to sexual harassment or have knowledge that a member of our community has been subjected to sexual harassment. The offices that help coordinate our RCW 49.60, Title VII, Title IX and University non-discrimination and compliance efforts include:

  • Investigation and resolution of allegations of sexual harassment and related information and assistance are available by contacting:

University Complaint Investigation and Resolution Office

4311-11th Avenue NE, Suite 630


  • Consultation, conciliation and mediation services are available by contacting:

University Ombudsman

301 Husky Union Building

206-543-0283 or 206-543-6028

  • Assistance and information regarding student conduct rights and responsibilities are available by contacting:

Director, Community Standards and Student Conduct,

Office of the Vice Provost for Student Life


The Office of the Director of Athletics, Intercollegiate Athletics


  • Referral to the appropriate Human Resources Consultant/Specialist is available by contacting:

Human Resources Operations, 206-543-2333 (upper Seattle campus, Tacoma, and Bothell)

Human Resources Operations, 206-543-9406 (Health Sciences)

UW Medical Center Human Resources, 206-598-6116

Harborview Medical Center Human Resources, 206-744-9220

Academic Human Resources, 206-543-5630 (Faculty, librarians and academic staff)

  • Consultation and compliance assistance are available by contacting:

Director, Office of Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action